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Jharkhand polls: Voting ends in 18 seats amid violence

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Ranchi, Dec 7 : Around 61 per cent polling has been recorded on 20 Assembly seats amid a few incidents of violence in the second phase of the Jharkhand Assembly polls on Saturday.

According to Election Commission data, 60.56 per cent voting took place in the second phase. The highest polling was recorded at Bharagora assembly seat with 74.44 per cent turnout and lowest at Jamshedpur West with 46.65 per cent turnout. The voting percentage at Chief Minister Raghubar Das’ Assembly seat Jamshedpur East was only 49.12 per cent.

The polling which started at 7 a.m., ended at 3 p.m. on 18 Assembly seats. The voting in Jamshedpur East and Jamshedpur West concluded at 5 p.m.

A 95-year-old woman Kaushlaya Devi and eighty year old Sukurmani cast their votes in Jamshedpur.

In poll related violence, one youth was killed in police firing and six including three policemen were injured in the Sisai constituency of Gumla district. The polling was cancelled at booth number 36 after the firing incident. The polling officials and security personnel left the polling centre with EVM machines after the incident of violence.

The Election Commission has sought detailed report from the Gumla district administration.

Maoist Guerrillas also set ablaze a polling bus in West Singhbhum district.

The fate of 260 candidates fighting in the 20 Assembly seats has been sealed in EVMs.

Police sources said that more than 40,000 security forces were deployed for the second phase of voting which largely took place in Maoist-infested areas.

Of the 20 seats, 16 are reserved for the Schedule Tribe (ST) and one for the Schedule Caste (SC).

Chief Minister Raghubar Das is contesting from the Jamshedpur East seat, where he is pitted against former cabinet colleague Saryu Rai and Congress spokesperson Gaurabh Vallabh.

Also in the fray in this phase are Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, Urban Development Minister Neelkanth Singh Munda, Water Resources Minister Ramchandra Sahis, former cabinet minister Saryu Rai and state BJP President Laxman Giluwa.

Jailed Maoist commander Kunadan Pahan is fighting from the Tamar Assembly seat. Kundan Pahan is locked in a triangular fight with AJSU candidate Vikas Munda and former jailed Minister Gopal Krishna alias Raja Peter.

Of the 20 constituencies, the fight is triangular on at least seven Assembly seats and the rest of the seats will see direct fight between the BJP and Congress-JMM-RJD alliance.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa sworn in as Sri Lanka’s new PM

According to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the new parliament will convene on August 20.

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Mahinda Rajapaksa

Colombo, Aug 9: Leader of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna party Mahinda Rajapaksa took oath as the nation’s new prime minister on Sunday after his party secured a landslide victory in the recently concluded parliamentary election.

Rajapaksa took oath during a grand ceremony at Kelaniya Temple, a Buddhist temple on the outskirts of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo in the presence of the diplomatic community and legislators from the ruling and opposition parties, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rajapaksa was sworn in as the prime minister of the country for the fourth time.

Rajapaksa’s party won 145 seats in the August 5 election which was held to elect new legislators in a 225-member parliament.

His new cabinet will take oath later this week.

According to the Elections Commission, the parliamentary election held last Wednesday was one of the most peaceful held in Sri Lankan history with a 71 per cent voter turnout.

The election was held under strict health guidelines due to COVID-19 pandemic which has infected over 2,800 people in the country.

According to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the new parliament will convene on August 20.

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Bernie Sanders mulls ‘Make Billionaires Pay Act’, zones in on Bezos, Musk, Zuckerberg

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Bernie Sanders

New York, Aug 8 :J Three Senators, led by Bernie Sanders, have attracted global attention for introducing the “Make Billionaires Pay Act,” aiming to tax US tech’s top leaders tens of billions of dollars in wealth made during the coronavirus pandemic.

The “Make Billionaires Pay Act” would impose a one-time 60 per cent tax on wealth gains made by billionaires between March 18, 2020, and January 1, 2021.

Riding growing global despair about inequity, the Senators suggest that funds would be used to pay for out-of-pocket health-care expenses for all Americans for a year. Besides Sanders, the Senators are Ed Markey and Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Over and over again, we have been told that we cannot possibly afford to guarantee healthcare as a right by moving to a Medicare for All system – even on a temporary basis during the worst public health emergency in over a hundred years. Well, it turns out that is not quite accurate,” a post on Sanders’ Senate page argued.

“While a record-breaking 5.4 million Americans recently lost their health insurance, 467 billionaires in our country increased their wealth by an estimated $731.8 billion during the pandemic. Incredibly, as a result of the Trump tax giveaway to the rich, these billionaires currently pay a lower effective tax rate than teachers or truck drivers.”

Citing the Americans for Tax Fairness and Institute for Policy, Sanders said: “If we taxed 60 per cent of the windfall gains these billionaires made from March 18th until August 5th, we could raise $421.7 billion. That’s enough revenue to allow Medicare to pay all of the out-of-pocket healthcare expenses for everyone in America over the next 12 months (based on an estimate from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget).

“Yes, that’s right. By taxing 60 per cent of the wealth gains made by just 467 billionaires during this horrific pandemic, we could guarantee healthcare as a right for an entire year. And billionaires would still be able to pocket more than $310.1 billion in wealth gains during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.”

Illustrative examples cited include Jeff Bezos, whose wealth has gone up by 63 per cent or $71.3 billion during the pandemic, paying a one-time wealth tax of $42.8 billion; Elon Musk, whose wealth has nearly tripled during the pandemic from $24.6 billion to $70.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $27.5 billion; Mark Zuckerberg, who is now worth $92.7 billion, up from $54.7 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $22.8 billion and the Walton family, the wealthiest family in America, which has seen their wealth grow by $21.5 billion, would pay a one-time wealth tax of $12.9 billion.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when so many of our people are hurting, it is time to fundamentally change our national priorities. Instead of more tax breaks for the rich while more Americans die because they cannot afford to go to a doctor, let us expand Medicare and save lives by demanding that billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.”

Aiming to distinguish the not-so-super-rich from their moves, those with net worth of less than $1 billion wouldn’t pay more in taxes. While Zuckerberg, Bezos and the Waltons haven’t yet reacted, Musk took the challenge head on, with a meme. “Everytime the Bernster mentions a free government program, chug somebody else’s beer”, the irrepressible billionaire tweeted back.

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Rahul Gandhi Says Bihar Seat Sharing Formula With Allies Set to be Finalized Soon

For the seat sharing formula, Congress state in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil will travel this week to Bihar to hold talks with all the stakeholders, Rahul told the party workers while addressing a virtual meeting.

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Rahul Gandhi

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has held a meeting with party workers of Bihar through video conferencing where he told them that the situation due to Covid-19 is pathetic and unemployment is rising in the country. He said that the Congress should prepare for the elections in the state with “positivity”.

Rahul Gandhi in his speech said that a seat sharing formula with alliance partners will be finalized in 15 to 20 days and asked Congress leaders to respect the allies and their leaders, sources said.

For the seat sharing formula, Congress state in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil will travel this week to Bihar to hold talks with all the stakeholders, Rahul told the party workers.

Leader in the Bihar Assembly Sadanand Singh requested Rahul Gandhi to finalise the alliances soon so that they get time to prepare for the elections. Many Congress leaders including former Minister Shakiluzzaman Ansari raised the issue of outsiders being given party tickets and asked the leadership to give tickets only to dedicated party workers in the wake of the recent rebellions in many states, said sources.

The Congress is set to contest the Bihar assembly elections in alliance with the RJD and other non-NDA constituents.

Chief National Media Coordinator of the Congress, Sanjiv Singh said that over 1000 Congress workers participated in the virtual meeting.

He said, “Rahulji said that he will be present in Bihar as and when the state unit desires.”

But the Congress has a tough task ahead on seat adjustment with the RJD which had bulldozed the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when Kirti Azad had to contest from Dhanbad in Jharkhand and Shakil Ahmed fought as an Independent.

In the 2015 Assembly elections, the RJD, JDU and the Congress contested the polls together and won handsomely. But the JDU later went over to the BJP.

There are about 100 seats which were contested by the JDU which are yet to be distributed amongst the alliance partners and the Congress too wants a major chunk from the pie, but sources say that the party may settle for 70 seats.

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