A day after a Shetkari Sanghatana (SS) leader in Akola district of Maharashtra planted illegal Genetically Modified (GM) seeds, the officers from Agriculture Department on Tuesday searched his house and collected the seed samples to be sent to the testing. Hundreds of farmers on Monday had joined in what they termed as the ‘civil disobedience’ movement, to protest central government’s indecisiveness in approving the next generation of GM cotton, as farmer leader Lalit Patil-Bahale sowed seeds of the illegal herbicide tolerant (HT) Bt cotton and Bt Brinjal, in his field in Akoli Jahangir in Akola’s Akot tehsil.The open defiance of law was organised by SS, a farmers’ organisation which has been an advocate of open market in the field of agriculture.“Today, the officials from the Agriculture department visited my house and seized samples of seeds which were sown yesterday. I had openly announced that we will be breaking the law and was ready for any type of repercussions,” said Mr Patil-Bahale.He said that the officials told him that samples will be sent for tests to determine whether it was really a banned HTBt cotton seed. “If they had decided to wait to test on cotton crop, then they would have had to wait for two months. It seems they were in a hurry,” he said. Akola district collector Jitendra Papalkar told The Hindu that the farmers’ body has committed an illegal act. “We have sent a team of agriculture officers and will be seeking the report from them, following which necessary action would be taken,” he said.Breaking law by planting unapproved GM seed may attract imprisonment of up to five years and monetary fine worth ₹1 lakh.The anti-GM crop activists too had termed the action by SS as one similar to bio-terrorism, risking the lives of future generations.
Rio de Janeiro, Oct 6 (AP) Twenty-four years after parading through Brazilian streets while lifting the World Cup trophy, Romario is again dancing in the back of pickup trucks. This time, he’s campaigning to become Rio de Janeiro’s next governor. Evoking his soccer past on the campaign trail is only natural for one of the best players in a country where the sport is king. Romario Faria de Souza has ridden his wave of stardom into a career as a lawmaker, winning one term as congressman and another as senator. Now he eyes a much bigger challenge: running a state mired in crisis politics, financing, security since the end of the 2016 Summer Olympics. To look more like a fresh politician, the 52-year-old Romario joined a new centrist party called “We can” (Podemos in Portuguese). Polls indicate that on Sunday the former Brazil national team and Barcelona striker will finish second to former Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes, who ran Brazil’s most famous city during the Olympics, and force a runoff vote Oct. 28. A runoff election will take place if none of the 11 candidates gets at least 50 percent of the vote. On Thursday, in one of his final campaign events, the charismatic “Shortie,” as he is nicknamed by Brazilians, showed off his star power in two of Rio’s most violent favelas. Any politician wishing to visit Mare and Complexo do Alemao needs approval from the drug lords who run the slums. “How could anyone say no to this man?” said Rodrigo Alves, a 34-year-old vendor and staunch supporter of Romario, who grew up in the Northern Rio favela Vila da Penha.advertisement “Just look around Mare and you will see: There are no ads, posters or banners of his adversaries in the governorship race. Only Romario’s. Why do you think that is?” he said. As Romario paraded through the favelas with Bebeto a Rio state congressman and a former teammate youngsters and adults ran next to his truck as if he were back in his soccer days. Women blew kisses from improvised balconies on their shacks, and men armed with assault weapons waved. At a low period for politicians in Brazil, his supporters sing his campaign jingles and display his banners. Romario focuses more on anti-corruption slogans than on policy. But few voters seem interested in his politics. “The people of Rio need someone that truly cares,” one of Romario’s jingle says. “He is a man people know. He has the courage to change Rio. He is ready for this challenge.” At Complexo do Alemao, Romario spoke with journalists as fans screamed for autographs. “We will put more police on the streets. I am sure that we will reduce the figures of robberies and cargo theft,” he said, his tone not much different from that of other local politicians. The problem for his opponents? None scored goals in a World Cup. Romario has made adjustments along the way. He has cut back on the quips that have caused controversy, such as saying the great Pele was a poet when he doesn’t speak, or insulting once friend and teammate Edmundo by calling him a jester. Fans still get glimpses of his irreverent style on the campaign trail. In a recent TV debate, left-leaning candidate Marcia Tiburi said she resented being the only woman in a race with no minorities on the electoral tickets. “I need to make a correction here,” Romario said. “I am the black man in this debate.” That moment made other candidates take the legendary player more seriously. But that doesn’t mean he gets a pass because of his fame. “You couldn’t even manage the nightclub you had,” Wilson Witzel said during a debate. “No one knows where your money comes from and where it goes to,” Indio da Costa said. Paes has avoided taking swipes at Romario, so far. Analysts were impressed that Romario was ahead in the polls of former governor Anthony Garotinho and other establishment Rio politicians on the left and right. “He is building a consistent political career almost exclusively based on his football career. Romario isn’t quite a politician yet,” said Rafael Salies, a Rio-based political analyst. “That helped him in this moment of massive mistrust against traditional politicians.” Bebeto, a former Brazil and La Coruna striker, doesn’t have a clear political platform as state lawmaker. But he pledges, like Romario, to improve education and health care. Bebeto switched to Romario’s Podemos party for this year’s elections so they could team up again. “We are not in this for money. We got enough as players,” Bebeto told The Associated Press shortly before jumping on a pickup with his old friend for almost an hour.advertisement “Our slates are clean and people need to know that whoever is in power doesn’t want to steal from them.” (AP) AHAH
With violence-related cases clogging the courts, the Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, wants more persons to make use of dispute resolution avenues in order to settle disagreements.He says there is a propensity to resolve conflicts with violence, which is adding to the burden of the courts.“People are using violence, threats and brutish stupidity to settle arguments. And as far as I am concerned, we need fewer matters to come to the courts. That is why we are training justices of the peace (JPs) and other stakeholders, so we can mediate instead of litigate and we can engage more in plea bargaining,” Mr. Chuck said.He was addressing a press conference held at the Ministry’s Constant Spring Road offices, on Thursday (October 11).The Chief Justice’s Statistics Reports for the Parish Courts for the period January-June 2018, show that the three most frequent criminal charges filed in the parish courts were assault occasioning bodily harm, unlawful wounding and threats.The reports noted that 82 per cent of the matters in the courts were committed by males, with the dominant age group of offenders being young men; 26.99 per cent were 20 to 26 years old; and 29.34 per cent were 27 to 36 years of age.The Justice Minister said that through the Restorative Justice Programme, the Ministry is hoping to train at least 3,000 restorative justice facilitators within schools and communities across the island.In addition, more justice centres will be opened, which will enable citizens to access a wide range of services, including mediation, restorative justice, child diversion and victim compensation.Minister Chuck further mentioned the use of child diversion, which is a process of dealing with children who are alleged, accused or recognised to have infringed the penal law, without resorting to the formal judicial proceedings.The Child Diversion Act was passed in both Houses of Parliament earlier this year.“The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is coming on board with us and I know our international partners will help us to ensure that when we roll out child diversion, that we are able to assist our children, not only to resolve their problems, not only to conform with acceptable behaviour but when they do get into trouble to divert them away from the court system,” he stated.Mr. Chuck said under the programme, children 17 years and under who have committed most minor offences will be diverted away from the court system.“For more significant offences, if they go to the courts, the parish court judges will be sensitised. If, in appropriate cases, the offender can be retrained, rehabilitated, redirected, then that offender can be redirected by a child diversion officer to keep them from the formal system,” he noted further.