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SINGAPORE, WEEKEND OF FRIDAY,
MAY 24, 2019
FIRST WOMAN TO
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National Geographic to release
documentary on Indian elections
The National Geographic has
announced that a documentary on the
Indian elections will soon make its way
to TV screens.
The production was shot at 37
locations across India. Several faces of
the elections have been captured – from
booth-level officers, political leaders to
ground-level party workers, from
first-time voters to 100-year-old voters,
said a statement from the channel.
The documentary will give viewers a
behind-the-scenes look at political
party rooms and a ringside view of
political rallies, as well as examine the
role of social media and cover new
technology in wooing the voters.
India puts into orbit
radar imaging satellite RISAT-2B
The Indian Space Research
Organisation (ISRO) successfully
launched a radar imaging earth
observation satellite RISAT-2B on
Wednesday, officials said.
The satellite was launched from
Satish Dhawan Space Centre in
Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
It will send clear images which will
be used for agriculture, forestry and
disaster management support, said
ISRO, the country’s space agency.
The images captured by the satellite
will also be used for surveillance
purposes but ISRO is silent on this
Athlete Gomathi tests positive
for banned substance
Athlete Gomathi Marimuthu, winner of
the women’s 800m gold medal at the
Doha Asian Championships last month,
has tested positive for a banned
substance norandrosterone, which is an
The 30-year-old has provisionally
been suspended. If she is proven guilty,
she could be stripped of her medal and
face a four-year ban.
However, The News Minute reported
that she has denied the allegations,
saying she was yet to get any
information about the test results.
Doctor suspended for
wrong surgery on boy
Kerala Health Minister K.K. Shailaja on
Wednesday suspended a government
doctor for performing the wrong
surgery on a seven-year-old boy.
The surgeon operated on the boy for
hernia, instead of giving him nose
surgery. He admitted his mistake.
A statement issued by the minister’s
office said the doctor has been
suspended and a detailed probe
launched into the incident that took
place at the Manjeri Medical College
Hospital in the Malappuram district.
A mix-up had occurred after another
boy with a similar name to that of the
seven-year-old, had come in for hernia
Priests to receive fixed sum of
money for handling last rites
Hindu priests in Kolkata will now
receive a stipulated sum of money when
they perform the last rites for the dead.
The Kolkata mayor, Mr Firhad
Hakim, said that as many as 49 priests
working in seven burning ghats (series
of steps leading down to a body of
water) will be given Rs380 for each case
Said Mr Hakim: “There are some
Hindu priests who only conduct last
rites. They have no fixed stipend and
would depend on whatever the
deceased’s family would offer.”
IAF officer to face culpable
The officer held responsible for the
accidental shooting down of a military
helicopter at the height of
India-Pakistan tension in February will
be charged by the Indian Air Force
(IAF) for culpable homicide not
amounting to murder along with three
others, according to reports.
The IAF has yet to officially
acknowledge reasons for the Mi-17
helicopter’s crash on Feb 27, the day
Pakistan Air Force fighter jets
attempted to cross the Line of Control.
But reports suggest that it was shot
down in friendly fire by IAF’s own air
The IAF said that the investigation is
still going on but some reports indicate
that there was a lapse in following the
standard operating procedure.
The crash killed six IAF personnel
and injured one civilian.
IAF produces first combat-ready
woman fighter pilot
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth is
the first woman fighter pilot in India
to qualify for combat missions.
The Bihar-born completed the
operational syllabus on Wednesday
on the MiG-21 Bison jet.
She has been posted to Nal airbase
on the border with Pakistan and is also
qualified for night flying operations.
Ms Kanth is among the first three
women in the Indian Air Force (IAF)
to qualify to be fighter pilots. The
other two, Ms Mohana Singh and
Ms Avani Chaturvedi, are still
Ms Kanth joined the fighter
squadron in November 2017 and flew
the first solo on a MiG-21 Bison jet in
March last year.
Flight Lieutenant Bhawana Kanth (far left) has become India’s first woman fighter pilot.
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V.K. Santosh Kumar
Marketing Team Head
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
promised to unite the country yester-
day after a huge election win, with his
party on course to increase its majority
on a mandate of pursuing business-
friendly policies and a hard line on na-
At press time, official data from the
Election Commission showed Modi’s
Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) ahead in 298 of the 542
seats available, up from the 282 it won
in 2014 and more than the 272 seats
needed for a majority in the Lok Sabha.
That would give it the first back-to-
back majority for a single party since
“Together we will build a strong and
inclusive India,” Mr Modi said on Twit-
ter on Thursday. “India wins yet again!”
Mr Modi’s victory boosted financial
markets as investors expect his govern-
ment will continue to pursue economic
reforms. He will be under pressure to
create employment for the tens of mil-
lions of young people coming on to the
jobs market in the next few years and to
boost depressed farm incomes.
“The immediate challenges are to ad-
dress employment, the issue of agricul-
tural income and revive the banking sec-
tor,” said Mr Madan Sabnavis, chief
economist at Care Ratings in Mumbai.
But making good on his promise to
unite the country will be difficult as the
BJP campaign was often divisive,
prompting the minority Muslim commu-
nity to express fears that they were be-
ing treated as second-class citizens. His
pledge to take a strong stand against the
separatist movement in Muslim-major-
ity Kashmir has also added to tensions
with nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.
At BJP headquarters in New Delhi,
party workers set off firecrackers and be-
gan decorating the building with floral
decorations ahead of an expected vic-
“It’s a stamp of approval by voters
on the honest and decisive leadership of
Prime Minister Modi,” said Mr Nalin S.
Kohli, a BJP spokesman.
Congress leaders were sombre.
“Why despite a weak economy peo-
ple preferred the BJP is something we
have to understand,” said Mr Salman
Soz, a party spokesman.
“People have given them a second
chance. I hope they use it well.”
The NDA’s predicted margin of vic-
tory, at 348 seats to 85 for the Congress-
led United Progressive Alliance, accord-
ing to TV channel NDTV, is much larger
than surveys indicated in the run-up to
Analysts said the BJP capitalised on
the star power of Mr Modi, a frenetic
campaigner, as well as superior finan-
cial resources. It outspent Congress by
six times on Facebook and Google ad-
vertising, data showed, and by as much
as 20 times overall, sources told Reuters
The poor showing from Congress,
that was ahead in just 52 seats, will lead
to questions over the leadership of
Mr Rahul Gandhi, a scion of the Nehru-
Gandhi dynasty whose father, grand-
mother and great grandfather all served
as prime minister.
“The Congress party has not been
able to improve at all,” said Mr Rahul
Verma, a fellow at the Centre for Policy
Research in New Delhi. “One big story
is the emerging challenge for the Con-
gress to remain a national alternative to
the BJP. That now is under question.”
Modi promises inclusive India
after stunning election win
BJP supporters celebrate after learning the initial election results outside the party
headquarters in New Delhi.
May 24, 2019
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