first_imgMumbai: Raising alarm over EVMs ahead of the Maharashtra Assembly polls, key opposition parties on Friday pitched for reverting to the use of ballot papers and announced a protest march on August 21 over the issue.A clutch of opposition leaders, key among them state Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat, MNS president Raj Thackeray and NCP’s Ajit Pawar, held a joint press conference here over the EVM issue. They termed the April-May Lok Sabha polls results as “shocking” as they expressed concern over the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in unison. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Speaking in Wardha, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis asked opposition parties to “introspect” why they have lost the people’s trust instead of finding fault with EVMs. Seeking to develop a groundswell on the issue, the opposition leaders said they would reach out to the people and get filled forms, saying they want ballot papers back. Thackeray also stated that the BJP and the Shiv Sena, too, should join the August 21 march, which he added, will not have flag of any particular party. The BJP had swept the Lok Sabha polls held in April- May this year, winning 303 seats. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIn Maharashtra, the BJP won 23 seats, while its ally Shiv Sena bagged 18 out of the total 48 in the state. The Congress won 52 Lok Sabha seats across the country, including one in Maharashtra. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP emerged victorious in 5 seats, including 4 in the state. “Doubts are being raised over the use of EVMs. Such things should not happen in a democracy. Various parties and organisations have expressed concerns over the use of the machines,” Pawar told reporters here. “We urge the people to flag the demand of holding the election using ballot papers,” Pawar, a former minister, said. “People have doubts about EVMs, VVPAT as the elections are nearing. We do not distrust anyone, but the elections must be held in a transparent manner,” Pawar said. Thackeray, who has been at the forefront of the anti- EVM campaign by political parties, said the Lok Sabha poll results had “shocked all — those who won and lost”. “People in the US had raised suspicions over Donald Trump’s election as the President of that country. The chips installed in the EVMs used here come from the US…Using ballot papers will instill trust among people on the poll process,” Thackeray said as he favoured doing away with the use of EVMs. Thackeray, who campaigned against the BJP though his party did not contest the Lok Sabha polls, said all the opposition parties would reach out to the people getting filled forms, saying they want to revert to ballot papers. “These forms will be submitted to the poll panel on August 21,” he added. Asked about the BJP pointing towards its loss in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh in the 2018 Assembly polls despite the use of EVMs as it counterd the opposition’s machine-related allegations, Thackeray accused the ruling part of “creating an illusion”. Thackeray alleged the BJP’s target was to retain power at the Centre and not in these states.last_img read more

first_img SBI website The State Bank of India headquarters in Mumbai, March 14, 2016.Reuters fileState Bank of India (SBI) has slashed interest rates on home loans effective from January 1, 2017, after reducing the marginal cost of lending rate (MCLR) by a steep 90 basis points to 8 percent. The decision follows deposit surge after demonetisation, making the cost of funds cheaper for banks.The reduction in home loans varies for gender (lower for women) and amount. Home loans are linked to one-year MCLR and therefore new home loan borrowers can be assured of the rate for at least 12 months.Read: Realty stocks slide over possible crackdown on illegal propertiesWomenIn the floating rate category, the interest rate for loans up to Rs 75 lakh is 8.60 percent per annum, while for loans above that limit, it will be 8.65 percent.OthersIn the floating rate category, the interest rate for loans up to Rs 75 lakh is 8.65 percent per annum, while for loans above that limit, it will be 8.70 percent.The rates go up for both categories of borrowers under the bank’s Home Loan (Max Gain) Floating Rate option.Other lenders, both in the private and the public sector, are expected to announce similar reduction given the changed dynamics of deposit-credit triggered by demonetisation in November last year.”We are flush with funds and credit offtake is nil. The expectation is that it will help us in increasing the loan portfolio because, otherwise, a lot of money is going into treasuries, low-yielding instruments. As a result, if the credit offtake improves, the impact will be neutralised,” Rajnish Kumar, managing director, SBI, told BloombergQuint.The fall in lending rates is more than what was expected, according to brokerage house Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd. “PSU Banks like SBI and PNB announced a cut in lending rates. Overall interest rates were expected to move lower but the cuts seem sharper than expected,” it said in a note on Monday.Interest subvention announced by PM ModiIn his address to the nation on December 31, 2016, after the end of the 50-day deadline for returning the banned denominations (relaxed for certain categories), Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced interest subvention for home loan borrowers to spur affordable housing.”Two new middle income categories have been created under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana in urban areas. Loans of up to 9 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 4 per cent. Loans of up to 12 lakh rupees taken in 2017, will receive interest subvention of 3 per cent.”In addition to this, another scheme is being put in place for the neo middle and middle class in rural areas. Loans of up to 2 lakh rupees taken in 2017, for new housing, or extension of housing in rural areas, will receive an interest subvention of 3 per cent,” he declared.last_img read more

first_imgKajal Aggarwal’s boobs grope scene in Paris Paris.YouTube screenshotBollywood’s blockbuster film Queen has been remade in four south-Indian languages. But these films are in the making for several years now and have been into some or the other issues since the beginning.Well, the teaser of Paris Paris, the Tamil version, which was released a few months ago, came under the radar of controversy. Paris Paris stars Kajal Aggarwal and Elli Avram in lead roles. Recently, the film went for censor certification but the members of the board have proposed 25 cuts. This became a big issue, and Parul Yadav, one of the producers of the film, lashing out at the censor board.Like every other member in the cast and crew, Kajal Aggarwal is also disappointed with the feedback of the censor board members.She said, “We have made a faithful attempt in remaking Queen in all the south languages and present it to the audience. I wonder what made them ask for so many cuts. We did not want to hurt anyone’s intentions and those scenes, which they have asked to cut, are similar to things that happen in all our lives. I have been told that the producers are taking necessary actions and putting in all the efforts to make sure that the scenes are retained.” Kajal Aggarwal in Paris ParisTwitterThe actress has said that the remake versions in Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada have also been sent for censor certification and that none of those versions had so many cuts.”We have shot for a long time for this film and the whole team has put in a lot of efforts. So we expect to taste the fruits of the efforts to put in. Hope the members of the censor board will approve the film without cuts,” added the actress.Going into the details, the Telugu version of Queen has Tamannaah Bhatia in the lead role and is directed by Prashanth Varma, while Malayalam version has Manjima Mohan, Kannada version has Parul Yadav in lead roles. An official confirmation on the release date is awaited.last_img read more

first_imgBy James Wright, Special to the AFRO, jwright@afro.comDr. Kelsi Bracmort was bothered that many of the children’s books that she read to her young mentees were so divorced from real life that she decided to do something about it.Bracmort, a native of the District of Columbia who resides in Ward 7, made a decision to become an author. Her first book, Simone Visits the Museum, is a story about a young girl living in Southeast.“Simone Visits the Museum” is a book about a young girl who lives in Southeast D.C. having an exciting day of adventures with her parents. (Courtesy Photo)“Too many times the people who know very little about Southeast have the loudest microphone,” Bracmort said. “Uninformed rhetoric hurts people. This book shows a side of D.C. that few people outside of Southeast are aware of such that Black family life in this city is real and it is beautiful.“The book goes beyond the news headlines, and digs deeper into everyday happenings of family life.”Bracmort holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture and bio-systems engineering from North Carolina A&T University and a master’s of science and doctorate in agriculture and biological engineering from Purdue University. She is a reading mentor for Everybody Wins! a District program that promotes literacy.Simone Visits the Museum is the first in a series about Simone, an inquisitive and vibrant fourth grader who lives with her parents, her older brother, Scott, and their dog, Sophie. The book follows Simone through an exciting day with her mother with the highlight being visiting the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, where she misplaces an item of value.Bracmort said Simone Visits the Museum is about responsibility, paying attention to her surroundings and the importance of family, the type of children’s book that she rarely came across.“I wanted to do a book on an angle that is fresh and a story not told before,” she said.Bracmort said it took two years to complete the book and worked closely with the illustrator, Takeia Marie. She named the main character “Simone” after famed entertainer and activist Nina Simone.Bracmort said she wanted to show the bonds and interactions that African American children often have with their families and present a Black child that was well-behaved.“I wanted to reflect the conversations that curious young girls in D.C. have,” she said. “I want girls to take advantage of all that D.C. has to offer.”Bracmort will have readings and book signings on “Ward 7 Day” on Sept 8, Sept. 22 at the East City Book Shop near Capitol Hill and Sept. 23 at Mahogany Books in Anacostia. Her book already has generated positive reviews.“Simone Visits the Museum is an awesome book,” Melissa Bradley, managing director at Project 500, a business development group in the District, said. “As a parent, I am thrilled to find a book whose character resonates with my children. As someone who has been in D.C. for over 30 years it is refreshing to see a story that reflects a positive experience of a young brown girl.“The book depicts the city and all it has to offer in a realistic and engaging way. As an entrepreneur, I am so proud of Kelsi for her persistence, commitment and integrity throughout the process.”last_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Mayor Sovan Chatterjee on Friday made it clear before the Alipore Court that he would stick to his decision of divorce. Both Chatterjee and his wife Ratna appeared before the Alipore Court hearing in the case of a divorce petition that was filed by the Mayor last year.Sources at the court said the judge tried his best to mend matters, however, Chatterjee stuck to his stand of seeking divorce. It is, however, not for the first time that Chatterjee had said he wants to part her ways with her wife. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt is learnt that Chatterjee told the judge that he has been financially cornered by his wife and does not want any sort of amicability with his wife. Ratna Chatterjee started shedding tears at the adamant attitude of her husband and left the court room weeping as the hearing ended.The Mayor was supposed to appear before the court on April 26 but he skipped attendance citing his poor health condition.Mayor Sovan Chatterjee on April 20 had lodged a complaint with Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar claiming that the officer-in-charge of Parnasree police station is allegedly threatening his security men and is taking side of his wife Ratna Chatterjee. Chatterjee in his complaint letter to Kumar on Thursday alleged that some private security personnel, whom he had appointed to guard his assets and documents at his ancestral property in Parnasree, have been threatened by Ratna Chatterjee in connivance with the local police officials.last_img read more

first_imgDarjeeling: Meetings between UNESCO and Indian Railway representatives will be held on November 20, 21 and 22 to discuss the Comprehensive Conservation Management Plan (CCMP) for the world heritage Darjeeling Himalayan Railways (DHR). The plan has been completed.A UNESCO team comprising experts has been preparing a CCMP for the DHR since 2016. The project involved survey, documentation and dialogue and took into consideration institutional management, finances, legal and technical aspects. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeOver the years, the value of the heritage railway has been steadily decreasing, caused by rampant encroachments, unplanned constructions along the tracks blocking the view and dumping of garbage. “We will be holding a meeting with Railway authorities on November 20, 21 and 22 at the Elysia Building, DHR headquarters, located in Kurseong. The plan has been completed but the implementation part needs to be discussed. We will table the report and discuss with the authorities the steps required to safeguard this world heritage site and to how to sustain it,” stated Abhisekh Sonar, an architectural expert who is part of the UNESCO team, while talking to Millennium Post. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedDHR was inscribed as a world heritage site on December 2, 1999. On Tuesday, it commemorated the World Heritage Week. World Heritage Week is celebrated all over the world from November 19 to 25. It is celebrated mainly by the students of schools and colleges, in order to make people aware about the importance of heritage sites and their preservation. Apart from taking students for a joyride from Darjeeling to Ghoom and back, a community workshop was also organised at the Darjeeling Railway Station. “The workshop includes a UNESCO presentation of 52 slides. This presentation is given in schools, specially in far flung areas. Students are sensitised on different categories of heritage, importance of heritage and the need to preserve heritage,” stated Nitin Giri, specialist, UNESCO. The need for community participation for preservation of the world heritage site was discussed. The history of DHR was part of the presentation as well, including freight trains, postal mail, ambulance train and the trolley. Rabgay Rai, a 3rd year student of Darjeeling Government College who had taken part in the celebrations, stated: “The DHR carries our history. Slowly, the community is becoming aware of the importance of this world heritage site. Students are coming forward now. It is our responsibility to preserve it.” In the year 1879, work first started on DHR, then called the Darjeeling Steam Tramways. The stretch from Siliguri to Kurseong was opened on August 23, 1880, while the Siliguri to Darjeeling track was inaugurated on July 4, 1881. The name of the rail company was then changed to Darjeeling Himalayan Railway Company. The DHR covers a 88 km stretch from Darjeeling to New Jalpaiguri. It starts at 398 feet at New Jalpaiguri in the plains and climbs up to 7,407 feet at the highest point in Ghoom.last_img read more

first_img 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global February 10, 2014 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Whether you’re building a travel app or the next Candy Crush, your app’s social strategy is likely what will make or break you when it comes to sales. At the center of all things social when it comes to apps is Facebook Platform.Facebook powers more than 850 million app log-ins per month, and is enhancing growth for a number of app companies. For instance, Runkeeper users who log-in to Facebook are 70 percent more likely to track their runs with the app than those who don’t, and Facebook-connected SongPop users spend 35 percent more time in the app on average than their non-connected counterparts.Developers know that implementing a social strategy is important, but one of the biggest mistakes they make is not thinking through that strategy before implementing it.“A lot of times when people build a website or an app, they don’t really think about it, and then at the last second they think ‘Let’s just slap on Facebook’ and they add social,” says Deborah Liu, director of product management and platform monetization at Facebook.“People kind of feel like they need to add it there someplace. It’s a check box, and you see that afterthought thinking in the design. As a result, users are kind of confused on what they’re supposed to do.”Related: Business Still Not on Facebook? Get Up to Speed With These 4 Steps.Liu says that when developers don’t think through where they’re putting buttons and implementing social functions, users can in turn be put off with the entire experience. A moment of hesitation within an app takes a user out of the moment, and could potentially make him or her abandon a purchase or share, simply because they aren’t quite sure what will happen.When you’re building a new app, Liu suggests thinking about the big picture and determining what benefit you’re hoping to give your users or yourself by adding a social component.“Really think through what kind of app you’re trying to build, and what kind of user experience,” she says. “A lot of people really need to figure out where Facebook belongs in their app.”Things like where you put a share or a log-in button are important, and can ultimately determine how or if your users interact with it.“Really think about how to give users such a delightful experience that paying is actually something that they’re excited about, and they’re excited about the value they’re getting,” says Liu.Users who enjoy your app and mobile experience are much more likely to purchase things through it, ultimately giving your company more money to fuel your growth and your company’s future.Related: Facebook Is More Addictive and Widely Used Than Ever Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.last_img read more

first_img Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Share Travelweek Group MSC opens sales on new Bellissima ship, debuting March 2019center_img GENEVA — Sales for the highly anticipated MSC Bellissima is now open, giving club members a jumpstart on booking MSC Cruises’ second Meraviglia-generation mega-ship.Sales are initially open exclusively to MSC Voyagers Club members as one of the many benefits of the program. Bookings will open on May 15 for all other guests.When booking MSC Bellissima, MSC Voyagers Club members will also receive a special 5% discount in addition to their current MSC Voyagers Club early booking discount. All other guests will enjoy a 5% discount on early booking fares until Oct. 31, 2017.Beginning in March 2019, MSC Bellissima will cruise the Western Mediterranean for its inaugural season. She will embark on her maiden voyage from Genoa, Italy on March 24, 2019 and call at Marseille and Barcelona, as well as other Mediterranean hotpots like Naples, Messina in Sicily and Valetta in Malta.Onboard, guests will find a wealth of exciting amenities including an unprecedented choice of fine dining and casual options at 10 dining venues, a Mediterranean-style promenade with a 262-foot LED Sky screen, and a dedicated lounge for families called the DOREMI Studio Lounge. Kids will also love the DOREMI Tech Lab, a must-visit destination for curious minds.More news:  Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedA major highlight onboard will be two Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, which will take place six nights per week in the purpose-built Carousel Lounge. Ahead of each performance, guests can enjoy an exclusive pre-show dinner service, a unique experience that’s available both on MSC Meraviglia (deputing this June) as well as the MSC Bellissima. As an early booking incentive, all guests who book a sailing on MSC Bellissima by July 3, 2017 will receive a complimentary Cirque du Soleil at Sea dinner and show experience as part of their cruise booking.“Bearing testimony to our focus on innovation, MSC Bellissima will be the fourth new ship coming into service in just two years,” said Gianni Onorato, Chief Executive Officer of MSC Cruises. “She will join what is already one of the most modern fleets at sea as our long-standing focus is to always offer our guests the most modern and innovative ships to ensure they make the most out of their vacation at sea.”More news:  Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backPrices for MSC Bellissima start at $1,199 per person for a balcony stateroom. The ship is currently under construction at the STX France shipyard. Monday, May 1, 2017 Tags: MSC Cruiseslast_img read more

first_img CALGARY — To celebrate its deep Canadian roots and its successful launch of Dreamliners, WestJet has unveiled enhanced service offerings and products across its Boeing 787 Dreamliners, 767 and 737 transatlantic service.Tailored to showcase its authentic Canadian story, the elevated amenities are expected to roll out across the WestJet fleet throughout 2019 and 2020.“Our guests are going to love our uniquely Canadian products and we are proud to showcase our like-minded partners who share our passion for thoughtful, quality products created in Canada,” said Louis Saint-Cyr, WestJet’s Vice-President, Guest Experience. “WestJet continues our global transformation and these elevated products and services complement the award-winning onboard experience we are known for.”Here is an overview of WestJet’s new amenities:Easy Listening While BoardingFor the first time in Canadian music history, guests will hear a soundtrack of soulful music onboard an aircraft from Canadian Juno award-winning recording artist Sean Jones. During boarding, guests are treated to original music and classic covers of Canadian artists like The Band, Sarah McLachlan and The Guess Who, all of whom Jones drew inspiration from his album, The Boarding Sessions. Plus, guests can watch the story behind the making of his album onboard WestJet’s Dreamliners.More news:  Beep, beep! Transat hits the streets with Cubamania truckNew Business Cabin Amenity KitsBusiness cabin guests departing on European-bound transatlantic flights will receive tan-coloured amenity kits designed by Montreal’s Matt & Nat, while those departing to Canada will receive navy-coloured kits. These kits feature organic skincare products from Toronto’s Province Apothecary that use ingredients sourced from provinces across Canada.Rocky Mountain Soap KitsGuests flying on select flights in WestJet’s Premium cabin will receive Rocky Mountain Soap Company kits that feature handmade products for healthy and beautiful skin. Products include foaming hand wash, hand cream and refreshing wellness sprays, all available throughout most of the airline’s Premium and Economy cabins.WestJet recently celebrated the launch of its third transatlantic Dreamliner flightearlier this month, between Calgary and Dublin. It also launched 787-0 flights between Calgary-Paris and Calgary-London (Gatwick). Tags: Boeing 787, Dreamliner, WestJet Friday, June 14, 2019 << Previous PostNext Post >> WestJet rolls out Canadian-made amenities following Dreamliner launchcenter_img Travelweek Group Share Posted bylast_img read more