Maldives Opposition Says Chinese Bridge Pushing Country Deeper In Debt

Colombo, Sri Lanka: 

The Maldives opposition said Friday that President Abdulla Yameen had pushed the Indian Ocean nation deeper into a Chinese “debt trap” with a new $200 million bridge opened just ahead of the country’s election.

Yameen commissioned the bridge with a Chinese fireworks display late Thursday night amid his campaign for the controversial September 23 vote, ahead of which he has jailed or forced into exile all of his main opponents.

The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) said the 1.4 kilometre (0.9 mile) three-lane bridge linking the congested capital of Male to the airport island was a symbol of Yameen’s “corruption”.

“There was huge corruption involved in this deal,” MDP spokesman Hamid Abdul Ghafoor told AFP in Colombo where he lives in self-imposed exile. “We are getting pushed into the Chinese debt trap.”

The government has repeatedly denied claims of corruption.

The International Monetary Fund reported that the Maldives’ external debt was estimated at 42.8 percent of GDP in 2018, up from 38.29 percent in 2017.

Yameen pledged to build the bridge during his 2013 election campaign and made infrastructure development a key plank in his reelection bid.

He said at the inauguration that the new bridge marked “the dawn of a new era” for the Sunni Muslim nation of 340,000 people.

“We see our future unfolding into an age of progress and tranquility.”

The project was launched when China’s President Xi Jinping visited the Maldives in 2014 and Male pledged support for China’s ambitious $1 trillion Belt and Road infrastructure project across Asia and Europe.

Housing minister Mohamed Muizz said in May a Chinese grant, as well as a loan from China’s EXIM bank, would make up most of the project’s funding.

The Maldives, some 1,192 coral islands stretching across 800 kilometres (500 miles), straddles the highly strategic east-west maritime route.

The upmarket tourist paradise has been on edge since Yameen imposed a 45-day state of emergency in February.

The country’s first democratically elected leader, Mohamed Nasheed, lost elections in 2013 in controversial circumstances.

The Supreme Court annulled the results of the first round of voting when Nasheed was in the lead.

The subsequent vote was then twice delayed, allowing Yameen time to forge alliances that helped him narrowly win the contested run-off. Nasheed has been barred from running in the September vote.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Sony SRS-XB501G, SRS-XB01 Extra Bass Wireless Speakers Launched

Sony SRS-XB501G, SRS-XB01 Extra Bass Wireless Speakers Launched

The Sony SRS-XB501G Extra Bass wireless speaker weighs in at a cool 3.1kg

Japanese electronics giant Sony on Thursday announced the launch of two new wireless speakers in its Extra Bass audio lineup at IFA 2018 in Berlin. These include the SRS-XB501G Extra Bass Wireless Speaker and the SRS-XB01 Portable Bluetooth Speaker. The bigger of the two, the SRS-XB501G, weighs in at a cool 6.83 pounds or about 3.1kg and comes with features including IP65 rating, a claimed battery life of up to 16 hours, and USB Type-C connectivity. The SRS-XB01, on the other hand, comes with IPx5 water resistance rating and claimed battery life of up to six hours.

Sony SRS-XB501G Extra Bass Wireless Speaker

With a suggested retail price of $299.99 (roughly Rs. 21,300), the SRS-XB501G will be available across authorised Sony dealers starting October. It features satellite speaker units as well as subwoofer units to offer an audio experience with minimal vibrations and sound interferences. The digital signal processor in the speaker allows it to create a powerful bass effect.

The speaker comes equipped with a Live Sound mode that makes use of the angled speakers and digital signal processing technology to create a service area promising a concert-like experience. The XB501G has a handle on top, and can be mounted on a tripod. It also comes with strobe, speaker, and line lighting effects. Other features include Bluetooth v4.2, Wi-Fi (2.4GHz), and Google Assistant built-in.

Sony SRS-XB01 Extra Bass portable Bluetooth speaker

The Sony SRS-XB01 comes in four colour options – Black, Blue, Red, and White – and has a suggested retail price of $34.99 (around Rs. 2,500). It will be available across authorised Sony dealers starting October. The speaker has a compact, rounded design, a full range speaker unit, and a rear-mounted passive radiator. There is a built-in microphone and Bluetooth connectivity on offer.

“The XB501G is made to go where other speakers with the Google Assistant built-in cannot go,” said Yang Cheng, head of video and sound at Sony Electronics. “Bring the XB501G to your garage, the pool or backyard barbecue and have a great party experience, almost anywhere. The XB501G demonstrates Sony’s commitment to customer choice and innovation by delivering powerful, premium sound in a portable, water resistant and dustproof voice-activated speaker.”

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RSS Commented on Congress – संघ का कांग्रेस पर पलटवार, कहा

संघ का कांग्रेस पर पलटवार, कहा- हमारे लिए कोई भी विरोधी नहीं है

राहुल गांधी को भी घेरा

नई दिल्ली: कांग्रेस की लगातार आलोचनाओं के बीच राष्ट्रीय स्वंय सेवक संघ (आरएसएस) ने शुक्रवार को कहा कि वह किसी को भी अपना विरोधी नहीं मानता और वह राष्ट्रीय हित के लिए काम करता है. आरएसएस के एक वरिष्ठ पदाधिकारी ने यह बात संघ की तीन दिवसीय अखिल भारतीय समन्वय बैठक पर संवाददाताओं से बातचीत के दौरान कही. यहां राघवेन्द्र मठ में शुरू हुई बैठक में संघ प्रमुख मोहन भागवत और भाजपा के अध्यक्ष अमित शाह मौजूद थे. संघ ने एक बयान जारी करके कहा कि आरएसएस के अखिल भारतीय कार्यकारी सदस्य तथा इससे संबद्ध संगठनों के राष्ट्रीय पदाधिकारी बैठक में शामिल हो रहे हैं जहां समसामयिक मुद्दों पर चर्चा होगी. बैठक में भाग ले रहे कम से कम 200 कार्यकर्ता इसमें अपने अनुभव, दृष्टिकोण और उपलब्धियां साझा करेंगे.


आरएसएस के अखिल भारतीय प्रचार प्रमुख अरूण कुमार ने संवाददाताओं से कहा कि संघ किसी के भी साथ अपने विरोधी के तौर पर बर्ताव नहीं करता. यह पूरे समाज को राष्ट्र हित के लिए संगठित करने के लिए कार्य करता है।. उनसे कांग्रेस तथा उसके अध्यक्ष राहुल गांधी की ओर से लगातार संघ की आलोचनाओं के बारे में पूछा गया था. आरएसएस ने संकेत दिए हैं कि वह भागवत के तीन दिवसीय व्याख्यान माला में विभिन्न राजनीतिक दलों के नेताओं को बुला सकते हैं जिनमें राहुल गांधी और सीताराम येचुरी भी शामिल हैं.

बैठक के एजेंड़े के बारे में पूछे जाने पर उन्होंने कहा कि यह बेहतर समन्वय पर केन्द्रित है और साल में दो बार सितंबर और जनवरी में आयोजित होती है. उन्होंने बताया कि इसमें कोई खास निर्णय नहीं लिया जाता. बैठक को राघवेन्द्र मठ के प्रमुख स्वामी सुबुदेन्द्र तीर्थ ने भी संबोधित किया. उन्होंने कहा कि हम सब के प्रयासों से हिंदू समाज में जागरुकता आएगी और हिंदू धर्म अपना सम्मानित स्थान पा सकेगा. (इनपुट भाषा से) 

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Pak Says India Has Allowed It To Visit 2 Hydropower Projects On Chenab

This was the first meeting since Imran Khan took office as Pakistan’s prime minister


India has invited Pakistani experts to visit the sites of its two hydropower projects on the Chenab river next month to address its concerns, but hinted at continuation of the work on them despite Islamabad’s objections, a senior Pakistani official has said.

After the conclusion of the two-day high-level bilateral talks on the Indus Waters Treaty, the first official engagement between India and Pakistan since Imran Khan became Prime Minister on August 18, a Pakistani official, on the condition of anonymity, said India rejected Pakistan’s objections on the construction of the 1,000MW Pakal Dul dam and 48MW Lower Kalnai hydropower projects on the Chenab river.

“India has hinted at continuation of the work on both the hydropower projects,” he said.

“The major breakthrough of the two-day talks held in Lahore is that India has agreed to get the projects’ sites visited by our experts. Therefore, our team comprising experts will visit the sites in India by the end of next month,” Pakistan’s Water Resource Secretary Shamail Ahmad Khawaja told Dawn newspaper.

“During the visit, our experts will minutely examine the sites, construction in the light of the provisions of Indus Water Treaty (IWT) and the objections raised by Pakistan,” he added.

Earlier, both delegations reiterated their stance over construction of the projects. The Indian Water Commission led by Commissioner P K Saxena reviewed Pakistan’s objections minutely. It also presented its point of view.

It was mutually decided that both countries would separately prepare technical memorandums based on their point of view and possible solutions, the report said.

“We think that we have succeeded in convincing India to address our issues since we don’t want to see any disruption in the flows of our rivers by anyone under the IWT,” he said.

Pakistan has made it clear that it will have no option but to appointment neutral experts and take the case to the International Court of Arbitration in case India fails to address its concerns which are genuine, an official said earlier.

According to an official privy to the meeting, Pakistan’s demands included reduction of the height of Pakal Dul’s reservoir up to five metres, maintenance of 40-metre height above sea level while making spillways’ gates of the Pakal Dul project, besides clarifying the pattern and mechanism for the water storage and releases and some technical concerns over design of the Lower Kalnai hydropower project.

India and Pakistan signed the Indus Waters Treaty in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory.

The water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.

The last meeting of the Pakistan-India Permanent Indus Commission was held in New Delhi in March during which both the sides had shared details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the 1960 treaty.

The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries regarding their use of the rivers. However, there have been disagreements and differences between India and Pakistan over the treaty.

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India women’s hockey team loses to Japan in final take home silver medal

जकार्ता: भारतीय महिला हॉकी टीम को 18वें एशियाई खेलों के फाइनल में शुक्रवार को जापान के हाथों 1-2 से हारकर सिल्वर मेडल से संतोष करना पड़ा. जापान के लिए शिहोरी ओइकावा ने 11वें और मोतोमी कावामुरा ने 44वें मिनट में गोल किए. वहीं भारतीय टीम के लिए नेहाल गोयल ने 25वें मिनट में एकमात्र गोल किया.

इस हार के साथ ही भारतीय महिला टीम एशियाई खेलों में 36 साल बाद दूसरा गोल्ड मेडल जीतने से चूक गई. भारत ने 1982 में नई दिल्ली में हुए नौवें एशियाई खेलों में पहली बार गोल्ड मेडल जीता था.

गोल्ड से चूकने के कारण भारतीय महिला टीम को टोक्यो ओलंपिक-2020 का टिकट भी गंवाना पड़ा. टोक्यो ओलंपिक खेलने के लिए भारतीय टीम को अब क्वालिफाइंग मैच खेलने होंगे.

भारत को मुकाबले के 10वें मिनट में पेनाल्टी कॉर्नर मिला जिसपर उसके खिलाड़ी गोल करने से चूक गए. वहीं जापान ने 11वें मिनट में मिले पेनाल्टी कॉर्नर को गोल में बदलकर मैच में 1-0 की बढ़त हासिल कर ली.

पहले क्वार्टर में 0-1 से पिछड़ने के बाद भारतीय महिलाओं ने दूसरे क्वार्टर में अच्छी वापसी की और गेंद को अपने नियंत्रण में रखा. भारतीय टीम को इसका फायदा उस समय मिला जब नेहा ने 25वें मिनट में नवनीत के रिवर्स शॉट पर गेंद को नेट के अंदर डिफ्लेक्शन कर भारत को 1-1 की अहम बराबरी दिला दी.

Asian Games 2018: भारत ने सबसे अधिक मेडल जीतने का रिकॉर्ड तोड़ा, अब तक 65 जीते

हाफ टाइम के बाद मैच 1-1 से बराबरी रहने के बाद भारतीय टीम तीसरे क्वार्टर में एक अलग रणनीति के साथ उतरी. मैच के 35वें मिनट में नवजोत और वंदना ने अच्छा मूव बनाने की कोशिश की, लेकिन वंदना नवजोत के पास को ट्रैप नहीं कर पाई और जापान के गोलकीपर ने अच्छा बचाव कर लिया.

जापान को 44 मिनट में पेनाल्टी कॉर्नर मिला जिस पर मोतोमी कावामुरा ने गोल कर अपनी टीम को 2-1 की महत्वपूर्ण बढ़त दिला दी. मैच में 1-2 से पिछड़ने के बाद भारतीय टीम के लिए चौथा क्वार्टर करो या मरो वाला हो गया क्योंकि मैच में बने रहने के लिए टीम को हर हाल में बराबरी हासिल करनी थी.

हालांकि भारतीय टीम के पास चौथे क्वार्टर के आखिरी मिनट में गोल करने का शानदार मौका था. लेकिन वंदना यह मौका चूक गई और भारतीय टीम बराबरी हासिल नहीं कर पाई तथा और उसे 1-2 से हार के कारण गोल्ड के साथ-साथ टोक्यो ओलंपिक-2020 का टिकट भी गंवाना पड़ा.

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P Chidambaram Sceptical Over GDP Growth Prospects In Coming Year

P Chidambaram said the country’s growth rate might decline in the third and fourth quarters

New Delhi: 

Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram today expressed scepticism over India’s GDP growth prospects, saying it would “not be so favourable” in third and fourth quarters, despite the GDP growing at 8.2 per cent in the current fiscal’s first quarter.

He said the country’s growth rate might decline in the third and fourth quarters and be the same as that reported in the last fiscal.

“Going forward, the base effect will not be so favourable. And when we reach Q3 and Q4, the rate of growth may decline and the annual growth rate may be more or less like last year’s,” he said on Twitter.

P Chidambaram, however, expressed happiness at the quickened rate of growth recorded in the first quarter of current fiscal.

“Happy that the rate of growth has quickened, but look at the table once again. Q1 growth rate is based on the lowest base (5.6) in the last 8 quarters,” he tweeted.

He also gave a tabulated data showing that the GDP was 8.1 per cent in the first quarter of 2016-17, which declined to 7.6 per cent in the second quarter, declining further to 6.8 per cent and 6.1 per cent in the third and fourth quarter of 2016-17.

However in 2017-18, the data showed that the GDP growth was 5.6 per cent and 6.3 per cent in the first two quarters, that rose to 7 and 7.7 per cent in the third and fourth quarter of 2017-18.

The Indian economy grew at 15-quarter high of 8.2 per cent in the April-June quarter of current fiscal on good show by manufacturing and farm sectors, according to the government data released today.

The growth cemented India’s position as the fastest growing major economy, clocking higher expansion rate than China’s 6.7 per cent in the same quarter.

The gross domestic product (GDP) at constant (2011-12) prices in the first quarter of 2018-19 is estimated at Rs 33.74 lakh crore, as against Rs 31.18 lakh crore in Q1 of 2017-18, showing a growth rate of 8.2 per cent, a Central Statistics Office statement said.

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FIR Against Air India Pilot For Skipping Alcohol Test Before Flight

Lalit Gupta is named as an accused in the FIR for allegedly covering up the actions of Mr Kathpalia

New Delhi: 

The Delhi Police has filed an FIR against Air India’s head of operations Captain Arvind Kathpalia and aviation regulator DGCA’s Joint Director General Lalit Gupta for alleged violation of aircraft rules, an official said today.

A court in the national capital had directed the Delhi police to lodge an FIR against them for alleged violation of aircraft rules, tampering with  evidence and intimidating a doctor working with Air India in January, 2017.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Airport) Sanjay Bhatia confirmed that it has registered an FIR against Arvind Kathpalia and Lalit Gupta.

In a recent order, Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Gurmohina Kaur Gupta ruled that Lalit Gupta be named as an accused in the FIR for allegedly covering up the actions of Mr Kathpalia.

The court took on record an action taken report (ATR) filed by the Delhi Police and said ‘prima facie’ cognisable offences were made out which required detailed examination and collection of evidence.

“… prima facie cognisable offences are made out which required detailed examination and collection of evidence. Hence, SHO, PS, IGI Airport is directed to register an FIR and investigate the present case,” the court said.

According to the complaint filed by Indian Pilots Association, on January 19, 2017, Mr Kathpalia was scheduled to operate a flight from New Delhi to Bengaluru and he proceeded to operate the flight without undergoing the mandatory Pre-Flight Breath and Analyser Test.

Further, even at Bengaluru he refused to undergo a similar test.

Later, on his arrival in New Delhi, he allegedly went to Pre-Flight Medical Examination Room and made a false entry in the Pre-Flight Breath Analyzer Examination Register for the flight he had operated.

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Tamil Nadu Government Hospital Worker Seen Suturing On A Woman’s Face

A worker, without gloves, puts stitches on woman at a government hospital in Tamil Nadu

Dindigul, Tamil Nadu: 

A hospital worker is seen stitching up wounds on a woman’s face in a disturbing video that has emerged from a hospital in Tamil Nadu. The state health department has ordered a probe after the video, apparently of an accident victim being sutured by an untrained worker, was circulated on social media. 

The 40-second video showed the man, without gloves, sewing up a wound on the woman’s nose as she screams in pain. Confirming the authenticity of the video, Dr Malathi, the Joint Director of the Health Department in Dindigul told NDTV, “I am investigating the case and only after that I will get a clear picture. The man seen suturing is a multipurpose health worker of the hospital.” 

The news portal that uploaded the video, claimed to have sourced it from the whistleblower’s Facebook page. In the post, the whistleblower said he had rescued the woman who was part of a  group, which met with an accident on their way back from Kodaikanal on Thursday and had brought them to the government hospital in Dindigul, around 430 km from Chennai.

In May, a sweeper of a hospital in Gujarat was seen giving stitches to a patient while doctors and nurses were present in the room. The video, which surfaced online, was filmed by the patient’s relative. Earlier as well the sweeper, Brijesh Solanki was caught giving stitches to a patient. He was let off after a warning.

Taking note of the video, the resident medical officer of the hospital had said that it’s a doctor’s job to give stitches and sent a warning to the doctor, who may have instructed him to do so.

A similar case was also seen in Uttar Pradesh. The owner of a private hospital, who had reportedly studied till Class 8, was filmed operating on a patient in Shamli. The family members of the patient had filed a case against the hospital for negligence and culpable homicide.

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Mars Dust Storm Clears Raising Hope For Stalled NASA Rover

If no successful contact can be made, NASA says it will give up active efforts in mid-October. (File)

Tampa, United States: 

One of the biggest Martian dust storms on record is clearing up after nearly three months, raising hope that NASA’s stranded, solar-powered robotic vehicle, Opportunity, will soon come back to life.

The US space agency’s 15-year-old rover was least heard from on June 10, when it went into “sleep” mode as dust blocked out the Sun and darkness enveloped the Red Planet.

A NASA statement issued late Thursday called the situation “critical,” but added that “the rover team is cautiously optimistic, knowing that Opportunity has overcome significant challenges during its 14-plus years on Mars.”

If no successful contact can be made, NASA says it will give up active efforts in mid-October.

“If we do not hear back after 45 days, the team will be forced to conclude that the Sun-blocking dust and the Martian cold have conspired to cause some type of fault from which the rover will more than likely not recover,” said John Callas, Opportunity project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

“At that point, our active phase of reaching out to Opportunity will be at an end.”

However, “passive listening efforts will continue for several months,” Callas said, because of the “unlikely chance that there is a large amount of dust sitting on the solar arrays that is blocking the Sun’s energy.”

Opportunity and its twin rover, Spirit, are a pair of unmanned robotic vehicles designed by NASA to tool around on the Martian surface and transmit data about conditions there back to Earth.

They landed on Mars in 2003 and were only meant to last 90 days and travel 1,000 yards (meters).

Spirit lasted 20 times longer than that. It became stuck in soft soil in 2009, and its mission was formally declared over in 2011.

Opportunity is going on 60 times its planned mission life, has traveled 28 miles (45 kilometers) and found evidence of water on Mars and conditions that may have been suitable for sustaining microbial life.

And even though it is hobbled, having lost the use of its front steering and 256-megabyte flash memory, not everyone is ready to give up so fast.

The hashtags #SaveOppy and #WakeUpOppy have gained popularity on Twitter, with appeals to keep trying to contact the rover led by a former flight director and Earth-based rover driver for Opportunity, Mike Siebert.

For Siebert, 45 days is too short, considering that NASA spent up to 15 months listening for contact from Spirit before giving up.

“100% Grade A B.S. the amount of time given to recover Opportunity is woefully insufficient,” he tweeted late Thursday.

“Whomever made this decision is a coward.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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