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Cannot help Iranian woman due to court order: Swaraj

PTI | New Delhi |

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Saturday expressed inability in helping a British woman charity worker of Iranian origin who has been sentenced to one year imprisonment by a court in Odisha on charges of causing death of a tribal child due to negligence.

Swaraj had sought a report from Odisha government on the case involving 28-year-old Narges K Ashtari.

She said she cannot help the woman due to the court order.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif earlier this week has said that Iran will use all its capacity to secure Ashtari's release.

"I have received the report from Government of Odisha. The trial court has convicted Narges K Ashtari to one year imprisonment and Rs 3,00,000/- fine.

"She has filed an appeal before Sessions Court which is pending. The appellate court has released her on bail pending appeal. This is a judicial order and the matter is sub judice.

Therefore, I am unable to help in this case @BorisJohnson @JZarif," Swaraj said in a series of tweets.

She also tagged Zarif as well as British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in her tweets.

Ashtari, who runs an orphanage through her NGO Prishan Foundation in Rayagada district of Odisha, was found guilty by a court in the case relating to causing death to a child due to negligence.

She faced the charges after the disappearance of the child in 2014, who is feared drowned.

An online petition by social activists has recently sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in seeking justice for Ashtari saying she has dedicated her life in serving orphan and abandoned children around the world.

Earlier this week, the Iranian Foreign Minister had said "The Foreign Ministry considers it its duty to protect Iranian nationals residing abroad, including students, elites and businessmen… and will use all its capacity to support them and restore their rights." 

He said the Iranian Foreign Ministry and Iran's embassy in New Delhi are following up on her case though diplomatic, consular and legal channels.

Born in Isfahan, central Iran, Ashtari's parents moved to the UK when she was four years old.

India to be among world’s top 3 economies: Rajnath

PTI | Lucknow |

Terming demonetisation a "short-term pain for a long-term gain", Union Home Minster Rajnath Singh on Saturday said India would be among the top three world economies in the next ten years.

"After the decision of demonetisation, cashless transactions have increased by over 300 per cent. It is not a small thing. It is a bold and historic decision," he said.

Singh was speaking at a function here to mark the launch of 'Lucky Grahak Yojana' and 'Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana'.

"This decision will shape the future of India, it will make India an economic super power," he said.

Referring to the hardships faced by common people due to note ban, he said it was a "short-term pain for a long-term gain".

"Things are looking up now. The circulation of new currency notes in the market has improved," he said, noting that India was the "fast-growing economy" in the world.

"Modi wants to take decisions that will catapult India to the slot of top three economies of the world, and I am confident of it," he said.

To encourage cashless business, strengthen mobile banking and inculcate the habit of making e-payments, the government recently launched schemes for consumers as well as traders.

To encourage customers, the scheme is 'Lucky Grahak Yojana' and to encourage traders, the scheme is 'Digi Dhan Vyapaar Yojana'.

The government had announced scrapping of the old Rs 500 and the Rs 1,000 notes on November 8. While this led to a cash crunch and serpentine queues at banks and ATMs, the decision also pushed uptake of digital payments in the country.

The programme was attended by UP Governor Ram Naik, Union MoS for Finance Santosh Gangwar, city Mayor Dinesh Sharma and popular Bollywood singer Kailash Kher.

Ban Ki-moon buoyed by climate accord but laments conflicts

PTI | United Nations |

Ban Ki-moon ends 10 years at the helm of the United Nations lamenting the "fires still burning" from Syria to South Sudan but buoyed by a global agreement to combat climate change and new UN goals to fight poverty and inequality.

As a final act before his term ends at midnight on New Year's Eve, the secretary-general will push the button starting the descent of the glittering 11,875-pound ball in New York's Times Square in the countdown to 2017's arrival.

At that moment, former Portuguese prime minister Antonio Guterres will start his tenure as United Nations chief for the next five years.

Looking back at his stewardship of the United Nations at a farewell news conference earlier this month, Ban told reporters "this has been a decade of unceasing test." 

While he has seen collective action improve millions of lives, Ban expressed frustration at the failure to end Syria's war, now in its sixth year, and conflicts in South Sudan, Yemen, Central African Republic and Congo, to name a few.

And in rare criticism of world leaders, he blamed unnamed presidents, prime ministers and monarchs for the turmoil in the world on Saturday and expressed disappointment many care more about retaining power than improving their people's lives. He singled out Syria, saying he can't understand why it is being held hostage to "the destiny" of one man, Bashar Assad.

Even after leaving the UN, Ban said he will keep urging new and longstanding leaders to embrace the "pre-eminent 21st century fact" that "international cooperation remains the path to a more peaceful and prosperous world" and to demonstrate "compassionate leadership." 

To reinforce this, the secretary-general's final trip this month was to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois. "Lincoln was a heroic force for equality, integration and reconciliation; and desperately, we need that spirit today," Ban said of the US leader during America's Civil War.

Ban has also expressed frustration at the way the UN operates and expectations in some quarters that the secretary-general has the power "to be some almost almighty person." 

That's impossible, he told the AP in September, because the UN's 193 member states make decisions and the secretary-general implements them. The UN chief cannot implement his or her own policies and initiatives.

John Bolton, who was US ambassador to the UN when Ban was selected to be secretary-general, said President George W Bush's administration supported him because "we wanted someone who would do what the member governments wanted" and not take the lead on issues and act as the world's top diplomat like then-secretary-general Kofi Annan.

"I think Ban Ki-moon lived up to our expectations, which is not to say I agreed with every position he took on climate change and things like that," Bolton told AP. 

Rift in SP to help BJP in UP polls: Athawale

  • Rift in SP to help BJP in UP polls: Athawale

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18:54 HRS IST

Raipur, Dec 31 (PTI) Republican Party of India (RPI) president and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale today claimed that the "ongoing rift within Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will certainly benefit BJP" in the upcoming assembly polls in that state.

He also claimed that his party can play a vital role in ensuring Dalit votes to BJP to capture power in the Uttar Pradesh.

"BJP is doing well in Chhattisgarh and therefore they are being voted to power again and again here. Congress is fighting among themselves (in Chhattisgarh). There in UP, clash is underway within Samajwadi Party," the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Athawale told reporters here.

"Dispute within Congress benefits BJP and now feud within SP would be beneficial for the BJP in UP (polls)," he added.

" We are trying that RPI and BJP would contest UP election in alliance we can get Dalit votes to BJP to ensure victory of their candidates and could be a good support (for the saffron party). I spoke to union minister Rajnath Singh yesterday and even he said BJP could get benefit of RPI," he said.

Athawale also said, "only Mayawati does not have rights over Dalit votes but RPI too has. RPI is the actual party of Babasaheb Ambedkar." 

"If we will contest UP polls in alliance with BJP, then we will be fielding candidates in 15-20 seats but in case we enter in the fray alone, we will fight in 150-200 seats," he added.

The Minister, however, said that even if his party's nominees will secure victory while fighting without any alliance in the UP polls, they will later extend support to the BJP.

Athawale further asserted that inter-caste marriages should be encouraged to bridge the gap between different sections of the society.

"In Chhattisgarh, only 170 inter-caste marriages had taken place in in 2015-16. Though the figures are encouraging in comparison to previous years, 2013-14 where 90 marriages and 2014-15 where 80 marriages, had taken place, these mostly are love marriages," said the Union Minister.

"The state government should encourage arranged inter-caste marriages", he said.

According to the Minister, in this regard he will soon write to Chief Minister Raman Singh.

PTI | Raipur |

Republican Party of India (RPI) president and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday claimed that the "ongoing rift within Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh will certainly benefit BJP" in the upcoming assembly polls in that state.

He also claimed that his party can play a vital role in ensuring Dalit votes to BJP to capture power in the Uttar Pradesh.

"BJP is doing well in Chhattisgarh and therefore they are being voted to power again and again here. Congress is fighting among themselves (in Chhattisgarh). There in UP, clash is underway within Samajwadi Party," the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Athawale told reporters here.

"Dispute within Congress benefits BJP and now feud within SP would be beneficial for the BJP in UP (polls)," he added.

" We are trying that RPI and BJP would contest UP election in alliance we can get Dalit votes to BJP to ensure victory of their candidates and could be a good support (for the saffron party). I spoke to union minister Rajnath Singh on Friday and even he said BJP could get benefit of RPI," he said.

Athawale also said, "only Mayawati does not have rights over Dalit votes but RPI too has. RPI is the actual party of Babasaheb Ambedkar." 

"If we will contest UP polls in alliance with BJP, then we will be fielding candidates in 15-20 seats but in case we enter in the fray alone, we will fight in 150-200 seats," he added.

The Minister, however, said that even if his party's nominees will secure victory while fighting without any alliance in the UP polls, they will later extend support to the BJP.

Athawale further asserted that inter-caste marriages should be encouraged to bridge the gap between different sections of the society.

"In Chhattisgarh, only 170 inter-caste marriages had taken place in in 2015-16. Though the figures are encouraging in comparison to previous years, 2013-14 where 90 marriages and 2014-15 where 80 marriages, had taken place, these mostly are love marriages," said the Union Minister.

"The state government should encourage arranged inter-caste marriages", he said.

According to the Minister, in this regard he will soon write to Chief Minister Raman Singh.

Take pledge to make country clean, pollution-free: President

PTI | New Delhi |

President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday wished people for the New Year and asked them to take pledge to make the country clean and pollution free.

Greeting the people on the eve of New Year, the President said "May the New Year bring progress and prosperity to our glorious nation.

"Let us unite to build an India of our dreams and pledge to make our beautiful country clean and pollution free," he said in a message while wishing all the countrymen here and in abroad.

Conspiracy to break SP has failed: Amar Singh

PTI | Lucknow |

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh on Saturday hailed SP supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav's decision to revoke expulsion of his son Akhilesh Yadav and brother Ramgopal as the right thing and said the conspiracy to break the party and the family has "failed".

"Mulayam Singhji has done the right thing. He has given a message through his decision that he will not let either the Samajwadi Party or his family break till he is alive. The conspiracy of the people who wanted the party and the family to break has failed," he said.

Singh also clarified that he does not want to break the party.

Congratulating Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and SP General Secretary Ramgopal Yadav, he said, "Those who had this misconception that I will try to break the party, I would like to tell them that I am not here to break the party, instead I want to keep it united." 

"If somebody is still hurt due to me, I want to tell that I am ready to sacrifice myself to ensure unity in SP pariwar and the workers," he said.

"We have to fight the communal forces and ensure that secular front is victorious in the upcoming elections," Singh added.

Earlier in the day, when Amar Singh was asked about the crisis in the party after supremo Mulayam Singh expelled Akhilesh and Ramgopal for six years after they put up candidates against the official nominees and summoned a party meet on Sunday.

Amar had said, "The foundation of this party was laid by Mulayam Singh with much dedication and hard work. I have said this earlier and will say it now, that Mulayam Singh is the chief of SP and the father of Akhilesh Yadav as well," he said.

Mulayam had yesterday said he had taken the action against Akhilesh and Ramgopal to save the party which he had built through hard efforts.

"We have to save the party. The party comes first. That is why we are expelling both Akhilesh and Ramgopal," he had said.

He explained that the decision was taken after Ramgopal, in his capacity as general secretary, called an emergency meeting of the party on January 1 and Akhilesh "supported" it.

Ramgopal called the meeting after a showcause notice was issued to him and Akhilesh by Mulayam for releasing a list of candidates, parallel to the one issued officially by Mulayam.

Will sit together with AAP govt to resolve conflict: Baijal

IANS | New Delhi |

Soon after taking charge, new Lt Governor of Delhi Anil Baijal on Saturday said he will "sit together" with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to find ways to resolve the conflict between his office and the elected government.

Talking to reporters here soon after taking oath, Baijal said he won't "speculate" on the matter.

"I don't know how they (relations with Aam Aadmi Party government) will improve and whether they will improve. We will sit together and find out how to go forward," he said.

Baijal, a former Union Home Secretary, added he will try to resolve the problems being faced by Delhi.

Meanwhile, Kejriwal also expressed hope to get cooperation from Baijal so they could work together for Delhi's development.

"During the last few months, many of Delhi's works were stopped. We hope that in the coming days, we will be able to resume them with the same pace with which they were being carried out earlier," he added.

Baijal's predecessor Najeeb Jung, who resigned on December 22, was at loggerheads with Kejriwal and his ministers ever since the AAP swept to power in the national capital in February 2015. 

In September, Jung set up a committee to review over 400 files related to decisions taken by the Delhi government.

Languages barrier to global science

PTI | London |

A third of new scientific findings are published in languages other than English, contributing to biases in our understanding and hinderances to the advance of science and research, a new study has found.

English is now considered the common language of global science. All major scientific journals seemingly publish in English, despite the fact that their pages contain research from across the globe.

Language hinders new findings getting through to practitioners in the field and causes the international community missing important science, said researchers from the University of Cambridge in the UK.

They argue that whenever science is only published in one language, barriers to the transfer of knowledge are created.

The researchers call on scientific journals to publish basic summaries of a study's key findings in multiple languages and universities to encourage translations as part of their 'outreach' evaluation criteria.

The researchers point out an imbalance in knowledge transfer in countries where English is not the mother tongue – much scientific knowledge that has originated there is available only in English and not in their local languages.

Researchers surveyed the web platform Google Scholar in a total of 16 languages for studies on biodiversity conservation published during a single year, 2014.

Of the over 75,000 documents, including journal articles, books and theses, some 35.6 per cent were not in English.

Of these, the majority was in Spanish (12.6 per cent) or Portuguese (10.3 per cent). Simplified Chinese made up six per cent and three per cent were in French.

Random sampling showed that only around half of non-English documents included titles or abstracts in English.

This means that around 13,000 documents on conservation science published in 2014 are unsearchable using English keywords.

This can result in sweeps of current scientific knowledge – known as 'systematic reviews' – being biased towards evidence published in English, researchers said.

This, in turn, may lead to over-representation of results considered positive or 'statistically significant', and these are more likely to appear in English language journals deemed 'high-impact'.

In addition, information on areas specific to countries where English is not the mother tongue can be overlooked when searching only in English.

For environmental science, this means important knowledge relating to local species, habitats and ecosystems – but also applies to diseases and medical sciences.

"Native English speakers tend to assume that all the important information is available in English," Amano said.

"On the other hand, non-native English speakers tend to think carrying out research in English is the first priority, often ending up ignoring non-English science and its communication," he said.

The research was published in the journal PLOS Biology.

Things normalising for MSMEs after note ban, says Mishra

PTI | New Delhi |

Trying to dispel fears that the MSME sector had taken a big hit from demonetisation, Union Minister Kalraj Mishra on Saturday said things are falling in place slowly despite "initial difficulties".

Addressing reporters here on the ministry's achievements in 2016, Mishra admitted that "there were difficulties initially", but things are moving towards normalisation.

"There were difficulties initially, but wage payment to labourers has started normalising and migrant labourers who had left are returning," Mishra said when asked about reports of job losses in the informal sector after the cash recall exercise.

About banks' reluctance to disburse loans under the MUDRA Yojana in the wake of demonetisation, Mishra acknowledged some issues, saying these are "only for the time being".

Banks are expected to disburse Rs 1.80 lakh crore loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) in the current fiscal. Last year, 3.5 crore beneficiaries availed of Rs 1.22 lakh crore loans under PMMY. Under the scheme, loans ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh are provided to small entrepreneurs.

To increase sales of khadi products, the government is also trying to penetrate global markets and adopt a franchisee model to open more outlets in India, with an emphasis on attracting youth towards the indigenous fabric, the minister said.

Sales of khadi goods went up by about 29 per cent to Rs 1,510 crore in 2015-16.

Mishra said the much-awaited Goods and Services Tax (GST) will benefit micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the country.

IndiGo grows fleet size, announces 10 additional frequencies

IANS | New Delhi |

Budget passenger carrier IndiGo on Saturday said that it has taken the delivery of 13 Airbus A-320 Neo aircraft on December 27 and also announced the launch of 10 additional frequencies.

According to the airline, with the latest additions, its fleet size has grown to 125 aircraft in its 125th month of operations. 

Besides, the low cost carrier (LCC) announced additional flight operations, which it termed as being "in-sync with its organic growth in route network" and in response to the growing demand on its existing routes.

The additional frequencies will come into effect from January 1, 2017. The new schedule will see 10 additional frequencies connecting Hyderabad to Goa, Coimbatore, Bhubaneswar and Visakhapatnam. 

"The delivery of the 125th aircraft in the 125th month of our operation is indeed a landmark occasion for us. It reinforces our commitment towards the industry and living our promise of providing the best flying experience to our passengers," Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole Time Director, IndiGo was quoted in a statement.

Centre extends deadline for rabi crop insurance till Jan 10

PTI | Mumbai |

The Union Government has extended the timeline for farmers to get enrolled in the rabi crop insurance scheme till January 10, Maharashtra agriculture minister Pandurang Fundkar said on Saturday.

"The earlier deadline of registration for the crop insurance scheme for rabi season was December 31. It has been extended to January 10 so as to enable more farmers to be benefitted from the initiative," said Fundkar.

The insurance is being offered by National Insurance Company and their officials will be facilitating enrollment of farmers in the scheme, the minister said.

Meanwhile, leader of opposition in legislative council, Dhananjay Munde in a statement today claimed that he had written a letter on December 28 to chief minister seeking some relaxation for rabi crop insurance registration.

Munde who is unhappy with the 10-days extension, said, "I had demanded extra one month's time for the farmers but that demand has not been met." 

Munde in his letter contended that farmers do not have sufficient amount of money in hand due to demonetisation and hence they should get more time to get their crop insured.

New treatment for bone marrow disorders

PTI | Washington |

Scientists have found a new mechanism that controls blood cell function and several possible molecular targets for treating a group of pre-malignant disorders in which bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells.

Myelodysplasia syndromes (MDS) can lead to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a fast-spreading blood cancer that can be deadly if not treated promptly.

Researchers from Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre in the US led by cancer biologist Daniel Starczynowski, found that overexpression of a protein called TRAF6 in hematopoietic (blood) cells drives the onset of MDS.

TRAF6 normally functions as an immune sensor of pathogens, researchers said.

"We found that TRAF6 overexpression in mouse hematopoietic stem cells results in impaired blood cell formation and bone marrow failure," said Starczynowski, from the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Centre.

"Based on our paper, a number of therapeutic approaches can be tested and directed against TRAF6 and other related proteins responsible for MDS," said Starczynowski.

In testing on laboratory mouse models and human MDS/AML samples, the researchers identified a novel substrate of TRAF6 called hnRNPA1, an RNA binding protein.

They also found molecular interactions with Cdc42, a protein that helps regulate cells also implicated in cancer.

All of these could be potential treatment targets for cases of MDS triggered by overexpression of TRAF6, according to Starczynowski, who said future studies will test their therapeutic potential in mouse models of MDS.

The researchers were able to identify the new molecular targets by conducting a global proteomic analysis of human leukemia cells.

This allowed them to the see entire complement of proteins regulated by TRAF6 in leukemia cells.

Beyond the potential for new therapeutic approaches in treating MDS or AML, the research showed a new and critical immune-related function for TRAF6, scientists said.

In response to various pathogens, the protein also regulates RNA isoform expression, an important step in the translation of genetic code into protein and cell formation.

In the context of the current study, TRAF6's regulation of RNA isoform expression is important to the function of hematopoietic cells and reveals another dimension to how cells respond to infection, Starczynkowski said.

The research was published in the journal Nature Immunology.

PPA blames BJP for “hijacking” its MLAs

PTI | Itanagar |

The People's Party of Arunachal (PPA)  on Saturday accused the BJP of hijacking its MLAs to install its government in the state, after Chief Minister Pema Khandu joined the saffron party with 32 MLAs.

Addressing media persons at Arunachal Press Club (APC) here, PPA President Kahfa Bengia criticised North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma for remaining a silent spectator during the political crisis.

PPA is a partner of NEDA.

"The NEDA convenor instead of coming to the state to resolve the ongoing crisis went to Kenya. He should have deputed somebody to sort out the differences between the MLAs of the party," Bengia said.

"The PPA is not comfortable with NEDA in the state and we are going to discuss the issue with other constituent members of the alliance soon," PPA central working committee (CWC) Chairman Kamen Ringu said while supporting Bengia.

Criticising the BJP for its "conspiracy" to dislodge the PPA-led NEDA government in state and to install a full-fledged BJP government, Bengia alleged that the party even hijacked the PPA candidate for the November 19 by-poll to Hayuliang Assembly constituency and forced her to contest from a BJP ticket.

"Most of the MLAs treat PPA as a "transit camp". We'll not allow it any more. We'll try to strengthen the lone regional party of the state and will come out strong in the 2019 elections," Bengia said.

"Most of the leaders are not to lead the state but to loot," Bengia said, adding that the party had enough legal aspects to teach lessons to those who had been maintaining equal relation with PPA as well as the BJP.

Therapy-resistant prostate cancer found

PTI | Washington |

Scientists have identified a signalling circuit in cells that can be targeted to treat advanced prostate cancer in patients who are resistant to existing therapies.

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of death after lung cancer in American men, researchers said.

Currently, the most effective treatment for advanced prostate cancer is to deprive the cancer of what feeds it – androgen hormones, such as testosterone.

However, almost all patients eventually develop resistance to this therapy, leaving doctors with no options to counteract the inevitable.

The study at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in the US shows that a "constitutively active" signalling circuit can trigger cells to grow into tumours and drive therapy resistance in advanced prostate cancer.

A cell signal pathway with constitutive activity requires no binding partner (ligand) to activate; instead, the signalling circuit continually activates itself.

This signalling circuit, which is composed of a protein complex IkBa/NF-kB (p65) and several other molecules, controls the expression of stem cell transcription factors (proteins that guide the conversion of genetic information from DNA to RNA) that fuel the aggressive growth of these resistant cancer cells.

"The fact that the constitutive activation of NF-kB in the circuit is independent of traditional activation opens the door for potential treatment options," said Jun-Li Luo, associate professor at TSRI.

NF-kB plays important roles in cancer development, and it is regarded as one of the most important targets for cancer therapy.

However, the use of NF-kB inhibitors in treating cancer is complicated by severe side effects related to immunosuppression caused by indiscriminate inhibition of NF-kB in normal immune cells.

Luo noted that targeting the other non-IkBa/NF-kB components in this signalling circuit would avoid the suppression of NF-?B in normal immune cells while keeping the potent anti-cancer efficacy.

In addition to IkBa/NF-kB, the signalling circuit includes the microRNA miR-196b-3p, Meis2 and PPP3CC. While miR-196b-3p promotes tumour development, Meis2, which is an essential developmental gene in mammals, can disrupt the circuit when overexpressed.

The protein PPP3CC can inhibit NF-kB activity in prostate cancer cells.

"Disrupting this circuit by targeting any of its individual components blocks the expression of these transcription factors and significantly impairs therapy-resistant prostate cancer," said Ji-Hak Jeong, research associate at TSRI.

The study was published in the journal Molecular Cell.

Twitter to live stream Burj Khalifa’s New Year fireworks

PTI | Dubai |

For the first time, Twitter will live stream the New Year Eve's scintillating fireworks display at the world's tallest building Burj Khalifa in Dubai to a global audience.

Emaar Properties, developer of Burj Khalifa which stands at 828 metres, said it has partnered with Twitter to live stream the New Year's Eve fireworks display in Dubai.

This is the first live streaming deal Twitter has signed with a partner based in the the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the real estate company said in a statement.

The live show will air on New Year's Eve, from Downtown Dubai at 7:30 PM GMT (0100 AM IST) and will be available worldwide to Twitter's logged-in and logged-out audience on Twitter and connected devices.

A series of fireworks crescendos will extend across the 500-acre Downtown Dubai and can be viewed from key locations across the city.

Choreographed to a customised soundtrack, the pyrotechnics display will bring to life several milestone moments and artistic interpretations in fireworks of a falcon flying high, swirling comets, and Arabian dance forms.

In specialised red and white comet shows and LED shows, the pyrotechnics will be displayed from Burj Khalifa, Dubai Opera and various landmarks.

The finale of the event will feature a display in pyrotechnics celebrating Dubai's current and future icons.

"The first-of-its-kind live streaming partnership with Twitter for the much-awaited New Year's Eve gala in Dubai will offer audiences across the world a real-time experience of the spectacle," Ahmad Al Matrooshi, Managing Director of Emaar Properties, said.

"The New Year's Eve celebrations by Emaar is a tribute to the positive spirit of our city, and the live streaming will define it further as a true global celebration from Dubai," Al Matrooshi said.

"We are excited to announce our first live streaming partner event in the MENA region. Live streaming the firework displays, combined with the live conversation on Twitter, will allow people across the world to view and Tweet about the festivities as they happen, creating a truly global celebration," said Kinda Ibrahim, Director of Media Partnerships, Middle East and North Africa, Twitter.

The stream will be available globally at DubaiNYE.twitter.com and on @MyDowntownDubai. The hashtag will be #MyDubaiNewYear.

Akhilesh may return to party but no to power: BJP

PTI | New Delhi |

Mocking the Samajwadi Party's decision to revoke expulsion of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, the BJP on Saturday said he may have returned to the party but will not return to power after the assembly polls as his five-year report card is rife with "failures".

Whatever attempts and "drama" SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his son Akhilesh do, they won't cut any ice with people, it said, claiming that voters have made up their mind to vote BJP to power after a gap of 15 years for the state's development.

"There can be a comeback of the chief minister to his party which had expelled him but not to power as his government's report card is full of failures. People have made up their mind to get rid of him and SP. His government encouraged only corruption and crime, and did nothing for the common man," BJP National Secretary Shrikant Sharma said.

Faced with an imminent split which could have drastically reduced his clout, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today revoked the expulsion Akhilesh and his uncle Ramgopal, just a day after they were sacked for 'indiscipline'.

Citing incidents like Jawahar Bagh violence in Mathura in which close to 30 people died and Bulandshahr gang rape, he alleged people remember Akhilesh Yadav's rule for such incidents besides SP governments' failures on health, education and infrastructure development fronts.

Sharma claimed there is a Tsunami in the BJP's favour.

The state government could not buy rice and wheat from farmers, causing them a lot of distress, he alleged.

Akhilesh Yadav has insisted that the state has seen unprecedented development under his government and he will lead his party to victory.

Odisha government seeks suggestions for budget preparation

IANS | Bhubaneswar |

The Odisha government on Saturday sought suggestions from the public for the preparation of the annual budget for FY 2017-18, said a statement.

The finance department has invited suggestions from people in a structured format for the preparation of the annual budget.

This facility will be available for a fortnight from January 1, 2017, said the finance department statement.

"Members of the public, civil society organisation, advocacy groups and other stakeholders are requested to make use of this unique opportunity to participate in the budget making process of the state government," it said.

The department has developed a web page budget.odisha.gov.in where suggestions can be submitted.

The page would host budget documents and suggestions.

The suggestions can also be mailed at [email protected] Similarly, suggestions for the budget are also invited through Whatsapp, Telegram and SMS to Mobile number (+91)9438161111.

In order to make the budgetary process more open and participative using Information and Communication Technology, the Odisha government has sought public opinion for the last financial year.

The finance department has been holding pre-budget consultations with a cross section of society.