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Another farmer commits suicide in West Bengal

first_imgDespite West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s announcement that her government would buy the potato required for social security schemes from the farmers hit by falling prices, yet another potato farmer allegedly committed suicide in Bardhaman district after sustaining heavy losses.The Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) alleged that with the latest case, at least four potato farmers had committed suicide in the State in the last one-and-a-half months. Speaking to The Hindu, State’s Agriculture Minister Purnendu Basu, however, said he was not unaware of any potato farmer committing suicide due to losses. “Being a potato farmer is not the only reason behind someone committing suicide,” he said.On Friday, potato farmer Chandan Paul (40) died after he consumed pesticide in the Memari area of Bardhaman district, following heavy losses. According to the district CPI(M) leaders, Paul was under severe pressure as he had incurred a debt of nearly ₹50,000 for cultivating potato on 2.80 acres of land.Last week, another potato farmer, Swapan Hajra (45), allegedly committed suicide in the Anandapur area of Paschim Medinipur district’s Keshpur block . Two other farmers committed suicide in Paschim Medinipur district.Potato farmers are facing severe financial crisis this year as its prices have fallen due to high production.last_img read more

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Cabinet reshuffle: Prime minister tweaks portfolios but sacks no minister

first_imgPrime Minister Manmohan Singh’s first Cabinet reshuffle was expected to address governance and image deficit in the wake of a string of scams and political crises. But the consensus in the political circles as President Pratibha Patil was swearing in new ministers was that the PM’s endeavour was mostly an exercise in futility.PM Manmohan Singh announces a new teamIncompetent ministers were shifted, not sacked; he failed to infuse young blood into the council of ministers; and there was no attempt to bridge the governance and image deficit.The much-anticipated rejig failed to send out a strong message against corruption to the people or to the political class.Ministers who presided over the Commonwealth Games (CWG) scams and management mess – urban development minister Jaipal Reddy and sports minister M. S. Gill – were not dropped but let off with only a change in their portfolios.Reddy’s transfer was, in fact, seen as a promotion because he was given charge of a more important portfolio – petroleum in place of urban development that went to Kamal Nath. All the more shocking was the transfer of Vilasrao Deshmukh, who figures in the Adarsh Society flat allotment scandal, to the crucial rural development and Panchayati Raj ministry.Deshmukh’s appointment to this ministry is questionable considering that in December 2010, the Supreme Court had imposed a fine of `10 lakh on the Maharashtra government on a complaint that Deshmukh, as chief minister, had influenced the police against registering an FIR against his brother, who was facing charges of money-lending irregularities by farmers in Maharashtra’s Buldhana district.advertisementMoreover, this ministry is closely monitored by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son and general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Both feel it has potential to empower the “aam aadmi”. Some in the Congress feel the suave Mumbaikar is a bad choice for rural development as his heart is in Mumbai.Meanwhile, there was no attempt to address issues of non-governance, or “governance-deficit” as the PM himself has admitted several times as known non-performers – C.P. Joshi, Kamal Nath, Virbhadra Singh – were simply transferred to different departments. Contrary to expectations, there was no infusion of young blood barring a 48-yearold K.C. Venugopal from Kerala as minister of state.The Opposition was quick to point out that the cabinet reshuffle has not addressed any issue concerning the people. “The PM has failed to punish the corrupt,” said BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain. “He has just effected a change in rooms for his non-performing and corrupt ministers.”The PM, however, tried to rekindle hopes of a major shake-up by promising a “more expansive” exercise after the budget session of Parliament which concludes in May.This is a minor reshuffle and after budget session of Parliament, we will do a more expansive exercise,” Singh told mediapersons. Ageing and ineffective ministers such as Virbhadra Singh and B.K. Handique were retained, while Beni Prasad Verma, who can barely walk, has been inducted as minister for steel. Similarly, Sushil Kumar Shinde was allowed to continue in the power ministry though the PM was apparently considering shifting him out.Compulsions of coalition politics were evident in the hands-off approach to two important departments – agriculture and railways. The PM left the allies untouched and despite persisting food inflation which is eating into Congress’s political space, the shuffle does not show any desire to arrest the price spiral. Sharad Pawar continues to occupy agriculture, the only token change being the food and public distribution being taken away from him.Gill, sports and youth affairs minister, and best known for his weak handling of the CWG mess and arm-twisting sports bodies, also escaped the axe as he was shifted to an obscure statistics and programme implementation ministry.None of the non-performing ministers holding an infrastructure portfolio was dropped. Instead they were merely shifted to other portfolios, as if these ministries are of no consequence. Another infrastructure minister Kamal Nath, who figured in the Nira Radia tapes and was considered wanting in performance, has been shifted to urban development from road transport and highways.Minister of state V. Narayanaswamy, who is articulate neither in Hindi nor in English, analysts said, was considered by many insiders to be a bad choice for the MoS slot in the PMO.The reshuffle did not convey any message to trouble-torn Andhra Pradesh, especially when the Telangana region is on the boil and state Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy is threatening to split the party. Many party leaders from the state in private have expressed dismay over non-induction of any new face from the state.advertisementDespite sending 33 MPs, the state has only one cabinet minister in Jaipal Reddy. As against Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, which has only seven Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha, has three cabinet ministers.The re-jig does not show any strategy to bring Parliament back to normalcy. Many in the party hoped incumbent soft-spoken parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, may be replaced with someone more aggressive like Ghulam Nabi Azad to craft a strategy to take the Opposition parties on board. However, the PM opted for status quo even when the Opposition continues to remain adamant on a JPC to probe in the 2G scam threatening to cripple the Budget session.Ashwani Kumar’s appointment as parliamentary affairs minister is also circumspect. “We doubt if he can forge a compromise with the Opposition to break the deadlock over the JPC to look into the 2G scam,” a Congress leader said.last_img
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World Twenty20: In-form Aussie openers up against SA pace attack

first_imgAt the top of the order, there is perhaps no scarier pair in world cricket today than Australia’s two Ws – Shane Watson and David Warner.With a victory already under their belt, the opening batsmen will look to sew up their semi-finals spot against South Africa here on Sunday. But standing between them and their destination will be the best new-ball combination in the world.Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel couldn’t prevent Pakistan from getting over the line on Friday, but if there are two bowlers who could get into Australia’s untested middle-order in a jiffy, it’s these two. And Aussie skipper George Bailey is wary of the Proteas batting too, despite their disappointing performance against Pakistan.”South Africa are an outstanding team. It will be an interesting game in the way the two teams set up and how they play. When we used the short ball against India, we were pretty smart about how we used it. If (our pacers) are bowling a bouncer that is on the money, it is still going to be pretty hard to get away,” Bailey said.Spin has dominated matches in Colombo so far, but Bailey believes in fielding his best bowlers, regardless of the type. “If your best bowlers are quick bowlers, you still bowl your best bowlers. They have to find ways to adapt. Even as the wicket turns a bit more, I think the quicks will be able to have an impact. Whether later on the track, we need to start using Xavier Doherty as well – I guess that is something we will look at,” he said.Regarding Watson winning man of the match awards in all three of their games so far, Bailey said: “I think he’s really set himself to be the man of the tournament, to be the person who leads Australia as far as he can in this tournament.” Proteas skipper AB de Villiers admitted he had missed a few tricks against Pakistan, but his team would be desperate to shed the ‘chokers’ tag and make the final four.”It was great game of cricket. I’m proud of the way we fought back. We lost it in the last five overs,” he said.advertisementlast_img read more

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Kevin Durant goes down again, limps off court in Game 5

first_imgMOST READ Durant left Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors early in the second quarter, limping off after presumably aggravating the same injury to his lower right leg that had kept him out of the Warriors’ last nine playoff games.He got hurt on a dribble on the right wing, coming up lame on a crossover move and falling to the floor. He grabbed the back of his leg, appeared to grab below the calf and more toward the Achilles area, and needed help to limp to the bench area and more help to get back to the Warriors’ locker room. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala was on Durant’s left side as they made the long walk back to the room, and general manager Bob Myers and guard Stephen Curry were in the group immediately behind them.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsThere was no immediate word on the severity of Durant’s injury. He shouted an expletive as he left the floor, his frustration obvious.Durant had been cleared by the Warriors’ medical staff after Game 4, and participated in both a practice session Sunday and a shootaround practice earlier Monday. The Warriors had said throughout his monthlong absence that they did not want him back on the floor until he was right, for fear of this exact scenario — Durant aggravating the injury and having no chance of returning this season. Duterte wants probe of SEA Games mess DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Kevin Durant returns, and Warriors off to quick start in Game 5 Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue TORONTO — Kevin Durant’s comeback game for the Golden State Warriors did not last long.ADVERTISEMENT Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transportcenter_img Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting TORONTO, ONTARIO – JUNE 10: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after sustaining an injury during the second quarter against the Toronto Raptors during Game Five of the 2019 NBA Finals at Scotiabank Arena on June 10, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. Gregory Shamus/Getty Images/AFPWarriors coach Steve Kerr said before the game that Durant had “responded well” to the practices.“He’s going to play,” Kerr said.And he was playing well, too.Durant had 11 points in 12 minutes, making all three of his 3-point attempts. He started and played the first six minutes, then had the lower leg wrapped with a heating pad to keep it loose before he returned about three minutes later.A number of NBA players reacted on Twitter quickly — both to the injury, and to the sound of some Toronto fans cheering when Durant got hurt.ADVERTISEMENT “Why are they cheering for his injury? Come on man,” Philadelphia center Joel Embiid wrote.Added Washington’s Bobby Portis: “Raptors fans can’t cheer for a player getting hurt. That’s lame.”Many others just sent best wishes, including Miami’s Kelly Olynyk, Cleveland’s Kevin Love and Atlanta’s Trae Young.The Warriors entered the night trailing the Raptors 3-1 in the title series — meaning their hopes of a third consecutive NBA championship were squarely on the brink now. Durant had not played since straining a calf muscle in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals against Houston, and the team hoped his presence would be a boost.“The skill, obviously, is undeniable and he’s a guy who can get a shot off anytime he wants,” Kerr said earlier Monday. “He’s been in similar situations with us where he’s had long layoffs. He’s Kevin Durant. If we have him out there, he’ll be a threat.”For the 12 minutes he was out there, Durant — the NBA Finals MVP when the Warriors captured titles in 2017 and 2018 — indeed was a threat.And then he limped off, leaving the Warriors to play without him once again.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. View commentslast_img read more

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