The Hindu Important Articles 14 May 2018

The Hindu Important Articles 14 May 2018

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# Karnataka turnout tops 70%; exit polls divided
Chikkaballapur, Ramanagaram record highest polling, Bengaluru lowest
After a high-voltage campaign that stretched over a month, Karnataka went to the polls on Saturday to elect 222 legislators. A total of 70.24% of the electorate exercised their franchise. The figure is likely to go up as the Election Commission has not released the final figures. The 2013 election saw a turnout of 71.45%.

Various exit polls that came out after polling closed at 6 p.m. predicted a cliffhanger, with the ruling Congress and the BJP running neck-and-neck and the JD(S) at the third place, with the potential to be the king-maker. The run-up to the election saw leaders from across the country — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi — campaigning extensively.

Voting was held in 222 out of the 224 seats, with polling in two constituencies put off — in Jayanagar due to the death of a candidate and in Raja Rajeswari Nagar due to alleged electoral malpractice. Over 2,622 candidates are in the fray, including 217 women. Counting will take place on May 15. A party must cross the halfway mark of 112 to wrest power.

Urban apathy

According to the Election Commission’s latest update, the highest percentage of polling was recorded in Chikkaballapur and Ramanagaram districts, with over 80%, while the constituencies in the neighbouring Bengaluru recorded the lowest, in the range of 49-51%. This is in keeping with the trend of the relative apathy of urban voters. The first two hours saw brisk voting, with nearly 24% of the 5.06 crore voters turning up.

# A remote U.P. village shines the torch on a lurking virus
Pahuli in Bijnor district has emerged as a hotspot of hepatitis C infection and dozens of patients wait for a treatment policy to get costly drugs
In January 2016, 40-year-old Wardhan was rushed to a private hospital near Pahuli village in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, to treat a ruptured appendix. While preparing him for surgery, doctors found him positive for the hepatitis C virus (HCV), an infection that causes chronic liver disease.

The doctors advised him to get his family members tested, a desirable practice when a patient tests positive for HCV. Within a week, seven of the 10 adults in Wardhan’s family tested positive.

Hepatitis C affects the liver, and has the same mode of transmission as HIV, spreading through blood, injecting drugs, blood transfusion and sexual activity, and from mother to child during pregnancy. Although data on HCV is weak, the Central government estimates that about 1.2 crore people are positive for hepatitis C in the country — six times the number of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Community in fear

There is no vaccine against the disease, and while it is curable, the Indian government is yet to announce the much-awaited hepatitis C policy to advance treatment.

When this reporter visited Pahuli, tracking a community of some 200 families that are at the centre of a hepatitis C hotspot in Uttar Pradesh, Wardhan’s emerged as one of the first families that were “out-of-closet”. He was diagnosed on January 10, 2016. “Within days, my brother, father, uncle, wife and cousins in the extended family… every one was positive. We were so scared. Treatment seemed impossible, the entire family was affected, and our neighbours knew,” he says.

As Wardhan’s family tried to cope, Girdhari, his immediate neighbour, decided to get tested. “I was positive too,” he recalls. By August 4, 2016, an unsettling fear of mass infection emerged, prompting Girdhari and a few men to visit Chief Medical Officer Sukhbir Singh, since retired. They told the officials that most families had identical symptoms — bleeding easily and wounds that did not easily clot, swelling in the legs and serious weight loss. Based on this, between 70% and 80% of the families seemed to be HCV-positive. The same month, 100 samples from the village were collected in three batches and sent for testing. The results confirmed the villagers’ fears: 73 out of the 100 samples were positive. But the government did not give them the results.

“When they saw an overwhelming number, they refused to give us our medical records. No one has visited the village since August 2016,” says Girdhari.

# Does the Bengal tiger have a bigger cousin at home?
Two rescued cats in an Arunachal zoo intrigue experts
Two tigers with features distinct from the Royal Bengal variety have led to research interest on whether India hosts more than one sub-species of the cat.

Rescued as orphans, Ipra and Chipi were eight months old when they were found near Anini in Arunachal Pradesh’s Upper Dibang Valley district, bordering China, in December 2012. They were shifted to Itanagar’s Biological Park almost a year later from Roing.

Ipra the male, and Chipi the female had two other siblings, but one died of pneumonia and the other was presumed killed like their mother.

Missing white patch

The two survivors have grown to be bigger, more aggressive and endowed with a coat shade different from Royal Bengal tigers (RBTs). Officials say the Anini tigers do not have a white patch behind their ears like the RBTs. “The tigers from Anini are markedly larger than captive-bred Bengal tigers that are older. They also appear morphologically different [in form] from Bengal tigers and have a different colour coating,” the Park’s curator Raya Flago told The Hindu .

Hair samples

“We sent blood and hair samples to the Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology(LaCONES) in Hyderabad for a genetic test two years ago. But we are yet to get the report,” Mr. Flago said. Arunachal Pradesh’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ruselo Kemp said the department would push LaCONES for the test report.

“Until we get it, we cannot say the Anini tigers are different though they appear so to trained eyes,” he said.

Kamal Azad of the National Tiger Conservation Authority said experts had marked the “non-Royal Bengal-like” appearance of the Anini tigers and explored the scope for a study with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Sub species

Forest officials in Arunachal Pradesh said the only sub-species bigger than the Royal Bengal is the Siberian or Amur tiger.

Yadvendradev V. Jhala, WII’s large carnivore expert, said “The features of the tigers at Itanagar zoo make them worthy of a study.”

# Sharif admits Pak. role in 26/11 attack
Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said Pakistan has isolated itself by its support for militant organisations and use of non-state actors as central to its foreign policy.

In an interview to Dawn newspaper ahead of his rally in Multan on Friday, Mr. Sharif expressed concern over Islamabad’s foreign policy approach.

“We have isolated ourselves. Despite making sacrifices, our narrative is not being accepted. Afghanistan’s narrative is being accepted, but ours is not. We must look into it. Militant organisations are active. Call them non-state actors — should we allow them to cross the border and kill 150 people in Mumbai? Explain it to me. Why can’t we complete the trial?” Mr. Sharif said, referring to the trial in Pakistan of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

The trial is still at a preliminary stage of investigation after ten years.

Without naming Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood Azhar’s militant organisations — Jamaat-ud-Dawah and Jaish-e-Mohammad — operating in the country, Mr. Sharif said, “Militant organisations are active in Pakistan.”He further said, “It’s absolutely unacceptable (to allow non-state actors to cross the border and commit terrorism there). President (Vladimir) Putin has said it. President Xi (Jinping) has said it.”

Nawaz Sharif said it’s absolutely unacceptable. “This is exactly what we are struggling for. President Putin has said it. President Xi has said it,” he said.

Nawaz Sharif government and the powerful military had been having serious differences over foreign policy.

Citing the military and judiciary establishment, Sharif further said, “You can’t run a country if you have two or three parallel governments. This has to stop. There can only be one government — the constitutional one.”

In 2015 a report published in Dawn, referred to as Dawn Leaks, claimed that the government had been telling the military not to support the Haqqani Network. This report led to serious differences between the two institutions.

# Four held for thrashing Kashmiri residents
The Delhi police on Saturday arrested four persons, including the Residents’ Welfare Association president, in connection with the thrashing and assault on a Kashmiri family in south-east Delhi’s Sidharth Extension.

# Open air jail to come up at Thanjavur
The Tamil Nadu Prison Department is going ahead with its plan to construct an open air jail at Thirumalaisamudram in Thanjavur district on 58.17 acres of land, part of which was allegedly encroached upon by Sastra University. The Prison Department intends to write to the Thanjavur Collector to demolish the buildings constructed on the land. The open air jail is an ambitious project of the Prison Department.

Source:- The Hindu

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