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Taxpayer has forked out €350K investigating Donegal Senator’s €2K expenses claim

first_imgIt has now cost the taxpayer €350,000 to investigate Donegal Senator Brian O Domhnaill’s controversial €2,000 expenses claim.The disputed claims date back to 2006 and 2007 when the Gortahork politician was a Donegal County Councillor.The Standards Public Office (Sipo) Commission has spent almost €350,000 in its investigation into alleged duplication of expenses by the Fianna Fáil senator. Documents released to TheJournal.ie under the Freedom of Information Act show that over €349,600 has been spent on the case, including legal fees and translation costs.On 9 May 2016, a public hearing of SIPO heard Ó Domhnaill claimed travel and subsistence expenses from DCC for three meetings he attended in March, April and May 2006.The then councillor claimed travel and subsistence expenses from Údarás na Gaeltachta for meetings taking place in other locations on the same dates. He denied any wrongdoing and told the hearing he filled out his expense claims “as honestly as he could”.The majority of the costs relate to High Court and Court of Appeal hearings connected to the case. Sipo won its claim for costs so the majority of the money is expected to be returned to the exchequer. As of 21 September, SIPO received invoices from law firm A&L Goodbody topping €178,000.Sipo’s senior counsel Lúan Ó Braonáin has submitted invoices for over €85,000. Tens of thousands more have been paid out to barristers involved in the case for research, consultation and proofreading.The commission has also spent over €13,200 on translation services from Snasta.In a letter sent to Sipo on 9 June, and seen by TheJournal.ie, A&L Goodbody noted that additional translation and stenography fees were incurred.The Simultaneous Interpretation Company Ltd was paid €1,890, con[text] was paid almost €3,400 and Gwen Malone Stenography Services was paid €3,460. Food expenses on the day of the hearing totalled over €330.The commission came to a decision on the case in July. The report will need to be translated into Irish and given legal approval before it can be published. The investigation was carried out in both English and Irish at Ó Domhnaill’s request.A spokesperson for Sipo said it couldn’t comment on the investigation or when the report might be published.In May, the senator said that “great damage” has been done to his name because of the investigation, but he believes he did the right thing in leaving conferences early to attend meetings in Donegal.Ó Domhnaill, who was nominated to the Seanad by then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in 2007, said that it had “cost him more” in reputational damage and monetary costs than he could have hoped to claim in expenses. Ó Braonáin told the hearing in May that Ó Domhnaill claimed expenses for attending a DCC conference in Fairways Hotel in Dundalk, Co Louth from 9-11 March 2006, as well as expenses from Ú na G for attending a Donegal Sports Partnership (DSP) meeting in Letterkenny on 10 March.The then councillor and DSP chair claimed DCC expenses for attending an Institute of Public Administration training event in Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan from 26-27 April, and Ú na G expenses for attending a DSP meeting in Letterkenny on 27 April.The commission heard that Ó Domhnaill also claimed travel and subsistence expenses from DCC for attending a marine tourism conference in Carlingford, Co Louth from 30 May – 2 June 2006, and claimed Ú na G expenses for a DSP meeting in Dungloe, Co Donegal on 31 May.As such, Ó Domhnaill is alleged to have breached Section 168 of the Local Government Act and the Ethics in Public Office Act.Séamas Ó Tuathail, senior counsel for Ó Domhnaill, told the hearing the original complaint made against the senator was a “false, malicious attack”. The complaint stemmed from a letter sent to DCC from a person who described themselves as “a concerned citizen”.In May, Ó Braonáin recalled how the public hearing into the case was delayed on numerous occasions since 2012.Ó Braonáin said Ó Domhnaill “wanted to have his side of the case dealt with in Irish, which he was entitled to do”.The senator made a claim to the High Court regarding the language issues. He wanted members of the commission to be bilingual and able to conduct proceedings without the assistance of an interpreter. He argued that if this requirement could not be met his rights as an Irish speaker would be infringed.Ó Domhnaill also argued that the commission was not entitled to deal with the issues raised as they stemmed from an anonymous letter.In July 2015, the Court of Appeal cleared the way for the investigation.Taxpayer has forked out €350K investigating Donegal Senator’s €2K expenses claim was last modified: October 22nd, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Women clean up at cleantech awards

first_imgThe Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for small and medium enterprises aims to train, mentor and give access to participating entrepreneurs annually. This promises to boost job creation in the country.Four South African women-owned companies score big at this year’s Global Cleantech Innovation Programme gala. The event aims to train, mentor and empower SMEs. (Image Supplied)Melissa Javan Three South African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will attend the Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Francisco, US, in February 2017.Yolandi Schoeman of Baoberry, Pamela Alborough of SanAqua and Martin Ackermann of Thevia won awards at the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA) in Johannesburg.At heart, Cleantech is green technology. It refers to any process, product or service that reduces negative environmental impacts through significant energy efficiency improvements, the sustainable use of resources, or environmental protection activities.The Cleantech Open Global Forum will be hosted from 6-10 February 2017.The GCIP-SA is implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) with funding by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). In South Africa, Unido partners with the Technology Innovation Agency as the execution and hosting institution for the GCIP. Cleantech Open, based in the US, serves as the main knowledge partner of the global programme.The GCIP-SA focuses on promoting clean technology innovation aimed at addressing the most pressing energy, environmental and economic challenges of our time.At the GCIP-SA gala evening this year, held on 20 October 2016, businesses owned by women dominated the awards: five of the six awards were won by women. Schoeman walked away with two – the overall winner and Most Promising Woman-Led Business. The others were:Pamela Alborough of SanAqua – one of two runners-upSandiswa Qayi of Amahlathi Echo-Tech – winner of Most Promising Youth- Led BusinessLouise Williamson of Sustainability Professionals – winner of Innovation for Social Impact Small business is big businessIn her keynote speech at the GCIP-SA gala and awards, Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor explained that by creating a platform to link South African cleantech entrepreneurs with investors and business and commercial partners, the programme aimed to contribute to the commercialisation of new products and services, and ultimately job creation.The intention of her department was “to exploit the creative abilities of the innovators in our country so that they can establish viable businesses and produce globally marketable products that put South African innovation on the world stage… and show that we as South Africans are capable people”.In September, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said: “A total of 47% of our country’s people are employed by the small business sector. That is 7,3-million people.” To him, small business is big business.This means that the GCIP-SA is in line with the National Development Plan 2030, which has as an aim the creation of millions of jobs for South Africans.Sandiswa Qayi (right) of Amahlathi Eco-Tech won Most Promising Youth-Led Business at the Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA) awards in Johannesburg on 20 October 2016. She shows Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor (left) her company’s innovation, Hot Spot, for geysers. (Image Supplied)The finalistsOut of more than 80 companies, there were 26 semifinalists for the GCIP-SA competition. Nine were in the energy efficiency category, six in water efficiency, five in renewable energy, four in waste beneficiation, and two in the new green buildings category.During the last week of July, the 26 semifinalists attended business clinics in Durban, Cape Town and Pretoria.They had one-on-one consultations with topic specialists in key entrepreneurial concepts at the clinics. The topics discussed included financing, intellectual property, product development, marketing and business modelling, all targeted at tackling specific challenges in their businesses. The Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for small and medium enterprises aims to train, mentor and give access to participating entrepreneurs annually. This promises to boost job creation in the country.Gerswynn McKuur, the national project manager of GCIP-SA, said the participants would benefit from the following services:Training through national academies, webinars, regional events and business clinics;Mentoring by local and international experts on business development and subject matter specialists;Access to capital through building relationships with strategic investors, angel groups, pitch panels, networking, and investor connect programmes;Showcasing innovations at regional events, national conferences, and through global media exposure.It was important to note, McKuur said, that GCIP-SA finalists and semifinalists from 2014, 2015 and 2016 were exposed to ongoing opportunities for mentorship and exposure to potential partners, customers and investors, and not only during the year in which they participated in the programme.”This is part of the GCIP-SA’s mandate of building and maintaining a platform and ecosystem for cleantech innovators in South Africa, and connecting them to relevant international networks.”For example, arrangements were being made through Unido for three participants to take part in a side event at CoP22 in Marrakech, Morocco, from 7-18 November this year.Through its extensive training and mentoring programme, McKuur said, the GCIP-SA helped SMEs and start-ups:to de-risk and make their businesses investor-friendly, thus contributing to their success and expansion; and,to introduce innovative new products into the market.In this way it was making a positive contribution to the South African economy.The winners’ projectsYolandi Schoeman of Baoberry is the overall winner of the 2016 Global Cleantech Innovation Programme for SMEs in South Africa (GCIP-SA).Schoeman also won Most Promising Female-Led Business for 2016 for the aWetbox, or “wetland in a box”. The aWetbox is “a cost-effective, low-maintenance, carbon sequestrating solution to assist municipalities (critical infrastructure needs) and low- to high income home owners to improve water quality with downstream business opportunities.“It is an integrated grey water treatment and rainwater harvesting and treatment system for water optimization, availability, re-use and treatment.“Pamela Alborough of the company SanAque HCA is a runner-up. Her innovation, the Hydrochemical Activation Treatment (HAT System) is “a small, electronic water treatment component.“It is modular so is capable of improving treatment of small to large quantities of water (from 1kl/hr up to very large plants). The system uses no chemicals, requires low skills to operate and by disrupting and coagulating harmful pollutants, cleans water more cheaply and effectively than ever before.“Martin Ackermann, another runner-up is team-leader of the company Thevia. It manufactures Thevia roof tiles. The tiles are made from 99% waste materials, including crusher discard.They weigh a quarter of traditional concrete tiles but are twice as strong and not brittle (<0.1% breakage). Compared to the cheapest concrete tile, Thevia tiles provide an 8-15% cost saving on total roof installation.Sandiswa Qayi of Amahlathi Eco-Tech won the award for the Most Promising Youth-Led Business. The company’s innovation is Hot Spot for geysers.According to the Department of Science and Technology, 6.2 million geysers in the country on the grid consume 40% of monthly electricity; the average heating time for these geysers is 1.5 to three hours.The Hot Spot is explained as “a geyser sleeve/conduit that can be retrofitted over any standard geyser element. The Hot Spot’s solution is to push hot water from the bottom to the top of the geyser using thermosiphon.”It provides 50 litres of hot water within 30 minutes at 50 degrees Celsius for use by all households and small commercial users.”Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

Dönerstag celebrations from around the world

first_imgLast week, nearly 40,000 geocachers around the world gathered to celebrate the unique geocaching holiday of Dönerstag. Events included feasts of döner kebab, cooking sausages over an open fire, a Signal the Frog® appearance, and of course, earning the Dönerstag souvenir!Many of you, nearly 900,000 in fact, also earned the new Germany country souvenir!We’ve rounded up Dönerstag photos from the tiny state of Rhode Island in the United States to the coast of Sweden, Dönerstag’s birthplace of Germany, and many places in between to show how Dönerstag is celebrated across the globe.Here are some of the wonderful things that happened around the world during this celebration!(Image by Kristen Silva) “Geocachers near Providence, Rhode Island met at a local German restaurant to celebrate!”(Image by Beth Katz) “Dönerstag Lunch in Millersville 2017. We had about 50 people attend in Millersville Freedom Memorial Park, Millersville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, USA.”(Image by TrickyMD) Signal in Germany celebrating Dönerstag!(Image by TrickyMD) Signal in Germany celebrating Dönerstag!(Image by herr_mattsson) “Geocaching event on Sturkö at Uttorps Böte [Sweden]”Share how you celebrated Dönerstag in the comments below!Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedLes célébrations du Dönerstag tout autour du mondeApril 25, 2017In “Français”How to host a great Dönerstag eventMarch 14, 2017In “News”Celebraciones del Dönerstag alrededor del mundoApril 25, 2017In “Español”last_img read more

Rackspace Says it’s Closing the Gap with Amazon

first_imgMassive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… Related Posts 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now Tags:#enterprise#news#NYT alex williamscenter_img The chief executive of Rackspace says the company has closed the gap with Amazon, gaining significant market share in its cloud computing compared to a year ago. In an interview with Reuters, Chief Executive Lanham Napier said a year ago Amazon was “incredibly far ahead,” of Rackspace in the cloud computing market. But this year he said Rackspace has closed the gap with Amazon’s web services business.Napier did not provide details about the gap nor how much Rackspace has gained on Amazon. He did say the Rackspace cloud business contributed 10 percent to the company’s revenue in the third quarter. Business for cloud computing services has been growing in excess of 100 percent per year. In the second quarter, the Rackspace cloud business grew 17 percent.The cloud business does have its pitfalls, in particular in respect to the tight margins that come with offering the service. Napier said those tight margins have been offset by its hosting business. Rackspace provides hosting to large enterprises. Cloud computing services are primarily provided to customers for hosting websites and renting servers that can be scaled up and back down at any time.But can this scenario continue? Competition is only starting in the cloud computing market. Rackspace competes with other cloud computing providers such as Joyent. Microsoft will soon enter the game. The key will be in how to add margins to the cloud business. Depending on traditional hosting business may get tricky if more of that business goes to the cloud, too.Amazon seems to be fighting that battle on a daily basis. They continue to add features but have to respond to market pressures with competitive pricing. The company recently announced it was dropping prices for its EC2 service.Disclosure: Rackspace is a RWW sponsor. IT + Project Management: A Love Affair Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of…last_img read more

Mercedes-Benz expects zone restrictions for self-driving cars

first_imgMercedes-Benz wants to have its first autonomous vehicle on the roads by 2020, but expects there will be roadblocks for the first few years as regulators and infrastructure remain in the age of human-controlled cars.Speaking to CarAdvice at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, Mercedes head of R&D Ola Kallenius said that it plans to reach Level 4 autonomy in three years. That means autonomous capability in every sort of non-extreme environment. In-between, there will be splashes of autonomy, but humans must still focus on the road and be prepared to take over.See Also: Columbus’ smart city win may lead to autonomous trucksUnlike a few other automakers, Mercedes is not ready to remove the steering wheel, even when Level 4 autonomy arrives. Kallenius sees a world where a sizeable portion of cars on the road are autonomous taxis, but another portion are owned by customers, who can take over control of the car if they want to drive.“For personal use: if I could pay some thousands of euro more to get a chauffeur that, on a Saturday night maybe I want to go into town with my wife and have a nice dinner and have a glass of wine and I don’t want to drive after a glass of wine … Or I’m tired after a long day at work and I actually want the car to drive me home … I would buy that,” said Kallenius.Most riders want to be able to take back controlHe’s not alone, in most surveys conducted on self-driving interest, most consumers have said they would want some control over the car and the ability to take over.It seems likely that as we move into a world of autonomous taxis, regulators will start to make it harder for humans to drive, as they pose more of a risk on the road. That could make driving a luxury, one that only a few can afford, as car ownership moves from a necessity for most to a pastime. For Self-Driving Systems, Infrastructure and In… Tags:#automotive#Autonomous car#CES2017#Mercedes-Benz#Self-Driving#transport Break the Mold with Real-World Logistics AI and… 5 Ways IoT can Help to Reduce Automatic Vehicle…center_img Related Posts IT Trends of the Future That Are Worth Paying A… David Currylast_img read more

Had warned AAP about ‘flirting’ with Khalistanis: Gul Panag

first_imgActor and one-time Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate and campaigner Gul Panag on Saturday said she had warned the party against associating with Khalistan separatists during the Punjab Assembly elections in 2017. Ms. Panag was replying to a tweet that alleged that the AAP was “clearly seen romanticising Khalistanis” when she came out against the “flirtation”.“Poorly calculated flirtation that was. One I warned against. Repeatedly. It’s because they didn’t ‘get’ or ‘understand’ Punjab. Thought the K gang had electoral weightage. All of us from Punjab, knew better. But alas!,” she tweeted. Another Twitter user then asked her if the underlying message of her statement was that if Khalistanis had electoral weight, then it would have been acceptable. “No, the message is – no one in Punjab cares about Khalistan. Not even the ‘fringe’,” she replied. Requests for comment from several AAP functionaries, including AAP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and spokesperson Ashutosh, yielded no response.last_img read more

Judge returns Great Lakes wolves to endangered species list

first_imgGray wolves in the western Great Lakes region are once again protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), following a federal court ruling. The decision ends wolf hunting and trapping in Minnesota and Wisconsin. In Michigan, which does not allow wolf hunting, voters recently rejected an effort to establish a wolf season.The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) removed federal protections for the wolves (Canis lupus) in 2012. The agency concluded that the canids had fully recovered from near-extinction and turned their management over to the three states’ wildlife departments. But in her 19 December ruling, U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell called the decision “arbitrary and capricious.”At the time of the wolves’ delisting, federal wildlife biologists estimated the animals’ population in the region at 4400. That number dropped to 3748 this year as a result of hunting and trapping, and state plans called for an even greater decline. For instance, Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources was aiming for a statewide wolf population of just 350 animals (from a high of 800).Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In response, the Humane Society of the United States, representing a coalition of animal rights and conservation organizations, filed suit against the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2013. They argued that the decision to remove federal protections was premature and threatened the wolves’ survival.Howell agreed, finding that FWS had incorrectly interpreted the ESA by not assessing the species as a whole. The agency’s delisting decision was “fatally flawed,” she wrote, because it was tied to “a scientific finding that turned out to be, at best, premature, or, at worst, erroneous.”FWS spokesman Gavin Shire disagreed, saying that the “science clearly shows that wolves are recovered in the Great Lakes Region, and we believe the Great Lakes states have clearly demonstrated their ability to effectively manage their wolf populations.” FWS has not yet decided if it will appeal the ruling.last_img read more

BJP shakes off its geriatric image, gets ready for 2004 polls with a vibrant new team

first_imgNew hat: M. Venkaiah Naidu, seen above with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, represents a generational shift in the BJPFor most days, the BJP’s 11 Ashoka Road office wears a somnolent look. The trickle of visitors has grown thinner in recent years and the damp, humid rooms at the back of the,New hat: M. Venkaiah Naidu, seen above with Atal Bihari Vajpayee, represents a generational shift in the BJPFor most days, the BJP’s 11 Ashoka Road office wears a somnolent look. The trickle of visitors has grown thinner in recent years and the damp, humid rooms at the back of the building are occupied by anonymous figures who spend time gossiping or reading newspapers. On July 1, the atmosphere was transformed. There were surging crowds and the string of BJP leaders and ministers seemed endless. After a protracted and bitter struggle, 72-year-old Jana Krishnamurthy grudgingly allowed a change he had long resisted and stepped down. The new president, 53-year-old former rural development minister M. Venkaiah Naidu, represents a generational shift. He is one of the younger leaders who were handpicked by L.K. Advani during the Ram temple movement. The installation of Naidu as party president saw Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee visiting the party headquarters after a long time. Immediately after, Naidu got down to business. He has announced that there will be “live contact” between the party and the Government. He is trying to address a problem that has dogged party-Government relations almost from the day the NDA Government was formed. Under Kushabhau Thakre, the party became a passive appendage of the Vajpayee Government; and under Krishnamurthy, it retreated into irrelevance, its office-bearers being people of no political standing. New hat: Arun Jaitley with mentor L.K. AdvaniThat a change of style is imminent became clear last week when the newly appointed spokesman, former law minister Arun Jaitley, endeared himself to the faithful by hitting out at the National Human Rights Commission’s interference in Gujarat politics. Jaitley’s robust defence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was in sharp contrast to the PMO’s squeamishness on the issue. The party, it was clear, would maintain an identity distinct from the Government, though not in conflict with it. The new look BJP team is certain to bear the stamp of Advani. Apart from Jaitley, it is likely to include former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Rajnath Singh, RSS veteran and Rajya Sabha member Bal Apte and former minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi. RSS appointee Sanjay Joshi will, of course, continue. With the deputy prime minister agreeing to devote more time for party work, the countdown to the general elections in 2004 has well and truly begun. Naidu told INDIA TODAY that there would be “quick changes” in the organisation and said he was looking for leaders with “ability and mobility”. This means that the BJP president’s effort will be aimed at weeding out greying, anonymous people who hold key organisational posts in Delhi and in the states. Ever since the tenure of Thakre, an old-time pracharak, organisational appointments in the BJP have been ruled by a strange doctrine of seniority that bore no relation to performance. OTHER CHANGES IN THE OFFINGHer backward caste appeal and populism could see her being projected as the BJP’s choice in Madhya Pradesh. UMA BHARATI Sports ministerHaving barely escaped being dropped from the Cabinet, he may be packed off as chief of the Karnataka unit shortly. ANANTH KUMAR Urban development ministerIf Bhairon Singh Shekhawat becomes vicepresident of India, she will be designated his successor in Rajasthan. VASUNDHA RARAJE Minister of state for small industriesNow the emphasis will be on drive and energy. Among the early casualties of this shift may be Delhi BJP chief Mange Ram Garg and Chhattisgarh state chief Lakhi Ram Agarwal. In addition, Union ministers Uma Bharti and Vasundhara Raje may be shifted to Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, in time for next year’s assembly polls. In time, Urban Development Minister Ananth Kumar may head back to Karnataka. What is planned is a grand overhaul, much more radical than the one Vajpayee attempted but failed to execute in the Government. The BJP can now be expected to aggressively target the Congress. Till now, BJP office bearers took umbrage at any minister making a political statement. Naidu’s statement that he intends to carry “the BJP flag in one hand and the NDA agenda in the other” seems to reflect the new priorities that have been set out. Advani’s rising profile has led opposition parties to predict that the BJP is bound to veer more sharply towards right of centre politics. Advani categorically points out that “there is no question of returning to the BJP agenda”, but does make the point that no partner in the NDA should be expected to be diffident or apologetic about its identity. This, however, does not amount to any endorsement of the VHP line, he stresses. Indeed, the idea is to isolate the VHP by allowing the BJP to reclaim some of its political aggression and anti-Congress thunder. At the same time, efforts are on to steer yesterday’s Hindutva hardliners into more politically acceptable directions. A case in point is the appointment of Bajrang Dal founder and Faizabad MP Vinay Katiyar as the party chief in Uttar Pradesh. Katiyar was not chosen for his pro-temple stand but because he combined a political approach with the right caste label – he is a Kurmi.Yet the Hindutva issue is bound to be raked up when Gujarat goes to polls later in the year. This will need skilful handling on the part of the BJP. In recent years, the task of incorporating elements of Hindutva which are central to the party’s identity had taken a backseat. This was partly because BJP office bearers, including party spokespersons, simply did not connect with the cadre. To restore the links, Naidu is expected to tour the various units of the party across the country. This is not an unusual routine for the frequent flyer. He and his team have to produce a feelgood factor about the Government. Now that the Vajpayee regime has completed roughly half its term, this is not going to be an easy job.advertisementadvertisementDespite the danger of the current euphoria dying down, the new BJP team may succeed in reducing the odds stacked against the party. Yet, in the final analysis, the party can succeed if its own Government is seen to be effective. That is something which is beyond Naidu’s control.last_img read more

ISL 2018-19: Bengaluru FC vs. Jamshedpur FC: The first Steel Derby ends in an…

first_imgAdvertisement AdvertisementBengaluru FC and Jamshedpur FC shared the spoils in an end to end contest at the first-ever steel Derby of ISL 2018-19. With this result, five teams sit on top of the table with four points on their bag.Sunil Chhetri celebrates after giving a momentary lead to Bengaluru FC in the 2-2 draw (Credits: indiansuperleague.com)Udanta Singh sprinted down the right flank to meet a brilliant defense-splitting pass from Erik Partaalu at the 12th minute. However, the 22-year-old’s cross was weak and got cleared by Tiri. Jamshedpur FC found themselves in a similar predicament when Jerry’s cross was wayward and went out for a throw-in. The game slowly converted into a chess match as both the sides resorted to capitalize on the counter and set pieces.Finally, the deadlock was broken at the 45th minute when Nishu Kumar curled the ball into the back of the net from just outside the penalty box.Bengaluru FC looked menacing at the onset of the second half and created a lot of half chances, however, it was Jamshedpur FC who got the next goal when 16-year-old Gaurav Mukhi equalized for the away side at the 81st minute. The joy was short-lived as Sunil Chhetri’s wonderful header put Bengaluru FC in the driver’s seat courtesy of a brilliant cross from Harmanjyot Khabra. It looked as if Bengaluru FC would walk away with the three points but Sergio Cidoncha spoiled their plans.The final scoreline read 2-2 in what was the most exciting game of ISL season 5 so far.last_img read more