Opinion

Chandigarh: With the Punjab assembly polls turning into a three-horse race for the first time, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son and deputy, Sukhbir Singh Badal, face the most serious electoral challenge of their careers. Unlike on earlier occasions, when the contest was a straight fight between the Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (SAD-BJP) combine and the Congress, the emergence of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Punjab's political scene has spiced up the poll scenario, with three-cornered contests on most seats.

As Barack Obama said, “Yes, we can!” That is the reaction across the spectrum. From business leaders, politicians, industry, and even the World Bank, everyone says the problem is temporary, short term and India will come out trumps after a small period of disruption. How I would love to believe that!

Two days ago the Member of Parliament representing Mangalore constituency publicly issued a threat that he would set Daskshina Kannada district on fire  if the local police failed to arrest persons involved in a murder case within the deadline that he set. The controversy created by this incident has hardly died down before his counterpart from the neighboring Canara constituency badly assaulted doctors in a private hospital. Watch Video: 

Philae

As a schoolkid, I was fascinated by the Nile. I had come to know that it is the longest river in the world (7000kms), flowing through 11 countries from south to north. I was also interested in knowing about the Nile valley civilization. So when an opportunity came my way to visit Cairo, I made it a point to go on a cruise on the Nile.

There was a 24 per cent rise in rural women accessing public healthcare between 2004 and 2014, according to a new report by Brookings India, a think tank, significant in a country where half the rural population uses private healthcare, which is four times costlier. Overall, there was a six per cent rise in dependence on public healthcare for out-patients and seven per cent for in-patients over the decade ending 2014, said the Brookings report, which analysed National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data over this period.

Who doesn’t like stories? They are close to everyone’s heart. Stories have the ability to attract children and elders alike and make them stand on their feet. It is but natural for everyone to read stories that generate inquisitiveness, inquiry and ecstasy. This is how we create our own happiness in solitude.  Getting into a story, opening ourselves to the plot and characters, while grasping the language, technique and appropriateness of the narrative style is an experience to cherish.

It may not be entirely coincidental that on the day Donald Trump decreed that those who burn the Star and Stripes in the US will face "consequences", the Indian Supreme Court laid down that the national anthem must be played at the beginning of every show in cinema halls. Not only that, the doors must be shut during this display of loyalty to the nation. The diktat is not without reason. If it is played at the end, then there is the possibility of people leaving their seats and crowding near the closed doors.

Here are the salient features of the Taxation Laws (Second Amendment) Bill, 2016, which is aimed at assessing and levying penalty on the deposit of unaccounted high denomination notes in the bank and acquiring of asset from such unaccounted money.  

The USA, once the world’s largest creditor nation, has now become the world’s largest debtor nation. The cause of this effect was called ‘Reaganomics’ named after Ronald Reagan, an actor, who became the president of the US. He eroded the wealth of that country by spending on grandeur projects like star wars and nuclear missile systems which are never used.  His economic policy, at that time, was hailed by the Right Wing Party, called the Republicans, as nationalism.

A new chapter was heralded in Pakistan's history on November 29 when, for the first time in two decades, the incumbent Chief of Army Staff relinquished office on the appointed date. Despite best efforts by ousted dictator Pervez Musharraf and an appeal by the Pakistan Supreme Court, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif refused to succumb to pressure and exercised his constitutional power to appoint a new Chief of Army Staff.

More Indian men are likely to be admitted to hospital during the last moments of life than women -- 62.5 per cent to 37.5 per cent -- a statistic revealed in new government data on deaths certified by a medical professional. Of 1.06 million certified deaths in 2014, 667,000 were male; 400,000 were female, according to Medical Certification of Cause of Death: 2014, a Census Department report, about 11 percentage points more than the male proportion (51.5 per cent) of India's population.

With the government decision to withdraw Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes as legal tender, an ongoing debate on cash, no-cash or less-cash society has gathered steam. Before moving into a debate on cash, it is necessary to understand the nature of money.

After a convivial evening at King's College on the Strand, when he boarded the Victoria Line to Earl's Court, Professor Ron Geaves experienced the first public reaction to a Donald Trump victory. At one of the stations, two Polish jazz singers entered the compartment. They were busking, an established tradition on the London Underground. "Let me travel in peace," a woman at the far end shouted. It was clear from her accent that she was American. The authority in her tone invited a riposte from an English woman. "We are used to buskers in this country."

Donald Trump's victory has been ascribed to the anger of the white working class in the US over the discontent caused by globalisation because of the curtailment of job opportunities. The same explanation has been offered for the success of the pro-Brexit group in Britain and the rise of the far-right parties in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe.

Is India doing enough to detect fake notes, cited by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a significant reason for withdrawing 86 per cent of India's currency, a process popularly known as "demonetisation"? Apparently not. In 2015-16, only 16 of every 250 fake notes were detected, according to an IndiaSpend analysis of government data.

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