calls: govtNew Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) The government is examining whether to persuade electronic media to be cautious while reporting about hoax phone calls or fake letters about planting of bombs which could create fear in peoples mind and also leads to unnecessary sensationalism, Rajya Sabha was told today.”The matter is under examination,” Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said in a written reply to a question that whether the government intends to bring on board electronic media to be cautious while reporting news of hoax calls or fake letters about planting of bombs at public places, trains, airport. PTI ADS SMJ PAL SMJ
A faction of quota protesters brought out a procession at the Dhaka University campus area on Tuesday. Photo: Mosabber HossainA faction of the students and job-seeking youth has rejected the decision to postpone the demonstration demanding reforms of the quota system in public service, following talks with the government.Apparently infuriated by the postponement of the campaign before any formal announcement, the protesters in hundreds held a rallly on the Dhaka University campus on Tuesday.Some of the protesters requested others not to bring out any procession and to wait until the government scrutises the matter and gives its decision after 7 May.In fact, the road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader, in a meeting with a delegation of 20 demonstrators, said they had agreed to postpone the programme until 7 May.Some protesters expressed their dissent on Monday evening. On Tuesday they brought out a procession, chanting slogans demanding reforms in the quota system in public service.The protagonists of the dialogue with the government requested all others to ignore the call to continue the campaign, reports UNB.Rashed Khan, joint convener of Bangladesh General Students’ Rights Protection Council, came up with the request while briefing reporters in front of Dhaka University Central Library premises.He alleged that a faction, from the beginning of the movement, was trying to disrupt their programme.Rashed also said that they have suspended their movement until 7 May following the assurance from the prime minister on quota reformation.He requested journalists not to cover any programme of the ‘dissidents’ as that might create confusion among people.The protesters apologised for assaulting some journalists during the Monday protest.The leaders of the council demanded an apology from agriculture minister Matia Chowdhury for her comments in parliament on Monday night.The ‘dissidents’ are in favour of carrying out their movement on the university campus, demanding reforms in the quota system within one week.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (C) looking at a metal casing with two bulges at an undisclosed location. AFP file photoThe US has accused North Korea of “begging for war” and pushed for the “strongest possible measures” on Pyongyang following its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.As world powers scramble to react to the latest grave step in the North’s rogue weapons programme, South Korea launched major live-fire naval drills to warn its isolated neighbour against any provocations at sea Tuesday morning local time.US Ambassador Nikki Haley told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council that Washington will present a new sanctions resolution to be negotiated in the coming days, with a view to voting on it next Monday.“Only the strongest sanctions will enable us to resolve this problem through diplomacy,” Haley told the meeting Monday called by the United States, Britain, France, Japan and South Korea.North Korea on Sunday triggered global alarm when it detonated what it described as a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile.The underground blast had a yield of between 50 and 100 kilotons, or on average more than five times more powerful than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima, UN political affairs chief Jeffrey Feltman told the council.Declaring that “enough is enough,” Haley said incremental sanctions imposed on Pyongyang since 2006 had failed.Leader Kim Jong-Un’s “abusive use of missiles and his nuclear threats show that he is begging for war,” she said.“War is never something the United States wants and we don’t want it now, but our country’s patience is not unlimited,” she said.‘Insulting’Haley did not spell out what measures Washington was seeking, but diplomats said they could target oil supplies to North Korea—potentially dealing a major blow to the economy.New sanctions could also seek to curb tourism to the country and ban North Korean laborers sent abroad.The draft text was expected to be presented to the 14 other council members on Tuesday as the United States sought to respond quickly to reports that North Korea was preparing another missile launch.Pyongyang in July fired two intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that apparently brought much of the US mainland into range and Seoul has said it could be planning another test.At the UN, China’s ambassador Liu Jieyi warned that the crisis was worsening and emphasized the need for dialogue and a diplomatic solution.“China will never allow chaos and war on the (Korean) peninsula,” he asserted.Liu urged the parties to agree to a Chinese-Russian plan calling for the North to freeze its missile and nuclear tests and the United States and South Korea to suspend joint military exercises.Haley rejected the proposal as “insulting.”“When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an ICBM pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard. No one would do that. We certainly won’t,” she declared.Russia said it would study the new US proposals for sanctions, but again stressed those measures alone would not resolve the crisis.“This is not the way to get parties to the table to seek a political solution,” said Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia.The council has imposed seven sets of sanctions on North Korea since it first tested a nuclear device in 2006, but Pyongyang has repeatedly found ways to circumvent the measures.The most recent resolutions, however, have zeroed in on the economy, targeting key exports sectors such as coal that are a source of hard currency for the regime.Haley reiterated US threats to impose sanctions on countries that conduct trade with North Korea, saying these nations will be seen as “giving aid to their reckless and dangerous nuclear intentions”.That could have major reverberations: China is the largest trading partner of both the North and the United States.South Korean responseSouth Korea’s defense ministry said it was already strengthening its defenses, in part by deploying more US-made Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile launchers.The South carried out an early-morning volley of ballistic missiles Monday simulated an attack on the North’s nuclear test site, followed Tuesday by the naval drills.US President Donald Trump and South Korean leader Moon Jae-In spoke on the phone Monday and agreed to remove limits on the payload of the South’s missiles, fixed at 500 kilograms according to a 2001 bilateral agreement.Trump also approved in principle, the sale of “many billions of dollars’ worth of military weapons and equipment from the United States by South Korea,” according to a White House readout of the call which did not mention any specific new deals.Seoul was the fourth-biggest importer of US arms between 2010-2016, purchasing nearly $5 billion of weaponry in that period according to an analysis by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.On Sunday US monitors measured a powerful 6.3-magnitude earthquake near the North’s main testing site.Hours before the test, the North released images of Kim inspecting a device it called a “thermonuclear weapon with super explosive power” entirely made “by our own efforts and technology”.The South’s defence minister said Seoul believed the North had succeeded in miniaturising a bomb to fit into a missile.The North says it needs nuclear weapons to defend itself against the threat of invasion, and analysts say it is seeking to strengthen its hand for any future negotiations with Washington.
By Sean Yoes, AFRO Baltimore Editor, firstname.lastname@example.orgWhen I entered the gates of the massive Montgomery Park complex on Monroe Street a couple of weeks ago I didn’t know what to expect.I hadn’t been there since a visit to what was then Montgomery Ward (or Monkey Wards as we called it) with my Grandmother in the 1970’s. The 21st century iteration of the white behemoth is an ironic symbol of Baltimore’s evolution over the last 40 years, but I digress.I was at Montgomery Park on Nov. 29 at the invitation of Yvette Bourcicot, policy and communications manager at Facebook. After a conversation with Bourcicot the night before (and a gentle nudge from AFRO Publisher Frances “Toni” Draper), I agreed to participate in the six hour (!) “structured brainstorming session” or “the Baltimore safety jam.”Sean Yoes (Courtesy Photo)The ubiquitous social media conglomerate was in Baltimore to facilitate results oriented conversations about the violence that continues to ravage our city. So, I’ve been on Facebook for 10 years and what I know about the pioneering social media titan is pretty much what everybody knows; billions of users worldwide and because of that the founder Mark Zuckerberg is a rather wealthy man and in recent years his company has found itself in a bit of hot water politically because of Trump, Russian bots, yada, yada, yada.But, what I also know about Facebook is the company is in the midst of giving away billions (with a B) of dollars and implementing strategies globally to do good. So, I suspect that’s why they decided to launch their national “public safety challenge” in Baltimore one of the most violent cities on earth.Once I entered the space where we worked for most of the day and recognized some of the faces in the room much of my apprehension began to melt away.I saw Shantay Jackson Guy of the Baltimore Police Department’s consent decree monitoring team and Ray Kelly of the No Boundaries Coalition sitting together. I also saw Dr. Andrey Bundley, perhaps the last warrior principal of Walbrook High School my beloved alma mater, who is currently Mayor Pugh’s director of African American Male Engagement. There were also several Baltimore City agency heads in the room and we were all charged to identify challenges for (imagined, but oh so real) individual prototypical city residents and come up with solutions to help make their lives better.My group (which was probably the most raucous, not sure why) was made up of: Alli Smith (Pugh’s director of community engagement), Inez Robb (community leader in Sandtown-Winchester), Sarah Vieweg (Facebook), Tavon Claggett (Baltimore Fire Department), Freddie Allen (a colleague with the Black Press), Tlee Cooper (a young entrepreneur) Deidre Webb (Pugh’s Office of Employment Development) and Col. Rick Worley (Baltimore Police Department, chief of patrol).Our job was to help a young man named “D’andre.”D’andre is a 24-year old Black male who lives in Gilmor Homes in West Baltimore, the same community where Freddie Gray lived and ultimately was mortally injured. D’andre is unemployed. He is a high school graduate, but reads on a third grade level. He is responsible for two younger siblings (feeding them, getting them ready for school), he has two young children of his own, he hustles (drugs, illegal transportation), has a criminal record and is active on social media.D’andre wants stable employment, he wants safety for him and his family, he’s fearful, he’s paranoid and he has a lack of role models. Yet, he perseveres the best way he can.His story is a familiar one.At the end of a long work day all the groups identified five top challenges facing Baltimore residents including D’andre. And a formal partnership between Facebook and the City of Baltimore will endeavor to come up with cogent, plausible solutions over the next several months.Baltimore residents feel unsafe sharing information about violent crime with law enforcement.City school students are being robbed at bus stops.Despite the most job openings in the state, Baltimore City has the highest unemployment rate.The pervasive peril of vacant and abandoned houses.Getting helpful information to residents about vacant buildings.If the partnership between the City and Facebook helps eradicate just one of these challenges facing our communities, my trip to Montgomery Park (after a 40-plus year absence) will be one of the best days of 2018.Sean Yoes is the AFRO’s Baltimore editor and author of Baltimore After Freddie Gray: One of America’s Great Imperiled Cities.
Kolkata: After the recent introduction of the Krishak Bandhu scheme which will grant Rs 2 lakh to the kin of farmers after their death irrespective of the cause, the farmers of Bengal are set to receive another good news. The state government has decided to expand the National Agriculture Market (eNAM) scheme to the markets of Bengal, in order to end the plight of small-scale, marginal farmers.Speaking at an event organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) on ‘Driving Agri-Business through electronic National Agriculture Market (eNAM) Platform & Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs)’ on Monday, the agriculture advisor to the Chief Minister, Pradip Mazumdar said: “In a country where agricultural distress is at an all-time high, it is highly important to find a modern solution to address the problem of wastage of surplus produce. eNAM gives the platform to small-scale farmers to meet international buyers and also to sell their produce at the best possible price.” Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata Bose”We are all used to the concept of e-shopping, where we can buy products online while sitting comfortably in our living room. The same concept has been applied to eNAM, which opens up bigger opportunities for farmers who are often neglected,” Mazumdar said. The farmers of Bengal, who live even in the remotest part of the state, are not oblivious to the fact that they need to adopt modern technology or change the way they function. “In fact, the rate of adoption among Bengal farmers is extremely high but all they need is a bit of hand holding and the right kind of training,” he maintained. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe state at present has 17 large markets under the scheme of eNAM, under which 10,798 farmers, 1,742 traders and 62 Farmer-Producer Organisations (FPOs) have registered. Commodities like fruits, vegetables, sugarcane and jute are mainly dealt with on eNAM. The state government aims to double the numbers at the end of this year. Speaking about the hurdles faced by the scheme, Rajesh Kumar Sinha, secretary of West Bengal Agricultural Marketing, said that the eNAM scheme is giving efficient outcome in other states like Andhra Pradesh and Telangana but not in Bengal. “The scheme is not going good for small and marginal farmers with very small amounts of produce. For them, there is a need for an aggregation system that collects small lots. Even grading and assaying of vegetables and foods has not been done well in the state. We need a transparent and robust online interface for buyers and sellers to benefit,” he said. The state government has already spent around Rs 40 lakh on the scheme and another 40 lakh is needed to keep the scheme up and running. “Within a couple of weeks or months, eNAM will be getting the additional budgetary support from the government. This is a good scheme but it has teething issues,” Sinha added.