BJP continues good show in Odisha panchayat polls

BJP has so far got a majority in Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, Deogarh, Subarnapur, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Bolangir zilla parishads. BJP has so far got a majority in Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi, Deogarh, Subarnapur, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Bolangir zilla parishads. BJP won 63 zilla parishad seats on Sunday, taking its tally to 259 seats. BJD has so far won 374 seats, a major slide from its tally in the 2012 panchayat polls. In tribal-dominated Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Malkangiri districts particularly, BJP almost swept the polls.

February 19, 2017 21:22 UTC

Bad loan crisis continues: 56.4 per cent rise in NPAs of banks

Watch What Else Is making NewsAt least five banks have reported gross NPA ratios (ratio of bad loans to total loans) of over 15 per cent. Indian Overseas Bank’s gross NPA ratio is 22.42 per cent, which means Rs 22.42 out of every Rs 100 lent by the bank is classified as a bad loan. UCO Bank has posted an NPA ratio of 17.18 per cent, United Bank of India 15.98 per cent, IDBI Bank 15.16 per cent and Bank of Maharashtra 15.08 per cent, the Care analysis reveals. Efforts of banks to recover bad loans were hamstrung by the redeployment of many staffers to branches in November and December after high-value notes were scrapped. However, a section of experts say banks have reduced NPA levels through write-offs and restructuring, and no clear picture of bad loans emerges if all financial sector players are included.

February 19, 2017 21:22 UTC

Election Commission pushes to make electoral bribery cognizable offence

“…In some cases in the recent past, the Commission had to resort to cancelling the elections on account of widespread instances of bribing of electors,” it adds. (Representational) “…In some cases in the recent past, the Commission had to resort to cancelling the elections on account of widespread instances of bribing of electors,” it adds. (Representational)Chief Election Commissioner (EC) Nasim Zaidi has written to Home Minister Rajnath Singh reiterating EC’s long-standing demand to make electoral bribery a cognizable offence under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). A cognizable offence is one for which police has the authority to make an arrest without a warrant. The EC has also written to Law Ministry, seeking permanent legal powers to cancel polls in case there is credible evidence of voters being bribed.

February 19, 2017 21:11 UTC

Golf-Johnson jumps clear at Riviera, closes in on world number one

Dustin Johnson, bidding to take the world number one ranking, surged to a five-stroke lead after the third round of the weather-plagued Genesis Open on a busy Sunday. The world number three quickly went back to work as officials tried to cram the tournament's final 36 holes into a long day of play. Johnson will jump to top spot if he wins on Sunday, as long as current number one Jason Day finishes lower than third. That appeared assured as Australian Day had his worst round of the tournament, a 75, to stand 68th. Bryan, a Tour rookie, had seven birdies, an eagle at number 10 with one bogey, at number eight, in going eight under for the round.

February 19, 2017 21:11 UTC

‘If US cracks down on H1B visas, we’ll be happy to have Indians relocate to Mexico’: Melba Pria

In an interview to The Indian Express, Pria said if the US cracks down on H1B visas, Mexico will be “more than happy to have Indians relocate to Mexico”. She said “it is time to diversify our trade relations, and we are focussed on seizing that momentum for more Mexican companies to turn their attention to India”. Borders are a living, ever-changing phenomena: they obey their own cause-and-effect migration dynamics, which are unlikely to be changed by artificial actions. Overall, Mexico will always have a commitment to the well-being of all Mexican citizens and respect for their human rights. If the US does enforce some of its harsher immigration proposals, for instance, regarding H1B visas on which Indian IT companies are heavily dependent, we will be more than happy to have Indians relocate to Mexico.

February 19, 2017 21:00 UTC

61% polling recorded in 3rd phase in Uttar Pradesh

The voter turnout in the third phase of the 2017 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections was slightly lower than the first two phases but an improvement from the figure for the corresponding phase in the last election. The SP, which won 55 out of 69 seats in these districts in 2012, has all at stake in this phase. If district-wise voting is to be analysed, Sitapur recorded the highest average turnout with 68.49%. Many of the districts in this phase also fall along the much-hyped Lucknow-Agra Expressway, a key plank of Mr. Akhilesh’s developmental model. In another keenly watched seat, Sarojini Nagar, another member of the Yadav family, Mr. Mulayam’s nephew Anurag Yadav made his debut.

February 19, 2017 20:48 UTC

Karnataka man killed by rebels in South Sudan

more-inAn Indian national, Syed Farooq Basha, was shot dead by rebel fighters in South Sudan on Saturday, diplomatic sources have confirmed. The incident occurred some 900 km from the South Sudan capital of Juba. “Syed Farooq Basha was driving through the disputed region of Abyei, when he was shot dead in an attack that injured his driver. Abyei is an energy-rich region between Sudan and South Sudan which remains disputed. South Sudan is caught between a border dispute with its northern neighbour Sudan, and is facing an internal power battle between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.

February 19, 2017 20:48 UTC

Kerala actress’s molestation: Rivalry angle seen, police probe role of people from film industry

Members of the Malayalam film industry protest in Kochi. Members of the Malayalam film industry protest in Kochi. Crime Branch IG Dinendra Kashyap, who is overseeing the investigation, said, “The probe will cover all aspects, including the involvement of those from the film industry in the conspiracy. They were not associated with the film industry, but used to work for supari gangs, sources said. BJP national executive member V Muraleedharan said, “The Kerala film industry is in the grip of mafia.

February 19, 2017 20:48 UTC

Kraft Heinz withdraws Unilever merger offer

Kraft had made a surprise offer for Unilever in a bid to build a global consumer goods behemoth that was flatly rejected on Friday by Unilever, the maker of Lipton tea and Dove soap. Kraft was forced to publicly disclose its offer to Unilever on Friday to comply with Britain’s takeover regulations, after rumours of its approach to Unilever circulated among stock traders. Under UK takeover rules, Kraft’s public withdrawal of its offer precludes it from reviving takeover talks with Unilever for six months. May has been adamant that the government should play a more active role in vetting proposed foreign acquisitions of UK companies. He cited Colgate-Palmolive Co. as one potential target, noting that its stock popped 4% Friday on news that Kraft was eyeing Unilever.

February 19, 2017 20:45 UTC

Odisha: Child’s body found, locals torch police station

Villagers in Bargarh district of western Odisha on Sunday set a local police station on fire and damaged a police vehicle after the body of a four-year-old boy, who went missing since February 4, was recovered from a paddy field Saturday night. The villagers in Melchhamunda police station area also blocked a road by placing the body and staged a dharna near the SP’s office. Piyush, son of a businessman, was found dead in a paddy field near Kalangadera village. Though police on Sunday arrested the accused, who is yet to be identified, the reason behind the murder was not clear so far.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

Raipur: IAS officer booked for influencing CBI probe

A day after his residence and locations of people known to him were raided, the CBI on Sunday registered a case against senior 1988-batch IAS officer B L Agarwal, who is currently posted as Secretary Higher Education with the state government. Agarwal, against whom the CBI had registered two cases in 2010 when he was the state’s health secretary, has been accused of criminal conspiracy for offering Rs 1.5 crore to private people as “gratification” in return for help in a case against him under investigation by the CBI, the agency said. The FIR, filed on Sunday against Agarwal, mentions the names of Bhagwan Singh and Syed Burhanuddin and some unknown persons. It says that through Singh, Agarwal attempted to give Rs 1.5 crore to Burhanuddin so the matter could be “reasonably settled.” It states that Burhanuddin, with the aliases of O P Singh and O P Sharma, claimed to “be in the Prime Minister’s Office”. All three met on February 11 and Agarwal agreed to pay Rs 1.5 crore to influence the case, especially for the CBI case to be shifted to the Economic Offences Wing of the state government.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

Merger of oil PSUs gathers pace

Pradhan: Big task ahead New Delhi, Feb. 19: The petroleum ministry has asked the chiefs of state-owned oil companies to come up with concrete plans in the next four weeks on the budget proposal to merge them. A meeting was held with the heads of the state-owned oil firms and the petroleum secretary to discuss the integration plan and the companies have been asked to come up with possible merger scenarios, sources said. They indicated that the state-owned firms have been asked to point out the advantages and disadvantages of various merger plans in the next four weeks. A GAIL executive said their business model was distinct from others and the company may remain a separate vertical even in the case of a merger. Incidentally, a similar merger proposal was considered more than a decade ago, but was set aside when a committee that studied the matter said such a merger may not be feasible.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

Foreign funds shun P-notes

New Delhi, Feb. 19 (PTI): A number of foreign investors, including HSBC and UBS, have stopped issuing the controversy-ridden P-notes as regulatory and enforcement agencies step up their clampdown on the misuse of this once-popular instrument among foreigners to invest in the Indian markets. Besides, another list has been shared of investors who have parked large amounts of money, each worth over $100 million, through these instruments. Sebi has stepped up its scrutiny of investors issuing P-notes, as also those parking their money in the Indian markets through this route, amid a stepped-up clampdown on their misuse for round-tripping illicit funds. These instruments used to be popular among foreign investors who did not want to enter the market directly and used to invest through this route provided by registered FPIs. JPMorgan saw the value of ODIs decline by 77 per cent, while the fall was 62 per cent for Societe Generale.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

Online PF withdrawal plan

“The process of connecting all field offices with a central server is going on. We may introduce the facility for online submission of all types of applications and claims like EPF withdrawal and pension settlement by May this year,” EPFO’s central provident fund commissioner V.P. For instance, it has plans to settle the EPF withdrawal claim within three hours of filing of online application. According to the scheme, the EPFO is required to settle all claims within 20 days from filing of the application for the settlement of pension or EPF withdrawal. This will help linking EPF account, pension account, bank account and Aadhaar number which would eventually facilitate providing a host of online facilities to subscribers like online withdrawal and fixation of pension.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

Race for $25bn fighter jet order

New Delhi, Feb. 19: Battlelines are set to be drawn among top global players and their Indian partners for a $20-$25-billion Indian Air Force order to make multi-role fighter jets in the country. Lockheed has a joint venture with Tata Advanced Systems Ltd to make spares for its transport aircraft. Sources said the venture could be upgraded for the fighter jet contract, which seeks local production with an Indian partner. Recently, French manufacturer Dassault signed a deal with Anil Ambani’s Reliance Aerostructure to make the parts of Rafale fighter jets in the country. Officials, however, feel this may not be a hurdle as the Indian order is over and above what Lockheed is manufacturing at its US factories.

February 19, 2017 20:37 UTC

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