Eye on China, Singapore splurges on top-line arms

Eye on China, Singapore splurges on top-line arms

or global arms companies looking to ply their wares in Southeast Asia, Singapore is a sought-after client. And American and German hardware suppliers are poised for windfall profits as the island nation moves to shore up its defenses.

Last month, the wealthy city-state passed its biggest ever defense budget worth US$16.7 billion, or around 30% of the government’s total planned expenditure for 2019, with rich earmarks for defense, security and related diplomacy.

Singapore allocates between 3% and 5% of its gross domestic product on defense, well above the global average, while most regional states spend closer to 1-2% or lower, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute data.

That spending is set to climb in the years ahead as the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) moves to enhance its conventional capabilities through the procurement of more modern military hardware and equipment, including new generation fighter jets and submarines.

Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen recently told Parliament that defense spending over the next decade was expected to rise by 3% or 4% a year, mostly to strengthen and modernize the SAF’s aging hardware.

This month, Ng announced that Singapore would order four new F-35 fighter jets from US defense contractor Lockheed Martin and that it may purchase an additional eight of the advanced fighters after a technical evaluation.

F-35. Photo: US Marine Corps via Reuters
An F-35 fighter jet in flight. Photo: US Marine Corps via Reuters

Singapore’s Ministry of Defense (Mindef) identified the F-35, known for its advanced stealth capabilities, as the most suitable replacement for its aging fleet of 60 US-made F-16 jets, which first entered service in 1998 and will be considered obsolete by 2030.

Other contenders that lost out to the F-35 included the Eurofighter Typhoon, China’s J-20 stealth fighter and the Russian-made Sukhois. Singapore will become the third Asian nation after Japan and South Korea to buy the F-35 jets.

The Singapore Navy, which operates within the region’s crowded littoral waters, will also acquire new advanced submarines. Last month, Ng visited Germany to unveil a new state-of-the-art type-218SG submarine, known as the “Invincible” and developed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), a German builder of surface ships and submarines.

The 70-meter diesel-electric submarine, which has been constructed but is not yet operational, is the biggest ever built by TKMS, and will not be sold to any other country. Singapore will take delivery of a further three Invincible-class vessels from 2022.

The acquisition has put a spotlight on the city-state’s ongoing efforts to boost its undersea capabilities amid rising regional maritime security challenges and bubbling territorial disputes in the nearby South China Sea.

The Asia-Pacific region is witnessing the world’s fastest rate of submarine proliferation, with South Korea and Japan recently introducing next-generation submarines into their respective fleets.

The new 218SG submarine viewed by Singaporean naval soldiers at the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems shipyard in Germany, February 2019. Photo: AFP Forum/Carsten Rehder

Singapore has joined the fray with what is believed to be the most sophisticated submarine in Southeast Asia custom-built for warmer Pacific waters.

Aside from operating underwater for one-and-a-half times longer than the navy’s current submarines, the Invincible-class will also have greater weapons-carrying capacity and an improved sonar to locate targets of interest. Singapore began operating submarines in the 1990s and has since acquired six modified second-hand vessels supplied by Sweden.

The procurements are in line with Singapore’s long-held security strategy of maintaining a cutting-edge deterrent force as a hedge against the vulnerability of its small size. Situated between more populous Malaysia and Indonesia, Singapore equates national defense with national survival and prosperity.

Local military experts argue that the recent modernizations advance Singapore’s forward defense posture and enable it to negotiate from a position of strength when faced with maritime and airspace disputes with neighboring Malaysia. Both sides have notably traded recriminations in recent months.

Ng has said the new purchases aim to keep up with modernization trends in the region and are not directed against any particular country. Though the city-state considers itself a neutral actor, analysts say its procurements will be perceived as a deliberate counterbalance to China’s rising influence over nearby strategic waterways.

Chinese sailors (left in white) visiting Singapore Navy’s frigate RSS Stalwart during an ASEAN-China Maritime Exercise at a military port in Zhanjiang, October 24, 2018. Photo: AFP/Stringer/China Out

Analysts believe Singapore’s pro-American security orientation and role in facilitating US military activities in the region have likely irked China’s leadership. The island nation plays host to American littoral warships and US Navy P-8 maritime patrol planes that conduct reconnaissance in the South China Sea.

“The SAF’s possession of significant American-made military technology and the accumulated institutional capacity of inter-military linkages and interoperability, would not be taken lightly by Beijing,” said Collin Koh Swee Lean, a research fellow specializing in Southeast Asian defense at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University.

He told Asia Times that China likely believes that Singapore would “work in concert” with the US military in an armed conflict scenario in the South China Sea. The city-state has no territorial claims in the disputed waters and maintains that the disputes should be adjudicated through legal means.

Sébastien Roblin, an expert in security and conflict resolution, wrote in a recent article that Singapore’s new Invincible-class submarine’s surveillance capabilities and endurance advantages – it can remain submerged for four to six weeks before needing to surface – would add new factors to the contest for influence and control over the South China Sea.

“The Type 218’s advanced sensors and facilities will give Singapore significant intelligence-gathering capabilities, particularly for intercepting signals, deploying operatives, tracking the movements of Chinese diesel-electric submarines around the strait and building a ‘threat library’ on their acoustic signatures,” he wrote in reference to the nearby Strait of Malacca.

A quarter of the world’s traded goods, including as much as 80% of China’s fuel imports, pass through the congested Malacca waterway, offering the most direct route for commercial traffic between East Asia and the Indian Ocean. Analysts say the US Navy could readily block the strait in any conflict scenario by leveraging its strategic access to nearby Singapore.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (center-right), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (center) and Defense Minister Ng Eng Hen (third right) pose with navy personnel at Changi Naval Base, Singapore, May 5, 2017. Photo: AFP/Toh Ting Wei

As for the city-state’s efforts to modernize its air force, reports suggest Singapore is likely to acquire a short takeoff and vertical-landing variant of the F-35 known as the F-35B, which is capable of landing like a helicopter and is priced at US$115.5 million each. The F-35A conventional takeoff and landing model costs $89.2 million.

The sale must first be approved by the US Congress, though Ng has said Singapore has the endorsement of both the White House and the US Department of Defense.

Analysts believe the proliferation of the F-35 could set off action-reaction dynamics that drive China to enhance its air defense network to detect the stealth jet better.

The F-35 has garnered criticism over its steep cost and more than two-decade development history that was plagued by several technical problems. A US Department of Defense assessment this year described the performance of its F-35 fleet as “well below” a planned 80% reliability and maintenance benchmark.

The assessment also claimed the F-35B’s expected service life of 8,000 fleet hours “may be as low as 2,100″ hours, according to the Pentagon’s test office. Patrick Shanahan, acting US secretary of defense, acknowledged that the F-35 “has a lot of opportunity for more performance” while addressing reporters this year.

A Singapore Air Force F-16 fighter at Eielsen Air Force Base in the US state of Alaska during joint Red Flag exercises, June 12, 2018. Photo: Twitter

Should the F-35 meet Singapore’s operational requirements and satisfactorily adapt to equatorial weather, it is still unclear how many aircraft it would acquire to replace its aging F-16 fleet. “It’s difficult to envisage a clear-cut one-for-one replacement of future military equipment,” Koh said.

“The eventual purchase decision will depend on how well the Republic of Singapore Air Force evaluates this initial batch and taking into account the technological advancements and challenges that come with this program. Not least, of course, is also the fiscal ability to acquire and sustain a larger fleet,” he told Asia Times.

“It applies to not only air forces but navies as well. Each new incoming asset will become more capable, for sure, but is going to cost more than its predecessor. And militaries, not least the SAF, may have to continue to do more with less,” Koh said.

[“source=asiatimes”]

Article 35-A: Tension mounts in J&K ahead of SC hearing

Image result for Article 35-A: Tension mounts in J&K ahead of SC hearingPalpable tension is building up in different parts of Kashmir valley in the run up to the crucial hearing of Article 35-A in the Supreme Court next week.

The apex court is hearing a bunch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of article 35-A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 35A, was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order. The regional mainstream political parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have opposed the move.

Anticipating more trouble on ground zero, the state government Saturday launched massive crackdown against separatists, Jamaat-e-Islami activists  and several others by carrying out nocturnal raids on their premises.

Meanwhile, to contain public anger and handle law and order situation centre also rushed additional 100 companies by air to further beef up security ‘bandobast’ in the region.

The move triggered endless rounds of speculations  in different parts of Kashmir valley as local residents in the valley and mainstream politicians linked it with the emerging security scenario in the aftermath of terror strike on a CRPF convoy in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.

To register their protest against the detention of Yasin Malik and  Jamaat Chief Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz the joint resistance leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani,  Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik issued a shutdown call for Sunday.

In a statement issued on Saturday, JRL said the “arbitrary” arrest of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and the “mass crackdown and illegal detention” of more than 150 Jamat-e-Islami cadre and leadership including its Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz in nocturnal raids across the valley looks to be not only part of the continued policy of “suppression of pro-self-determination leadership and narrative, but in the case of hearing of 35A in Supreme Court most likely on Monday, an indication of what may be expected.”

Several mainstream politicians also reacted strongly to these developments on ground zero.

Former chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti Saturday said the ‘arbitrary’ moves will only precipitate matters in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mehbooba in a tweet while reacting on arrest of Hurriyat leaders and workers of Jamaat said under what legal grounds are their arrests justified?, saying “You can imprison a person but not his ideas.”

“In the past 24 hours, Hurriyat leaders & workers of Jamaat organisation have been arrested. Fail to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in J&K. Under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas,” Mehbooba tweeted.

Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also condemned nocturnal crackdown on JKLF chief  Yasin Malik and Jamat-e-Islami leadership and cadres.

In a tweet, Mirwaiz said such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground, saying that force and intimidation will only worsen the situation.

“Strongly condemn the nocturnal crackdown on Jamat-e-Islami leadership and cadres and the arrest of Yasin Malik. Such illegal and coercive measures against Kashmiris are futile and will not change realities on ground. Force and intimidation will only worsen the situation,” Mirwaiz tweeted.

Peoples Conference Chairman and former cabinet minister Sajjad Lone tweeted, “Gov seems to be on an arrest spree. Just a word of caution. Large scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a tried tested and failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work.Things will worsen”.

Authorities in Srinagar have ordered imposition of restrictions under section 144 of CrPC within the territorial jurisdictons of Khanyar, Rainawari, Nowhatta, Safakadal and MR Gunj police stations of the district on Sunday. The restrictions have been imposed as a precautionary measure to avoid any untoward incident.

Local residents, in panic mode are stocking ration supplies and other essential items like Petrol and medicines to sustain themselves for longer duration.

Reacting to the situation former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, “People in the valley, especially the cities & towns, are taking everything said or done as a sign that some big trouble is just around the corner. People are hoarding food & fuel. Some government orders are adding to the sense of panic”.

[“source=dailypioneer”]

This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AI

Image result for This Article Is Fake News. But It’s Also The Work of AIThe use of fake news stories for political disinformation has become a major concern for governments around the world in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The Federal Bureau of Investigation concluded Russia used false news reports, spread through social media, to try to sway voters. Writing these stories still needed someone to sit behind a keyboard.

Now OpenAI, a non-profit artificial intelligence research group in San Francisco, has unveiled a machine learning algorithm that can generate coherent text, including fake news articles, after being given just a small sample to build on. The algorithm can be tuned to imitate the writing style of the sample text.

Here’s an example of the system at work that OpenAI provided. The system was only given the first two sentences, which were written by a human:

A train carriage containing controlled nuclear materials was stolen in Cincinnati today. Its whereabouts are unknown.

And this is the rest of the news article that the AI wrote, with no human guidance:

The incident occurred on the downtown train line, which runs from Covington and Ashland stations.

In an email to Ohio news outlets, the U.S. Department of Energy said it is working with the Federal Railroad Administration to find the thief.

“The theft of this nuclear material will have significant negative consequences on public and environmental health, our workforce and the economy of our nation,” said Tom Hicks, the U.S. Energy Secretary, in a statement. “Our top priority is to secure the theft and ensure it doesn’t happen again.”

The stolen material was taken from the University of Cincinnati’s Research Triangle Park nuclear research site, according to a news release from Department officials.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission did not immediately release any information.

According to the release, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Security is leading that team’s investigation.

“The safety of people, the environment and the nation’s nuclear stockpile is our highest priority,” Hicks said. “We will get to the bottom of this and make no excuses.

Because of its potential to be misused for creating disinformation, OpenAI said it had chosen not to make the most powerful versions of its algorithm available for public use nor was it publishing the source code and training data used to create the software.

 

[“source=fortune”]

Recapping the saga of a misogynistic beer article that enraged the brewing world this week

There are stages to controversies in the social media age. First, the scandal breaks. Then it spreads. Criticism rains down on the perceived offender from across the internet. A few beats later, that person emerges publicly to defend themselves. The public generally rejects such an apology or criticizes the apology itself. Eventually, heads roll and/or the public moves on. End scene.

The craft beer world has moved through precisely those steps this week. A few days ago, an article published on the front page of regional beer publication Great Lakes Brewing News began making the social-media rounds. The article, which ran under the byline of Great Lakes Brewing News publisher Bill Metzger, ostensibly was about Scotch ale and cask ale, but its sexist tone drew swift and forceful criticism. Choice lines from the 2,800-word hybrid article/essay, which was written in the first-person, include: “In the age of #metoo, the pendulum has swung too far. One aggressive move and a man’s career can derail. I feel the walls closing around me, my room to move shrinking. My instincts to bed every woman I see are reducing from a king-sized mattress to a cot, the size of which I only remember from a tour in Iraq.”

You can read more excerpts via The Buffalo News, including the article’s repeated mentions of using alcohol to lower women’s sexual inhibitions.

When I first saw screenshots of the article, I blinked slowly. How was any of this about beer? How did this get published on the front page of… anything? What does Bill Metzger have to say for himself? Other beer writers and breweries themselves were equally upset, with some who’d advertised in the publication condemning the piece and withdrawing future ads. (Metzger’s Brewing News company publishes other regional beer newspapers as well.) Some breweries burned the publication in effigy.

So, we’ve arrived at the scandal stage where the accused emerges to defend themselves. Per a screenshot posted by the creative director for Chicago’s Pipeworks brewery, who criticized the article on Twitter, Bill Metzger responded to her with the below message which includes the by-now-a-punchline phrase: “I’m sorry you were offended.”

A statement on Great Lakes Brewing News’ Facebook page states the article was intended as parody and does not reflect the views of the author. Metzger’s statement continues: “Nowhere in this piece is there an endorsement of misogyny nor hatred. It is a simple parody of a disgusting attitude that I have seen often. We have been publishing the occasional piece that does anger people as some topics seem too toxic to discuss rationally. And it most certainly does not reflect my views; those who actually know me beyond a few articles written and/or published know that much.”

Forbes beer writer Tara Nurin, who has long covered women’s role in beer, spoke to Metzger by phone and found him “genuinely and deeply pained that his admittedly misbegotten attempt to highlight the problem of sexual harassment and assault in brewing has backfired so badly.” Still, she and other beer writers ultimately reject his parody defense, with writer Robin LeBlanc calling the whole mess “a special kind of trainwreck.” This beer writer agrees.

There’s never a good time for failed satire about sexual assault, but Metzger’s timing is especially bad. Earlier this month, the CEO of Actual Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, stepped down amid an investigation into allegations he repeatedly sexually assaulted multiple women. Last year, Jackson Hole, Wyoming-based Melvin Brewing faced backlash from retailers and customers after one of its brewers inappropriately touched an employee of another brewery, bringing to light what some called a larger “bro culture” within Melvin.

Though women in any male-dominated industry face challenges, those challenges can be especially dangerous when your daily job functions involve alcohol. I’ve seen the beer industry take important steps to make itself safer and more welcoming to women and minorities, but as recent stories of assault and discrimination illustrate, there is still much work to be done. That women’s painful efforts to share their #metoo experiences would be the object of abysmal satire only prove how long the road will be.

 

[“source=thetakeout”]

 

Virginia delegate backs off plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax

Image result for Virginia delegate backs off plan to introduce articles of impeachment against Fairfax(CNN)Virginia delegate Patrick Hope on Monday backed off his plans to introduce articles of impeachment against embattled Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

“Yesterday I sent draft language to my colleagues on the first step of an impeachment action regarding the Lt. Governor. There has been an enormous amount of sincere and thoughtful feedback which has led to additional conversations that need to take place before anything is filed,” he wrote in a tweet early Monday.
Hope’s decision came during a conference call Sunday night with Democratic members of the Virginia House of Delegates in which members voiced their strong opinion to Hope that the caucus was not prepared for articles of impeachment to be introduced, according to a source familiar with the talks.
In another tweet, Hope said, “We owe it to all parties involved – especially the victims – to make sure that we have thought through every option the General Assembly has,” adding that he believes the two women who have accused Fairfax of sexual assault. According to the source, Hope was assured during the call that Democrats will support some form of an independent investigation into the matter.
“I promise that my work on this issue will be tireless until we have a process and outcome that treats these women with the respect they deserve going forward,” he wrote in a third tweet.
Hope’s plan to introduce articles of impeachment had been in the works since at least Friday. In an email sent to his House Democratic colleagues, he said that he planned to file a resolution first thing Monday morning that lists the reasons he believes that Fairfax’s conduct warrants removal from office.
The lieutenant governor was accused by two women of sexual assault, including rape by one of the women. Fairfax released a statement on Saturday acknowledging both interactions with the women, but said both instances were consensual.
Had Hope introduced the resolution, it would have been the first step in the removal process. The process begins in the House, and if it passes with a majority vote, it moves to the Senate, where a trial would be held to determine if Fairfax will be removed.
The resolution must have the support of the Speaker of the House, Republican Kirkland Cox, in order to even be brought for a vote for the house floor. He had not indicated if he would allow that to happen.
The resolution would have come at a time when the top three elected officials in Virginia are embroiled in scandal. A photo surfaced from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s decades-old medical school yearbook showing one person wearing blackface and one person wearing a white KKK hood and robe. Northam said he has no plans to resign despite mounting pressure. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring also admitted last week he wore blackface at a 1980 party.
A copy of the drafted resolution, obtained by CNN, reads, “the House of Delegates believes all allegations of sexual assault must be taken with the utmost seriousness,” and describes the allegations made by the two women as “credible in nature.”
The resolution reads: “now, therefore, be it RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, That proceedings for the impeachment of Lieutenant Governor Justin E. Fairfax shall be initiated.”
The resolution also would have directed the House Committee for Courts of Justice to hold hearings “to inquire into the allegations made against” Fairfax, and whether his alleged actions against the two women “constitute conduct sufficient to provide grounds for impeachment pursuant to Article IV, Section 17 of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Fairfax’s spokeswoman Lauren Burke issued a statement in response to reports that Hope was planning to introduce the resolution that reads, “The Lt. Governor is aggressively exploring options for a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation of these allegations. We hope, for example, that the FBI will show a willingness to investigate.”
“It is especially important in the most difficult of times that we pay attention to our fundamental Constitutional values,” the statement continues. “He believes that an inherently political process is not the most likely path for learning the truth.”
“The Lt. Governor is confident in the truth that will emerge from an independent impartial investigation,” the statement reads.
[“source=edition.cnn”]

Report: What’s A Pretty Lady Like You Doing Around An Article Like This?

THEONION.COM—Remarking with equal parts surprise and delight that of all the news stories in the world, you started reading this one, sources couldn’t help but wonder what a pretty little lady like you was doing hanging around an article like this. According to experts, you should probably just run along back to the front page where it’s safer—but then again, where’s the fun in that? Sure, there’s a lot of, let’s say, shadyarticles around here, but most of them are harmless, and a girl can still learn a lot hanging around them. Moreover, while we can’t deny that something about you caught our eye from across the lede line, we can’t help thinking that maybe it was fate that brought you here. While admitting that can’t be corroborated, many in similar circumstances found themselves unable to completely dismiss the idea of kismet altogether. “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be,” John Lennon once said of this sort of situation. Furthermore, sources want to know: So what about you? Do you believe in destiny? We apologize if that is a silly question for a news source to ask; besides, it’s clear that you deserve better than this article. After all, in most cases such as this, an attractive and accomplished lady such as yourself can count on all sorts of classier, glossier publications vying for your attention. However, those close to the issue are speculating that perhaps you really are different than all the others. This newspaper is not trying to be forward, but, maybe you would like to get together for another article with us some time? At press time, she’s gone, just like that, and maybe it was never meant to be.

 

[“source=theonion”]

 

‘Fear of violence not unfounded’: Supreme Court red-flags BJP rath yatra in Bengal

Bengal,BJP,rath yatra

The BJP’s plan to hold a rath yatra in West Bengal suffered a setback on Tuesday with the Supreme Court refusing to interfere with the Mamata Banerjee government’s decision to ban it.

A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that apprehension of violence by the state government was not unfounded.

The court told the BJP to seek fresh approval from authorities and asked the Trinamool Congress government in the state to decide on BJP’s application keeping in mind the fundamental right of speech and expression.

The apex court was hearing a petition of the BJP challenging an order of the division bench of the Calcutta High Court, which had set aside a ruling of a single-judge bench allowing the procession.

In its last hearing, a bench of justices LN Rao and Sanjay Kishan Kaul asked the Mamata Banerjee-led government to respond to the petition.The state government has said that allowing the rally could invite law and order problems.

In its plea, the BJP has contended that authorities cannot abridge their right and they have a duty to facilitate them in exercising their democratic right.

The BJP also offered to submit a revised plan for its ‘Save Democracy Rally’ and the apex court asked the Bengal government to give its view on the new schedule.

The BJP rally planned to cover 42 parliamentary constituencies in Bengal ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

As per the original schedule, BJP president Amit Shah was to launch the yatra from Cooch Behar on December 7, Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas on December 9 and from Tarapith temple in Birbhum on December 14.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Man poses as MHADA official, cheats Mumbai businessman of ₹15 lakh, held

MHADA,MHADA flat fraud,Mumbai flats

A 37-year-old man, who posed as a Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) official, and cheated a businessman of ₹15 lakh on the pretext of giving him a flat at VB Nagar, in Kurla, was arrested by the Chunnabatti police recently. The police are on the lookout for two others who were part of the fraud.

The police found that the accused, Vijendra Yeshwant Phedkalkar, a Nalasopara resident, was earlier arrested in a similar case by the Bhoiwada police.

The complainant, who was known to one of the wanted accused, Saifullah Idrisi, met him on March 7, 2016, with one Ramdas Chavan and Phedkalkar, both posing as MHADA officials. Idrisi convinced the businessman he will help him get a flat in a special quota with the help of the two ‘MHADA officials’, said the police.

The businessman was then shown two flats at the MHADA building in VB Nagar. Idrisi quoted ₹32 lakh for the flat the complainant chose, including stamp duty and registration. Idrisi told him he had to make a payment of ₹15 lakh, and for the rest of the amount he could take a loan, said an officer.

The complainant then gave ₹8 lakh to Idrisi in the presence of the two fake MHADA officials. On a separate occasion, the complainant gave Idrisi ₹7 lakh.

However, after six months, when the accused did not respond to his calls, he approached the MHADA office and found no paper work for the flat was ever done, added the officer.

In October 2018, a case was registered by the Chunabhatti police under sections 420, 406, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. “During the investigation, we found the accused posed as MHADA officials and the flats shown to the complainant were already sold. We arrested Phedkalkar and are looking for the other two accused,” said an officer

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

The Right to Disconnect Bill must trigger a larger debate

Corporate culture,Private member's bill,Supriya Sule
Even though Personal Members Bills are unlikely to get discussed or passed, it is hoped that the Bill will at least manage to spur some conversation about labour laws in the time of smartphones.(Shutterstock)

Nothing can ruin a Saturday like a phone call from The Boss. It is a pain as real as a toothache and as irritating as a buffering video on a slow internet connection. It should, therefore, come as a heart warming piece of news that certain members of Parliament understand and empathise with this pain. In an attempt to make all of our holidays better, a Private Member’s Bill has been introduced in Parliament to give employees the right to refuse official calls after office hours. Member of Parliament from the Nationalist Congress Party, Supriya Sule, has earned the respect of all people who have a boss by tabling the Right to Disconnect Bill seeking to “confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays and right to refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours”.

Ever since they invented the mobile phone and the internet, it has made it far too easy for bosses to be constantly in touch with employees and increasingly harder for employees to disconnect from work. The Supreme Court of France recognised this as a labour problem in 2004, ruling that if an employee was not reachable on their mobile phone outside working hours, it cannot be considered misconduct. In 2017, France passed a law formalising the Right to Disconnect; and it is expected that other EU countries will follow the example. Companies in Germany, even without formal laws, have been implementing this idea. It was reported in 2012 that Volkswagen had reached an agreement with the company’s work council that its Blackberry servers would stop routing emails to workers half an hour after the end of their shifts, and only start again half an hour before their next shift. There have been attempts to bring about such laws in other countries as well, including in Italy and the Philippines.Corporate culture in India is famously dismissive of employees’ personal time and space, often making a virtue out of this fact. What this approach misses is that the productivity of an employee is directly proportional to morale, which can only improve from having the time for a fulfilling personal life. This is why the Right to Disconnect would be useful. The bill also seeks to provide employees with counselling for work-life balance, digital detox centres for “reasonable personal use of digital and communication tools”, and overtime pay for working beyond stipulated hours. Even though Private Members Bills are unlikely to get discussed or passed, it is hoped that the bill will at least manage to trigger some conversation about labour laws in the time of smartphones.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]

Man jumps on Delhi Metro track, dies, Blue line resumes after disruption

delhi metro,rajiv chowk

A man who reportedly jumped onto the track of Delhi Metro between Rajiv Chowk and Noida City Centre, has died, according to news agency ANI.

The person was found on the track earlier on Tuesday and taken to Lady Hardinge Medical College where he was declared dead on arrival.

The service on the Blue line between Rajiv Chowk and Noida City Centre was disrupted for a few hours.

Blue Line is one of the busiest sections of the Delhi Metro network, connecting Dwarka Sector 22 to Noida City Centre via Rajiv Chowk.

[“source-“hindustantimes”]