Pehlu Khan (55), a man attacked by vigilantes for allegedly smuggling cows, died at a hospital in Alwar district of Rajasthan on Monday.A manhunt has been launched for the accused.In Jaipur, Home Minister Gulab Chand Kataria said it was “all right” that some people caught those who were illegally transporting animals but added that “no one has the right to take the law into his own hands.” Mr. Kataria said the police would take appropriate action.Pehlu Khan and four others, including his two sons, were beaten brutally on Saturday by villagers who suspected that they were smuggling cows. Sixteen persons were allegedly transporting 36 bovine animals illegally in six pick-up vans.They were on their way to Haryana from Jaipur when the vigilantes stopped two of the vans in Behror on the Jaipur-Delhi National Highway.Pehlu Khan, his sons Aarif, 22, and Irshad, 25, were in the first van, while Ajmat, 28 and Sharif, 24, were in the second.All of them were thrashed and their vans damaged.The four vans which followed were also stopped by the police. In them, 11 persons were found and arrested under the Rajasthan Bovine Animal (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, ASI of the Behror police station Vikram Singh said.The five men who were beaten were admitted to a district hospital where Pehlu Khan died.
Terming the deaths of scores of children at a state-run hospital here as a “government made tragedy”, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi said on Saturday that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath should not try to cover up the matter.“All those whom I met told me that oxygen shortage led to the death of their children. Many families were given ambu bags (a manual resuscitator) and they pumped it for hours…It is very clear that it government-made tragedy,” Mr. Gandhi said.The government should take action in the matter and not try to cover it up, he said.It is absolutely clear that oxygen shortage and laxity were the reasons behind the tragedy, he told reporters after meeting family members of the victims.“The chief minister should not try to cover up (the matter) and action should be taken against the guilty. This is my message,” the Congress vice-president asserted.Gandhi said that he had visited the BRD medical college and hospital here earlier as well and had told Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the media that it needs funds as there were too many shortages.But no action was taken, he rued. There have been scores of encephalitis related child deaths in the BRD medical college hospital in recent days triggering a nation-wide outrage.“Modiji speaks of a new India. This kind of new India we do not want. We want hospitals where poor people can take their children (for treatment) and come back happily,” Mr. Gandhi said.He complimented the media for raising the issue. “…I want to thank them for this (highlighting the issue)…it is not a matter concerning Uttar Pradesh but is a national tragedy. It is indicative of the health care of the country,” he said.Earlier in the day, Mr. Adityanath also had hit out at Congress vice-president over his visit here, saying the ’yuvraj’ (prince) sitting in Delhi cannot make Gorakhpur ‘a picnic spot’.Mr. Adityanath, who launched a cleanliness campaign in the district to tackle the deadly encephalitis outbreak in the wake of death of 71 children at the BRD hospital here, also hit out at his predecessor and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.“I feel that the shehzada sitting in Lucknow ..’yuvraj’ sitting in Delhi will not know the importance of this cleanliness campaign. They will come here to make it a picnic spot, we cannot permit it,” the chief minister said taking a jibe at Mr. Gandhi, before the Congress leader’s visit to Gorakhpur to meet the families of the victims.Other opposition parties, the SP and the BSP have also been attacking the Adityanath government over the hospital deaths.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje announced a ₹ 8,000-crore loan waiver for farmers, ₹ 650 crore tax relief and ₹ 44,135 crore expenditure on social and community schemes in the budget for 2018-19 presented in the assembly on Monday.The state government has tried to touch every section of society including women, young, students, farmers and sectors like infrastructure, medical and healthcare, industries, education and others, the chief minister said.Ms. Raje, who also holds the finance portfolio, presented the budget for 2018-19 which envisage total outlay of ₹ 1,07,865.40 crore on schemes and projects.A major share of the proposed outlay, 40.92 per cent, amounting to ₹ 44,135.20 crore has been allocated to social and community services schemes as the state goes to polls this year. Power sector got 25.08 per cent while and rural development sector 13.42 per cent of the planned outlay.The chief minister announced one-time crop loan waiver up to ₹ 50,000 for small and marginal farmers, exemption of ‘lagan’ on land (land revenue) and constitution of Rajasthan state Farmers Debt Relief Commission for settlement of crop loans on merit basis.The loan waiver would cost ₹ 8,000 crore to the exchequer.The estimated fiscal deficit for 2018-19 is ₹ 28,011.21 crore, which is 2.98 per cent of GSDP while estimated total revenue receipt for 2018-19 is ₹ 1,51,663.50 crore.The budget has the estimated revenue deficit of ₹ 5,454.85 crore without the effect of UDAY scheme and ₹ 17,454.85 crore with the effect of UDAY scheme.After presenting the budget, Ms. Raje told reporters that the budget is well within the limits of the fiscal responsibility and budget management act.“We have tried to touch every sector and section of society and have tried to make best use of the public money to support those deprived,” Ms. Raje said.In tax proposals, Ms. Raje announced to set up a traders welfare board with initial corpus of ₹ 10 crore for speedy disposal of problems related to dealers, their social security and insurance needs etc., 50 per cent exemption in stamp duty for the establishment of IT, entertainment and tourism sector units, increase of ten per cent in SGST based investment subsidy from 30 per cent to 40 per cent.To promote agro-based industries and services, the maximum limit of interest subsidy in a year increased from ₹ 5 lakh to ₹ 7.5 lakh per year.Ms. Raje also announced 10 per cent reduction in existing rates of stamp duty on agriculture, residential and commercial land with effect from February 13, 2018, no increase in valuation of agriculture, residential and commercial land by the DLC in the year 2018-19.Ms. Raje in her budget speech informed the house that 1.81 lakh new taxpayers have been registered under the GST and the tax base of the state has increased by more than 35 per cent as compared to the VAT regime.She also said that GST rates of commodities like marble and granite, gems and jewellery, handicraft, textile, hotel, tourism were reduced by the GST council due to efforts by the state government.
Taking potshots at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership in Karnataka, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Ajit Pawar on Tuesday said that B.S. Yeddyurappa’s two-and-a-half-day stint as the chief minister was “an unbreakable record”.Mr. Pawar said, “No leader from any party or any Chief Minister can achieve what the BJP’s B.S. Yeddyurappa has managed to do.” Mr. Pawar condemned the BJP for allegedly attempting to bribe Congress legislators in Karnataka and trying to thwart an alliance between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).Mr. Pawar said, “The BJP failed to gain a majority in Karnataka. Audio clips also emerged claiming BJP leaders tried to bribe Congress MLAs. This only shows the level the BJP can stoop to secure power.”He also criticised the Narendra Modi government for the skyrocketing fuel prices. Mr. Pawar said, “Petrol and diesel prices have touched an all-time high, far exceeding those under the Congress-led UPA regime. The life of the common man is getting exceedingly tougher by the day.” He called on the rank-and-file of all parties to firmly oppose the BJP at every level. He said that NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal would speak at the party’s Foundation Day meeting on June 10.
More than four years after he was beaten to death by activists of a fringe right-wing group, the relatives of IT professional Mohsin Shaikh finally received compensation from the Maharashtra government.Through a Government Resolution the State Revenue Department announced a compensation of ₹5 lakh from the State fund and a matching amount from the Central fund.The GR directed authorities at the Pune Collectorate to hand over the ₹10 lakh to Shaikh’s family.Shaikh, 28, was beaten to death allegedly by activists of the Hindu Rashtra Sena on the night of June 2, 2014, in Hadapsar, Pune. The then Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government led by Prithviraj Chavan had given his family a compensation of ₹5 lakh soon after the crime.Shaikh’s father, Sadiq Shaikh, had approached the Human Rights Law Network in July last year to secure substantial government compensation; the HRLN is a collective of lawyers working towards providing legal assistance to vulnerable sections of society.“The HRLN had filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court. I believe this has prompted the State government to finally act and provide us compensation,” Mr. Sadiq Shaikh told The Hindu.‘No job yet’In August 2014, a three-member panel of the National Commission for Minorities had visited Pune to assess the situation in the strife-torn parts of the city. It had made a number of demands on behalf of the Shaikh family, including raising of government compensation and providing a government job to Mohsin’s brother, Mobin Shaikh.“Both the erstwhile Congress-NCP, and the present BJP governments have only doled out assurances. No job has ever been given to my second son, Mobin,” said Sadiq Shaikh. “This (compensation) is too little and too late,” said Anjum Inamdar of the Rashtrapremi Kruti Samiti, an outfit working for the rights of minority and backward groups. Mr. Inamdar said the State government’s long-delayed decision smacked of discrimination and apathy towards the welfare of minorities.
Amar Nath Bhagat and Pawan Kumar have done what many train locomotive pilots often cannot — stop the train for as long as elephants take to cross the track.Mr. Bhagat, a loco pilot of the Bamanhat-Siliguri Jn. passenger train applied the brakes after spotting a herd of elephants close to the track between Sivok and Gumla stations in northern West Bengal on August 24 evening.The section comes under the Alipurduar Division of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), headquartered in Guwahati’s Maligaon.“My assistant [Mr. Kumar] spotted the elephants at about 5.35 p.m. The elephants were not visible from my side of the locomotive because of a bend in the track. I braked as soon as he shouted out,” Mr. Bhagat told The Hindu.The elephants, barely 250 metres away from the locomotive, had taken time because of three adventurous calves. “We waited a little more than 10 minutes for them to cross and disappear into the trees,” the loco pilot said.The passenger train, moving at about 25 kmph, stopped 10 metres from the point where the brakes were applied. A loaded goods train would have stopped closer to the elephants, Mr. Bhagat said.The drivers’ decision to stop the train for the elephants has not gone unnoticed. NFR officials said they deserve a commendation.“Such alert loco pilots help improve the image of the railways, particularly the NFR that has many elephant corridors,” NFR spokesperson Pranav Jyoti Sharma said. 29 elephant corridors NFR’s tracks cut through 29 notified elephant corridors, many of them in the Dooars region of northern Bengal, where train hits killed at least 30 elephants in five years till December 2017. According to ‘Rights of Passage’, a 2017 study by Wildlife Trust of India, Project Elephant and UK-based NGO Elephant Family, the jumbos regularly use 86% of the corridors of northern West Bengal and 66% of those in the northeast. The study said the elephant habitat is about 2,200 sq. km. of the forest area of 3,051 sq. km. in northern West Bengal, straddling terai, western and eastern Dooars.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday sought the personal intervention of Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari for expeditious clearance of road projects in the historic towns of Sultanpur Lodhi, Batala and Dera Baba Nanak. The towns are associated with the life of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, whose 550th ‘Parkash Parv’ (birth anniversary) is being observed this month.Extra funds In a letter to Mr. Gadkari, the Chief Minister thanked the Centre for acceding to the request of the Punjab government related to the projects and announcements in this regard, especially the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate smooth and easy access to Kartarpur Sahib. In view of the historic importance of these religious towns, Capt. Singh sought an additional allocation of ₹150 crore under the Central Road Fund for the upgradation of the road network in Sultanpur Lodhi, Batala, Dera Baba Nanak and Gurdaspur.Capt. Singh also asked for four-laning of a 21.3 km stretch of the Jalandhar-Kapurthala-Sultanpur Lodhi NH-703-A, which is currently two-laned, at an estimated cost of ₹260 crore. The highway connects the holy town of Sultanpur Lodhi with the rest of Punjab and beyond. “Certain stretches of this highway are already four-laned… but due to the expected increase in pilgrim traffic during the upcoming celebrations, it was imperative to four-lane the stretch of 21.3 km,” he wrote in the letter on Sunday.National Highway status The Chief Minister also urged Mr. Gadkari to declare the Tarn Taran-Goindwal Sahib-Kapurthala Road a national highway as it is related to the life of Guru Nanak Dev and connects Sultanpur Lodhi with Amritsar. He apprised the Minister of the central government’s grant of in-principle approval for declaration of the road as a national highway.Capt. Singh added that in view of the announcement to open the Kartarpur Corridor, Dera Baba Nanak should be connected with Batala by a four-laned highway to enable devotees visit Kartarpur Sahib on a shorter route. Notably, Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district is of great religious significance as Guru Nanak Dev spent 14 years of his life here and attained enlightenment, before embarking on his missionary travels.
When it comes to wooing females, it’s not just the size of a male gazelle’s antlers or the boldness of his personality that counts—it’s the number of parasites he’s harboring. All Grant’s gazelles (Nanger granti) have intestinal worms, but according to a study presented in Princeton, New Jersey, at the Animal Behavior Society meeting last week, those males able to defend land and a harem begin their reign with a relatively low number of parasites. A male spends his days in the Kenyan savanna in a small bachelor group until he’s able to race faster and leap higher than other males, becoming a top dog. As he makes this transition, his testosterone levels rise. The hormones, in turn, suppress his immune system, making him more susceptible to acquiring worms. His risk of infection rises further with every female that joins his harem, because they also carry the parasites and deposit the eggs on the grasses he eats. Over time, because of his increasingly heavy parasite load, the male can no longer chase off competitors; he loses his harem and becomes a lowly bachelor again, until he’s shed the worms. Then the cycle begins anew. Failing territorial males treated with a deworming medication were able to regain their vigor—demonstrating the parasites’ key role in the males’ journey from bachelor to top male to bachelor again. “It’s the first time to see a complete cyclical picture where behavior modifies an animal’s risk of acquiring a parasite, and how that infection, in turn, modifies the animal’s behavior,” the study’s lead author Vanessa Ezenwa, a disease ecologist at the University of Georgia, Athens, told the meeting.
“Your honor, we don’t know if the suspect is the killer, but we do know they both used Revlon Frost & Glow hair dye.” It sounds absurd, but a well-known chemistry technique could help authorities identify criminals based on their artificial hair color. Usually, hairs left behind at a crime scene are associated with DNA testing, but such a procedure requires whole, intact hairs and is often time-consuming. Because of these constraints, forensic analyses sometimes simply compare the appearance of the hair under the microscope, but these comparisons are subjective in nature and frequently inconclusive. However, new research, published online in Analytical Chemistry, might eventually provide police with a DNA-free method for objectively linking a hair to a crime. The technique uses surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) to precisely measure how light from a laser bounces off a hair. Vibrations within the molecules on the hair’s surface change the energy of the reflected photons and are caught by a detector. If the sample has a dye on it (or blood, drugs, ink, explosives, etc.) the laser will reflect differently, and each dye creates a unique pattern. The technique is so precise that scientists are able to identify distinct brands of dye and determine whether the dye was temporary or permanent—even when sampling a microscopic piece of hair. Furthermore, because SERS is fast and doesn’t destroy the sample, if a chemical does link a hair to a crime scene, the sample could potentially still be analyzed for DNA at a later point.
A once-secret nuclear facility deep under a mountain near Iran’s holy city of Qom is slated to become one of the world’s most unusual international research centers. A plutonium-producing reactor will be reengineered and downsized. And enough enriched uranium to make several atomic bombs will be removed or diluted. These and other technical elements of the action plan on Iran’s nuclear program announced yesterday seek a delicate balance: preventing Iran from building an atomic arsenal while allowing it to retain significant nuclear R&D.A final agreement, in which Iran will dismantle parts of its nuclear program and accept international inspections in return for the lifting of international sanctions, isn’t due until the end of June. But the technical fixes announced yesterday have raised hopes that negotiators will be able to reach a final agreement. “It’s great that they persevered, with all the opposition,” says Frank von Hippel, a physicist and arms control expert at Princeton University.The goal of the United States and its negotiating partners is to slow Iran’s “breakout time”—the timescale of a crash effort to porduce enough weapons-grade fissle material for one bomb—from an estimated 2 to 3 months to at least a year. One major bone of contention has been the Arak heavy water reactor. Iranian officials say the chief aim of the 40-megawatt fission reactor, under construction in the central province of Markazi, is to make radioisotopes for medicine. But simply running the reactor on its natural uranium fuel would yield about 10 kilograms of plutonium a year, enough for one or two atomic bombs. To greatly reduce the amount of plutonium generated in Arak’s spent fuel, von Hippel and others had proposed changing the fuel to low-enriched uranium (LEU), which would greatly curtail plutonium production.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)But to von Hippel’s surprise, Iran has, in principle, agreed to an even more stringent alteration. LEU fuel is more compact than natural uranium fuel and would thus take up less space in the core. Iran has said it will downsize the calandria—the vessel in which a core resides—making it harder to later reconfigure the reactor to switch back to natural uranium fuel and produce more plutonium. Von Hippel says the fuel swap alone would lengthen the breakout time Iran would need to build a plutonium bomb to more than 1 year. Iran’s commitment to a smaller calandria would “go well beyond that,” von Hippel says.Several other facets of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are aimed at extending Iran’s breakout time for a uranium-based bomb. For starters, Iran has agreed to reduce the number of installed centrifuges for enriching uranium from about 19,000 to 6104—all of which would be Iran’s first-generation IR-1 centrifuge rather than a more advanced model. It will also reduce its LEU stockpile from 10,000 kilograms down to 300 kilograms. Iran would have two basic options for achieving that reduction: exporting the excess LEU or blending it with depleted uranium, which, compared with natural uranium, has less of the fissile isotope uranium-235. The most logical solution, experts say, would be to send the 9700 kilograms of LEU to Russia for conversion into fuel rods for Iran’s Russian-built Bushehr nuclear reactor, in operation since 2011.One intriguing wrinkle of JCPOA is a plan to create what U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz calls an “international physics center” at the Fordow nuclear site. This secret facility for uranium enrichment came to light in 2009, 2 years after Iran started building it. The plan calls for largely gutting Fordow: removing about two-thirds of its centrifuges and other infrastructure. The remaining centrifuges will not be used to enrich uranium. Both the centrifuges and the remaining space would be open to foreign researchers. The proposal “is a great idea to get [Iran] into the international research community,” says Siegfried Hecker, a plutonium specialist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory.Iran had insisted from the outset that it would close none of its nuclear facilities. Converting one of its most controversial sites to a civilian R&D center “is clearly a face-saving gesture,” says physicist James Acton, a nonproliferation expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. “It’s not clear what sort of research will be done at Fordow,” says Pierce Corden, a disarmament expert and visiting scholar at AAAS (publisher of ScienceInsider). Von Hippel speculates that the remaining centrifuges there could be used to make purer preparations of mercury isotopes for fluorescent lighting, for example, or for enriching molybdenum-98, which could then be irradiated with neurtons to produce molybdenum-99, a radioisotope used in medicine. “It is likely not going to do much for basic physics,” Hecker says. “But isotope work would be great.”Others are skeptical. “It is very speculative at this stage,” says Yousaf Butt, senior scientific adviser to the British American Security Information Council in Washington, D.C. “I sincerely doubt American and Iranian nuclear scientists will be working together anywhere anytime soon.”Nuclear negotiators have set a 30 June deadline to hammer out a final agreement. Until then, Acton says, it’s worth bearing in mind that “we don’t have a deal yet.”Corrections and clarifications, 4/6/2015, 10:30am: Errors regarding the amount of enriched urnaium affected by the agreement, and the role of molybdenum-99, have been corrected. Details regarding operations of the Arak reactor have been clarified.
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The ancient gray and blue carpet covered the entire floor of the Indian air carrier we boarded in New York. Most of the passengers are harried couples with children, searching woodenly for their seats. One wailing baby crawls on the floor and wets himself. The stain spreads slowly on the carpet.Impatient nudges prompt me to find and slump on my seat. The plane starts to vibrate, while I continue staring at the stain on the carpet. I could have flown Singapore Airlines, but picked this one because it was cheaper. After all, I will not be paid in dollars in India.I still am not able to believe it. I have spent my whole life dreaming about living in America. And now, after I made the impossible leap, I am leaving. In fact, I have left… we are now in mid-air.A sigh escapes me. I first came to the United States in 2004 on an international fellowship. It had hit me in the arrival lounge at Newark International Airport – introverted middle-class Indian women do not get all-expense paid trips and fellowships. But here I was, in the land of my dreams.I was in the US only for a month at the time. But it changed me forever. No pressures. No guilt. No judgment. And so much beauty. Such delights motivated me to return the following year on an internship, working for the same magazine that had awarded me the fellowship.Lost in thought, I am brought back to reality by a slight touch on my forearm. When I notice my next-seat companion, I groan silently. Trust the fates to seat me beside a leering Indian businessman. This one looks slightly older than my father.“Hi, I own a motel in Kansas,” he says, licking his lips. “Ever been in a motel?” I silence him with my wooden stare. I feel disgusted. No American would have breached my privacy in such a crude manner. The male colleagues in my office were utterly professional and courteous to the core. Why can’t Indian men learn something from the Americans?I worked in a picturesque town in Pennsylvania. My colleagues often joked that I had visited New York City more times in a few months than they had in their lifetime. I was at the bus station almost every Friday, my little burgundy suitcase packed with essentials. In three hours, I would be magically transported from a genteel small town to the pulsing cultural melting pot of the East Coast.What can I say about Times Square that has not been said before? I have spent countless evenings just taking in the cold air there, feeling it expanding my lungs, my vision, my essence with its mingled aromas and sounds. They thrill me, fill me. If I concentrate enough, I can recall its language – the lilting mixture of various languages, united in one strip of land on this island. I can even recall the specifics. An impatient woman’s voice asking for tickets for The Lion King. The haunting Tibetan music played by a group of musicians in the 42nd street subway. The taste of tender lobster, smothered in butter, eaten in a noisy restaurant.The food trolley passes me and I glance at the offerings. At least they look better than the interior of the plane, I think, as the tight-lipped air hostess serves me. A moment later, I push the plate away in disappointment. No one can eat croissants on an airplane after savoring them in a neat little deli in Williamsburg.In New York, you can eat at a different restaurant every day for decades and never visit the same one again. The food, the cuisines… Mexican, Cuban, Ethiopian… the cafes and deli restaurants in New York had seduced me, enveloped me in gastronomic ecstasy. Land of the Free. I was free to live and eat, to play and celebrate. Only I was never free from my roots, from the cultural umbilical cord still throbbing in my core. One pull and here I go.That’s enough, I order myself and close my eyes. A few hours later we are in Mumbai. But I am still not home. For me, Chennai is India. From the lounge, I can see the terminals. Men and women, old and young, laugh and chatter, with hope and sadness reflected in their eyes.Airports are so fascinating – they are portals to our future, to a place free of past mistakes and lost chances. One final way to escape the demons, memories, hurts… yet, they also take us back to our personal hell. Dejectedly, I convert my dollars into rupees and board the connecting flight. The journey from Mumbai to Chennai is too brief. As the smaller connecting flight touches down, I experience a horrendous panic. What have I done? Why am I coming back? Thousands of Indians extend their visas and become NRIs. Why hadn’t that thought even crossed my mind?I complete the immigration formalities in a daze and enter the restroom. I take a look at myself; my hair resembles a bird’s nest and my face looks haunted. I brush my hair violently until it is flat, but there is no salvation for the fear in my eyes. I would be never ready, I think. I clutch furiously at the tissues and wipe my face.I proceed to the baggage claim area. Five and then ten minutes pass. No sign of my suitcases. Restless, I walk through the arts store in the airport. I peek inside, beyond the ornate door of the boutique. The walls are filled with knick-knacks that scream Indian. Sequined slippers, oxidized jewelry, tiny elephants carved out of wood. There are a couple of white women, trying out the pashminas. I look at them wistfully. Wanna trade visas? I want to ask. I return to the lounge, wiping imaginary moisture from my forehead. I squirm uneasily, the buckle of my jeans digging in, a reminder of the times I had let my inner glutton loose in New York. Can I get dim sum in Chennai? Would they have somehow recreated Times Square there? Not likely, I kick myself. Not when I had been gone for only nine months.It’s hard to explain to Indians why NRIs love living in the West. It’s not the money at all, though it does help. Mostly, it’s about the discipline in all aspects of life; the pleasure of living in a beautiful ambiance, the contentment of knowing that your privacy is yours alone and not for your relatives to dissect and trample; the absence of chaos; the possibility of planning a vacation a year and making it; the joy of knowing that you won’t be stared at if you wear tight jeans or groped on a crowded bus; the chance to wear red lipstick without being made to feel like a slut out on a prowl …I know what I will go through in India. The place will embrace me quickly; the people won’t. If I want mineral water, I am a stuck-up NRI. If I want tap water, thanks, it’ll be “Oh, this is not U.S., you can’t drink water straight from the tap, ha ha ha.” Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. I’ll probably spend the rest of my life explaining to strangers why I came back.I return to the conveyer belt. No suitcases. I have a foolish thought. Will they allow me to go back if I tell them that I left my suitcases at JFK?Suddenly a man in a dirty beige shirt comes before me. “Madam, your name?”I respond automatically, before becoming alert. “Why?” I ask.Too late. He has already moved.I sigh. It has started. Welcome back to India.I glance at the arrival gate. No sign of known faces. Friday evening traffic, probably. A few minutes later, my Good Samaritan returns, simpering. He places my suitcases on the floor. Then he grins idiotically. No self-respecting American will ever do that. Forget charm, at least have some grace when you beg for a tip, I think savagely. “How much?” I hear myself snap. His smile falters.“Your wish, madam,” he says, carefully.I dig inside my wallet and out comes a ten-rupee note. His lips turn downward. Uncaring, I give it to him and leave. I can hear him muttering behind my back. Did he expect a fortune?I am still fuming when I see my parents.What did I expect? They still look the same. My father is waving a huge bouquet at me. My mother is calling out my name and furiously clicking her digicam. I wave back. Both wear million-dollar – oops rupee – smiles. I can’t see my brother … maybe he couldn’t make it. As I come out and feel the sultry air of Chennai, a flood of memories threaten to dissolve me. I remember the taste of life in the past nine months. Plays on Broadway, carriage rides in Central Park, bag shopping in Chinatown, window shopping in Fifth Avenue, hindi movies at Union Square, designer dosas in Soho, evening walks on Brooklyn Bridge, stints at the Youth Hostel on Amsterdam Avenue, the polar bears at Bronx Zoo …Terror claws at me. How can I go back to a world of 8 pm curfews, rows of autowallahs for Rs 10, and zero respect to individuality? How can I deal with the mediocrity, the mockeries, the unjustness, and the hardships that seem native to this country of mine? How can I return to what I was before?Just as I get ready to scream my head off, a blast of water hits me. I now see my little brother, emerging from behind a column. A bell tinkles from the fancy water-gun in his hands.I have just been terminated.“Hey, loser,” he shrieks, laughing in a manner that only a 16-year-old Gemini can. Even as she throws angry words at him, my mother’s arms go around me. A comforting medley of Mysore sandal soap, Ponds talcum powder and coconut oil envelop me. My first hug in nine months.“Oh, we all missed you so much, we are glad you came back!” says my mother.I look at my parents. My father, who has spent his entire life working for others, often at an unflattering pay. My mother, who has spent her youth taking care of her sick in-laws. Thoughts of leisure travel or being food connoisseurs never occur to them. They were too busy surviving, so that their children would, one day, live the way we all deserve to live. They didn’t even have passports.I suddenly know why I came back.“So, how was US? Did you have a good time?” asks my father.“It was lovely,” I reply slowly. “But it will be even lovelier, when we all go together next year.”“Lord, look at my daughter promising the moon to me,” trills my mother. But her red cheeks tell me that she is pleased. I promise myself that I will go back to the heaven I found on earth as soon as possible, as soon as I can make arrangements. My family would love to eat lobster in Times Square.As my mother walks towards the parking lot, my brother gets busy. He aims another shot at me with his water gun. No self-respecting American would do that either.Thank goodness! Related Items
If you can’t stand others encroaching on your space, breaking through the wall that you’re used to having between you and them, you lose. If you can’t stand others touching you, handling you, laying their hands on your shoulders, so that when they retreat, there is nothing but smoke and noise that comes between you, you lose. Renowned Hungarian poet, playwright and novelist János Háy. You’re standing in Chandni Chowk, the market of old Delhi, a loser. The sounds assault your brain, and as the muezzin chants, you can’t even remember where you’re headed. It’s coming from a loudspeaker. Apparently, the old-style religion does not frown upon this new-style technical assistance. You see the demarcation line between the Hindu and the Muslim Delhi as the sound breaks through it from time to time. Of course, terrorists also want to violate borders now and then, so the public buildings are protected by soldiers equipped with machine guns crouching behind sandbags, watching over what, as the Mumbai attacks prove, appears to be public safety. You are suddenly scared, anything can happen anywhere, but if you’re scared, you lose.And then on to the largest market of seasonings in the world, where everyone is coughing and spitting, in the bales vaguely familiar seasonings, the smell so thick it’s impossible not to spit and you spit too on the cobblestones on top of the other spit. Nobody hides the phlegm in their handkerchief here. Suck it down from your nose to your mouth and spit it out.You shoo off the rickshaw men and the self-appointed tourist guides. They’ll show you everything practically for free, palaces carved from marble hidden in narrow alleyways, here and there the water pipes break through the medieval walls, tangled electric cables run in disorder above your head, the 220 volts might crash down on you at any time, men in dim corners are working on machines that remind you of the time of the Industrial Revolution, the museum industry in action, further off they’re smelting gold in small crucibles in a thousand year old stone furnace.The guide who has attached himself to you in the meanwhile takes you inside various shops to buy something; he’s working on commission, but you say, No. If you can’t say No or can’t accept the consequences of saying Yes, then you’ve joined a chaotic system where you’re passed from hand to hand in an attempt to get you to part with your money, you lose. If you always want to end up the winner, if you don’t know that being in India already means that you’re a winner, you lose. If your parents protected you from everything, if there’s no bacteria inside you, if they sterilized the toilet and washed you with anti-bacterial soap, you lose. The first time you go into a fast-food place whose kitchen is out on the street, its ovens made of packed mud, while inside at the tables the locals sit using only their right hand to eat, they use the left for something else, if you’re interested look it up in your guidebook, the food comes on a tin plate, griddle-cakes and vegetables with spicy sauces, and when you eat this food, the lava erupts from your insides and you run to relieve yourself, the liquid feces come spurting out of you, or else it waits two more weeks and a worm grown inside your intestines that will take months to kill off, and you lose.If you grew up in a sterile environment, you lose. All those Indians laugh at you and look you in the eye, because they dare to look you in the eye, and if you don’t dare to look back, you lose. If you keep your distance they look down on you, they don’t consider you anything but a foreign object with money. If you can’t look them in the eye, if you can’t lean close to them, if you can’t see the authenticity in the penury, you lose. You’re a tourist, and India is a favorite tourist destination. You will remain a stranger in a strange land.They rob you, they cheat you, you bargain and haggle from morning to night, what should be how much cheaper, whereas it’s already cheap enough as it is. You become part of the world that has humiliated and abased two thirds of the globe. You are one of the rich who do not think about the neo-colonization that the world’s arrogant half engages in to this day.You consider leftist ideology a thing of the past, you think that the terror of white supremacy has ended with the liberation of the colonies. You don’t take into account that nothing has come to replace the destroyed economic and social traditions except servitude and poverty. You are part of the world that feeds off of the fat of the lean East. Back home, you buy the products they produce at low prices; after all, the eastern laborers, not infrequently children, made them for starvation wages under conditions that would be unthinkable in Europe. Let them learn what we know, you’re thinking, let them be as flexible as European culture. It’s not our fault we’re ahead of them, they shouldn’t have stopped progress thousands of years ago. The Asian mode of production failed even back then, except they didn’t notice, because Europe hadn’t made an appearance among them yet. They should have realized that the only goal worth aiming for is material progress, in other areas, such as spiritual improvement, progress is hopeless anyway.A new metro, new industrial parks, new shopping centers, if you don’t see that India has caught on and is learning, you lose. It is forging ahead like a tank.According to Darwin’s theory, they won, provided that we consider the survival of the species a primary goal. Multiply and multiply some more, the Bible says, and they are multiplying. Every sixth person in the world is Indian, whereas only every six-hundredth is Hungarian. We don’t even have enough offspring to pay for our pensions. Of course, in Hungary, most of us know about pensions only from hearsay. The migration of people is a slow process, people looking for work come in slow streams from the overpopulated world. Europe’s population is changing unnoticed. We’re dead set against them bringing their chadors and their cheap labor, their unacceptable morals. They refuse to assimilate, when they’re living off of us we’re up in arms, whereas it’s the other way around, we’re the ones that can’t live without them. This is no longer the Europe of 30 years ago. Turks speak Turkish-German on the streets of German towns, it’s their lingua franca. London’s retail trade is in the hands of Indians and Pakistanis. While we are fighting for a shorter workweek and a life more worthy of a human being, longer summer vacations, but time for a bit of winter skiing as well, they are working.Of course, India is not what it was 30 years ago either. Gandhi’s non-violent revolution has been replaced by intense financial activity. India’s time has come, the posters say. Three countries are on the playing field: China, Russia, India, the rest were disqualified in the semi-finals. In Delhi people say India will win, in Beijing they’re betting on China. Europe and America are regarded only as possible markets and the hated world that is the source of their humiliation. But they’re tired and have had their day, they can’t be counted on in the future, though it’s hard to tell at this point in time what would happen to the eastern economies without our conspicuous consumption. The leftist ideologies that have had their day are popping up like weeds. Religion is the opiate of the masses, says the president of Hyderabad University as he sips his whisky, he’s just returned from China. No one in Budapest believes that he will ever hear this sentence again. If you laugh when you hear it, you lose, because despite the West’s admiration of India, religion there can’t be comprehended if approached only from its spiritual dimensions.Religion is an institution that applied spiritual pressure to preserve the caste system, ignorance, and keeps people in poverty. There is no free democracy, democratic principles stand in the service of capital, a man from Kerala says. The Hungarians just changed horses and not their political system, and he is gung-ho for socialism. He brings up the state as an example, meaning Kerala, where there is a communist government and they have in fact eradicated illiteracy. Thanks to positive discrimination they were able to move those from the lower castes to the elite proportionately, and to obliterate all sorts of principles based on prestige and authority.India is an alliance of states with independent governments. From the Congress Party conservatives to the out and out commies, the political palette is colorful. The people, too, are colorful. The women wear colorful saris. Here, even the intellectuals are not loath to wear traditional Indian garb. Nobody thinks about them what I think about those Hungarians who appear in public in a peasant vest or a Bocskai jacket. The skin color varies from the very light to the very dark. They say that India is a paradise for racists as well as human anthropologists, because for thousands of years tradition has kept society static and retained the various cultures and blood groups intact.The people of Kerala talk about solidarity in an English that conforms to the acoustics of the local language (Malayala). They talk about how a member of the elite is bound to care for those who have no say in decision making, those who are in need of someone else’s help. My children know about this type of European elite only from books. I have actually met leftists who believed in the improvement of society, and through it, of man. I have seen the last guardians of the flames of enlightenment, whose endeavors were made impossible once and for all by the specifically Hungarian realization of their dreams here at home. In Europe, ideals and those who believed in them have been relegated to the museums.Social thinking is ruled by the “solve it yourself and rule your own life” movement, and if you fail in the process of solving it, it was your fault. No one reflects on the extent to which responsibility and duty are bound to the individual and to what extent they are bound to society. It takes a crisis, the loss of middle class security, for people to realize, on an emotional level at least, that anyone might lose anything, whether it is his fault or not, that no one has the right to anything by virtue of birth — thoughts that force their way into the light of day while the middle class is still worried about next summer’s vacation and next winter’s skiing trip, the children’s language school in England, the risky bank accounts, and not their dinner.Indian intellectuals feel lousy surrounded by so much misery. They feel lousy because they know perfectly well that the leaders of India are also to blame for the misery.I am in Jaipur in the palace of the maharajah, looking at the photographs of one of the last rulers. Polo was his favorite pastime, and in England he was considered one of the best players. He was most proud when he received a visit from the viceroy. There he stood ceremoniously by his side, his clothing and his palace speaking of fabulous riches, and he didn’t care how many were moaning outside the gates. He would have liked to be English, but he could only be Indian. The elite of Europe are as pleased with themselves in their good life and provincialism as the maharajah of Jaipur, and the more insignificant the country we visit (for instance, our own, which — need we add — is still close to our hearts), the more we show off with what we’ve got and the more glaring the provincialism. We fix our eyes on New York or Washington, we applaud the war in Iraq, cry our approval if that’s what is called for, and our disapproval if that’s what is expected of us, and we forget to so much as glance toward the Third World to see the conditions there, along with the conditions on the outskirts of our own towns, the villages of the dying regions, or what has happened to the Roma in the last 20 years, that the greater part of the Roma foundation funds never crossed the city limits of the capital, and then we’re indignant if those for whom it was meant come to claim it. We can live quite comfortably while half of the country barely makes do on the poverty line, and get a lump in our throats only if our accumulated wealth is threatened. As long as the ghettos and slums keep the dregs of society confined, we don’t feel responsible, our feeling of comfort remains intact. If they’re there, it’s their fault.And nobody cares that there should be mobility in the country, whereas the feeling of getting ahead is capable of releasing incredible energies in every stratum of society. Also, the introduction of the new energies into the elite would be as necessary as a piece of bread. We’re not fazed by the newly emerging caste system, whose walls were first put up out of money, though by now schooling too is part of the mortar. We’re surprised only if all hell breaks loose among the strata deprived of opportunity, and without thinking, driven by emotion, they rally behind the proponents of shameful and intolerable principles. I’m the guest of a middle class family. They’re a bit surprised when it turns out that I like the local flavors, whereas they’d have preferred to serve me a French-style dinner. They employ armies of servants. India is teeming with servants. There is a saying in Jolly Old England: it’s worth living here because Indians make the best servants. Even poets and teachers have servants. Human labor is so cheap anyone can afford to hire help.The middle class is the same everywhere. Provided you have enough money, you can pay for the same services all over the world. This family is just like a family back home living in the Buda hills. They radiate the comforting feeling of security. They are good people, but they’re just like the people I know throughout the world.It is always the poor who are interesting, because they are forced most keenly to live according to local conditions. The good life standardizes people, it turns them into a dime a dozen. They’re different only in comparison to the poor; in comparison to the world, they are alike. And yet there is a difference after all: even these wealthy people are open and above board. Indian culture is not reflective, like ours. Jokes and humor are present, but irony and cynicism are unknown. People call things by their names. Communication is guided by honest and direct talk about the world. There is no time for pretence and guile. Joy is joy and pain is pain, and ten rupees are ten rupees. Life is experienced directly.It is the curse of European culture that it has made the immediate experience of life impossible. We’ve cut ourselves off from the origin of things; every product is an abstraction. We don’t know how it was made or of what ingredients. We have chosen comfort over the elemental level of the understanding of the world. The basis of the world is like a simple lever, a clearly defined system of causes and results, whether we’re on the terrain of physics or of biology. In India if you don’t know the simple structures of everyday life, you die of starvation, you’re dead, and in a non-reflective culture, a dead man is just a lifeless corpse that’s of no use for anything. I am heading to Benares (Varanasi), one of the most famous spiritual centers of the world, sharing a compartment with a Belgian-French religious historian and two American girls. The religious historian tells us that he is engaged in studying a special reincarnation of Shiva. He’s on a 12-month research trip in order to discover something, I can’t quite follow what. He tells us about those old Hindu books that talk about this strange god known only in certain areas, for instance here in Benares. The American girls are lively, they buy tea, they eat dinner, they’re extremely happy that compared to their limited finances life here is so cheap, and that they decided to embark on this long trip. True, sometimes the Indians touch them, their hair, for instance, because they’re blond, and they even touch them in more intimate places, but they never go further than that. They don’t have to be afraid of sexual harassment; besides, the Indians are still living in pre-sexual revolution times.The girls sip their tea, an Indian type boiled with buffalo milk, sugar, and spices, and which, despite the English domination, is called chai and not tea, and they’re deliberating whether they should go to Nepal, which is even cheaper and where the people are even nicer than the Indians. Because they’re so poor, they have no reason to be bad. In a 100 years from now, one wonders, who will be the cheerful girls and who the Belgian religious historian, who will make up the happier half of mankind? Will the exotic tours head from West to East, or from East to West? No one knows what the poverty and dominance map of the world will look like then.I get off the train. Narrow streets, cows, dogs, monks, dung, the early Middle Ages. In the hotel I realize they’ve stolen my money, a quickly won material experience in the center of spirituality. They try to palm hashish off on you wherever you go, cheap, and of the best quality, needless to say. In their eyes the white men are idiots, they come to gape over a religion they haven’t the vaguest idea about. They’ve heard of only a handful of the nearly 3,000 gods, and even get that handful mixed up. They come to put on Indian garments, to meditate on the banks of the Ganges, and to get a cheap fix of coke. A couple of ageing European faces among the mendicant monks, they came with the first flood in the late sixties, they were hippies back home, or just got tired of the good life of the middle classes and went in search of spiritual deliverance, which brought them here; and they stayed, possibly because the paternal inheritance sufficed to finance life only in India, possibly because something really touched them deep down: Vishnu, Prince Krishna, Ganesh with the elephant’s head, or the cocaine. Debris wherever you look. A country whose relationship to garbage goes back to the Middle Ages, when there was no garbage, when materials were organic and became part of the environment once again. A fast food restaurant in Tamil Nadu, they still dish your lunch out on a banana leaf. In the tea shop they serve you tea in half-baked pottery, you throw it away, it breaks and decomposes, is returned to the soil. This is the country that has become a garbage heap of plastic, whose half-life will survive civilization itself. They don’t know what they should do about it, they haven’t accumulated garbage before. In the most breathtaking places like the Himalayan waterfall it takes a sleight-of-hand to take a picture that doesn’t include the plastic bags hanging from the branches or the plastic bottles that mar the landscape.I am sitting on the hotel’s terrace and the sun is just going down. I can hardly believe that I have reached my destination for the day, and that even the setting sun is adding to the experience. You never know what bus you should take and whether it will take you where you want to go; it may very well let you off at another station from where you must proceed on a motorized tricycle. Or it may not take you anywhere, because it would take a miracle for it to start up at all. And yet India seems to be functioning, and if you pay attention, you can actually feel it. This is the highest point one can reach in India, nearly three thousand meters. I wanted quiet, the cities, whether Benares or Rishikesh, wore me out; though there were churches on every corner and armies of priests, yogis and monks, they could not make up for the silence which in the long run is the only route to meditation.I am sitting on the terrace, I even got hold of some whiskey to help me turn inward. What a great thing it is, I thought, to believe in a society, and my father came to mind, who had a positive worldview, for whom human history was progressing toward something, and for whom that something was good. And also that the community will punish those who would harm it, and that the leading elite, to whom he also belonged on the village level by virtue of being the director of a large cooperative, should be busy 24 hours a day thinking up ways of improving the lives of those who don’t have the answers, and who cannot act on their own. Though he hadn’t read either, Marx and Toynbee made fortuitous companions in my father’s head. He only read books on gardening, but for him Modern Blackcurrant Cultivation was enough, it seems, to have the proper attitude toward the community he lived in. I felt ashamed knowing that we are light years away from this sense of responsibility. I felt ashamed of our ignorance of the world, of our place in the world, and our insignificance. Ashamed of how blind we are to the basic questions. Ashamed that though the world is open toward us, we turn away and twiddle our civilized thumbs behind closed doors, mostly with a sense of superiority, inordinately pleased with our good lives. And we don’t even notice that we have lost the game.Reprinted with permission from the author, Magyar Lettre Internationale and the translator Judith Sollosy. János Háy is a renowned Hungarian poet, playwright and novelist. His published works include Between Father And Mother, The Beauty Of The Heart, I Will Go By Foot To You On The Passage, and The Stonewatcher. Related Items
The leafy jatropha tree, which is found abundantly in India, Africa and Central America, is emerging as a leading source of biofuel.Biodiesel generated from the tree has been tested on Continental Airlines flights and it is widely used in India, Philippines and Brazil, including powering trains between New Delhi and Mumbai. Now several energy companies, including the oil giant BP, are investing in cultivating jatropha trees, which are estimated to yield two gallons of oil per season. As many as 400 trees can be planted per acre at a cost of around $7 per tree. Related Items
Harley-Davidson, the iconic American motorcycle brand, will begin selling its motorcycles in India, the second largest motorcycle market in the world, after China. The Indian market is currently dominated by inexpensive bikes intended for commuting, such as Hero Honda, Suzuki and Bajaj. However, Harley Davidson believes rising incomes in India provide an opening for its heavyweight and leisure brand. Related Items
American carrier Delta Air Lines will resume its non-stop flight service between the United States and Mumbai from 2019, the company said on May 24. The airline had suspended its non-stop service between the two countries in 2009, citing lack of economic viability caused by government-subsidized Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad.“It is exciting to be able to announce Delta’s return to India from the U.S. as part of our vision to expand Delta’s reach internationally,” the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. “We are thankful to the president for taking real action to enforce our Open Skies trade deals, which made this new service possible. We are looking forward to providing customers in the U.S. and India with Delta’s famously reliable, customer-focused service operated by the best employees in the industry,” he added.While Delta has announced non-stop flights from Mumbai, the airline also said that it intends to expand its existing codeshare relationship with partner Jet Airways to provide seamless connections to other destinations within India. It will announce the details and full schedules later this year, the statement added. The service is subject to government approval.The flights will begin next year and depart from either New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport or Delta’s home base at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, CNBC reported, adding that the airline has not made a final decision yet.Delta’s announcement follows the clarification of the bilateral aviation agreement between the United States and the governments of the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to address the issue of government subsidies provided to state-owned carriers in those nations. Under the agreement, announced earlier this month, the UAE airlines Emirates and Etihad agreed to publish financial statements in accordance with international accounting standards. The United States made a similar agreement in January this year with state-owned Qatar Airways.Delta, American and United were the three U.S. carriers that had held that the subsidies were unfair. United Airlines is currently the only U.S. carrier that flies nonstop to India from America. Delta made an exit from the India market, claiming that the government subsidies made it possible for the Middle Eastern carriers to offer lucrative fares for India-U.S. flights, thus making it difficult to compete in the sector.Delta’s announcement follows the recent move by Iceland’s Wow Air to launch its services from Delhi to multiple destinations in North America and Europe via the country’s capital Reykjavik from December 2018. Related ItemsAviationMumbaiUnited States
Incessant rains continued to lash several parts of Goa on Tuesday, causing flooding in some low-lying areas and forcing several families to shift out of their water-logged homes. Ten people from North Goa district’s Pilgao village were rescued by the disaster management department on Monday night after they were stranded at their homes due to flooding in the area, a senior government official said.In addition, several families were evacuated from Bicholim taluka where many homes were inundated, he said. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday morning visited some villages in North Goa that have been facing a flood-like situation. Heavy rains have been lashing the coastal state for last seven days. The Mandovi river in the state crossed the danger mark on Monday night, causing flooding in some villages of Sattari taluka in North Goa. Sonan village in Sattari was cut-off from other parts of the district for last 12 hours, another official said. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall in both North Goa and South Goa districts and issued an ‘orange alert’, asking people to be prepared for any situation. The IMD has predicted strong winds with speed reaching 45 to 50 kms per hour and gusting up to 65 kmph along the Maharashtra-Goa coast. Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea due to the rough weather, though the fisheries department lifted the ban on fishing in the state from August 1.