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Protests in Tamil Nadu after Dalit girl who took

NEET fight to SC kills self

Ariyalur (TN) - The death of Anitha, the Dalit girl who spearheaded the fight against the National Eligibility and Entrance Test (NEET) exam, has triggered strong reactions from all quarters.
Students' Federation of India members held protests in Chennai.
Superstars such as Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan have also expressed grief over the incident.
The daughter of a daily wage labourer, 17-year-old Anitha was one of the respondents against NEET in a Supreme Court case.
Despite scoring 1,176 in her class XII State Board examinations, she was unable to join MBBS course due to low scores in NEET.
Anitha was reportedly upset after it became known that Tamil Nadu will not be exempted from the ambit of National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET).
Daughter of a daily wage earner, Anitha, dreamed of becoming a doctor.
She was found hanging on Friday at her house in a village in this district, police said.
The Dalit girl had approached the apex court last month opposing a plea seeking admissions to under graduate medical courses only on the basis of the NEET score.
The police said they were investigating the matter. Meanwhile, the residents held a 'road roko' in the village, slamming the AIADMK-led state government for the death of the girl.
"District police superintendent, district collector and other senior officials are present on the spot for coordinating the legalities post the death of the girl," a police official told PTI.
The body has been taken to a government hospital for autopsy, he said.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar told reporters that he was deeply pained by the death of the girl.
Education Minister C Sengottaiyan expressed grief and anguish and said steps were being taken to prepare students for any competitive exam. He said such instances must never be repeated.
DMK working president M K Stalin expressed concern over the death of the girl and called the government "inept".
"Students are the future of the nation and they should never attempt to do such things," he said while asking the state government to own up responsibility for the death.
Various political parties have been cornering the state government for its failure to get exemption from the NEET.
Actor Rajinikanth also condoled the death of the teenage girl. "What has happened to Anitha is extremely unfortunate. My heart goes out to all the pain and agony she would have undergone before taking the drastic step. My condolences to her family," he said in a tweet.
VCK chief Thol Thirumavalan, a Dalit leader, expressed anguish at the death of the girl and said no student should attempt ending their lives as there were a lot of opportunities to pass examinations.
Anitha had scored an impressive 1,176 out of 1,200 marks in class XII board examinations. In NEET, she did not fair well and missed out on getting a medical seat.
Although she could not get admission to MBBS, she had the high score to secure the admission for several other courses, including engineering.
She was even reportedly offered a seat in the prestigious state-run Madras Institute of Technology here for aeronautical engineering.

Three-storey building collapses in Mumbai;

many feared trapped

Mumbai - A three-storey residential building collapsed near the JJ junction in the Pakmodia street of the Dongri area of Mumbai on Thursday morning.
The building, named Husaini building, is located at the Bohari Mahal and falls under the jurisdiction of the JJ Marg Police Station.
As many as 20-25 people are fear trapped under the debris.
The DCP Zone 1, Dr Manoj Sharma, said three people have been rescued from the debris, and the look-out for more survivours is underway.
Meanwhile, a police team, a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the fire brigade and ambulances have been rushed to the spot.
Further details are awaited.
Mumbai has been receiving heavy rain since Tuesday disrupting the normal life of the people. The city received over 300 mm rain on August 29 alone, almost touching the July 26, 2005, deluge.
As many as 791 buildings had been identified as "most dangerous" in a pre-monsoon survey in Mumbai.

Panchkula, Sirsa limp back to normal;

curfew relaxed in Punjab till noon

Sirsa/Panchkula - There were no reports of violence since last night in Panchkula and Sirsa, which houses the Dera Sacha Sauda headquarters, police said, asserting that the situation was under control in the state.
However, Section 144 and heavy security has been deployed in both the places.  Meanwhile, in Punjab, curfew has been relaxed at all places, except Patiala, till 12 noon and may be extended till 2pm if all goes well in the state.
Precautionary measured are being taken in Pataila as most Dera followers will cross the place while returning to Sirsa.
Sources say that Dera chief will be lodged in a special cell and get an assistant to stay with him.  
At least 30 people were killed and 250 injured in widespread violence, arson and police firing in Haryana yesterday, triggered by the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in a sexual exploitation case.
While 28 people were killed in Panchkula, the epicentre of the violence, two died in Sirsa.
"The law and order situation is under control as there has been no report of violence since last night," said a senior police officer.
Last night, Army carried out a flag march in the area to maintain law and order. The normal life has come to a standstill due to curfew-like restrictions imposed by the authorities to prevent any untoward incident.
Two companies of the Army and 10 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed. Police personnel have asked locals to stay indoors.
In Panchkula yesterday, CBI judge Jagdeep Singh held Ram Rahim, the 50-year-old flamboyant chief of the dera, guilty of rape in a case that was registered on the basis of an anonymous written complaint in 2002 that he had sexually exploited two female followers.
On the basis of the report, a case was registered against him in December 2002 by the CBI on the directions of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The quantum of sentence against Ram Rahim, who enjoys 'Z' category security, will be pronounced on August 28.

Crude oil opens new vistas in India-US relationship

Washington - The first shipment of American crude oil is likely to reach India in the last week of September, opening new vistas in the Indo-US ties.
With this India, the world’s third-largest oil importer, joins Asian countries like South Korea, Japan and China to buy American crude after production cuts by OPEC drove up prices of Middle East heavy-sour crude, or grades with a high sulphur content.
“New breakthroughs! oil shipments from US to India has started,” the Indian Embassy in Washington tweeted on Wednesday after Indian Ambassador to the US, Navtej Sarna, handed over papers for the shipment to Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
The first lot of two million barrels costs USD 100 million, but given the volume being contemplated by Indian companies, this new development is expected to boost the bilateral oil trade to USD 2 billion.
“Opening New vistas in India US Co-opn,” tweeted the Indian Embassy in Washington DC which also posted several pictures and a video of the event.
Consignments of American crude oil left the US shores between August 6 and 14 and is likely to reach Paradip (Odisha) in the last week of September.
While the 40-year-old ban on export of American oil was lifted by the then US President Barack Obama in December 2015, the real move started during the maiden meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump on June 26 when the two leaders agreed to deepen the engagement in the energy sector.
Soon thereafter, Indian companies started purchasing crude from the US. Two Indian oil giants, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum, placed orders for over four million barrels. The development was welcomed by Trump in his phone call with Modi.
“In his call with Prime Minister Modi on Monday, President Trump welcomed the first-ever shipment of American crude oil to India, which will occur from Texas later this month,” a State Department spokesperson told PTI.
“The President pledged that the United States would continue to be a reliable, long-term supplier of energy,” the spokesperson said in response to a question.
“During the Prime Minister’s June visit to the White House, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi committed to a comprehensive review of their trade relations with the goal of creating a fair and reciprocal trading relationship and removing obstacles to growth and jobs creation, including in the energy sector,” the spokesperson added.
The Indian Oil Corporation Ltd placed its first order in July and the second order on August 10. Bharat Petroleum Corp made its first purchase of US oil, buying high sulphur crudes Mars and Poseidon. BPCL has bought a cargo containing 500,000 barrels each of Mars and Poseidon for delivery from September 26 to October 10. Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) is also looking at buying US crude oil.
IOC Director (Finance) AK Sharma told PTI recently that buying US crude had become attractive for Indian refiners after the differential between Brent (the benchmark crude or marker crude that serves as a reference price for buyers in western world) and Dubai (which serves as a benchmark for countries in the east) had narrowed.
Even after including the shipping cost, buying US crude is cost competitive to Indian refiners, he said.
“We are not looking at any term (or fixed quantity) deal from US as of now. We will tender to buy crude and if the US crude is competitive as compared to others, we will buy it,” he said.
Over the next 20 years, India’s energy consumption growth is projected to be the fastest among all major economies. And by 2035, China and India will have the largest share of global demand (35 per cent).
While this is the first crude oil import from the US, Indian companies have made significant investment in purchasing energy assets in the United States. Four Indian public and private sector companies have invested approximately USD 5 billion in shale assets in the US.
Indian companies have also contracted 9 MMTPA of LNG from the US and the first shipment is expected in January 2018. Of this, GAIL has contracted 5.8 MMT per annum, including 3.5 MMTPA of LNG from Sabine Pass Liquefaction terminal (Louisiana) and 2.3 MMTPA from Cove Point LNG liquefaction project (Maryland).
In a tweet a day earlier, Senator Ted Cruz said Texas would provide crucial oil exports to India and serve as a reliable long-term supplier of energy.
In a certificate issued to Sarna on the occasion, the Texas Governor said in the decades to come “this relationship will continue to be one of the world’s most significant” as the United States and India work towards common goals of prosperity, strength and peace.
“As a top exporter to India with over USD 2 billion annually in exports and as the nation’s leader in crude oil reserve and production, Texas looks forward to our growing relationship with India,” Abbott said.

Setback for opposition as 3 MLCs

resign in Uttar Pradesh

Lucknow - The opposition in Uttar Pradesh suffered a setback with three MLCs putting in their papers almost coinciding with BJP national president Amit Shah’s three-day visit to Lucknow.
While MLCs Bhukkal Nawab and Yashwant Singh are from the Samajwadi Party, Thakur Jaivir Singh represented the BSP. 
Another SP MLC Madhukar Jetli is also rumoured to be quitting but till now he has not formally resigned.
While it has not been officially confirmed, all these MLCs are likely to join the BJP during Shah’s presence in the next three days.
Most importantly, the vacancy in the Upper House has solved the BJP’s problem of accommodating CM Yogi Adityanath and deputy CMs Keshav Prasad Maurya and Dinesh Singh before September 19, the expiry of six months of their terms in office.
It remains to be seen how the BJP proposes to make room for minister of state with independent charge Swatantra Dev Singh who is also not a member of either house of the state legislature.
The lone Muslim minister, Mohsin Raza, who is also not a member of either house is most likely on his way out after being found involved in a number of Waqf scams.
Bhukkal Nawab considered close to Akhilesh Yadav has been with the SP since 1992 and his term was to end in 2022.
However, his name has been embroiled in illegal construction on the Gomti river front in which a CBI probe has been ordered by the Yogi government.
Yashwant Singh, considered close to independent MLA Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya, told reporters that he had been feeling alienated in the SP.
Meanwhile, SP national president Akhilesh Yadav has hit out at CM Yogi for “political corruption”.
He said that fearing to face the people the BJP government has indulged in such political corruption not only in UP but in Bihar and Gujarat as well.
Meanwhile, SP MLC Deepak Mishra in a press statement charged the BJP of forcing the SP MLCs to resign by threatening to implicate them in false cases of corruption and land encroachment.

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