BSP candidate's plea rejected
The Madras High Court today dismissed as not maintainable a plea for disqualifying candidates of AIADMK and DMK and Independent TTV Dhinakaran in the RK Nagar Assembly by-poll for their alleged electoral malpractices during the earlier cancelled by-election.
A bench comprising justices TS Sivagnanam and K Ravichandrabaabu dismissed the plea by BSP candidate for the by-poll AC Sathyamurthy. He sought disqualification of the three candidates on the grounds of their alleged involvement in electoral malpractices during the April by-election, which was cancelled by the Election Commission. During the previous election, various articles, including sarees meant for distribution among voters, valued at over Rs 1.59 crore were seized by EC officials, he submitted.
Over 40 cases were registered and 82 persons involved in such malpractices were arrested, the petitioner said. Besides this, various incriminating materials were seized in the raids conducted by the Income Tax department at the residence of health minister C Vijayabaskar and Samathuva Makkal Katchi founder R Sarathkumar, he claimed. Based on the complaint made by Income Tax department, the EC had on April 9 cancelled the by-election.The petitioner claimed that Madhusudhanan, Ganesh and Dhinakaran were also allegedly involved in such offences and wanted the EC to prohibit them from contesting the by-election scheduled on December 21.
CHENNAI: If the polling for the RK Nagar by-elections is held on Wednesday, TTV Dhinakaran would record the highest percentage of votes — 35.5 per cent — found People Studies, a multi-disciplinary research institute.
Releasing the survey to media persons, professor S Rajanayakam and his associates said that the survey found that the Dhinakaran's pressure cooker symbol has already become more popular among the voters than the other symbols — Two Leaves and Rising Sun.
While 91.6 per cent of the participants correctly identified the pressure cooker as the symbol of Dhinakaran, the Two Leaves and E Madhusudanan combine is known among 81.1 per cent of participants, found the study. Similarly, the Rising Sun and Maruthu Ganesh is known among 77.8 per cent of participants.
The survey gives second place to DMK candidate N Maruthu Ganesh and AIADMK candidate E Madhusudanan third place.
Ever uttered the name of your city and thought of how unique and desi it sounds? But for all their feels, they happen to be not as unique as you'd want them to be. There happens to be a Delhi not located in India, along with many other such cities that share their names with us but are located in another part of the world. That takes 'a home away from home' to the next level.
Here a few cities that share their names with their counterparts abroad
The second look of Suriya's 'Thaana Sernda Kootam' was the most retweeted in 2017, till Virat and Anushka got married.
This year saw southern cinema ruling social media … until Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma decided to get married last weekend.
The couple, christened ‘Virushka’ by the media, broke the internet when they finally went official and Kohli’s tweet announcing their wedding was declared the Golden Tweet of 2017. His tweet got a whopping 88,446 retweets, and over 5 lakh ‘likes’ and counting.
Suriya’s tweet, which was declared the Golden Tweet just a week ago, has now fallen to the Number 2 spot. The actor unveiled the second look for his upcoming Tamil film, Thaana Serndha Kootam, and it quickly garnered 74,704 retweets.
With this, the skipper of the Indian cricket team has had the most retweeted tweet in India for the second year running – and coincidentally, both tweets have been about Anushka Sharma. Last year, when internet trolls went after Sharma, blaming her for Kohli’s drop in form, an angry Kohli tweeted asking everyone to show “compassion”.
In a series of tweets, each one more vicious than the last, trolls had linked Kohli’s performance to the couple’s alleged break-up. An angry Kohli took to Twitter to react, and it sparked rumours of a reconciliation between the two.
One of the top Twitter trends in India this year was #Mersal, which garnered over 1.7 million tweets in just three days. Other trending topics in entertainment included Baahubali 2 and the show Bigg Boss.
Twitter users in India also took to the platform to discuss current affairs as well, on topics such as the GST and the Supreme Court’s verdict on Triple Talaq.
Traffic along Anna Salai was affected nearly six years ago when the construction began.
Even after the final metro tunnel breakthrough between Saidapet and DMS this week, Chennaiites have to bear the brunt of traffic snarls on arterial Anna Salai, coming year too.
Metro rail officials are now working on subways to connect stations and this would mean motorists heading towards Nandanam through Anna Salai would continue to take a roundabout on the one-way for at least four months more.
“The station construction would be completed within three months and till then, there would be no change in traffic diversions. Vehicles going from Binny Road to Sathyam Theatre will continue to go through Pattulos Road and Whites Road,” said an official from Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL).
Traffic along Anna Salai was affected nearly six years ago when the construction began. Ambulance drivers say they are the most affected due to the diversions that take at least 20 minutes longer to reach the destination in peak hours.
“Around five hospitals are located in the area and it also connects three major government hospitals. Like others, ours is not a profession where risk can be avoided by starting a bit earlier. Negligence and delay by CMRL might come down heavily on people's lives,” said K. Murali, an ambulance driver.
On the other hand, metro rail workers finished work on all the underground tunnels and the officials say the stretches from Nehru Park to Chennai Central and St. Thomas Mount to AG-DMS would begin operations in March 2018 and the whole line from DMS-Washermenpet would be operational by December 2018.
“All worksites in Anna Salai will be cleared in three months and the roads would be back to normal in four months. The other areas that were made one way for construction will be made two-way by November, next year,” an official said.
Sources said that GCC and Southern Railway decided to equally share the cost of reconstruction after the latter refused to fund the whole project.
The delay in the renovation of the rail overbridge (ROB) at Elephant gate in North Chennai, due to a cash crunch and lack of coordination between the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) and Southern Railway, has crippled the vehicular movement causing heavy traffic snarls in old Washermenpet, Tondiarpet, Central and Pallavan Road.
Sources said that GCC and Southern Railway decided to equally share the cost of reconstruction after the latter refused to fund the whole project. However, officials say that they are unable to bear the cost of land acquisition.
“The work was commenced in April and since then, motorists and auto drivers have been struggling as only alternative route available to reach the nearby suburbs is 4 km longer,” said Uma Maheshwari, an auto driver. Moreover, the workmen have left iron rods and other construction materials in the middle of the bridge, posing a risk of accidents.
M. Gunasekran, a motorist plying on the road said, instead of making traffic diversions, authorities must hasten the pending construction work of the bridge and restart the traffic flow. Vehicles take 15 to 20 minutes to cross the bridge in peak hours, which can worsen if it continues at the same pace.
Lately, the officials have stopped heavy vehicles from entering the bridge. “Wall Tax Road serves as a connecting stretch to North Chennai, but the restriction of heavy vehicles, including lorry, trucks, and buses from entering the stretch has put us into hardship. Even four wheelers are blocked,” rued one of the lorry drivers in the area. A few sources have also said that the bridge might be closed for traffic soon, meaning nearby areas like Poonamallee High Road, Wall Tax Road, Pallavan Salai, Rajah Muthiah Salai, Perambur Barracks Road, and Pulianthope High Road would soon choke.
Several committees were appointed by the Union Government post-independence to go into the feasibility of the project and all decided against it.
Vast numbers of Hindus celebrated on Wednesday the affirmation in an American science channel that Ram Setu, an undersea bridge between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, is indeed man-made. The promo of the show called 'Ancient Land Bridge' received huge positive response from across the globe, more so in India, much before the actual show itself got aired Wednesday evening (India time), with Union Information and Broadcasting minister Smriti Irani retweeting the video with the caption, 'Jai Shri Ram'.
The US channel supports the theory that the bridge, also known as Adam's Bridge, is man-made based on the studies on the limestone shoals formation and also the findings from the study made by the scientists of the Indiana University Northwest, University of Colorado Boulder, and Southern Oregon University. “The sand bar (sea bed) may be natural but what is sitting on top of it is not”, said the narrator in the promo, while referring to the scientific findings that the rocks on top of the sand bar are 7,000 years old whereas the sand bar is only 4,000 years old.
And that means that the rocks had been brought by someone and placed on the sand bar for making the bridge - the Ram Setu of Ramayana.
Also, the US science channel affirmed what the protagonists of the Ram Setu in India have been claiming for centuries - that the limestone rocks did not belong to that sea area but were brought from elsewhere; in other words, their firm faith that the Hanuman Sena of Vanaras had lifted those rocks across from long distances for building the Setu to Lanka for Rama to rescue Sita from Ravana.
Ram Setu was threatened by an ambitious Rs 2,427-crore project, called the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) launched by the BJP government of Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2002 and carried forward with ample budgetary allocations by the successor UPA-I regime led by the Congress party to satisfy a prime demand from its key ally, the DMK, whose nominee T. R. Baalu was made the Shipping Minister and consecutively the man in charge of the mega project of mega bucks. The DMK said the 150-year dream of the Tamils should be implemented.
The UPA Government had then sought to contest the petition filed in the Supreme Court by the Rameswaram Ram Setu protection committee by arguing that there was no evidence to show that Ram Setu was a place of worship - the DMK chief Karunanidhi had then remarked that Rama was just a mythological figure. That UPA affidavit was hastily withdrawn after a storm of protests from Hindus across the country.
The project aimed at cutting short the distance navigated by the ships sailing between the ports in the west and the east coasts of the country, and vice versa. It was first conceived by Commander AD Taylor in 1860 during the British era but given up as unfeasible - though the ships those days were much smaller and there were no Ram Setu pressures then.
Several committees were appointed by the Union Government post-independence to go into the feasibility of the project and all decided against it.
Simply stated, it was unthinkable that an undersea dredging would be feasible as sea currents would constantly shift the sand and it would need millions of dollars to maintain the depth of 12 metres and width of 300 metres across the 152-km Sethusamudram shipping channel to allow the passage of ships of 32,000 DWT and below. The call of the shipping industry is even greater now as the favoured size of merchant ships is over 60,000 DWT and much closer to 1,00,000 DWT.
The income tax department’s survey on bitcoin exchanges was undertaken to secure information about transactions, parties involved and bank accounts used
In a first, the income-tax department on Wednesday conducted surveys at bitcoin exchanges across the country.
A spokesperson for the department confirmed the development. Exchanges operating across the country, including those in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Gurugram, were surveyed.
It was undertaken to secure information about transactions, parties involved and bank accounts used as part of the authority’s broader efforts to profile and scrutinize assessees who pose a risk of tax evasion. Income-tax surveys or visits to the premises of an assessee are meant to gather information or documents such as books of account and, in some cases, to verify cash or other valuables.
The move comes at a time the government is taking measures to reduce use of cash in the economy and to encourage digital transactions, which are easier for the tax authority to monitor as financial institutions like banks and broking houses are required to report those.
The government and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) are not regulating cryptocurrency at the moment and the tax department wants to ensure gains from dealing in this instrument are not suppressed. One of the concerns of the central bank is that the anonymity surrounding the counter-party in virtual currency transactions may expose its users to unintentional involvement in money laundering or terror financing.
Repeated calls and messages sent to the top bitcoin exchanges and bitcoin firms including Zebpay, Coinsecure and Unocoin remained unanswered.
Sreekanth C.S., chief operating officer, Coinome, a BillDesk-backed cryptocurrency exchange launched in November this year, said he was not aware of any I-T department survey. “I am not very sure who the I-T department is targeting,” he said.
Created in 2009, bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency and has the largest market cap currently. According to coinmarketcap.com, the current marketcap of bitcoins stand at $287 billion. Bitcoin doesn’t have any underlying assets and derives value from use. On Wednesday, the bitcoin price crossed $17,000. In the last one year, price of bitcoin has increased over 21 times.
RBI cautioned the public on 5 December about the potential economic, financial, operational, legal, customer protection and security-related risks associated with dealing in virtual currency. The central bank said it has not given any “licence/authorization to any entity/company to operate such schemes or deal with bitcoin or any virtual currency”.
The finance ministry too set up a committee in April to review the global regulatory systems covering virtual currency and the steps India needed to undertake to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.
Gautam Nayak, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant, explained that income tax will have to be paid on any gains accruing from a cryptocurrency transaction. The tax department is likely to ask investors and traders if their virtual currency transactions were reported or not. “This could be for transactions up to March 2017. For the current financial year, one still has time to file the tax return,” Nayak said.
Trisha has mostly featured in big budget mainstream films but she's also played some interesting roles that go against the grain.
Actor Trisha, who came into the limelight after she won the Miss Chennai beauty pageant, had sworn at the time that she would never enter cinema.
Cut to 2017 and Trisha has more than survived in an industry where heroines have a shelf life shorter than the average avocado. The star has acted with nearly all the bigwigs in the industry, save Rajinikanth.
Trisha has always been a mainstream actor, featuring in mostly big budget films. Known to be nimble on her feet, she has given many memorable dance performances like Appadi Podu in her career. The actor has also been mired in controversy a few times, not in the least because of the unapologetic way in which she leads her life in a conservative state like Tamil Nadu.
After having spent 15 years in Kollywood, Trisha, like her contemporary Nayanthara, is looking to do meatier roles that offer her more than a song and a dance. She recently walked out of Saamy 2 with Vikram, the sequel to the 2003 blockbuster, citing creative difference. It's rumoured that the actor was unhappy with the role given to her in the second film and had chosen to walk out of the big budget project rather than stick with it.
Here's a look at some of the unconventional choices that Trisha has made in her career in Tamil films:
Lesa Lesa: Early in her career, Trisha played the role of a woman who is in love with a death row convict and refuses to move on in life. The film had two heroes, Shaam and Madhavan, but the plot revolved around her character.
Abhiyum Naanum: In this film which explored the relationship between a father and daughter, Trisha had ample scope to perform. She plays a young, assertive woman who falls in love with a Punjabi man and convinces her father (a hilarious Prakash Raj) that she knows what she's doing.
Manmadhan Ambu: Trisha played an actor who breaks up with her fiance because he wants her to give up her career after marriage. Usually, Indian films have treated ambitious women with very little respect. Trisha's Ambu came as a surprise.
Yennai Arindhal: Trisha had a very successful outing with Gautham Menon's Vinnaithaandi Varuvaya, in which she plays a Malayali woman from a conservative Christian family. In her second film with the director, she played a single mother to a young girl, a role which most mainstream heroines would be reluctant to touch.
Thoongavanam: Trisha played an Intelligence Officer on a job all through the film. It's perhaps one of the rare times when a mainstream heroine in Tamil films has been shown completely in the context of her profession rather than family or love life.
Kodi: Trisha played a villain who kills the hero in cold blood to fulfill her political ambitions. Although a female villain, Trisha's character in Kodi was mostly free of the misogynistic trappings that usually accompany such characters. The actor was willing to take the risk to play such a role despite knowing it could backfire badly in a state where heroes are deified.
Trisha has an interesting line-up of upcoming films including Garjanai, the Tamil remake of Anushka Sharma's NH 10, 1818, which is based on the Mumbai terror attacks and in which she's the central protagonist, and 96 with Vijay Sethupathi. She is also making her Malayalam debut with Nivin Pauly in Hey Jude.
Indian team coach Ravi Shastri handed him his cap, before the ODI against Sri Lanka on Wednesday.
It was a proud moment for Washington Sundar who earned his maiden international cap, after he was picked in the eleven to face Sri Lanka in the second ODI being played at the PCA stadium at Mohali, Punjab.
The honours were done by the Indian team coach Ravi Shastri who handed him his cap, before the start of play on Wednesday.
Washington, aged 18 years and 69 days, has played 12 first class matches for Tamil Nadu and is the seventh youngest cricketer to make his debut for India.
The list is headed by Sachin Tendulkar who remains the youngest cricketer to play for India at 16 years and 238 days.
About a week ago, Washington was picked as a replacement for the injured Kedhar Jadhav in ODIs and now finds himself in the playing eleven in place of chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav.
"It has been my fourth day to be precise but I do not feel that I just became part of the team. I knew lot of players before, have played with Mahi bhai (Dhoni) in the IPL. I would definitely have to be ready to bowl 10 overs of off spin and contribute with the bat no matter what position the team is in," he had said earlier.
Washington has been rewarded for his creditable performances in the Indian Premier League playing for Rising Pune Supergiants and in domestic cricket.
He started his career as a batsman before becoming an off-spinner and represented India at the Under-19 World Cup last year.
As for his unique first name, his father M Sundar had told The Hindu, “I am a Hindu and come from a very humble family. Two streets away from my home in Triplicane lived an ex-army man called P.D. Washington. He was extremely fond of cricket and would come to watch us play at the Marina ground.”
Sundar said that he was poor and Washington would buy uniforms for his son, pay his school fee, take him to the ground on his cycle and constantly encourage him.
“I decided to name him Washington in memory of the man who had done so much for me. Had I had a second son, I would have called him Washington Jr,” Sundar said.
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