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National

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Justice Verma to head inquiry panel Former Chief Justice J.S. Verma will head a three-member Commission of Inquiry that will suggest ways for improving safety and security of women, besides looking into the gang-rape incident. Justice Lalita Seth and former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam will be its two other members. “The Commission will suggest ways to make stricter rape laws. It will submit its report within 30 days,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said. The Delhi Police have roped in senior High Court lawyer Dyan Krishnan as Special Prosecutor to ensure speedy trial. DRDO bunkers to help jawans cope with stress As a part of its efforts to provide troops with “enriched environment” at isolated locations, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has started working on ‘Project Dhruv’ to develop new bunkers to tackle various forms of psychological issues and depression among them. “Project Dhruv aims at environment enrichment within the shelter. Such measures would help jawans cope up with stress induced by their monotonous surroundings and help in creating a lively atmosphere within the bunkers. DRDO has taken a slew of measures to tackle depression among soldiers, which in recent past had led to various incidents of suicides and fratricides in the armed forces. The premier defence research agency is planning to use state-of-art technology for the purpose and will equip the bunkers with some of the most modern amenities to ensure a better living for the jawans. Sashastra Seema Bal gets power to check passports on India-Nepal border Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) has been granted powers to check passports and arrest people under the Passports Act. This power was until now only with immigration officials on the India-Nepal border. According to SSB, only seven out of 19 immigration checkpoints on the border are functional, posing a major challenge to authorities engaged in stopping infiltration. SSB has far greater presence on the 1,751km border with over 450 border outposts (BOPs). The distance between two BOPs is 4.5km. SSB may also soon get powers under the Customs Act to keep a check on smuggling. Intelligence agencies have time and again pointed out that terror groups such as Hizbul Mujahideen and (HuM) Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) have strong bases in Nepal and have been trying to push in terrorists using fake passports. Sikkim wins best small state award Sikkim has been declared India's 'best small state' by the jury of the IBN7 Diamond State Award, 2012. Sikkim was declared as the best state in the country in the category of small states for its overall achievements. The state was also declared best in the country in citizen security, environment and water and sanitation categories. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar presented the award to Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling. Sikkim has been rated the most sustainable under various parameters like reducing pressure on environment and state's responses to maintain their environment. CNN-IBN, IBN7 to pay Rs 1 lakh for ‘biased’ report The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh and asked two TV channels CNN-IBN and IBN7 to apologize for airing "biased, tendentious and factually incorrect" reports on the Haryana government flouting laws to allot land to the Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust (RGCT). NBSA is a redressal authority set up by news broadcasters as a form of industry regulator. The chairman of NBSA is Justice J S Verma(retired). Metro to celebrate 10 years with eight-coach car Delhi Metro inducting into the network its first eight-coach train to coincide with the completion of 10 years of its operations. The Jahangirpuri-HUDA City Centre corridor (Yellow Line) will see the first eight-coach train introduced as part of a fleet of 68 trains that will be introduced on both the yellow and blue lines (Dwarka Sector 21-Noida City Centre/Vaishali) in a phased manner. These trains will increase the carrying capacity of the metro system by approximately 600 commuters.

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Nuclear submarine INS Chakra facing problems with critical components India's only Russian-origin nuclear submarine INS Chakra is facing problems with its critical components affecting its operational readiness. The 8,000-tonne submarine has been facing problems with its critical components and Russia has been asked to provide the parts for the vessel which need to be replaced. India had inducted the Akula-II Class 'Nerpa' nuclear submarine in its inventory in April this year at the Vishakhapatnam-based Eastern Naval Command. It was renamed 'Chakra' by the Indian Navy. The Russian submarine had met with an accident in November 2008 when it was undergoing sea trials in the Sea of Japan in which around twenty sailors were killed and several others were left injured.

International:
Obama appoints Smita Singh in president's Global Development Council The Obama administration has announced to appoint yet another Indian-American to a key administrative post, after it named Smita Singh as member of the president's Global Development Council. The Global Development Council was established in February through an executive order of the President. Along with Singh, Obama also announced names of eight other members of the Council including its Chair Mohamed a El-Erian. ToucHb shines light on anaemia World Bank reports that more than two billion people in the developing world suffer from anaemia. While it is closely linked to nutrition, it’s not fatal. Myshkin Ingawale, created ToucHb, a hand-held needle-free battery operated device that enables screening of anaemia and simplifies monitoring of treatment on a regular basis. ToucHb works by shining light of different wavelengths through the tissue of the patient’s finger. Haemoglobin has a characteristic absorbance. Understanding the spectrum and understanding what signals to filter out, ToucHb determines the concentration of haemoglobin in the tissue. The technique is similar to the one used in pulse oximeters, for the estimation of oxygen saturation. Oximeters are instruments that measure oxygen in arterial blood. ToucHb measures total haemoglobin which a pulse oximeter can’t do. Besides haemoglobin, it measures oxygen saturation, temperature and pulse rate as well. The total blood haemoglobin is used for anaemia diagnosis. The WHO qualifies any pregnant woman with a Hb level of less than 11 grams a decilitre of blood as anaemic. U.N. chopper shot down in S. Sudan South Sudan’s army has apologised for downing a U.N. helicopter, saying soldiers mistook it for an aircraft that was supplying arms to rebel forces. An Mi-8 helicopter was shot down while on a reconnaissance flight in South Sudan’s eastern state of Jonglei, all four Russian crew members on board were killed. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack on a “clearly marked U.N. helicopter”, and urged South Sudan to “immediately carry out an investigation and bring to account those responsible for this act”. The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was established in July 2011 when South Sudan gained independence, becoming the newest country, because the Security Council concluded that the situation there could pose risks to international security. South Sudan’s army has been fighting rebel forces in Jonglei. Scientists to clone the perfect Christmas tree German scientists are searching a way to clone the perfect Christmas tree. Scientists from the Berlin’s Humboldt University are planning to refine a method to clone popular Nordmann fir trees by 2016. They are looking for a method to ensure that the sensitive saplings of the popular Nordmann fir species grow into impressive specimens. The fir is native to the Caucasus, but is often cultivated on massive plantations in Germany.

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Technology:
Earth's biodiversity map updated for first time since 1876 A 'life map' of biodiversity showing the organisation of terrestrial life on Earth has been updated after more than a century. The original map, drawn up by British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1876, was the first attempt to depict the myriad ways life has evolved on the world's continents. The new map provides fundamental information regarding the diversity of life on our planet and is of major significance for future biodiversity research. The new global map shows the division of nature into 11 large bio-geographic realms and shows how these areas relate to each other. It is the first study to combine evolutionary and geographical information for all known mammals, birds and amphibians, a total of over 20,000 species. The new map can be split into finer geographical details for each class of animals. It is made freely available to contribute to a wide range of biological sciences, as well as conservation planning and management of biodiversity.

Business & Economy:
Policy logjam can pull down growth rate to 5% in 12th Plan The Plan panel has warned that persistent policy logjam could pull down the annual average economic growth rate in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) to 5-5.5 per cent, from 7.9 per cent recorded in the 11th Plan. The annual average growth rate in the 5-year policy period could move up to 8.2 per cent, said the 12th Plan draft document which will be placed before the country's apex policy making body National Development Council (NDC). NDC, headed by the Prime Minister with all Chief Ministers and Union Cabinet Ministers on its board, is the final authority to approve a Five Year Plan. Paramount Airways working on revival plan With a British court awarding Rs1,650 crore compensation in a law suit, defunct Paramount Airways is working on a revival plan and talking to overseas carriers for investment. Paramount is quite upbeat over the Rs 1,650 crore compensation awarded by a London-based international arbitration court. Germany is India’s top trading partner within Europe Germany has emerged as the top trading partner of India within Europe with around $23.8 billion or 18.3 billion euro turnover during 2011-12, according to the latest figures by the Commerce and Industry Ministry.

Sport:
Sachin quits one-dayers Sachin Tendulkar has decided to quit 50-overs cricket. Almost five years ago he along with Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid opted out of the inaugural ICC Twenty20 World Cup and demonstrated his intent to keep away from the shortest form of the game at the national level. 39-year-old, Sachin ended his world record 463-match ODI career in which he scored 18,426 runs at 44.83 by informing the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that he is through with the 50-overs format. His retirement from the ODIs was more or less on the cards, especially after he reached the milestone of 100 international centuries against Bangladesh in March, 2012 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium. After the ICC World Cup win in April 2011, he did not figure in 25 matches for India. Tendulkar has played six World Cups from the 1992 World Cup in AustraliaNew Zealand till the ICC World Cup 2011 that India won defeating Sri Lanka in the final at the Wankhede Stadium.

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Kashyap reigns supreme P. Kashyap scripted an enthralling climax to win his maiden international badminton title. In the final of the $120,000 Syed Modi Grand Prix Gold championship, Kashyap outlasted Thailand’s Tanongsak Saensomboonsuk 21-19, 14-21, 21-17 in 72 minutes to give the vociferous flag-waving crowd just what it had come for. Kashyap collected $9,000. Bhupathi to partner Nestor India’s Mahesh Bhupathi will partner World No. 5 Daniel Nestor at the season-opening ATP Aircel Chennai Open 2013, which begins on December 31. The tournament organisers announced that the Indo-Canadian pair will be the top seed for the event. A five-time champion and runner-up once, Bhupathi last won the Chennai Open in 2011 when he teamed up with fellow countryman Leander Paes to defeat the AmericanDutch pairing of David Martin and Robin Haase in the final. The 38-year-old, who has won 51 career doubles titles, decided to split with Rohan Bopanna.

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