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Indian-origin MPs all set to gear up for tough UK Poll fight

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Westminster, Source: Wikimedia

London, May 17, 2017: Britain’s June 8 polls are approaching and the major political parties have finalised their list of prospective candidates. Also, the ten Indian-origin MPs who went through the House of Commons in the last UK general elections are all set for a robust competition.

Over a period of time, many of those elected in May 2015 are defending comfortable margins, the changed Brexit reality since the last election means a heightened sense of ambiguity.

In keeping with opinion polls, the ruling Conservative party is considerably anticipated to have a majority under the leadership of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and make an incursion into the Opposition Labour.

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The Liberal Democrats, who faced a heavy loss back in 2015 are hoping to restore their stand by focusing only on a confined number of anti-Brexit constituencies.

Among the MPs possibly to hail the Brexit surge will be Priti Patel, UK secretary of state for international development – the senior-most Indian-origin member of the UK Cabinet.

The Tory MP for Witham is defending a large majority of 19,554 (41.5 percent) in a Conservative party haven. She was also amongst the MPs who campaigned vigorous in support of Brexit and had accentuated it was ideal for Britain.

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She has a strong backing within the Indian diaspora. She has also served as the Indian Diaspora Champion under the David Cameron-led government previously.

“The Indian diaspora in the UK are fantastic at keeping this relationship strong and work hard every day to support the UK and India reach our potential,” Patel said.

Her Conservative party colleague, India-born Alok Sharma, the minister in charge of India in the UK Foreign Office, faces a relatively tighter elective havoc as he defends a majority of 6,650 (14 percent) in his Reading West constituency.

“The UK-India ties are the ‘living bridge’ between our people, supported by 1.5 million British Indians who make up our successful and vibrant diaspora community. I have the honour to represent the government on UK-India affairs and am proud to see our partnership go from strength to strength,” he said.Shailesh

Shailesh Vara, another senior Indian-origin Tory who served as justice minister in the David Cameron-led government and is currently the co-chair of the Conservative Friends of India (CFI), defends a large majority of 19,795 (32.4 percent) in North West Cambridgeshire.

Among the Tory party newcomers in the last Parliament, Rishi Sunak – the son-in-law of Infosys co-founder Narayan Murthy – is in a Tory safe seat of Richmond.

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London-born and Goan-origin Suella Fernandes are also supporting a comfortable majority of 22,262 (40.7 per cent) in Fareham. The Hampshire-born, former Goldman Sachs analyst won the Richmond, Yorks, seat in 2015 by 19,550 (36.2 per cent).

The Opposition Labour party MPs comprise two of the longest-serving Indian-origin parliamentarians – Keith Vaz and Virendra Sharma.

While Vaz had a tumultuous year in 2016 with revelations around an alleged relationship with male prostitutes, his reputation in Leicester East seems to be competent with a previous lead of 18,352 (38.2 per cent). He has embraced the chance to go back to voters in the snap poll next month.

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“Theresa May was right to call a General Election. It is important any Prime Minister has a mandate from the British people before they begin the Brexit negotiations with the EU,” he said. “But this is not just about Brexit, it is about the vision of what kind of country we want to live in. This is an opportunity for the political parties to set out clearly how Britain will change for the better. I believe the Labour Party has the answer,” he told PTI.

His sister Valerie Vaz has an intricate fight at hand in her Walsall South constituency in the West Midlands where she won the last time with a margin of just 6,007 (14.4 per cent).

Fellow Labour MP Sharma, who is defending a majority of 18,670 (43.3 per cent) in Ealing Southall, west London, also welcomed the elections.

“It will give the country a chance to have their say on the divisive policies and hard Brexit that Theresa May is pursuing. The Prime Minister has called this election because she is scared of the Opposition that the Labour Party is mounting in Parliament,” he said.

“In Ealing, Southall we will speak to thousands of people, we will speak to the people that are being hurt by Tory policies and we will see that there is no support for a hard Brexit that punishes working people,” he added.

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The other Indian-origin Labour MPs Lisa Nandy and Seema Malhotra are supporting 14,236 (31.4 per cent) in Wigan and 11,463 (23.2 percent) in Feltham & Heston respectively.

The conservatives have covered another first-time Indian-origin candidate Resham Kotecha in Coventry North East but have come under some flak for not having adequate ethnic minority candidates on the list this time.

“The Conservative Party has a proud record of ensuring candidates from all walks of life stand for Parliament,” a party spokesperson said.

The Labour Party has over a dozen Indian-origin candidates on its list of proposed candidates concluded this week.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram, Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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EU Says Little Progress Made in Brexit Talks With Britain

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Brexit talks
British Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, David Davis left, and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier participate in a media conference at EU headquarters in Brussels. voa

he European Union’s Brexit negotiator said Thursday that that little progress was made with the U.K. in a fifth round of talks on the country’s departure from the EU in 2019 and that he cannot yet recommend broadening negotiations to include trade.

Michel Barnier said that despite the “constructive spirit” shown in this week’s negotiations in Brussels, “we haven’t made any great steps forward.” On the question of how much Britain has to pay to settle its financial commitments, he said: “We have reached a state of deadlock, which is disturbing.”

Barnier said he would not be able to recommend to EU leaders meeting next week that “sufficient progress” has been made to broaden the talks to future EU-British relations like trade.

The leaders meet in Brussels on Oct. 19-20, and it had been hoped they would agree to widen the talks.

The EU says this can only happen when there has been progress on the issues of the financial settlement, the rights of citizens affected by Brexit and the status of the Northern Ireland-Ireland border.

But Britain says these issues are closely intertwined with their future relations like trade and must be discussed together.

“I hope the member states will see the progress we have made and take a step forward” next week, British Brexit envoy David Davis told reporters.

“We would like them to give Michel the means to broaden the negotiations. It’s up to them whether they do it. Clearly I think it’s in the interests of the United Kingdom and the European Union that they do,” Davis said.

Barnier said the two sides would work to achieve “sufficient progress” in time for a subsequent meeting of EU leaders in December.

Britain must leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but the negotiations must be completed within about a year to leave time for EU states’ national parliaments to ratify the Brexit agreement.(VOA)

 

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Cows up for Online Sale after Government’s Ban on Trading of Cattle

A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world

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Cows, Pixabay
  • Government imposes ban of the sale of cattle
  • Sale of cows is surging in virtual market
  • The law is expected to leave many low-class group jobless, critics says

June 02, 2017: As the government’s restrictions on the sale of cattle advances, farmers and livestock traders have become more equipped digitization buttressing the long term of Modi’s Digital India. A rapid search on online marketplaces, such as OLX, shows that hundreds of cows are up for sale in the virtual world.

Last week, The environment ministry announced animal markets could only trade cattle for agricultural purposes, such as ploughing and dairy production. The law is introduced against animal cruelty, but critics say they are aimed at pacifying hard-line Hindu supporters of the Modi government. The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

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The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday suspended the order for four weeks.

Ravi Sharma, the resident of Varanasi was suspicious when asked about his online post, selling a desi brown cow for Rs 75,000. He then stated he has no interest in selling to a certain minority group.

In Ghazipur, close to Varanasi, Bheem Singh wants to get rid of three cows at the earliest, thus selling at 50 percent less than the market price. “It’s too dangerous keeping cows anymore. Anyone can come and beat us,” he said.

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The past two years witnessed a rise in attacks on Muslims and lower caste Hindus involved in the cattle trade, leading to several deaths.

On May 26, a group of “cow protectors” thrashed two meat traders on the suspicion that they were carrying beef. Police in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara arrested five people, including an alleged member of the RSS who torched a truck last week, which they thought was carrying cows for slaughter.

Several state governments have appealed to the PM to revoke the order, which they say was issued without discussing them. While some have decided to drag the matter to the court.

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Environment Minister, Harsh Vardhan,  said cattle bought and sold directly from farms would not be affected by the government’s order. “The aim of the rules is only to regulate the animal market and sale of cattle in them and ensure (the) welfare of cattle” in the markets,” he said.

However, many critics see the move as a blow to beef and leather exports that will leave thousands of people jobless and deprive millions of Christians, Muslims and poor Hindus of a cheap source of protein.

Cows have been sold on e-commerce websites earlier also but were only available occasionally under the pets section. However, ever since the BJP swept to power in Uttar Pradesh in March with priest-turned-politician Yogi Adityanath becoming the chief minister, there has been a swift surge and the rise of the gau rakshaks, or cow vigilantes.

Critics say a sense of fear has been instilled in farmers and cattle owners who feel safer trading within the restraints of the internet rather than an open market.

– by Staff writer at Newsgram

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5 Benefits of Therapeutic Landscapes : Forest Therapy

Forest are therapeutic landscapes which are endowed with multiple health-related benefits.

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Pixabay

June 01, 2017: Forest therapy is a unique blend of nature and spirituality, which drives you towards the state of nirvana, and away from the hustle bustle of city life. The idea originated in Japan, where it is called ‘Shinrin-yoku’ (forest bathing). The therapy entails you to absorb yourself in the woodland and imbibe the aroma, sounds and sights in your senses.

Forest are therapeutic landscapes which are endowed with multiple health-related benefits.

A Forest.Pixabay

Let us now understand the benefits that will take you closer to forest therapy:
Stress reduction

Forest settings lower the levels of cortisol and blood pressure, slows down heart rates, mobilises the activity of parasympathetic nerves that promote relaxation, and reduces the activity of sympathetic nerves associated with “fight or flight” reactions to stress.

Improves concentration

A walk in the grasslands of the forest shows better results as compared to strolling in residential settings. Secluded from the chaotic scenes of city, pasture lands boosts the spirits and minds of the person.

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Controls Diabetes  

Wood Walkers have low blood glucose, improved insulin sensitivity, and decreased levels of haemoglobin A1c, an indicator of a person’s average levels of blood sugar over the past 3 months.

Alleviates Pain

Sighting a nature scene and listening to nature sounds is a safe and sound approach to reducing pain during bone marrow biopsy.

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Fights Cancer

Nature walks is an important lifestyle factor in the prevention of cancer as well as helpful adjunctive therapy for people diagnosed with cancer.

-By staff writer at Newsgram