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Navy’s 40 hrs operation led to surrender of 35 pirates, rescue of 17 crew members

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New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) Indian Navy on Sunday said that its rescue operation in the Arabian Sea, which last lasted approximately 40 hours, led to the surrender of 35 pirates and the rescue of 17 crew members of merchant vessel ex-MV Ruen.

The Navy said that it had deployed INS Kolkata in the Arabian Sea to thwart the designs of the Somali pirates to hijack ships transiting through the region.

“Merchant vessel MV Ruen was intercepted on March 15 by INS Kolkata which had been hijacked in December 2023 and was under the control of the Somalian pirates,” the Navy said.

It said that INS Kolkata confirmed the presence of armed pirates on MV Ruen through a ship-launched drone.

“In a reckless hostile act, the pirates shot down the drone and fired at the Indian Naval warship. INS Kolkata disabled the ship’s steering system and navigational aids, forcing the pirate ship to stop,” the Navy said.

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The efforts of the Indian Navy in the ongoing anti-piracy operation 1400 nm (2600 km) from mainland India were augmented by the deployment of INS Subhadra in the area and also by air-dropping of the Marine Commandos (PRAHARS) by C-17 aircraft, the official said.

“The pirate vessel was kept under surveillance by HALE RPA and P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Due to sustained pressure and calibrated actions by the Indian Navy over 40 hours, all 35 Somali pirates surrendered on March 16 while all 17 original crew members of MV Ruen were safely evacuated from the pirate vessel without any injury,” he said.

He said that the vessel has also been sanitised for the presence of illegal arms, ammunition and contraband.

The Navy has also mentioned that the seaworthiness of MV Ruen will be assessed on March 17 and the vessel carrying approximately 37800 Tonne cargo, estimated at around one million dollars will be brought safely to India.

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–IANS

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NEET-UG row: Rahul Gandhi slams govt, says Oppn to raise issue in Parliament

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) With the NEET-UG paper leak case snowballing into a major controversy, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hit out at the BJP-led Central government on Thursday, saying that the Opposition will raise this issue in the upcoming session of the Parliament.

Addressing a press conference here, the Congress MP mentioned that during his ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ from Manipur to Maharashtra, hundreds of youth brought up the issue of paper leaks.

He also took a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, suggesting that while it was claimed that the PM stopped the Russia-Ukraine war, he seems unable or unwilling to prevent paper leaks in India.

“The reason for paper leaks is that the BJP’s parent organisation has taken control of the education system. Unless this is reversed, paper leaks will continue,” he said, attributing the “capture of the education system” to Prime Minister Modi.

He also labelled this as an “anti-national activity”.

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Rahul Gandhi further pointed out that institutions in the country are “no longer impartial and have become associated with a single ideology”, as he criticized the Centre for exonerating the National Testing Agency (NTA), responsible for conducting NEET-UG.

On the cancellation of the UGC NET on Wednesday, a day after the test was held, Rahul Gandhi emphasised the need for a thorough reassessment and redesign of the pre-existing system. He also advocated for a comprehensive probe into the NEET-UG paper leak and urged for accountability against those responsible.

About 24 lakh aspirants appeared for NEET on May 5 for admission to medical colleges. The results were announced before time on June 5 but were marred by allegations of paper leak and awarding of grace marks to over 1,500 candidates.

–IANS

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Fake call centre luring people with overseas jobs busted in Gurugram; 8 held

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Gurugram, June 20 (IANS) Gurugram Police have arrested eight persons, including four women, for allegedly running a fake call centre and duping people on the pretext of providing overseas jobs.

The suspects created a fake job website — internationaljobsolutions.com — and collected data of the job aspirants from an online portal (shine.com) whom they duped over the past six months, the police said on Thursday.

The accused have been identified as Nagender Kumar, Vikrant Singh, Ravi Kumar, Kajal, Garima, Ranjan Kumar, Sahil Punia, and Agnes Franesh.

The police received a tip-off on Thursday about an illegal call centre operating from the Palam Vihar area in Gurugram. A raid was conducted which led to the arrest of the eight accused persons, said Varun Dahiya, ACP (Crime).

The accused tele-callers lured unemployed youth promising overseas jobs and even sent them forged appointment letters on WhatsApp against a sum of Rs 2-3 lakh.

The tele-callers were given a salary of Rs 18,000 per month, the ACP said.

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Ten mobile phones, four laptops, and other incriminating items were seized during the raid, the officer added.

–IANS

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NHAI taking AI route for better road signs to improve safety

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) In order to enhance road safety, NHAI has signed an MoU with Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi, a technical university established by the Delhi government, to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions for improvement in the availability of road signs on national highways.

As a part of the agreement, IIIT Delhi will conduct surveys to collect imagery and other related data related to availability and condition of road signages on selected national highway stretches.

The tentative length to be covered under this project shall be around 25,000 km.

The data collected through surveys will be processed by IIIT Delhi through deployment of Artificial Intelligence for accurate identification and classification of road signs.

The survey report based on the results will include geo-stamped inventory of existing road signs with the categorisation, broad structural condition of the road signs and other ancillary data.

The institute will also conduct a gap study that will be carried out by assessing the difference between the survey findings and the requirement for road signs as per the approved road signages plan of the respective contract agreement.

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The gap study will additionally cover the requirements as per latest Codal Provisions relevant to high-speed corridors to cater to the enhanced safety requirements.

–IANS

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Calcutta HC directs Bengal edu dept to upload qualifications of teachers in its schools on portal

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Kolkata, June 20 (IANS) The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the West Bengal education department to upload details of qualification of teachers in all state-run schools on its portal.

Giving this direction on Thursday, the single-Judge Bench of Justice Biswajit Basu observed that the guardians of students have every right to know whether the teachers teaching their children are qualified.

Justice Basu also observed that since there had been several allegations of certain teachers not having the necessary educational qualifications to undertake teaching jobs, it is essential to maintain transparency in the matter and upload details on the departmental portal.

Justice Basu expressed his ire as the state education department’s counsel sought two months to complete the process.

“Why is the state government slow in every matter? You must increase the pace. Cases have surfaced where teachers have worked for five years without proper appointment letters.

“The process cannot be delayed further. Everyone has the right to know who all are working as teachers,” Justice Basu observed.

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During the hearing Justice Basu also expressed his anger over government school buildings being occupied by security forces for a prolonged period because of the Lok Sabha elections.

He suggested that the state government should create separate buildings for housing security forces deployed for polls.

–IANS

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Dissolve Haryana Assembly as govt in minority, Congress urges Governor

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Chandigarh, June 20 (IANS) The Congress on Thursday demanded that Haryana Governor Bandaru Dattatreya dissolve the Assembly and impose either President’s rule or call an early election as the Nayab Singh Saini-led BJP government “is in the minority”.

A delegation of the party led by two-time Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda and state party chief Chaudhary Udaibhan met the Governor and handed over the memorandum listing the demands.

In the memorandum, the Congress said the BJP has 41 legislators in the 90-member house, and there has been no change in the ruling party’s strength despite the Chief Minister being elected as a legislator in a bypoll from Karnal. Besides its own 41 legislators, the government has the support of one legislator of the Haryana Lokhit Party and one Independent. The total number of legislators supporting the government is only 43, says the memorandum.

“At present, the number of legislators in the House is 87 and the majority figure is 44. If the present government does not use horse-trading and other unconstitutional methods, it does not have a majority in the House. “Therefore, as the protector of the Constitution, the Governor should immediately dismiss the minority government and impose President’s rule in the state,” the memorandum states.

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The Congress urged the Governor to maintain the dignity and sanctity of the Constitution while discharging his constitutional duties. It also sought orders to be passed to conduct Assembly elections as per rules to provide an opportunity for the people of the state to elect a majority government.

After meeting the Governor, Hooda and Chaudhary Udaibhan said a memorandum was earlier submitted to the Governor in this regard by the Congress Legislature Party on May 10.

“This government should resign on moral grounds and the Governor should immediately dissolve the Assembly to stop horse trading. The Governor has assured to consider the memorandum,” Hooda told the media.

Chaudhary Udaibhan said the Congress “is fully prepared for the Assembly elections in Haryana.

“The results of the Lok Sabha elections have shown that the Congress is the strongest party in the state. Three independent MLAs supporting the government have also supported the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

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Three Independent legislators had withdrawn their support from the government in Haryana, reducing the government to a minority. The three legislators — Sombir Sangwan, Randhir Gollen, and Dharampal Gonder — had said they had decided to support the Congress during the Lok Sabha elections.

–IANS

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