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Ex- Foreign Minister of Singapore is new chancellor of Nalanda University

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Former Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo will be the new chancellor of Nalanda University, announced Indian external affairs ministry today.

“George Yeo, former Foreign Minister of Singapore is to be the new Chancellor of Nalanda University,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup was quoted as saying by NDTV.

Mr. Yeo is currently on the governing board of prestigious university.

He will take over from Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who withdrew his candidature for a second term as Chancellor of the Nalanda University in Bihar in February 2015.

Professor Sen, whose term ends in July, had written a letter to his colleagues on the board, withdrawing from seeking a second term, since the Narendra Modi government had not given its approval to his nomination.

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Halimah Yacob is Singapore’s First Woman President, Elected Without a Vote

"I am a President for everyone," said the newly elected Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive

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Halimah Yacob
Halimah Yacob who was the only candidate to get eligibility certificate, is now set to be Singapore's next President Wikimedia

Singapore, September 13, 2017 : Halimah Yacob became on Wednesday the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.

However, Yacob’s selection was overshadowed by criticism that it was undemocratic to give her the top post without a vote. Halimah Yacob, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony due to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office said.

Yacob was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post. This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates. Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Yacob, accompanied by her husband and greeted by about 750 supporters, spoke outside the People’s Association building and called for unity in a speech delivered in English and Malay.

“We need every Singaporean to stand together shoulder to shoulder … we have not reached the peak yet and the best is yet to come,” Yacob said, urging citizens to “focus on the similarities that we have and not on the differences.”

In 2016, Singapore’s Parliament approved a constitutional reform which stipulated that the presidential elections would be reserved for one of the ethnicities of the multicultural city-state if no candidate from this group has occupied the post in the previous 30 years.

“I am a President for everyone,” said Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive.

Yacob was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.

The mother of five started her political career with the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been governing the country since 1959, and entered the Parliament in 2001.

She secured her first portfolio in 2011, as State Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.

In August 2017, Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the PAP to be able to run for President. (IANS)

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JY Pillay: Indian Origin Civil Servant Appointed as the Acting President of Singapore

As CPA Chairman since 2005, Pillay has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip

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Acting President of Singapore
JY Pillay. Youtube
  • JY Pillay has been appointed as the acting President of Singapore
  • Pillay, also the Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, is a veteran civil servant of Indian Origin
  • The Singapore polls take place on 23rd September

September 2, 2017: Indian-origin veteran civil servant JY Pillay on Friday took over as Singapore’s acting President until a new head of the state is elected later this month.

The temporary appointment of Pillay, Chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), follows the completion of President Tony Tan Keng Yam’s six-year term on Thursday, the Strait Times reported.

The nomination day for the Presidential election is September 13, followed by polling day on September 23.

According to the report, when the office of President is vacant, the first in line to exercise its powers is the CPA Chairman, followed by the Speaker of Parliament. This is the first time the office has fallen vacant since the elected presidency was introduced in 1991.

Pillay is no stranger to exercising the powers of the President. As CPA Chairman since 2005, he has been acting President each time the President goes on an overseas trip. He acted as President in May, when Tan made state visits to Europe.

He has served more than 60 such “stints”– the longest of which was 16 days in April and May of 2007 when then President SR Nathan visited Africa. (IANS)


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“The Argumentative Indian” : Amartya Sen documentary Director says ‘No’ in formal response to CBFC

The film, which is structured as a conversation between Sen and his student and internationally known economist, Kaushik Basu, covers a span of 15 years (2002-2017)

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Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences. Wikimedia Commons
  • Suman Ghosh has said NO to CBFC regarding their recommendations on the director’s documentary
  • CBFC told the director that the film would be released only if he complies with the boards suggestion to beep out words like “cow”
  • ‘The Argumentative Indian’ is structured as a conversation between Amartya Sen and his student, Kaushik Basu

New Delhi, August 10, 2017: Suman Ghosh, director of The Argumentative Indian– a documentary on Amartya Sen, who earlier refused to follow the Central Board of Film Certification’s diktat, has on Tuesday said that he has formally said ‘NO’ to the CBFC regarding the recommendations.

CBFC told the national award winning director, that his film would be released with a U/A (parental guidance) certificate only if he complies with the board’s suggestions to beep out words like “cow”, “Gujarat”, “Hindutva view of India” and “Hindu India”, which have been used in the context of the present political climate in the country.

“I came to know it is an online process now where you can only opt for ‘yes’ if you accept their (CBFC) suggestions or ‘no’ if you reject their suggestions… After verbally communicating with me on July 11, later on they sent me the letter bearing the same suggestions to keep on mute six parts (both words and phrases)—‘Gujarat’, ‘in India’, ‘Hindu’, ’cow’, ‘these days’ and ‘Hindutva’ for granting ‘U’ certification. In my formal response I opted for ‘no’ option as there is no question of reconsidering my stand of effecting not a single cut in an Amartya Sen documentary,” said Ghosh.

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“But since if a director says no in such situations, his film has to go to the revising committee, I guess I have to appear before the revising committee now in Mumbai,” he further mentioned.

Ghosh stated his busy shooting schedule for a feature film, the reason of delay in his formal online response.

However, when the Nobel Laureate himself was asked about the matter, he chose to stay away from the controversy. “What can I say about this? This film is not made by me. I am the subject of the film and the subject should not be talking about these things. The director Suman Ghosh would say whatever needs to be said… Do not want to start a discussion on this. If the government has any disapproval about the film made on me, it has to be discussed with the concerned stakeholders,” Sen said.

Ghosh had earlier mentioned that he would approach the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT), if the matter gets resolved at the revising committee level.

“The attitude of the censor board just underlines the relevance of the documentary in which Sen highlights the growing intolerance in India. Such scrutiny of any criticism of the government in a democratic country is shocking. There is no way I would agree to beep or mute or change anything that one of the greatest minds of our times has said in the documentary,” Ghosh told The Telegraph

Also read: Kolkata: Special Screening of Amartya Sen documentary “An Argumentative Indian” on July 10

According to the quint report, the CBFC move was dubbed as “preposterous” by CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. “On what basis can a documentary on an Indian Nobel Prize winner be stopped just because it mentions cow or Hindutva?” he asked.

In the documentary, Sen speaks of social choice theory, development economics and the rise of right wing nationalism across the world. The film, which is structured as a conversation between Sen and his student and internationally known economist, Kaushik Basu, covers a span of 15 years (2002-2017).

“So many of our democratic rights are being violated but nothing much is happening…. I think we are not responding and that worries me,” said Ghosh, after a private screening of the documentary at Nandan III.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha