SC Dismisses Plea For Conduct of “Free & Fair” Elections In West Bengal As Well As Protection of Opposition Party Workers & Leaders

first_imgTop StoriesSC Dismisses Plea For Conduct of “Free & Fair” Elections In West Bengal As Well As Protection of Opposition Party Workers & Leaders Radhika Roy25 Jan 2021 3:34 AMShare This – xThe Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking for directions to the Centre, West Bengal government and Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in the elections scheduled to be held this year in West Bengal. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Hemant Gupta and R. Subhash Reddy refused to entertain the plea and directed the Petitioner to take “other…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking for directions to the Centre, West Bengal government and Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections in the elections scheduled to be held this year in West Bengal. A Bench comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Hemant Gupta and R. Subhash Reddy refused to entertain the plea and directed the Petitioner to take “other remedies available under the law”. Justice Bhushan further observed the Petitioner that it was an Article 32 petition and the fundamental rights of Petitioner in the instant matter had not been violated, and neither was she from West Bengal. The plea, by Advocate Vineet Dhanda filed on behalf of Advocate Puneet Kaur Dhanda, sought for issuance of directions to the Election Commission of India (EC) to submit a detailed report regarding bogus voters in the State of West Bengal and also to direct the EC to take appropriate action in removal of “bogus voters” from the voters list. It was further contended that Hindus were not allowed to vote and the votes were casted on their behalf by bogus voters. “There are districts like Murshidabad, Malda, Uttar Dinajpur, Birbhum, South 24 Pargana, Nadia, Haora, Koch Bihar, North 24 Pargana, Dakshin Dinajpur, Kolkata where Muslim population is in majority and obstruction is made by the Muslim voters when Hindu voters move out to cast their votes,” it adds. The plea also made references to killing of leaders of opposition party as well as the workers and requested that the CBI be issued directions to conduct a detailed investigation in the cases involving deaths of opposition party workers and leaders. “In the past few years there have been incidents of systematic killings of political leaders including women especially belonging to BJP and leaders associated to the political party. The ruling party TMC (Trinamool Congress) has not done anything to stop the brutal violence against the leaders of political parties especially BJP and other political parties who are not in power in the State. There have been incidents at various parts of the State of West Bengal where the political leaders other than the ruling party have been systematically targeted with physical violence for vested reasons and the State Government has kept quiet on the violence against the political leaders especially BJP as it is only BJP which is seen as a threat by the ruling party mainly because of rising popularity of the BJP party in the State of West Bengal,” the plea states. In this context, it prayed, “Issue appropriate writ or direction to the Director, CBI to conduct a detailed investigation in the cases involving killings of opposition party workers and leaders in the state of West Bengal if the report submitted by DGP, West Bengal not found satisfactory to this Hon’ble Court”.It was also stated that as the continuous violation of fundamental rights, statutory rights and human rights in the State of West Bengal has reached its zenith and, the State government and its police machinery was involved in such violations, no steps to prevent such violation of fundamental, statutory and human rights were being taken by the State government. Rather it was the State government and its machinery which was responsible for such brutal violation of rights in the State of West Bengal. The PIL had also sought that the Union of India ensure safety of party workers belonging to opposition parties in the as well as submit a detailed report regarding action taken viz. case status in killings of opposition party leaders, especially for those belonging to BJP.Additionally, it was prayed that in case there is any dereliction of duty by senior officers in protection of BJP Party president who was attacked in West Bengal in the state, strict action should be taken against them. “The ruling party TMC has been using its administrative might to prevent action against those killers as no seriousness has been shown by the State Government in preventing the systematic killings of the political leaders. The police administration has become helpless at the instructions of the government as a result of which killings of opposition political party leaders is rising in the State and the State government is showing zero concerns over the lawlessness rising in the State.”The Petitioner further referred to the alleged attacks on vehicles of BJP leaders JP Nadda and Kailash Vijayvargiya’s in Bengal as the two leaders were on their way to Diamond Harbour in December 2020 to meet party workers for the Bengal elections in 2021. It was reported as the convoys of JP Nadda and Vijayvargiya were headed towards Diamond Harbour on December 10, protesters gathered on the streets and attempted to block the road to stop Nadda’s convoy from passing. In this context, the plea sought for directions for a free, peaceful and safe election in the StateNext Storylast_img read more

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Virus deaths nearly doubling Milan’s normal mortality rate

first_imgDeaths still rising Lombardy was reporting about two-thirds of Italy’s virus deaths when the rate of officially registered infections was still soaring daily in the early part of March.Neighboring regions with high death tolls have been reporting lower infection rates throughout the crisis.AFP’s comparison of the data reflects that.The neighboring Emilia Romagna region reported 1,640 COVID-19 deaths last month.That corresponds to around 40 percent of its estimated monthly deaths average of 4,150 for 2018.The Piedmont region around the industrial city of Turin reported 854 COVID-19 related deaths.AFP estimates that it would have otherwise witnessed around 4,486 deaths.A report authored by an Italian expert at European Society of Anaesthesiology also looked at the data and found that Italy’s death toll will keep rapidly climbing for some time.”The data suggest that the increase in numbers of patients in intensive care in both the Lombardy region and Italy as a whole are likely to have peaked,” the report said.But “the numbers of deaths in hospital will continue to increase at the maximum rate for several days to come”. 969 is a lot The northern Lombardy region that includes the financial capital Milan turned into the global epicenter of the pandemic when Italy overtook China’s official death toll on March 19.Lombardy is Italy’s industrial heartland and includes heavily-affected cities such as Bergamo and Brescia to Milan’s east.The region recorded 99,542 deaths from all causes in 2018 — a rough monthly average of 8,300.It reported 7,176 coronavirus deaths in March.All countries’ monthly deaths vary depending on the season.United Nations data show Italy recording the highest number of deaths in January and the lowest in June.March turns out to be a statistically average month.This suggests that Lombardy’s official toll from COVID-19 last month — 7,176 — was just under 15 percent shy of the number of people who would have statistically been expected to die in March without the epidemic.Bergamo Mayor Giorgio Gori said Wednesday he does not trust the official figures and thinks the real toll may be twice as high.The mayor tweeted a newspaper analysis suggesting that the COVID-19 toll in the Bergamo province was “between 4,500 and 5,000, and not the 2,060″ officially reported.”How many are infected then?” the Bergamo mayor asked.He cited a local statistics agency analysis indicating 26 percent of Bergamo province’s 1.1 million people had the virus.”I fear that the figure is higher,” the mayor tweeted. Italian officials acknowledge that their coronavirus data are incomplete with deaths from COVID-19 related causes outside hospitals often not counted.The number of people who died after catching the virus without ever being tested is unknown.So is the number of people who died of other causes because they could not get treatment from hospitals dealing with a ceaseless flow of COVID-19 patients.Some newspapers are asking why jumps in March deaths reported individually by some cities do not appear to be reflected in the national tally.”The death count does not add up,” the Il Fatto Quotidiano said Wednesday.Here is what the official figures do show. But the tolls being read out daily by health officials in Rome can often seem hard to quantify.The civil protection service disclosed a record 969 deaths for last Friday.That sounds like a lot — but how does that compare to the number of people who usually die in Italy in a day?AFP tried to figure this out by comparing 2018 data from Italy’s official statistic agency ISTAT — the last available for all regions — and the coronavirus deaths reported by the civil protection service in March.center_img The torrent of Italian death data reveals that the region around Milan with a population of 10 million reported almost as many coronavirus fatalities in March as it would normally have done from all other causes.The Mediterranean country of 60 million people is living through its worst disaster since World War II.It registered 12,399 COVID-19 related deaths last month — thousands more than officially reported by any other country. Topics :last_img read more

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True Colors

first_imgI see your true colors, shining through. I see your true colors and that’s why I love you. So don’t be afraid to let them show. (from the song ‘True Colors’ by Cyndi Lauper). Hey everbody, 72 hours ago the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Cincinnati Bengals and sent them packing back to Cincy, “teefless.” The Bengals finally showed their “true colors.” This was a contest that was hyped, hyped and more hyped, you dig…This was supposed to be a clash between a “pride” of young, hungry cats from the jungle pitted against a group of old grizzled hunters who had lost their edge. The 2011 Steelers were supposed to be at an extreme disadvantage because their sense of smell, hearing, vision and all of the elements that make great hunters and sportsmen were declining rapidly. This was billed as the last Safari, the final chapter in the book of the great “Bwana.”There is one thing that I wish to make perfectly clear. We can change our cleats, clothes, buy a new car and exhibit the external components that the world sees to define you on a daily basis but there is one component that cannot be changed; our genes.The Steelers have created a different sort of “Genome” than the rest of the NFL. There was one point in the career of legendary Coach Chuck Noll that every player on the field was drafted by the Steelers. The league fines them, has less than “stellar” officiating and at times seems to implement a few other questionable practices and all the men of Steel continue to do is win, win, win.In 1969 when “The Chief” hired Noll to be captain of his vessel he unknowingly hired a mad scientist who was far more interested in linking individual components together as opposed to whether he personally liked them or not. His primary mission in the laboratory was to design a system. His secondary mission was to get the materials on which to build his system. Hey y’all you can’t build a 100 story skyscraper out of mud. Okay, I take that back, you can but just don’t invite me for lunch at the penthouse suite because I tell you now, I ain’t coming. Now as I was saying Noll was more than just a coach concerned with wins and losses, he was concerned with the Steelers “machine.” He identified and utilized the body types and psyches that were needed to function at a high level within his system.The Steelers evolved from mediocrity to greatness not because all of their athletes were superior, although many of them were. They attained and sustained greatness because they developed a system that emphasizes the “whole.” There were many athletes that were far more gifted than some of the athletes drafted by Noll but he knew early on that it doesn’t matter about the $20,000 paint job that your car has if it is broke down; looks can be deceiving. Steelers management does not care what the outside world thinks. They truly believe that they can take a Yugo, plug it into their system and a Cadillac might develop.The Bengals have not been short on talent over the years but what they have been lacking is a clear cut direction and purpose. The Steelers understood that they had to lose for a few years to create a legacy of victory and accomplishment that would last for decades. In 1969 the Steelers were a blank canvas waiting for the colors of victory to be applied. Charles (Picasso) Noll was the one with a palette of “true colors” waiting to leap over onto the canvas of the NFL and create his own masterpiece. He didn’t try to imitate and emulate other systems; he created his own because he knew that the guy who sells the “Get Rich with Me” book is the only one that becomes rich.When the Rooney family hired the two young coaches that succeeded Noll, they made sure that Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin understood one thing; they could tweak the system a bit but they were not going to reinvent the wheel. With the Pittsburgh Steelers you have to blend in from the inside or you will be watching from the outside.Let’s visit the “zoo” and focus on ex-Bengals Chad Johnson, oops I meant Chad Ochocinco or is it Chad Givemedinero. This ex “cat” can’t even focus on who he is. Oh, pardon my misstatement; the point is that he is a bit too focused on who he is. Wherever he goes it will always be about, me, mini-me and me.We can’t leave ex-Bengals QB Carson Palmer out of the mix. He was also infected with the “mini-me” syndrome. With Pittsburgh it is us, us, us or you’re on the next, bus, bus. In an era of corny blazers, suits and ties, Noll’s players sported capes and plexiglas shoes with live goldfish in the heels. Noll knew that happy individuals made a productive, less stressed team. All I can say is, many teams have tried to imitate but few can duplicate the Pittsburgh Steelers.(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741. Bruce is also the NFL/AFC North analyst on the “Odd Couple Sports Show” streaming live on Fox Sports radio; WCWA 1230am, Toledo, Ohio, Wednesdays from 11-11:30 a.m.)last_img read more

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Asbury Park’s Trio of Treasures

first_imgBy Mary Ann BourbeauASBURY PARK – Grand Central Station, with its glorious main concourse and Beaux-arts façade, may be getting a lot of attention in 2013 as it celebrates its 100th year. But there is a trio of treasures in Asbury Park that was designed by the same architectural firm.Warren and Wetmore brought its vision to the historic shore resort when they built the Paramount Theatre, Grand Arcade and Convention Hall.Workers restore the rosette ceiling of the Paramount Theatre in Asbury Park.Hopefully, those buildings will continue to draw tourists for another 100 years, but right now their future is uncertain. In 2007 Madison Marquette, a real estate investment firm, signed on to bring back the original splendor of the complex. While many structural and aesthetic improvements have been made, the 2011 deadline to install a state-mandated sprinkler system has long passed. Madison Marquette now says the cost, in excess of $1 million, is prohibitive, especially after Super Storm Sandy caused more than $1 million in damage. An agreement reached with the city allows the firm to forego installing sprinklers and close the building if continued operation of the complex is not economically feasible.“We are engaged in conversations with city officials on this issue, and are hopeful that we can find a way to modify how the building is currently used, comply with all code requirements and continue to keep some or most of this great building open to the public,” said Anselm Fusco, senior vice president of Madison Marquette.Pending the outcome of these conversations, no events have been scheduled in the complex after May 1.Since signing on to rebuild Asbury Park’s waterfront, Madison Marquette took on the daunting task of bringing the Paramount back to the splendor that Warren and Wetmore designed. The company made significant restorations to the historical details both inside and out. The crumbling plaster was repaired and the leaky domed ceiling was brought back to its original grandeur. Ripped seating was replaced, technical and mechanical systems were brought up to date and ornamentation was refurbished. Upgrades were made to the plumbing and air conditioning in Convention Hall, and portions of its architectural glory were restored.“When you walk through these buildings, you are taken aback by their beauty,” Fusco said. “There are even design details in areas not seen by the public, and that speaks volumes to the craftsmanship that went into these iconic buildings.”The design started with Whitney Warren, a cousin of the Vanderbilts, who studied architecture in Paris and loved the city so much he lived there for 10 years. When he returned to New York in 1896, he partnered with Harvard graduate Charles Wetmore to form the Warren and Wetmore architectural firm. They first gained prominence when they designed the New York Yacht Club in 1900.Their first high-profile commission was Grand Central Station, which opened in 1913. Their vision brought about the Steinway, Helmsley and Crown buildings; Chelsea Piers; St. James Theater; and the Biltmore, Ritz-Carlton and Vanderbilt hotels in New York.They also designed Michi­gan Central Railroad, the Ritz-Carlton in Atlantic City and the Louvain Library in Belgium, which was destroyed by the Germans during World War I, according to New York Architecture’s website.The inside of the 1,600-seat Paramount Theatre including the balcony and projection area.Meanwhile, back in Asbury Park, a group of local businessmen, hotel owners and city officials toyed with the idea of building a 5,000-seat structure along the boardwalk, but the $500,000 price tag proved too costly. According to the National Register of Historic Places, 10 years passed before any further action was taken and by then, building estimates had quadrupled. By the time Warren and Wetmore submitted their bid in 1927, the cost was more than $3 million, according to the National Register of Historic Places. But the plan was approved in the hopes it would help to draw even more tourists to the tony shore resort.“Asbury Park was the upper echelon of the social circle, so I’m sure they were used to the best,” said Angie Sugrim, promotion specialist for Madison Marquette. The complex, which was completed in 1930, was designed in Italian and French themes with an emphasis on nautical motifs.In the 1,600-seat Para­mount Theatre, one can’t help but notice the sea serpents, mermaids and shell designs in the ironwork, on the seats and on the painted dome ceiling. The outside brickwork features scallop shells and other nautical artwork. Several large copper schoon­ers and lanterns are positioned high up on the balconies. Many of the molds that were used for the plaster work are still in the theater, readily available for use in future renovations.“A lot of care went into designing this place,” said Brandon Vaught, maintenance supervisor for the complex. “I like how every day I find something new in the details.”High up in the rafters is the projection area, where five original film projectors, each 6-feet tall by 6-feet long, sit dusty and untouched. Graffiti signatures fill the concrete walls, some from recent acts that have graced the stage, including the Bouncing Souls and Blue October, and others that date back to the 1930s. Musicians must love the acoustics that Warren and Wetmore included in the domed theater because even today, it provides superior sound for the artists. Sugrim said that during a performance a few years ago, Tony Bennett demonstrated this by singing a song to the audience without a microphone.“The Paramount was built with the idea that the room had to amplify itself,” she said.Rumors run rampant that the buildings are haunted. Some say the ghosts are victims of the S.S. Morro Castle, a cruise ship that once sailed between New York and Havana. On Sept. 8, 1934, the ship caught fire and came to rest on a sandbar in front of Convention Hall. Many of the 137 victims were brought inside the auditorium. Others think the hauntings could be the spirits of two cabaret showgirls who died in a dressing room fire in the Paramount Theatre many years ago. Dressing room No. 8, down at the end of a long, narrow hallway, remains in its burned-out state and the door is always kept locked.“The buildings are definitely haunted,” Sugrim said. “We all hear things, and some of us see things.”The Grand Arcade features restaurants and shops that sell shore decorations, jewelry and Asbury Park memorabilia. It connects The Paramount Theatre, which faces Ocean Avenue, and Convention Hall, located on the beach side.The lobby of the Paramount Theatre.The grandeur of the Paramount design is missing from Convention Hall, but it still has a personality of its own. It was once home to a 700-pipe Kilgen organ, which was used to provide accompaniment for silent movies. Winged seahorse designs can be seen when entering the auditorium, which holds 3,600 people and hosts various events such as concerts, sporting events, tattoo festivals, fishing flea markets and roller derbies.“It’s nice to have a big room like this and make it into whatever you want,” Sugrim said.The nautical theme runs throughout Convention Hall, with two long paintings on either side of the stage featuring striped bass and jellyfish in an ocean scene. Though the water in the paintings is not real, the water that flowed in from Super Storm Sandy was. The basements of all three buildings, where all of the electrical panels are located, were completely flooded and about a foot of water covered the ground floors. The roof and arcade doors sustained damage, beachside stairs separated and sand was piled 5 feet high in the Grand Arcade.“Relatively speaking, we had a lot less damage than the rest of the shore,” Sugrim said.last_img read more

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Oil prices jump as attack on Saudi plant threatens supply

first_imgThe loss of 5% of world crude oil output from an attack on Saudi Arabia’s largest oil processing plant pushed crude prices sharply higher on Monday.U.S. crude oil was trading 9% higher while Brent crude added more than 10%. The attack on the Saudi Aramco facility halted output of more than half of Saudi Arabia’s daily exports.That’s especially worrying for oil thirsty Asia: China, Japan, South Korea and India are major customers for Saudi oil.“The attacks this time posed a serious threat to key international energy infrastructure, and we express concern that they undermine the energy security of the entire world and stability in the region,” South Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.“We condemn any similar acts,” it said.Oil prices spiked shortly after trading began Monday, with U.S. crude jumping more than 15% and Brent leaping nearly 20%. But the initial surge moderated on talk of tapping strategic reserves to weather any shortfalls from the loss of 5.7 million barrels of crude processing capacity a day.U.S. crude had added $4.84 per barrel, or 8.8%, to $59.70 per barrel by mid-afternoon in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent picked up $6.02 per barrel, or 10%, to $66.24 per barrel.Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack on the Saudi Aramco plant that paralyzed production of more than half of Saudi Arabia’s global daily exports and more than 5% of the world’s daily crude oil production.“To take Saudi oil production down 50%, that’s shocking,” said Jonathan Aronson, a research analyst at Cornerstone Macro.The attack may add to anxiety about the stability of the world’s oil reserves. “Saudi Arabia has been a very reliable supplier of oil in the world,” said Jim Burkhard, who heads crude oil research for IHS Markit. This attack is “adding a geopolitical premium back into the price of oil.” That means oil prices would rise because of worries about more unrest hurting supply. Higher oil prices tend to hurt the economy as consumer costs rise.Asia is the region most vulnerable to big supply disruptions.Saudi Arabia provides about a fifth of China’s crude imports, more than 37% of Japan’s and almost a third of South Korea’s. Japan is nearly 100% dependent on imports for its oil.The world’s richest countries have oil reserves of more than 2 billion barrels, but releasing those to alleviate supply concerns could potentially backfire and result in higher prices on the market as traders worry that there is a problem with tight supply, said Burkhard.According to the Joint Organization Data Initiative, Saudi Arabia has nearly 27 days worth of reserves. It holds reserves at home and in Egypt, Japan and the Netherlands. That can alleviate some concerns.Meanwhile work was under way to restore production at the Abquaiq plant. The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that Saudi officials said a third of crude output would be restored by Monday. Bringing the entire plant back online may take weeks. Officials said they would use other facilities and existing stocks to supplant the plant’s production.Chris Midgley, global head of analytics for S&P Global Platts, estimates prices could surge into the “high $70” per barrel range. It could go even higher if disruptions are prolonged, but that is not expected, he said in a research note.The situation is better today than it would have been a decade ago, thanks to the U.S. energy boom.The U.S. has a cushion because it and Canada both produce plenty of oil, leaving the U.S. less reliant on the Middle East. But it’s still a global market. “If you take oil anywhere out of system it affects everybody,” said Burkhard.Still, even if the plant goes back online and there is no fundamental change to the world’s supply of oil, prices may move higher and stay higher because traders would build in a “security premium,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.It would reflect worries that future attacks might jeopardize global oil supplies. And in a world already concerned about supply, the impact of another attack could mean a sharp effect on prices, said Kevin Book, managing director of Clearview Energy Partners. “It’s almost like an open season for a big attack.”It’s that element of uncertainty that can roil markets.The attack on its oil infrastructure could lead Saudi Arabia to launch a military strike on Iran in retaliation, Book said. Countries attacking each other’s oil facilities and fields is a “prescription for a high oil price,” he said.Book argues the attack on Saudi Arabia is driving home the repercussions of the unraveling of the Iran nuclear deal after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out in 2018, imposing harsh sanctions on Iran, including its oil industry.___Business Writer Elaine Kurtenbach in Bangkok contributed.Tali Arbel, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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