New Delhi: The flood situation in Assam and Bihar remained grim on Thursday with the death toll crossing the 100-figure mark while three districts in Kerala braced for extremely heavy rains with the IMD issuing a red alert for the next three days.Parts of north and eastern India were lashed by rains and the Army was called out in Punjab’s Sangrur district following a 50-foot breach in the Ghaggar river that inundated over 2,000 acres of agricultural field and inhabitants of a few nearby villages fled fearing flood threat. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The national capital witnessed a fresh bout of rains Thursday that resulted in a drop in temperatures and pollution levels. The Safdarjung Observatory, which provides official figures for the city, reported 12.1 mm rains overnight. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm, it measured 3.6 mm precipitation. A total 78 people have died so far in the flash floods that have hit Bihar in the wake of torrential rainfall in adjoining Nepal, the state disaster management department said. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedSitamarhi district accounted for the maximum number of 18 death. Other districts reporting casualties are Madhubani (14), Araria (12), Sheohar and Darbhanga (nine each), Purnea (seven), Kishanganj (four), Supaul (three) and East Champaran (two). Of Assam’s 33 districts, 28 remained under the grip of floods that has displaced nearly 54 lakh people and killed 36 people. The mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries are flowing above the danger mark in Guwahati and other parts of the state, and according to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA), 53,52,107 people are reeling under the impact of the deluge. Nine fresh deaths — three from Morigaon, two from Biswanath, and one each from Sonitpur, Udalguri, Bongaigaon and Barpeta districts — were reported on Thursday, the ASDMA said. Barpeta is the worst-hit district with 13.48 lakh people suffering due to the deluge that has damaged over 4,000 houses across the state, swept away 130 animals and affected over 25 lakh big and small animals. Large parts of Manas National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary are also submerged, forcing wild animals, including rhinos, elephants, deer and wild boars, to take refuge in artificial highlands constructed within the parks or migrate to the southern highlands of Karbi Anglong hills. Several famed one-horned rhinoceros and other animals have reportedly died in the floods. Images of a fully grown tiger “relaxing” on a bed inside a shop in Assam’s flooded Kaziranga National Park has created a buzz on social media and thrown spotlight on the plight of animals as the state battles the deluge. Over 2.26 lakh displaced people have taken shelter in 1,080 relief camps and 689 relief distribution centres set up by the district administrations, the ASDMA bulletin said. Meanwhile, in Kerala, the IMD has sounded a red alert in Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts which are likely to receive extremely heavy rainfall upwards of 20 cm in the next two to three days.
OTTAWA — As an international investigation of tax evaders broadens to include Canadian authorities, the federal government says it has convicted just 44 individuals of offshore tax cheating since 2006.And the total amount of fines levied — $6.8-million — is less than the $7.7-million in taxes that were evaded.Between April 2006 and March 2012, a total of 44 convicted tax evaders were collectively sentenced to 337 months in jail, an average of about seven months each.The figures came this week from the Canada Revenue Agency in response to a question in Parliament from Liberal MP Geoff Reagan.Revenue Minister Gail Shea also announced this week that Ottawa is being given access to Canadian data from an ongoing offshore tax-evasion investigation being conducted by American, Australian and British authorities.Although the revenue agency publishes the names of people convicted of domestic and offshore tax offences, it posts their names online for only six months — after which it says privacy rules prevent it from identifying the individuals.New data from Statistics Canada shows Canadian funds in the world’s 12 biggest tax havens grew to a record $170-billion in 2012, according to Canadians for Tax Fairness.
Source: Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment report.Government action the ‘tipping point’In one of the study’s most striking findings, 71 per cent of recruits interviewed said that it was some form of government action that was the ‘tipping point’ that triggered their final decision to join an extremist group.Seventy-one per cent those interviewed said that it was some form of government action that triggered their final decision to join an extremist group The actions cited most often were killing or arrest of a family member or friend. Against this backdrop, the study urges governments to reassess militarized responses to extremism in the light of respect for the rule of law and human rights commitments. It also highlights the importance of focusing on development in addressing security challenges. “Delivering services, strengthening institutions, creating pathways to economic empowerment – these are development issues,” Mr. Dieye added. Another key recommendation calls for local-level interventions, such as supporting community-led initiatives building social cohesion, as well as amplifying the voices of local religious leaders who advocate tolerance. However, it cautions that these initiatives must be spearheaded by trusted local actors. Key findingsBased on responses to questions including on family circumstances, childhood and education, religious ideologies, economic factors, state and citizenship, the study also finds that:Majority of recruits come from borderlands or peripheral areas that have suffered longstanding marginalization and report having had less parental involvement growing up.Most recruits expressed frustration at their economic conditions – with employment the most acute need at the time of joining – as well as a deep sense of grievance towards government: 83 per cent believe that government looks after only the interests of a few, and over three-fourths said they have no trust in politicians or in the state security apparatus.Recruitment in Africa occurs mostly at the local, person-to-person level, rather than online, as is the case in other regions – a factor that may alter the forms and patterns of recruitment as connectivity improves. Some 80 per cent of recruits interviewed joined within a year of introduction to the violent extremist group – and nearly half of these joined within just one month.In terms of exiting a violent extremist group, most interviewees who surrendered or sought amnesty did so after losing confidence in the ideology, leadership or actions of their group.The report is based on a two-year, in-depth study, including interviews with some 495 voluntary recruits who joined Africa’s most prominent extremist groups, including Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab. According to UNDP estimates, some 33,300 people in Africa have lost their lives to violent extremist attacks between 2011 and early 2016. Violence perpetrated by the Boko Haram terrorist group alone has resulted in the deaths of at least 17,000 people and displaced millions in the Lake Chad region. “This study sounds the alarm that as a region, Africa’s vulnerability to violent extremism is deepening,” Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, UNDP Africa Director, said today at the launch of the report in New York. “Borderlands and peripheral areas remain isolated and under-served. Institutional capacity in critical areas is struggling to keep pace with demand. More than half the population lives below the poverty line, including many chronically underemployed youth.”Exploring the factors that shape the dynamics of the recruitment process, prompting some individuals to gravitate toward extremism, where the vast majority of others do not, the study Journey to Extremism in Africa: Drivers, Incentives and the Tipping Point for Recruitment, also finds that many who joined faced marginalization and neglect over the course of their lives, starting in childhood. With few economic prospects or outlets for meaningful civic participation that can bring about change, and little trust in the state to either provide services or respect human rights, the study suggests that such an individual could – upon witnessing or experiencing perceived abuse of power by the state – be tipped over the edge into extremism.