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Street art outside Kolkata marquee supports sex workers’ rights

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Durga Puja preparations

Kolkata, Oct 8 : A 300 feet-long street art dedicated to the rights of sex workers was unveiled on Monday outside a Durga Puja marquee here where the theme is dedicated to sex workers of Sonagachi, said to be Asia’s largest red light area.

At the entrance of the marquee of north Kolkata’s Ahiritola Jubak Brinda, the tastefully done graffiti and other installations convey the untold story of the sex workers.

The street art vividly represents the journey of a sex worker, beginning with three women peeping from behind a door to a distorted ‘kumkum’ (vermillion) line on a woman’s forehead to signify her tragic life.

“We are very happy that these people thought of us. Like Ma Durga, we are also women and part of society. Due to this initiative, we have been able to mix with everyone,” said Kajol Bose, a member of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee that is a forum of sex workers.

Its members present on the occasion were visibly happy when the graffiti was unveiled, setting the mood for the festival. The women expressed their joy and gratitude by gracefully dancing to the beats of ‘dhaak’ (drums).

The puja committee has come up with a theme of ‘Utsarito Alo’ (Streaming Light) to showcase respect that sex workers deserve and to support their demand for working rights.

Committee Working President Uttam Saha said: “For ages, our orthodox society has neglected sex workers. As human beings, we fail to realise that they too are someone’s mothers or sisters. They do not deserve torture or hatred.

“They spend their lives in silence, and face humiliation and rejection. We are hence determined to support the journey of these sex workers with a pledge to ensure basic rights to them so that they can live with their heads held high,” a committee member said.

  • Durga Puja preparations

    Kolkata: Artists make 'alpana' - graffiti - on a road ahead of Durga Puja, in Kolkata on Oct 8, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

  • Kolkata: Artists make 'alpana' - graffiti - on a road ahead of Durga Puja, in Kolkata on Oct 8, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

  • Kolkata: Artists make 'alpana' - graffiti - on a road ahead of Durga Puja, in Kolkata on Oct 8, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

  • Durga Puja preparations

    Kolkata: Artists make 'alpana' - graffiti - on a road ahead of Durga Puja, in Kolkata on Oct 8, 2018. (Photo: Kuntal Chakrabarty/IANS)

  • Durga Puja preparations
  • Durga Puja preparations
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Business

Wall Street collapses, S&P 500 ends at lowest since April

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Wall Street

New York, Dec 15: US stocks fell sharply on Friday as investors grew concerns over a possible slowdown of the global economy and a slew of corporate news.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 496.87 points, or 2.02 percent, to 24,100.51. The S&P 500 decreased 50.59 points, or 1.91 percent, to 2,599.95. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 159.67 points, or 2.26 percent, to 6,910.66, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Dow slumped more than 550 points at its low during the session and dived to its lowest close since May.

The S&P 500 dipped to its lowest closing level since April. All the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors closed lower, with health and technology down 3.37 percent and 2.48 percent, respectively, leading the laggards.

After Friday’s steep sell-off, the tech-heavy Nasdaq is now just up 0.11 percent for the year.

The Cboe Volatility index, widely considered the best fear gauge in the stock market, rose 4.75 percent to 21.63 on Friday.

Global markets were in risk-off mode with investors simply trying to limit performance damage rather than reach for outperformance, according to some analysts.

“Traders are again selling shares of profitable trades before the closing of the year. There isn’t a great deal of volume in stock trading today, so that means there is less resistance against the pressure from sellers today,” John Monaco, a trader at Wellington Shields & Co. LLC, told Xinhua.

Meanwhile, a strong U.S. dollar also complicated the situation. The U.S. dollar rose in late trading on Friday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major peers, rose 0.39 percent to 97.4441 at 3:00 p.m. (2000 GMT).

“Today’s lower market index seems to be derived from another day of strong U.S. currency. The U.S. dollar’s strength must be monitored closely as too much strength in the dollar hurts global corporate profits,” said John.

Wall Street also digested a slew of corporate news.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson, a Dow member, plunged more than 10 percent on Friday after Reuters reported the company knew about asbestos in its baby powder for decades.

Apple stock slid 3.2 percent after top analysts from TF International Securities cut iPhone shipment estimates by 20 percent.

On the economic front, U.S. retail sales increased 0.2 percent last month, led by online stores, the Commerce Department said on Friday. The reading beat market expectations.

Meanwhile, U.S. industrial production rose 0.6 percent in November, topping market forecasts as gains in mining and utilities offset declines in manufacturing, according to the Federal Reserve.

IANS

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94 MLAs with criminal cases, 187 multi-millionaires in new MP Assembly

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Bhopal, Dec 14 : As many as 94 MLAs have declared criminal cases while a whopping 187 of the 230 MLAs are multi-millionaires in the newly-elected Madhya Pradesh Assembly, a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) revealed on Friday.

The Congress, which won the Assembly polls, leads the list with 56 MLAs having criminal antecedents, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 34 while the Bahujan Samaj Party has two such lawmakers.

Of the 94 MLAs with criminal cases, 47 face serious charges with six of them facing charges of attempt to murder, three facing charges of crime against women and one for murder.

On the financial front, 187 of the lawmakers are multi-millionaires with the BJP leading the pack with 109 such MLAs followed by the Congress with 90.

BJP’s Sanjay Satyendra Pathak from Vijayragahvgarh constituency in Katni district is the richest MLA with assets in excess of Rs 226 crore. Fellow party lawmaker Chetanya Kasyap from Ratlam City is next with properties in excess of Rs 204 crore.

The average assets of the MLAs in the current Assembly is above Rs 10 crore which is just double that of the 2013 Assembly.

As many as 86 of the MLAs were re-elected and their average assets in the last five years have grown by nearly Rs 7 crore — a rise of 80 per cent.

There are only 21 female members in the new Assembly.

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Sensex ends flat on weak global cues, RBI board meet

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Sensex equity Nifty

Mumbai, Dec 14: The key Indian equity indices closed flat after trading in a narrow range on Friday tracking weakness in Asian and European markets over concerns of slowdown in global growth.

Caution in the domestic markets also prevailed as the outcome of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) board meeting was awaited till the closing bell.

Although with meagre gains, domestic indices logged their fourth session of advances led by Telecom, oil and gas and power stocks. However, finance counters remained subdued.

The Sensex settled 33.29 points higher at 35,962.93 points, touching an intra-day high of 36,019.02 and a low of 35,813.85.

The Nifty50 gained 11.85 points or 0.11 per cent to close at 10,803.40.

Bharti Airtel gained the most of the 30-stock Sensex. The shares of telecom major gained over 5 per cent after Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) scrapped rules on predatory pricing.

It was followed by Yes Bank which advanced by 3.23 per cent. Oil and energy stocks like ONGC, NTPC and Power Grid gained in the range of 1 to 2.5 per cent.

In contrast, HDFC and Wipro were the major losers followed by L&T, Sun Pharma and Adani Ports.

IANS

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