The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has reportedly decided to increase train passenger and freight fares in the wake of the cash-strapped Indian Railways struggling to raise its revenue.However, the government is yet to decide on the “timing” of implementation of the hike in fares.The Railways will face additional financial burden of Rs 32,000 crore in the next fiscal year as it has to implement the employee salary hikes recommended by the seventh pay panel, even as the department finds it difficult to reach annual revenue target.”(The) rail coffers are virtually empty. A decision on hiking fares has been taken though railways minister Suresh Prabhu remains undecided on the timing and manner of the announcement,” sources familiar with the matter told the Hindustan Times.The railways freight traffic stayed 7 percent below the target set for the April-December period in the current fiscal year. Passenger bookings were also 5 percent lower than projected.A rise in fares can come directly or indirectly, sources said. The public transporter may hike its services cost if it wants to implement the fare increase indirectly.”The hike will be announced before or after the budget,” the sources told the daily.Increasing fares before or after the budget will help the Railways make more income in the peak travel season, which starts from March.Soon after taking charge in 2014, the NDA government had increased train fares by 14 percent, besides levying the Swachh Bharat cess last year.Last week, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had said that the revenue of Indian Railways would increase by 50 percent over the next five years, as the department is in the process of raising funds from foreign investors.The total income of the Indian Railways went up by 12.16 percent to Rs 1,57,880.5 crore in the last fiscal year ending March 2015, compared to Rs 1,40,761.27 crore in the previous year.
Dr Shirin Sharmin ChaudhurySpeaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury said the Rohingya crisis should be solved as soon as possible. She urged the international community to come up with a permanent solution in this regard.She said this in her inaugural speech at a two-day conference on promoting equality, justice and human dignity on the occasion of International Human Rights Day at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.The Speaker said the constitution of Bangladesh ensured human rights while the government had several human rights programmes. She stressed the need for equality and poverty alleviation to attain the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). She also said that development programmes related to employment, skills, gender, women and youth must be ensured.International affairs adviser to the prime minister Gowher Rizvi also sought the international community’s involvement over the Rohingya issue. He said, human rights organisations were publishing lists of missing people, but not checking carefully. People went missing for different reasons and they returned too, but the lists were not updated accordingly. He said law enforcing agencies had the right to arrest anyone, but had to abide by the law in doing or.Kazi Reazul Hoque, chairman to the National Human Rights Commission of Bangladesh, presided over the conference. Regarding the issue of Rohingya crisis, he said Bangladesh had improved in several sectors of human rights. Still abuse of women and children, oppression in safe custody and abduction were taking place. He expressed his concerns over these and urged the government to solve the problems.Persons involved in human rights from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines were , working on human rights are participating in the conference.
US president Donald Trump speaks to the media as he meets with Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, US, on 10 January 2018. ReutersAfricans reacted angrily Friday after Donald Trump reportedly referred to their nations as “shithole countries”, with many lashing the US president for racism and ignorance.The 55-nation African Union condemned the remarks while the southern African state of Botswana hauled in the US ambassador to complain.The comment “truly flies in the face of accepted behaviour and practice,” said Ebba Kalondo, spokeswoman for AU chief Moussa Faki.“This is even more hurtful given the historical reality of just how many Africans arrived in the United States as slaves, and also terribly surprising as the United States remains a massively positive example as just how migration can give birth to a nation,” Kalondo said.The comments were “clearly” racist, Kalondo said, but stressed the US was “much stronger than the sum total of one man.”Trump made the remarks on Thursday in a meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform, The Washington Post and The New York Times reported. On Friday, Trump tweeted an implicit denial, saying “this was not the language used”.The United Nations slammed Trump’s reported remarks as “shocking and shameful” and “racist”.“You cannot dismiss entire countries and continents as ‘shitholes’ whose entire populations, who are not white, are therefore not welcome,” Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN human rights office, told reporters in Geneva.Botswana summoned the US ambassador to the country to “clarify if Botswana is regarded as a ‘shithole’ country”, according to a foreign ministry statement which called Trump’s comments “irresponsible, reprehensible and racist”.This is not the first time Trump has rubbed Africans up the wrong way-he was widely derided last year after he twice referred to Namibia as “Nambia”.On social media, users across the continent on Friday posted images of modern skylines and beautiful nature from their countries with the ironic hashtag “shithole.”Many Africans reminded the US of its historic role in the continent’s woes.“President Trump, One day, I’ll take you to a ‘shithole’ country called Ghana,” wrote Ghanaian Edmond Prime Sarpong on Facebook.“First stop would be Osu Castle, Elmina Castle, and the over 40 Forts that detained about 30 million slaves, beaten and shipped out like sardine cans and then I will tell you the history of Africa and why people like you made that a ‘shithole’ continent.”‘Nothing new’Prominent Kenyan commentator Patrick Gathara, told AFP that Trump’s words were nothing new from a “racist and ignorant” administration, nor from the West at large.“This is no different from what Hollywood and Western media have been saying about Africa for decades. We have consistently been portrayed as shitty people from shitty countries.”Some acknowledged problems in their countries, but blamed this on their poor leaders as well as western nations such as the US.“Please don’t confuse the #shithole leaders we Africans elect with our beautiful continent… Our motherland is the most blessed continent that has been raped by imperialists in collaboration with our shitty misleaders for generations,” wrote Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi on Twitter.In South Africa, the ruling party declared “ours is not a shithole country” and described Trump as “extremely offensive”.“It is not as if the United States doesn’t have difficulties. There are millions of unemployed people in the US, millions of people who don’t have health care services or access to education and we would not deign to make comments as derogatory as that,” said Jessie Duarte, the deputy secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC).‘It’s our shithole’Nigerians however did not hold back, with many on Twitter saying their country was a “shithole”, but that it was “our shithole” to criticise.Even war-torn South Sudan weighed in, with president Salva Kiir’s spokesman Ateny Wek Ateny slamming the comments as “outrageous”.However Juba businesswoman Jenny Jore, 31, told AFP that Trump’s remarks were “on point”.“It is thanks to our African leaders that we are insulted that way,” she said.Trump’s latest comments also provided ample fodder for talkshow hosts.South African comedian Trevor Noah, star of “The Daily Show”, described himself as an offended citizen of “South Shithole” and also called Trump out for racism, especially for saying he preferred immigrants from Norway.“He didn’t just name a white country, he named the whitest-so white they wear moon-screen,” he said.
By JIM SALTER, Associated PressST. LOUIS (AP) — The city manager and police chief in a suburban St. Louis town apologized Thursday to a group of Black college students after police wrongly accused them of a dine-and-dash and used several squad cars to escort them back to a restaurant.Washington University in St. Louis. (Courtesy Image/Logo)Clayton city manager Craig Owens said he and chief Kevin Murphy met with several of the 10 Washington University students, calling the meeting “emotionally powerful.” Owens said in a statement that he and Murphy left the meeting with a better understanding of “what it is like to be a young African-American who is confronted by the police.” Owens and Murphy are White.The incident involved 10 incoming freshmen on campus for a five-week summer program to help them prepare for university life at the prestigious school that sits that sits at the boundary of St. Louis and Clayton.After a late-night dinner at a Clayton IHOP restaurant the students were walking to a light rail station around 12:30 a.m. July 8 when they were approached by two officers.The restaurant manager had told police that a group of young Black men left without paying a $62 tab. The students had, in fact, eaten at the restaurant and some were carrying to-go bags. But they told police they paid their bills — some showed receipts.Murphy said the students agreed to walk back and talk with the restaurant manager. The university said six squad cars followed the students, though Murphy believed the number was four.Back at the restaurant, the manager told police the students were not those who left without paying.Washington University Chancellor Mark Wrighton met with Clayton leaders on July 12 and again on Tuesday to express their concern and anger, said Jill Friedman, vice chancellor for public affairs.“I have great admiration for our students’ maturity, fortitude and candor,” Wrighton said. “They are truly remarkable. I had hoped that this kind of dialogue with the city would open city leaders’ eyes, open their hearts and open their minds, and it did.”Owens said that in hindsight, police mishandled the incident and lacked sensitivity about the students’ “everyday reality because of how racial bias affects their lives.”The city will expand training programs to help ensure against bias and improve racial sensitivity training, and an outside expert will examine current procedures, Owens said.