0 Originally posted Aug. 16 Updated Aug. 21: Adds additional launch information. Tags Meet Boston Dynamics’ weird and wonderful robot family Cosmonauts Alexey Ovchinin and Alexander Skvortsov are currently on board the station along with astronauts from NASA and ESA. The Russian crew members will greet Fedor and test how the robot works in microgravity. Fedor could one day be destined for a career as a space explorer. That is, of course, unless he locks the current residents of the ISS outside of the station with an “I can’t let you do that.” Post a comment Share your voice There is nothing to worry about. Roscosmos If the robopocalypse ever breaks out on Earth, at least the residents of the International Space Station should be safe. Or will they? Russian space agency Roscomos has just launched Skybot F-850, an unsettling, humanoid robot, as a shipment to the ISS. Don’t worry. This is totally fine. Skybot’s nickname is Fedor. He’s probably best known for starring in a Russian video in 2017 while wielding two handguns like a robo-Clint Eastwood. He has his own Twitter account, which delivers tweets in Russian from the robot’s perspective. Somehow this comes off as more menacing than cute. You can check out Fedor in action in a video showing the robot moving in response to his human operator. Робот Skybot F-850, который в эти дни готовится на Байконуре к полету на МКС, получил устойчивую к радиации электронику и “голос” для общения с космонавтами. В космос робот отправится 22 августа, а вернется 7 сентября. pic.twitter.com/WfT5lLsoXX— РОСКОСМОС ТВ (@tvroscosmos) August 8, 2019 On August 21, the Cylon-like Skybot was packaged up tightly inside a Russian Soyuz MS-14 capsule, holding a Russian flag, as it launched for the space station. Dark fantasies of the murderbot turning up and assuming control of the station aside, this is an important launch for the Russian space agency. It marks the first flight of an upgraded Soyuz capsule on the Soyuz 2.1a launch vehicle, which will eventually takeover crewed launches to the station. Fedor’s space experience is likely to be fairly brief. He is expected to reach the space station on Aug. 24 and the robot is scheduled to return to Earth on Sept. 7, with the Soyuz capsule, according to NASA. Roscosmos director general Dmitry Rogozin tweeted a pretty fab promo video for Fedor’s journey, complete with a soundtrack reminiscent of an ’80s action movie. Посвящается нашему Фёдору @FEDOR37516789 и его предстоящему полёту@roscosmos @tvroscosmos @fpi_russia @glavkosmosJSC pic.twitter.com/N4T8cz73co— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) August 12, 2019 18 Photos Sci-Tech Robots Space
A Saint Marys man has died in a one-vehicle crash involving an all-terrain vehicle.Alaska State Troopers say in a web posting that 27-year-old Joe Bryan Joe died at the scene of the accident, near the confluence of the Andreafsky and Yukon rivers.Troopers were notified of the death about 5 a.m. Tuesday.Joe’s next-of-kin have been notified, and the body will be sent to Anchorage for an autopsy.A passenger on the ATV received minor injuries, and was treated at a local clinic.Troopers say alcohol and poor weather are believed to have played a role in the accident.
Alaska Native leader Don Wright has died. He was 84 when he passed away at home on July 5. Download AudioWright was instrumental in developing the tribal lands compensation legislation, Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, signed by President Richard Nixon in 1971. Wright was leader of the Alaska Federation of Natives that year. Wright helped organize AFN during the 1960s, and fought to get the best settlement possible for Alaska Natives. Wright and other Native leaders traveled to Washington, DC to lobby for the law, even though funds were scarce. Wright often used his own money for airfare and expenses, since AFN in its early days had no funds at all. Despite the odds, Wright was successful in getting Nixon administration backing for the settlement.ANCSA compensated Alaska Natives for loss of lands and established regional and village Native corporations with the right to select 44 million acres of land and appropriated $962.5 million to them.Wright was born in Nenana in 1929. He became a pilot and established his own air service. He later formed a construction company, and helped build airstrips and roads in the Interior. He also helped build the first oil field camp at Prudhoe Bay. Wright’s family says he was a champion for Alaska. His funeral will take place July 26th in Nenana.
The U.S. Senate today voted to confirm Loretta Lynch as attorney general. Download AudioBoth Alaska senators voted against her, saying she has not shown she has the independence to stand up to the Obama White House. As Sen. Lisa Murkowski put it, the A.G. should serve as a “firewall against executive overreach, not an apologist for the President’s prerogatives.” Lynch was confirmed by a vote of 56 to 43.
Stories are posted on the APRN news page. You can subscribe to APRN’s newsfeeds via email, podcast and RSS. Follow us on Facebook at alaskapublic.org and on Twitter @aprn Download AudioObama’s Supreme Court nomination draws criticism and praiseLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington D.C.President Obama Wednesday nominated Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. Both of Alaska’s U.S. senators issued written statements reaffirming their support for the Senate’s Republican leaders, who are refusing to hold a hearing or a vote on the nominee.Push to label GE food, including salmon, has staunch opponentsLiz Ruskin, APRN – Washington D.C.This morning, the U.S. Senate considered a bill to block state labeling mandates for GMO foods, including fish. The bill didn’t get enough votes to advance, but the debate shows the forces Sen. Lisa Murkowski is up against as she tries to require consumer labels for genetically engineered salmon.Arctic Council arrives in FairbanksMatt Miller, KTOO – JuneauEvery hotel is booked up solid in Fairbanks this week, and rental cars are hard to find. Over a thousand people from 30 different countries are in the Golden Heart City for a meeting of Arctic scientists and policymakers called Arctic Science Summit Week. One of the highlights includes a meeting of the Arctic Council, a multinational governmental forum created to address the Arctic’s pressing issues.State contemplates how it will pay for the budgetAndrew Kitchenman, KTOO – JuneauAs the state legislature begins the final month of the session- one big question is looming: How are lawmakers going to pay for the budget?Lawmakers struggle to fund pioneer senior homesEmily Kwong, KCAW – SitkaThe pioneer home system is older than the state of Alaska. The first home, in Sitka, was repurposed from abandoned marine barracks in 1913. The state-funded system now operates in six locations and provides care to 440 of Alaska’s senior citizens. And demand is only growing. But as lawmakers grapple with the budget, some wonder whether the state can keep funding the homes at all.Ken Koelsch wins Juneau mayor’s seatJeremy Hsieh, KTOO – JuneauKen Koelsch will be Juneau’s new mayor. Unofficial results from Tuesday’s special election show Juneau voters backed Koelsch with 59 percent of the vote.Houston at the forefront of Mat-Su marijuana legislationEllen Lockyer, KSKA – AnchorageWhen Alaska voters approved legalization of recreational pot and retail sales of marijuana products in 2014, they also approved the right of local governments to ban commercial marijuana grow operations or pot sales within city limits. Two cities in the Matanuska Susitna Borough have opted to ban marijuana sales and grow operations. But Houston is aiming to bolster its city revenues with legal marijuana commerce.Bristol Bay fishermen tour the East CoastMolly Dischner, KDLG – DillinghamDuring a whirlwind east coast tour this month, a group of young Alaska fishermen had the chance to visit the Boston Seafood Show, participate in Slow Fish in New Orleans, and share their concerns with Alaska’s congressional delegations.
The Legislature is poised to pass a state budget that would prevent layoff notices going out to state workers tomorrow. But the budget could draw three billion dollars from the state’s piggy bank, the constitutional budget reserve. And it’s not clear how Governor Bill Walker will respond to a spending plan that doesn’t address Alaska’s long-term state fiscal imbalance.Download AudioSen. Pete Kelly speaks on the floor of the Alaska Senate, (Stock photo by Skip Gray/Gavel Alaska)After weeks of quiet, behind-closed-doors negotiations, the Legislative conference committee on the budget passed a funding plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1st. That action set the stage for both the House and Senate to vote on the budget before the deadline on Wednesday at 3 p.m. to prevent layoff notices being sent to state workers.Conference committee chairman Fairbanks Republican Senator Pete Kelly said this session will provide lasting budget savings, due to overhauls of Medicaid and criminal justice. Under the proposed budget, total spending – including federal funds – would fall from $9.3 billion this year to $8.8 billion in the coming year.“Our goal was to cut somewhere … $400-500 million. We’re over a $400 million reduction,” Kelly said. “And as we said before, those reductions will continue into the future, because of the reform bills.”House Minority Leader Anchorage Democrat Chris Tuck highlighted money that was restored to the budget, including funds for senior benefits, early education, the University of Alaska, and the Alaska Marine Highway.House minority leader Rep. Chris Tuck, D-Anchorage, speaks at a press event Jan. 19, 2016. Photo: Skip Gray/360North.House Minority members have supported changes to the oil and gas tax system that would cut subsidies to producers. But Tuck said the top priority was preventing layoff notices.“Now that we got this off the table – now that we’re no longer threatening state employees – it’s time to get to work and fix Alaska’s future,” Tuck said.Anchorage Democratic Representive Les Gara said it wouldn’t have been appropriate to use the budget as leverage to pass oil and gas tax changes.“You can’t leverage other peoples’ votes by saying, ‘I’m going to shut down government if you don’t give me the oil tax bill I want.’ Those things have to be decided on their merits,” Gara said.But the lack of progress on reaching a comprehensive fiscal plan to stabilize the state budget for future years is a concern for many residents. That’s according to Rasmuson Foundation President and CEO Diane Kaplan. Foundation surveys found Alaskans want the Legislature to adopt a comprehensive plan this year.Walker has proposed a series of new taxes and tax increases, as well as cuts to oil and gas tax credits. Kaplan said Alaskans would like to see the Legislature do more than pass the budget.“In the long term, nothing is being done this session – other than the modest budget cuts – that puts us in a good position to have a bright economic future for any Alaskans – whether the most vulnerable Alaskans, middle-class Alaskans: any Alaskans,” Kaplan said. “This is not a sustainable way to operate the state of Alaska – using reserves.”The potential $3 billion Constitutional Budget Reserve draw would be more than 40 percent of the entire fund. And nearly a fifth of all savings that the state can spend.One party that will be keeping a close eye on what the state government does in the coming weeks is the bond-rating firms. Standard and Poor’s analysts have said negative pressure on the state’s credit rating could intensify if the Legislature doesn’t make structural changes.San Francisco-based S and P analyst Gabe Petek said his firm is watching for what happens next.“We have not viewed the state’s fiscal structure as sustainable over the longer term,” Petek said. “And so, we’ve been watching to see if the Legislature could reach an agreement on some package of reforms that would put the state’s finances on a more sustainable trajectory.”While majority-caucus legislators have said they would bring pieces of Walker’s fiscal plan up for votes, it’s not clear whether any will pass.
More than six weeks after the election, the Alaska House of Representatives still doesn’t have a majority. It’s taking longer to organize a majority caucus this year because the House has almost equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans (and one race that’s still unresolved).The delay means lawmakers don’t know their committee assignments. They also don’t know how many staff members they can hire, and which Capitol office they’ll have.Former lawmakers say there are pitfalls of organizing a closely divided House.Craig Johnson is a former representative who was in charge of office assignments as the House Rules Committee chairman from 2011 to 2016. The Anchorage Republican said House members will start to feel pressure as they move closer to the session. It’s particularly tough for the people who want to be their aides, who have to wait to see if they’ll have a job.“The people that have to move to Juneau – that’s where … I think, the real problem is,” Johnson said. “There are already some people on their way down. And so you got people that are in kind of a no man’s land, not knowing if they get there, if they’re going to have a job. Should they leave? Should they not?”Johnson noted that Alaska could have a situation where the House is evenly split. That happened in Oregon in 2011, when there were Republican and Democratic co-speakers who shared power.But he said that even if there’s a narrow majority, it may be difficult for it to get things done.“The majority, as slim as it is, regardless how it forms, the committees are going to be evenly split,” Johnson said. “It’s not like where you’ve got the ability for anybody to miss a day.”It’s taken time to organize a majority before. The most noteworthy instance was in 1981, when the House didn’t organize until the 22nd day of the legislative session.Sally Smith said there may be lessons from that time that today’s lawmakers can learn from. She represented Fairbanks as a Democrat, and was the rules committee chairwoman once the House organized that year.At the time, the Democrats had 22 members. But they couldn’t agree on who should chair the Finance Committee. And once they formed an organization, some newer and rural Democrats still felt their voices weren’t heard.“You really need to have leadership that takes into account every one who is at the table, regardless of their political party. And tries to accommodate … not so much what they want to take from the table, but what they bring to the table,” she said. “And then we get to a system that starts to work as it should.”The narrow Democratic majority wasn’t stable during that session. In June, four Democrats left the caucus and joined with 16 Republicans and two Libertarians to overthrow the majority that Smith was a part of.“There was a lot of talent and it was really unfortunate that … the organization as it turned out, just didn’t keep their perspective,” she said. “I think we all started out on the right track. But we got perhaps full of ourselves.”Smith said majorities work best when all of the members are treated equally. It also helps if there’s a limited number of goals they all agree on, rather than having the leaders dictate the goals.“On the Democratic side, it was, ‘we’re going to tell you guys what to do. You’re just supposed to fall in line.’ And on the Republican side, it was, ‘Where do you want to go?,’” Smith said. “And they said, ‘We want to hold the leadership.’ And they developed their plan and they executed it. And they executed it well.”The first day of the session will be Jan. 15.
Jeff Feldpausch stands in front of bags of hemlock branches, ready for distribution to elders. He noted the bare spots on the branches, illustrating the annual need for subsistence coming up short. (Photo by Emily Kwong/KCAW)A tribal government is filing suit against the state of Alaska, alleging mismanagement of the Sitka sac roe herring fishery. The Sitka Tribe of Alaska has retained a major Anchorage law firm that specializes in tribal advocacy and subsistence issues.For 20 years, tribal leaders have been worried about the health of Sitka’s herring. The silvery fish return every spring to spawn and are pursued by commercial fisherman, subsistence harvesters and marine mammals alike. As a forage fish, they’re a cornerstone of the ecosystem.Jessie Johnnie told the story of Herring Rock to the Alaska Board of Fisheries in 1997 — one of a young Tlingit woman sitting on the rock and lowering her hair into the ocean for the herring to lay their eggs.“All the herring would come to the rock and swim around,” Johnnie said, “and she would sing lullabies to them.”Herring have cultural, ecological and economic significance for Sitka. But the message to the Board of Fisheries back then was that the herring weren’t spawning the same way in the same places, and subsistence harvesters were struggling to gather enough roe.Herman Kitka, testifying at that 1997 meeting, feared for the worst.“If nothing is done,” Kitka said, “we will lose the herring stock that is left in Sitka Sound.”In 2018, his son Harvey Kitka went before the Board of Fisheries to say the same thing: Act now, or potentially lose our herring. STA proposed capping the commercial harvest of herring at 10 percent. But the board took no action, maintaining a formula that calculates a sliding scale of 12-to-20 percent depending on the size of the biomass.KCAW’s Emily Kwong spoke with Kitka afterwards. He said he wasn’t surprised by the board’s decision, but he wondered if his father’s forecast was coming true.“It’s happening right now, what we were concerned about back then,” Kitka said back in January.In March, the herring fishery opened and ran into trouble. Because the commercial herring fishery is driven by processors, they need fish of a certain quality to market their product, largely to Japan and other Asian countries.Eric Coonradt, the Sitka area management biologist for the state, said the fish this year — most of which were four-year-olds — were simply too small.“The quality with which processors needed to market these fish was 125 grams or better and 11 percent roe or better, and if you look at our forecast, 92 percent of the fish didn’t meet that demand,” Coonradt said.In other words, they were looking for the biggest and best fish out there but didn’t find enough. The fleet fell over 8,000 tons short of their quota, and the commercial fishery closed early for the fourth time in six years. The fishery is driven by the formula, and Coonradt noted it’s up to the Board of Fisheries to change it.“Unless we had a biological concern, we couldn’t close this fishery ourselves. What they’d have to do is bring it to the Board of Fish as an emergency petition. That’s their option,” Coonradt said.Subsistence harvesters didn’t have much luck either.Jeff Feldpausch is the resource protection director for STA. While his team bagged hemlock branches covered with herring eggs for distribution to elders, he pointed to bare spots on the branches.“People don’t want trees in their freezer. It’s all about putting eggs in their freezers, not branches,” Feldpausch said. “This is looking grim. This is really grim.”Although the harvest was insufficient for both commercial and subsistence purposes, the state is preparing for next season’s fishery under the same model. In December, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game announced they anticipate a spawning mass of 64,000 tons of herring in Sitka Sound, around 9,000 more pounds than was originally predicted — and set a commercial quota at 20 percent of that forecast.This infuriates the Sitka Tribe of Alaska. On Dec. 11, STA filed a lawsuit against Fish and Game and the Board of Fisheries in Superior Court. They’re not calling for an all-out closure of the fishery; they’re asking for an injunction against Fish and Game, requiring them to develop a new management plan for the fishery prior to the start of the season next March. STA also wants the court to find that the actions of the Board of Fisheries and the Department of Fish and Game are illegal under Alaska law.In a press release on Friday, STA chair Kathy Hope Erickson called for protection of the subsistence way of life.“The time is now,” Erickson said, “to ensure our people have the chance to fulfill their cultural responsibilities which have been interwoven with the herring since time immemorial, and to fill their freezers. We cannot sit by while the State of Alaska shirks its statutory and constitutional duties to citizens. We demand action by the state.”STA has retained the Anchorage law firm of Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP as legal counsel. The state of Alaska has 30 days to reply to the suit.Editor’s note: Landye Bennett Blumstein LLP is an underwriter for Alaska Public Media.
Guntur: Dinesh Kumar took over charge as new Joint Collector here on Thursday. Speaking to media, he said that Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy was giving top priority to the land reforms. He will try to solve problems related to land. He further said that he would take steps to strengthen the public distribution system. Earlier, Joint Collector-2 Satyanarayana, district review officer Srilatha, special deputy collector Puli Srinivasa Rao, AP Housing Corporation Project Director P Naga Siva Rao welcomed the new JC.
Nellore: District Collector MV Seshagiri Babu directed the officials on Friday to collect details of local people, who were employed in the SembCorp thermal plant located at Pynapuram in Muthukur mandal within two days. It may be recalled that the locals staged protests in front of the thermal plant for some time for not providing employment. Sarvepalli MLA Kakani Govardhan Reddy initiated a meeting with the district officials on Friday as industries failed to provide employment to the local jobless. The Collector said locals should be preferred in power projects in the district and asked SembCorp official Ramesh Raman for details of employment to the local people. Also Read – Telugu Day fete held at DPS Advertise With Us Ramesh Raman informed the Collector that there are 2,278 employees in the plant in which 1,029 are locals. But the MLA asked the category-wise list of employees and their designations and from which village they belong to. Babu directed plant official to prepare the list within two days. Govardhan stated that the people from nearby villages staged protests in front of the plant earlier and the AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) had served notices to the plant authorities. He mentioned farm fields near the thermal plant damaged due to pollution, fish resources spoiled, and the environment also highly affected with the activities of the Plant. Also Read – Second batch of banking course begins Advertise With Us The Collector assured MLA that he would personally visit the areas and take appropriate action. He mentioned they would depute a team of scientists from the Krishi Vigyan Kendra for a detailed investigation on ill-effects of thermal plant on local population. Nellore RDO Chinni Krishna, SE (RWS) Naga Jyothi, SembCorp representatives, Tahsildars , PCB (AEE) Srinivasa Rao and others were present.
Bhopal: The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested a couple in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal for their suspected involvement in Maoist activities, police said on Tuesday. The couple identified as Manish Shrivastava and Anita Shrivastava, residents of Uttar Pradesh’s Jaunpur district, were residing in Bhopal since the last five years with changed names. Also Read – National Herald case: Officer bearers of Congress were cheats, Subramanian Swamy tells court Advertise With Us An Uttar Pradesh ATS team raided a house in Vikas Kunj colony in Shahpura area late on Monday night and arrested the couple for their involvement in Maoist activities. Maoist literature was also found from their residence, police sources said. Director General of Police V.K. Singh told the media about the arrest and said that several Maoist sympathizers have been arrested in various cities in the past. He refused to give more details. The couple, who were wanted in a case in Uttar Pradesh, will be taken back to their state.
Serilingampally: Local MLA Arekapudi Gandhi was the chief guest at the birthday celebrations of TRS working president K Tarakarama Rao in Hafeezpet/Madhapur divisions on Wednesday. Attended by Corporator V Pujita Jagadishwar Goud, Gandhi distributed tiffin boxes to 186 sanitation workers of the two divisions.Several ‘seva’ programmes, like providing mid-day meals for 1,500 students in Shantinagar, Gangaram, Madinaguda, Old Hafeezpet, Ambedkarnagar (900 students) and in Adityanagar, Kanamet, Izzatnagar, Gokul Plots, Chandranaik Thanda (600 students), gifts to meritorious students of 11 government and Urdu medium schools, presentation of cycles to top students of fourth and fifth classes and water bottles to students of classes one to three, were arranged in the divisions. Also Read – Parts of Hyderabad witness heavy rainfall Advertise With Us Speaking at the birthday functions, Goud stated that KTR’s call for gift-a-smile challenge to mark his birthday was evoking a good response in the Twitter. She pledged to provide whatever assistance possible to the poor. The corporator pointed out that KTR as a minister and now as the TRS Working President was promptly responding however busy he might be to public appeals for assistance – “Every month KTR is helping 20-30 persons.” Pujitha said she had herself been inspired to take up service programmes and to participate in the gift-a-smile programmes. She observed that helping the maximum number of people as part of the challenge was the real gift to the TRS leader.
Jammu, July 25: Over 3 lakh pilgrims completed the ongoing Amarnath yatra during the last 24 days breaking the record of last four years. Officials said 3,01,818 pilgrims have been to the cave for “darshan” during the last 24 days. “This number is higher than those who underwent the yatra during the entire 59-day long period in 2015”, officials said. Also Read – INX Media case: P Chidambaram’s CBI custody extended for three days till September 2 Advertise With Us Police said another batch of 2,416 yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys for the valley on Thursday from Jammu. “Of these, 893 are going to Baltal base camp while 1,523 are going to Pahalgam base camp”, police said. Situated at a height of 3,888 metres above the sea-level in the Himalayan ranges in Kashmir, Amarnath cave houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees. Also Read – Pakistan ISI agents copy most hi-tech feature of Rs 2,000 notes Advertise With Us The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. So far, 26 pilgrims have died during the yatra. In addition to this, two volunteers and two security men also lost their lives. Yatra started on July 17 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the “Shravan Purnima” festival.
Warangal: The officials, who do not turn to Independence Day flag hoisting ceremony, will have to face the music, Warangal Urban District Collector Prashanth Jeevan Patil has warned. In a statement on Tuesday, he said that any deviation in this matter will be viewed seriously and entailing disciplinary action against those officials who failed to attend the ceremony. The district officers have been advised to conduct flag hoisting in their respective offices by 8 am so that they could attend the I-Day fete at 9.30 am in the Police Parade Grounds in Hanamkonda on August 15.
1. During the colonisation of the Indian subcontinent, Jammu and Kashmir remained under the rule of Maharaja Hari Singh and never came directly under the British rule. 2. On August 15, 1947, India had celebrated its independence, Maharaja Hari Singh agreed to accede to the Indian Union only on October 26, 1947. 3. Accession Day is a holiday which is celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir, commemorating October 26, 1947, when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession at Amar Palace in Jammu, India. Also Read – One arrested for firing outside Satna college in Madhya Pradesh Advertise With Us 4. Kashmiri separatists observe Accession Day as a Black Day. 5. it is claimed by Azad Kashmir, the self-governing legislative assembly though it is a known fact that it is under the control of Pakistan. The current President of the state is Sardar Masood Khan and Raja Muhammad Farooq Haider Khan is its current Prime Minister. 6. Pak Occupied Kashmir (PoK) also has its own Supreme Court and the High Court. 7. In 1963 Pakistan had handed over a part of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir’s Hunza-Gilgit, the Shaksgam Valley region of Raksam and Baltistan to China. This area is known as the ceded area or Trans-Karakoram Tract.
New Delhi : Impressed by the government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and the BJP’s massive Lok Sabha poll victory, two leaders from the AAP and one from the Congress are “eager” to join the BJP, saffron party sources claimed on Saturday. The three were fielded by their parties from separate Lok Sabha constituencies in Delhi, but lost to their BJP rivals, they said. “They expressed their eagerness to join the party post Article 370 abrogation by the Modi government,” a top Delhi BJP leader said. Also Read – Shah urges women to shun plastic bags Advertise With Us “These leaders contested the Lok Sabha polls from separate constituencies in Delhi and lost with big margins. They are now in touch with the BJP showing interest in joining the party,” the BJP leader said. After a failed attempt at stitching a pre-poll alliance for the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress and the AAP fielded candidates on all the seven seats here. Also Read – Free bus travel for women gets Cabinet nod Advertise With Us “Apart from their appreciation for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the way he ended special status of Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping Article 370, these three leaders have also been impressed by BJP’s massive victory in the Lok Sabha polls this year,” said another top BJP leader, who is in touch with the trio. They had contested the Lok Sabha polls from South, North West and West Delhi seats, he said, adding they may join the BJP after its national leadership gives a “green signal”. “Two of them had contested Lok Sabha polls on the AAP ticket while one was fielded by the Congress,” he added Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari said many people were interested in joining the party, but did not comment on these specific cases. Advertise With Us “The charisma of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is drawing many people towards the BJP,” he said. The Delhi BJP sources claimed that led by Manoj Tiwari, their national capital unit has managed to make inroads into the Purvanchali and Bihari pockets in Delhi, which were considered AAP bastions. “It also acted as another reason behind the three leaders decision to switch sides and join the BJP,” he said. The AAP had registered a stupendous victory in the 2015 Assembly polls, winning 67 of the 70 Assembly seats in Delhi, with the support of the Bhojpuri-speaking Eastern UP (Purvanchali) and Bihar natives settled in the city. “Tiwari is a well-known Bhojpuri actor-singer from Bihar. He has been able to solidly connect to this community which was evident in BJP’s impressive victories in municipal polls in 2017 and the Lok Sabha polls this year” they said. In the run up to the Assembly polls, scheduled early next year, the Delhi BJP has reportedly added around 17 lakh new members, with its leaders claiming it will be a major strength for the party as it looks to upstage the AAP in the national capital.
Hyderabad: The controversy over geotagging of Ayush doctors and other health staff is likely to end after an understanding reached between the senior officials and staff of the department.Following the medical fraternity outcry and Health Minister’s intervention, the top brass of the Ayush held discussions with the stakeholders and try to alleviate their concerns over the implementation of the new system. Also Read – JIH organises Eid Milap for sanitary workers Advertise With Us The main objection being raised by the medical officers and doctors from Ayurvedic, Homeopathy, Unani etc over thegeotagging.They said that their privacy would be breached if their personal numbers and phones were tagged for official purposes. In response to this, the Ayush staff was promised that they would be provided mobiles and a SIM card by the department for official use which they can give for geo tagging. Also Read – GHMC distributes saplings to KV students Advertise With Us Three weeks’ time has been set by the top brass to hand over alternative phones and SIM cards to over 2500-Ayush staff including doctors, pharmacists and fourth class employees working in 840-odd dispensaries across the State. In the third week of September, Ayush staff will be given the alternative gadgets. However, they were told to log into the geo tag application in the meantime using their existing mobile and the phone number in use at present. Advertise With Us Awareness programmes on the new application are being conducted from the last few days and this would stretch until September third week, according to senior medical officers. “Once the official phones are given, the staff could log out of the personal number and re-login using the official SIM and phone. We were requested to use the existing phone and number for the awareness programme until September- end. An assurance was also given that we could log out of the application completely from our personal phones if authorities failed to provide us alternative phone and SIM within the three-week deadline given,” an official who did not wish to be quoted said. The Ayush staff said expressed satisfaction over the fresh developments and said that they would withdraw their protests for the next month and see what measures the top brass takes. They are also relieved after reported directions from Health Minister to senior authorities not to go ahead with the new system until addressing the staff concerns on its implementation.
Fashion and lifestyle e-commerce portal Jabong recorded a five-fold increase in losses to ₹160 crore during the calendar year 2014 due to high discounts on its offerings, although its revenue growth went up by 136% to ₹811 crore, according to the annual of Rocket Internet, its major stake holder.Jabong witnessed a loss of ₹32 crore on sales of ₹344 crore in the previous year.However, a positive development in Jabong’s performance last year was the increase in gross merchandise volume (GMV), the total sales of products on its platform, by 158% to ₹1,321 crore, The Economic Times said.A recent study by UBS estimated the online retailers to turn profitable by 2020 as operating costs (as a percentage of GMV) are likely to decline by an estimated 400 basis points.Considering the earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBIDTA), the company had spent about ₹1.55 paise on every one rupee it earned through sales last year. In 2013, it was ₹1.68 paise.Berlin-based internet company Rocket Internet holds 21.4% stake in Jabong, which was launched in 2012. Jabong competes with Myntra in online apparel retailing.Fast-growing domestic online retailers have come under severe criticism from industry watchers for high discounts and skyrocketing valuations.Meteoric growth seen in India’s e-commerce sector in the last five years was largely led by huge discounts offered by the companies to attract customers to online shopping, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) said in report.Nonetheless, by following an aggressive discounting strategy, the players in the online market have witnessed a manifold increase in their customer base.UBS expects the online retailing market to grow 10 times to range between $48 billion to $60 billion by 2020, based on internet penetration, per capita gross domestic product (GDP), and total retail market size in the country.According to management consultancy AT Kearney, lack of broadband and mobile internet access is constraining the growth of Indian e-commerce market.Though online sales in India increased by 27% to $3.8 billion in 2014, the market size is far below that of other emerging markets such as Brazil with a size of $13 billion, the consultancy added.Discounts will come down as growth moderates from current supernormal phase (to attract more consumers) to moderate growth phase (more users buying online for convenience, choice, etc.), UBS told to NDTV Profit.
Domestic e-commerce market is expected to see a three-fold increase in its value compared to last year, as more and more people show interest in purchasing goods online.The combined gross merchandise value (GMV) of the Indian online retailers is projected to surpass $12 billion (Rs 78,000 crore) by December against $4.5 billion (Rs 29,000 crore) recorded in 2014.As major players like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, and eBay continue to provide a wide variety of merchandise on their platforms by partnering with many sellers and enhancing delivery mechanism, the Indian e-commerce sector is expected to see such a massive growth, Business Standard reported.Amazon sales have increased four-fold this year, as it tripled the number of sellers on its platform. Similarly, the country’s second largest retailer, Snapdeal, has increased its customer three times compared to last year, as it reduced the delivery time to just four hours in several cities.On the other hand, India’s largest e-commerce firm Flipkart saw a robust growth in sales to an estimated $300 million during recently concluded Big Billion Day sale that went for five days. The company said that it had sold 10 lakh products in the first 10 hours of ‘The Big Billion Days’ sale launched on 13 October.While top players — Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal — account for about of 80% of the online sales, small players in the sector are also gaining from the emerging trend. Competition in the domestic e-commerce space is expected to intensify as many big firms plan to foray into online retailing.Recently, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) said that it would roll out its online retailing platforms for fashion and electronic devices by the end of this year.”The overall ecosystem is growing. The good part is that many small guys are also growing rapidly with an increase in their shopper base and GMV. Even a niche e-commerce firm in furniture or baby goods is growing three to four times a year,” said Nitin Bawankule, head of e-commerce at Google India.Value of India’s e-commerce market is estimated to reach nearly $18-20 billion in 2016, according to Google.”There is a plenty of hype, but there is also a good deal of reality in India. It is a growing market, it is exciting, and there will be multiple winners. We will be one of them,” Scott Schenkel, chief financial officer & senior vice-president, eBay had said in an investors’ call last week.About 40% of retail shopping in the country happens during the festive season from September to December.
Agrochemicals manufacturer PI Industries’ share price went up by over 1,20,000% from 2003 to 15, multiplying investors’ returns by more than 1,200 times.So, if you had invested Rs 1 lakh in the PI Industries shares in the beginning of 2003, the investment would have grown to Rs 12 crore by the end of December last year.Besides, the stock has given positive returns for 13 years in a row since 2003, marking the longest streak in Asia. PI Industries ranks 175 among listed entities in India in terms of market capitalisation.The astonishing rally in the stock comes on the back of transformation of the company into a big enterprise with several manufacturing plants and a research and development facility, with a headcount of 1,600.The company’s Managing Director, Mayank Singhal, plans to take its growth to new heights in the coming years, Bloomberg reported.Singhal said that the company expects to grow its earnings by about 20% annually in the next five years.”We are confident that we will be able to grow our order book from $650 million at a steady clip,” said Singhal, who’s also a member of PI’s controlling shareholder family. “We are focusing on expanding our knowledge and technology capabilities. This will enhance our operating leverage and margins.”PI Industries develops and manufactures pesticides by licensing patents owned by its global partners such as BASF SE, Syngenta AG and Dow Chemical Co.Expanding its product portfolio has enabled PI Industries to grow its order book to $650 million so far this year even as its chemical business fluctuated on agricultural output and weather conditions.PI’s shares rose from a closing price of Rs 0.53 on 31 December, 2012, to Rs 649.05 on 31 December, 2015.”While PI is “one of the best plays” in the agrochemicals industry because of its capital efficiency, a balance sheet with little debt and robust growth outlook, the company is exposed to risks from the vagaries of Indian monsoon rains and a decline in farmers’ incomes,” said Niket Shah, an analyst at Indian brokerage Motilal Oswal Securities Ltd.The company posted net income of Rs 246 crore ($37 million) in the last fiscal year ending 31 March, 2015.