News in Pictures — April 17, 2019
Greta Thunberg takes climate change campaign to Vatican
Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has brought her climate change campaign to the Vatican, where she met with Pope Francis and carried a sign saying “Join the climate strike.”
Thunberg arrived late for Pope Francis’ general audience on April 17 and took her seat in the VIP section in St. Peter’s Square. Pope Francis went up to her at the end of the audience, where Thunberg showed off her sign.
She is in Rome to headline April 19th “school strike,” the growing worldwide youth movement she spearheaded demanding faster action against climate change. Thunberg will also address the Italian Parliament.
In Pope Francis, Thunberg has found a kindered spirit. The Jesuit pope has made fighting climate change and caring for God’s creation a pillar of his papacy.
UNESCO experts ready to assist reconstruction of iconic Notre Dame
Two-thirds of the largely medieval roof of the famed Notre Dame cathedral in Paris have gone after the devastating fire, but U.N. cultural experts are standing by to offer help in rebuilding the iconic structure, UNESCO World Heritage Centre Director Mechtild Rossler said.
Ms. Rossler, who visited the site Tuesday, told U.N. News that the cathedral is a universal symbol and the centre of France and its devastation has left people across nations shocked.
She described seeing people praying outside the stricken symbol of the city and the nation, still trying to take in the scale of the disaster.
Sri Lanka President offers prayers at Tirumala shrine
Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Wednesday offered prayers at thefamous hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala.
Accompanied by wife Jayanthi Pushpa Kumari, other family members and some government officials, Sirisena arrived in Tirupathi from Hyderabad on Tuesday.
After an overnight stay at the TTD guest house on the hills, he visited the temple at the crack of dawn and offered prayers to the presiding deity, Lord Venkateswara.
He spent about half an hour at the shrine, a temple official told PTI.
After paying obeisance, the island nation’s President was presented with a sacred silk cloth, a framed photo of Lord Venkateswara besides ‘prasadam’ by the officials of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which governs the ancient hill temple.
Before leaving the temple, the priests at Sri Ranganayakula Mandapam, blessed him.
Rahul Gandhi addresses media in Kannur
AICC president Rahul Gandhi has said that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘divisive politics’, destruction of economy and neglect of farmers are ‘the most anti-national activities’ in the country.
Interacting with the media here on Wednesday after addressing a meeting of United Democratic Front leaders in the region, Mr. Gandhi said that the Congress and its allies were fighting the general election on destruction of economy and massive amount of unemployment created by the policies of the Mr. Modi, the crisis in the farming sector that was causing large number of farmers committing suicide and the corruption that the Prime Minister had personally carried out by giving Rs. 30,000 crore ‘’stolen from the people” to Anil Ambani as a gift.
Responding to a question on Mr. Modi’s allegation during the election rallies in Odisha and Chhattisgarh on April 16 that the Congress was supporting forces like Maoists that are breaking the country, Mr. Gandhi said that the Congress had an exceptional record in fighting forces that attack the nation. Noting that in Punjab and North East, thousands of Congress workers had given their lives, he said that Mr. Modi’s divisive politics and destruction of economy and farming sector are the ánti-national activities.
Security beefed up in J&K ahead of polling
Security in Jammu and Kashmir has been beefed as the State goes to polls on Thursday. Elections in for six parliamentary constituencies are set to be held in five phases, with Anantnag constituency alone seeing three phases of voting.
Preparations are on for second phase of polling
Campaigning ended on Tuesday evening for the second phase of the 17th Lok Sabha election in 97 constituencies, spread over 12 States and a Union Territory that will vote on Thursday. Counting of votes will take place on May 23, after all seven phases of voting are completed.
In the second phase, all 39 constituencies of Tamil Nadu, 14 in Karnataka, 10 in Maharashtra, eight in Uttar Pradesh, five each in Assam, Bihar and Odisha, 3 each in Chhattisgarh and West Bengal, two in Jammu and Kashmir and one each in Manipur, Tripura and Puducherry will be voting.
Decisive victories in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are critical to the Congress-led alliance’s chances of unseating Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Karnataka is the only south Indian State where the BJP has a significant presence, and the party had won 17 of its 28 seats in 2014.
₹1.48 crore cash seized in Andipatti
The Income Tax department’s Investigations Wing on Wednesday seized a sum of ₹1.48 crore as accounted cash, even as police opened fire in the air to prevent miscreants from stealing the money.
The seizure came as the I-T department concluded their searches at Andipatti, Theni.
B. Murali Kumar, Director General I-T (INV), Chennai, said, “Last night’s search operations in Andipatti in Theni district, Tamil Nadu, concluded at 5.30 a.m. today. Unaccounted cash of ₹1.48 crore was seized.”
According to the taxmen, the cash was neatly packed in 94 packets/envelopes on which the ward number, number of voters and the amount at ₹300 per voter was written. All the wards mentioned are within the Andipatti assembly segment, which will go to polls on April 18.
Indonesia votes in its biggest-ever election
Voting is underway in Indonesia’s presidential and legislative elections after a campaign that that pitted the moderate incumbent against an ultra-nationalist former general.
Polling booths opened at 7 a.m. Wednesday in easternmost provinces and voting begins in the capital Jakarta two hours later. Indonesia has three time zones.
About 193 million people are eligible to vote in polls that will decide who leads the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.
Voting ends at 1 p.m. and so called “quick count” results are expected after about two hours.
The presidential race is a choice between five more years of the steady progress achieved under Indonesia’s first president from outside the Jakarta elite, Joko Widodo, or electing Prabowo Subianto, a former general from the era of the Suharto military dictatorship.
Nearly 300 arrested at London climate protests
Police have arrested 290 people in two days of protests after climate-change activists blocked some of London’s most important junctions including Oxford Circus and Marble Arch, causing traffic chaos.
The protests, led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion, brought parts of central London to a standstill again on Tuesday.
Extinction Rebellion, which generated headlines with a semi-nude protest in the House of Commons earlier this month, is demanding the government reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Police said they expected the demonstrations to continue in coming weeks and had to strike the right balance between allowing the right to peaceful protest while ensuring disruption was kept at a minimum.
(With inputs from Agencies)