WEDNESDAY www.thestatesman.com 26 DECEMBER 2018 FIND US ONLINE Scan this with your smartphone twitter.com/TheStatesmanLtd facebook.com/thestatesman1875 Pages 16 |` 5|LC KOLKATA | NEW DELHI | SILIGURI | BHUBANESWAR MAYAWATI KEY TO 2019 POLL BATTLE RETURN TO JAIL P8 P9 P13 Mainly clear sky. Moderate fog in the morning. The maximum and minimum temperatures would be around 20 and 04 degrees Celsius respectively. RAINFALL: Nil RELATIVE HUMIDITY Max.100% Min. 52% TEMPERATURE Max: 19.52°C (-2) SUN RISES 07:12 hrs MOON RISES 11:05 hrs P16 Dilly-dallying d approach done away with: PM SHATTERED DREAMS WEATHER OPENING GAMBIT WITH ROOKIES MAYANK, VIHARI POLL SHOWS NETANYAHU RE-ELECTION Min: 05.0°C (-3) SUN SETS 17:32 hrs MOON SETS 21:38 hrs Modi opens India’s longest rail-cum-road bridge THUMBNAILS Deve Gowda upset at not being invited A boy covers his face as he stands outside a collapsed house in Rajabasa in Lampung province on Tuesday, three days after a tsunami ~ caused by activity at a volcano known as the "child" of Krakatoa ~ hit the west coast of Indonesia's Java island. Desperately needed aid flowed into a stretch of Indonesia's tsunami-struck coastline on Tuesday, officials said, but aid workers warned that clean water and medicine supplies were dwindling as thousands (P13) crammed makeshift evacuation centres. PHOTO BY MOHD RASFAN /AFP BENGALURU, 25 DEC President Ram Nath Kovind paying tributes to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary, at Sadaiv Atal, Rajghat, in the Capital on Tuesday when the memorial SNS was dedicated to the nation Bank strike today: Services of state-owned banks are expected to be impacted on Wednesday due to a nation-wide strike call given by unions to protest against the proposed amalgamation of Vijaya Bank and Dena P11 Bank with Bank of Baroda. Rajiv statue vandalised, 1 arrested: Youth Akali Dal leader was arrested for allegedly vandalising the statue of former prime minister P10 Rajiv Gandhi in Ludhiana on Tuesday. Imran Khan taunts India again on minorities: Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday again tried to compare the treatment of minorities in his country and India, saying these communities would be treated as equal citizens in "Naya Pakistan", "unlike what is happening in India", days after stating that he would "show" the Narendra Modi government P6 "how to treat minorities". Karnataka CM’s ‘shoot’ remark triggers row PRESS TRUST OF INDIA BENGALURU, 25 DECEMBER Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy found himself in a raging controversy on Tuesday after he asked a police official to “shoot mercilessly” those who had killed a worker of his JDS in Mandya district, a stronghold of the party. After a video of his telephone conversation with the official on Monday going viral, drawing condemnation from the BJP , Kumaraswamy, heading the JDS-Congress coalition government, sought to clarify, saying “it was an emotional outburst” and he did not mean it. He said he acted in a fit of rage as he knew the victim, 50-year old H Prakash, a former zilla panchayat member. “It is beyond my imagination that such a person can ever be killed. My words were only an emotional outburst, which I did not mean,” he told reporters in Vijayapura Tuesday. The Chief Minister's Office issued a statement saying the comments were an “emotional reaction” to the incident and not orders by Kumaraswamy. The opposition BJP lashed out at Kumaraswamy over the issue and termed his “statement irresponsible and nonsense”. In the video, Kumaraswamy was heard saying: “I don't know how you will handle it (the case).. because it was your responsibility. I am actually disappointed because it (the murder) brought a bad name. He (Prakash) was a good person.. There is no problem if you shoot such people mercilessly,” he said alluding to the alleged killers. “I am least bothered (about the consequences),” the chief minister had said. Slamming Kumaraswamy, state BJP chief B S Yeddyurappa “I never expected this from the chief minister. If he speaks like this, what will happen to the law and order situation? An irresponsible and nonsense statement by Kumaraswamy,” told reporters here Tuesday. Senior BJP leader and former minister Shobha Karandjale said it was a clear case of “anarchy and lawlessness”. Prakash was hacked to death allegedly by four men in Maddur town of Mandya district Monday evening, police said. The assailants had stopped Prakash's car when he was going home. Noida police bans unauthorised religious meets PRESS TRUST OF INDIA NOIDA (UP), 25 DECEMBER A police station in Uttar Pradesh's Noida has sent notices to 23 private firms asking them to stop their Muslim employees from offering Friday prayers at a local park, with the administration on Tuesday saying that “unauthorised” religious gatherings will not be allowed at public places. Citing a Supreme Court order of 2009, officials said there is a clear ban on unauthorised use of public places for religious activities by all religions. The notices, which were issued by Sector 58 Station House Officer (SHO) Pankaj Rai earlier this month, stated that a park of the Noida Authority in the area was“not permitted to be used for religious gatherings, including the Friday namaaz”. “It is often seen that Muslim employees of your companies gather in large number in the park despite being advised against doing so and despite the city magistrate denying their request for permission to use it for offering namaaz,” the notices, addressed to the managers of the firms, said. “Therefore it is expected of you to inform your Muslim employees at your level and if they still assemble at the park, then it would be considered that you have not informed them and held as responsibility of the individual company,” the notes stated. At a press conference District Magistrate Brajesh Narain Singh and Senior Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma told reporters that the police officer concerned was only carrying out his responsibilities. Singh also clarified that no companies would be held responsible for their employees' personal activities, as was mentioned in the police notes. “We reaffirm that the 2009 Supreme Court order will be implemented in letter and spirit and request everyone that if any such activity or a new activity has to be done in a public place then first take permission from the administration, otherwise it would be deemed illegal,” Singh said. Dubbing the notices as bona fide, he said if similar cases emerge in future they would also be dealt with in accordance with law. SSP Sharma said the notices were only for the purpose of information so that employees of these firms could be made aware that there was “no permission” for holding religious gatherings in the particular park. Singh said such gatherings would be allowed only if permitted by the administration. SHO Rai said the notices were issued after a complaint was received from residents of Bishanpura village, under the Sector 58 police station limits, which is close to the park. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the longest rail-cum-road bridge in Assam’s Bogibeel on Tuesday. SNS & PTI KARENG CHAPORI (ASSAM), 25 DECEMBER P rime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the country's longest rail-cum-road bridge over the Brahmaputra river in Assam's Bogibeel on Tuesday and said his government has changed the “dilly-dallying” work culture of the pervious dispensation to speed up stalled infrastructure projects. Addressing a rally here, he said completion of projects within a given time frame is no longer confined to paper, but has become a reality, and because of this the infrastructure segment has got a new lease of life. Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Ministers of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh Sarbananda Sonowal and Pema Khandu respectively, Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma were present at the inauguration of the 4.94 km-long bridge. Modi said, “If the earlier governments were known for their stalled projects, our government's identity is transportation to transformation and next generation infrastructure. We have found out hundreds of such projects worth Rs 12 lakh crore that were stalled for many years or work was very slow. If the same pace continued, the next century would have also passed.” “Today, on Good Governance Day, which is the birth anniversary of Atal (Bihari Vajpayee) ji, I can say with pride that we have completely changed that 'latkane-bhatkane' (dillydallying) work culture,” he said in an apparent dig at the Congress-led UPA dispensation. The Bogibeel Bridge, which was a part of the Assam Accord, is likely to play a crucial role in defence movement along the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh. The foundation stone of the project was laid by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda on January 22, 1997, while work commenced on April 21, 2002, under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led government. The Congress-led UPA government had declared it a national project in 2007. According to a defence source, the bridge is expected to play a crucial role in movement of defence logistics, including landing of fighter jets, to India-China border in Arunachal Former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda Tuesday expressed disappointment at not being invited for the inauguration of the country's longest rail road bridge in Assam though he had laid the foundation stone of it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday inaugurated the 4.9 km long bridge at Bogibeel across Brahmaputra river, built at a cost of Rs 5,900 crore. The foundation stone for the project was laid by Gowda when he was the prime minister in 1997. “Railway line to Kashmir, Delhi Metro and Bogibeel rail road bridge were among the projects I had sanctioned (as prime minister). I had sanctioned the budget of Rs 100 crore for each of these projects and laid their foundation stones. People have forgotten today,” Gowda said.Asked by reporters whether he was invited, Gowda said “Aiyo Rama who will PTI remember me? Pradesh. Terming opening of the Bogibeel bridge “historic”, he alleged that after the ruling NDA lost the 2004 Lok Sabha election, no attention was paid to completing the bridge on time. He also flagged off the Tinsukia-Naharlagun Intercity Express saying it will help people get shorter connectivity to Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai. X’mas in US, UK: Trump ‘alone’; May cuts break for Brexit AGENCIES WASHINGTON, 25 DECEMBER US president Donald Trump's scepticism when he told a little boy whether he believed in Santa Claus is unlikely to have dampened the enthusiasm of many excited youngsters. Trump, who tweeted " I am alone'', stayed at the White House, cancelling plans to spend the holidays in Florida, and kept up a torrent of tweets on Monday about his critics and his insistence on money for a border wall, the issue at the heart of the budget dispute and a shutdown which resulted in a bleak Christmas for America. The lights were not twinkling. The toy trains were not whirring. Even the nearby bathrooms were locked. The national Christmas tree, symbol of a country's seasonal cheer, instead stood as an icon of a government in paralysis, as the partial shutdown stretched into the hol- iday with an array of federal services frozen, some 800,000 public servants either idled or about to be and the disruption to the broader public bound to grow when the quiet spell ends later this week.Already facilities at many national parks were shuttered, if the parks were accessible at all, and thousands of federal buildings were to remain closed when the work week resumed unless President Donald Trump and members of Congress quickly break through a budget impasse that the White House said could drag on into 2019. Under cloudy skies in a brisk wind on the third day of the shutdown, the capital put on little holiday wonder for visitors like Greg Forcherio of Columbia, Maryland, a government contractor with no office to work in after the holidays as long as federal buildings stayed closed. He, his wife and their toddler on Monday came to see the giant, glittering spruce tree brought from Colorado to serve as the national Christmas tree, normally a focal point for Washington holiday visitors. But a locked chainlink fence blocked access to the site and the nearby White House visitor's center and its bathrooms were closed, with a hand-scrawled sign directing visitors to portable toilets, which also were chained shut. “Kind of annoying when you've got young children,” Forcherio said. Access to the site was restored later Mon- day and finally, as night fell on Christmas Eve, the lights returned. The government had announced a day earlier that it would be sealed off because of the shutdown and because repairs had slowed after an episode of vandalism on the tree before the weekend. It reopened with money from the National Park Foundation, a charity. A labour organisation representing US Treasury employees said Monday that federal workers around the country were cutting back on spending and changing holiday plans with family because of the shutdown. “Just in case anyone still thinks a partial shutdown over a holiday weekend is harmless, think again,” Tony Reardon of the National Treasury Employees Union said in a statement. “Your friends and neighbors around the country who work for the federal government are already showing signs of financial stress.” In the mountain town of Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Taylor Futch said the shutdown has already put extra stress on her family, whose sole income comes from her husband, a wildlife biologist who works with black bears for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. British Prime Minister Theresa May has cut her Cabinet's Christmas break short to prepare for Brexit as the March 2019 deadline nears. Thousands flock to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas AGENCIES BETHLEHEM/JERUSALEM, 25 DECEMBER Thousands of pilgrims from around the world flocked to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas at the birthplace of Jesus, which witnessed its most cheerful celebrations in many years, breaking the despondency of last year in the wake of US administration's declaration of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Manger Square, where tourists and locals generally jostle for space before the midnight mass, was abuzz with activities on a cold day as traditional march led by Palestinian boy and girl scouts kicked off Christmas celebrations on Monday. Playing drums and bagpipes they paraded past a 16 metre giant Christmas tree in the Manger Square outside the ancient Church of the Nativity, the traditional birthplace of Jesus. All the Bethlehem hotels were fully booked and the security situation relatively calm as the city is preparing to host an “astounding” tourists overnight, the “numbers we have not seen for many years”, Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Ma'ayah said. “We have never received this number of tourists coming to Palestine,” Ma'ayah said, adding that “In a city like Bethlehem, tourism creates waves throughout the economy.” “Hotels in the city have been booked to their full capacity for a few weeks leading into today's celebrations”, said Fadi Kattan a travel agent.
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