Home Blog

Tirupati Temple Breaks Its Own Record, Invests Rs 1,161.08 Cr In FDs During 2023-24

0
Lord Venkateshwara
This eclipses previous highest of Rs 1,153.26 Cr; trust’s cumulative fixed deposits across banks stand at Rs 13,287.62 crore as of March 31, and gold reserves have swelled to 11,329.67 kg, valued at over Rs 8,400 crore at current rates

The world’s richest Hindu temples trust, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which runs the world-renowned Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to the incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver or protector of the universe, in Tirupati town of Chittor district in Andhra Pradesh state, has recorded a new financial high.

Deccan Chronicle has reported quoting sources that the trust has invested Rs 1,161.08 crore in fixed deposits during 2023-24, eclipsing its previous highest of Rs 1,153.26 crore set in 2015-16. It also received a staggering 1,031 kg in gold offerings worth around Rs 773 crore from devotees during the financial year. The trust’s cumulative fixed deposits across banks stand at Rs 13,287.62 crore as of March 31, and gold reserves have swelled to 11,329.67 kg, valued at over Rs 8,400 crore at current rates.

The report said over the past 12 years, from 2013 to 2024, barring the Covid-impacted years of 2021 (Rs 270 crore) and 2022 (Rs 274 crore) along with 2019 (Rs 285 crore), TTD has consistently made fixed deposits exceeding Rs 500 crore annually.

TTD’s various trusts amassed Rs 5,529.51 crore from devotee contributions till March 31. The average annual earnings from interest alone amounts to Rs 1,600 crore. Now the total investments, including fixed deposits and donations received by various trusts, together have reached Rs 18,817.13 crore as on March 31, 2024.

About Lord Venkateswara

Venkateshwara is another form of Lord Vishnu. According to the Hindu scriptures, Vishnu, out of love towards his devotees, incarnated as Venkateswara and appeared for the salvation and upliftment of humanity in this Kali Yuga age. It is considered the supreme form of Vishnu in this age. The Venkateswara swami temple is also called Kaliyuga Vaikuntam.

The sacred spot on the hill about 2,800 feet above sea level is known as Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara in Tipupati town. The hill forms part of the Eastern Ghats and is also known as Venkatachala and Seshachala.

Big Blow For Mamata, Calcutta HC Nullifies 2016 Recruitment Process, Effectively Dismissing 2500+ School Teachers

0

 

In a body blow to the Mamta Banerjee government in West Bengal, a division bench of the Calcutta High Court on Monday (24.04.2024) nullified the process of State Level Selection Test-2016 (SLST) for recruitment of teachers in state government-sponsored and aided schools, and ordered cancellation of all 25,000+ appointments made through it.

The bench comprising justices Debangsu Basak and Md Shabbar Rashidi, constituted by the Chief Justice of the high court on directions of the Supreme Court, also ordered that all teachers who were recruited illegally (blank Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) sheets) to return their salaries drawn thus far within six weeks.

It had heard numerous petitions and appeals relating to the selection of candidates for appointment by the SSC in the categories of teachers of classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 and group-C and D staffers through the SLST-2016. Hearing in the matters concluded on March 20 and judgement was reserved by the bench.

Over 23 lakh candidates had appeared for the SLST-2016 for 24,640 vacant posts. A total of 25,753 appointment letters were issued against the vacancies.

The bench further directed the West Bengal School Service Commission to initiate a fresh appointment process, as well as CBI to further investigate the appointment process and submit a report in three months.

Earlier, on writ petitions by some candidates who appeared in SLST-2016, but did not get jobs, a single bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay had ordered a CBI investigation into alleged irregularities in the recruitment process.

The high court had also ordered termination of appointments of a number of teaching and non-teaching staff after finding irregularities.

Disposing of petitions before it in connection with the matters, the Supreme Court had on November 9, 2023, requested the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court to constitute a division bench to hear all the petitions and appeals pertaining to the recruitment process through SLST-2016 for early adjudication.

The apex court had in its order accorded protection to the appointees, whose appointments were quashed by the high court, for a period of six months to enable the division bench to adjudicate on the disputes.

The CBI had completed the investigation into the matters and submitted a report before the high court in accordance with the direction of the Supreme Court to do so within two months from the date of its order.

The central probe agency has arrested former state education minister Partha Chatterjee and some functionaries of the West Bengal School Service Commission (SSC).

Following the high court verdict today hundreds of school job aspirants, including petitioners, rejoiced outside the court premises.

Mamata Banerjee

Reacting to the verdict, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is already feeling the heat of the Sandeshkhali episodes involving sexual atrocities on women and land grabbing, called it “illegal” and alleged that BJP leaders have been influencing the judiciary and judgments.

“We will stand by those who lost jobs,” she asserted, promising them that the Trinamool government will challenge the Calcutta high court order in the Apex Court.

In A Very Rare Event, Sextuplets (6 Babies) Born To Pakistani Woman

0
TV grab of the sextuplets born to a Pakistani woman in a Rawalpindi hospital on 19.04.2024

In a very rare occurrence, a 27 years old woman in Rawalpindi, Pakistan has given birth to six babies (sextuplets) – four male and two female – in the nursery of the district hospital on Friday (19.04.2024) via a complicated C-section surgery.

According to media reports, quoting attending doctors, the babies were delivered one after the other in an hour and that both the babies and the mother were keeping well.

The woman, Zeenat Waheed, wife of Mohammad, developed slight complications after the multiple childbirths, but doctors assured that she would be fine after a few days of care.

The babies, though their weights are normal, are being kept in an incubator as a precautionary measure.

The parents and the hospital medical team were elated at the development.

Though birth of sextuplets happens one in every 4.5 million pregnancies, and live births of such a high number of babies are a rare occurrence, there have been even more rare instances on record of the world witnessing birth of septuplets (7 babies), octuplets (8 babies) and nonuplets (9 babies) as well.

A Coronavirus Mutated 50+ Times In Elderly Man’s Body For 613 Days

0
Image Credits: WHO

Cases like this increase the risk of more dangerous coronavirus variants emerging, researchers say

Researchers in Kingdom of the Netherlands have reported that an elderly man, immunocompromised due to pre existing illnesses, harboured a rare coronavirus variant which mutated more than 50 times in his body for 613 days at a stretch before he died last year due to a flare-up of one of his previous illnesses.

Considering that cases like this increase the risk of more dangerous coronavirus variants emerging in the future, these researchers led by Magda Vergouwe from the University of Amsterdam are poised to present the results of their research at a congress to be held in Barcelona, Spain at the end of the month.

According to media reports, the researchers repeatedly took samples from the man to analyse the genetic material of the coronavirus. They found a total of more than 50 mutations compared to the Omicron variant BA.1 that was circulating at the time, including those that would allow the virus to evade the immune defence.

As per available information, the elderly man, who was admitted to a hospital in Amsterdam in February 2022 with a Covid-19 infection, had not infected anyone with his mutated version of the coronavirus, also known under its scientific name Sars-CoV-2. He was continuously positive for the coronavirus for a total of 613 days until his death in October 2023.

The case is particularly of interest to researchers because it highlights that coronavirus can change particularly strongly in such long-term infected people. This potentially raises the danger of variants of the virus emerging that can more easily overcome the immune systems of healthy people.

 

 

Big Leg-up For BJP In Jalandhar; Cong Leaders Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, Tajinder Singh Bittu Cross Over

0
Karamjit Kaur, wife of two-time Congress MP from Jalandhar (SC) late Santokh Singh Chaudhary, joining the BJP in New Delhi.

The BJP juggernaut appears to be rolling in Jalandhar (SC) parliamentary constituency in Punjab. After the incumbent MP representing Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Sushil Kumar Rinku, who was renominated by the party to contest the seat in the 2024 polls, left and joined the BJP, becoming the saffron party’s candidate instead, it has now won the support of the tallest Congress Dalit family from the constituency.

Delivering a body blow to the prospects of the Congress, and its candidate former Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, in the constituency, Karamjit Kaur Chaudhary, wife of two time Congress MP late Santokh Singh Chaudhary, who carried forward the family’s decades long dominance of the political landscape, left the party and joined the BJP in New Delhi on Friday (20.04.2024).

AICC secretary and Gandhi family loyalist Tajinder Singh Bittu from Jaldnhar joining the BJP in New Delhi

Also joining the saffron party, along with her, was senior Congress leader from Jalandhar and All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary co-incharge of Himachal Pradesh affairs Tajinder Singh Bittu. A Gandhi family loyalist, Tajinder Singh has also supervised the Rai Bareli parliamentary constituency, represented by Sonia Gandhi since 2004.

The Chaudhary family, which has upheld the Congress flag in the area for nearly nine decades, since pre independence times, had been miffed with the party decision to deny the family the party ticket from the constituency, preferring Channi, an outsider, instead.

Karamjit Kaur’s son, Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, party’s MLA from Phillaur (SC) assembly constituency, had earlier resigned as Congress chief whip in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha after Channi’s candidature was announced, though as of now he continues to remain in the party fold.

Santokh Singh Chaudhary had died of a heart attack in January 2023 while participating as incumbent MP from Jalandhar in the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi in Punjab. In bypolls necessitated by his death, the party had fielded his wife Karamjit Kaur, a retired director public instruction (Colleges), Punjab, but she lost to Sushil Kumar Rinku of the ruling AAP. Rinku, a former Congress MLA, had been inducted into the AAP prior to the bypolls.

Interestingly, now both the winner and the vanquished from the last 2023 Jalandhar parliamentary bypoll are in the BJP fold, with the winner being its candidate for the June 1 lok sabha polls.

The Jalandhar based Chaudharys have dominated the Dalit landscape in Punjab, with Santosh Singh’s father Master Gurbanta Singh, six times MLA from the area, holding the cabinet minister’s rank in the Punjab ministries led by post independence Punjab’s first chief minister Pratap Singh Kairon and later chief minister Giani Zail Singh. After him, his eldest son, Jagjit Singh Chaudhary, carried forward his legacy and remained minister in the Punjab ministries led by Beant Singh, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Capt Amarinder Singh.

 

 

 

‘Send Rockets Not At Each Other, But Rather To The Stars’, Says Elon Musk In Subtle Peace Message

0
Elon Musk

 

It made sense when one of the richest and most influential man in the world commented that countries should not be sending rockets at each other, but to the stars, in the context of the escalating hostilities in the Middle East and exchange of a barrage of drones and missiles between Iran and Israel, which threatens further escalation into a broader full blown war.

Hours after the news broke about missiles having been fired by Israel in response to Iran’s massive drone and missile attack unleashed on Israeli territory, and subsequently a series of explosions rocking the Shekari army airbase in the northwest Iranian province of Isfahan, Musk took to his own social media platform X and posted a subtle message advocating peace.

“We should send rockets not at each other, but rather to the stars,” he said in his social media post. “Maybe world leaders should just email memes at each other and let the public vote on who wins,” Musk joked, adding “I prefer that over war.”

Unlike most top global business leaders, Musk is known to express his views on most internationally significant developments taking place across the world, including the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas conflict, widely perceived to be part of his ambition to become a world leader.

The cofounder of path-breaking companies like Tesla and SpaceX, who he has also established control over may more levers of power through his ownership of X, Starlink and other technology platforms, has become an increasingly important player in the global affairs.

In line with his vision, he has been touring the world to meet top political leaders and paving the road to the future with his rockets, satellite network, leadership in electric cars and control of one of the world’s most consequential social networks.

 

 

 

Bitcoin Ponzi Scam Latest To Mire Raj Kundra, Shilpa Shetty Since 2013

0
In happier times: Raj Kundra & Shilpa Shetty (File photo)

 

Out of one controversy, and into another – that’s how life has been for actor Shilpa Shetty and her businessman husband Raj Kundra for over a decade.

Released on bail, in a 2021 case of allegedly producing and distributing porn films using a subscriber-driven mobile app called ‘HotShots’, Raj Kundra now finds himself mired in a bitcoin ponzi investment scam, following investigations into which the much in news Enforcement Directorate (ED) Mumbai has provisionally attached the immovable and movable properties linked to the power couple in Mumbai and Pune valued at Rs 97.79 core under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

After the development, the couple shared a joint statement through their lawyer, Prashant Patil, on Thursday stating: “We shall follow the due process of law and take necessary steps as prescribed under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act to protect the liberty and property of my clients. On the face of it, there is no prima facie case made out against my clients Mr Raj Kundra and Mrs Shilpa Shetty Kundra.”

The statement added, “We have complete faith in the Honourable Judiciary. I believe when we make our fair representation before the Honourable Enforcement Directorate, even the investigation agencies may grant justice to us. We have faith in a fair investigation. We stand committed to cooperating with the authorities as and when required.”

However later, Kundra took to his Instagram and shared a couple of cryptic posts on his Stories at two different times on Thursday night and Friday afternoon, which have widely been interpreted as his response to the ED’s allegations.

Raj Kundra’s Instagram Story

In his first Story, he shared the image of a roaring lion with the text splashed across it reading thus: “Learning to stay calm when you feel disrespected is a different type of growth.”

The second Story carried a black and white image of a little girl standing alone amidst rows of flowers in a park with the text: “There is a time to be a nice person. And there’s a time to say enough is enough.”

According to the ED, Kundra’s name has come up in a Bitcoin scam. He allegedly holds Bitcoins worth Rs 150 crore.

According to a Economic Times report, the money laundering case has emerged from multiple FIRs registered by the Maharashtra Police and Delhi Police on the basis of complaints by investors against a company named Variable Tech Pte Ltd, Late Amit Bhardwaj, Ajay Bhardwaj, Vivek Bhardwaj, Simpy Bhardwaj, Mahender Bhardwaj and number of agents.

It was alleged in the FIRs that they had collected huge amounts of funds in Bitcoin investments (worth Rs 6,600 crore in 2017) from gullible public with the promise of 10 per cent per month return in crypto assets.

The probe agency claims that the promoters cheated the investors, and have been concealing the ill gotten Bitcoins in obscure online wallets. Kundra received 285 Bitcoins from the mastermind and promoter of Gain Bitcoin Ponzi scam Amit Bhardwaj for setting up Bitcoin mining farm in Ukraine, the ED says.

The deal, however, did not materialise, but Kundra is still in possession of 285 Bitcoins which are presently valued at more than Rs 150 crore, the ED maintains.

Other controversies involving Raj-Shilpa

Earlier, in 2021, Kundra was arrested by the Mumbai Police after four women complained that they were forced to shoot pornographic content after being promised an acting job in web series. He was released on bail two months later and an application filed by him seeking discharge in the case is reportedly pending before the trial court.

Also in 2021, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had imposed a penalty of Rs 3 lakhs on Viaan Industries, and its promoters Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra, after finding them guilty of not complying with its regulations in insider trading.

The same year Shilpa Shetty and her mother Sunanda Shetty were investigated by the Lucknow police in an alleged fraud involving money taken for opening a branch of a spa and wellness chain and not fulfilling the promise. The chairperson of the spa and wellness chain later clarified that Shilpa Shetty and her mother Sunanda Shetty had no connection with the chain and that they had amicably parted ways long ago.

In 2013, while being a co-owner of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchisee Rajasthan Royals, Kundra’s name was linked to a betting scam involving IPL matches, which led to a ban on him from cricket for life.

Google Clamps Down On Activist Employees, Sacks 28

0

 

Google, one of the world’s largest companies, has been grappling with growing activism within sections of its 180,000+ workforce seeking among other things overhauls on pay, harassment and ethics by the company. In a latest run-in over the company’s Nimbus Cloud contract with various ministries of the Israeli government, Google has fired 28 employees involved in persistent protests and obstructions despite warnings from the company’s top leadership.

The strict action follows several employees participating in sit-ins at the company’s New York and Sunnyvale, California offices. Nine staffers were arrested by the police a day earlier on charges of trespass at the two offices after being reported by the company.

Google has sternly warned that physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing the company’s facilities is a clear violation of its policies, and completely unacceptable behavior.

According to media reports, tensions had been brewing between the company’s top leadership and a well knit section of activist employees over Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion deal between Google and Amazon to supply the Israeli government with cloud services, including artificial intelligence, which the protesting employees allege will aid Israel’s military.

The rift has widened to a gulf since the war in Gaza strip began in October 2023 following the most devastating multi pronged lightening terror attack by Hamas and other outfits on southern Israel, which left 1700 people, including 600 soldiers of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and 60 policemen, dead and hundreds of others injured. An unspecified number of people were also kidnapped by the attackers and held hostage in the Gaza strip.

The brutal full scale retaliatory war unleashed by Israel on the Gaza strip has triggered a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions in the Palestinian territory with an estimated  33,000+ people killed in Gaza and 76,000 others wounded and lakhs staring at starvation.

While Google asserted that it had terminated the 28 employees after concluding individual investigations, the activist employees described the company action as a “flagrant act of retaliation” and alleged that some employees who did not directly participate in the protests were also among those fired.

Massive Eruption Of Ruang Volcano In Indonesia Triggers Evacuations

0

Raises fears of 1871 like tsunami which killed 400 people

A dramatic eruption on Wednesday, after two previous main explosive events in the Ruang volcano on Ruang island, in the North Sulawesti province of Indonesia, on Wednesday, which spewed a fiery-red column of lava, incandescent rock, and ash as much as three kms into the sky, has lead to large scale evacuations, temporary closure of a provisional airport and raised fears of a 1871 like tsunami that killed 400 people.

According to the National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure, named BNPB, the country’s Multiplatform Application for Geohazard Mitigation and Assessment (MAGMA) has raised the alert level for the volcano, which has a peak of 725 metres above the sea level, to IV, the highest in the four-tiered system.

Officials worry that part of the volcano could collapse into the sea and cause a tsunami, as happened in 1871.

BNPD informed in a statement that people living in Tagulandang Island area, located a km north-east of Ruang Island, and others that are within a radius of six km, especially those living close to the coast, have been ordered to be immediately evacuated to a safe place.

A TV grab of the Ruang volcano eruption

The volcano was still billowing a column of smoke on Thursday morning, prompting authorities to shut the nearest international airport in Manado city on Sulawesi island for 24 hours.

Runways were shut “due to the spread of volcanic ash which could endanger flight safety”, Ambar Suryoko, head of the Manado region airport authority office, has been reported as saying.

The airport hosts airlines that fly to Singapore and cities in South Korea and China.

Indonesia sits along the “Ring of Fire”, the most active zone in the world for seismic activity.

In December 2023, more than 20 people died in Indonesia after a surprise volcanic eruption at Mount Marapi on the island of Sumatra.

According to a study, among the 17,504 islands in Indonesia, there are 22 volcanic islands with records of volcanic eruptions from pre-historic times. As much as 75% of these are classified as active and have a high potential to endanger the surrounding population which generally lives on small islands.

More than 150,000 people have been evacuated in 25 volcanic unrests on nine volcanic islands during 1966 to 2017.

The largest fatalities from eruptions on volcanic islands have been caused by volcanic tsunamis. Between 416 and 2018, there were 19 volcanic tsunami events on Indonesia’s volcanic islands, resulting in 41,328 deaths, the study added

AAP Names 3 MLAs In Final List Of Punjab Candidates For Lok Sabha Elections 2024

0
Tinu pitted against “deserter” Rinku from Jalandhar (SC); MLAs Sherry Kalsi, Kaka Brar, and Pappi Parashar also in fray

The ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab named three of its incumbent MLAs in its final list of four candidates to cover all 13 Lok Sabha seats in the state which go to the polls on June 1.

As per the list posted on X by the party’s national general secretary (organization) Dr Sandeep Pathak , the party MLA from Batala Amansher Singh Sherry Kalsi will contest from Gurdaspur,  Jagdeep Singh Kaka Brar, MLA Muktsar, will be in the race from Ferozepur, and Ludhiana (Central) MLA Ashok Parashar Pappi is being fielded from Ludhiana parliamentary seat.

Two-time former Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA from Adampur constituency Pawan Kumar Tinu, who resigned from his party and was welcomed into the AAP fold by Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann recently, has been pitted in Jalandhar (SC) against Sushil Kumar Rinku, who, despite having been repeated from the seat by AAP quit the party and joined the BJP, and is now the candidate of the saffron party. Former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi of the Congress is a formidable candidate from the constituency.