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SOUTH ASIAN PULSE RADIO HEADLINES AUG 24TH 2016 

  1. Alberta’s economy was already suffering because of low oil prices but wildfires in Fort McMurray have added further to the fiscal woes. According to Finance Minister Joe Ceci, the deficit has gone up by $527 million and reached nearly $11 billion. This fiscal year, the economy is down by 2.7% and next year also does not look good. In 2015, the economy shrank to 3.7% that was the largest two-year decline in economy since the 1980s.
  2. In BC, home sales have declined after a tax was put in Vancouver on foreign buyers and it is not difficult to see its impact. According to a new data presented by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, the sale of condos and apartments between August 2 to 15 dropped to 42% compared to last year and sales of single homes came down to 66% in the first two weeks of August.
  3. A trial has begun against an Ontario woman who tried to give water to pigs en route to a slaughter. The event took place on June 17 when temperatures had soared to 45 degrees. As an animal rights activist, the woman, identified as Anita Krajnc said she felt the pigs were dehydrated and so she did not do anything wrong while giving them water. Anita might face jail term or a maximum of $5,000 fine.
  4. A devastating earthquake of 6.2 magnitude rattled Italy this morning and killed at least 50 persons with several others still missing. Major buildings in the area have been reduced to rubble. Search is on for missing people. The Italian branch of the Red Cross has started rescue operations.
  5. Imprisoned MQM leader Wasim Akhtar has been elected as Karachi’s mayor. After winning the election, Akhtar said a lot of blood has been shed that should be stopped. He also vowed to work not only for Karachi but areas around it also.
  6. After the statement of Farooq Sattar yesterday, MQM chief Altaf Hussain has handed over party affairs to Rabita Committee adding the party command will also be Pakistan-based.
  7. Pakistan’s interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has said whatever was going on in Karachi for the last 25 years will not be allowed any more. He also appreciated the role of security forces in controlling the situation there.
  8. India Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked Indian navy to give him detailed report on leaked information on Scorpene submarines. The Indian Navy, in a statement, has said it is looking into the matter but clarified the leak was not in India. The Scorpene submarines is designed by French shipbuilder DCNS and is being manufactured at the Mazgaon Dockyard in Mumbai at a cost of around $3.5 billion. The over 22,000 pages that was leaked from DCNS contain information on different aspects of the boat, including its underwater sensors, above-water sensors, combat management system, torpedo launch system and specifications, communications system and navigation systems. Parrikar has called it a case of hacking.
  9. Home Minister Rajnath Singh who is in Kashmir, has met leaders of the main political parties to end violence in Kashmir Valley. He held meeting in Nehru Guest House. Home secretary Rajeev Mehrishi was also with him.
  10. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was called by the Supreme Court on allegations that he blamed RSS for killing Mahatma Gandhi. He defended by saying that he did not blame the whole party but said only some people associated with the group assassinated Mahatma Gandhi. An affidavit was read out in Supreme Court by Rahul’s counsel Kapil Sibal as a response to a defamation case filed against Rahul in High Court by an RSS member. Supreme Court suggested ending the matter but the petitioner requested for more time to respond. The court will hear the case again on September 1.
  11. Swaraj Abhiyan’s Prashant Bhushan has alleged that 58 new liquor shops have been opened in Delhi though Kejriwal had announced no new licenses will be given. He also said though AAP talks about cracking down on black money, why no action has been taken against culprits. On this occasion a school girl Jyoti Sharma told Bhushan that an alcohol shop near her school is creating problems for students but even police is not taking any action against it.
  12. In a further embarrassment to AAP, the party’s senior leader and Punjab Convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur, was heard showing his displeasure over choice of candidates. He was also heard accepting that Bhagwant Mann has a drinking problem. The video that went viral shows a man leaving a cash packet with Chhotepur, though Chhotepur said he will prove that he was not involved in any wrongdoing. When asked by media, he said a party supporter met him on the day party convener Arvind Kejriwal had come for a court hearing in Amritsar on July 29. Two senior party leaders referred that person to him. He talked about few things and then tried to hand Chhotepur a packet for party fund but Chhotepur refused. But before leaving he left it on Chhotepur’s suitcase that he did not see.
  13. Another controversy has surfaced for AAP as one of its candidates, Santokh Singh Salana who had claimed that he had quit his job on his own, is not true. According to details on February 13, 2007, Salana, who was working as canal patwari in Sutlej-Yamuna Link Water Services Circle, was found absent from service for almost four years, and so Haryana government dismissed him.
  14. Punjab’s Chief Minister Parksh Singh Badal has said Congress and AAP are suffering from anti-Punjab syndrome, are not working for the interest of the state and have no plan for the welfare of the state.
  15. Economic analysts are worried about the future of Punjab as under new schemes more subsidiaries are being offered to the people. The reason being elections are just round the corner. However, these subsidiaries are increasing loan on the state which is not healthy for the state’s financial health as new revenue generating venues have not been located. The government employee salaries are constantly going up and the social security pension bill has gone up from IRs540 crores to IRs1,100 crores while VAT has jumped 7%. The Atta-Daal scheme is also burdening the state. According to details the state generated IRs700 crores to IRs800 crores less revenues. Power subsidiary are also pulling the state down.
  16. AAP has reiterated if it comes in power, it will continue giving subsidiary to farmers. This was announced by AAP leader Kanwar Sandhu adding there will be no cuts in these subsidiaries to farmers and in fact the party intends to increase those. Analysts are questioning the state is already offering IRs6,000 crore of subsidiaries, how will it generate additional revenues to meet what is being promised. Meanwhile, it has been announced that on September 11, AAP chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will tour Moga and present final manifesto for farmers then.
  17. Pakistan is playing its first ODI against England. Electing to bat first, Pakistan’s four wickets are down and it has made 218 runs. Currently Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed are playing on 13 and 47 respectively. But rain has stopped the game for now.

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