Overview India’s general election, which starts on 7 April, will be the largest vote ever held. About 814,500,000 people will have a ballot, and around 20% of these will be eligible for the first time. Turnout has traditionally been in the region of 55%. So vast is the democratic exercise that it will require around 5 million people to conduct the procedure, and as many again to police it. The electoral commission has a stated ambition that no voter should have to travel more than 2km to a polling station, and nor should any one station serve more than 1,500 voters. The election takes place in nine phases, over a period of six weeks. Voting starts in the remote hills and valleys of the far north-east before moving into central upland areas and then broadly shifting further west and south. Some of the medium-sized states hold polls in all constituencies on the same day, but the bigger states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh are spread over five or … [Read more...] about Indian election 2014: your interactive guide to the world’s biggest vote
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I was in Venice when the acqua alta struck on 28 October 2018. I noted in my diary: “It happened today. The first big acqua alta of the year, with a siren at 09.17, followed by two steady tones. One tone is for 1.1 metres, two 1.2 metres, three 1.3 metres and four 1.4 metres or more. The tidal chart says the level should peak just after noon. At 12.30 I put on my green rubber boots. Stepping out along the canals, I found the water above my ankles and immediately had to re-learn how to walk. Walking at normal speed causes the water to splash over your boots and on to your legs. I slowed down, finding I also needed to watch out for little waves from the boats on the canal, which rode up right over the submerged pavement. “Tourists used bin bags or fluorescent pink plastic booties over their shoes, walked barefoot or just got their shoes wet. Judging by the laughs and picture taking, high water looked fun, but not for the tourists who held heavy suitcases to their chests to … [Read more...] about Deep trouble: can Venice hold back the tide?
German rail carrier Deutsche Bahn is short at least 733 train drivers for the current year, and the situation may even be worse than admitted, according to a report by the RND news group. The figures came from a transport ministry response to a parliamentary request from the Free Democratic Party (FDP), which was then passed to the news group. However, the German Engine Drivers Union (GDL) chief Claus Weselsky called the 733 figure a "flat lie." He accused Deutsche Bahn of "whitewashing" the numbers by counting around a thousand train drivers who would only complete training this year. Read more: Deutsche Bahn flaws prompt calls for basic railway reform Deutsche Bahn recruited 1,076 new train drivers last year, according to the RND report. Around 18,000 train drivers work for Deutsche Bahn. According to Weselsky, 1,500 train driver posts were vacant last year. Weselsky predicted that the shortage would become even greater as the average age of train drivers … [Read more...] about Germany’s Deutsche Bahn short of hundreds of train drivers
California will be the first state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and the third to bar most animals from circus performances under a pair of bills signed Saturday by Governor Gavin Newsom. The fur law bars residents from selling or making clothing, shoes or handbags with fur starting in 2023. Animal rights groups cheered the measure as a stand against inhumane practices. The proposal was vigorously opposed by the billion-dollar U.S. fur industry, and the Fur Information Council of America has already threatened to sue. It follows Newsom's signing of legislation that makes California the first state to outlaw fur trapping and follows bans on sales of fur in Los Angeles and San Francisco. California will ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products and bar most animals from circus performances under a pair of bills signed Saturday (PETA protesters pictured in LA in September 2018) Animal rights groups cheered the measure as a stand against inhumane … [Read more...] about California becomes the first state to ban the sale of new fur products as Governor Gavin Newsom signs bills also barring most circus animals
16 & Pregnant alum Farrah Abraham and her daughter Sophia Laurent suffered the loss of their Pomeranian pup Blue Wednesday night after five years of caring for the dog. The 27-year-old reality star shared a video of herself and her nine-year-old princess breaking down in tears over the lifeless canine, who went 'limp' after 'going potty' on the balcony of their LA home. 'We are so happy that we could be with Blue during his last little moments. This is, like, our first puppy that we ever lost,' the Nebraska-born brunette mourned in the veterinarian office. RIP: 16 & Pregnant alum Farrah Abraham and her daughter Sophia Laurent suffered the loss of their Pomeranian pup Blue Wednesday night after five years of caring for the dog Pictured alive last Friday: The 27-year-old reality star shared a video of herself and her nine-year-old princess breaking down in tears over the lifeless canine, who went 'limp' after 'going potty' on the balcony of their LA home 'Sophia and I have … [Read more...] about Farrah Abraham and daughter Sophia mourn Pomeranian pup Blue… a day after their dead dog prank