The discussion on the Odisha Goods and Services Tax Bill, 2017, and the Odisha Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2017, will be held in the Odisha Assembly on Friday.The two Bills were introduced by Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera when the two-day special session of the House began on Thursday morning. The proceedings, however, were adjourned till 3 p.m. after the Opposition sought more time to study the contents of the Bills before discussion on the issues involved. The issue was then discussed in the Business Advisory Committee of the Assembly.When the House reassembled at 3 p.m., Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat announced that the Advisory Committee had decided both Bills will be taken up for discussion on Friday and adjourned the House for the day.While introducing the Bills, Mr. Behera said that one tax structure would prevail across the country as for the new Goods and Services Tax that has been passed in Parliament.He said that the Odisha Goods and Services Tax Bill provides provisions to levy tax on all inter-State supply of goods or services except supply of liquor for human consumption at a rate to be notified as recommended by the Goods and Services Tax Council.More time soughtLeader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra of Congress then raised objections stating that the Bills were being pushed through in a hurry without giving adequate time for the members to go through their contents, and sought more time for the legislators.
A day after the death of NSCN(K) chairman S. S. Khaplang, the Centre on Saturday said all Indian citizens in the Naga rebel group would be rehabilitated if they abjured violence.“We appeal that all the Indian Nagas in the NSCN(K) should surrender and return to the mainstream. We will rehabilitate them. Anybody who gives up violence, we will rehabilitate them. We are giving rehabilitation package from the Indian government. Anybody who abjures violence and respects Indian Constitution is welcome,” Union Minister Kiren Rijiju told reporters.On Myanmar citizensThe rebels should take advantage of the rehabilitation package and return, he added.Mr. Rijiju, however, said India could not talk about Myanmarese citizens, who are part of the NSCN(K).The Minister said Khaplang was the “the heart and soul” of the NSCN(K) and without him, the organisation would be in a disarray.Without any leadership, the organisation would face difficulties, he said.“The objective of the organisation will never be fulfilled now. So they [rebels] should come back for the sake of the society,” the Minister of State for Home Affairs added.
Dalit groups in Haryana plan to observe ‘Dalit Pratirodh’ day on June 20 in Kaithal to protest against sedition charges slapped on 15 Dalit activists in Karnal last month.Outfits including the Dalit Yuva Sabha, Rashtriya Dalit Mahasabha, Jan Kalyan Society, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Akhil Bharatiya Jaati Virodhi Manch, B.R. Ambedkar Yuva Sanghatan, Youth For Change and Bhujan Sangarsh Dal will participate in the protest to highlight the plight of the community. On April 26, the Haryana police registered an FIR against 15 activists who were protesting in Karnal for the release of Dalits arrested for an alleged murder during inter-caste clashes at Paterhadi village in Ambala, nearly three months ago. ‘Peaceful meeting’“Nearly 500 of us were sitting on protest (dharna) in Karnal between April 21 and 26, demanding a fair probe into the inter-caste clash that took place in Paterhadi and for an end to victimisation of Dalits,” Ravi Kumar, one of the activists facing the sedition charge, told The Hindu. Alleging that slapping of sedition charge was an attempt to suppress their voice against atrocities, Mr. Kumar said the 15 people charged with sedition, briefly had an “unfruitful” meeting with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Karnal during the protest. “As we continued our peaceful protest after meeting the Chief Minister and planned a march the next day, the police slapped charges of rioting and unlawful assembly. The sedition charges were slapped against all the 15 people who had earlier met Mr. Khattar,” Mr. Kumar said. The People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has expressed concern over the slapping of sedition charges. “In current times, any objection or dissent against the government and its policies is seen as a threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the country,” Rajesh Kapro of the PUCR said.
A major trial is on in Kashmir to see if the Jhelum could be restored to being the pre-1947 Venice-like waterway linking cities and allowing a peep into the old city in Srinagar that houses heritage structures, shrines and temples.The month-long trial, started in the first week of July, will assess the feasibility. Two motorboats of Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation and one motor-driven shikara (small boat), ferrying 18 passengers, are navigating on a daily basis from Lal Chowk, the heart of Srinagar, to the interiors up to Habba Kadal bridge. The trial comes after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that she saw water transport as an “alternative to ease vehicular pressure on roads of the Valley.”The 725-km long river connects south Kashmir’s Anantnag district with Srinagar before entering north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.Vision for future“There is a futuristic vision to develop water transport for which two water channels were earmarked, the Jhelum and the Dal Lake. An action plan is being prepared as per water transport standards found in European countries, especially Italy,” said Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan. Jammu & Kashmir’s Irrigation and Flood Control department, which is part of the trial, has been tasked with monitoring daily traffic.“The move will boost tourism too,” said Mr. Khan.An official said water transport will also turn the spotlight on heritage structures, shrines and temples on the river banks, which otherwise remain out of bounds due to the volatile situation.The motor-driven traditional shikara, compared to the hand-powered ones, is also new to Kashmir and is allowed to cross through all the famous seven bridges across the Jhelum in the city.
Referring to the two ongoing anti-militancy operations in J&K, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday called for immediate dialogue between India and Pakistan.“A dialogue with Pakistan is necessary if we are to end the bloodshed. I know I will be labelled anti-national by news anchors tonight but that doesn’t matter. The people of J&K are suffering. We have to talk because war is not an option,” she said.She said there were security forces personnel who were killed in Jammu’s Sunjwan and Srinagar’s Kara Nagar areas. “If a fidayeen comes to die and kill, there is no foolproof security against such a person. I am not for people dying on borders or elsewhere. We have to engage Pakistan,” she added.
Bypolls in Mungaoli Assembly constituency in Ashoknagar district and in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh recorded 41 per cent and 35 per cent voter turnout respectively till 12.30 p.m., according to Chief Electoral Officer Salina Singh.Voting in the two seats began at 8 a.m. “An error was reported in the EVM machine in the beginning at booth number 57 of Kolaras but it was rectified and polling began soon after,” a poll official said.Polling peaceful Deputy chief electoral officer S.S. Bansal told said, “Polling is going on peacefully at all the polling booths in the constituencies and no untoward incident was so far reported from anywhere,” The ruling BJP and Opposition Congress are engaged in a direct fight in the two seats, which are a part of the Guna Lok Sabha constituency, represented by senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia.The bypolls were necessitated due to the death of Congress MLAs Mahendra Singh Kalukheda (Mungaoli) and Ram Singh Yadav (Kolaras).A total of 22 candidates are in fray in Kolaras, while 13 are trying their luck in Mungaoli.The total number of voters in the two constituencies are 2,44,457 (Kolaras) and 1,91,009 (Mungaoli).
As the State Crime Branch was preparing to submit its report in the rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old girl in Jammu, the presence of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party Ministers at a function of the Hindu Ekta Manch, a body defending an accused policeman, has put coalition partner Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in a tight corner.Senior BJP Ministers Chowdhary Lal Singh and Chandra Prakash attended the rally.of the Manch in Kathua on Thursday.J&K Industries Minister Prakash, in his address to the Manch, criticised the Crime Branch action.The Manch was constituted immediately after Special Police Officer Deepak Khujaria, 28, was held in the rape and murder of the girl from a nomad tribe.The girl went missing in the second week of January and her body was found on January 17 in the forests near Rasana, Hiranagar.Preliminary police reports suggested she was “abducted and raped.”Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti handed over the case to the Crime Branch on January 23. The Crime Branch, sources said, has “closed in on the accused and established their motives too.” The Manch, however, demanded the case to be investigated by the CBI, which was also supported by Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh during his recent visit to J&K.“It was shameful of BJP Ministers to have participated in the rally in favour of the accused. It’s equally shameful for the government. This is aimed at polarising people,” said National Conference general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar.“If the Chief Minister has any conscience left, she must take action against these Ministers,” said Mr. Sagar.The participation of the BJP Ministers in the Manch rally and demand for a CBI investigation has irked the Gujjar Bakerwal Youth Conference, a body campaigning for justice to the victim family. “These two Ministers should resign instead of supporting the accused,” GBYC State secretary Zahid Parvez Chowdhary.State Congress president G.A. Mir criticised Ms. Mufti for allowing her Ministers to question the Crime Branch.“We are worried by the BJP antics,” said a PDP leader on condition of anonymity.
The Shahkot Assembly constituency bypoll witnessed 69% polling till 5 p.m. on Monday, an official said. There was no report of any violence during the polling, the official added. “69% polling has been recorded till 5 p.m. in Shahkot Assembly constituency,” Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S. Karuna Raju said. The polling has been peaceful, he added. However, one person was caught by the security officials with a pistol at a polling booth, Raju said. “I received information from the Jalandhar (Rural) SSP that one person was caught with a pistol at a polling booth,” he said adding if the person found guilty then he could face action for the violation of model code of conduct and under provisions of the people’s representation act. Investigations in this matter were under way, he added. Meanwhile, four voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) and one control unit were replaced at polling booths after they malfunctioned during mock polling, the Punjab CEO said. Polling to the Shahkot bypoll commenced at 7 a.m. on Monday. The State’s ruling Congress is hoping to maintain its winning momentum while the Opposition Akali Dal is trying to retain the seat. The Shahkot bypoll was necessitated by the demise of Akali MLA Ajit Singh Kohar in February this year. The Congress has fielded Hardev Singh Laddi while Akali Dal has given ticket to Ajit Singh Kohar’s son Naib Singh Kohar. The Aam Aadmi Party has nominated Rattan Singh Kakkar Kalan for the Shahkot bypoll. While casting their votes, both Laddi and Kohar exuded confidence that they would win. There was enthusiasm among the voters who were coming out to exercise their franchise in the morning. However, there were reports that some polling booths witnessed deserted look as voters did not venture out in the afternoon because of the hot weather. As many as 1,72,676 voters, who are eligible for voting, will decide the fate of 12 candidates. On the Akali Dal’s allegations about the movement of vehicles bearing registration number of other States, Mr. Raju said the teams concerned were following up the matter. But nothing had been substantiated yet, he said. The Election Commission has deployed a total of 1,022 security personnel, including six companies of the Border Security Force, in Shahkot, an official said, adding that 1,416 polling staff were deployed for the Shahkot bypoll.Counting on May 31The counting of votes will take place on May 31. The electronic voting machines and VVPAT are being used at all the polling stations. The Congress is eyeing to maintain its winning momentum while Akali Dal is striving to retain its pocket borough from where late Ajit Singh Kohar was elected five-times. Aam Aadmi Party, which faced a humiliating defeat in the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha bypoll and civic polls, is desperately looking for the victory. The Congress had won 77 seats in the 117-member Punjab Vidhan Sabha during 2017 Assembly polls while the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance had managed to win 18 seats. The AAP had won 20 seats while Lok Insaf Party had bagged two seats.
Students of the Bodoland University in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district have been on strike since September 20 demanding the ouster of Vice-Chancellor Hemanta K. Baruah and filling up of vacant posts in teaching and non-teaching departments.In eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh University, four teachers have submitted their resignation to protest a notification related to an academic reorganisation committee by V-C Ranjit Tamuli without the consent of the deans.While the Dibrugarh University issue is expected to be settled soon after the V-C declined to accept the resignation, the Bodoland University impasse is far from over.Swgwmsar Basumatary, president of the Bodoland Students’ Union, said the strike would continue until Governor Jagdish Mukhi – also Chancellor of the university – and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal intervene.“In five years, the present V-C has done nothing for the university. We want him replaced by someone who cares about the students and ensures a good academic atmosphere,” Mr. Basumatary said.On Tuesday, Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Niranjan Baruah and Superintendent of Police Rajen Singh visited the university to meet the agitating students. “We told them to lift the agitation as members of a high-level committee would visit the university from September 28-30,” said Mr. Singh.The Bodoland University Teachers’ Association too has appealed to the State government and the Governor to help find solution in the greater interest of the students and the institution in general.V-C’s pleaThe Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Manipur High Court to take up a petition filed by suspended V-C Adya Prasad Pandey after hearing a special leave petition filed by him on September 10.In his petition to the High Court on September 4, Mr. Pandey had challenged the memorandum of agreement signed among the university organisations, the Manipur government and the Centre on August 16. He said that the agreement could not be accepted because it was signed under pressure from the “university community”.The Manipur University Students’ Union, meanwhile, termed as “false and fabricated” Pro Vice-Chancellor K. Yugindro’s FIR accusing some students and teachers of having tried to kill him. The police had picked up 89 students and six teachers after midnight on September 20 based on the FIR.Six teachers and nine students named by Mr. Yugindro were given judicial and police custody.“He was neither kidnapped nor manhandled, and no one harassed him,” a student said.Mr. Yugindro was appointed by Mr. Pandey after he was told to go on leave following agitation against him.
Kashmiri students studying at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have threatened to leave for their homes on October 17 if the sedition charges against three of them are not dropped.In a letter to the Vice-Chancellor, AMU students’ union former vice-president Sajjad Rathar said: “If this vilification does not stop, more than 1,200 Kashmiri students will leave for their homes in the Kashmir Valley on October 17 as a last option.”Denial of justiceTerming the slapping of sedition charges “vendetta”, Mr. Rathar said: “The option of holding namaaz-e-janaza (prayer meeting) in absentia was dropped after the AMU authorities did not give permission.”“If no prayer meeting was held as confirmed by all official agencies, the slapping a case of sedition against three Kashmiri students is simply a vendetta, harassment and denial of justice,” he said.The letter was handed over to AMU Proctor Mohsin Khan in the presence of a large number of Kashmiri students at his office on Saturday night.AMU spokesman Shafay Kidwai, however, denied the Kashmiri students’ charges of harassment and stressed that “no innocent would be framed”. He said that “there is zero tolerance for any anti-national activity on AMU campus”.Three Kashmiri students were booked on sedition charges for allegedly raising “anti-India” slogans on October 12 (Friday).
A unique marriage ceremony was solemnised in Odisha’s Berhampur on Friday, the eve of Republic Day. Mandakini Panda and Prithwik Mishra took wedding vows in the name of Indian Constitution for togetherness as well as well-being of the nation and society. The ceremony, attended by friends and relatives, was conducted after a registered marriage. Retired professor Bijay Bohidar helped the couple take wedding vows. The groom’s mother, Bidhuprabha Rath of Berhampur, is a rationalist. Mr. Mishra is a technocrat, while Ms. Panda is a lecturer of political science in a Bhanjanagar college. Ms. Panda hails from an agrarian family from Cuttack and her father Bairagi Charan Panda is a priest. Mr. Panda and his wife Parbati Panda said that they had no qualms about this ‘ritual-less’ wedding. “Whatever the form of the ceremony, a marriage is successful if the couple lives in peace and joy,” he added.The Humanist and Rationalist Organisation of Odisha extended its support to this unique ceremony aimed at creating awareness against unnecessary expenses, ‘illogical’ rituals and social vices connected with Indian marriages. HRO State secretary Raja Suresh said this will motivate other couples to follow suit.
The National Investigation Agency on Monday filed a chargesheet in connection with an alleged conspiracy of the Hizbul Mujahideen to carry out a terror attack in Uttar Pradesh in 2018. In its chargesheet filed in a special court in Lucknow, the agency charged Kamruj Zaman of Assam and absconding accused Osama Bin Javed of Jammu and Kashmir under IPC sections related to criminal conspiracy among others and stringent sections of anti-terror law Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. The Uttar Pradesh Police had booked Zaman on September 12, 2018 for hatching a criminal conspiracy to carry out terrorist attacks by Hizbul Mujahideen cadres at different places in the State. It was later taken up by the NIA. “Investigation has established that Zaman and Javed had joined HM and were imparted nine months weapon training (June 2017 – March 2018) by two cadres of terror group Mohammad Amin and Hajari in the jungles of district Kishtwar, Jammu and Kashmir,” the NIA spokesperson said. Targets in U.P., AssamAfter completing training, Zaman was directed to set up hideouts and select targets in Uttar Pradesh and Assam for terrorist attacks, he alleged. “On 8 April 2018, a photograph of Zaman brandishing an automatic AK-47 rifle emerged on social media, which was posted by Mannan Wani, a slain terrorist of Hizbul Mujahideen, on his Facebook account,” he said. Fearing arrest, Zaman escaped to Bangladesh but remained in constant touch with Javed and and Riyaz Naikoo, Hizbul Mujahideen’s operational commander in Kashmir, over BBM chat application, the agency alleged.Return from Bangladesh In first week of August 2018, he returned to India and stayed in Assam for some time, the spokesperson alleged. On 25 August 2018, on directions of Javed and Riyaz Naikoo, Zaman proceeded to Kanpur where he carried out reconnaissance of a few temples to carry out terror attacks, the spokesperson claimed. He was also trying to collect arms and explosives to carry out terror activities, he said.
Dalit groups in Rajasthan have set up a control room — Dalit Election Watch — to monitor the incidents of violence and intimidation during the Lok Sabha election and ensure that Dalits, women, poor and marginalised sections exercise their franchise without fear. The complaints received at the centre will be forwarded to the authorities for appropriate action.The Centre for Dalit Rights has also identified sensitive booths in the Lok Sabha constituencies across the State where the deployment of additional police force is required to ensure free and fair polling. CDR chief executive P.L. Mimroth said here earlier this week that the control room had started functioning round-the-clock.“The complaints received during the previous elections had revealed that Dalits were not allowed to cast their votes or were forced to cast votes in favour of a particular candidate, party or caste at several places,” said Mr. Mimorth, a Supreme Court lawyer. Dalits and women were apprehensive about violence in the “highly charged” atmosphere this time, he added.Creating awarenessA similar control room established during the 2014 Lok Sabha election had received over 80 complaints. In an attempt to generate awareness among the Dalit communities about their voting rights, the CDR has printed and distributed handbills and widely publicised the establishment of control room in Jaipur’s Gopalpura locality.Mr. Mimroth said the CDR had written to the police with the request to take the wanted criminals and anti-social elements into preventive custody, seize unlicensed weapons and ask the licensed weapon holders to deposit their arms and ammunition with the police before the two-phase polling in the State to create an atmosphere free of fear and violence.
Is it finally happening?For years, U.S. university administrators have worried that China’s massive investment in higher education would eventually mean fewer Chinese students seeking to earn advanced science and engineering degrees at their institutions. A new survey from the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) hints that the time may be approaching: For the second straight year, graduate applications from Chinese students are essentially flat. So is the number of acceptances, the first time that has happened in nearly a decade.China is the biggest single source of foreign applicants to U.S. graduate programs, composing roughly one-third of the total, so any changes in their behavior could have a potentially huge impact. And their presence is quite large: Chinese students submitted nearly 300,000 applications this year to the 285 universities that responded to the latest CGS survey and received nearly 72,000 offers of admission. (The survey’s respondents confer roughly two-thirds of all U.S. graduate degrees and represent 82 of the 100 largest graduate-degree awarding institutions.)Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)A second striking finding is that the number of Indian students applying to graduate programs at U.S. universities has skyrocketed for the second straight year. (India represents the second largest source of foreign applications, supplying roughly 18% of the total.) The survey found that graduate applications from Indian students soared by 33% this year, after a jump of 22% in 2013. In contrast, 1% fewer Chinese students sought to enroll, compounding a 3% drop in 2013. Offers of admissions followed a similar pattern, increasing by 25% over last year for Indian students and holding steady for Chinese students. “We started seeing these trends last year,” says CGS’s Jeff Allum, who authored the report, part of an ongoing effort to monitor the graduate admissions process for foreign students at some 500 U.S. institutions. “Now we are more and more convinced it’s real and not just a blip.”If that’s the case, the next big question for university administrators is why students from the world’s two most populous nations are on such divergent paths. The survey provides no answers, although theories abound.One popular explanation is that China’s continuing investment in its academic research infrastructure is making it easier for its students to receive world-class training at home. “The government has boosted its spending on science, and Chinese universities are upgrading their equipment,” notes Robert Bernhard, vice president for research at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. “That type of capacity building has led to a bullish feeling about research.”Allum points to a countervailing trend that could also be a contributing factor. The Chinese government began raising standards for college admissions in 2007 in response to high unemployment rates among new graduates, he notes. So half a dozen years later, the overall pool of potential applicants to graduate school may be somewhat smaller than earlier in the decade. But he admits that “we know much less about China. It remains a bit of a mystery.”With respect to India, university administrators point to a sluggish economy there as a likely major factor for the spike in U.S. applications. “There aren’t a lot of things being built in India, and there’s a feeling of stagnation,” Bernhard says. “The last 2 years have been pretty tough.”Allum speculates that U.S. institutions may also be benefiting from more restrictive immigration policies in the United Kingdom, traditionally a popular destination for Indian graduate students. In addition, he notes that India’s track record of applications has traditionally been more volatile compared with China’s. “India tends to have good years and bad years,” he says. “The fluctuations are much greater.”In fact, the biggest blip in this year’s CGS survey is the dramatic rise in applications from Brazil. Although its total is barely 2% that of China’s (some 6000 applications this year to institutions in the CGS survey), the number represents a 61% leap over 2013. Coming after a 25% increase last year, the 2-year trend has moved Brazil ahead of Mexico as the leading country of origin in Latin America.U.S. officials credit Brazil’s Scientific Mobility Program as the probable cause for the spurt. Previously called Science without Borders, the 3-year-old initiative is meant to give Brazilian students the best possible educational opportunities. Undergraduates, for example, receive scholarships to pursue what’s often called a sandwich degree—for example, 2 years in Brazil, 1 year abroad, and 1 year back home. This year’s spike in graduate admissions may be fueled by a new offshoot of the mobility program that offers scholarships for a 2-year terminal master’s degree in applied sciences at a foreign university.The University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL), is one of the program’s most popular destinations, and the number of undergraduates from Brazil has soared to an expected 195 this fall, from 35 in 2011. Their presence is starting to affect the university’s graduate programs as well, notes David Wilson, UNL’s senior international officer: This year, 20 Brazilian students applied to UNL’s graduate programs, up from zero 5 years ago.Although language is a major barrier for many Brazilian students, Wilson thinks their presence on U.S. campuses could continue growing in the wake of Brazil’s recent decision to drop Portugal from the list of eligible host countries. “Officials decided that many students were choosing weaker institutions [in Portugal] because they didn’t have to learn a new language.” So unless their reputation plummets, U.S. universities seem likely to see more applications from Brazil.
Read it at Forbes Related Items
A paedophile who groomed and raped a 7-year old child has been stripped of his British citizenship and faces deportation to India.The man, who can only be identified as RSD, came to the UK from India in 1997 and was granted British citizenship in 2004. But in 2011 he was convicted of 23 counts of sexual abuse of ‘a male child within the family’.Read it at Telegraph Related Items
Chinese social media apps are rapidly becoming popular with users in India, but the country now wants to regulate them, the Financial Times reported.India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has introduced draft legislation for such apps that run on user-generated content, and which have more than 5 million users in India, according to the FT.Read it at CNBC Related Items
STOP ME IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS ONE. You know, the one about how a New York City desi DJ threw a party one night, 10 years ago, and accidentally launched a movement.About how, housed in a tiny music club near the Hudson River, that party quickly took on a life of its own, soon becoming a regular theme night and attracting young desi crowds. About how this DJ became familiar to countless desi American youths with whom her original vibe had struck a chord.That name, of course, is DJ Rekha: Rekha Malhotra. And it belongs to a smart, hip British-born spinmaster from Queens. As a college student in the 1990s, Malhotra took her obsession with Punjabi music, married it with her respect for urban hip hop tradition, and created the wildly successful underground party phenom Basement Bhangra. Her story is one of how a young woman followed her passion and used it to fundamentally change the soundscape of a city.So you’ve heard that one before, have you?OK, fair enough.But you do know the story doesn’t end there, right?Far from it, actually.That’s because for many desi artists, Basement Bhangra is just the beginning. It is square one, a rite of passage and a catalyst for raw talent in search of a platform. It is also an institution. The party attracts the dedicated and curious from across the nation and abroad. People interested in experiencing first-hand, a very vibrant slice of desi American urban life.Confused? Good. Rekha Malhotra’s party 10 years ago launched a movementLet’s begin in the middle, then. A right proper place to start.Balle-Balle Meets BruuaahIt is the perfect August night and here, in the original home of DJ Rekha’s party – an unassuming splinter of a club called SOB – things are just winding up. SOB may be an acronym for “Sounds of Brazil,” but today, the first Thursday of the month, it really ought to stand for Sounds of Bhangra. That’s because it’s Bhangra – not Bossa Nova- – currently pounding through the club’s walls. The music is loud and proud, and each time the glass doors swing open, its beats trickle out, filtering through the cool air on Varick Street.Tonight, SOB is packed to the gills with partygoers: students and bankers, dentists and cab drivers. People, mostly between the ages of 21 and 35, who may be from different streams of life, but who all share an appreciation for Basement Bhangra’s definition of a night on the town.People like Jonna Davis, a young graduate student with an armful of bangles and an infectious smile. Davis, 24, enjoys Bhangra and has spent time in India. She admits this isn’t her first visit to SOB. “It’s fun here, and I don’t feel like anyone’s being pretentious, like at some of the other clubs that are more snobby,” explains the Pennsylvania native. “Everyone lets everyone have a good time in whatever way they think is best.”That means inside you can expect to find lithe women hoisted onto the shoulders of burly, turbaned men. Partygoers singing at the top of their lungs; stomping and grinding, arms raised, sweat sliding down their beaming faces. The energy is incredible; the noise, deafening.Dancing in a club is nothing revolutionary – especially in a town known for its nightlife. And yet, there is something extraordinary and electric about this venue, this crowd, this music. Bamboo ShootsFor many, a Thursday night at SOB is about having a good time, yes, but it’s also about being a part of a community. It is about celebrating and sharing in what it means to be desi American. It is, in a sense, a performative expression of collective identity. An ethnic “coming out”- and it’s all set to some incredible beats.Tanushree Srinivasan is a consultant who lives in Manhattan. She first heard about Basement Bhangra while a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Srinivasan is here tonight with friend Neepa Majumdar, who is visiting from Texas. They think this venue is pretty special. “The idea of a club being dedicated to an Indian dance form is fascinating,” says Srinivasan. Majumdar agrees: “There’s nothing like this in Houston.”In fact nationally, club nights promoting desi music are still a rarity. And while there are a few exceptions, like the Baltic Room in Seattle, for instance, SOB remains unique in that it is the first, and longest-running American Bhangra experience of its kind. Swing by SOB the first Thursday of the month, and chances are you will see tourists, like Majumdar, who have added a night at Basement Bhangra to their list of things to do while visiting the City. DJ Kayper, born Kaajal Bakrania, hosts the BBC Asian Network’s “Hype Show”And so, the party that first put Bhangra on the U.S. map ten years ago, keeps going strong. A remarkable feat, especially in a town where hot spots remain hot for about a New York minute. It’s easy to appreciate why Rekha and pals (including Bikram Singh, the Dhol Foundation and Panjabi MC) marked the 10th year anniversary bash of Basement Bhangra with much fanfare earlier this year.But could DJ Rekha have predicted any of this?“Never,” she insists. “Ten years ago I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I was just trying to get out of college.”British InvasionThe desi music scene here is gradually coming into its own, and yet, it still plays second fiddle to its UK counterpart. That’s partly because British Punjabi music has a more deep-seated tradition, with artists like A.S. Kang producing hits as far back as the 1970s. It’s also because British Asian artists, including Bally Sagoo, Apache Indian and Panjabi MC, are largely credited with pioneering the desi remix movement in the 1980s and 90s. They were among the first to take a real creative risk, weaving tumbi and dhol beats through western, jungle and raga rhythms – creating inventive combinations that took the music world by storm.Their efforts gave rise to a very fresh, very hot new genre.And it was only a matter of time before the Americans took notice.Hip hop heavy-hitters like Jay-Z and Timbaland, were among the first to jump on the desi musical bandwagon. Britney Spears, Missy Elliot, even country artist Shania Twain, soon began sampling South Asian beats. In 2002, Panjabi MC’s track Mundian Te Bach Ke became an overnight success. It became that song – you know, the one played, replayed, and overplayed until you almost couldn’t stand it anymore. Mundian climbed up the charts both here and across Europe, quickly earning desi-anthem status.But long before Panjabi MC began batting in the big leagues, he performed at – you guessed it – Basement Bhangra. DJ Rekha, recognizing his talent, brought him to New York in 1998 long before his, now classic, debut album dropped. Their relationship continues today.Malhotra has helped turn Basement Bhangra into a fertile platform for emerging artists. She has been particularly instrumental in introducing us to British talent, in turn allowing them to reach a wider audience. She’s performed alongside Tigerstyle, the Dhol Foundation, and Talvin Singh. And when Basement Bhangra launched in April of 1997, it was Birmingham-native Bally Sagoo who helped inaugurate the night. At her very first SOB gig, over a decade ago, Malhotra shared the stage with a band called 32 Tribes. The drummer of that band was a young London-born unknown. His name? Karsh Kale. Singer Deeyah with Adil RayMore recently, the stage at SOB has welcomed diminutive powerhouse DJ Kayper. Kayper, born Kaajal Bakrania, hosts the BBC Asian Network’s “Hype Show” on Wednesday nights – a program where Bollywood beats regularly collide with urban hip hop vibes on the turntable. Kayper, who has performed alongside DJ Jazzy Jeff, Ghostface and Pete Rock, rolled through Basement Bhangra last spring and became an instant hit with the crowd.Another guest DJ at SOB, Adil Ray, also works for the BBC.By the time he takes over the decks, it is past 11 o’clock. The club is sweltering, it is packed, it is alive – and that line at the bar? Well, let’s just say you can forget about getting a drink anytime soon.Ray tells the crowd it’s been four hours since he stepped off the plane, then launches into an eclectic set of tracks – Bhangra, hip hop, country. There’s even a Turkish sample spun in for good measure. The music, he bellows, it doesn’t always have to be desi, does it?He’s right, of course, it doesn’t, and even though it may be his first time here, he seems to speak this crowd’s language well. He understands this is the remix generation; and that these folks are just as likely to have Jay Sean on their I-Pods, as they are Jay-Z.Tucked behind the turntables, he now surveys the crowd, spinning until SOB’s walls shiver with musical bliss. Bad moods have long disappeared under waves of dhol beats twisting their way out of mammoth speakers. He may have achieved iconic status in the UK, but stateside Ray, 33, is a relative unknown – now on his first date with New York’s massive desi nation. Chances are that’s part of the reason he’s chosen to be here tonight, in this modest matchbox of a club in the bowels of lower Manhattan. At SOB, Basement Bhangra, the little club night that could; the party that, against all odds, launched a thousand careers.Beyond Bhangra and Bollywood: The BBC PrecedentThe BBC Asian Network used to cater primarily to, well, British Asians. But in recent years, thanks to free and reliable online listening options, the station has drawn in a considerable international audience as well. Most shows on the Network are broadcast from a studio in Birmingham and can be heard live by accessing http://www.bbc.co.uk/asiannetwork. There’s something for everyone, including contemporary music and comedy (the Adil Ray Show), arts and culture (Nikki Bedi’s program), and DJ Kayper’s late night spot featuring desi underground, electronica, and Bhangra music. No matter what your flavor, the music on the Network is always fresh, the pace fast, and audience participation encouraged. Challenging the MoldIf you’re interested in American desi music, but club bangers aren’t really your thing you’ll want to take note of these rising stars:The Bamboo Shoots: When the Bamboo Shoots (Avir Mitra, Karl Sukhia, Ankur Patel, Ahmed Mahmoud, and Shiv Puri) were announced winners of MTVu and Epic Record’s Artist of the Year award earlier this year, some were surprised. But a quick listen to their signature tracks, available on MySpace and through BambooShoots.Com proves the win was no accident. The group recently performed on the Conan O’Brien Show and was featured in last month’s issue of Billboard magazine.Goldspot: Lead singer Siddhartha Khosla has a voice like butta’-make that ghee. He also looks like a rock star, and has an Ivy League degree (from the University of Pennsylvania). Dan Cairns of the UK’s Sunday Times calls this group “One of the best bands to come out of America in years.” We couldn’t agree more. Go to Goldspot.Net (or to their MySpace page) and seek out the Hindi version of their sublime acoustic track Friday.Zameer: OK, they’re not exactly American, but we’ll forgive these guys because they’re just so darn talented. Desi brothers Zameer, Ali, and Hussain Rizvi make up this Toronto-based rock band. Zameer–which means “conscience” in Persian–was nominated the nation’s “Best Independent Artist” last year. The group’s music has been featured on CBC radio, and Much Music-Canada’s version of MTV. For more, visit ZameerMusic.Com. Related Items
Two persons were arrested on Sunday night for allegedly transporting beef in a four-wheeler here in Madhya Pradesh, police said on Monday. The two accused, picked up from Kesarbagh Road under the Rajendra Nagar police station limits, were identified as Rameez, 23, and Imran Gamu, 26, both residents of nearby Mhow tehsil, Inspector Sunil Sharma said. The police officer denied reports appearing in a section of the local media that the two were thrashed by a crowd present at the spot. “A veterinarian examined the seized meat and said it was that of cow and buffalo,” he said.
Ramesh Bais, a seven-time MP from Chhattisgarh’s Raipur and former Union minister, was on Monday sworn in as the Governor of Tripura, an official said. The Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, Justice Sanjay Karol, administered oath of office to Mr. Bais in the presence of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and senior officials of the administration.Mr. Bais, 71, who succeeded Kaptan Singh Solanki, was accorded the guard of honour at the lawn of the old Raj Bhavan building here. Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that he would work for the all-round development of the State. The Chief Minister said that he had known Mr. Bais since 1999 and the new Governor’s experiences will be beneficial for the State.