Citizens' Issues
Modi Cabinet may be expanded by Sunday

Besides Parrikar, Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu, BJP leader Hansraj Ahir, Jayant Sinha and a Jat leader from Haryana or Rajasthan are likely to be included in the Modi Cabinet by this weekend


Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to expand his Cabinet by Sunday. According to media reports, Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar is most likely to be included in the Union Cabinet as the country’s new Defence Minister.


Besides Parrikar, other probable for inclusion in the Union Cabinet are former Minister for Power and Shiv Sena leader Suresh Prabhu, Maharashtra BJP leader Hansraj Ahir (who is credited with exposing the coal scam), Yashwant Sinha’s son Jayant Sinha and a Jat leader from either Haryana or Rajasthan. While, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to include Prabhu, Shiv Sena leadership has proposed name of Anil Desai, the party MP for ministership.


On Thursday, Parrikar told reporters at Panaji that BJP president Amit Shah had asked him to take up an assignment at the Centre, if offered. He added that he is willing to shoulder the responsibility.


Parrikar is likely to resign as chief minister on Friday, say media reports.


Earlier PM Modi met President Pranab Mukherjee. There are reports that as many as 12 new ministers will be sworn in by the weekend.


Meanwhile, Parrikar held a meeting with BJP MLAs in Goa. He has been in the reckoning for a Cabinet post ever since Modi took charge with a small Cabinet of just 45 ministers in May. He is an RSS favourite and among the most credible faces of the BJP.


With the inclusion of new ministers, a reshuffle too is said to be likely in the present Cabinet with some ministers such as Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Nirmala Sitharaman, who are holding dual charge of various ministries, being given single portfolios.


Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has only one Minister of State in Sitharaman, is believed to be getting another MoS as preparations for the Union Budget gain momentum.


Nissan urged to withdraw Datsun GO from India on safety concerns

Datsun GO, which was launched in India last year, had failed on critical safety count in tests conducted by Global NCAP


Consumer safety testing body Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) has asked Nissan Motors to immediately withdraw its compact car Datsun GO from the Indian market, saying it was 'substandard'.


Datsun GO, which was launched in India last year, had failed crash test results recently conducted by the Global NCAP. It had failed on critical safety count.


In a letter to Nissan Chairman and CEO, Global NCAP Chairman Max Mosley urged for an “urgent withdrawal of the Datsun GO from the Indian and related markets.”


“It is extremely disappointing that Nissan has authorised the launch of a brand new model that is so clearly substandard. As presently engineered, the Datsun GO will certainly fail to pass the United Nation’s frontal impact regulation.


“In these circumstances I would urge Nissan to withdraw the Datsun GO from sale in India pending an urgent redesign of the car’s body-shell,” Mosley said.


Applying the UN’s minimum crash test standards to all passenger car production worldwide is a key recommendation of the Global Plan for the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, he added. As per the crash results, the Datsun GO scored zero stars for adult occupant protection and just two stars for child occupant protection. Its vehicle structure collapsed in the crash and was rated as unstable.


“The car’s lack of airbags meant that the driver’s head makes direct contact with the steering wheel and dashboard — the dummy readings indicate a high probability of life-threatening injuries. However, the failure of the body shell makes it redundant to fit an airbag,” Global NCAP said.


A spokesperson for Nissan India told reporters “Datsun GO meets required local vehicle regulations in India and was developed to deliver the best adapted solutions to the local conditions, from best in class braking and good visibility to durability, seat comfort and reduced motion sickness.”


How Crowdsourcing Helped Bring Red Cross Problems to Light

The ability to reach a much wider universe of sources gives reporters a powerful new tool — if they know which questions to ask.


Over the past decade, journalistic innovators and reformers have eagerly awaited a future in which the wisdom of the crowd would identify potential subjects for investigative reporting. That hope was bolstered by some undeniable achievements. Thousands of volunteer software developers created programs like Linux and Firefox, used by millions of people. Volunteer authors created a dynamic, online encyclopedia – Wikipedia – that dwarfs any previous compendium of human knowledge. The "crowd" curates Kickstarter, a new means of steering small-dollar philanthropy to artistic and commercial projects. A plethora of websites bring us movie, product and restaurant reviews written by an army of amateur critics.


But the "hive" has been far less effective at identifying subjects for investigative reporting and the reasons why say a lot about the core challenges of deep-dive journalism.


The most important decision an investigative reporter makes, and the one that has the most effect on the outcome, is where to look. Sometimes the answer is as obvious as the headlines on Google News. An unarmed African-American teenager is shot in Ferguson, Mo. An oil platform explodes in the Gulf of Mexico. The economy melts down, throwing tens of millions of people out of work. Those stories cry out for more digging.


The stories we aim to cover at ProPublica – betrayals of public trust or abuses of power – have more typically arisen from obscure corners of government or business, unearthed by reporters with finely honed instincts for detecting potential wrongdoing.


Certainly we remain open to the idea that readers can send us in productive directions. From the very beginning, ProPublica has had an email address, [email protected], to which anyone can send ideas. Each one is reviewed by one or more of our editors. A handful of these have turned into ProPublica stories.


The crowd has proved immensely helpful in answering specific, direct questions. Our "Free the Files" project of 2012 harnessed the enthusiasm of volunteers to enter vast amounts of data about televised political ads. And our 2009 efforts to track the Obama administration's stimulus spending were greatly enhanced by the work of readers who uploaded contracts from their localities. Repeatedly, ProPublica's reporting on national stories like the delays in processing mortgage modifications or the epidemic of patient harm have been deepened by contributions from readers on the frontlines.


Our recent reporting on the Red Cross suggests the power of addressing a specific question to the crowd.


In April of this year, ProPublica published a brief story with this headline: "Long After Sandy, Red Cross Post-Storm Spending Still a Black Box: Donors gave $312 million after the storm, but it's not clear how exactly the money was spent."


The story was unusual for us: It focused on what we could not figure out, which was how the charity had spent the more than $300 million it had raised for the victims of Sandy. We added this simple sentence at the very end. "If you have experience with or information about the American Red Cross, including its operations after Sandy, email [email protected].


No super secret digital dropbox (though we have one of those, too.) No encryption. Just an email address that made it easy for people to get in touch with Justin Elliott, the reporter on the story along with Jesse Eisinger.


Over the next several months, tips began to flow in from present and former employees of the Red Cross, as well as others with firsthand information. This month, Elliott and Eisinger teamed up with NPR to produce a detailed story that included, among many details, a devastating internal report in which the Red Cross acknowledged botching the post-Sandy relief effort and diverting assets "for public relations purposes.''


Of course, this sort of reporting was invented long before the Internet. William Safire, the late New York Times columnist, used to throw sly references into his stories to entice cooperation from the handful of government officials who had his phone number. He called it "putting a note on the bulletin board.''


Today, that board is much larger and more easily shared with vast numbers of people. All you've got to do is ask the right question in the right way.


So, in closing, it's worth saying it one more time:


If you have information about the Red Cross you would like to share, you can help us report this story.




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