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Palestinian protests across US varsities; Columbia shuts || Biden signs legislation to ban Tik Tok || US threatens sanctions against Pakistan for trade deals with Iran || Russian priest suspended for conducting memorial service for Navalny || US Congress passes $95 b war aid for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan || Refused by Tihar jail, Delhi CM Kejriwal finally gets insulin after AIIMS advice || Naima Khatoon is first woman to be AMU VC in 100 years || Ten killed in Malaysia as choppers collide in midair || - India Travel Times.Com   [Estd: 1998]       * * *    Travel, More Travel, Travel Means A Million Things     * * *    
'And for me, it's time', Jacinda quits; next general election on October 14

In a shock announcement, the much-acclaimed Prime Minister of New Zealand said February 7 will be her last day in office. She no longer has "enough in the tank" to lead, she choked up. Next general election will be on October 14. She will not contest.

WELLINGTON (New Zealand), Jan 19: New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern resigned on Thursday. In a shock announcement, she said February 7 will be her last day in office but will continue as lawmaker until the next general election on October 14. She said she no longer has "enough in the tank" to lead the country.

She said she will not be contesting again for the office nor as a lawmaker. Known for her sharp intellect and remarkable empathy, Ms Ardern, 42, has been the Prime Minister for nearly six years.

Deputy Prime Minister Grant Robertson has also ruled out contesting in the election or for the leadership of their Labour Party. Therefore, the Labour MPs will vote for a new interim Prime Minister as early as this Sunday. If nobody gets two-thirds majority, the next round will be by party members as it happened in the UK recently.

"I'm announcing that I will not be seeking re-election. And then my term as Prime Minister will conclude no later than the 7th of February. I am leaving because with such a privileged role, comes responsibility, the responsibility to know when you are the right person to lead, and also, when you are not", Ms Ardern told a news conference.

"I know what the job takes. And I know that I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It's that simple. After going on six years of some big challenges, I am human. Politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can, and then it's time. And for me, it's time.

"But unfortunately I haven't (the energy to continue), and I would be doing a disservice to New Zealand to continue," she told reporters.

Ms Ardern was elected Prime Minister in 2017 at the age of 37. The two major happenings during her term were Christchurch mosque shootings where 51 people died and the White Island volcanic eruption. She quickly introduced gun law reforms. Wore a hijab.

She had won acclaim for her handling of the covid pandemic. And the Labour Party won a landslide victory in the general election in 2020. Ardern was re-elected for a second term. A general election is held every three years.

But later she came under severe criticism for enforcing strict covid restrictions. She was also under fire for rising cost of living. The party began losing popular support. So also Ms Ardern, of late.

"I hope I leave New Zealanders with a belief that you can be kind, but strong, empathetic but decisive, optimistic but focused. And that you can be your own kind of leader - one who knows when it's time to go," she said.

"She has given her all to this incredibly demanding job," Opposition National Party leader Chris Luxon tweeted.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ms Ardern had made an "immeasurable" difference to the world.

Ms Ardern has a child from her partner Clarke Gayford, a television host, whom she will be marrying soon. The girl child was born during her prime ministership.


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Five people were arrested from a banquet hall in Sector 51 Noida on Thursday where they were called to hold a rave party in a trap laid by the animal rights group, PFA. They named Yadav but he was not present.

Betting through Dubai-based Mahadev Book in India is conducted through a countrywide network. Probes reveal that the online gambling is worth several millions and top politicians, officials and celebs have been beneficiaries.

TAILPIECE: Polling dates for some States are round the corner. Top politicians have begun their acrimonious debate who looted more, even as Mahadev is washing their dirty laundry in the open ghat. Come what may, one needs to seize power to amass "thy wretched pelf!" One simple question is, why else one should spend lakhs or crores to get elected! A question every Indian should ask to oneself at least once a day!

His inaction amounts to defeating the rights of the people of the State to welfare measures sought to be implemented through the Bills, the Kerala Government's petition submitted, while the State of Tamil Nadu remarked that its "Governor is acting as a political rival."

Tailpiece: Coming up back to back, the petitions in their totality seem to question the provision of Raj Bhavan, and not motives of a Governor as a person.

Hundreds of cars piled up behind the wreckage of crashes occurring one after other in backing up - continuous crashes to the rhythm of metallic clanks and bangs back to back. According to reports, some ops required 'Jaws of Life' to pull apart the mangled cars to save lives inside.

The pilots struggled with Emerson to thwart a shut-off as he reached for the T-handles (see pix). Later he admitted to police he had taken psychedelic mushrooms and had a "nervous breakdown."

Doctors reasoned how the incidence of heart attacks is spiking over time and advise the simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself.

But how come ten people, including children, die of cardiac arrest at Garba in 24 hours, and that at different places of Gujarat? Garba had been going on for six days, and every year it is celebrated.

The killing of a teacher in France by an Islamic radical last Friday is linked to the Israel-Hamas war in West Asia, say authorities.

Shocking news from the UK: Leading grocers have started bribing policemen with free food and drinks to persuade them to take action against shoplifters.

Shoplifting has risen by about 27 per cent in 10 major cities across the UK this year. The cost of retail crime last year was $2.15 billion. Besides, “We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores," Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said. Data shows that the police failed to respond to 73 per cent of serious retail crimes that included assault and abuse of workers, apart from shoplifting.

Isar Mohammad allegedly picked up a banana offered to Ganesh idol on Chaturthi at a makeshift temple in Delhi and consumed it.

Harris said hip-hop is “the ultimate American art form” that “shapes every aspect of American popular culture.” “Hip-hop culture is American culture,” she said in a talk at her official residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The social media had mixed reaction. There was much appreciation that she dances better than any VP in American history. But some called her "moves" as “cringe” while others did not like her pink pants - "pink pants don’t look good.” In fact, her ensembles have always been incongruous.

"Let’s see how the (Governor's) Vice-Chancellors are given salary." Mamata's extreme statements will put the Marxist Government in Kerala, which is also facing similar issues, to shame. Has she begun the countdown for a war on the streets?

It's true Mamata has come to see a conspiracy to demolish the established systems across the country, but lacks the ability to foresee what exactly is being pushed.

Brandishing a sword, Mahant Paramhans told reporters on Tuesday he himself will behead MK Stalin's son for his remarks against Sanatan Dharma in case nobody came forward to accept his offer he made in his video. Udhayanidhi reacted to the saint's Monday video, "I will speak more. I am the grandson of the artist who put his head on the rail track for Tamil Nadu."

Somanath elaborated, "I am an explorer. I explore the Moon. I explore the inner space. So it's a part of the journey of my life to explore both science and spirituality. So I visit many temples and I read many scriptures. So try to find the meaning of our existence and our journey in this cosmos. So it's a part of the culture that we are all built to explore, find out the inner self as well as outer self. So for the outer, I do science, for the inner I come to temples." (See videos)

Rao the mathematical legend had fathered the path-breaking Rao-Blackwell theorem, one of the most important theorems in mathematical statistics, at the age of 25. That brought him global fame. He is also famous for his Cramér-Rao Bound inequality theorem relating to quality of estimators in statistics which has had a profound bearing on applications of modern economics and several other diverse fields. Simply put, with the pioneering statistician computation became a tool to analyse even socio-economic challenges of modern times.

The alleged incident has received such a flash publicity that a standardised city's hugely middle class population will have second thoughts about eating outside for some time. Now everything on the table looks suspicious!

“All subjects directly connected to the people should be shifted to the State List. Particularly the subject of education. Only if this is done can cruel exams like NEET be abolished,” Stalin said. Education was moved from the State List to the Concurrent List with the 42nd Constitution Amendment made by the Central Government in 1976.

Decentralisation has been at the core of Tamil politics since the times of CN Annadurai. Stalin indicated there will be political changes in the offing.

TAILPIECE: While the Centre and the States are at loggerheads, it takes a different cognitive acumen to know that entrance tests are not the way for students' admission to courses.

As recently as Tuesday Craig Robertson had posted on Facebook: "Perhaps Utah will become famous this week as the place a sniper took out Biden the Marxist." Biden was scheduled to make his first visit to Utah as President Wednesday afternoon.

Maruti is recalling 87,599 S-Presso and Eeco vehicles to inspect and possibly replace parts in the steering system. All reputed companies around the world do recall their products when a defect comes to light.

Meanwhile, a question arises why just in about a year so many accidents have taken place involving Mercedes sent to India while the car has won safety awards abroad? In most cases, the vehicle collided with divider, while manoeuvring a turn. Was there a split second delay in the steering system coming to a grip when at high speed? Did anybody in India bother to study a pattern in several of these accidents that took place one after other?

Former Tata Sons chairman Cyrus Mistry died when his Mercedes-Benz-SUV hit a divider in Gujarat. Cricketer Rishabh Pant's Mercedes-Benz-SUV rammed a divider in Uttarakhand and smashed. It went up in flames but he escaped with injuries. Brother of PM Narendra Modi, Prahlad Modi's Mercedes-Benz-SUV met with a similar accident in Mysuru. And many more.

  • Experts blame violation of the Visual Flying Rules (VFR) for most of the chopper crashes in the mountains as the leading cause. VFR means fly only visually - because of the lack of navigation aids in remote areas or unreliability of GPS-like aids in hilly terrains or a remote manipulation of instruments in cases of sabotage - as the topography plays havoc especially in the monsoon (mid-June to September).
  • Even when VFR is followed, most crashes occur due to CFIT (Controlled Flight into Terrain) - that is, everything else is OK but the aircraft collides with hills or trees hidden by the clouds. This also occurs mostly in the monsoon.
  • On Tueday with Manang, the chopper was brand new, pilot was highly experienced. But it hit an 'invisible' tree and then crashed against a hillside. This CFIT occurred when the pilot tried to dodge patches of clouds even as he was following the VFR.
  • Simply put, everyone knows flying in the hills during the monsoon is risky, but the companies want to make more money in any which case. This type of tragedy is very frequently invited in the Indian hill State of Uttarakhand as well, where pilots are even made to fly without the mandatory rest.
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