13:05 BJP+ wins floor test in Goa : Goa CM Pradeep Sawant wins the floor test in the state assembly after 20 MLAs voted in his favor. The new BJP-led government in Goa faced the floor test in the state assembly today to prove its majority just a day after Speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as chief minister with an unprecedented two deputies past midnight capping a frenetic day of political wrangling.
12:22 Goa Assembly floor test begins : Goa Assembly session for BJP-led govt’s floor test begins. Pramod Sawant has to prove majority in the House a day after being sworn in Goa CM. Sawant said he was 100 per cent confident he will the floor test.
The new BJP-led government in Goa will face the floor test in the state Assembly today to prove its majority just a day after Speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as chief minister with an unprecedented two deputies past midnight capping a frenetic day of political wrangling.
11:56 Helping hand : Doctors created a new hand from the abdomen of a hockey player after an accident nearly threatened him with amputation.
Archana Masih/Rediff.com spends time at the hospital that draws patients from all over India giving them hope by saving limbs and wants you to know that when you donate skin you save a life.
11:43 Naveen Patnaik files nomination: Odisha CM and Biju Janata Dal President Naveen Patnaik files his nomination for the Hinjili assembly constituency at Sub-Collector office, Chatrapur in Ganjam district.
11:26 100% confident we will win floor test: Goa CM: Goa Chief Minister and BJP leader Pramod Sawant says he is 100 per cent confident they will the floor test. The new BJP-led government in Goa will face the floor test in the state Assembly today to prove its majority just a day after Speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as chief minister with an unprecedented two deputies past midnight capping a frenetic day of political wrangling.
The government claims majority with the support of 21 MLAs — 12 from the BJP, three each of allies Goa Forward Party (GFP) and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and three Independents.
The strength of the 40-member House has been reduced to 36 following the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and resignations of two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte. Sawant, a two-time MLA from Sankhalim in North Goa, was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan at 1.50 am.
11:10 Priyanka to PM: Indians are not fools:
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on PM Narendra Modi’s tweet that the biggest casualty of dynastic politics are institutions: “The BJP has systematically attacked every institution in the last five years including the media. PM should stop thinking people are fools and understand that they see through this.”
Narendra Modi tweeted this morning to say:
“The biggest casualty of dynastic politics are institutions.
From the press to Parliament.
From soldiers to free speech.
From the Constitution to the courts.
Nothing is spared.
Sharing some thoughts.”
Tariq Anwar of the Congress also reacted to PM’s tweet, saying, “Narendra Modiji is saying this as he does not come from a dynasty. How can one who who does not come from a dynasty say this? Tell me one profession where dynasty is not encouraged.”
10:20 LS poll: Tough road ahead for Sujay Vikhe Patil in BJP: Though the Congress faced embarrassment when its senior leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s son joined the BJP, it would also not be a cakewalk for Sujay Vikhe Patil in the Lok Sabha poll, feel political observers.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently said he will recommend the name of Sujay Vikhe Patil, a neurosurgeon, as the BJP candidate from Ahmednagar seat, but the road ahead would be tough for him, they say.
This is so because, according to them, former Union minister and sitting BJP MP from Ahmednagar, Dilip Gandhi, enjoys the support of Jain community members, numbering around 1.75 lakh, in the constituency.
They say there are also murmurs in Ahmednagar that the BJP would give ticket to Sujay Vikhe Patil from the seat provided his parents, both of whom are Congress leaders, also join the the saffron party.
Sujay Vikhe Patil joined the BJP after the NCP refused to exchange the Ahmednagar Lok Sabha seat with the Congress. As per the current seat-sharing formula between the two opposition parties, the Congress will contest the Shirdi Lok Sabha seat (previously known as Ahmednagar-North), while the NCP will field its candidate in Ahmednagar (previously Ahmednagar-South).
The NCP is likely to give ticket to its Ahmednagar MLA Sangram Jagtap or his father Arun Jagtap, who is an MLC. Incidentally, Sangram Jagtap is the son-in-law of BJP MLA from Rahuri, Shivajirao Kardile.
09:48 Burn in hell : An effigy of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar ahead of Holi. The effigy will be burnt tonight. Azhar was the mastermind of the Pulwama suicide bombing that killed 44 CRPF personnel on February 14.
09:43 Dharwad building collapse: Death toll mounts to 3: The death toll rose to three on Wednesday in an under-construction building collapse in Dharwad’s Kumareshwar Nagar on Tuesday evening, a senior official said. Dharwad Deputy Commissioner Deepa Cholan told ANI that three persons have been killed in the incident. “At least 43 people have been admitted to the Civil hospital while 13 people have been referred to KIMS and SDM hospitals,” District Surgeon Giridhar Kuknoor said.
Rescue operation is still underway. An NDRF team is also participating in the operation.
Image: NDRF personnel at the site of the building collapse in Dharwad. Pic: ANI
09:13 LS poll: Congress releases 6th list of candidates:
The Congress has released its sixth list of nine candidates, seven from Maharashtra and two from Kerala, for the Lok Sabha election.
With this, it has released names of 146 candidates for the election starting on April 11.
In Kerala, the Congress announced that Shanimol Usman will be the candidate from Alappuzha seat and Adoor Prakash from Attingal seat.
The Alappuzha seat is currently represented by AICC general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal, who has decided to opt out of the contest citing organisational work.
In Maharashtra, the party has fielded K C Padavi from Nandurbar, Kunal Rohidas Patil from Dhule, Charulata Khajasingh Tokas from Vardha, Manikrao G Thakarey from Yavatmal-Washim, Eknath Gaikwad from Mumbai-South Central, Bhausahib Kamble from Shirdi and Navinchandra Bandivadekar from Ratnagiri-Sindhudurg.
The list was cleared late Tuesday night after a meeting of the party’s Central Election Committee chaired by Congress president Rahul Gandhi. — PTI
08:59 Trump accuses social media companies of discriminating against Republicans:
United States President Donald Trump has accused social media companies of discriminating against Republicans, saying it is a “very dangerous situation” and something should be done about it.
“We have to do something,” Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with visiting Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
“It’s a very, very dangerous situation. I think something has to be looked at very closely,” he said in response to a question.
The US president said the situation on social media was different that it used to be. “It seems to be, if they’re conservative, if they’re Republicans, if they’re in a certain group, there’s discrimination and big discrimination. I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook… and others,” he alleged.
Twitter and Facebook combined, Trump has around 100 million followers. “I get to see firsthand what’s going on, and it’s not good,” he said.
“We use the word ‘collusion’ very loosely all the time. I will tell you, there is collusion with respect to that, because something has to be going on,” the US president said.
Trump said that something was happening with the people running Facebook and Google and Twitter. “I do think we have to get to the bottom of it. It’s collusive, and it’s very, very fair to say that we have to do something about it,” he added. — PTI
08:28 Pramod Sawant-led Goa govt to face floor test today :
The new Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Goa will face the floor test today, to prove its majority just a day after speaker Pramod Sawant was sworn in as chief minister with an unprecedented two deputies past midnight capping a frenetic day of political wrangling.
The government claims majority with the support of 21 MLAs — 12 from the Bharatiya Janata Party, three each of allies Goa Forward Party and Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party and three Independents.
Governor Mridula Sinha has convened a special session of the assembly at 11.30 am to enable the chief minister to prove his majority in the House, an official said.
The strength of the 40-member House has been reduced to 36 following the death of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and BJP MLA Francis D’Souza and resignations of two Congress MLAs Subhash Shirodkar and Dayanand Sopte.
00:35 US to begin accepting H-1B applications from April 1:
The United States will start accepting applications for H-1B visas for the next fiscal year from April 1, the federal immigration agency said on Tuesday and announced the launch of a new data hub to increase the transparency of the work visa programme popular among Indian IT companies and professionals.
The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.
The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced the new H-1B Employer Data Hub. It will be available on uscis.gov on April 1.
The data hub is part of the USCIS’ continued effort to increase the transparency of the H-1B programme by allowing the public to search for H-1B petitioners by fiscal year, NAICS (the North American Industry Classification System) industry code, company name, city, state, or zip code.
This will give the public the ability to calculate approval and denial rates and to review which employers are using the H-1B program, it said.
Simultaneously, the USCIS said the premium processing will be offered in a two-phased approach during the next 2020 cap season.
The fiscal year 2020 begins October 1.
The first phase will include 2020 cap-subject H-1B petitions requesting a change of status and the second phase will include all other fiscal 2020 cap-subject petitions, USCIS said.
“The USCIS continually strives to improve the administration of the H-1B program and make it work better for employers, our agency, and US workers,” said USCIS Director L Francis Cissna.
“We are also committed to fulfilling the president’s Buy American and Hire American executive order, one of the principal goals of which is to protect the interests of US workers in the administration of our immigration system, in part by promoting the proper functioning of the H-1B visa programme,’ he said. — PTI