Nation
Trinamool, AIADMK retain power, BJP takes Assam, Left Kerala
West Bengal's ruling Trinamool Congress on Thursday crushed the opposition and Tamil Nadu's AIADMK proved exit polls wrong by retaining power in assembly elections, the biggest popularity test after the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The BJP stormed to power in Assam while the Left made a comeback in Kerala amid a washout in West Bengal.
 
The Congress was the worst hit in the five-state election, losing power both in Assam, which it had ruled for 15 long years, and Kerala, where it was confident of winning its second term. The Congress-DMK alliance was, however, ahead of the ruling All India N.R. Congress in Puducherry.
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party also made history in Kerala where its veteran O. Rajagopal, 86, was elected from Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram. He will be the first ever BJP member in the Kerala assembly. 
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi promptly congratulated West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and her Tamil Nadu counterpart J. Jayalalithaa. 
 
"Across India, people are placing their faith in (the) BJP and see it as the party that can usher in all-round and inclusive development," he tweeted.
 
Riding on the development plank, Banerjee led the Trinamool to a landslide win, leading in 214 or more than two-thirds of the seats in the 294-member Bengal assembly.
 
The Congress-Left combine, which had hoped to unseat Banerjee, was left gasping. The Congress was poised to win 44 seats while the Left, headed by the CPI-M, just 30 seats, a far cry from the times it had vice-like grip over West Bengal.
 
As Trinamool supporters celebrated wildly, Banerjee said a campaign of slander and lies led to her party's sweeping win. "People do not like such campaigns. There were all sorts of alliances against us. But people have ultimately made their choice.
 
"This is for the first time in 49 years that such a massive mandate has been given to a single party," said Banerjee, whose party hopes to win a whopping 212 seats.
 
Tamil Nadu produced a spectacular result. The AIADMK was set to grab 126 of the 234 seats, leaving the DMK-Congress combine with 102 seats, but far more than what it won in 2011. Almost all other parties were wiped out. 
 
An elated Jayalalithaa said: "There are not enough words in dictionary to adequately express my feelings of gratitude to the people of Tamil Nadu."
 
Most exit polls had predicted that the AIADMK would be unseated.
 
There were noisy celebrations outside Jayalalithaa's residence in Chennai. Holding her portraits, supporters danced to music and burst firecrackers.
 
But Chennai, battered by floods in December, dumped the AIADMK. Its candidates trailed in 12 of the 16 constituencies. Jayalalithaa, however, was set to win from Radhakrishnan Nagar in the city.
 
In a much-awaited victory, the BJP was poised to take power in Assam, with its candidates and allies leading in 85 of the 126 seats. 
 
The stunning performance buried the Congress, which is set to win only 24 seats. The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which had hoped to play the kingmaker if there was a hung verdict, led in 13 constituencies.
 
A beaming Sarbananda Sonowal, who will be Assam's chief minister, said that sealing the winding India-Bangladesh border to end infiltration would be his government's major challenge.
 
Keeping alive Kerala's tradition of ousting the government in every election, the Congress-led UDF suffered a stunning rout, which its leader and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said he had never expected.
 
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) was leading in 91 of the 140 seats and the UDF in 47. 
 
"This is a vote against the corrupt and those who failed to protect the dignity of women," said CPI-M leader and former chief minister V.S. Achuthanandan.
 
An independent was also on the winning track.
 
An apparently shattered Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi said the party will work "harder" to gain the trust of the people. "We will work harder till we win the confidence and trust of the people," he tweeted after the Congress was voted out in Assam and Kerala.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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COMMENTS

D S Ranga Rao

1 year ago

The results of the polls indicate that the people in the respective states are left with no choice but to choose either the Tweedledee or the Tweedledum because of the absence of a viable and pragmatic third alternative for which, of course, people do not have time and patience to build up but prefer to content with a few more apparent freebies that may be showered on them now and then. After all, the people get the government they deserve!

EgyptAir flight with 66 people disappears
An EgyptAir flight with 66 people on board heading from Paris to Cairo disappeared from the radar on Thursday.
 
There was a distress call from the flight at 4.26 a.m., nearly two hours after the plane disappeared from the radar, the airline said in a statement.
 
The plane took off from Paris at 11.09 p.m. and was expected to land in Cairo at 3.15 a.m. It lost contact with the radar at 2.45 a.m.
 
The Airbus A320 had 56 passengers, including two infants, and 10 crew members, said Captain Ahmed Adel, vice chairman of EgyptAir.
 
The 56 passengers were 30 Egyptians, 15 French nationals, two Iraqis, and one each from Britain, Belgium, Sudan, Chad, Portugal, Algeria, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Al Jazeera reported citing the airline as saying.
 
The plane was flying at 37,000 ft when it disappeared 16 km after entering Egyptian airspace.
 
Egypt and Greece have launched maritime searches for the missing flight, the Egyptian army said.
 
The French government will hold an emergency meeting to discuss the plane’s disappearance, French President Francois Hollande's office has said.
 
"The President talked to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi about the disappearance of the EgyptAir flight between Paris and Cairo. They agreed to cooperate closely to establish the circumstances of the disappearance as soon as possible," said a press release from the Elysee Palace.
 
Aviation experts said the plane probably lost contact with ground radar above the Mediterranean Sea.
 
"Apparently it was just short of Egyptian airspace, so it was likely over the Mediterranean, because the Greek airspace joins the Egyptian airspace around that area," aviation safety consultant Keith Mackey told Al Jazeera, adding "So that is probably where they will be looking."
 
Conditions were clear and calm when the plane crossed over the Mediterranean Sea, weather analysts said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Pichai unveils 'Google Assistant' to help with daily tasks
Taking on intelligent virtual friends like Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana, Indian-born Sundar Pichai has announced "Google Assistant" which will help you with daily tasks like booking movie tickets.
 
Pichai also unveiled "Google Home" - a voice-activated product that brings "Google Assistant" to any room in your house, a new messaging app called "Allo" and video calling feature "Duo" as the company kicked off "Google I/O," its annual developer conference in Mountain View, California, on Wednesday.
 
The "Google Assistant" is conversational - an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done.
 
"It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It's a Google for you, by you," Pichai wrote in a blog post.
 
"The Assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google's help no matter where you are or what the context. It builds on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users' questions," he added.
 
"Google Home" lets you enjoy entertainment, manage everyday tasks and get answers from Google - all using conversational speech.
 
With a simple voice command, you can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer for the oven, check your flight, or turn on your lights.
 
"It's designed to fit your home with customisable bases in different colors and materials. Google Home will be released later this year," Pichai informed.
 
The messaging app "Allo" comes complete with the "Google Assistant" so you can interact with it directly in your chats, either one-on-one or with friends.
 
"Because the Assistant understands your world, you can ask for things like your agenda for the day or photos from your last trip. If you're planning a dinner with friends, you can ask the assistant to suggest restaurants nearby, all in one thread," Pichai further wrote.
 
Allo includes "Smart Reply" which suggests responses to messages based on context and comes with fun ways to make your chats more expressive, including emojis, stickers and the ability to get creative with photos.
 
"Duo" is a companion app for one-to-one video calling.
 
"With Duo, our goal is to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower network speeds. We also introduced a feature called 'Knock Knock' which gives you a live video of the other caller before you answer," the Indian-born executive posted.
 
Best of all, both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number, so you can communicate with anyone regardless of whether they're on Android or iOS. Both apps will be available this summer.
 
"We are sharing details about what's coming in Android N, including better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption and storage, background downloads of system updates, and streamlined notifications so you can power through them faster, and updated emojis including 72 new ones," Pichai said.
 
On top of Android N, Google has built a new platform for high-quality mobile VR called "Daydream".
 
"Together with Android manufacturers, we're working on upcoming phones and sharing designs with them for a VR viewer and controller that will be really immersive, comfortable and intuitive to use," Pichai added.
 
Google also previewed "Android Wear 2.0", including a revamped user experience and stand alone apps that run right on the watch, no matter where your phone is or even if it's off.
 
"Finally, we're introducing Android Instant Apps - which let you run Android apps instantly, without requiring installation," he said.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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