The Asian Age – Delhi air quality turns ‘severe’; pollution may rise ‘faster’ now: Official

The overall AQI was 401, falling in ‘severe’ category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board said.

New Delhi – India, 30 October 2018. Delhi’s air quality turned ‘severe’ on Tuesday for the first time this season with stubble burning intensifying in neighbouring states, authorities said.

The overall Air Quality Index (AQI) was 401, falling in the ‘severe’ category, the highest this season, Central Pollution Control Board officials said.

The Centre-run System of Air Quality Forecasting And Research (SAFAR) recorded the AQI at 410. An AQI between 0 and 50 is considered ‘good’, 51 and 100 ‘satisfactory’, 101 and 200 ‘moderate’, 201 and 300 ‘poor’, 301 and 400 ‘very poor’, and 401 and 500 ‘severe’.

Eighteen areas of Delhi recorded ‘severe’ air quality with the highest AQI at 4 pm recorded at Anand Vihar at 467, according to data by the CPCB. Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon and Noida recorded ‘severe’ air pollution, crossing the AQI of 400. Greater Noida’s air is also on the brink of turning severe, according to the data.

The SAFAR attributed the spike to “heavy stubble burning in the last 24 hours and calm winds”. About 28 per cent of pollution by PM2.5 (presence of particles in the air with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometres) on Tuesday was caused due to regional factors like stubble burning, SAFAR officials said.

The Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) also spotted a large number of biomass fire spots through satellite imageries in neighbouring states of Delhi.

A SAFAR official said pollution is likely to increase faster now with lead pollutant as PM10 because of new development as shown by SAFAR-model where it is indicating that western disturbances may hit over western Himalayan region from October 31.

“Lot of moisture is already getting introduced in Delhi sky as an early signature. The withdrawal will bring even more moisture in the air and result in fall in temperature.

Upper winds already turned north-westerly (stubble site) today. Only favourable thing is that upper wind speed is moderate and fire counts are low,” the official said.

The leading factor causing severe pollution levels also include moisture and heavy air. “The increase in surface wind speed can only prevent AQI to cross severe zone,” the official said.

D Saha, former additional director and head of air quality management division in CPCB, said entire northern India coupled with the Indo-Gangetic plains are under the grip of ‘severe’ to ‘very poor’ air quality.

“There is a depression in eastern India, which does not allow free flow of air from north or northwest resulting in calm condition both in the upper and lower atmosphere,” he said.

“There is also intrusion of moisture resulting in increase in the density of air and pressure in the atmosphere plus there is continuing addition of emissions,” he said.

The Tribune – SIT to probe case against protesters

Sangrur – Panjab – India, 29 October 2018. Political leaders on Monday organised a protest in front of the Police Lines here, demanding quashing of the attempt-to-murder case against local residents and the release of six persons who were arrested for trying to intercept the cavalcade of SAD chief Sukhbir Badal and throwing a shoe at his vehicle on October 4.

Meanwhile, Patiala Range IG AS Rai has formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the matter. Sangrur SSP Sandeep Garg said, “The SIT will work under the Patiala SSP. We will take action as per the findings of the inquiry.”

Leaders of Lok Insaaf Party, SAD (Amritsar), AAP rebel group and the Bargari Morcha participated in the protest.

“Throwing a shoe and trying to intercept Sukhbir’s vehicle do not amount to attempt to murder. But, the police have registered a case under Section 307 of the IPC. It shows that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh is siding with the Badals,” alleged Gurnaib Singh, organisational secretary of SAD (A).

Brussel – Bruxelles – Brussels and Gentbrugse Meersen

Brussel – Bruxelles – Brussels
04 October 2018

Zuid Station – MIVB

Four Sikh ladies at the ENORB seminar

Mother and her youngest daughter

Anmol Kaur played her dilruba
A total of 8 Sikhs were present at the ENORB seminar
All but one were female

Louiza/Louise – from here I took the metro back to Midi/Zuid

Gentbrugse Meersen
05 October 2018

Evi, naughty boy and big tree

To see all my pictures:

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

NDTV – Sikh-American body seeks PM Modi’s help to open Kartarpur Sahib Corridor

A delegation of Sikhs from various parts of the US under the banner of California-based United Sikh Mission submitted a memorandum addressed to PM Modi.

Washington DC – USA, 30 October 2018. A Sikh American body yesterday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s help in opening the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, which would give the community members unhindered access to the historic place in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Dev spent the last 18 years of his life.

Kartarpur is situated in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab province, close to India’s border with the neighbouring country.

A delegation of Sikhs from various parts of the US under the banner of California-based United Sikh Mission submitted a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister at the Indian Embassy in Washington.

The Punjab State Assembly has already passed twice a resolution in this regard, the memorandum noted. “The distance from the border to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib is three km into Pakistan,” the memorandum suggested.

“Pilgrims from India will be able to go to Gurdwara with an official Indian ID without having a visa from Pakistan or any other complicated formalities hurting the pilgrims that are not that technology savvy. Pilgrims must return to India the same day after attending the services,” the memorandum said.

Several members of the Hindu community from in and around the Washington DC joined the Sikh delegation to the Indian Embassy to submit the memorandum.

The Hindu – Colombo rocked by protest rally against Wickremesinghe’s sacking

‘Sirisena has broken his promise and taken executive powers into his hands’ says ousted PM

Colombo – Greater Colombo – Sri Lanka, 30 October 2018. Angry protests rocked Sri Lanka’s capital as thousands of demonstrators gathered on Tuesday for a mass rally organised by ousted Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s party against what it said was a “coup” by President Maithripala Sirisena, even as the opposing sides were engaged in efforts to secure their numbers in Parliament to end the country’s political crisis.

“Sirisena has broken his promise and taken executive powers into his hands. He has sidelined parliamentary power,” UNP leader Wickremesinghe said, addressing the crowd.

Mr. Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) demanded that Parliament be convened immediately and democracy restored. The ousted premier alleged that President Maithripala Sirisena had assumed he would get his way.

However, he said the UNP and its partners in the United National Front will not give up and will continue to push for Parliament to convene immediately. The UNP claimed about 100,000 people thronged the rally, though police sources estimated the number at 25,000.

Sri Lanka was plunged into chaos on Friday when Mr. Sirisena sacked Mr. Wickremesinghe as prime minister in a surprise move. He also suspended Parliament in an apparent bid to shore up support for newly-appointed Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Mr. Sirisena is under increasing political and diplomatic pressure to reconvene Parliament and resolve the Constitutional crisis. Earlier, ahead of the rally, Champika Ranawaka, a former minister said, “We are calling upon all sections of the society who believe in democracy and rule of law to gather and protest”.

Mangala Samaraweera, the ex-finance minister under Mr. Wickremesinghe said, “This was a Constitutional coup and it is our duty to protect democracy and sovereignty of people“. Speaker Karu Jayasuriya urged the President to let Mr. Wickremesinghe prove his majority support on the Parliament floor.

The supporters of Mr. Rajapaksa, a former President, are confident that he would be able to prove majority support in Parliament as they are sure that members of Mr. Wickremesinghe’s UNP would defect. “We are waiting for more UNP members to join us. We have the numbers,” Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, a Rajapaksa loyalist, said.

Mr. Wickremesinghe has said that he still commands a majority. However, he suffered a setback after four lawmakers from his party, who had pledged allegiance to him in public, took a U-turn and accepted ministerial positions in the Rajapaksa government.

“We have the majority despite four of them joining Rajapaksa,” Ranjith Madduma Bandara, an ex-minister, said. Speaker Jayasuriya has called for a meeting of all party leaders to assess the current political situation. At least 128 members had written to him calling for reconvening of Parliament.

Mr. Jayasuriya has insisted that the issue needs to be settled within Parliament. Both Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa are working to secure their numbers in parliament.

The leaders of the main Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), met Mr. Rajapaksa this morning to discuss the current political situation. TNA sources said R Sampanthan, who is also the leader of the main Opposition, was asked by Mr. Rajapaska to stay neutral in case of a floor test.

The TNA has 16 MPs in the 225-member assembly and can play a crucial role in deciding the legitimacy of the government. Mr. Rajapaksa needs 18 more MPs to give him a simple majority of 113 in the House of 225 members.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s tenure as president was marred by allegations of authoritarianism, corruption and human rights abuses, especially against the country’s Tamil minority. He was defeated in the 2015 presidential election when Mr. Wickremesinghe and Mr. Sirisena formed an unlikely coalition, and their government initiated several investigations into alleged Rajapaksa-era crimes.

Under Sri Lanka’s Constitution, the president, who maintains executive powers, can appoint a new prime minister once the current premier has lost control of Parliament. Mr. Wickremesinghe argues he cannot legally be dismissed until he loses the support of Parliament. His party was prevented from holding a vote when Sirisena abruptly suspended Parliament on Saturday until November 16.

Mr. Wickremesinghe claimed in a Facebook post on Monday that he had obtained the signatures of 126 MPs calling for Parliament to be reconvened immediately to end the political standoff.