SATURDAY www.thestatesman.com 05 MAY 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16+4 |`3|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR P9 SENSEX 34,915.38 -187.76 WEATHER Generally cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 37 and 23 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: 4.6 MM RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.71% Min. 41% Max: 37.1°C (-1) SUN RISES 05:37 hrs MOON RISES 23.39 hrs Min: 22.6°C (-2) SUN SETS 18:59 hrs MOON SETS 10:26 hrs TEMPERATURE P12 NIFTY 10,618.25 -61.40 Palestinian protesters use slings to hurl stones towards Israeli forces during clashes along the border with the Gaza strip east of Khan Yunis on Friday, on the sixth straight Friday of mass demonstrations calling for the right to return AFP to their historic homelands. Trump-Kim talks: US President Donald Trump K said on Friday that the date and venue for his landmark summit with North Korea's supreme leadr Kim Jong Un have been decided and told reporters to “stay tuned”. Trump had agreed to meet Kim Jong Un by May, the White House had announced in March, setting the stage for an unprecedented summit between the two leaders following months of tension over Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programme. Storm warning: A fresh warning about thunderstorm and squall hitting West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh has been issued, the home ministry said, noting that 124 people were killed while more than 300 injured in five states due to thunderstorm and lightning in the last two days. Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanth, meanwhile, returned to the state from Karnataka, cutting short his election tour amid opposition flak for staying away from his own state even after a storm claimed 75 lives there. P5 Jinnah row: A Samajwadi Party MP likened Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru as tension simmered at Aligarh Muslim University, the centre of a row over a portrait of the Pakistan founder. The administration suspended internet services in communally sensitive Aligarh district from 2 pm on Friday to midnight Saturday to prevent rumour mongering. AMU students continued their sit-in at the university's Baab-e-Syed gate, where they had clashed with the police on Wednesday. They are boycotting classes P5 for the next two days. ` vs $ 66.87 -23.00 PAISE GOLD 29,900.00 +95.00 STOCKHOLM, 4 MAY For the first time in almost 70 years there will be no Nobel Literature Prize this year, as the Swedish Academy that selects the laureate finds itself in turmoil over links to a man accused of sex crimes amid the #MeToo campaign. “We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the Academy before the next laureate can be announced,” the Academy's interim permanent secretary Anders Olsson said in a statement Friday, adding two prizes would be announced in 2019. The body has been plunged in crisis since November, in the wake of the global #MeToo campaign, when Swedish newspaper of reference Dagens Nyheter published the testimonies of 18 women claiming to have been raped, sexually assaulted or harassed by JeanClaude Arnault, an influential P15 SILVER 39,400.00 00.00 BRENT CRUDE (IN $) 73.83 +0.21 UNEASY EARTH Council defers decision on levying cess on sugar SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 4 MAY he GST Council Friday veered round to giving up to Rs 100 incentive for digital payments for purchases by consumers, cleared a new model for single monthly return and decided to convert the GST Network (GSTN) ~ the IT backbone of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime ~ into a government-owned entity. The Council, the GST regime's highest decisionmaking body, however deferred a decision on levying a cess on sugar following stiff opposition from some states. Declaring the decisions taken at the 27th meeting of the Council, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said all taxpayers, excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers,shallfileonemonthlyGST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month. Return filing dates shall be staggered based on the turnover of the registered person to manage load on the IT system. Composition dealers and dealers having nil transaction shall be able to file quarterly return. Union Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia said the monthly return filing system will come into force in six months and the current system of filing of return through GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 forms would continue for not more MADE SIMPLER All taxpayers, excluding a few exceptions like composition dealers, shall file one monthly GST return in place of multiple filings currently required in a month. The monthly return filing system will come into force in six months and the present system of filing of return through GSTR 3B and GSTR 1 forms would continue in the meantime The Council also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers after some states wanted a negative list. than six months. The Council, during today's meeting, also referred the issue of incentivising digital payments to a group of state finance ministers after some states sought a negative list. Most member states on the panel were agreeable to the proposal of giving a concession of 2 per cent in GST rate (where the tax rate is 3 per cent or more) on business-to-consumer (B2C) supplies, for which payment is made through cheque or digital mode, subject to a ceiling of Rs 100 per transaction, so as to incentivise promotion of digital payments. But the issue will be referred to a fivemember group of state finance ministers as some states wanted a small negative list, Jaitley said. A separate group of ministers would go into the issue of levy of cess on sugar and reduction of GST on ethanol. The proposal to impose sugar cess comes with the aim of relieving the debts of cane farmers who have not been getting their share from the factories. The factories have gone into losses with the decline in sugar prices. Hence the move, which faced opposition from some states, is meant to raise funds worth Rs 1540 crores to pay cane farmers on behalf of mills. On turning GSTN into a 100 per cent governmentowned company, Jaitley said it was agreed that the 51 per cent equity held by private entities should be taken over by the government and “eventually the central government will hold 50 per cent and state governments (together) will hold 50 per cent”. He said the collective share of state governments will be pro rata, divided among states in accordance with their GST ratios. An ash plume rises above the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island. Up to 10,000 people have been asked to leave their (P12) homes on Hawaii's Big Island following the eruption of the Kilauea volcano. AFP SC rejects Janardhana Reddy’s plea to campaign in Ballari STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 MAY The Supreme Court on Friday rejected a plea filed by "tainted" mining baron and BJP leader Gali Janardhana Reddy for allowing him to enter Ballari district to campaign for his younger brother G Somashekar Reddy, who is contesting as a BJP candidate for the 12 May assembly elections in Karnataka. The apex court refused to relax Janardhana's bail condition to enable him to enter Ballari for his brother's poll campaign. A Bench of Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan declined to entertain Janardhana's plea in this regard and dismissed it. Reddy's counsel said the former should be allowed to enter Ballari district to campaign for his brother and that his bail condition should be relaxed.The Bench however reportedly said, "Sorry, we would not like to entertain it. The petition is dismissed". After spending more than three years in jail, Janardhana Reddy ~ a former Karanataka minister from Ballari, who has been a key accused in multi-crore illegal mining cases ~ was reportedly granted conditional bail by the apex court in January 2015. As part of the bail conditions, the top court had directed Janardhana not to visit mining belts like Bal- SC reserves order on Nirbhaya rapists’ appeal STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE NEW DELHI, 4 MAY The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its verdict on the review petition filed byVinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta, two of the four condemned convicts, facing death penalty in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. After hearing arguments on behalf of Vinay Sharma and Pawan Gupta, a bench of CJI Dipak Misra and Justices R Banumathi and Ashok Bhushan reserved its order. Referring to the Puranas and Vedas, Sharma’s counsel pleaded that “death penalty is a cold way of killing a human being. Extrusion kills the criminal, not the crime. Death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights”. The counsel quoted Justice P N Bhagwati who said “it is the poor who face such denial of human rights; never an elite witnesses such a denial”. “The conduct of the petitioner exhibits reforms. In a death penalty case, not only the nature of the crime but the background of the criminal should be seen.The UNO has banned death penalty," he argued. He said when the case depends upon a testimony of a single witness, it is not safe to rely on the same. He cited reports of the Delhi cyber cell that Vinay Sharma was not at the site of the crime, instead he was at a music concert. “The accused Vinay Sharma is not of criminal mind as he continued his studies while in jail, used to donate blood whenever needed.” The counsel appearing for Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) objected to the arguments of Sharma’s counsel and said: “Not even a single point raised by the petitioner has not been dealt with by the court. The juvenility issue has been dealt with by the trial court already.” Reserving its order, the bench directed the counsel for GNCTD to file its written statement and a note on rarest of the rare case. The bench asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Delhi Police, and lawyer A P Singh, counsel for Vinay and Pawan, to file their written submissions. It had earlier reserved its verdict on the review petition filed by Mukesh. Akshay has not filed a review peti- tion yet. The paramedical student was gangraped on the intervening night of December 16-17, 2012 inside a moving bus in South Delhi by a gang of six persons and severely assaulted before being thrown out on the road naked. She succumbed to her injuries on December 29, 2012 at Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore. Another accused in the case, Ram Singh, had allegedly committed suicide in Tihar Jail, while a convicted juvenile has come out of the reformation home after serving a three-year term. 2018 Nobel Lit Prize put off after #MeToo turmoil AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE GUNNERS’ GAFFER LEFT HOLDING THE WOODEN SPOON P13 GST panel clears simpler return filing process T THUMBNAILS ‘CHINA CAST-IRON PROOF OF SUCCESS OF MARXISM’ MAY AVOIDS LOCAL POLLS BRUISING ‘GREATER EASE FOR BUSINESS NEEDED’ figure on the Swedish culture scene. Arnault, the French husband of Academy member and poet Katarina Frostenson, has denied the allegations. The revelations have sowed deep discord among the Academy's 18 members about how to handle the matter, and in recent weeks, six of them have chosen to resign, including permanent secretary Sara Danius. “The active members of the Swedish Academy are of course fully aware that the present crisis of confidence places high demands on a long-term and robust work for change,” Olsson said. Seen as bearers of high culture, the Academy, founded in 1786, is traditionally known for its integrity and discretion, with its meetings and decisions shrouded in secrecy. But the row has turned into a titillating public spectacle, with Academy members dealing ugly blows to each other in the media.The last time the institution delayed a prize announcement was in 1949. William Faulkner received the prize a year later, the same year Bertrand Russell was honoured. It has also reserved the prize on six other occasions: in 1915, 1919, 1925, 1926, 1927 and 1936, and four of those times the prize was delayed then awarded at the same time as the following year's prize, the Academy said. Several Academy members had recently suggested the 2018 prize could be postponed because of the turmoil, which has dragged the Academy's reputation -- and that of the Nobel Literature Prize -- through the mud. Literature experts in Sweden lamented the announcement, but agreed with the decision. “I think it's wise, this is the best decision they could make. They'll have a chance to restore (the Academy) this year and fill the empty seats, and come back with a strong Academy that can award the prize,” Dagens Nyheter's literature critic Maria Schottenius told AFP . Technically, Academy members have been appointed for life and have not been able to resign, though they could leave their chairs “empty” by not participating in meetings and decisions. However, the Academy is currently down to 10 active members while its statutes stipulate that 12 are needed to elect new members. In order to ensure the venerable body's survival, the Academy's patron, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf, announced Wednesday he had changed the statutes, making it possible for members to resign and be replaced. After the women spoke out in the media, the Academy cut all ties with Arnault's cultural centre Forum in Stockholm, which it had subsidised for years and which was a key meeting point for the country's cultural elite. The centre, owned by Arnault and Frostenson, showcased exhibitions, readings and performances by both the cultural elite and hopefuls, including Nobel literature laureates. It is now closed. A report commissioned by the Academy revealed conflicts of interest and the fact that Academy members leaked Nobel winners' names. But the Academy could not agree on what measures to take, with one camp defending Frostenson and the Academy's old guard, while the other camp supported Danius, who wanted to carry out reforms. Prosecutors announced in mid-March that they had dropped parts of their investigation against Arnault -- concerning allegations of rape and assault between 2013 and 2015 -- due to lack of evidence. The rest of the investigation is still ongoing. lari besides Ananthapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh. Janardhana is a prime accused in the illegal mining cases involving his Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC). His company is accused of changing the mining lease boundary markings and indulging in illegal mining in the Ballari Reserve Forest area, spread over Ballari in Karnataka and Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh. The CBI has been investigating several cases involving Janardhana and his associates, but the premier agency has come under fire recently for allegedly seeking to close or dilute cases against them. Reddy brothers ~ especially Janardhana ~ are said to be facing scores of illegal mining and other cases. Two of Janardhana's brothers ~ G Somashekhara Reddy and G Karunakara Reddy ~ and some close aides like B Sriramulu have been fielded by the BJP as its candidates in the high-stakes Karnataka polls. Janardhana has already been campaigning for some of them outside Ballari despite BJP chief Amit Shah's public assertion that his party had nothing to do with him.The Congress and its president Rahul Gandhi have been consistently attacking the BJP for fielding the "tainted" Reddy brothers and aides in the Karnataka polls. Bihar bus mystery: State govt now says no one died STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE PATNA, 4 MAY Thursday’s bus fire incident in Bihar’s East Champaran district has now turned out to be a major mystery. A day after confirming the death of 27 passengers in the incident, the state government has taken a complete U-turn saying no one died in the incident. The government claims no bodies or even their charred remains have been found in the bus, even as the vehicle was reduced to ashes, such was the intensity of the fire. East Champaran District Magistrate Raman Kumar said that no one died in the accident and that a total of 13 passengers, who had boarded the bus at its starting point of Muzaffarpur, were undergoing treatment for injuries. Secretary, state disaster management department, Pratyay Amrit, also said no one was killed in the mishap. “The information of deaths was wrong. Yes, I said 27 people have died, it was based on information from local sources but I also said that only final report will be considered,” Bihar disaster management minister Dinesh ChandraYadav told reporters today. “There was booking for 13 people. Eight were taken to the hospital by authorities, there was no sign of remaining five, no remains were found. They might have left the spot on their own,” the minister claimed. However, he has no answer as to how the pas- sengers could have survived such a deadly accident when the bus fell into the 20-feet deep ditch and instantly went up in flames. What further raises doubts about the government’s claim, witnesses say, is that the bus was fully enclosed, since it was fitted with air-conditioner. Yet another thing which raises doubts is the number of passengers. Yesterdaytheministerhad said the bus had 32 passengers but today he said there were only 13 passengers on board. Also, he was unable to give details as to what happened to the two drivers, a conductor and a cleaner who was also travelling on the bus. DM Raman Kumar, on the other hand, said: “Bus driver Vijendra Kumar and helper Ratan are missing. But detailed investigations have been conducted by forensic experts and personnel of the disaster management department at the site of the mishap and it is unlikely that either of them has died.” The bus coming from Muzaffapur town was on way to Delhi when it skidded off the road, fell into a ditch and caught fire. The U-turn comes after top politicians in the country ~ from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on downwards ~ had expressed their condolences over the“death” of passengers. The stream of condolences followed the confirmation of the deaths of 27 passengers by none other than disaster management minister Yadav himself.
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