Chennai: A fire in the Harbour Telephone Exchange of the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) on Thursday has affected mobile, landline and broadband connectivity in that area, the state-run telecommunications company said. According to the statement issued here, restoration activities are being undertaken on war footing but it may take a week’s time to restore the services. The exchange has 35,000 capacity with 29,000 working lines and 3,000 broadband connections. No human causalities are reported and the fire was doused after ten fire engines and nearly hundred fire men were pressed into service. The fire is suspected to have emanated from the first floor, which was locked, BSNL said. The cables in the exchange room were gutted completely before the fire was extinguished.
WASHINGTON – Buoyed by the sudden likelihood of a budget pact, lawmakers are on track to avoid a repeat of last month’s government shutdown — though President Donald Trump unexpectedly raised the possibility of closing things down again if he can’t have his way on immigration.“I’d love to see a shutdown if we can’t get this stuff taken care of,” Trump declared Tuesday, repeating the sentiment for emphasis.Trump’s comments were strikingly disconnected from the progress on Capitol Hill, where the House passed a short-term spending measure Tuesday night and Senate leaders were closing in on a larger, long-term pact ahead of a Thursday night deadline. The broader agreement would award whopping spending increases to both the Pentagon and domestic federal programs, as well as approve overdue disaster relief money and, perhaps, crucial legislation to increase the government’s borrowing limit and avoid possible default.Democratic leaders have dropped their strategy of using the funding fight to extract concessions on immigration, specifically on seeking extended protections for the “Dreamer” immigrants who have lived in the country illegally since they were children. Instead, the Democrats prepared to cut a deal that would reap tens of billions of dollars for other priorities — including combatting opioids — while taking their chances on solving the immigration impasse later.Tuesday night’s 245-182 House vote, mostly along party lines, set the machinery in motion. The six-week stopgap spending bill contains increases for the military that long have been demanded by Trump and his GOP allies. But the measure appears increasingly likely to be rewritten by the Senate to include legislation implementing the brewing broader budget pact.House Democrats cancelled a scheduled three-day retreat on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to develop a strategy for the midterm elections. A spokeswoman blamed the cancellation on “the pressing issues Congress will likely vote on over the next three days.”The budget negotiations, conducted chiefly by the Senate’s top leaders, Republican Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Chuck Schumer of New York, have intensified in recent days — and the looming government shutdown at midnight Thursday added urgency to the talks. In addition to the military and domestic spending, the deal taking shape would approve overdue disaster relief money and, perhaps, crucial legislation to increase the government’s borrowing limit and avoid possible default.Both McConnell and Schumer reported progress Tuesday morning.“I think we’re on the way to getting an agreement and getting it very soon,” said McConnell.Prospects for dealing with immigration, however, were as fuzzy as ever. The Senate is slated next week to begin a debate to address the dilemma of immigrants left vulnerable by the looming expiration of former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.Weeks of bargaining have left the two parties divided over how to extend protections for such Dreamer immigrants and a court ruling has blunted a March 5 deadline.McConnell said Tuesday that while he hopes “we will end up having something,” he was unsure if any proposed measure would get the 60 votes needed for approval.On Tuesday, White House chief of staff John Kelly threw fuel on the dispute as he defended Trump’s proposed solution. The retired general noted the White House proposal would expand protection for some 1.8 million immigrants. That group includes both the 690,000 currently shielded and also “the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up,” he said.No. 2 Senate Democratic leader Dick Durbin of Illinois, his party’s chief immigration negotiator, bristled at the comment.“I’m sorry for that characterization. It doesn’t surprise me from Gen. Kelly,” he said.The budget talks appeared to be going more smoothly.GOP defence hawks were prevailing over the party’s depleted ranks of deficit hawks, championing major new spending on military programs. Democrats, meanwhile, leveraged their influence to increase spending for domestic priorities such as combating opioid misuse.The result could be the return of trillion-dollar deficits for the first time since Obama’s first term.The stopgap spending bill would keep the government open through March 23 to allow time to write and pass detailed follow-up “omnibus” legislation to fund the government through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.The prospective longer-term budget agreement would give both the Pentagon and domestic agencies relief from a budget freeze that lawmakers say threatens military readiness and training as well as domestic priorities such as combating opioid abuse and repairing the government’s troubled health care system for veterans.The temporary funding measure would also reauthorize funding for community health centres, which enjoy widespread bipartisan support.Aides in both parties said the budget measure may also contain a provision to raise the government’s $20.5 trillion borrowing limit. Legislation to increase the debt ceiling is always a headache, especially for House GOP leaders whose rank and file have in the past used the votes to register objection to deficit spending.Another likely addition is more than $80 billion in long-overdue hurricane relief for Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, a top priority of lawmakers in both parties.Under Congress’ arcane ways, a broad-brush agreement to increase legally binding spending “caps” — which would otherwise keep the budgets for the military and domestic agencies essentially frozen — would be approved, then followed by a far more detailed catchall spending bill that would take weeks to negotiate.It’s clear that Senate Democrats have no appetite for another government shutdown. Their unity splintered during last month’s three-day closure.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had linked progress on the budget with action to address the immigration program, but other Democrats are beginning to agitate for delinking the two, lest the opportunity for a budget pact be lost. And having tried and failed to link progress on the budget to DACA during last month’s government shutdown battle, many Democrats aren’t spoiling for a repeat.“It’s hard. If we can get a good deal that funds disaster relief, funds domestic priorities, funds the opioid crisis it would be a difficult call,” said Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash. “DACA’s important and it ought to get done. But what’s the path?”Schumer said he and Pelosi are “working from the same page,” appearing to discount speculation that she might oppose the coming pact.___AP Writers Jill Colvin, Ken Thomas and Darlene Superville contributed.
WASHINGTON — Ohio officials in Congress have met in Washington with General Motors’ chief executive in their bid to keep a northeastern Ohio assembly plant from closing.GM announced last week that it will stop making the Chevy Cruze at its Lordstown plant by March and is considering closing the plant for good. It is part of a massive restructuring for the Detroit-based automaker.Republican Sen. Rob Portman and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown say they urged GM’s Mary Barra Wednesday to consider bringing other products to Lordstown. Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, whose district includes the plant, also met with Barra.Portman also contacted President Donald Trump and his labour secretary.GM has about 1,500 people left at its Lordstown operation. Barra says the company is focused on relocation and training opportunities for affected workers.The Associated Press
TAYLOR, B.C. – At a District of Taylor Council meeting, on Monday, Council heard from a citizen requesting for a variance to a zoning bylaw.Tammy Smith is requesting that Council makes a variance to the zoning bylaw to accommodate her chickens and one rooster, this following a complaint the District had received from an undisclosed resident.The District did not disclose the specific complaint but did list their own reasons for not allowing a rooster within District limits, such as noise issues. As for the limit of chickens, Council said they referred to other communities and found that six was a good maximum to keep down on smell and noise.Smith says she keeps her coop and yard clean by using wood shavings and proper ventilation, so there would be no concern for a smell. As for noise, her chickens are locked up at night until mid-morning.The matter is now before the Protection Committee for further review.
New Delhi: Accusing the Congress of insulting institutions, including Parliament, judiciary, media and the armed forces, when it was in power, Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Wednesday urged people to think wisely before casting their vote in the Lok Sabha elections beginning April 11.His government has changed things as it puts institutions above everything else, the prime minister said in a blog post. “As you go to vote – remember the past and how one family’s desire for power cost the nation so greatly. If they could do it then, they can surely do it now,” Modi wrote. “Think wisely: From the press to parliament. From soldiers to free speech. From the constitution to the courts. Institutional insult is the Congress way.” “Everyone is wrong, only the Congress is correct,” he said, taking a dig at the principal opposition party. India has seen that whenever dynastic politics has been powerful, institutions have taken a severe beating, he said. Referring to parliamentary proceedings, he said, “The nation knows the numerical dynamics of both houses. It is clear that when a non-dynasty party [has a] higher number, its tendency to work more is visible … which were the forces disrupting the House and why.” Discussing the freedom of expression, the prime minister alleged that dynastic parties have never been comfortable with a free and vibrant press. “No wonder, the very first constitutional amendment brought in by the Congress government sought to curtail free speech. Speaking truth to power, which is the hallmark of a free press was seen as vulgar and indecent,” Modi wrote. He pointed out that the UPA years saw the bringing of a law that could land you in prison for posting anything offensive . “A tweet against the son of a powerful UPA minister could land innocent citizens in jail … the nation watched with horror when a few youngsters were arrested for expressing their true feelings at a programme in Karnataka, where the Congress is sharing power,” he said. Modi said he wants to tell the Congress that “no amount of intimidation” will change the ground realities.
Arsha (WB): A BJP activist’s son was found hanging from a tree on Thursday morning in Arsha block of Purulia district, police said. Sishupal Singh (22), the son of a BJP activist and local panchayat committee member, was missing since Wednesday, Purulia Superintendent of Police (SP) Akash Magharia said. “A missing complaint was filed by Singh’s family members Wednesday evening. He was spotted hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Senabona village around 9am by the locals, who then reported the matter to the police station,” he said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja It’s a case of “unnatural death” and the body has been sent for post mortem, the SP said, adding that an investigation has been initiated into the matter. Last June, Dulal Kumar, a member of the saffron party, was also found hanging from a power transmission tower in Purulia district’s Dava village. The state CID started an investigation into Dulal’s death, following a huge protest by the BJP. Soon after, Joy Biswas was replaced by Magharia as the district superintendent of police.
Amethi (UP): Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi held detailed parleys with senior party leaders Friday to finalise the campaign strategy of her brother and party chief, Rahul Gandhi, who is seeking reelection from the constituency. A senior Congress leader, who was present at the closed-door meeting, said she gave new directives and finalised the strategy of the party in the constituency and took feedback on the preparations for the election on May 6. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details During a five-hour meeting, she told local leaders a 20-member team from Delhi is here to review the progress in the responsibilities given to party functionaries. Priyanka Gandhi arrived in Amethi from New Delhi this morning and held the meeting with party office-bearers at the Congress office in Gauriganj area. She consulted senior party leaders and exchanged notes. In a development the party is viewing as a good sign, Bhalchandra Yadav, former Samajwadi Party MP from Sant Kabir Nagar, Vijay Pasi, who had contested Vidhan Sabha election on SP ticket last time, and Swaminath Yadav who has contested Vidhan Sabha election thrice joined Congress in presence of Priyanka Gandhi. Welcoming the new entrants in the party, she asked them and other Congress leaders to move out in the constituency and ensure the victory of Rahul Gandhi with a big margin.
NEW DELHI: Among the candidates contesting for Lok Sabha polls in Delhi, three dont have college degrees– two are BJP candidates Gautam Gambhir and Hans Raj Hans while third is Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra who has a Pre-University Certifiacte (PUC).While AAP candidate from North-West (Reserved) Parliamenatry Constituency Gugan Singh is class 8 pass.The May 12 Lok Sabha polls in the national capital will involve a contest between Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party, the Congress party and the Bharatiya Janata Party which won all the seven seats in 2014. Five of them are re-contesting this year. Former cricketer Gambhir, in his nomination affidavit, has said that his “degree (was) not completed”. The 37-year-old is contesting in East Delhi against the AAP’s Atishi, 37, who holds a Master of Science (2006) degree from Oxford University. The Congress has named 50-year-old Arvinder Singh Lovely, a B.A. Political Science graduate from Delhi University. Hans Raj Hans, a matric pass (1978), is contesting from the North West Delhi seat. He will face the AAP’s Class 8 pass 70-year-old Gugan Singh. The Congress has named 53-year-old M.Sc. holder Rajesh Lilothia from the seat. For the West Delhi seat, the Congress has named 65-year-old Mahabal Mishra, with a pre-university certificate (Intermediate course) from Bihar. Mishra will face 41-year-old Parvesh Sahib Singh, a MBA holder, and the AAP’s 47-year-old Balbir Singh Jakhar, with a L.L.B degree. In the remaining four seats, the fight is between degree holders. In the Chandini Chowk parliamentary seat, BJP’s 64-year-old sitting MP Harsh Vardhan — a medical graduate from Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College, Kanpur, and a Master of Surgery in Otorhinolaryngology (1983) — is contesting against the AAP’s 52-year-old Pankaj Gupta, a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics (1987) from Allahabad. The Congress has fielded 74-year-old J.P. Agarwal, holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts (1960) from Delhi University’s Hansraj College. North East Delhi will see a contest between three master degree holders. AAP’s 38-year-old Dilip Pandey, holding a Master of Computer Application degree (2005) from Bhopal, is facing three-time Delhi Chief Minister and Congress leader Sheila Dikshit. The 81-year-old completed her post graduation in history from Delhi University in 1959.
If you are finding it hard to deal with the pressure at the workplace, there is more reason to worry. New research has found that work stress and impaired sleep are linked to a threefold higher risk of cardiovascular death in employees with hypertension. “Sleep should be a time for recreation, unwinding, and restoring energy levels. If you have stress at work, sleep helps you recover,” said study author Karl-Heinz Ladwig, Professor at Technical University of Munich, Germany. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainCompared to those with no work stress and good sleep, people with both risk factors had a three times greater likelihood of death from cardiovascular disease, showed the findings published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. People with work stress alone had a 1.6-fold higher risk while those with only poor sleep had a 1.8-times higher risk, the study said. In the study, work stress was defined as jobs with high demand and low control — for example when an employer wants results but denies authority to make decisions. “If you have high demands but also high control, in other words you can make decisions, this may even be positive for health,” said Ladwig.
New Delhi: Former Kolkata Police Commissioner Rajeev Kumar moved the Supreme Court on Monday seeking extension of the 7-day protection granted to him by it in connection with the Saradha chit fund scam case in view of lawyers’ strike in Kolkata.Kumar’s counsel mentioned the matter for urgent listing before a vacation bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Sanjiv Khanna and said that since lawyers in Kolkata are on strike, the protection granted to the IPS officer should be extended. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe counsel said due to the strike, Kumar was not able to move the competent court for seeking relief and hence, the protection granted to him be counted from the time the strike ends. The lawyer told the bench that the top court had on May 17 granted seven days time to Kumar to approach the competent court for legal remedies but four days have already elapsed and they needed time to approach the competent court there. However, the bench said since the May 17 order was passed by a three-judge bench, Kumar’s counsel can approach the apex court registry or the secretary general for listing of the matter before an appropriate bench. “You are a lawyer and you know that CJI is the master of roster,” the bench told Kumar’s counsel and asked him to approach the registry for listing of the matter. Also Read – Firms staying closed 10 days a month due to recession, govt doing nothing: Priyanka GandhiOn May 17, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had withdrawn the protection from arrest granted to Kumar by its February 5 order. The apex court, on February 5, had granted protection from arrest to Kumar while directing him to appear before the CBI and “faithfully” cooperate with investigation of cases arising out of the scam. The apex court had last week said that protection to Kumar would continue for seven days from May 17 to enable him to approach the competent court for relief.