CMYK TUESDAY www.thestatesman.com 25 DECEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5.00|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR T’GANA, WB CMS DISCUSS FRONT TO FIGHT BJP IN POLLS SOLZHENITSYN IS 100 P6 P5 Mainly clear sky. Maximum and minimum temperature will be around 25 and 13 degree celsius, respectively. Tsunami death toll in Indonesia rises to 373 RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY THE JAKARTA POST/ANN AND AGENCIES Max.93% Min. 44% TANJUNG LESUNG, 24 DEC Max: 25.2°C (-1) SUN RISES 06:14 hrs MOON RISES 19.54 hrs Min: 13.0°C (-1) SUN SETS 16:59 hrs MOON SETS 08:31 hrs Efforts to collect hundreds of bodies and save the injured were stepped up in Indonesia on Monday following the country's latest tsunami, as scientists collected evidence on how a volcanic eruption triggered the weekend tragedy. Casualty figures from Saturday night's disaster continued to rise, with at least 373 people confirmed dead and more than 1,400 injured.The death toll was certain to rise further, with 128 people still missing from the affected areas along the coastlines of western Java and southern Sumatra islands, where hundreds of military personnel and volunteers were conducting their grim search along debris-strewn beaches. Where victims were found, yellow, orange and black body bags were laid out, and weeping relatives identified the dead. The waves that swept locals and tourists into the sea along the Sunda Strait followed an eruption and apparent landslide on Anak Krakatau, or “Child of Krakatoa,” one of the world's most infamous WEATHER TEMPERATURE Next moon quarter on 29 December THUMBNAILS SANTA IN TOWN ~ Last-minute Christmas shopping in Kolkata on Monday. SAILENDRA MAL SC to hear Ram Janmabhoomi-Babari Masjid B title dispute case on 4 January : The Supreme Court is scheduled to take up a batch of petitions for hearing in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babari Masjid title dispute case on 4 January. The matter is listed before a bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul. The judges are likely to constitute a bench for hearing as many as 14 appeals against the 2010 Allahabad HC order. Review petition in SC against its Aadhaar verdict A review petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking re-examination of its verdict by which the Aadhaar scheme was held as constitutionally valid. Advocate Indira Jaising said the review petition has been filed against the Sept 26 verdict of the five-judge constitution bench which had said there was nothing in the Aadhaar Act that violated right to privacy of an individual. Two women fail to make it to Sabarimala: Another bid by two women in their 40s to trek to the hill shrine of Lord Ayyappa in Kerala was foiled on Monday by protesting devotees, a day after a similar effort by a group of 11 women failed. The two women - Bindu (42), a CPI(ML) activist from Koyilandy in Kozhikode district, and Kanakadurga (44), said to be a civil supplies employee from Angadipuram in Malappuram - were chased away by devotees. SC declines urgent hearing plea: The Supreme Court on Monday declined to accord an urgent hearing on the BJP's plea against the Calcutta High Court order not allowing its Rath Yatra in West Bengal. Several BJP workers and police personnel were injured after a “law-violation programme” of the party turned violent in Basirhat on Monday and at least 54 people have been detained. Thousands of Indonesia’s deadly tsunami victims rummaging through the debris for their belongings and essential items of daily use. AFP volcanic islands.Hotels and hundreds of homes were heavily damaged by the waves. Broken chunks of concrete and splintered sticks of wood littered hardhit coastal areas, turning popular beach areas into near ghost towns. Debris from thatch-bamboo shacks was strewn along the coast.The Indonesian Medical Association of the worst-affected Banten region said that it sent doctors, medical supplies and equipment, and that many of the injured were in need of orthopaedic and neurological surgery. It said most victims are domestic tourists who were visiting beaches during the long weekend ahead of Christmas. It was the second deadly tsunami to hit seismically active Indonesia this year. A powerful earthquake triggered a tsunami that hit Sulawesi island in September, giving residents a brief warning before the waves struck.On Saturday night, however, the ground did not shake to alert people before the waves ripped buildings from their foundations and swept terrified concertgoers celebrating on a resort beach into the sea. “I heard people shouting to run away and I saw the water had gone up to the mainland and the hotel had been flooded by water’’. FM hints at merging of 12% and 18 % GST slabs SNS & PTI NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hinted at further rationalisation of GST by merging the 12 and 18 per cent slabs, while criticising the Congress for oppressing the country with a high indirect tax rate of 31 per cent. With an increase in revenue, India will eventually have a standard goods and services tax (GST) rate between 12-18 per cent for commonly used goods. This would be in addition to 0 per cent and 5 per cent for essential items and a higher rate for luxury, sin and demerit goods. In a Facebook post titled 'Eighteen Months of GST', Jaitley said, of the 1,216 commodities which are used at present, broadly 183 are taxed at zero rate, 308 at 5 per cent, 178 at 12 per cent and 517 at 18 per cent. The 28 per cent slab is now a dying slab, he said. Currently, 28 items, including luxury and sin goods, auto parts, dishwashers, air conditioners (ACs) and cement remain in the highest slab of 28 per cent. With the GST transformation completed, we are close to completing the first set of rates of rationalisation i.e. phasing out the 28 per cent slab except in luxury and sin goods, he said. GST was rolled out on July 1, 2017. A future road map could be to work towards a single standard rate instead of two standard rates of 12 per cent and 18 per cent, he said.“It could be a rate at some mid-point between the two. Obviously, this will take some reasonable time when the tax will rise significantly. The country should eventually have a GST which will have only slabs of zero, 5 per cent and standard rate with luxury and sin goods as an exception,” Jaitley said. Stating that only cement and auto parts are items of common use which remain in the 28 per cent slab, Jaitley said the next priority will be to transfer cement into a lower slab. 65 US varsities oppose visa policy for students Centre mulls changes in IT law, Opp critical AGENCIES The government on Monday said it proposes to bring changes in IT rules to curb misuse of social media and online platforms, but the Opposition termed the move as violation of privacy of individuals and an attempt to convert India into a “nanny state”. The IT Ministry released draft amendments which suggest social media and online platforms would need to enable tracing of originators of information when required by government agencies which are legally authorised. “The intermediary shall enable tracing out of such originator of information on its platform as may be required by government agencies who are legally authorised,” says the proposed amendment. “The intermediary (social media platform) shall deploy technology-based automated tools or appropriate mechP8 anisms...’’ PTI WASHINGTON, 24 DECEMBER As many as 65 top US universities, including Harvard and MIT, have challenged the Trump administration in a court against its new stringent visa policy for foreign students, warning that the new 'backdating' rule will have a detrimental effect on America's higher education system. The new policy announced by the Trump administration in August places restrictions on overstaying a visa. Under longstanding immigration policies, when an individual is no longer authorised to remain in the US such as when a visa expires a period of “unlawful presence” begins. After six months of unlawful presence, an individual can be forced to return to their country of origin and subject to a three year bar from the US. Prior to the August policy change, individuals only began to accrue unlawful presence the day after the government issued an official determination that the visa holder was “out of status”. With the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can set retroactive start dates for unlawful presence that begin the day after an individual's degree programme is complete or the day after a person's visa expires. The top institutions, including Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Yale, and Princeton signed onto an amicus brief filed on Monday, arguing that the new rule puts visa-holding students in a position to make “tough IMRAN ‘UNIFIES’ choices”. These institutions argue that the new policy's use of a “backdated unlawfulpresence clock” will render tens of thousands of F, J and M categories of visa holders subject to three and 10-year re-entry bars without any opportunity to cure. According to the National Association of Foreign Student Advisors (NAFSA), international students contributed USD 39 billion to the US economy during the 2017-2018 academic year. The same study found the economic activity of foreign students supported over 455,000 American jobs. The 65 institutions and one higher education system Board, mostly member institutions of the Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration, signed the brief which urges the federal court to grant them motion for a preliminary injunction. NEW DELHI, 24 DECEMBER CMYK RAHANE TO TAKE MELBOURNE BY STORM P6 PM slams Odisha for ‘corruption’ KHURDA, 24 DECEMBER Listing out the projects and increased flow of funds to Odisha, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the state, however, continued to lag behind due to the “PC and chit fund culture” (read corruption). Addressing a public meeting on the foothills of the historic Barunei hill near Khurda, the Prime Minister went on to note that even today he laid foundation and inaugurated projects worth over Rs 14,000 crore in the state. Odisha with all its resources remains far behind others, why? He asked while slipping in to a rhetoric of questions – when 97 per cent achievement is registered under swachhata mission, Odisha’s performance is poor, why ? , the youth and able bodied workforce migrate in search of work, why ?, children remain malnourished, why is it that hundreds of posts of doctors remain vacant, farmers are deprived of irrigation and the MSP , why ? teachers are on dharna for salary ?. He said he was able to sense the voice of the people yearnSNS ing for a change. P12 Sharif gets 7 yrs’ jail in graft case Former Pakistan PM acquitted in Flagship case DAWN/ANN & AGENCIES ISLAMABAD, 24 DECEMBER n anti-corruption court in Pakistan on Monday sentenced ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills graft case but acquitted him in the Flagship Investments case. Three cases - Avenfield properties case, Flagship investment case and AlAzizia steel mills case were launched against the Sharif family by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on September 8, 2017 following a judgment by the Supreme Court that disqualified Sharif in the high-profile Panama Papers case in July last year. Accountability Court II Judge Muhammad Arshad Malik on Monday announced the short verdict in the two corruption cases against the Sharif family, after reserving the decision on December 19. Judge Malik said there was concrete evidence against the 68-year-old former premier in the Al-Azizia case, and that he was unable to give the trail of the money A used to set up the Al-Azizia steel mills in Saudi Arabia by his family in 2001 and later on the Hill Metal Establishment also in Saudi Arabia. The court sentenced Sharif to seven years in jail and imposed a USD 2.5 million and 1.5 million pounds fine on him. The court also ordered to seize the Al-Azizia and Hill Metal properties.Judge Malik, however, said that there was no case against Sharif in the Flagship case. Sharif, who was present in the court, was immediately taken into custody. His lawyer requested the judge that the PML-N quaid (supreme) be shifted to Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore instead of Adiala Jail. The request was granted. The verdict was announced almost immediately after Sharif arrived in the courtroom. He has the option to challenge the verdict against him. In July, 2018 Sharif, his daughter Maryam and his son-in-law Captain (retd.) M Safdar were sentenced to 11 years, eight years and one year, respectively, in prison in the Avenfield properties case related to their purchase of four luxury flats in London through corrupt practices. However, the three were bailed out by Islamabad High Court in September. The apex court set the deadline for December 24 to wrap up the remaining two corruption cases against the Sharif family. The three-time former prime minister has maintained that the cases against him were initiated on the basis of allegations levelled by his political rivals and the report of a joint investigation team in the Panama Papers case was biased. In an emergency meeting after the verdict, the NAB decided to challenge Sharif's acquittal in the Flagship case in the high court. Pakistan's Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said the “real face of Nawaz Sharif has been unmasked today.
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