World Marrow Donor Day
The students from RV College of Engineering pledged to be donors as part of a campaign conducted by DKMS BMST Foundation India.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 18:38

Over 300 students from Bengaluru’s RV College of Engineering lined up to register themselves as bone marrow donors, as part of a campaign conducted by the DKMS BMST Foundation India for World Marrow Donor Day.

“I feel privileged that I was a match for someone and have been able to save someone's life. After I registered as a blood stem cell donor, I was committed since beginning and finally getting that call was a big surprise and unexpected as well. The whole procedure was very smooth and DKMS-BMST was there with me all the time in this process. I appeal to everyone to come forward and register as a blood stem cell donor and give someone a second chance at life,” said Sriharsha Ramachandra, one of the students who took part in the event.

The event was organised by the foundation as part of their ongoing efforts to increase awareness about the need for bone marrow donors. The foundation works to help people understand more about the impact of stem cell donation and transplantation on those who are diagnosed with blood cancer.

“Every 5 minutes, someone in India receives the shattering news that they have been diagnosed with a blood cancer, Thalassemia or Aplastic Anemia. Apart from that, every year, of about 80,000 donor searches initiated across the globe, India has one of the highest ratios of searches that do not result in blood stem cell transplant. For many patients, including children in need of a stem cell transplant, finding a suitable match is extremely difficult. DKMS BMST Foundation India is a global registry aiming to improve the chances of a patient by providing access to a global bank of potential donors. “The representation of Indian population in the registry is minimal. This increases the need for more and more people of Indian ethnicity to register themselves as a potential stem cell donor and help save a life. Every registrant represents hope for all patients and the assurance that they are not alone in their fight with cancer,” said Patrick Paul, CEO, DKMS BMST Foundation India.

DKMS-BMST is a joint venture of the Bangalore Medical Services Trust along with DKMS, an internationally known stem cell donor centre.

ISRO chief K Sivan has announced that they have reached their 14-day deadline of attempting to contact the Vikram lander.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 17:38

Two weeks after Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander unsuccessfully attempted to make a soft landing on the south side of the moon, the Indian Space Research Organisation has said that it has not been able to make contact with it.

The lander, which attempted its landing on September 7, had a 14-day mission life. With the 14th day being on Saturday, ISRO chief K Sivan has announced that they have reached their deadline of attempting to contact Vikram.

The orbiter meanwhile is still intact and is in the lunar orbit. “Chandrayaan 2 orbiter is doing very well. There are eight instruments in the orbiter and each instrument is doing exactly what it's meant to do. But we have not been able to establish communication with the lander yet,” Dr Sivan told the media. He added that they were trying to understand what happened to Vikram on a priority basis.

"The orbiter was initially planned for a year, but with the optimum mission planning, there is every possibility that it will last for another seven and a half years benefiting us for science experiments," said the ISRO chief.

ISRO had on Thursday said that a national committee of academics was analysing the reason behind why communication with Vikram was lost.

The ISRO chief added that now their priority is Gaganyaan, which is the agency’s manned mission scheduled to launch in 2022. According to reports, ISRO intends to have the first unmanned mission under Gaganyaan by December 2020, and the second unmanned mission by July 2021, before sending astronauts into space.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced in the 2018 Independence Day address that ISRO had planned to send three Indians to space by 2022.

ISRO is also expected to launch India’s first solar mission, Aditya L-1, by next year.

Dr K Sivan also announced that Chandrayaan-2 had achieved 98% of its objectives, even though they lost contact with the lander.

“The project was developed in two parts - science and technology demonstration. We achieved total success in science objective while in technology demonstration, the success percentage was almost full. That's why the project can be termed as 98% successful," he said.

(with IANS inputs)

Telangana bye-elections
Saidi Reddy had lost to Congress’ Uttam Kumar by 7,466 votes in 2018.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 17:38

Within hours of the Election Commission of India announcing the schedule for the Assembly bye-polls on Saturday, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) party has announced its candidate for the Huzurnagar constituency. Sanampudi Saidi Reddy, who unsuccessfully contested against Congress’ Uttam Kumar Reddy during the Assembly Elections in 2018, has been given yet another opportunity. 

Saidi Reddy had lost to Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee President Uttam Kumar Reddy by a margin of 7,466 votes in 2018. Bye-polls in Huzurnagar constituency are being held as Uttam Kumar Reddy had resigned as the legislator leaving the seat vacant, after winning the Nalgonda parliamentary constituency in the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. 

Meanwhile, the Congress and BJP are yet to announce their candidates. Last date for filing the nomination is on September 30. The election will be held on October 21, and the results would be declared on October 24.

The Congress is marred with infighting. While TPCC president Uttam Kumar has announced that his wife Padmavathi Reddy, former MLA of Kodad will be the Congress candidate, party working president Revanth Reddy has objected to it and has declared that Chamala Kiran Kumar will be the candidate. 

However, several senior leaders like Jana Reddy and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy back Uttam, as they feel that only Padmavathi can win that seat, as she has been working in the constituency and Uttam also holds influence in the constituency.    

In the 2018 Assembly polls, the TRS won 88 out of 119 seats. After 12 MLAs from the Congress and one MLA from TDP defected to the ruling party, the total count of the TRS remains at 101.  

The BJP which remained an insignificant player during the Assembly Elections, with the party winning just one seat, seems rejuvenated after four of its candidates were elected as MPs in the Lok Sabha Elections.

The politician used to come dressed as famous personalities like MGR, NTR, Chhatrapati Shivaji, Alluri Sitarama Raju etc. in Parliament demanding Special Status for AP.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 15:49

Former TDP MP from Andhra Pradesh Dr Naramalli Sivaprasad passed away in Chennai on Saturday. The senior politician, aged 68, was undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital for a kidney ailment. He was hospitalised for a week in Chittoor but brought to Apollo in Chennai on Friday.

The politician was repeatedly in the news over the last five years, during the previous term of the Lok Sabha, for his antics. He was known for his unique protests demanding Special Category Status (SCS) for Andhra Pradesh, donning different costumes to the Parliament. He has dressed as famous personalities like MGR, NTR, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Alluri Sitarama Raju. He has also gone to the parliament dressed as a washerman, magician, schoolboy, woman etc. He once even went dressed as Adolf Hitler and his various avatars grabbed the attention of the media.

Dr Naramalli Sivaprasad was born in Pultipalli village in Chittoor district in 1951. He was an MBBS doctor who completed his education in S.V. Medical College, Tirupati. 

However, he also loved theatre and was keen on entering politics. He was first elected as an MLA in 1999, and worked as the Minister of Information & Culture under Chandrababu Naidu. In 2009, he contested and won the Chittoor Parliament seat and served as a member on the Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment. He was elected again from the same constituency in 2014.  

The former minister had acted in several Telugu movies like Pilla Zamindar, Aatadista, Jai Chiranjeeva and Danger among others. For his performance in Danger, he was given the state government's Nandi award for 'Best Villain' in 2005.

TDP General Secretary Nara Lokesh expressed his grief over the loss, and conveyed condolences to family members. Acknowledging his contribution towards strengthening the TDP, Lokesh also recalled Sivaprasad's efforts in the Parliament demanding Special Category Status for Andhra. 

Former CM and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu tweeted his condolences, saying, "He struggled for Special Category Status and promises made during state reorganisation. His death is a terrible loss not just for Chittoor district but for the entire state of Andhra Pradesh."

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy also expressed his condolences. 

Sivaprasad is survived by his wife Ralavijaylakshmi, and has two daughters. 

Read: From a tantric to Santa Claus: The many avatars donned by TDP MP Siva Prasad

Elections 2019
The results of the elections will be declared on October 24.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 15:02

Bye-elections will take place in five assembly constituencies of Kerala on October 21 this year, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said on Saturday. The elections will be held for the constituencies of Vattiyoorkavu, Ernakulam, Aroor, Konni and Manjeshwaram. The results would be declared on October 24.

The bye-elections will happen on the same day that assembly elections for Maharashtra and Haryana are scheduled.

Four of the five Kerala assembly seats have been left vacant following the general elections in April this year when the members of the assembly had contested and got elected to the Parliament. The fifth assembly seat of Manjeshwaram became vacant when MLA PB Abdul Razak of the UDF’s Muslim League, passed away last October. Vattiyoorkavu was under K Muraleedharan of Congress who became MP of Vadakara. Ernakulam assembly was under Congress’s Hibi Eden who became MP of the Ernakulam Lok Sabha constituency. Aroor MLA Advocate AM Ariff of CPI(M) became MP of Alappuzha. Konni’s Congress MLA Adoor Prakash became the MP of Attingal.

For the last general elections, 19 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats were won by the Congress-led UDF while only Alappuzha was won by CPI(M)-led LDF. In India, the Left is in power only in Kerala. As a very real fear sets in that the Left in India will soon be completely ineffective, there have been renewed calls for a reunification.

Notification for the elections in Kerala will be issued on September 23.  “Last date for filing nomination is September 30, while the scrutiny of the nomination papers will be done on October 1,” Sunil Arora said.

The last date to withdraw nominations is October 7. The deadline for filling up the vacant seats in Kerala is as follows: November 28, 2019 for Konni and Vatiyoorkavu, November 30, 2019 for Ernakulam and Aroor, and January 15, 2020 for Manjeshwaram.

Read: Talks are on for a CPI-CPI(M) reunification – but can this help the Left in India?

The Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in both constituencies - Nanguneri and Vikravandi.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 15:00

The Election Commission has announced that bye-polls in Nanguneri and Vikravandi constituencies in Tamil Nadu will be conducted on October 21. Party chief MK Stalin announced that while DMK will contest from the Vikravandi constituency, the Congress will contest from Nanguneri.

With this announcement, the Model Code of Conduct has come into effect in both constituencies.

The bye-poll in Nanguneri in Tirunelveli district had to be announced because the sitting MLA, H Vasanthakumar of the Congress had resigned after he was elected as the MP from Kanyakumari constituency. The Vikravandi assembly seat in Villupuram district meanwhile fell vacant after DMK MLA K Rathamani passed away in June. Nominations for the seats begin on September 23 and the last day for filing nominations is September 30. While scrutiny of nomination will happen on October 1, the counting will be on October 24.

Shortly after the Election Commission's announcement, the DMK revealed its strategy for the bye-polls, with DMK contesting from the Vikravandi constituency and Congress from Nanguneri. While there were earlier reports of disagreement over seat sharing between the two parties, Stalin's announcement has however put rest any murmurs of a rift between the allies.

Earlier this month, while addressing cadre in Nanguneri, Tamil Nadu Congress President KS Alagiri had even said, "Why can't the Congress contest alone in the elections? Why are we just being an opposition party in the state for the last 50 years? Why can't the Congress contest alone when we have a strong base in the southern Tamil Nadu? We have a strong presence in Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts."

In the recent elections held in the state, the ruling AIADMK had won nine assembly seats while the DMK won 13. This time around, there could be a change in alliances ahead of the polls. Sources in the AIADMK tell TNM that while Vikravandi could be a definite win for the party, Nanguneri will be challenging.

"We are not sure if the alliance with BJP will continue for these two seats, but it definitely will with PMK. Vikravandi is a stronghold for them and can help us win," the source said. While DMK had won the previous assembly poll in Vikravandi, the AIADMK and PMK together had polled over 30,000 votes more in 2016. "Nanguneri however will prove to be an issue because of the large Christian population. They may resist if we tie up with the BJP," he adds.

A month since the abrogation of Article 370, a massive information and communication blockade has been continuing in Kashmir.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 13:11

Taking cognisance of the lockdown in Kashmir, several Indian academics and scientists have written an open letter to the government, asking for communication and normal life to be restored in the valley.

“We would like to express our solidarity with the people of Kashmir and offer our support to those outside Kashmir, who have been cut off from their families and friends as a result of these decisions taken by the government of India. We remind the government that it is duty-bound to uphold the rights and protect the welfare of all of its citizens. In line with these obligations, we call on the government to immediately restore full communications in Kashmir, lift the security restrictions that are hampering ordinary life, release dissidents and opposition leaders, and conduct transparent and impartial investigations into allegations of human rights abuses,” states the letter.

There are 504 signatories from various areas of academics and science who have signed the letter, including people from eminent institutions such as IITs, Delhi University, TIFR (Hyderabad), JNU, IISc (Bengaluru), AIIMS and some foreign institutes as well. They’ve drawn attention to the alleged human rights violations by Indian security forces in the valley, and have asked for appropriate action to be taken immediately.

The signatories have also stated that they are appalled by the government’s restrictions telecommunication and the Internet in Kashmir, and have stated that the lockdown has made it difficult for medical services to be provided to those in need. 

“Moreover, credible reports suggest that these restrictions have made it difficult for ordinary people in Kashmir to procure medical and essential supplies or even for children to attend school,” the letter said.

“We believe the government’s actions in detaining and restricting the communications of opposition leaders and dissidents in Kashmir are deeply undemocratic. Whatever views one might hold about these individuals, a fundamental norm in a democracy is that the party in power does not have the right to lock up its political opponents when they have not even been accused of any crimes,” it added. 

It has been a month since Article 370 was revoked and a massive information and communication blockade has been enforced in Kashmir. 

Siddaramaiah’s petition will be heard by the court on Monday, according to reports.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 10:43

Congress stalwart and former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah filed a writ petition with the Karnataka High Court on Friday with regard to a 20-year-old land denotification case.

His petition will be heard by the court on Monday, according to reports.

According to reports, Siddaramaiah was summoned by a special court for the trial of MLAs and MPs to appear before the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) on September 26. It all began in June 2018, when activist A Gangaraju, filed a complaint with a court in Mysuru stating that the former Chief Minister built a house in the city in direct violation of MUDA rules.

Around 30 guntas of land were denotified for a landowner, Papanna.

Lakshmipuram police in Mysuru filed an FIR at the time. The police had filed a ‘B’ report that was rejected by the Special Court, which issued summons to the senior Congress leader.

In another land denotification case, JD(S) leader and former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy too challenged the summons issued by a special court for people’s representatives. The summons requires him to appear before a court in Halagevaderahalli on October 4. He has contended that the ‘B’ report by Lokayukta police exonerates him.

On October 1, 2007, Kumaraswamy passed an order that denotified certain sites in Halagevaderahalli. As part of this, a reported total of 2 acres and 24 guntas were denotified in favour of the landowners who sold the sites to builders. The land which was denotified also included a portion  intended for the formation of Banashankari 5th stage. Rejecting the ‘B’ report filed by the Lokayukta police at the time, the Special Court had issued summons to the former Chief Minister.

Water Resources
Chennai was one of the worst affected cities in Tamil Nadu last summer due to the severe water crisis.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 10:18
File Image

Incessant rains in Chennai and surrounding areas over the last two days have helped boost the reservoir water levels, bringing much needed respite to the residents of Chennai city. The water levels at all four reservoirs that supply water to the city have jumped up in the last few days.

According to the data available at the Chennai Metrowater website, the combined water level in the four lakes at the city’s periphery stood at 273 mcft as of Friday. This is in sharp contrast to the situation from a few weeks ago, when the lakes had been considered close to dry. Poondi reservoir holds 208 mcft of water as of Friday, the highest among the four lakes. Water levels at Cholavaram lake (30 mcft), Redhills (27 mcft) and Chembarambakkam (8 mcft) have also brought relief to the citizens.The amount of water will be enough to tackle the supply needs of the city for over 10 days.

The combined lake levels on Wednesday stood at 15 mcft, which was just 0.13% of the total water storage capacity of the four lakes. 

While Redhills and Cholavaram lakes received upto 600 cusecs of water on Thursday, Poondi received upto 3000 cusecs of water through the Kosasthalaiyar river. The inflows to the lakes had reduced drastically by Friday afternoon, and more rains would be required to keep the inflow steady to refill the lakes.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has, meanwhile, forecast heavy rainfall over isolated places in Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Tiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Vellore, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and parts of the Cauvery Delta till Sunday. The meteorological centre has also forecast heavy to very heavy rains over isolated places in Tamil Nadu’s coastal districts on Monday and Tuesday. As on Friday, Udayalipatti in Pudukottai district received the highest amount of rainfall at 7 cms while Thanjavur received 6 cms of rainfall over a day as on Friday. 

Police are likely to take action against the boy’s father for allowing a minor to get behind the wheel.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 09:58
Image for representation

A Bengaluru teenager in class 10 crashed his father’s car into a parked auto rickshaw, killing the driver of the auto. The incident took place on Kalpana Chawla Road in Bengaluru’s Bhoopasandra on Friday at around 1.30 pm.

The minor teen was taken by RT Nagar police for questioning. Upon investigation, it was revealed that he took the keys of the car when his parents were not at home.

According to reports, he first drove to Sanjaynagar to meet some friends and on the way back lost control of the car and crashed into the auto rickshaw, which was parked on the side of the road. The driver of the rickshaw, who had been sitting inside the vehicle, was killed on impact and another man who was sitting inside the auto was injured critically.

The driver, who was killed, has been identified as 47-year-old VC Nagaraj, a resident of Patelappa Layout in Nagashettihalli. Another man who was sitting in the auto, 68-year-old Nathan Lourdes, a resident of Basappa Layout in the same area, has been taken to MS Ramaiah Hospital for treatment. As per reports, he remains in critical condition.

“We are very sorry and know that irreparable damage has been done to the family of the auto driver. But this should serve as a warning to parents. Such accidents should not occur again,” said the teen’s mother to TOI.

Police are likely to take action against the boy’s father for allowing a minor to get behind the wheel.

Earlier in 2017, in a similar incident, the parents of a minor were arrested for allowing him to drive, after a joyride the boy and his friends took turned fatal. The boy and his friends were in the car and driving on the Elevated Flyover on Hosur Road when they lost control of the vehicle and crashed the car. The impact of the accident was so severe that the boy was decapitated.