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Presidential Poll: Lawmakers can’t use own pens to vote

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Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, July 16:  Parliamentarians cannot use their own pens and will have to mark their preferences in the Presidential poll on Monday with a specially-designed writing instrument.

Voting by using any other pen will be held invalid, the Election Commission said on Sunday.

The violet ink pen, procured from Mysore Paints that supplies indelible ink to mark voters’ fingers, carries a unique serial number and will be handed over to the voter before they enter the voting chambers in Parliament and state assemblies.

The move — a first by the Election Commission — comes in the wake of a row that erupted in the Rajya Sabha polls in Haryana last year.

Votes of 12 MLAs from the Congress and its allies were declared invalid in September 2016 because they had marked their preferences with a pen other than the one officially supplied by the poll staff.

The specially designed pens are being supplied “so as to ensure that only instrument supplied by the EC is used for marking the ballot”, a statement from the poll panel said.

“Before entering (a) voting chamber, one polling staff will collect personal pens, if any one is possessing, and will give (the) special pen to MPs and MLAs for marking ballot,” the statement said.

The special pen will have to be returned to the polling staff.

“Voting by using any other pen may lead to invalidation of the vote at the time of counting,” the statement said.

The poll panel has also prepared special posters for dos and donts so as to “ensure peaceful poll”. The instructions include maintenance of secrecy and non-issuance of whip.

A total 32 polling stations — one in Parliament House Room No 62 and rest one each in state legislative assemblies — have been set for the election that will see NDA’s Ram Nath Kovind pitted against opposition candidate Meira Kumar.

Ballot papers will be available in two colours – green for use of MPs and pink for MLAs.

A total of 776 MPs and 4,120 MLAs are eligible to vote on Monday. The ballot boxes will be brought to Delhi for counting on July 20.

The Election Commission has appointed 33 observers to conduct the election. Two observers will be in Parliament and one each in 31 legislative assemblies.

The panel has also permitted 14 Rajya Sabha members including Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Trinamool Congress’ Derek O’Brien and Mukul Roy to vote in legislative assemblies.

Forty-one Lok Sabha members including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath have been allowed to vote in their state assemblies.

Similarly, the panel has permitted five MLAs to exercise their vote in Parliament and four other MLAs to vote in other state legislative assemblies.

IANS

India

Second defence industrial corridor to come up in UP: PM

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UP investor summit
Yogi Adityanath and PM Modi in UP Investor summit

Lucknow, Feb 21: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that the government would establish a defence industrial production corridor in Uttar Pradesh at an estimated cost of Rs 20,000 crore that would also generate 250,000 jobs.

“I am making an important announcement. In this year’s budget, we had announced that we will establish two defence industrial production corridors. One of them will be in Uttar Pradesh,” Modi said addressing the ‘Investors Meet’ here.

The event organised by the Yogi Adityanath government is aimed to showcase the investment opportunities in the state. Corporate honchos are attending the summit.

The Prime Minister said the decision was taken keeping in mind the developmental requirements of Bundelkhand region.

The corridor will link Agra, Aligarh, Lucknow, Kanpur, Jhansi and Chitrakoot, he said.

The government had earlier announced that it would develop two such corridors. The first of the two runs between Chennai and Bengaluru – connecting Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore and Hosur.

Modi also praised the Uttar Pradesh government for curbing red tape and rolling out a red carpet for investors and taking decisions that have linked industrial development with employment generation.

“There is no dearth of resources and opportunities in Uttar Pradesh where you find ‘Lucknowi chikankari’, ‘Banarsi zardosi’, brassware of Moradabad and glassware industries of Firozabad,” Modi said.

He also asked the Uttar Pradesh government to compete with Maharashtra in achieving a target of one trillion dollar economy.

“I set this challenge before Uttar Pradesh to compete with Maharashtra and let us see who will become the first trillion dollar economy,” he said.

He said Uttar Pradesh today was the number one state in the production of grains, wheat, sugarcane, milk and potatoes in the whole country.

It is also the second largest producer of fruits and third largest producer of vegetables in the country.

IANS

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Canadian PM visits Golden Temple in Amritsar

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Trudeau in Golden Temple
Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau visits Golden Temple (Photo-ANI)

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, accompanied by his wife and two children, offered prayers at the Golden Temple on Wednesday, underlining the significance of the large Sikh and Punjabi community settled in Canada.

Trudeau and his family landed at the Sri Guru Ram Dass Jee International Airport here from Mumbai and headed straight for the shrine to offer prayers.

Wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and head covered with a “kesari” (saffron) headscarf, Trudeau entered the Golden Temple complex with wife Sophie, who was wearing a turquoise kurta, and their children, who were also wearing traditional Indian outfits.

Trudeau’s family members had their heads covered. Slogans of “Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal” were heard as the Canadian Prime Minister and others entered the complex housing Sikhism’s holiest shrine.

Trudeau and his family members first went to to the “Langar Hall”, where thousands of devotees partake langar (community food) and also do “sewa” (voluntary service). The Golden Temple’s Langar Hall is the biggest community kitchen in the world.

Trudeau and his family sat down on small stools inside the Langar Hall to knead flour and roll chapatis.

The Canadian Prime Minister also did “parikarma” before entering the sun-soaked and glittering all-gold sanctum sanctorum. The family bowed before the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book that is considered as a living guru.

The Trudeaus touched their foreheads on the ground inside the sanctum sanctorum. They were given “Siropa” (traditional robe of honour) by the head priest inside the shrine.

Trudeau’s visit holds political and social significance in Canada as the country has a substantial Indian diaspora, a majority of them from Punjab.

Trudeau, who was accompanied by Canadian federal ministers Harjit Singh Sajjan and Amarjit Bains, had asked local authorities to let him and his family enjoy the spirituality of the Golden Temple during their visit.

He was received at the Golden Temple entrance by Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee president Gobind Singh Longowal, along with Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.

The leader is also expected to meet the Punjab Chief Minister,Prakash Singh Badal today.

Earlier, Trudeau was received at the airport by Union Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Hardeep Singh Puri and Punjab Tourism Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Tight security was in place in and around Amritsar for Trudeau’s visit. Government security agencies and SGPC volunteers formed a tight security ring around the Canadian Prime Minister and his entourage inside the shrine complex.

Hundreds of personnel of Punjab Police and other security agencies were stationed at the airport and on the road from the airport to the Golden Temple complex.

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India 7th most targeted nation for Web Application Attacks: Report

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Web cyber attack

Bengaluru, Feb 21: Nearly 40 per cent of over 53,000 cyber attacks in India occurred in the financial services sector during 2017, placing it at the seventh spot in the list of targeted countries for Web Application Attacks (WAA), a new report said on Wednesday.

Security incidents like phishing, website intrusions and defacements, virus and ransomware targeted the rapidly growing of the Banking, Financial services and Insurance (BFSI) sector in India, warranting a robust infrastructure and planned roadmap for cybersecurity, said the report from content delivery network services Akamai Technologies.

“A key motive of attackers has always been financial profit. In the past few years, we have seen adversaries move to more direct methods to achieve that goal such as ransomware,” noted Martin McKeay, Senior Security Advocate at Akamai.

“Crypto-mining offers attackers the most direct avenue to monetise efforts by putting money immediately into their cryptowallets,” McKeay added.

The report, titled “Akamai State of the Internet Security Q4 2017,” also stated that the Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack frequency in the BFSI sector increased by 50 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2017 over the last quarter.

It also placed India seventh in the list of the top source countries for WAA.

“While India maintained the same position in the third quarter last year, it is interesting to note that the attacks sourced have seen a drop of approximately four million in number as compared to last quarter,” the report said.

The newly-released data that analysed more than 7.3 trillion bot requests per month found a sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse, with more than 40 per cent of login attempts being malicious.

This indicates that DDoS attacks remain a consistent threat and the Mirai botnet is still capable of strong bursts of activity.

Akamai’s findings also confirmed that the total number of DDoS attacks last quarter increased 14 per cent from the same time last year.

“The hospitality industry suffered as the biggest target of fraudulent credential attacks, with 82 per cent of their login attempts being from malicious botnets, the report said.

The financial industry saw a sharp increase in the number of DDoS attacks, experiencing 298 DDoS attacks against 37 distinct organisations last quarter.

There was a 31 per cent increase in DDoS attacks sourcing from the US last quarter compared to the same timeframe in 2017, the report said.

With Inputs from IANS

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