IAF flight with mortal remains of 31 NRIs killed in Kuwait fire lands in Kochi

News Network
June 14, 2024

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Kochi: An Indian Air Force (IAF) flight carrying the mortal remains of the Indians who died in the tragic fire incident in Kuwait two days ago, landed at the international airport here on Friday.

The IAF C30J aircraft is carrying the bodies of the Indians and of them 31 were received at the airport here.

The 31 bodies include 23 Keralites, 7 Tamilians and one person from Karnataka, officials said.

Officials had said that 49 people were killed in the fire in the Al-Mangaf building on June 12 and majority of them were Indians; the remaining were Pakistani, Filipino, Egyptian and Nepali nationals.

The blaze in the seven-storey building that housed 196 migrant workers in Mangaf, south of Kuwait City, on Wednesday killed 49 people and injured around 50 others. 

A preliminary probe has indicated glaring lapses – there were around two dozen gas cylinders on the ground floor of the building; inflammable materials were used as partitions to separate the workers in the cramped rooms; the doors to the rooftop were locked, etc.

Ernakulam Range DIG Putta Vimaladitya earlier said that all the required arrangements have been made to receive the bodies at the airport. 

“We have coordinated with the family members of the victims. Once the bodies are received, they will be properly escorted to their respective places.” Vimaladitya said.

A dedicated vehicle will be provided for each body, the DIG said. Heavy police force and ambulances have been deployed at the airport in Kochi.

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News Network
July 16,2024

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka cabinet on Monday approved implementation of the Seventh Pay Commission’s recommendations, effecting a 27.5% increase in basic pay from August 1, 2024, and benefiting 12 lakh state govt employees and pensioners.

The commission, led by former chief secretary K Sudhakar Rao, was constituted in November 2022 with a six month mandate.

The final report was submitted to chief minister Siddaramaiah before Lok Sabha elections were announced in March 2024.

The commission’s recommendations include raising the minimum salary for govt employees from Rs 17,000 to Rs 27,000 a month.

The implementation is expected to widen the revenue expenditure of the Karnataka govt by Rs 20,000 crore annually. The most considerable expenditure will be the burden of Rs 7,409 crore for salaries, followed by Rs 3,791 crore for pensions and family pensions each year.

The decision comes after the previous BJP govt, just before the 2023 assembly elections, granted interim relief with a 17% salary hike for govt employees, leaving the remaining 10.5% for future discussions.

After Congress govt took office, it faced pressure to fulfil five poll guarantees and delayed the decision.

The employees, during an executive committee meeting held recently in Chikkamagaluru, decided to launch a three-phase protest culminating in an indefinite strike planned from July 29. This appears to have pressured the govt.

"We welcome the decision for providing employees with 27.5% salary hike," said Shadakshari, state president of Karnataka state govt employees' association.

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News Network
July 16,2024

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Bengaluru, Jul 16: Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar expressed his displeasure over the Central Bureau of Investigation's (CBI) handling of his Disproportionate Assets (DA) case, stating that the agency was overstepping its limits.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru, Dy CM Shivakumar said, "The state government has referred the same case to the Lokayukta, which is currently investigating it. I don't understand why the CBI is going beyond its limits in their investigation."

He added, "I will meet them personally soon and convey my objections. I have done nothing wrong, and they are trying to harass many unconnected people. I'm confident that I've done nothing wrong."

When asked about Union Minister for Heavy Industries and Steel, HD Kumaraswamy's criticism over the all-party meeting on the release of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu, Dy CM Shivakumar accused him of not taking interest in the Cauvery dispute.

He is not bothered about the interests of Karnataka, he stated.

"Kumaraswamy only makes allegations in a dramatic style. He is nursing a grudge against me and harbouring envy. He has been doing this since the beginning, which is why I'm asking him for a discussion," he stated.

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News Network
July 3,2024

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Twelve former US officials have denounced President Joe Biden’s policies on Gaza as “a failure and a threat” to the country’s national security, calling on the government to overhaul them and use all "available leverage” to bring the ongoing war to an immediate end.

The 12 signatories who quit their posts over Biden’s controversial approach made the remarks in a joint public statement titled "Service in Dissent" which was released on Tuesday in conjunction with Independence Day, known colloquially as the Fourth of July.

“Each of us has sworn an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and as our nation celebrates its Independence Day, each of us are reminded that we resigned from government not to terminate that oath but to continue to abide by it; not to end our commitment to service, but to extend it,” the former officials said.

“This failed policy has not achieved its stated objectives,” they said, noting that it has not brought safety to the Israeli regime and has rather been “devastating for the Palestinian people, ensuring a vicious cycle of poverty and hopelessness, with all the implications of that cycle, for generations to come.”

The signatories went on to say, “As a group of dedicated Americans in service of our country, we insist that there is another way,” outlining steps to ensure that a "catastrophic policy failure like this can never happen again."

The ex-officials also argued that the US policy toward Gaza has “been deeply damaging” not only for US relations in the region, but also for the country’s global credibility.

The former officials further noted that US’ continuous flow of arms to Israel has ensured the country’s “undeniable complicity in the killings and forced starvation of a besieged Palestinian population in Gaza.”

"This is not only morally reprehensible and in clear violation of international humanitarian law and US laws, but it has also put a target on America’s back," they added, arguing that it has put the lives of service members and diplomats at risk.

The signatories also called on Washington to use “all necessary and available leverage to bring the conflict to an immediate close”, ensure expansion of humanitarian aid to Gazans and support the self-determination of the Palestinian people.

“There is an urgent need for change in the organizational cultures and structures that have enabled the current US approach,” they stressed, calling on Washington to have transparency regarding arms transfers.

The signatories further stated they “stand united in a shared belief that it is our collective responsibility to speak up,” urging their colleagues to use their voice and not to be complicit.

Among the signatories are Josh Paul, who oversaw Congressional relations on weapons transfers, a former White House official, two former air force department personnel and a former army officer in the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Israel launched the devastating war on Gaza on October 7 after the territory’s Palestinian resistance groups carried out a surprise retaliatory attack, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, against the occupying entity.

Since then, the United States has supplied the Tel Aviv regime with more than 10,000 tons of military equipment, and used its veto power against all United Nations Security Council resolutions that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The relentless Israeli military campaign against Gaza has so far killed nearly 38,000 people, most of them women and children.

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