By Rina Chandran MUMBAI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - India will nearly double the budget and extend the deadline for a program to digitize land records as states struggle to survey land and property, large chunks of which have not been mapped in a century, a senior official said. The national land record modernization program, launched in 2008, was aimed at surveying lands, upgrading records and establishing ownership. Scheduled to be completed in 2016 with a budget of 56 billion rupees ($841 million), the project will now conclude in 2021 at a projected cost of 110 billion rupees. "It is a long process, as some of these lands have not been surveyed in a long time, some for 30 years, some for 100 years," said K.K. Phull, a consultant with the department of land records in New Delhi. "Many states lack the means to survey lands, and for nearly all states this has not been a top priority so far, hence the delays," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The process includes mapping of land with aerial surveys, satellite imagery, drones, as well as physical markers. Existing land records are also verified and put online and linked to landowners. The program aims to provide clear titles of ownership that should result in government officials being able to monitor land more easily, speedier transactions, fewer disputes over ownership and less corruption in administration, Phull said. Matters related to land and property make up about two thirds of all civil cases in the country, according to a recent study by Daksh, a legal advocacy group based in Bengaluru. India has introduced several land laws in the past decade to give more rights to farmers and indigenous people. But the complex web of legislation has not always helped the most vulnerable, with the lack of clear title deeds also a challenge. One of the main goals of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Digital India campaign launched last year was the digitization of land records. States including Madhya Pradesh and Chattisgarh have completed the process to digitize land records, Phull said. Others including Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra are scheduled to be done in a few months, he said. In the western state of Maharashtra, about 270 million documents are being digitized, with surveys under way in several districts, a spokesman for the land records department said. The move to extend the deadline and increase the budget for the program is awaiting the Cabinet's approval, Phull said. "Our attitude toward land records is to forget about them until there is a dispute or an emergency," Phull said. "Digitizing land records can have far-reaching benefits for the country. It is important we complete it on a priority basis," he said. (Reporting by Rina Chandran, Editing by Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit http://news.trust.org to see more stories.)
- The Independent
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- The Independent
Two women are latest to accuse Mr Cuomo of inappropriate touching and advances
- The Independent
Harry and Meghan say concerns were raised by unnamed family member over how dark Archie’s skin would be
Duchess wouldn’t reveal who raised the topic, saying it ‘would be very damaging to them’
- The Independent
Lauren Boebert: Congresswoman linked to QAnon attacks Democrats for being ‘obsessed with conspiracies’
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"He believes that, you know, we are stronger when we build a broad coalition of support," said Kate Bedingfield of Biden's push for consensus.
- Associated Press
Russia's boast in August that it was the first country to authorize a coronavirus vaccine led to skepticism at the time because of its insufficient testing. Six months later, as demand for the Sputnik V vaccine grows, experts are raising questions again — this time, over whether Moscow can keep up with all the orders from the countries that want it. Slovakia got 200,000 doses on March 1, even though the European Medicines Agency, the European Union's pharmaceutical regulator, only began reviewing its use on Thursday in an expedited process.
Yemen's Houthi forces fired drones and missiles at the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry on Sunday, including a Saudi Aramco facility at Ras Tanura vital to petroleum exports, in what Riyadh called a failed assault on global energy security. Announcing the attacks, the Houthis, who have been battling a Saudi-led coalition for six years, also said they attacked military targets in the Saudi cities of Dammam, Asir and Jazan.
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The battle to pass a COVID-19 relief bill demonstrated how hard things will be for U.S. President Joe Biden's Democrats in Congress, facing opposition from right and left as they try to score big wins with small majorities. A smiling Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sang the praises of Democratic unity on Saturday after his chamber approved the $1.9 trillion coronavirus aid plan, one of the largest economic stimulus packages ever. But a day earlier, the Senate was paralyzed for hours when just one Democrat bucked a proposal from his own party affecting unemployment benefits.
When young actors become famous early on in life, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy.
- The Independent
Meghan Markle says Queen Elizabeth was ‘always wonderful’: ‘I just really loved being in her company’
‘She’s always been warm and inviting and really welcoming’
- The New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden ran for the White House as an apostle of bipartisanship, but the bitter fight over the $1.9 trillion pandemic measure that squeaked through the Senate Saturday made clear that the differences between the two warring parties were too wide to be bridged by Biden’s good intentions. Not a single Republican in Congress voted for the rescue package now headed for final approval in the House and a signature from Biden, as they angrily denounced the legislation and the way in which it was assembled. Other marquee Democratic measures to protect and expand voting rights, tackle police bias and misconduct and more are also drawing scant to zero Republican backing. Sign up for The Morning newsletter from the New York Times The supposed honeymoon period of a new president would typically provide a moment for lawmakers to come together, particularly as the nation enters its second year of a crushing health and economic crisis. Instead, the tense showdown over the stimulus legislation showed that lawmakers were pulling apart, and poised for more ugly clashes ahead. Biden, a six-term veteran of the Senate, had trumpeted his deep Capitol Hill experience as one of his top selling points, telling voters that he was the singular man able to unite the fractious Congress and even come to terms with his old bargaining partner, Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the minority leader. But congressional Democrats, highly familiar with McConnell’s tactics, held no such illusions. Now, they worry that voters would punish them more harshly in the 2022 midterm elections for failing to take advantage of their power to enact sweeping policy changes than for failing to work with Republicans and strike bipartisan deals. Congressional Democrats want far more than Republicans are willing to accept. Anticipating the Republican recalcitrance to come, Democrats are increasingly coalescing around the idea of weakening or destroying the filibuster to deny Republicans their best weapon for thwarting the Democratic agenda. Democrats believe their control of the House, Senate and White House entitles them to push for all they can get, not settle for less out of a sense of obligation to an outdated concept of bipartisanship that does not reflect the reality of today’s polarized politics. “Looking at the behavior of the Republican Party here in Washington, it’s fair to conclude that it is going to be very difficult, particularly the way leadership has positioned itself, to get meaningful cooperation from that side of the aisle on things that matter,” said Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md. But the internal Democratic disagreement that stalled passage of the stimulus bill for hours late into Friday night illustrated both the precariousness of the thinnest possible Democratic majority and the hurdles to eliminating the filibuster, a step that can happen only if moderates now deeply opposed agree to do so. It also showed that, even if the 60-vote threshold to break a filibuster were wiped away, there would be no guarantee that Democrats could push their priorities through the 50-50 Senate, since one breakaway member can bring down an entire bill. Republicans accused Democrats of abandoning any pretext of bipartisanship to advance a far-left agenda and jam through a liberal wish list disguised as a coronavirus rescue bill, stuffed with hundreds of billions of extraneous dollars as the pandemic is beginning to ebb. They noted that when they were in charge of the Senate and President Donald Trump was in office, they were able to deliver a series of costly coronavirus relief bills negotiated between the two parties. “It is really unfortunate that at a time when a president who came into office suggesting that he wanted to work with Republicans and create solutions in a bipartisan way and try to bring the country together and unify, the first the thing out of the gate is a piece of legislation that simply is done with one-party rule,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 2 Republican. At their private lunch recently, Republican senators were handed a card emblazoned with a quotation from Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, calling the coronavirus bill the “most progressive domestic legislation in a generation,” a phrase that party strategists quickly began featuring in a video taking aim at the stimulus measure. The comment was a point of pride for liberal Democrats, but probably not the best argument to win over Republicans. “I don’t understand the approach the White House has taken. I really don’t,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, a leader of a group of 10 Republicans who had initially tried to strike a deal with the White House but offered about one-third of what Biden proposed. “There is a compromise to be had here.” Yet even as Biden hosted Republicans at the White House and engaged them in a series of discussions that were much more amiable than any during the Trump era, neither he nor Democratic congressional leaders made a real effort to find a middle ground, having concluded early on that Republicans were far too reluctant to spend what was needed to tackle the crisis. Democrats worried that if they did not move quickly, negotiations would drag on only to collapse and leave them with nothing to show for their efforts to get control over the pandemic and bolster the economic recovery. They wanted to go big and not wait. “We are not — we are not — going to be timid in the face of big challenges,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the majority leader. “We are not going to delay when urgent action is called for.” While McConnell lost legislatively, he did manage to hold Republicans together when there was an appetite among some to cut a deal. He learned in 2009, when President Barack Obama took office at the start of the Great Recession, that by keeping his Republican forces united against Democrats, he could undermine a popular new Democratic president and paint any legislative victories as tainted by partisanship, scoring political points before the next election. The same playbook seems to be open for 2021. As they maneuvered the relief measure through Congress using special budget procedures that protected it from a filibuster, Democrats were also resurrecting several major policy proposals from the last session that went nowhere in the Republican-controlled Senate. Foremost among them was a sweeping voting rights measure intended to offset efforts by Republicans in states across the country to impose new voting requirements and a policing bill that seeks to ban tactics blamed in unnecessary deaths. House Republicans opposed both en masse and the outlook for winning the minimum 10 required Republican votes in the Senate is bleak. In the coming weeks, House Democrats plan to pass more uncompromising bills, including measures to strengthen gun safety and protect union rights — two pursuits abhorred by Republicans. Democrats fully recognize the measures will run into a Republican stone wall, but that is the point. In getting Republicans on the record against what Democrats see as broadly popular measures, they are hoping to drive home the idea that, despite their party’s control of Congress and the White House, they cannot move forward on the major issues of the moment with the filibuster in place. They want voters to respond. “We can’t magically make the Republicans be for what the people are for,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat. “The people are overwhelmingly for the agenda we are passing, and democracy works, so if the people want these bills to pass, they will either demand that we do away with the filibuster or demand that some Republican senators who refuse to do what the people want leave office.” Frustrated at their inability to halt the pandemic measure, Republicans lashed out at Democrats and the president. “They are doing it because they can,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, who said Biden’s pledges on fostering unity now rang hollow. “This is an opportunity to spend money on things not related to COVID because they have the power do so.” Democrats would agree — they are using their substantial leverage to reach far beyond what Republicans can support, and say they are justified in doing so. “Let’s face it,” Schumer said on the Senate floor. “We need to get this done. It would be so much better if we could in a bipartisan way, but we need to get it done.” This article originally appeared in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's tell-all interview airs this weekend. Here's a complete timeline of their relationship.
Five years after being set up on a blind date by a mutual friend, the couple sat down with Oprah to talk about life after leaving the royal family.
- Associated Press
Israel reopened most of its economy Sunday as it removed many of its remaining coronavirus lockdown restrictions, lifted by its successful vaccination campaign and giving a boost to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's re-election hopes. Israel, a world leader in vaccinations per capita, has fully immunized nearly 40% of its population in just over two months.
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An anonymous source who is familiar with an FBI cellphone data report says there was communication between the two.
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The pandemic is ongoing and vaccination is slow, and health experts say continuing mask usage will prevent deaths until we achieve herd immunity.
- The Independent
Actor Patrick J Adams tells critics that Meghan ‘is way out of your league’
- The Week
Britain's tabloids, vilified by Harry and Meghan, are all agog over the 'devastating' Oprah interview
Oprah Winfrey's interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the duke and duchess of Sussex, aired in the wee small hours of Monday morning in Britain. But the British press, one of the two institutions that came out poorly — along with the British royal family — stayed awake for the tightly held interview. Their headlines steered away from the media criticism and focused on the allegations of sclerosis, emotional dysfunction and, above all, racism in Buckingham Palace. 7) Oprah’s reaction is still... pic.twitter.com/K4DoPGI5Uy — Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) March 8, 2021 Markle's revelation, backed up by her husband, that an unidentified member of the royal family expressed concern "about how dark" their son's "skin might be when he was born" is "devastating" for Buckingham Palace, BBC royal correspondent Jonny Dymond wrote. "This is heading into 'worst-case scenario' territory for the palace." And Harry's description of his father and brother being "trapped" inside the cold and stunting royalty "is a velvet covered dagger into the institution he has left" Dymond adds. The Daily Mail, whose parent company recently lost a privacy lawsuit to Markle, and the Daily Mirror focused on the racism charge, while The Sun headlined her suicidal ideation amid a double blow of palace-ordered isolation and tabloid harassment. Monday’s Daily MAIL (3am edition): “How Dark Will Baby’s Skin Be?” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/LHR04di1nP — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Monday’s Daily MIRROR (later edition): “ ‘They asked how dark Archie’s skin would be’ “ #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/jKvwEo9RDv — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Monday’s SUN (3am edition): “Meg: I Felt Suicidal” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/LrfawLF8fr — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 The Daily Express led with Markle upending tabloid gossip, while the Daily Star tried to snark off the whole thing. Monday’s Daily EXPRESS: (2am edition) “All Care Homes Must Open Up To Loved Ones” #TomorrowsPapersToday pic.twitter.com/9vkEMUAfmT — Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews) March 8, 2021 Front-page of Monday’s Daily Star, they’re having some laugh with this story; savages! pic.twitter.com/fmQPc4FRmZ — Tommy Rooney (@TomasORuanaidh) March 7, 2021 The Daily Telegraph featured a column calling the couple "woke" but focused its top story on pre-interview comments by Queen Elizabeth II. The front page of tomorrow's Daily Telegraph: 'Harry and Meghan embody the woke generation'#TomorrowsPapersToday Sign up for the Front Page newsletterhttps://t.co/tlYMNUKPpj pic.twitter.com/4wXW399s14 — The Telegraph (@Telegraph) March 7, 2021 The "devastating interview" delivered "a body blow to the institution" of the royal family and "upended the narrative created by Britain's bestselling newspapers," Dymond writes. But "the newspapers that the couple so despise — will they change their tune? It is not in their nature." More stories from theweek.comRead the words that will appear on the exterior of Obama's presidential library in ChicagoPrince Harry says he's 'disappointed' in Prince Charles, but will work to 'heal' their relationshipWhy the Dr. Seuss 'cancellation' is chilling
- The Telegraph
The Duke of Sussex said he felt "let down" by his father who had at one point "stopped taking my calls". In an emotional discussion with Oprah Winfrey about his relationship with the Prince of Wales, he said there was "a lot of hurt". He also said his father, and his brother the Duke of Cambridge, were "trapped" in the Royal family. The Duke said his late mother Diana, Princess of Wales would have been "angry" at the way the Royal family had treated his wife. Speaking about his relationship with his father, he said: "There's a lot to work through there. I feel really let down because he's been through something similar. He knows what pain feels like, and Archie's his grandson. "At the same time I will always love him, but there's a lot of hurt that's happened. "I will continue to make it one of my priorities to try and heal that relationship, but they only know what they know." The Duchess interjected: "Or what they're told."