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Scientist Vinod Prakash Sharma honored with Gujar Mal Modi award

August 18th, 2013

Scientist Vinod Prakash Sharma has been honored with the Gujar Mal Modi Award for Innovative Science and Technology 2013 for his achievements in malaria research, control and prevention, including other vector borne diseases. He is leading the Safe Water Campaign of the NASI (The National Academy of Sciences, India). His work on popularization of science, creating awareness and science education programmes of NASI are widely appreciated in the remote areas as well.

Environment Ministrys panel finds illegal sand mining in Gautam Buddh Nagar
August 18th, 2013

The environment ministry team found facts of the widespread illegal sand mining in Gautam Buddh Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. The team was set up by the ministry in the backdrop of the suspension of the districts sub divisional magistrate Durga Shakti Nagpal who took on the illegal mining in the area.
Steps suggested by the panel to prevent illegal sand mining:

The state must adopt and implement the rules set out for riverbed mining which lay down specification of mining depth, location of mining leases. Those holding mining leases are required to have their mining plans approved by the states mining and geology department. A cumulative impact assessment must be undertaken to assess pollution, adequacy of infrastructure. All the mining activity must have environmental clearance. It has been recommended that cumulative impact assessment of riverbed mining be undertaken before giving clearance, as well as stepping up monitoring.

INS Arihant submarines reactor achieves criticality

August 18th, 2013

The reactor of Indias first indigenous nuclear powered submarine,Arihant achieved criticality i.e. the self sustaining nuclear reaction which is the first step towards the stable production of power. About INS Arihant: Indias first indigenously built nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. It has been jointly developed by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Navy .

It is about 111 metres long, 11 metres broad and about 15 metres tall and is designed to be propelled by a Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) that uses enriched uranium as fuel, and light water as both coolant and moderator. The PWR will generate about 80 MWt. The submarine will eventually be fitted with K-15 underwater fired missiles, which can hit targets 700 km away. The K-15 missiles are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Note: Only five countries in the world possess nuclear powered submarinesthe U.S., Russia, the U.K., France and China. Apart from India, Brazil is also working on naval nuclear propulsion.

Ministry of Information and Broadcasting launches New Media Wing

August 18th, 2013

The Union Cabinet accepted the proposal for establishing a New Media Wing. The expenditure to set up and run the New Media Wing will cost Rs. 22.5 crore which was allocated during the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) and approved by the CCEA under Development Communication & Information Broadcasting plan scheme of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. The proposal for its establishment was drawn on the basis of the experience of its pilot program on the social media platforms such as Youtube, Facebook and Twitter. The New Media Wing will address the communication and broadcasting requirements of the government on social media. The New Media Wing would be headed by a senior officer of Joint Secretary level and will work under his overall supervision, direction and guidance. The administrative and operational support will be provided by a Media Unit under the Ministry the Research Reference & Training Division which would be the New Media Wing.

Serena Williams wins womens Rogers Cup

August 18th, 2013

US tennis star Serena Williams defeated Romanias Sorana Cirstea in the final of the womens Rogers Cupheld in Toronto to bag her 54th WTA singles title. Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player and is currently ranked No. 1 in womens singles tennis. On six separate occasions, the WTA (Womens Tennis Association) has ranked her World No. 1 in singles .

Reservation in prelims not legally valid: Patna High Court

August 18th, 2013

As per an order passed by the Patna High Court which was adjudicating a petition that challenged the preliminary tests results declared by theBihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) for the 53rd to 55th Combined Competitive Examinations (CCE) to recruit gazetted officers across the state, no reservation was applicable to preliminary tests as they were just screening examinations.

The petition had challenged the result on the basis that the BPSC had implemented the reservation policy in declaring the preliminary result whereas quota was applicable only in the mains examination and not in the elimination round. The petitioner referred to the Bihar Reservation for Post and Vacancy Act, which specified that reservation could be granted only when the examination led to the final selection of the candidate.

Noted naturalist Zafar Futehally passes away

August 18th, 2013

Indias one of the best known naturalists and ornithologists Zafar Futehally (93) passed away. Zafar Futehally: Born in Andheri, Mumbai in 1920. He led the conservation movement in India serving as a link between conservationists and corporates. He also founded Newsletter for Birdwatchers a periodical that helped birdwatchers around India to communicate their observations. It was a vital publication and served to document observations at a time when there was no digital documentation and there were few scientific studies on wildlife in the country. Mr. Futehally was associated for 60 years with the Bombay Natural History Society of which he was honorary secretary for 16 years till the 1970s.

Usain Bolt regains 100-meter gold at worlds

August 18th, 2013

Six-time Olympic gold medalist, Usain Bolt, regained World 100 meter title as he won the race in 9.77 seconds at the IAAF World Athletics Championships held in Moscow. Bolt finished ahead of Justin Gatlin of the U.S. (9.85) and Jamaican Nesta Carter (9.95). Bolt had previously won the event at the World championships in Berlin in 2009 where he set the current world record of 9.58 seconds.
Other Winners at IAAF World Athletics Championship 2013:

Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton of the U.S. won gold in the event. Olympic winner Brittney Reese of the U.S. won the womens long jump for the third consecutive time with a leap of 7.01 meters. Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the womens 10,000 meter title for the third time. Sandra Perkovic of Croatia won the womens discus. Aleksandr Ivanov of Russia won the mens 20-kilometer walk.

Bt cotton replaces desi cotton in flag making

August 15th, 2013

Bt cotton, a technology of an American seed company replaced desi cotton Jayadhar, a popular variety of cotton grown in Karnataka that was also earlier used in making flags. Flag making units at Bengeri in Hubli city and Garaga in Dharwad district, which caters to the nationwide demand for the tricolor are now using, wholly or partly, the khadi derived from Bt cotton. At some naufacturing units at Bengeri where flag making started in 2008, the tricolour is manufactured using khadi made out of a combination of Jayadhar and BT cotton.
Why flag manufacturers are choosing Bt cotton over indigenous cotton varieties?

As per manufacturers, quality of cotton is determined strength and appearance and BT cotton provides all these qualities.
August 15th, 2013

by length,

Maharashtra is first State to pay salary through Aadhaar seeded bank accounts

Maharashtra became the first state in the country to disburse salary of its staff through their Aadhaar linked bank accounts. The employees of t he state governments Information Technology (IT) department got their July 2013 salaries through their Aadhaar linked bank accounts. Maharashtra State Government has decided to use the Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) system for all Mantralaya employees. This initiative would help in speedy transfer of salaries and also ensure the transfer to the actual beneficiary at a later stage. UID for faster Salary: Maharashtra State Government initiated a program UID for faster Salary for its employees in the state. The aim is to process salaries only for those employees, who are enrolled under Aadhaar program.

Indias forex reserves dips by $2.99 billion

August 15th, 2013

As per the Reserve Bank of India, the countrys foreign exchange reserves lowered by an immense USD 2.995 billion to USD 277.167 billion. Foreign currency assets which are a major component of the forex reserves, dropped USD 2.155 billion to USD 249.895 billion in the first weekend of August 2013. Foreign currency assets expressed in US dollar terms include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of the non-US currencies, such as euro, pound and yen, held in the reserves. The gold reserves dropped USD 808.5 million at USD 20.747 billion. TheSpecial Drawing Rights (SDRs) were down by USD 21.4 million to USD 4.352 billion, while the countrys reserve position with the IMF also fell by USD 10.7 million to USD 2.171 billion.

PV Sindhu creates history by winning Bronze in World Badminton Championship

August 15th, 2013

PV Sindhu created history as she won bronze medal in the WorldBadminton Championships

Although she lost in the semifinal to Ratchanok Intanon of Thailand, she became the first Indian to win a womens singles medal in the World Badminton Championship. PV Sindhu holds both junior and senior national titles after the legendary Prakash Padukone In past, Prakash Padukone had won the mens singles bronze in 1983 at Copenhagen. Jwala Gutta and Ashwini Ponnappa won another bronze in womens doubles in the 2011 edition.

Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2013 introduced in Rajya Sabha

August 14th, 2013

The Environment and Forests Ministry introduced in the RajyaSabha major amendments to the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 that seek heavier penalties to check wildlife-related crimes and aim to make Indian laws consistent with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna (CITES).
Salient features of the Wildlife Protection Amendment Bill 2013:

The amended legislation aims to ban the use of animal traps except under certain conditions. It also looks forward to engage gram sabhas and gram panchayats in management of protected areas, and to grant hunting rights to hunter-gatherer Scheduled Tribes of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Hunting in national parks and sanctuaries or the alteration of their boundaries should be punished with 5 to 7 years in jail and fine of Rs 5 to 25 lakh as compared to the previous 3 to 7 years in jail and Rs 10,000 fine. The punishment would be 7 years in prison and Rs 30 lakh fine for repeat offenders compared to the previous 3 to 7 years of imprisonment and Rs 25,000 fine now. The amendments are strict against crimes related to sale, purchase and transfer of animals, their parts or products listed in various schedules.

IRDA relaxes investment norms

August 14th, 2013

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has relaxed the investment norms for the firms like Housing finance and infrastructure finance companies to allow these companies to get higher funding from the insurance companies.
Steps taken by IRDA:

The investments in debt instruments issued by housing finance companies as specified in the investment regulations shall not be included under the exposure to financial and insurance activities. Currently, such exposure to housing finance companies and infrastructure finance companies is treated as exposure under financial and insurance activities but the industry exposure limits will continue to apply for such investments. The single investee debt exposure limits in housing finance companies have been enhanced to 20% of equity plus free reserves from existing 10% limit. The limit

mentioned above can be further increased by an additional 5% with the prior approval of board of company. The group and promoter group exposure norms will continue to apply on the investments made in a housing finance company.

Environmental activists oppose Mithi Virdi Nuclear Plant

August 14th, 2013

Environmental activists in Gujarat are against the proposed Rs. 6,000 crore Mithi Virdi nuclear power plant in Saurashtra regions Bhavnagar district to be set up by NPCIL (Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited). They have written to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) that alleging the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance by the State government was given without any site visits and documentation of ground realities.
Why Environmental activists opposing the Mithi Virdi nuclear power plant?

As per the activists, clearance for the project has been given by overlooking safety aspects, site clearance report, and without undertaking any site visits. They argue that the basics like population increase in the immediate vicinity of the proposed plant have not been taken into account. According to the activists CRZ clearance is an act of endorsing the illegal and unconstitutional act of NPCIL and Engineers India Limited (EIL). Activists earlier alleged that the EIL were not authorized to conduct an environment impact assessment for a nuclear power plant.

GSLV-D5 to be powered by indigenous Cryogenic Engine, to lift off on August 19, 2013
August 14th, 2013

As Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) is slated to lift off around 5 p.m. on August 19, 2013 from Sriharikota is powered by an indigenous cryogenic engine and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has used every expertise available in the country to ensure that the engine performs smoothly this time. GSLV-D5 will put Indias advanced communication satellite GSAT-14, weighing 1,980 kg, into orbit. ISROs earlier attempt with indigenous cryogenic engine has not been successful. In April 2010, the GSLV flight with an indigenous cryogenic engine had failed. The subsequent GSLV flight with a Russian cryogenic stage also failed in December 2010. This time a number of ground tests have been done on the sub-systems and the cryogenic engine at the after making the necessary design changes in the Fuel Booster Turbo Pump (FBTP) and the oxidiser turbo pump which was earlier causing errors.
What is a Cryogenic Rocket Engine?

Cryos is a Greek word meaning Ice Cold. The Cryogenics is the study of producing extremely low temperatures. Cryogenic rocket engine uses a cryogenic fuel. A cryogenic fuel or oxidizer includes the gases liquefied at a very low temperature. Due to use of liquid gases as propellants, the cryogenic Rocket Engines are also called liquid-propellant rocket engines.

The gases in liquid state occupy less space and provide required mass flow rate more efficiently than using the same in gaseous state. The CE-20 is the first Indian cryogenic engine (but not indigenous)to feature a gasgenerator cycle. It has been developed at Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. LPSC is the research centre and rocket engine test facility of ISRO. LPSC has played a leading role in development of liquid propellant stages for PSLV, control systems for SLV-3, ASLV, PSLV and GSLV, satellite propulsion systems including those for INSAT and IRS and production of pressure transducers. Indias indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) for Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) which was successfully test fired by ISRO on August 4, 2007, was also developed by LPSC. Which are countries who possess Cryogenic Engine technology? At present only five countries viz. United States, Russia, France,Japan and China have the cryogenic engine upper stage technology to launch heavier satellites in geostationary orbit. India is the sixth country to design and develop the cryogenic technology.

Rajya Sabha passes Companies Bill 2012

August 14th, 2013

Rajya Sabha has passed the Companies Bill 2012 in order to replace the outdated Companies Act, 1956. Both the houses of Parliament have passed the Bill and before it becomes law it will go to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent. The existing statute for regulation of companies in the country, viz. the Companies Act, 1956 had been under consideration for quite long for comprehensive revision in view of the changing economic and commercial environment nationally as well as internationally. The Companies Act of 1956 replaced the first Companies Act that was created in 1919 (the pre-independent India). The Act of 1956 has been amended 25 times in all these years since its formation.
Key features of Companies Bill 2012:

Spending of funds by companies for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) will be mandatory. Companies are required to spend at least 2 % of their net profit on CSR. The companies will also have to give preference to the local areas of their operation. If the companies are unable to meet CSR norms, they will have to give explanations and may even face penalty. The amended legislation will help to control major source of corporate law-breaking for falsely inducing a person to enter into any agreement with bank or financial institution with a view to get credit facilities. With view of interests of employees, company will have to pay 2 years salary to employees in case it shuts operations.

The appointment of auditors for five years shall be subject to ratification by members at every annual general meeting. The limit in respect of maximum number of companies in which a person may be appointed as auditor has been proposed as 20. The maximum number of directors in a private company has been increased from 12 to 15 and which can be increased further by special resolution. The financial year of any company can end only on March 31 and the only exception is for companies which are holding subsidiary of a foreign entity requiring consolidation outside India. It makes auditors subject to criminal liability if they consciously or carelessly omit certain information from their reports. It has a stipulation that keeps a check on very expensive remunerations for the board of directors and other executives of the companies. This will protect the interest of shareholders as well as employees. The amended legislation also limits the number of companies an auditor can serve to 20 besides bringing more clarity on criminal liability of auditors. The proposed legislation would ensure setting up of special courts for speedy trial and stronger steps for transparent corporate governance practices and curb corporate misdoings.

20% of food items are either substandard or contaminated

August 14th, 2013

Records of the Health and Family Welfare Ministry have disclosed that 1/5 th (20%) of food items in the market tested by government labs in 2012 were either substandard or contaminated. These food items did not meet the standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). In the survey, a test of 29,328 samples taken from malls as well as wholesale shops conducted in 123 labs shows that everything from packed items to cereals is contaminated. The food items tested include items such as edible oil, milk, sugar and grains, packed foods available in the market. As per the tests, The rate of food contamination was 8% in 2008-09and now it has moved up to 20% in 2012-13. Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are the three states with the worst record between 2008 to 2010. Consumption of adulterated food leads to serious health problems such as heart disease and even neurological problems, especially in children. Lack of Supervision: By April, 2013 only 2% food business operators had registered with the state governments. The lack of a proper monitoring is one of the reasons for this issue. At present there are more than 50 million who still need to register with the state governments. Increased use of chemicals and pesticides for production and storage has also significantly contributed to the increase in adulterated food items in the market.

Steps taken to reduce the food adulteration:

Food safety officers appointed by each state government randomly take food samples from markets. These are then tested in the 123 government laboratories spread across the country. The state governments then send the results to FSSAI which calculates the figures and takes necessarily action. As per the new rules a food business operator involved in the manufacture, storage, distribution or retail of food items can be punished if the food item is not up to the mark.

Pinaka rockets tested successfully

August 14th, 2013

Armament Research and Development Establishment(ARDE) successfully test fired Pinaka rockets were from a Multi- Barrel Rocket Launcher (MBRL) from a base at Chandipur. The MBRL is capable of acting as a force multiplier and has been developed to supplement artillery guns. Pinaka has undergone several tough tests since 1995 and has already been introduced into the armed forces. In July, 2013, a more advanced 2nd generation i.e. Pinaka Mark II Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher System had undergone successful firing trials at Chandhan area in Pokhran field firing ranges in western Rajastan and is in development stage.
Pinaka and its applications

Pinaka is an unguided area weapon rocket system with a range of 40 km, meant to neutralise large areas with rapid salvos. It can fire a salvo of 12 rockets in 44 seconds, the battery of six launchers can neutralise at a time a target area of 3.9 sq km. The systems capability to incorporate several types of warheads makes it deadly for the enemy as it can even destroy solid structures and bunkers. The quick reaction time and high rate of fire of the system gives an edge to the Army during a low amount conflict situation

Govt. mulls making fingerprints compulsory for new SIM cards subscribers
August 14th, 2013

Government is looking forward to make it mandatory for the telecom service providers to take fingerprint or any other biometric feature of the subscriber when he/she applies for a mobile connection in future. As per the suggestions of Ministry of Home Affairs the Department of Telecom (DoT) may need to maintain a central database of all subscribers with bio-metric parameters similar to the Aadhaar. The final decision is still due.

Magnetic flip of Sun may affect Earths climate

August 14th, 2013

The Suns magnetic field is expected to undergo a 180 degree flip in the coming 3 to 4 months as its magnetic north and south poles reverse positions.
How does this Magnetic Flip take place?

The outer layers of the Sun consist of a soup of charged particles whose steady motion influences the alignment of the Suns magnetic field. There are two winds of such charged particles one moving east-west and the other north-south and these tug at each other to move the magnetic north and south poles of the Sun thus making them go a full circle once every 22 years. This period is called a solar cycle which results in reorientation of the solar dynamo and which is the source of the Suns magnetic field. The magnetic field will flip half a circle in the coming months marking the end of 11 years of the 24th such cycle on record and once the second pole catches up, the next half of the cycle will start.
Effects of Magnetic Flip:

It could affect storms on Earth and even disrupt satellites. During this flip, activity on the stars surface intensifies, producing violent solar flares and coronal mass ejections. A weak electric field that rises out of the Sun and pervades the Solar System experiences small disturbances. As the moving Earth dips in and out of this field, stormy space weather can be stirred up around Earth. The Cosmic rays which are high energy particles accelerated to nearly light speed by supernova explosions and other violent events in the galaxy, could also be affected and thus influencing cloudiness and the climate on Earth.

Cant opt for high inflation to promote growth: RBI

August 14th, 2013

RBI has clarified that it could not espouse a policy of tolerating higher inflation in order to promote growth because such a stance would not yield the desired results. RBI cited a study which, although, gave empirical evidence that lower real interest rates could stimulate growth and investment, it didnt recommend a policy of higher inflation tolerance as the means to lower real rates. The study was conducted in the backdrop of criticism that the RBI was adopting an anti-inflationary monetary policy stance to the impediment of growth. As per the study, the incremental capital output ratio has increased in recent quarters and correspondingly, the implicit marginal productivity of investment has also declined. As a result, lower levels of real interest rate would have also contributed to the slowdown in growth.
Why RBI cant adopt a policy which tolerates high inflation?

The negative impact of inflation on growth outweighs its positive impact if real rates are lowered beyond a threshold. Tolerating higher inflation with growth supportive monetary policy response is unlikely to stimulate growth to the desired extent since the adverse impact of higher inflation on growth would more than offset the favorable impact of growth supportive monetary policy. The adverse growth impact of high inflation was seen to operate primarily through compression of consumption demand since investment demand is more sensitive to lower real rates than higher inflation.
What is real interest rate?

The real interest rate is the rate of interest an investor expects to receive after allowing for inflation. It can be described more formally by the Fisher equation, which states that the real interest rate is approximately the nominal interest rate minus the inflation rate. If, for example, an investor were able to lock in a 5% interest rate for the coming year and anticipated a 2% rise in prices, he would expect to earn a real interest rate of 3%.

RBI to auction Cash Management Bills (CMBs) to control liquidity

August 14th, 2013

Taking further measures to control the liquidity in order to boost the position of rupee which has been on a decline for past some time, the RBI has decided to auction short-term Cash Management Bills (CMBs) for an amount of Rs. 22,000 crore every Monday. RBI will be selling Rs.11,000 crore each in two CMBs maturing in 35 and 34 days on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. The bills will mature on 17 September, 2013, when banking system liquidity gets strained on account of advance tax outflow. The auctions will be conducted using Multiple Price Auction method and the Cash Management Bills will have the generic character of Treasury Bills.
What are Cash Management Bills?

CMBs are short-term paper with the flexibility of fixing tenure according to the requirement of the government. The basic difference between a treasury bill and a CMB is that the former has fixed tenure of 30, 91, 182 and 364 days, while a CMB can be anything between

seven days and one year. CMBs can be structured in such a way that they are redeemed at that time to infuse liquidity but treasury bills do not offer that flexibility.
Why the RBI is auctioning CMBs (Cash Management Bills)?

Past few months have brought some serious depreciation in the value of rupee against the dollar with rupee crossing the 6o mark versus dollar. The country is also facing the problem of inflation. RBI has been taking liquidity tightening measures to curb the instability of the currency. As part of its liquidity tightening measures, on 15 July, RBI said banks can borrow up to Rs.75,000 crore of money from it at 7.25%. Any excess of it shall be borrowed at a special rate called Marginal Standing Facility (MSF), which it raised to 10.25% from 8.25%. However, the rupee continued to fall and RBI, on July 23, further restricted this liquidity to 0.5% of a banks own demand base. This effectively halved the money a bank can borrow from RBI to Rs.37,500 crore. It also directed banks to keep 99% of their cash reserve ratio, or the portion of deposit that banks need to keep with RBI on a daily basis. The central bank has clarified that it gives priority to contain rupee-volatility and it chooses to curb inflation over growth. The latest measure of auctioning CMBs is aimed at absorbing the excess liquidity from the economy even as demand for such short-term bills is high. This is expected to bring some positive effect in terms of improving the position of Rupee as well as some impact on inflation.

Under nutrition in women linked with their unequal status

August 14th, 2013

The unequal social status of women could play a significant role in the mysterious high under nutrition levels. India has higher than expected levels of stunting and under-weight among children and adults. Its quite perplexing that children in India are s horter on average and even than poorer children in sub-Saharan Africa. But childrens poor growth is no surprise, given the enormous range of threats to early life health and net nutrition, sanitation and the disease environment, problematic feeding practices, and low social status of young women. Key observations of Experts: Nobel laureate Amartya Sen focused on food availability and consumption and as per him food consumption alone does not explain the scale of Indias under-nutrition. Dean Spears, an economist, has shown that poor sanitation and open defecation in particular which can be accounted for a large part of the international variation in height, including that between India and sub-Saharan Africa. Diane Coffey an economist and a PhD candidate at the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, along with Reetika Khera of the IIT, Delhi has shown that the younger daughters-in-law in a rural joint family have shorter children on average event after controlling other possible factors. As per him, the difference in status between two daughters-in-law is small compared to other social hierarchies in Indian society, such as between men and women, and between high and low caste people. It is possible that these larger status differences also have important implications for Indian childrens health and well-being.

Research by Angus Deaton, Professor of Economics at Princeton University, has shown that Indian womens nutrition is not improving at the same pace as mens. He has found that Indian mens heights are growing at nearly three times the rates of women and the gap is widening and genetic variations across and between countries are not important for height.

Intermixing of Population happened in India for 2,300 years

August 12th, 2013

As per the scientists from the Hyderabad based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Harvard Medical School, Indian population was derived from two major ancestral populations Ancestral North Indians (ANI) and Ancestral South Indians (ASI) which dont have major genetic differences. The ANI-derived populations and ASI-derived populations mixed together to form the modern day population in the long time period of 2300 years. This admixing continued for an extended period until practice of endogamy became the norm. The extent of admixture increased among the groups including the isolated tribes like the Paliyar that live in Kodaikanal Hills and Bhil that are primarily located in Rajasthan. But some populations like the Vysya from Andhra Pradesh didnt experience the mixing from neighbouring groups in India for around 3,000 years.
What is ANI and ASI population?

The ANI population is related to West Eurasians (people of Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caucasus and Europe) where as the ASI population is specifically related to the indigenous Andaman Islanders.
No significant difference between groups across the Indian population:

As per researchers, Indians as a whole do not have major genetic differences even though endogamy has been largely practiced for the last 1,900 years. The endogamy in the respective admixtured populations ensured that no further gene mixture happened between groups for the last 1,900 years and then later caste came and significantly reduced the chances of admixture and made it nearly zero.

Indian government launched the beta version of the Data Portal India
August 12th, 2013

The Portal India :






It is a joint initiative between India and the US and the portal will be available on the official sites of the Indian- and the US governments
What is Data Portal India?

It is a platform developed to provide single point access to datasets, documents, services, tools and applications published by various ministries/government departments for supporting the Open Data initiative of the National Data Sharing & Accessibility Policy (NSDAP). It is a product that is available in open source for global implementation i.e. on Open Government Platform (OGPL) and the entire product is available for download at the Open Source Code Sharing Platform GitHub.
How would Data Portal India be useful?

The portal will enhance transparency in government functioning and also open up avenues for additional usage of government data.

Parimarjan Negi regains Politiken Cup

August 12th, 2013

Grandmaster Parimarjan Negi (Born: February 9, 1993 (age 20))put up a brilliant performance to regain the Politiken Cup chess Title in Copenhagen, Denmark. Parimarjan had recently won the DC International Open in US and tied for the top place in the World Open. The youngest international Grandmaster in chess won the same tournament in 2009. This was Negis second title in the last three outings. Parimarjan Negi studies in the Amity International School and has won various tournaments there. Negi became the youngest Grandmaster inIndia on July 1, 2006 by drawing with Russian Grandmaster Ruslan Sherbakov and finished with six points from nine rounds of the Chelyabinsk Region Superfinal chess tournament in Satka. Parimarjan Negi replaces Pendyala Harikrishna as Indias youngest ever Grand Master.

Chakde India: India wins historic bronze at Junior Women Hockey World Cup
August 12th, 2013

Indias junior women hockeyteam created a history by clinching countrys first ever bronze medal in the junior women hockey World Cup as

they defeated England. The Indian girls beat England 3-2 in the bronze medal play-off to finish on the podium their best-ever showing in the marquee event. Captain Ms Sushila Chanu held that the entire team was delighted to have made the country proud.

assan Rouhani is the new President of Iran

August 12th, 2013

Hassan Rouhani sworn as the new President of Iran in the ceremony held at the Iranian Parliament in Tehran. Rouhani, who will have 4-year tenure as President, is the 7th (different) President of Iran after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. He secured a little over 50% votes to win the election and succeeded Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Some facts about the election of the President in Iran:

The President of Iran is elected as per rules envisaged in the countrys Constitution. As per the Constitution of Iran, the President is elected by an absolute majority of votes polled by the voters. The President must be elected from among religious and political personalities. The President is elected for 4-year term by the direct vote of the people. His re-election for a successive term is allowed only once.

Robert Mugabe re-elected as Zimbabwes President

August 12th, 2013

Robert Mugabe has been re-elected as Zimbabwes President for next fiveyear term amid Zimbabwes Movement of Democratic Change (MDC)allegations of fraud in the elections. MDC has decided to challenge an election victory by President Robert Mugabes Zanu-PF party in the court. Western observers were kept out by Harare and independent domestic monitors have described the vote as deeply flawed by registration problems that may have disenfranchised up to a million people.

RGGVY programme to be continued for rural electrification: Government

August 12th, 2013

In order to continue providing electricity to all rural households the government has decided to carry on with the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY). The continuation of RGGVY in the current Plan period has been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).

Requirements to continue the Programme:

Capital subsidy of Rs 35,447 crore will be needed to continue the programme, including Rs 12,849 crore towards run over works. Rs 23,397 crore would be met through Gross Budgetary Support for the 12 th Plan period (2012-17) and the remaining Rs 12,050 crore would fall over to the 13th Plan. The programme will cover all remaining census villages and habitations with a population of above 100.
About Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY):

Launched in April 2005 with the objective of providing electricity to all rural households. The programme seeks to provide free electricity connections to BPL (Below Poverty Line) households at the rate of Rs 3,000 per connection in villages and habitations with population of above 100. The scheme was initially approved with capital subsidy of Rs 5,000 crore for the last two years of the 10th Plan period ending March 2007. It continued in 11th Plan with capital subsidy of Rs 28,000 crore. During 2011-12 an additional capital subsidy of Rs 6,000 crore was approved by the Planning Commission. During the previous two Plan periods, 648 projects entailing a total cost of Rs 42,060.44 crore covering 1,12,795 un-electrified villages, 4,02,364 partially electrified villages and 275.69 lakh BPL households were sanctioned.

Foreign Telecom vendors refusal to share design details delays TTSCC

August 12th, 2013

Foreign telecom equipment vendors have refused to share their design details with the Indias telecom equipment testing lab- Telecom Testing and Security Certification Centre (TTSCC) for it may conflict with their business interests. TTSCC was decided to be set up at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore by the Department of Telecom (DoT) keeping in view the security issues. Due to this refusal, the setting up of TTSCC which would have become fully operational by April 2013 is now delayed. The DoT was asked to start the first round of security audit beginning mid-2012, but now all this will be further delayed.
What does this Foreign Telecom vendors refusal to share design details mean to India?

This is a major debacle for the governments initiative towards creating a safe to connect telecom network in the country. In 2001, the Centre had asked the DoT to ensure that all telecom service providers (TSPs) should induct only safe to connect telecom equipment in their network, besides ensuring annual security audit of all TSPs to create a telecom infrastructure sans bugs and leakages.
Rising concerns about foreign telecom equipment

The US and other western countries are more cautious while deploying foreign made telecom networks especially those being imported from Chinese equipment

makers, Huawei and ZTE. The US also found security loopholes in products supplied by Huawei through testing procedures and has thus banned supplies from Huawei.
Who conducts the telecom equipment testing at present in India?

The testing of equipment in India is dependent on unreliable methods of self-certification by operators. The National Security Council had highlighted the fear of attacks on telecom networks and stealing of sensitive information and data.

India may get lesson from Chinas plans to curtail brain drain
August 11th, 2013

The government of China has taken an initiative to get back some of the countrys best and brightest minds. The brain drain problem was taking away top scientific talent of the country. The Communist Party of Chinas (CPC) co-ordination groups stated that 87% of top specialists in science and engineering who went overseas had no plans to return.
Steps taken by the Coordination Groups of China to curb brain drain:

In 2010, the government launched a 10-year development plan to bring back 2,000 top Chinese specialists in the fields ofinformation technology, aerospace and biotechnology. The Ministry of Education has also set up a 600-million-Yuan fund for 20,000 returnees to carry out research in the sciences. The State run Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), a top research body, has put in place a programme offering two million Yuan to returnees for research. The CAS succeeded in bringing back 1,568 scientists in the ten years. The government has also started reaching out to younger overseas Chinese students. It has launched summer camps funding as many as 30,000 Chinese residing in 55 countries to travel to China every year in an attempt to make them more familiar with their society. These measures taken by China may hold some lesson for Indiawho is facing the same challenge of brain drain. As per UNDP estimates,India loses $2 billion a year because of the emigration of computer experts to the U.S. Indian students going abroad for their higher studies costs India a foreign exchange outflow of $10 billion annually.
What is Brain drain?

Brain drain (or human capital flight), is the large-scale emigration of a large group of individuals with technical skills or knowledge. Although the term originally referred to technology workers leaving a nation, the meaning has broadened into: the departure of

educated or professional people from one country, economic sector, or field for another, usually for better pay or living conditions.
What is the background of brain drain?

The term brain drain was coined by the Royal Society to describe the emigration of scientists and technologists to North America from post-war Europe. Some findings also indicate that this term was first used in the United Kingdom to describe the influx of Indian scientist and engineers. The converse phenomenon of brain drain is brain gain which happens to the country of destination of these emigrants.
What are the reasons behind brain drain?

The reasons usually include two aspects which respectively come from countries and individuals. In terms of countries, the reasons may be social environment (in source countries: lack of opportunities, political instability or oppression, economic depression, health risks, etc.; in host countries: rich opportunities, political stability and freedom, developed economy, better living conditions, etc.). In terms of individual reasons, there are family influences (overseas relatives), and personal preference: preference for exploring, ambition for an improved career, etc.
What is the impact of brain drain?

Brain drain is usually regarded as an economic cost, since emigrants usually take with them the fraction of value of their training sponsored by the government or other organizations. It is a parallel of capital flight, which refers to the same movement of financial capital.

Recognized NABL labs to test mid day meals

August 11th, 2013

Recognized laboratories under the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories (NABL) will collect the samples to test the microbiological presence/absence of e-coli, chemical parameters such as moisture content, fats, proteins and calorific value of the mid day meals. The measure has come after the death of 23 children in a school in Chhapra in Bihar who died after consuming contaminated food served in the midday meal scheme.
How the mid day meals will be monitored?

Periodic reports and monitoring at the local level through the school monitoring committees as well as by the State government officials. An independent monitoring through 41 monitoring institutes such as IIT Chennai, Visva Bharati, and the XLRI has also been ensured by the Centre. The Joint Review Missions (JRM) visit States at regular intervals. Presently 7 JRMs have been conducted, and 13 more are planned. Surprise visits will be made from time to time.

What are the steps taken by the government to improve the quality of mid day meal?

HRD and Tourism Ministries are working together on imparting training for cooks through Hotel Management Institutes and the Food Craft Institutes. A 10-day full time course will be organized which will impart knowledge in terms of the caloric and nutritive values. The course will emphasize on the methods of cooking for retaining the nutritive value of cooking ingredients, issues of malnutrition and nutrition levels and the importance of regular washing of hands.

Izumo, Japans biggest warship unveiled

August 8th, 2013

Japan has unveiled its biggest warship since World War II calledIzumo.
About Izumo:

Flat top destroyer resembling a conventional aircraft carrier. Nearly 250 metres (820 feet) long flight deck which can carry up to 14 helicopters. Used particularly in anti-submarine warfare and border-area surveillance missions. It will boost Japans ability to transport personnel and supplies in response to large-scale natural disasters, like the devastating earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

Tension escalates between U.K.-Spain over Gibraltar

August 8th, 2013

There is a sudden spike in the Anglo-Spanish conflict over Gibraltar asSpain has threatened to impose border charges and close airspace which can turn into a form of economic blockade of the peninsula.
Where is Gibraltar?

Gibraltar, less than six square kilometres, is a limestone outcrop at the mouth of the Mediterranean. The Rock- as it is popularly known is a British Overseas Territory, although Spain, which it borders, also claims sovereignty. The people who live there are British citizens but they run their own affairs under a chief minister.
How Gibraltar is governed?

Gibraltar is a self-governing territory in all matters including taxation except foreign policy and defence, which are in the hands of the UK government.
Strategic Importance of Gibralatar:

It is strategically important as located at the mouth of the Mediterranean only 20km (12 miles) from the north coast of Africa. It has a NATO base, including a port and airstrip.
What is the UK-Spain-Gibraltar conflict?

The conflict over the sovereignty of Gibraltar is not new but has been for centuries. It is this conflict which has manifested itself in the form of a dispute over fishing rights. Both Spain and Gibraltar have claimed jurisdiction over the waters off the Rock, and both sides have complained about breach into what they claim are their waters. Both nations have also invoked environmental laws in a bid to strengthen their claims. The tension between the two sides escalated when Gibraltar without prior notice- dropped concrete blocks into the bay to create an artificial reef to encourage sea life to flourish in what it sees as its marine reserve. Spain claimed that it has contravened its own environmental laws and damaged its fishing industry, because Spanish fishing nets were in danger of catching on the concrete reef blocks.
What Spain has threatened to do?

Spain has imposed more rigorous border checks at the crossing point between Spain and Gibraltar which led to extremely long traffic queues. Spain is also contemplating introducing a 50 euro (43) fee to cross the border, which is at Spains southern tip and has also threatened to close its airspace to flights heading to Gibraltar. The Spanish tax authorities can launch an investigation into property owned by around 6,000 Gibraltarians in neighboring parts of Spain and the law can be changed so that online gambling companies operating from Gibraltar have to use Spanish servers if they want to operate in Spain, thus

coming under Madrids taxation regime. Spain can also stop concrete and other materials being brought in through the border for the building of the reef.
Is fishing the only issue annoying Spain?

No. Apart from fishing there are other issues too. There is considerable traffic between Spain and the Rock, including people who cross the border daily to live and work, but Madrid alleges that the border is being abused. Other problems include Cigarette smuggling and circumventing of Spanish residency taxes as Spain see it a corporate tax haven which allows companies and wealthy individuals to avoid paying millions.
Is this conflict over Gibraltar new?

No. The conflict has continued for centuries. First Spain fought Moorish invaders. Then it lost Gibraltar to an Anglo-Dutch force in 1704. The Spanish, despite formally ceding it to London in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, have wanted it back ever since. Under Franco, Spain cut Gibraltar off by sealing its frontier. In 1984 the Spanish and UK governments started negotiations, but the process eventually crumbled over Spains demands that the territory should reve rt to full Spanish sovereignty after 50 years of shared control. However, the border was reopened in 1985.
The Cordoba Agreement:

The Cordoba Agreement was signed in 2006 between the governments of Spain, the UK and Gibraltar. The pact included deals on issues like border crossings and access for flights. It also committed them to a tripartite forum for regular talks, but Madrid is not happy to abide by it.

Raghuram Rajan appointed as the next RBI Governor

August 8th, 2013

Raghuram Govind Rajan (50), who is currently the Chief Economic Adviser to the Govt. of India, has been appointed as Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for 3 years. He will take over from D. Subbarao who demits office on September 4, 2013. The appointment was approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Dr. Rajan, who is credited to have correctly predicted the 2008 financial crisis, is set to take over the helm of the central bank at a time when the economy is grappling with a multipronged crisis of high consumer price inflation, industrial slowdown, sharp depreciation of the rupee and a widening current account deficit.

Researchers produce Worlds first lab-grown beef burger

August 8th, 2013

Scientists from the Maastricht University in the Netherlands have produced the first labgrown beef burger of the world which is being seen as a step towards food revolution. The burger was served to the volunteers in London.
What is so special about this Hamburger (Worlds first lab-grown beef burger)?

The worlds first lab-grown beef burger, developed in the lab of Professor Mark Post of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, weighed 140g with production cost 250000 Euros or 330000 US dollar. The beef used in the burger was developed from the stem cells extracted from a living cow. As claimed by scientists, when mixed with breadcrumbs, egg powder and salt, for improving its taste; as well as coloured with red beetroot juice and saffron; it will taste very much like a usual burger.
How the beef used in the burger (Worlds first lab-grown beef burger) was produced?

The beef used in the burger was developed by using the stem cells taken from a living cow. Stem cells, as we know, are the master cells with a unique capability to grow into multiple types of cells i.e. blood, tissue, muscle, etc. Scientists, then placed these cells in a nutritional medium to grow into small strands of meat. Thousands of these meat strands were used for making the burger.
Why there is so much excitement about the in-vitro development of beef-burger?

Many view this development as a step towards food revolution as this success has the capability to produce meat without actually rearing any animal. The research has the following prospects: It can address the concerns of growing food demands due to increasing population. It can also alleviate the pressure on environment as doing away with animal rearing for meat production would also reduce the carbon footprint and also lessen the pressure on

land, water and other resources. (Cattles like pig, cow, chicken and buffaloes are known to produce methane which is also a Green House Gas). A study found that the lab-grown beef makes use of 45% less energy than average global representative figure for farming cattle. Besides, it also produces 96% less greenhouse gas emissions and requires 99% less land as well.
What is PETAs stance on growing meat in lab?

PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, supports attempts to grow meat in labs because they say that will greatly diminish the amount of animal suffering. Donor animals are needed for the muscle cells, but taking those samples doesnt hurt the animal. One sample can theoretically provide up to 20,000 tons of lab-made meat. Continue reading

HAL signs MoU with Transparency International India

August 8th, 2013

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Transparency International India (TII), the coalitions against corruption, to promote corruption-free, fair and transparent business practices in the company. TII will advise HAL and support it in implementing its integrity pact programme. HAL is the firstdefence public enterprise to sign the MoU.
About Transparency International

Transparency International (TI) is a non-governmental organization that monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development. It publishes an annual Corruption Perceptions Index, a comparative listing of corruption worldwide. The headquarters is located inBerlin, Germany. Note: Currently India ranks 94th on the CPI released in December 2012.

China unveils first Giant Panda channel

August 8th, 2013

China Network Television has launched an internet channel dedicated to the conservation of Giant Panda. The website will show live 24-hour high-definition (HD) Internet broadcasts of the daily activities of the 80 endangered Pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of the Giant Panda Breeding in the southwest Sichuan Province which is Chinas premier panda breeding facility. Documentaries and a 30 -minute panda-themed programme will also be broadcast everyday on the
What is the status of Giant Pandas?

Giant Pandas are one of the worlds most endangered species. About 1,600 pandas live in the wild, mostly in the mountains of Sichuan, while more than 300 live in captivity.

World Bank & ADB to provide $ 400m to disaster-hit Uttarakhand

August 8th, 2013

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $ 400 million for reconstruction and rehabilitation in the disaster-hit areas inUttarakhand. The fund would be

spent in works in sectors including the housing, tourism, irrigation, agriculture, education, and health sector. Of the total money received, $ 95 million would be spent in the construction of roads. Also, $ 20 million would be given to the five hydro-power projects that are funded by the ADB and have been damaged due to the recent flood-disaster.

Amazons Jeffrey Bezos to buy Washington Post

August 8th, 2013

The Washington Post, an American daily newspaper, has announced its sale to Amazon founder and CEO Jeffrey P Bezos. Bezos has agreed to buy the newspaper assets of the Washington Post Company for $ 250 million. The decision to sell the assets was made following the decline in revenue and fall in the circulation of its copies. The Washington Post has been owned by the Graham family for 80 years. Currently, Donald E. Graham is the Chairman and Chief Executive of Washington Post. In another major deal, the Boston Globe, one of the most renowned newspapers in US was sold by New York Times Company to John Henry, the American billionaire owner of Liverpool Football Club for $70 million. Globe was launched in 1993 and broke the records of highest price ever paid to the American newspaper. Fall of the newspapers circulation to nearly half over a decade is one of the reasons behind the sale.
Why there is decline in the circulation of newspapers in USA?

The print based newspaper is facing stiff competition from the internet based sources of news. People are switching from the conventional medium to internet and other modern mediums.

Arundhati Bhattacharya is the new managing director of SBI

August 6th, 2013

The Govt. has appointment Arundhati Bhattacharya has been appointed as the new managing director of the State Bank of India (SBI). Previously, Bhattacharya was the managing director of SBI Capital, the merchantbanking arm of the bank.
Who is SBIs first woman MD (Managing Director)?

Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya will be State Bank of Indias first woman managing director.
Who was the first Woman MD (Managing Director) of a Public Sector bank in India?

The first woman MD of a Public sector bank in India was Ms Ranjana Kumar. The Government of India appointed Ms Ranjana Kumar as the Chairperson and managing

Director of the Indian Bank, she became the first woman to become head of a public sector bank in India.
Some other ladies who are at present heading banks in India:

Public Sector Banks: United Bank of India: Ms. Archana Bhargav (Chairman & MD) Allahabad Bank: Ms Shubhalakshmi Panse (Chairman & MD) Private Sector Banks: ICICI Bank: Ms.Chanda Kochhar (MD & CEO) Axis Bank: Ms Shikha Sharma (MD & CEO)

Rajeev Rishi appointed as Chairman and MD of Central Bank of India

August 6th, 2013

The Central Government has appointed Rajeev Rishi, Executive Director, Indian Bank has been appointed as the Chairman and Managing Director, Central Bank of India. He will have a tenure of five years from the date of taking over charge. Prior to his appointment as Chairman & Managing Director of Central Bank of India Shri Rishi was the Executive Director of Indian Bank since October 2010.

Cyber criminals stealing information during tax filing rush: McAfee

August 6th, 2013

Cyber security firm McAfee has warned online tax filers to be cautious of the phishing scams and fake ads which are being perpetrated by cyber criminals to make the most of income tax e-filing rush to to steal confidential financial data of users. Cyber criminals try to take advantage of the rush during the last days of e-filing as tax payers try to meet the deadline set by the I-T department.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes, the administrative authority of the Income-Tax Department, has extended the deadline for filing returns, both manual and electronic, to August 5, 2013. As per McAfee, cyber criminals use phishing scams where an e-mail is sent to a number of people, saying income-tax refund is available, and once it is clicked, the user is directed to a website similar to the one owned by Income-Tax Department. Consumers are then directed to disclose personal financial details, which help scammers empty their credit card or bank account. These criminals also use fake tax filing ads that claim to help you to file taxes and direct you to fraudulent websites that steals your financial data. McAfee has asked people filing tax returns online not to open any suspicious websites or emails from an untrustworthy source. The Income-Tax Department does not request personal information such as PIN numbers, passwords or similar access information for credit cards, banks or other financial accounts through e-mails.

India win over Zimbabwe is countrys first-ever ODI Series whitewash on foreign soil
August 6th, 2013

History was created when India thrashed Zimbabwe in the final match of the five-match ODI series played in Zimbabwe. The victory marked Indias first-ever fivematch ODI series whitewash on foreign soil. The Indian team, under the captaincy Virat Kohli, achieved the feat when they pipped Zimbabwe by 7 wickets in the fifth and final one-dayer at Bulawayo.

Union Cabinet gives nod to 10% stake sale in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)
August 6th, 2013

The Union Cabinet has given nod to the proposal to divest 10% government stake in Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). The move expected to fetch around Rs. 3,750 crore to the exchequer at the current market price. Currently, the government controls 78.92% stake in IOC. IOC is Indias largest oil refiner and has a market capitalization of Rs. 54,519 crore. It posted a net profit of Rs. 5,005 crore in 2012-13, up from Rs. 3,954 crore in 2011-12. IOC sells fuel at below-market prices, for which it is partially compensated by the government. The government has set a disinvestment target through PSU stake sales in the current financial year is Rs. 40,000 crore. So far, it has managed to garner only around R929 crore through stake sale in MMTC, Hindustan Copper and National Fertiliser.

Agni V missile expected to be operational by 2015

August 6th, 2013

According to Tessy Thomas, director, Agni Missile Project, DefenceResearch and Development Organisation (DRDO), two or three more successful test firings, the Agni V missile is likely to be operational by 2015.
Salient features of Agni V

Intercontinental ballistic missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) of India. Part of the Agni series of missiles, one of the missile systems under the original Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme. Range of 5,5005,800 km. It will allow India to strike targets across Asia and into Europe. A 3 stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the second and third stage. Carry MIRV (Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles) payloads. A single MIRV equipped missile can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. Incorporate advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance. First successfully test-fired by DRDO from Wheeler Island off the coast of Orissa on April 19, 2012. With this, India joined an elite nuclear club that also included China, Russia, France, the US, the UK and possibly Israel.

Government considering giving TRAI authority to impose penalty

August 6th, 2013

As per Telecom Ministry, the government is thinking taking away penalizing powers, which are used to punish service providers for not complying with rules and regulations, from the Department of Telecom (DoT), and giving these to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI).
Why the government intends to transfer the penalizing powers to TRAI?

As per the government, the Department of Telecom (DoT) is imposing excessive penalties on the telecom operators who fail to adhere to rules. As per industry estimates, telecom service providers are facing penalty to the tune of Rs. 6,500 crore. Of this, Rs. 1,900 crore has been imposed with regards to EMF (radiation) issues. The government intends to bring in proportionality so that penalty levied in some way is related to seriousness of the violation of the licence condition. Therefore, it is mulling to transfer penalizing powers from DoT to TRAI. Currently, while TRAI has the power to regulate and monitor rates, quality and other parameters of telecom and broadcasting services to protect consumer interest, it does not have the power to impose penalties on service providers for failing to adhere to rules.

Rail Tariff Authority gets Cabinets approval

August 6th, 2013

Union Cabinet has given nod to the set up Rail Tariff Authority (RTA) in order to improve the financial situation of the Railways forthwith without any delay.

The RTA has been mandated to completely eliminate the subsidy component and cross-subsidy of passenger fares from surplus generated from freight business completely within 10 years. To set up RTA, the Cabinet has directed the Law Ministry to initiate the process through an executive order. This will save time than going by the Parliament approval route which is a long drawn process that needs more than six months. By setting up the authority through an executive order, the government would obtain the first ruling from the authority for raising passenger fares. It would not only be speed up the process of decision-making, but rake in more revenue in the process.
What is the urgency to raise passenger fares?

The net loss in the passenger segment has been rising at a steep rate of 17.6% and has mounted to a whopping Rs. 22,507 crore in 2011-12. With the Railways finding it difficult to meet even their operating expenses, there has been little or no progress on the development and growth front. To make the Railways self- sufficient, the Authoritys domain is to generate surplus funds for creating and maintaining rail infrastructure on a long term basis.

EM-DAT data: Surge in natural disasters linked to population density

August 6th, 2013

As per a recent study report released by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), an increase in people living in perilous conditions, poverty, environmental degradation and climate change have been rendering Indiavulnerable to intense disasters. These conditions that lead to precipitation extremes are giving a rise to water-related catastrophes. As per EM-DAT data, India confronts the second most number of intense floods in the world after China, according to EM-DAT data. The study titled Climate-Related Disasters in Asia and the Pacific , shows an association between the rise in floods and storms and more precipitation and dryness linked to rising green house gases and temperatures. The EM-DAT data shows Bangladesh, and Vietnam at exceptional risk. China, India, Myanmar, thePhilippines,

Key findings of Climate-Related Disasters in Asia and the Pacific study:

Population density is a key factor that drives hydro-meteorological natural disasters (floods, storms), both statistically and economically. 1% increase in population density is associated with a 1.2% to 1.8% increase in the frequency of intense hydrometeorological disasters. It implies that densely populated countries like India are more likely to incur over 100 deaths or have over 1,000 people affected when a storm or flood hits. High population vulnerability and deterioration climate trends, related to natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific, loom over the regions economic success and affect its strategic importance in the global economy.

In Asia and the Pacific, the population continues to grow relative to the global total, and its economy helps drive global economic growth. Still, global manufacturing has moved to some very hazard-prone and ill-prepared areas. For eg: The Thailandfloods of 2011 and their huge impact on the supply of computer hard drives and auto parts. The poorer populations are more vulnerable to intense natural disasters. Less poor economies those with less than 30% of the population living below $1.25 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) a day are less likely to experience a lower frequency of intense natural disasters than economies with higher poverty incidence.
What is Emergency Events Database EM-DAT?

Emergency Events Database EM-DAT is a global database on natural and technological disasters that contains essential core data on the occurrence and effects of more than 17,000 disasters in the world from 1900 to present. Since 1988, EM-DAT is maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters ( CRED) at the School of Public Health of the Universit catholique de Louvain located in Brussels,Belgium.
Objective of EM-DAT:

To assist humanitarian action at both national and international levels; to rationalize decision-making for disaster preparedness; and to provide an objective basis for vulnerability assessment and priority setting.

Health Ministry revokes Pioglitazone suspension

August 6th, 2013

As per a notification issued by the Union HealthMinistry, the suspension imposed on the diabetes drug Pioglitazone and all its combinations has been repealed.
Why Pioglitazone was banned earlier?

Under the Drugs and Cosmetic Act 30-B, sale of any drug, the use of which is prohibited in the country of origin, is banned in India until clinical data substantiate that it is risk free. There are several health risks involved with Pioglitazone. Though it is generally used in against type 2 diabetes and hyperglycemia, there has been higher occurrence of fractures hands and feet in female diabetics given this drug and is also associated with bladder cancer and congestive heart failure as found in some Western studies.
What are the new guidelines for the sale of Pioglitazone?

The Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) has recommended that the drug may be allowed to be sold and consumed in the country, with sufficient caution. It suggested that the manufacture and sale of Pioglitazone may be allowed, provided the manufacturer clearly mentions on the package insert and promotional literature of the drug that Pioglitazone may not be used as a first line of therapy for diabetes. It has also recommended that the

manufacturers carry a box warning, clearly mentioning the risks/side effects of the drug in bold red letters on the package. It has also asked the doctors to make sure that the drug is not used in persons with active bladder cancer or a history of bladder cancer in the family. Doctors should review the safety and efficacy of the drug after three to six months of prescription and the drug maybe continued only if the patient seems to be deriving any benefit.

CCEA gives nod to IIT-Hs project with Japan

August 6th, 2013

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the collaboration of IIT-Hyderabad andJapan- a joint project which aims at valueaddition for the institute, along with an academic and industry interface between the institute and Japan. The project will be carried out via an Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan from the Japanese government and the Union HRD Ministry. Project cost: The project cost of Rs. 1,776.50 crore will be met through the ODA loan of Rs. 1,501.72 crore, while the balance of Rs. 274.77 crore will be endured by grants from the HRD Ministry over a period of four years between 201314 and 201617.
How would the Collaboration of IIT-Hyderabad and Japan project help?

The project would add value through collaborative interactions between academics and with the industry of Japan and by exchange of students and faculty. This will enhance cooperation between the two countries in the field of science and technology and human resource development. The project would also help create of a number of basic infrastructurefacilities and faster scaling up of the IIT with benefits for the Indianeconomy.

CCEA nod to create Special National Investment Fund

August 6th, 2013

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved a mechanism to bring down the government shareholding in its six sick companies to the required 90% or less. As per CCEA decision, a Special National Investment Fund will be created to transfer shares of these companies HMT, Scooters India, Hindustan Photo Films Manufacturing Co, ITI, Andrew Yule & Co and Fertilizers & Chemicals (Travancore) Ltd.
What will Special National Investment Fund do?

The government has decided to sell the 90% of less of the equities it holds in the above mentioned six sick companies. As per the SEBIs minimum public holding norms, all government-owned units will have to have at least 10% of public holding. The number of shares required to make the six companies compliant with the minimum public share holding norm will be transferred to the Special National Investment Fund out of government share holding on an irrevocable basis, without any consideration (meaning,

money changing hands). The fund will be managed by independent professional managers. It will sell the transferred shares within 5 years. The funds realized from the sale would be used for social sector schemes of the government.

Research links Climate Change to Human Conflict

August 6th, 2013

As per a latest study from University of California, Berkeley which analysed 60 studies on climate change, by 2050, human conflict could rise by 50% due to the rising temperatures. The study covered all major types of violence and revealed large and clear changes in human behavior in response to climate. The research examined human behavior in relation to climate over the past 12,000 years in order to find a link between hot weather and aggression. It was found that intergroup conflict soared by 14% and interpersonal violence rose 4% for each temperature rise. As per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over the past century, the Earths average temperature has risen by 1.4F. Alt hough this appears minute, small average temperature changes translate to large and potentially dangerous shifts in climate, which researchers have now revealed also creates hostile environments. The researchers examined studies from a wide variety of fields including climatology, archaeology, economics, political science, and psychology to make the study accurate and valid. It examined various aspects of climate, such as rainfall, drought, and temperature and cross-analyzed with various forms and degrees of violence in broad categories. The factors were divided into the following groups with specific links to historical events: personal violence and crime like murder, assault, rape, and domestic violence; intergroup violence and political instability like civil wars, riots, ethnic violence, and land invasions; and instructional breakdowns like abrupt and major changes in governing institutions or the collapse of entire civilizations. The studies found that aggression aggravates as high as 16% in anything hostile from hornhonking to domestic violence, assault, rape, and murder during periods of hotter climates . A temperature rise of just 2F, in fact, could increase intergroup conflicts, such as civil wars, by over 50%.
How did the researchers discern that heat makes us angrier, especially in designed studies?

In one of the studies, researchers deliberately caused traffic at a high temperature at a crossing in Phoenix in order to see whether drivers without air conditioning were more likely to honk angrily than drivers in climate-controlled vehicles. Results showed that, indeed, those that were hotter honked more.

France to reduce Rafale order, programme depends upon Indian defense deal
August 6th, 2013

France government has decided to cut back its orders for Rafale fighter jets from the current 11 per year to just 26 over the next six years. The move is likely to de-stabilize the entire Rafale programme unless Dassault Aviation is able to ink the India contract for the sale of 126 fighters for over 10 billion.
How the French decision to reduce the order can impact the Rafael programme?

France, in its new Defence Review, known in French as the Draft Military Programme (LPM),for French forces from 2014 to 2019, has announced to make savings particularly through a Reduction in Force (RIF) exercise, through the sale of immovable assets belonging to the countrys armed services and by limiting its orders for the Rafale. Earlier, Dassault Aviation, who is running the Rafael programme, had obtained the purchase by the military of 11 jets a year from the French government. But now the government has decided to cut back the order to 26 fighters in next six years creating a shortfall of 4 billion for Dassault. Now, the position is such that Dassault Aviation should count only on exports to support the production of the multirole combat aircraft. Dassault Aviation will have to sell some 40 planes to Frances commercial partners if it is to juggle production costs, the armys requirements and the minimum number of aircraft it must build to maintain the commercial validity of the Rafale programme. However, the French government is still optimistic that the planes would be sold abroad. India is yet to sign the order for the purchase of 126 fighters for over 10 billion and beyond October 2013, with elections looming large on the horizon, it is difficult to think of a quick signature on the biggest defence tender ever floated by India.

Sugathakumari conferred with Saraswati Samman 2013

August 6th, 2013

Noted Malayalam poetess Sugathakumari has been conferred with the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2012 for Manalezhuthu (the Writings on the Sand), a collection of poems in Malayalam.
About Saraswati Samman Award

Saraswati Samman Award was instituted by KK Birla Foundation in 1991 to honor outstanding literary work in any Indian language which is the part of Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. The Award is recognized as the most prestigious and the highest literary honor in the country. The award carries cash prize of 10 lakh Rupees, a plaque as well as a citation.

Note: Ismat Chughtai was the first person to receive Saraswati Samman for his work in Urdu Literature.

CCEA approves dilution of safeguards for FDI in multi-brand retail

August 4th, 2013

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its nod for the dilution of certain safeguards including relaxing the 30% sourcing norm and doing away with the mandatory 50% condition for backend infrastructure investment which were approved by Parliament while allowing 49% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multibrand retail announced in 2012. Though the changes were strongly opposed by theMinistry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) but they were ignored by the CCEA while approving the new norms seeking to attract much needed FDI investments by global retail chains in Multi-brand Retail Trade (MBRT).
What are the changes in the FDI in multibrand approved by the CCEA?

As per the CCEA: The norm of 30% mandatory sourcing from small scale industries clause has been waived off. Under the new policy, medium scale industries with total investment not exceeding $2 million would also be made eligible for sourcing of manufactured/processed to products. This requirement would be reckoned only at the time of first engagement with the retailer and such industry shall continue to qualify for this purpose even if it outgrows the investment of $2 million during the course of its relationship with the said retailer. The number of cities to be covered under the MBRT policy has also been increased by amending the clause of permitting cities or States with less than 10 lakh population also to open front end stores with the permission of the States or Union Territories. The clause that makes it mandatory for retail companies to invest at least 50% of total FDI brought in the backend infrastructure has also been diluted. Under the new policy, the 50% of total FDI investment would only apply to the first tranche of $100 million to be invested in backend infrastructure within 3 years. Hikes in FDI caps in many sectors from 74 % to 100 % in the telecom sector, from 26% to 49% in the insurance sector- have been approved. The Cabinet Committee on Security has been allowed to go beyond 26% in defence on a case-to-case basis. It also raised sectoral caps and altered the approval route in petroleum and natural gas, single-brand retail, power and commodity exchanges in certain other sectors.

RBIs cash-tightening measures to stay until Forex market stabilizes: Subbarao

August 4th, 2013

RBI Governor D Subbarao has defended the central banks stance on choosing inflation over growth, saying that when the inflation threshold limit is crossed, it becomes difficult to make a trade-off. He explained that there is a threshold level of inflation. If the inflation is below that level, then RBI can make that trade-off. But if it isnt, then it cant afford to do the same as inflation hurts the poor section of the country the most and for this reason some sacrifice of growth is inevitable to curb inflation. He said that this sacrifice in growth is only for the short-term. In the long-term, curbing inflation will be supportive of growth. He refused to give any time-frame of the current cash-tightening measures taken by the central bank and indicated that these measures will stay until volatility in the foreign exchange market is curbed.

India to launch indigenous Aircraft Carrier project

August 4th, 2013

India will launch its biggest ever Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC)project, in terms of size and complexity of design, on August 12 at Kochi. Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) project: It will be Indias biggest Indigenous Aircraft Carrier warship with a displacement of 40,000-tonne. The project will render India to join the select club of nations like the U.S., France, Russia and the U.K., who are capable of designing and building 40,000-tonne aircraft carriers. Being built by the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) It has a length of 260 metres and a maximum breadth of 60 metres. Propelled by two shafts to attain speeds in excess of 28 knots. Two take off runways and a landing strip with three arrester wires. Very high degree of automation for machinery operation, navigation and survivability. With the launch of the project, the warship will be fitted with Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR SAM) system with multi-function radar and Close-in Weapon System (CIWS), MiG 29K fighter jets, the naval version of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), helicopters, early air warning radar and direction finding systems. After extensive sea trials in 2016, IAC will be commissioned by 2018, the time when Viraat who is currently serving as Indias aircraft carrier, would have clocked the time for its decommissioning.

CCEA approves 10% stake sell of IOC

August 3rd, 2013

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved the proposal for sale of 10% of government stake in countrys largest refiner Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), which is likely to generate around Rs.3,840 crore to the exchequer. The selling will be carried out through the offer for sale route. Currently, the government controls 78.92% stake in IOC. IOC has a market capitalisation of Rs.54,519 crore. It posted a net profit of Rs.5,005 crore in 2012-13, up from Rs.3,954 crore in the 2012. The government has set the disinvestment target of Rs.40,000 crore through the stake sale of public sector undertakings. So far, it has fetched Rs.929 crore through stake sale in MMTC, Hindustan Copper and National Fertiliser.

Pacific Marshall Islands under threat of climate catastrophe

August 3rd, 2013

The Marshall Islands has sought support to ward-off a future Pacific climate catastrophe that, it says, will expunge it from the map without critical action on global warming. The government of the Marshall Island has called for decisive action on climate change and has insisted US Secretary of State John Kerry to attend the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum to be hosted by Australia in September 2013 where a major climate declaration is likely to be made. Marshall Island seeks to present Majuro Declaration to the United Nations General Assembly to help renew global efforts on emissions reduction as the Pacific region battles rising seas and growing numbers of so-called climate refugees. The tiny Pacific atoll of 55,000 people, which is located at an average of just two metres above sea level, was already feeling the heat of global warming with an unprecedented seven-month drought in the north and a devastating king tide earlier this year triggering disaster declarations. The Marshalls government was already ferrying food and drinking water to 13 outer island communities due to drought-linked shortages that were threatening the export of copra, the dried-out flesh of coconuts from which oil is extracted, which underpinned its economy. The island is also facing immigration as climate refugees from neighbouring Kiribati and Tuvalu are taking refuge in the island. The government fears a two-metre sea level rise predicted by the World Bankbefore the end of the century.

Where are the Marshall Islands?

The Marshall Islands, officially the Republic of the Marshall Islands, is an island country located in the northern Pacific Ocean. Geographically, the country is part of the larger island group of Micronesia, with the population of 68,480 people spread out over 34 low-lying coral atolls, comprising 1,156 individual islands and islets. The islands share maritime boundaries with the Federated States of Micronesia to the west, Wake Island to the north, Kiribati to the south-east, and Nauru to the south. The most populous atoll is Majuro, which also acts as the capital.

Govt. approves draft amendments to keep parties outside the purview of RTI Act
August 3rd, 2013

Draft amendments to the Right To Information Act (RTI) have been approved by the Union Cabinet in order to nullify an order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) bringing the 6 national political parties under the ambit of the Act. There is a consensus among almost all major political parties to the proposed amendments as they feel that the CIC has exceeded its jurisdiction by passing such an order.
What was the order passed by CIC regarding RTI Act?

Responding to the petitions by several RTI activists, the CIC had ruled that the national parties have to share details with RTI petitioners on issues related to their funding and the criteria on which they have selected candidates for fighting elections.
Why there is opposition to the CIC order?

As per the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on the CIC order which also echoes the sentiments of most of the parties on this issue, to apply the Right to Information Act and demand access to the internal deliberations of the party whether it be on policy matters, organisational decisions or selection of candidates will constitute a serious infringement of inner-party functioning, confidentiality of discussions and undermine the political party system itself. On the concerns of transparency of the funding and finances of political parties, laws already exists under which all political parties are required to submit their accounts to the Income Tax department and the Election Commission. Already under the RTI, the statement of accounts and the finances of the parties are accessible to anyone from the Election Commission.

Telangana sparks more Statehood demands across the country

August 3rd, 2013

With the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Coordination Committee giving nod to the divide Andhra Pradesh and create Telangana, demands for statehood from several regions of the country backed by political parties have re-emerged, and reluctant State governments are battling new fires.
From where are the demands of separate state coming in India?

The country is witnessing protests demanding creation of separate States from various regions which include: West Bengal: Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), fighting for a Gorkhaland state. Assam: Karbi Anglong state demands have resurfaced. The demand for Bodoland has also re-emerged. Uttar Pradesh: Previous government of UP under Mayawati had proposed splitting Uttar Pradesh into Purvanchal, Bundelkhand, Awadh Pradesh, and Paschim Pradesh, and this was ratified by the Assembly. Maharashtra: Creation of Vidarbha state is being supported by the BJP. The proposed state corresponds to the eastern 11 districts of the state of Maharashtra.

Semaandhra people to search for fourth capital in 60 years

August 3rd, 2013

In case the division of Andhra Pradesh goes through, the people of the newly created Andhra state, which will include the Rayalseema region, will have to search for their fourth capital city in the last 60 years. The creation of the new capital will cost government dearly as according to rough estimates, the government will have to spend a minimum of Rs. 3 lakh crore for creating and developing the State headquarters.
Which places have been the capital of Andhra in past?

Till 1953: Madras was the capital of Telugu-speaking areas of Andhra and Rayalaseema under the integrated Madras Presidency. On October 1, 1953: The State of Andhra was constituted as per the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission and Kurnool (now in Rayalaseema) was declared its capital. On November 1, 1956: Hyderabad was declared the capital of the present Andhara Pradesh formed by the merger of State of Andhra and the State of Hyderabad (Telugu speaking areas under the Nizam rule). Now, with the declaration made for forming Telangana State, the Seemandhra people will have no choice but again to search for a new capital city and the names/cities doing rounds include Ongole, Guntur, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. As proposed, Hyderabad would be joint capital for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana for only 10 years and after that it would go to Telangana.

Earths runaway heating easy to trigger than earlier believed

August 3rd, 2013

A study headed by Colin Goldblatt from the University of Victoria, Canadahas found that it may be possible for a planet to experience a runaway greenhouse effect even if it does not receive a higher amount of solar radiation that is considered necessary to trigger the event.
What is Runaway Greenhouse Effect and how it can impact Earth?

A runaway greenhouse effect is the uncontrolled heating up of a planets surface resulting in the rapid evaporation of its water bodies such as oceans, which get converted to steam and make the planet inhospitable.
What can cause Runaway Greenhouse Effect?

Runaway Greenhouse Effect is caused when the solar radiation absorbed by the planet exceeds the thermal radiation released by it. In ideal conditions, such as in the case of Earth, the absorption and radiation levels are balanced resulting in a temperate climate.
What did the Goldblatts study on Runaway Greenhouse Effect find?

Dr. Goldblatts study has found that a runaway greenhouse effect can be triggered, under specific conditions, even on a planet like Earth receiving normal levels of solar radiation. As per this study, for any given planet (like Earth) there is a fixed upper limit of thermal radiation that helps balance the amount of solar radiation absorbed. The study, conducted using specific computer modeling techniques which have analyzed runaway greenhouse effects at different temperatures, has found that the threshold level for thermal radiation is lower than previously thought. Likewise, the solar radiation levels have been found to be higher than previous estimates. This lower level of thermal radiation can help cause a runaway greenhouse effect easily on Earth than believed earlier. The study compares the findings with planets such as Venus and says that Venus might have experienced a runaway greenhouse effect in the past and that Earths future is analogous to Venuss past. But, it may happen only after a million years or more. It further adds that such an effect is unlikely to happen due to human-induced factors.

Union Govt. launches National Teeka Express

August 3rd, 2013

The National Teeka Express was launched by Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. It has been launched to protect children from lifethreatening childhood diseases.
What is the key motive behind National Teeka Express?

Under Routine Immunization Programme, ANMs collect vaccines from storage point (cold chain point) and transport them to session sites, i.e. either Sub-centre or Anganwari centre for carrying out vaccination. Govt of India provides support for distribution of vaccine from last storage point to outreach immunization session sites at Sub-

centres/Anganwaris, known as Alternate Vaccine Delivery (AVD)under NRHM. However, gaps in the implementation of Alternate Vaccine Delivery in difficult areas with low access to healthcare services have been noticed. This gap may compromise the cold chain maintenance and possible loss of potency of vaccine. Improper storage could also lead to Adverse Events Following Immunization. This is the key reason behind of Teeka Express.
What programme is planned under National Teeka Express?

Govt. of India (GoI) has planned Teeka Express to be piloted in 69 high priority districts with difficult areas and low immunization coverage. For these districts, 1,850 vehicles are planned to be procured with GoI assistance. Designated vehicles under the brand name of National Teeka Express will help in: Distribution of the vaccines and complementary logistics from last cold chain point to immunization session sites. Ensure holding of sessions at the mobile vaccination centre. In order to reduce vaccine wastage and ensure better utilization of vaccines, including costly vaccines like Pentavalent vaccine Teeka Express will be used with reverse cold chain to bring back the open and un-used vaccines for use in subsequent sessions. Serve as a mobile healthcare delivery unit for the areas where there is no healthcare facility or health worker. Collect immunization related bio-medical waste for safe disposal at vaccine storage points. Collect the coverage and immunization performance reports of the session for compilation and preparation of report at PHC. The programme will be implemented in a Phased manner. In the first phase the 120 vehicles of Teeka Express are planned in 6 districts of 5 states namely Rajasthan Alwar; Uttar Pradesh Sharaswati; Haryana Mewat; Jammu and Kashmir Doda and Poonch and Madhya Pradesh Tikamgarh.

India, China play key role to break potash cartel

August 3rd, 2013

India and China together played a significant role in busting a giantRussia-Belarus potash cartel. This move will benefit the importers of potash and ultimately the cultivators as it is likely to bring down its prices significantly.
How did India and China bring down the Russia-Belarus potash cartel?

The giant Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) venture, a cartel of Russias Uralkali and Belarus Belaruskali, accounted for 40% of global potash sales. The BPC had exclusive right to export Belarusian potash. Due to a significant control over the potash market, the cartel used to keep the prices higher by reducing the supplies in the event of fall in demands. Both the Russian and Belarus potash producers are now running at about 60% capacity utilisation.

In December 2012, the exclusive right of BPC was cancelled through a decree signed by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka. Following this move, the cartel collapsed after the Russian partner walked out of the marketing venture. It was Indian and Chinese potash importers that prevailed upon the Belarus leader to sign the fateful degree. The Indian and Chinese importers convinced Mr. Lukashenka that Belarus could earn more if it marketed its potash on its own, rather than through the joint arrangement with Russians. Potash exports in Belarus contribute 6-10% to budget revenues, and Mr. Lukashenka wanted to increase the share at a time when the Belarus is struggling in deep crisis.
How would the busting of Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) venture help?

The breaking of Russia-Belarus potash cartel is likely to push the Uralkali to switch to volume-over-price strategy, which could lead to a 25% drop in world prices. It is expected that the potash price will fall below $300 a tonne after the change in companys trading policy. The price now stands at about $400 a tonne. At the same time, India and China, the two worlds largest importers of potash, stand to reap benefits from the price fall.

Researchers develop CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) material using carbon nanotubes for next-gen conductors
August 3rd, 2013

Researchers from the National Institute of Advanced IndustrialScience and Technology (AIST), Japan, have developed a new material called CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) which makes possible lighter conductors that can carry larger currents. Researchers, led by Indian chemist Dr. Subramaniam Chandramouli, have created this material by embedding carbon nanotubes in copper. It resulted int o a new material CNTCu with boosted ampacity to a massive 10,000%, with an electrical conductivity comparable to that of copper.
What is Ampacity?

Ampacity is the maximum amount of current a conductor can carry before losing its electrical properties. The larger the ampacity the better is the performance.
Why do we need materials with high ampacity?

A material with higher ampacity and which is simultaneously conductive is required to withstand, handle and transport the increasing current densities of modern electronics.
What is special with CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) ?

CNT-Cu consists of 45% CNTs by volume, and is less dense than a pure copper conductor by 42%. An advantage of the material is that it reduces the amount of copper required and provides 100 times higher performance.
How CNT-Cu (Carbon Nanotubes and Copper) is better than copper?

CNT-Cu conductors has an edge over copper conductors in a way that the CNT-Cu achieves higher ampacity by suppressing electromigration that occurs in copper wires, where electrons are scattered off their path by copper atoms. As electrons move inside the conductor, they are often scattered by atoms in their path. As the current density increases, scattering also increases until, at a threshold called the conductors rating, the material can no longer conduct the electrons, resulting in electro-migration. In case of CNT-Cu, the negatively charged particles are channelled to move through a continuous mesh-like network formed by the nanotubes, averting scattering.

Bhim Sain Bassi is the new Delhi Police Commissioner

August 3rd, 2013

Bhim Sain Bassi, the 1977-batch IPS officer of AGMU (Arunachal PradeshGoa-Mizoram-Union Territories) cadre has taken over the charge as the 20 th DelhiPolice Commissioner as he succeeded Neeraj Kumar, the outgoing Delhi Police Chief. Bassi will hold the office till February 2016. He was conferred the Presidents Police Medal for distinguished service and the Police Medal for meritorious service.

Nationwide survey shows 44 top Indian cities below global median of doctors
August 3rd, 2013

The IMS Health Physician and Chemist survey on the state of healthcare in the country disclosed that 44 of the top 120 Indian (metro and non-metro) cities are below the global median of 1.2 doctors per 1000 population, while 76 cities are above this benchmark. The survey points out that there is an alarmingly low doctor density in rural areas. As per IMS Health Physician and Chemist survey: Amongst the metro cities, the density of doctors to 1,000 population is more than double compared to the national average of 0.65. Delhi has the highest density at 2.05 doctors due to the fact that it has the highest numbers of doctors in India(33,5000). Mumbai has one of the lowest density of doctors, 1.52 per 1,000 population, due to the fact that its the most populous city. Amongst states, Haryana has the highest doctor density. Some cities are over-served by the healthcare system like cities of North India account for 31% of doctors in the country, but only 28% of the countrys population lives there. As compared to this, east and south India have a considerably lower density of GPs (nonMBBS) compared to the Indian average. When compared across the chemist population similar unevenness was found. Around 42% of chemists in India are concentrated in the top nine most populated cities, and 29% of chemist sales are performed without any prescription.

37% of chemist outlets are attached to doctor clinics, polyclinics, hospital facilities, and nursing homes.

RBI lowers GDP growth to 5.7%

August 3rd, 2013

The GDP growth for the current fiscal has been fixed lower by the Reserve Bank of Indias professional forecasters survey. From the earlier estimation of 6% it has now been fixed as 5.7%. Forecast by RBI: The growth is expected to rise further to 6.5% in 2014-15. The bank credit growth forecast for 2013-14 has also been revised downward to 15 % from 16 %. For money supply has been revised downwards in 2013-14 to 13% from 14.6 %. Agricultural prospects for 2013-14 are encouraging given the good monsoon so far. Revival in mining and manufacturing will take some more time but some improvement can be seen. Inflation and Risk: RBI revised the inflation target to 5.3 % from the earlier target of 6.5 %. Average WPI inflation is expected to moderate to 5.3 % during 2013-14. The rupee depreciation of about 9 % in Q1 of 2013-14 is likely to put pressure on domestic inflation. Fuel under-recoveries have raised sharply due to the exchange rate depreciation and domestic price rigidities. Businesses have weakened but signs are there that the downturn can be contained.

Mechanism behind brains ability to pay attention unveiled

August 3rd, 2013

Researchers from Dartmouths Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis have decoded the cellular mechanisms behind human brains ability to pay attention to relevant information while ignoring distractions. Despite much study of attention in the brain, the cellular mechanisms responsible for the effects of attention have remained a mystery until now.
What has been revealed by the study by Dartmouths Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis?

Researchers studied communications between synaptically connected neurons under conditions where subjects shifted their attention toward or away from visual stimuli that activated the recorded neurons, sharpen the precision of these signals, and selectively boost the transmission of attention-grabbing information while reducing the level of noisy or attention-disrupting information.

In this study, scientist found a new mechanism by which attention shapes perception by selectively altering presynaptic weights to highlight sensory features among all the noisy sensory input.
How would the findings by by Dartmouths Geisel School of Medicine and the University of California Davis help?

Besides expanding our understanding of brain, this study would help people with attention deficits resulting from brain injury or disease, possibly leading to improved screening and new treatments.

Government agrees to share classified hydrological data at a cost

August 3rd, 2013

The government has decided to share classified hydrological data at a cost only if the user is able to convince a panel about the requirement. The classified data can be availed by both Indian and foreign users by applying for it.
Why the government has agreed to share hydrological data?

There has been increased demand by the community that statistics collected using public funds should be made more readily available to all for facilitating rational debate, better decision making and in meeting societys needs. As per Hydro-meteorological Data Dissemination Policy 2013:

The classified data will be released for a specific purpose or study and will be nontransferable. There is a ban on reproduction of the classified data in any report or publication or detailed project report. Only result of analysis and inferences drawn thereof should be published. How to get access to hydrological data? Those who want to use the data will have to approach a designated chief engineer of the Central Water Commission (CWC) with a secrecy undertaking. The official would first verify the authenticity of the user, the purpose for which the data has been requested and the minimum amount of data required for the purpose. He will forward the request along with his recommendations to theClassified Data Release Committee which will take a final call on the issue. Indian commercial and foreign users will be provided the classified hydro data at a cost of Rs 75,000 per site, per annum while the Indian non-commercial users will be provided with the information free of cost.
India divided into 3 regions regarding data dissemination:

1. Region-I: Indus basin and other rivers and their tributaries discharging into Pakistan 2. Region-II: Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin and other rivers and their tributaries discharging into Bangladesh/Myanmar

3. Region-III: Remaining other rivers and their tributaries.

According to the policy, while the data of Region-I and II are classified, the data of RegionIII is unclassified. The reservoir water level, live storage position, water meteorological data for all regions are also unclassified.
August 3rd, 2013




Google India introduces Start Searching India campaign

Google India introduced Start Searching India campaign to help internet users get the most out of the web with its search tool. Objective of Start Searching India: To help Indian users save time, by showing how they can get instant and to the point answers to their most common queries According to Google e-governance is doing well in Madhya Pradesh with mponline.comand figuring in the top five web searches.

Weakening rupee is biggest risk to inflation: Subbarao

August 3rd, 2013

Duvvuri Subbarao, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, stated that the declining of the rupee is the biggest risk to inflation. RBI left interest rates unchanged as it supports a battered rupee but it would roll back recent liquidity tightening measures when stability returns to the currency market enabling it to resume supporting growth. RBI also has reservations on issuing sovereign bonds and as it feels that sovereign bond issue would compromise financial stability. As per RBI, the cost of a sovereign bond issue outweighs the benefits at current juncture.

BrahMos receives orders worth Rs 25,000 crore

August 3rd, 2013

Indo-Russian (49.5 % stake) joint venture, BrahMos Aerospace developed the worlds first supersonic cruise missile and has already bagged orders worth Rs 25,000 crore from the Indian defence forces. The deliveries to the Indian Army and Navy have started and the joint venture will begin deliveries of a slightly modified version to the Indian Air Force from 2015.
Export opportunities and issues with BrahMos:

The 290-km-range BrahMos having multiple platforms to launch and its low cost has also attracted the world. There is lot of export opportunity with about 14 countries showing

interest. However, there are issues like the countrys security interests and wha t model (of the missile) that can be exported. The production order for BrahMos would rise from $7 billion to $10 billion by 2015.
Upcoming Modified version of BahMos:

The slight modification of the version of the missile is being done to suit the needs of the Indian Air Force. It is being fitted to the Air Forces deep -strike Sukoi aircraft. In the mid of 2014, the live flight trials will be done and it will be ready for induction with the Air Force by 2015. The joint venture will later start work on new versions of the missile such as a hypersonic model.

CCEA to consider new definition of Control in FDI policy

August 3rd, 2013

The existing clause in the FDI policy states that a company owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens has the power to appoint majority of its directors in that company. Now the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has decided to consider new definition for control in FDI policy.
Aim of the new Definition of control in FDI policy:

To provide better mechanism for calculating direct and indirect investment in a company. The new definition will include the right to appoint majority of directors. It will provide control in the management by virtue of shareholding or management right or shareholder agreement or voting agreement. The CCEA may also look into revising norms related to sourcing from small industries and investment in back-end by multi-brand retailers. There will be no change in 30% sourcing limit from small industries and small industries will be defined as those having a total investment in plant and machinery not exceeding $2 million. At present this limit stands at $1 million. The small industry status will be valid for only 3 years after the breach of the $2-million investment limit.

ICC World Cup 2015 to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand
August 3rd, 2013

Defending champion India will take on Pakistan in its opening match of the ICC cricket World Cup, 2015 on February 15, 2015 which is to be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29, 2015. India has never lost to Pakistan in any of its five World Cup clashes so far. India to play against the following teams in the group stage Pakistan at Adelaide on February 15, 2015 Zimbabwe at Eden Park, Auckland on March 14, 2015 South Africa in Melbourne on February 22, 2015 Qualifier 4 in Perth on February 28, 2015 West Indies in Perth on March 6, 2015

Ireland in Hamilton on March 10, 2015 Competing Groups:

Pool A: England, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, New Zealand co-host, Qualifier 2 (TBD), Qualifier 3 (TBD) Pool B: South Africa, India, Pakistan, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Qualifier 1 (Ireland), Qualifier 4 (TBD)

RBI leaves key rates unchanged to curb the depreciation of Rupee

August 3rd, 2013

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) kept the indicative policy (repo) rate unchanged at 7. 25 % and the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at 4% in order to suppress the instability in the foreign exchange market. The RBI had brought down the repo rate from a peak of 8.50% by 125 basis points in 201213 and CRR from a high of 6 % in the last one-and-a-half years by 200 basis points. RBIs revised Growth Projection: The RBI revised its growth projection for the current financial year from 5.7 The depressed global conditions were undermining export performance, heightened instability in capital flows had raised external funding risks. economies, activity has weakened. Emerging and developing economies are are also experiencing sell-offs in their financial markets. % to 5.5 %. even as the In advanced slowing, and

DD Direct Plus to telecast Australias ABC International Channel

August 3rd, 2013

An agreement was signed between Prasar Bharati and Australian channel ABC International which will make available the ABC International channel to the viewers of Doordarshans Direct to Home (DTH) platform. The channel is the international service of the Australian public service broadcaster and is telecasted to more than 40 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The channel service will be available on DD Direct Plus from November 1 along with 59 other channels on Doordarshans DTH platform. The partnership between Prasar Bharati and the Australian broadcaster would extend into other areas like co-production activities, exchange of TV programmes, exchange of radio programmes and aspects.

Bharat Mobile Scheme

August 3rd, 2013

Union govt to proceed with Bharat Mobile Scheme

The Union government is going ahead with Bharat Mobile Scheme to give mobile phones to 6 million families that live Below Poverty Line (BPL). The plan is being seen as similar to freebies like laptops and television sets distributed by several other regional.
What is the aim of Bharat Mobile Scheme?

As per the government, it is planning its Bharat Mobile Scheme with the aim to provide unconnected citizens access to benefits of welfare programmes. Besides communication, mobile is to act as a device identity of the members of a household for transfer of benefits of different government programmes. The phone number may act as the first level of authentication for the user and can be utilized to access information, including land records and details of payments made to a family. To get subsidies and other government benefits, people will still need the Aadhaar Unique Identification Number.
Who will be given the mobile phones under Bharat Mobile Scheme ?

As per DoT, every rural household that has at least one member who completed 100 days of work under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in 2012 will be given a mobile phone.
How would the Bharat Mobile Scheme be implemented?

To carry out the scheme operators will be selected through competitive biddings or nominated state-run operators. The operators will be responsible for providing the devices, accessories, connectivity as well as warranty for 3 years. The mobile phones will have customized embedded opening screens displaying details of the scheme and the allocated number will act as a level of authentication to provide access to health records, land records and payment transfers. The scheme will be accomplished in 3 years and follow lists of eligible citizens prepared by state governments. Women will be given preference to receive the mobile phones.
Political views against Bharat Mobile Scheme:

Many a political analysts view this scheme as a political gimmick to woo the voters ahead of the general elections in 2014, much like the various states giving out laptops and such.
Similar Antecedents to Bharat Mobile Scheme

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav distributing laptops and tablet computers to students who pass class 12 examinations. In Tamil Nadu, local political parties have been known to promise laptops, food grinders and television sets apart from subsidized food grain as part of their election mandates.
Status of Teledensity in India

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) figures, India ended April with 867.02 million mobile connections. This included 345.85 million rural connections, a 40.59% rural teledensity.

SAFF U-16 football title: India defeats Nepal

August 3rd, 2013

India beat Nepal 1-0 to in the final match lift the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Under-16 Championships title played at the Dasharath Stadium in Nepal. India returned unbeaten in the biennial tournament.
SAFF U-16 Championship

Annual international football competition First edition: Nepal (August 2011) Contestants: National teams of the members of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Member Associations: Bangladesh 1997 India 1997 Maldives 1997 Nepal 1997 Pakistan 1997 Sri Lanka 1997 Bhutan 2000 Afghanistan 2005

Indias first DNA Forensic Laboratory established in Gurgaon

August 3rd, 2013

Global biotechnology company Life Technologies has launched Indias first private DNA forensics laboratory which is expected to accelerate sampling process thereby reducing the burden on existing forensic laboratories. The technology based on DNA testing has widely been accepted as the most effective crime fighting tool among law enforcement agencies for a variety of applications, including assaults, missing persons and disaster victim identification.
Benefits of the DNA Forensic Lab:

The lab will reduce the burden on existing forensic system and address the requirements of DNA database generation for unidentified dead bodies or other crime investigations. It will facilitate a broad range of DNA testing including paternity testing, kinship testing, DNA profiling for database generation, and forensic DNA analysis. The lab will meet international standards for DNA testing.

Indian Grand Prix 2014 dropped

August 3rd, 2013

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has dropped India from the 2014 as the racing calendar for the coming year has been modified. The race organizers Jaypee Sports International Ltd. stated that the India will hold the Grand Prix in March 2015.

Telangana will be Indias 29th State

August 2nd, 2013

The UPA Coordination Committee agreed for the division of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Congress Working Committee pronounced in a common resolution that Telangana will be the new state. Process to be followed for the formation of Telangana: The Centre will send the CWC resolution to the State Assembly to seek its views after which it will go to the Union Cabinet. Group of Ministers, to address all the issues of Telangana and Seemandhra i.e. the sharing of waters, revenue, land, power, assets and liabilities will then be set up. The Union Cabinet will then ask the Union Law Ministry to draft a bill that will be sent to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly. The Union Home Ministry will make adequate provisions, incorporating suggestions and then the government-approved draft bill will be sent to the President. Parliament will then have to pass the bill in both the Houses by a simple majority. Finally it will go back to the President for notification. the

As per Article 371 (D) which provides special provisions for the State Andhra Pradesh, the Union Cabinet would examine whether it would remain relevant after the creation of Telangana. The proposed Telangana structure: The inclusion of two districts of Rayalaseema Anantapur and Kurnool in Telangana has yet not been finalised. If over the next few months there are demands for their inclusion an appeal could be made to the GoM. The new State will have 10 districts, while the Rayalaseema regions will together constitute Seemandhra. remaining Andhra and

Hyderabad would be the common capital for the two States for 10 years and by that time Seemandhra will have a new capital built with Central assistance.

Abortion Law passed in Ireland

August 2nd, 2013

Ireland adopted the law to allow abortion under limited circumstances after President Michael D. Higgins signed the Protection of Life during Pregnancy Bill passed by Parliament.
How will the Abortion law of Ireland help women?

The law will allow women in the country to have an abortion in case of fatal foetal abnormality. The new law would permit abortion if the mothers life is in danger. It would also extend to women who are deemed suicidal if refused abortion. Background: The law has been drafted after the widespread anger over the death of Savita Halappanavar, a young Indian dentist, in an Irish hospital after being refused abortion despite apparent risk to her life. Her husband claimed that the University College Hospital Galway where she was admitted denied her an abortion because a fetal heartbeat was present, despite the fetus being declared nonviable. This led to septicemia (blood poisoning), multiple organ failure and her death.
Why Savita Halappanavar was denied abortion at the right time when she needed it?

Under Irish law on abortion, and Offences against the Person Act 1861 abortion is illegal in Ireland. As a result Irish women have to travel to UK each year to undergo abortion. Abortion in the Republic of Ireland is illegal unless it occurs as the result of a medical intervention performed to save the life of the mother. However, the availability of abortion services can be even more restricted in the absence of a readily available method of determining the circumstances in which an abortion might be lawfully obtained. However, a judgment of the Irish Supreme Court in 1992, commonly known as the X case, permits abortions where the life of the mother is at risk, including from suicide. Abortion is a controversial issue in Irish politics and five national referendums have been held on the topic in the last 30 years.

ISRO, Tata Motors develop Indias first Hydrogen powered cell bus
July 31st, 2013

A hydrogen-powered automobile bus has been developed by the collaboration of Tata Motors Limited (TML) and ISRO. The two organisations have developed fuel cell bus for the first time in India.

Hydrogen in bottles at high pressure is stored at the top of the bus and in this vehicle there will be zero pollution since the product of cold combustion is water. The hydrogen cells were a spin-off of the cryogenic technology. ISRO has developed a rich technology in producing, storing and handling gaseous and liquid hydrogen in the last three decades and which is quite safe indeed.

Bollywoods Cop Jagdish Raj passed away

July 31st, 2013

Jagdish Raj (85), a noted veteran actor passed away. Raj had the record of playing a police officer 144 times in various Bollywood films. He was an ideal police officer for generations in Indian films.
About Jagdish Raj The Bollywoods Cop:

Born on 1928 in Sargodha, Pakistan. Acted in films from 1960 till retirement in 1992. He was best known for being cast a record 144 times as a police officer. Some of his popular movies include Deewar, Don, Shakti, Mazdoor, Imaan Dharam, Gopichand Jasoos, Silsila, Aaina and Besharam.

Only 19% countries follow Breastfeeding Code

July 31st, 2013

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), only 19% countries of 199 countries, subscribing to theInternational Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes have passed laws incorporating all Codes recommendations. In India 46 % of infants are exclusively breastfed in their first six months and there are stringent laws against marketing of breast milk substitutes. Mothers are often misled to believe their children are better nourished with commercial substitutesand they are often misguided with incorrect and biased information both directly through advertising, health claims, information packs and sales representatives and indirectly through the public health system

Key statistics(of 199 countries): 69 countries (35 %) fully prohibit advertising of breast-milk substitutes. 62 countries (31 %) completely prohibit free samples or low cost supplies for health services. 64 countries (32 %) completely prohibit gifts of any kind from relevant manufacturers to health workers. 83 countries (42 %) require a message about the superiority of breastfeeding on breast milk substitute labels. Only 45 countries (23%) report having a functioning implementation and monitoring system.
How breast feeding is crucial for both Mother and her baby?

Breast milk gives infants all the nutrients they need for a healthy development. The breastfed babies are less likely to be become overweight and they may also be less prone to diabetes. It is safe and contains antibodies that help protect infants from common childhood illnesses. Breastfeeding also benefits mothers as it reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer.
What is International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes?

International health policy framework for breastfeeding promotion adopted by the World Health Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981. Developed as a global public health strategy and recommends restrictions on the marketing of breastmilk substitutes viz. infant formula. Covers ethical considerations and regulations for the marketing of feeding bottles and teats.
What is covered under International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes?

All breastmilk substitutes. These are products which are marketed in a way which suggests they should replace breastfeeding, even if the product is not suitable for that purpose. They may include: Infant formula Follow-on formula Baby foods Gruels Teas and juices Bottles Teats/nipples and related equipment
What is the aim of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitute?

To ensure that mothers are not discouraged from breastfeeding and that substitutes are used safely if needed. To shield breastfeeding from commercial promotion that affects mothers, health workers , health care systems and Labelling.
What is the concern over International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitute ?

The baby food industry has been the subject of pointed criticism from NGOs, international agencies and campaign groups for inability to abide by the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitute. On its own, the International Code is not legally enforceable. Companies are only subject to legal sanctions for failing to abide by the Code where it has been incorporated into the legislature of a nation state. Many countries have fully or partially adopted the Code as law. Other countries have no legislation on baby food marketing at all. Code violations by baby food manufacturers are still widespread, especially (but not exclusively) in countries that have not implemented the Code as a national measure or where monitoring and enforcement is not strong.
How is International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes monitored?

The WHO, International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN),UNICEF, Save the Children and other international organizations perform monitoring of implementation of the Code across the world both independently and with governments.

Jet-Etihad deal approved by FIPB with condition

July 31st, 2013

The government gave a conditional clearance to Jet Airways to sell 24% stake to Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways for Rs. 2,058 crore after Etihad submitted an amendedShareholders Agreement (SHA)and Commercial Cooperation Agreement (CCA). Now, Jet-Etihad will have to submit new articles of association before the deal is put before Finance Minister P. Chidambaram for approval and then brought before the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA).
What are the Terms and Conditions (T&C) in Jet-Etihad deal?

As per the T&C, Jet Airways need to seek prior approval of the government for any changes to be made in the Shareholders Agreement (SHA) with Etihad and also for any change in shareholding pattern of the company. The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB)

clearance also came with a rider that all shareholder disputes and disputes under the SHA would have to be adjudicated under Indian law. As per the latest clarifications, Etihad will take 2 seats on the 12 member board instead of three as previously proposed. The Indian partner, Naresh Goyal, besides appointing four board members, will have the right to nominate the chairman, whereas Etihad will appoint a vice-chairman. Jet has also dropped a clause from its earlier application of shifting revenue management to Abu Dhabi.
What was the issue with the Jet-Etihad deal?

Indian carrier Jet Airways had recently announced that it intends to sell its 24% shares to UAE operator Etihad Airways to attract the $379million investment rising form the deal . But the deal was stuck afterthe Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) and stock market regulator SEBI raised questions about ownership and effective control of the Indian airline passing into foreign hands. There were apprehensions from Indian side that the deal would give the key controls of Jet to Etihad. SEBI had highlighted some clauses of the CCA that might give an upper hand to Etihad. In this regard, SEBI had sought clarification from Jet on some matters of the prospective deal including choosing candidates for senior management positions, consolidation of sales office and general sales arrangements to support sales for Jet in the UAE. Also the right of Etihad to appoint a vice-chairman will not have any significant impact on the issue of control. Indian government wanted to ensure that the ownership and major control of the carrier remains with Jet Airways.
Why Jet-Etihad deal is important for Jet?

The deal is important to Jet, which is facing significant financial challenges. The deal will also help the Indian civil aviation industry by enhancing capacity, increasing competition and bringing down airfares.

India offers Vietnam credit for military ware

July 31st, 2013

India has offered $ 100 million credit line to Vietnamfor the purchase military equipment. It will be used for purchasing four patrol boats. Indias interests in Vietnam

India aims to remain involved in oil exploration activity in the Phu Kanh basin of the South China Sea. But China has to claim that it is its zone of influence. Earlier, Vietnam and India have focused on strategic ties that include cooperation in the civil nuclear sector, training slots for Vietnamese military officers and frequent exchange of visits. India seeks to expand its defence ties with Vietnam to military hardware and Brahmos missile is one of the key items on Vietnams wish -list. India has co-produced the missile with Russia, which, however, has close ties with both Vietnam and China. Indian wants to enhance security ties with all countries beyond its eastern end as a key component to its East Look Policy.

British government to go ahead with Rs 2.7 lakh visa bond

July 31st, 2013

The British government decided to go ahead with Rs 2.7 lakh Visa bond despite Prime Minister David Camerons gave assurance to exempt India from the controversial visa bond scheme though the Home Office insisted that it was meant to target only high risk applicants.
What is Pilot scheme by UK Govt. for the Rs 2.7 Lakh Visa bond?

Under this scheme that is to be introduced in November, 2013 for the first time visitors from six Commonwealth countries including India,Pakistan and Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ghana and Nigeria will need to deposit a cash bond of 3,000 for a British visa. It will apply only to those seeking a six-month visitors visa.
Why this Visa Bond Scheme by UK?

As per the UK government, the citizens of these six countries pose the major risk of abuse of visas. So they are interested in a system of bonds that deters overstaying and recovers costs if a foreign national has used their public services.
British traders ire for the UKs Pilot visa bond Scheme:

Britains business circles stated that with the Pilot scheme wealthy tourists from countries like India and Nigeria would be put off and would damage their business who were otherwise a boost for their business.

India and France concur to expand defence ties

July 31st, 2013

India and France discussed about the ongoing military cooperation and future cooperation in the areas of defence equipment and technology. This will be a mutual

benefit for both the countries. The cooperation fields will include high technology joint research and development and transfer of technology. Key outcomes of the discussion between India and France: Negotiations have been made for Rs. 50,000 crore for procuring 126 Rafale combat aircraft for the Indian Air Force . Rs. 30,000 crore project for co-developing the Maitri surface-to-air missile defence system. A deal was done for building six Scorpene submarines for the Navy. Both nations agreed to enhance exchanges between their defence institutions and armed forces including in the areas of military educationand training and through the conduct of military exercises. Navies of both countries are working towards finalizing the schedule for the conduct of Exercise Varuna off the coast of India and the nextAir Force exercise Garuda to be held during the first half of 2014.

ISRO mulls to modify transponder allocation norms- the guidelines of SatCom Policy
July 31st, 2013

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is cogitating to modify the guidelines of SatCom Policy related to allocation and pricing of satellite transponders for public and non-government users. The guidelines are being revised after consulting ISROs stakeholder departments and the multi-ministry ICC (Insat Coordination Committee) chaired by DoS Secretary. Typically the ICC allocates satellite transponders to user groups depending on their availability and urgency of use. After the approval by the government ISRO will be able to allocate to different users by percentages and charge for capacity on its INSAT/GSAT satellites in a much more rational way than now. The SatCom Policy threw open the INSAT capacity to non-government users and allowed lease of capacity on foreign satellites where needed.
Who are the main domestic users of INSAT/GSATs transponders?

ISRO leases 95 of the 263 transponders used by domestic operators. The main users are: Doordarshan and All India Radio under the Ministry of Information Broadcasting Private TV channels and commercial Direct-To-Home (DTH) operators Department of Telecommunications and BSNL for telephone services and

Over a lakh VSATs (Very Small Aperture Terminals) that enable Internet broadband services of large public and private organizations and drive ATMs and stock exchanges. India Meteorological Department and social sectors such as distance education, telemedicine and disaster management also ride their services on Insat/GSATs. The Ministry of Defence, the Armed Forces and its various agencies have also taken on new dimensions and are demanding bigger, serious and exclusive allocations.

INSAT-3D to enhance the weather observation

July 31st, 2013

Indias newest satellite INSAT-3D which was put in orbit on a European rocket is expected to increase the weather observation and forecasting, disaster warning systems and also enhance land and sea surface monitoring over the sub-continent and the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to switch on the meteorology instruments on the satellite and test them extensively before starting the operations. The satellite will then have a period matching the Earths 24-hour rotation and will begeosynchronous over the sub-continent. Prior to it the scientists will start the first of four orbit manoeuvres from the Master Control Facility at Hassan, Karnataka. They will push the spacecrafts initial elliptical orbit into a circular one that will be nearly 36,000 km abovethe ground at 82 degrees East longitude.
About INSAT-3D:

ISRO spent around Rs. 200 crore to build the satellite and around Rs. 350 crore on its launch and insurance costs. The metsat supplements the decade-old and fading Kalpana-1and INSAT-3A with four sophisticated payloads. The six-channel imager takes weather pictures of the Earth with better resolution. The 19-channel sounder gives layered vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone. The data relay transponder picks and relays met, moisture and sea related information from automatic data collection platforms placed at remote uninhabited locations on to a processing centre for generating accurate forecasts. SAR device: The Search And Rescue device picks up and relays distress alert signals from users on sea, land and air to an ISRO centre in Bangalore and enables speedy detection and rescue of such people.

New National Antibiotics Policy to handle increasing antibiotics resistance

July 31st, 2013

The Union Health Ministry is considering a new National Antibiotics Policy to handle increasing antibiotics resistance. The policy is on anvil at a time when India has failed to respond to the urgent need to regulate the sale and use of antibiotics, track the incidence of resistance or improve sanitation.
Key points on the proposed National Antibiotics Policy:

Intends to ban on the counter sale of antibiotics and to use high end antibiotics only in tertiary care centres. It will aim to prevent the further development of resistant strains. It ideates to establish a national antibiotic resistance surveillance system will be established with representation from all regions in the country, government and private hospitals.

MPA signed for the construction of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

July 31st, 2013

Five countries participating in the project TMT- Canada, China, India,Japan and the U.S. have inked Master Partnership Agreement (MPA) for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) costing $1.5 billion.
Main promoters of Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project:

The main promoters of the international project are Caltech and the University of California in the U.S. and the Association of Canadian Universities for Research in Astronomy (ACURA), with China, India and Japan providing additional financial and technical support. The telescope is expected to become operational in 2022.
Major Participating Institutes in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project from India:

Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCCA), Pune Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital
Indias Contribution in the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project:

India has 10% share in the project, which implies a financial assurance of about Rs. 1,000 core. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will jointly fund the Indian component. Indian astronomers will get observational time in proportion to Indias share in the total project cost Indias contributions will include fabrication of edge sensors, which sense relative displacement of segments due to gravity and temperature while tracking objects in the sky. India has the responsibility to build the entire actuator systemto provide the best possible image of objects in the sky. Godrej and Avasarala companies have taken up segment support assembly, a very complicated system on which the primary mirror segments sit. India is also designing a mirror coating system and exploring the possibilities of setting up a unit to polish 100 segments to the project .India may also provide a part of the 492 mirror segments.
About the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project:

What is so special about

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project?

It will be worlds largest optical and infrared telescope which is proposed to be located just below the summit at Mauna Keaat a height of 4,050 m in Hawaii. It will be 81 times more sensitive than the current telescopes of its kind and resolve objects by a factor of 3 times better than the largest ground-based telescopes that are available at present across the world. It will be the first ground-based telescope to incorporate the technology of Adaptive Optics (AO) as an integral component of the telescope.
What is Adaptive Optics?

AO is the system designed to sense atmospheric turbulence in real time, make the appropriate corrections to the beam and enable true image on the ground limited only by optical diffraction.

Provision for Clinical trial of untested drugs: Supreme Court

July 31st, 2013

The Centre has been asked by the Supreme Court to organize a meeting of Chief Secretaries or Health Secretaries of all the states to frame a law for regulation of clinical trials of drugs by multinational pharmaceutical companies. The court wants certain standards and protocol to be followed while conducting clinical trials of drugs on humans. The court asserted that the clinical trial of drugs should be monitored so that these drugs do not result in death and to ensure that there are no side effects and for this there should be proper compensation also. As per the Supreme Court uncontrolled clinical trial of drugs by multinational companies caused deaths because of the various fake rackets running. All the drug trials will be done under the supervision of the Union Health Secretary.

Indias K. Jennitha Anto wins IPCA World Womens Chess Championship

July 31st, 2013

Indias K Jennitha Anto won the 13th IPCA World Womens Individual Chess Championship title organised by the Interntional Physically Disabled Chess Association, at Velke Losiny in the Czech Republic. She bagged the Woman International Master title. The WIM title would allow her direct entry in many of the National events for women except the premier. 49 physically challenged players of from 15 countries competed in the IPCA event.

EU barred funding settlements for Israel

July 31st, 2013

European Union (EU) has issued an instruction that will bar all 28 member states from funding projects connected to Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, including annexed east Jerusalem.

From 2014 the guiding principle adopted by the European Commision (EC) will affect all EU grants, prizes and funding, with no further funding available to Israeli entities beyond the 1967 Green Line. As per the new rules, a clear distinction will be made in all signed agreements between Israel and the territories it occupied in the 1967 Middle East war including the Golan Heights as well as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including east Jerusalem. Israel was not ready to sign any agreements with the EU which included the territorial clause which stated that any funding would not apply to territories beyond the Green Line.
What is Green Line?

Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria) after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. The Green Line is also used to mark the line between Israel and the territories captured in the Six-Day War, including the West Bank,Gaza Strip, Golan Heights and Sinai Peninsula. The name derives from the green ink used to draw the line on the map.

By 2016, India to be the 3rd largest automobile market: IHS

July 31st, 2013

As per IHS Automotive, a global market information provider India will become the 3rd largest automotive market in the world by 2016 ahead ofJapan, Germany and Brazil with its domestic automotive sales. China, the US and Japan were the top three global automotive markets and India was ranked 6th after Brazil and Germany in the 4thand 5th positions respectively in 2012. India is expected to recover strong growth trend from 2014 onwards. Expectations in the coming Years: With enhanced growth Indian citizens will acquire wealth and demand for automobiles will increase as the need of personal transportation rises. The growth of auto-mobile sales will not be restricted only to mass market vehicles and India light vehicle production is expected to reach 7 million by 2020 . In terms of production volume, India would move to fourth position in 2020 ahead of Germany and Brazil from its current 6th spot.

India to restore kerosene and LPG subsidy to Bhutan

July 31st, 2013

Giving a significant relief , especially its 12 % poor, India has decided to restore the subsidy on cooking gas and kerosene by the first week of August 2013. The Ministry of External Affairsclaimed that the Petroleum Ministry misinterpreted the Foreign Offices request for review of subsidies and there wa s no political consideration behind this.
How to Political Analysts see Indias move to restore kerosene and LPG subsidy to Bhutan?

Many political analysts see this as a step taken to affect the outcome of the recently held polls in Bhutan. India was not happy with Bhutan under the rule of Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) and its Prime Minister Jigmey Thinley who was seeking Chinese support for a non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Bhutan without taking India into confidence held two rounds of talks with the Chinese once in Thimphu and then a summit in Rio in order to settle its border. Indias withdrawal of the subsidy led to substantial increase in the prices of LPG and kerosene. With the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winning the elections it was claimed that India was successful in making high LPG and kerosene prices a poll issue as it added to the charges of economic mismanagement.

Bradley Manning faces 130 years of imprisonment

July 31st, 2013

Bradley Manning has been prosecuted by the U.S. government for being the whistleblower behind Wikileaks publication of confidential State Department cables and video evidence of U.S. military attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the U.S. governments case against him he was found guilty on 17 out of 22 charges that were brought against him. Although the court did not find him guilty of the most serious charge of aiding the enemy, he was found guilty of passing on information website WikiLeaks which was equivalent to passing it on to the enemy. For this, he faces 130 years or more in prison owing to the remainder of the charges of which he was found to be guilty. Other charges that he was found guilty off were wrongful and wanton publication of intelligence acts punishable under the Espionage and Computer Fraud and Abuse Acts and stealing U.S. government property.
Who is Bradley Manning?

Bradley Manning is a United States Army soldier who was arrested in May 2010 in Iraq on suspicion of having passed classified material to the website WikiLeaks. He was ultimately charged with 22 offenses, including communicating national defense information to an unauthorized source and aiding the enemy. He was convicted in July 2013 of most of the charges, including several violations of the Espionage Act, but was acquitted of aiding the enemy, the most serious charge.

Those who spend Rs. 3,000/month in a village are among top 5% in the country
July 31st, 2013

As per the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), an individual who spends over Rs. 2,886 per month in a rural area or Rs. 6,383 per month in an urban area is in the top 5% of the country. The top 10% of the country includes anyone who spends over Rs. 2296 per month in a rural area and Rs. 4610 per month in an urban area. Some key Inter-state Comparisons: Presently there is enormous inter-state differences as a person spending over Rs. 1995 per head will be into the top 5% of rural Bihar, but more than half of Kerala is spending at that level. A person in rural Jharkhand spending Rs. 1710 per month would be in top 5% of the State but over 60% of Punjab is spending at that level. In urban India, spending a person spending Rs. 3400 per month in urban Bihar would be among the top 5% of that State, but only the top 30% of Delhi. 30% of urban Chhattisgarh lives on a monthly per capita expenditure of Rs. 1046, while less than 5% of Kerala lives at that level of expenditure. Absolute spending on food increases with increasing level of incomes in both rural and urban India, even as its proportion in total expenditure falls.

E-surveillance to monitor various tiger habitats

July 31st, 2013

India plans to start electronic surveillance of some of the tiger habitats using high definition cameras as the tiger deaths each year are increasing mainly due to poaching and poisoning. With the E-surveillance the pilot study in the Kalagarh range of the Corbett National Park was quite satisfactory so the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has decided to expand E-surveillance to Assams Kaziranga Natonal Park, Madhya Pradeshs Ratapani Wildlife Sanctuary and the Ramnagar division surrounding Corbett.
How will tiger E-surveillance help?

The surveillance involves putting into use high resolution thermal and infrared cameras mounted on towers to capture image of objects weighing more than 20 kg in a range of 3-5 km and generate alerts if the boundary is crossed. It will also keep an eye on unauthorized people entering into the tiger habitat areas and tigers straying into human habitat. It is a

fool-proof anti-poaching system that gathers information, does processing, filtering and then sends alerts.

Significant decline in percentage of poverty in Odisha and Bihar

July 31st, 2013

As per the recent data, in Odisha the proportion of people below the poverty line (BPL) declined from 57.2% in 2004-05 to 32.6% in 2011-12 which resulted in a decline of 24.6%. In Bihar the proportion of people below the poverty line (BPL) declined to 33.7% in 2011-12 as compared to 54.4% in 2004-05 i.e. a reduction by 20.7%. Key statistics: All over India the BPL population is estimated to be 21.9% i.e. around 270 million. This means that roughly every fifth Indian lives below the poverty line. Anyone earning Rs 27.20 or less in rural areas is BPL, while those earning up to Rs 33.30 a day in urban areas are classified as poor which varies from state to state. Uttar Pradesh has just less than 30% of its population in the BPL group i.e. around 60 million people. Even after the improvement Bihar still has 35.8 million poor and ranks second followed by Madhya Pradesh where 31.6% of the population is BPL. Among the BIMARU states only Rajasthan has managed to do better than the national average with the share of BPL in total population estimated at 14.7% in 2011-12, compared to 34.4% in 2004-05 and is now a better performer than Gujaratwith respect to its rapid growth and good infrastructure. Gujarat has 16.6% people below the poverty line. The decline in poverty is much steep in rural areas as BPL population came down to 25.8% (2011-12) from 42% (2004-05), around 17%, as against around 12% points in urban areas.

K.D. Singh is the new President for the IHF

July 31st, 2013

K.D. Singh who is presently one of the vice-presidents of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) will now be its president. He will take the charge from Dinesh Reddy who stepped down as the president of the due to his inability to continue with the responsibility.

IMF approves 1.7 billion euro bail out to Greece

July 31st, 2013

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved 1.72 billion Euros bail out to Greece after reviewing the countrys performance under the international rescue program.

This payout means Greece has received around 8.24 billion Euros from the IMF under the bailout coordinated with the European Union and the European Central Bank in March 2012. The IMF Executive Board is about to complete the fourth review of Greeces performance and has also altered some of the criteria for the troubled nation. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde noticed the commendable progress of Greek authorities in reducing fiscal and external imbalances. Greece still needs to work towards bringing more institutional and structural reforms in the public sector.

RBI eases curbs on payment gateways

July 31st, 2013

The central bank decided to allow all payment gateways like PayPal and other such online payment gateway service providers to substantially increase their export-related transaction value limits. The Indian merchants that use PayPal will now be able to receive up to $10,000 per transaction as compared to the previous $3,000. As per PayPal, in order to receive export related payments merchants must confirm their email address, and add a Permanent Account Number (PAN), purpose code and local bank account to their account.
Why there were strict regulations on payment gateways by RBI?

As per RBI, initially a strict regulation was made as several service providers had allowed exporters to retain the export proceeds abroad without repatriation resulting in violation of the provisions of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999.

Mamnoon Hussain is Pakistans new President

July 31st, 2013

Mamnoon Hussain, the candidate of Pakistan Muslim LeagueNawaz (PML-N) has been elected as the 12th President of Pakistan. Members of the national Parliament and provincial assemblies in Pakistan voted for the countrys new President. Hussain, born in Agra, India, is also a textile businessman. He also tenured as theGovernor of Sindh for a very short period when his appointment was dismissed by a military coup dtat in 1999. He will take over the President office on September 8, 2013 succeeding Asif Ali Zardari who did not seek re-election and is retiring.

Variations in structure of brain arteries cause Migraine

July 31st, 2013

Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that variations in arterial anatomy of brain lead to the asymmetries in cerebral blood flow which in turn leads to Migraine. Previously, it was believed that the root cause of migraine was dilation of blood vessels in head.
What are the Causes of Migraine?

The structural alterations of the blood supply to brain can increase the vulnerability to alterations in the cerebral blood flow which leads to the abnormal neuronal activity starting migraine. The arterial supply of blood to brain receives protection from series of the connections between major arteries call ed Circle of Willis. People suffering from migraine and the migraine with aura will mostly have missing circle of Willis. People suffering from migraine have difference in the blood vessels structure. These differences attribute to changes in blood flow in brain. It is because of these changes that the migraine triggers.
What are the effects of Migraine?

The networks of arteries which supply the blood flow to brain are incomplete in people suffering from migraines. Some people also feel dehydrated as a result of their severe headaches. People suffering from migraines with aura have visual symptoms like seeing wavy lines, spots or distortions.

In last 8 years, Poverty level is down by 15% : NSSO

July 31st, 2013

As per the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), the poverty line declined from 37% in 2004-05 to 22% in 2011-12. A significant reduction in poverty levels is a result of high economic growth rates. Between 2005 and 2010, the countrys GDP grew at an average of 8.5 % and the poverty rate showed an average annual decline of 1.48%. Major statistics: Rural poverty has declined faster than urban poverty during this period. The total number of people below the poverty line in the country is 26.89 crore as against 40.73 crore in 2004-05. In rural areas, the number has reduced from 32.58 crore to 21.72 crore. Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh have witnessed a sharp decline. Bihar shows the biggest decline coming down 55% in 2004-05 to around 35% in 201112. Gujarat was 31% in 2004-05 and 16% in 2011-12. In Rajasthan 0.6 crore were lifted out of poverty in the same period. Andhra Pradesh showed a decline in urban poverty from 23 % in 2004-05 to 6% in 2011-12.

Judicial Commission appointed by the Supreme Court highlights the misuse of AFSPA
July 31st, 2013

A Judicial Commission appointed by Supreme Court has noted the misuse of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA as the armed forces were indulging in gross violation of human rights by operating under the shield of the controversial law. The Commission was formed by the apex court to investigate alleged cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur. In September 2012, theExtrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association (EEVFAM))along with Human Rights Alert (HRA) submitted a list of 1,528 cases of killings in Manipur since 1979 before the Supreme Court and demanded investigation into the deaths.
What were the findings of the Judicial Commission appointed by the Supreme Court on cases of extra judicial killings in Manipur?

The Commission stated that the six sample cases of encounters it investigated were not genuine and that maximum force was used to kill people. It held that the reason for the outcome was the fact that the Act gives comprehensive powers to security forces even to extend of killing a suspect with protection against prosecution, it does not provide any protection to the citizens against its possible misuse.

Only 1% of students opted for research Programmes: UGC

July 31st, 2013

As per the higher education figures released by the University Grants Commission (UGC), in 2011-12 only 1% of students enrolled for research programmes as compared to 86% who received graduation degree in 2012. As per statistics, just 12% received post graduation degree and only 1% went for PhD degrees. Diploma and certificate holders also constituted just 1%.
Key Statistical findings of UGC in regards to PhD programmes:

Out of the total PhD degrees awarded in 2010-11 5,232 (32.5%) received it for research in science subjects. Science included ayurveda, dentistry, homoeopathy, nursing, pharmacy, public health or social preventive medicine, unani, tibiya, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and siddha. 5,037 (31.3%) for arts subjects including humanities, social sciences and languages. Engineering and technology subjects were the next most popular field for pursuing research, with 10% completing it. Medicine, agriculture and law had about 3% of the total research degree holders. Library and information sciences, fine arts, journalism and mass communication, physical education and social work, comprised the remaining 4% degree awardees.

TRPs give way to Television Viewership in Thousands (TVTs)

July 31st, 2013

Broadcasters, advertisers, ad agencies and Television Audience Measurement (TAM) Media Research the sole agency which measures viewership, negotiated in terms of Television viewership. Television viewership will now be measured not on the basis of points but on absolute numbers with Television Rating Points (TRPs) giving way to Television Viewership in Thousands (TVTs). Earlier Big television networks planned to move out of the Television Audience Measurement (TAM) system and either unsubscribe or not renewing their subscriptions. After that repetitive negotiations led to a deal between big networks and TAM on providing data on a monthly basis.
What are the issues regarding Television Audience Measurement (TAM) rating system?

As per Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) problems with the TAM system included: A non-transparent methodology Limited sample size Cross-holdings b/w rating agencies and broadcasters and advertising agencies Lack of a credible complaint mechanism.
Why these new Viewership Norms as per Television Viewership in Thousands (TVTs)?

In order to address the complaints of television networks that stated TRPs measured in relative terms in points do not accurately present the growth in viewership. TVTs will be the sole measuring standard in the public domain. TVT rolling average will be provided every week. This isstatistically more stable data. But for internal evaluation, the percentage of television viewership rating weekly will be provided to advertisers and agencies. All future changes in audience measurement will be made based on inputs by a joint technical committee of the industry body, the Broadcasting Audience Research Council.
About Television Audience Measurement (TAM) :

TAM Media Research is one of the two Television Audience Measurement analysis firms of India (the other being aMap). Appointed by the Joint Industry stakeholders of Indian Society of Advertisers (ISA), Indian Broadcast Foundation (IBF) and Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) in 1998, the reason for being for TAM is to be the central Industry provider of Media and Consumer Insights to the various stakeholders of the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry Advertisers & Marketers, Media Owners, Media Agencies and the Academia. Besides measuring TV Viewership, since the year 2000, TAM has been monitoring Advertising Expenditure of various Advertisers, Brands and Product Categories across Television Channels, Print & Radio through its division AdEx India.

10 Asian nations take initiative to ban smokeless tobacco products

July 31st, 2013

10 South and Southeast Asian countries including India, Nepal,Bangladesh, Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka have come forward to ban smokeless tobacco products. Smokeless forms of tobacco including use of areca nuts cause serious health problems. The countries decided to introduce strong legislation for the purpose at the regional meeting of the World Health Organizations Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The meeting was organized by Indias health ministry in collaboration with WHO SEAR (South-East Asian Region) who reviewed the implementation of the WHO and major developments related to the treaty in the region and internationally. It reviewed instruments available for implementation of the convention, particularly the guidelines and the reporting system. It also decided to raise awareness of the newly adopted protocol to eliminate illegal trade in tobacco products.

Parliament to approve 1974 Indira-Mujib pact

July 31st, 2013

The government will bring a constitutional amendment Bill in Parliament during the forthcoming session for implementation of theIndo-Bangla land boundary agreement. Indiaintends to ratify the 1974 Indira-Mujib pact fordemarcation of boundaries and for exchange of 161 adversely held enclaves with a population of about 50,000 people. Both the countries have discussed the modalities for implementation of the extradition treaty signed that will give the way for deportation of ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, currently lodged in a Bangladeshi jail. India has also conveyed Bangladesh to ensure the release the remaining six Indians who were abducted by different Indian insurgent groups like NSCN, PLA and NDFB to that country. The six are part of 13 people whom the insurgents had kidnapped and taken to Bangladesh.

Urdu Ghazals penned by Veer Savarkar during his Jail Term in Andaman discovered
July 31st, 2013

A notebook containing two patriotic Ghazals written by legendary patriot Veer Savarkar has been discovered by a Dadar based institute. The Ghazals in Urdu were written by the freedom fighter during his 11-year imprisonment in the Andaman Cellular Jail.
About Veer Savarkar:

Born on 28 May, 1883 in village Bhagur, near Nashik,Maharashtra , Vinayak Damodar Savarkar commonly known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar was a freedom fighter.

Renowned social reformer, writer, dramatist, poet, historian, political leader and philosopher. Pioneer of the movement for religious reform in Hindu culture by doing away the caste system prevalent within it. He coined the term Hindutva. He was the founder of the student societies that includedAbhinav Bharat Society and the Free India Society. His published work the Indian War of Independence about the Indian rebellion of 1857 was banned by British authorities.

Simons Investigators Awards 2013 to four Indian-Americans

July 31st, 2013

Four Indian American Professors Kannan Soundararajan, Rajeev Alur, Salil P Vadhan and Senthil Todadri are among the 13 mathematicians, theoretical physicists and theoretical computer scientists who have won2013 Simons Investigators Awards. People Awarded with their field of Study: Physics Victor Galitski from The University of Maryland, Randall Kamien from University of Pennsylvania, Joel Moore from University of California, Berkeley, Dam Thanh Son from the University of Chicago, Senthil Todadri from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Xi Yin from Harvard University. Computer Science Rajeev Alur from University of Pennsylvania, Piotr Indyk from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Salil P. Vadhan from Harvard University Mathematics Ng Bao Chu from the University of Chicago, Maryam Mirzakhanifrom Stanford University and Kannan Soundararajan from Stanford University and Daniel Tataru from University of California, Berkeley
Why Simons Investigators Awards are given?

Simons Investigators Awards 2013 were announced by the New York-based Simons Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation. The foundation was incorporated in 1994 by Jim and Marilyn Simons. Its aim is to advance the lines of research in mathematics and basic sciences. The Simons Investigators program provides a stable base of support for outstanding scientists, enabling them to undertake long-term study of fundamental questions. About Simons Investigators:

Simons Investigators are outstanding theoretical scientists who receive long-term research support from the Simons Foundation. A Simons Investigator is appointed for an initial period of five years with possible renewal for a further five years. An Investigator will receive research support of $100,000 per year, with an additional $10,000 per year provided to the Investigators department. The Investigators institution will receive 20% for indirect costs.

Biologist Prof. Obaid Siddiqi who revealed Stop Codons passed away
July 31st, 2013

The renowned biologist, Prof. Obaid Siddiqi (81) died due to injuries after meeting an accident. He was known for his pioneer work of identifying the process that how taste and smell are detected and coded in Brain.
About Prof. Obaid Siddiqui:

Born in 1932 in UP, received his education at Aligarh Muslim University. He did his Ph.D. from University of Glasgow, where he worked on microbial genetics with Harbor Pontecorvo. He was the National Research Professor at the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, in Bangalore. In 1961, Siddiqi and Alan Garen discovered suppressor of nonsense mutations in the gene for alkaline phosphatase. This work led to the elucidation of the stop codons in the genetic code and the mechanism of chain termination during protein synthesis.
What are Stop Codons?

In the genetic code, a Stop Codon (or Termination Codon) is a nucleotide triplet within messenger RNA that signals a termination of translation. Proteins are based on polypeptides, which are unique sequences of amino acids. Most codons in messenger RNA (from DNA) correspond to the addition of an amino acid to a growing polypeptide chain, which may ultimately become a protein. Stop codons signal the termination of this process by binding release factors, which cause the ribosomal subunits to disassociate, releasing the amino acid chain.
In the standard genetic code, there are several stop codons:

In RNA: UAG (amber) UAA (ochre) UGA (opal) In DNA: TAG (amber) TAA (ochre) TGA (opal or umber)

Only 1% of students opt for research Programmes: UGC

July 31st, 2013

As per the higher education figures released by the University Grants Commission (UGC), in 2011-12 only 1% of students enrolled for research programmes as compared to 86% who received graduation degree in 2012. As per statistics, just 12% received post graduation degree and only 1% went for PhD degrees. Diploma and certificate holders also constituted just 1%. Key Statistical findings: Out of the total PhD degrees awarded in 2010-11 5,232 (32.5%) received it for research in Science subjects. Science included ayurveda, dentistry, homoeopathy, nursing, pharmacy, public health or social preventive medicine, unani, tibiya, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and siddha. 5,037 (31.3%) for arts subjects including humanities, social sciences and languages. Engineering and Technology subjects were the next most popular field for pursuing research, with 10% completing it. Medicine, Agriculture and Law had about 3% of the total research degree holders. Library and information sciences, fine arts, journalism and mass communication, physical education and social work, comprised the remaining 4% degree awardees.

Supreme Court rejects PIL on food security regulation

July 31st, 2013

The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL challenging the food security regulation declared by the government. The court declined to hear the PIL on the ground that there is political aspect behind it and directed the petitioner to approach the high court. What was the PIL on food security regulation about? The petition filed by advocate M L Sharma alleging that the Centre has brought the regulation for political purposes and the court should examine its validity. It stated that Article 123 of the Constitution that deals with the power of the President to declare a regulation during the recess of Parliament has been misused as there was no emergency situation and constitutional provision has been misused for pre-election propaganda and political gains. President Pranab Mukherjee signed the regulation on food security to give the nations two-third population the right to get 5 kgs of food grains every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
What does Article 123 of the Constitution of India say?

The Article 123 of the Constitution of India empowers the President to promulgate Ordinances during recess of Parliament. It says:

(1) If at any time, except when both Houses of Parliament are in session, the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action, he may promulgate such Ordinance as the circumstances appear to him to require. (2) An Ordinance promulgated under this article shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament, but every such Ordinance (a) shall be laid before both House of Parliament and shall cease to operate at the expiration of six weeks from the reassemble of Parliament, or, if before the expiration of that period resolutions disapproving it are passed by both Houses, upon the passing of the second of those resolutions; and (b) may be withdrawn at any time by the President Explanation Where the Houses of Parliament are summoned to reassemble on different dates, the period of six weeks shall be reckoned from the later of those dates for the purposes of this clause (3) If and so far as an Ordinance under this article makes any provision which Parliament would not under this Constitution be competent to enact, it shall be void CHAPTER IV THE UNION JUDICIARY

L&T wins Rs 8,250 cr Riyadh metro project order

July 31st, 2013

Larsen & Toubro (L&T) and its associated partners have received an order valued at Rs 8,250 crore to develop a metro project in Saudi Arabia. The contract is a part of Rs 35,000 crore-project which is to be completed in 4 years. Larsen & Toubro won its biggest ever overseas order in Saudi. The contract includes construction of bridges, tunnels, elevated and underground stations, depots, roads, systems for closed circuit television and public announcements, SCADA with allied systems for the first-of-its-kind project in the Kingdom.

Lokayukta courts cannot act on private complaints: Karnataka HC

July 31st, 2013

The Karnataka High Court has clarified that the Special Lokayukta Courts in the State cannot entertain private complaints, alleging offences under Sections 7, 10, 11, 13 and 15 of the Prevention ofCorruption (PC) Act unless the complaint is accompanied with the sanction for prosecution of public servants concerned under Section 19 (1) of the PC Act. The court further stated that the Special Lokayukta Courts had no jurisdiction in law even to take notice of such complaints if the complainant had not obtained sanction from the competent authority for prosecuting public servants against whom the allegations were made.
What did the Karnataka High Court say regarding the Special Courts established under PC Act?

The High Court stated that the Special Courts established under PC Act cannot even direct the Lokayukta police to conduct an investigation under Section 156 (3) of the Code of

Criminal Procedure (Cr. PC) on the allegations made in the complaint without sanction. It pointed out that in the absence of sanction the complaint cannot be taken notice of. The requirement of sanction is a pre-requisite in respect of a private complaint filed under Section 200 of the Cr. PC in respect of a public servant who is alleged to have committed an offence in discharge of a public servant.

Indonesias Corruption Eradication Commission wins Ramon Magsaysay Award

July 30th, 2013

Indonesias Corruption Eradication Commission has been conferred with the Ramon Magsaysay Award for its successful campaign against corruption in Indonesia.
What is the special achievement of the Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia?

The Corruption Eradication Commission or KPK as it is generally known in Indonesia, has prosecuted nearly 100 government officials and others since its first investigations in 2003 and has a perfect conviction record.
Other Magsaysay Award winners for 2013:

Ernesto Domingo: A pioneering doctor from the Philippines Lahpai Seng Raw: Aid worker in Myanmar Habiba Sarabi: Afghanistans only female governor Shakti Samuha: Anti-trafficking organization in Nepal.
About Ramon Magsaysay Award:

The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation was named after third president of the Philippines and an Asian equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The Magsaysay awards have been granted annually since 1958 to people and organizations for excellent public service and integrity.

WikiLeaks party launched by Julian Assange to contest Australia polls

July 30th, 2013

Julian Assange (42), an Australian citizen and founder of WikiLeaks has launched his Australian political party WikiLeaks via a video link from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The party was created in part to support Julian Assanges bid for a Senate seat in Australia in the 2013 election. The Constitution of the WikiLeaks Party lists its objectives which include the protection of human rights and freedoms; transparency of governmental and corporate action, policy and information; recognition of the need for equality between generations; and support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination.

Who is Julian Assange?

Julian Assange was born in Townsville, Queensland and is a sixth-generation Australian. Assange is an Australian editor, activist, political talk show host, computer programmer, publisher and a journalist. He is famous as editor-in-chief and founder of Wikileaks.
What is WikiLeaks?

It is a media website which is an international, self-described, not-for-profit organization publishing submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources, news leaks, and whistle-blowers. It made grabbed international attention when it released some of the confidential information of the US linked to Afghanistan war including equipment expenditure and holdings. In 2010 it revealed U.S. State department diplomatic cables.
Why Sweden wants to extradite Julian Assange?

Sweden alleged Assange of committing molestation of two women during his visit to the country. A European Arrest Warrant and an Interpol red notice was released against him. He is currently hiding in British Embassy. His request to Britain for political asylum was denied. Recently, Ecuadorhas granted political asylum to Assange which has resulted into a standoff between the two countries.
Why Assange wants to contest poll?

Assange will be a candidate for a Victorian seat in the Australian governing body in the national elections later this year. The WikiLeaks Party will focus on seven fields among them academics; journalists and human rights activists will be included. Assange aims to field candidates from New South Wales and Western Australia. The partys main agenda is to make sure that the government in power does their job and therebyscrutinizing the governments activity. WikiLeaks Partys major values of transparency, accountability and justice will help them examine any crucial issues for Australians: tax reform, asylum seekers, climate change policy and other fields.

Ford becomes the first automaker to join India Greenhouse Gas Reporting (GHG) Program
July 30th, 2013

Detroit giant Ford has became the first automaker to join a voluntary greenhouse gas reporting program (a carbon reporting programme) newly established in India. The

company already participates in similar States, China, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.





Voluntary reporting provides overall transparency regarding the companys CO2 emi ssions and the company hold importance to reduce CO2 emissions at its global facilities, including two in Chennai, by 30% per vehicle by 2025. Fords role in this programme will be to assist in the establishment of credible and verifiable greenhouse gas inventories.
What is India Greenhouse Gas Program (India GHG Program):

It is the joint effort between the World Resources Institute(WRI), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). A voluntary initiative to standardize measurement and management of GHG emissions in India.
Program Partners for India Greenhouse Gas Program (India GHG Program)

1. CII Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) 2. TERI The Energy and Resources Institute 3. WRI World Resources Institute
Founding Members for India Greenhouse Gas Program (India GHG Program)

1. Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. 2. Hindustan Construction Co. Limited (HCC Limited) 3. ACC Cement 4. Ford Motor Company (Ford India) 5. Jet Airways (India) Limited 6. Mahindra Sanyo Steel 7. Tata Teleservices Limited 8. Bayer Group of Companies India 9. Akzo Nobel 10. Shree Cements 11. United Technologies 12. Tata Chemicals 13. National Thermal Power Company (NTPC) Limited 14. Infosys Technologies 15. Ambuja Cement 16. ITC Limited 17. Cummins India 18. Yes Bank 19. National Peroxide Limited 20. Forbes Marshall

21. JK Tyres 22. Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) 23. Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL)
Key Objectives of India Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme :

To help companies in the country monitor their progress towards voluntary reduction goals consistently and credibly. Aimed at promoting profitable, sustainable, and competitivebusiness. Under this programme, companies will be provided with tools and technical assistance to build inventories, identify reduction opportunities, establish annual and long-term reduction goals, and track their progress based on the most widely used emissions accounting and reporting standard in the world, the GHG (Green House Gases) Protocol. The India GHG Program will also facilitate engagement of the business sector with policy makers, supporting progress and advancement towards national goals on carbon intensity and GHG emissions mitigation. The program will build a pool of trained and certified GHG practitioners and GHG measurement and management professionals.
What is : The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol)?

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG Protocol) is a global collaboration led by WBCSD and WRI. It is the most widely used international accounting tool for government and business leaders to understand, quantify, and manage greenhouse gas emissions. GHG Protocol provides the foundation for sustainable climate strategies and more efficient, resilient and profitable organizations. GHG Protocol standards are the most widely used accounting tools to measure, manage and report on greenhouse gas emissions. It serves as the foundation for nearly every GHG standard and program in the world from the International Standards Organization to The Climate Registry as well as hundreds of GHG inventories prepared by individual companies. Offers developing countries an internationally accepted management tool to help their businesses to compete in the global marketplace and their governments to make informed decisions about climate change.
Who Uses The GHG Protocol?

Since the publication of the first edition of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol: A Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (Corporate Standard) in 2001, more than 1,000 businesses and organizations worldwide have developed their GHG inventories using the GHG Protocol.

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Some of the worlds largest companies are using the GHG Protocols Corporate Standard. The 2007 Corporate Climate Communications Report of the Fortune 500 companies by reported 63 percent of companies use the GHG Protocol. GHG Protocol is considered the second most important climate program after Kyoto Protocol in the successful measurement and management of climate change.

Suresh Chandra Mohanty The new president of Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI)
July 30th, 2013

Suresh Chandra Mohanty will succeed Rakesh Singh to become the new President of the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) for the year 2013-14. Mr. A. S. Durga Prasad has been elected as the vice president of ICAI.
What is Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICAI) ?

Established on May, 28, 1959 under the Cost and Works Accountants Act, 1959 enacted by the Parliament to regulate the profession of Cost and Management Accountancy in India. It is a professional management accounting institute of India It is governed by a council of 20 members of whom 15 persons are elected from among the members of the Institute and 5 persons are nominated by the Government of India. It is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), The Confederation of Asian and Pacific Accountants (CAPA) and The South Asian Federation of Accountants (SAFA).

Kumar Mangalam Birla steps down from RBI Board

July 30th, 2013

Kumar Mangalam Birla who was nominated as a member of the directors of the Central Board of the RBI in 2006 stepped down from RBI Board.
Why did K.M.Birla stepped down from the RBI Board?

To avoid any conflict of interest as few weeks back his group firm applied for a bank license. Among the 26 entities his group firm Aditya Birla Nuvo is one of the entities which have applied for a bank license. The RBI is expected to grant new licenses by March 2014 as the last date for applying for a bank license expired on July 1, 2013.

Froome wins the 100th Tour de France title

July 30th, 2013

Britains Christopher Froome who belongs to Team Sky (28) has clinched the 100th edition of Tour deFrance title of 2013. Colombian Nairo Quintana of Movistar bagged the second place. Christopher Froome has became the second successive Briton to win the race after teammate and compatriot Bradley Wiggins Froome who made history as Britains first winner in 2012, when Froome finished runner-up.
Results of Tour de France:

Froome won his first ever yellow jersey with a winning Nairo Quintana, who stood at second position, secured the white jersey for the best young rider and the best climbers polka dot jersey. Slovakian Peter Sagan of Cannondale won the points competitions green jersey for the second successive year.

India, Nigeria ink Solar Power Plant Agreement

July 30th, 2013

India and Nigeria inked a Solar Power plant pact to locate sites for solar power plants in Niger state. This would provide additional energy for the

African countrys national grid. With this agreement Bharat Heavy Electricals will begin first round of studies of siting independent solar powered plants in selected locations in Niger. India expressed its interest in the provision of funds in various forms for the development of Nigerias power sector.

India, Belarus sign a deal to enhance trade ties

July 30th, 2013

India and Belarus signed a deal to enhance the trade ties during the sixth session of the Inter-Governmental Commission.
Sectors to be focused in deal between India and Belarus:

The major focus will be on the following sectors i.e. Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation. Also sectors like pharmaceutical, fertilizers, information technology and research and development will offer tremendous potential for cooperation between India and Belarus. India is looking for long term contracts for supply of potash to meet its growing requirements as far as fertilizer sector is concerned and Indian companies can look for setting up joint ventures in Belarus for production of potash based fertilizers. MoU will also be signed between the Ministry of Textiles, India and the Belarusian State Concern for Manufacturing and Marketing of Light Industry Goods in the Field of Textiles, Clothing and Fashion Industries.

RBI decreases realization period for exporters from 12 to 9 months

July 30th, 2013

Responding further to the increasing pressure on Current Account Deficit (CAD) due reduced exports and depreciation of rupee against dollar, the Reserve Bank of India has brought down the period of realization and repatriation for exporters of goods and software from 12 to 9 months with a view to increase foreign exchangeinflows. The period of realization and repatriation to India of the full export value of goods or software exported by a unit situated in a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as well as exports made to warehouses established outside India remains unaltered . Indias exports reduced by 4.6% for the 2nd consecutive month to USD 23.79 billion in June 2013 compared to year ago interval.

The rupee has depreciated by over 12% against the dollar since the beginning of the fiscal. Central bank and capital markets regulator SEBI had to take unconventional measures to control the market.

Record Pulses produced by India in 2012-13

July 30th, 2013

The country has achieved a record pulses production of 18.45 million tonnes (MT) in the 2012-13 crop year(June) compared with 18 MT in the third estimates released in May 2013, while food grain output declined by 1.5% to 255.36 MT due to drought in some states in 2012. Pulses output has been revised upward to record 18.45 MT in 2012-13 as compared with the 2011-12 output which stood at 17.09 MT. How would record pulses production will affect? Higher supply will reduce imports and also prices. Higher support price prompted farmers to grow pulses and so the output has been good this time. Various food grains Input/ Output: India has produced 255.36 MT of food grains during the 2012-13. The food grains output is same as it was in the 3rd estimate, but it is lower than the record 259.29 MT achieved in the 2011-12 crop year (July-June). Rice production has been revised upward to 104.4 MT from 104.22 MT in the third estimates but the rice output is lower at 105.3 MT compared with 2011-12. Coarse cereals production estimates has also been revised upward at 40.06 MT in 2012-13 from 39.52 MT in the third estimate, but it is still lower than 42.01 MT in 2012. Wheat output has been revised downward to 92.46 MT from 93.62 MT in the third estimate. Production stood at record 94.88 MT in 2011-12. Future prospects: The production is expected to bounce back this year as the country is presently receiving good monsoon and sowing area has exceeded last years level so far.

Research proves that: Dolphins can call each other by names

July 30th, 2013

Researchers at Scotlands University of St Andrews have shown that marine mammals develop a unique whistle that they use to identify them and show their location to others. Scientists have found that dolphins call each other by distinctive whistles as humans use names. Every dolphin only responds to the unique whistle related to each of the dolphins. How did the researchers prove that Dolphins can call each other by names? The researchers followed pods of dolphins and recorded individual whistles and played them back. They found the animals would react to their distinctive whistles. With speakers

installed underwater they played back either the whistle of a dolphin from the pod, or one from an unfamiliar animal. The results showed that dolphins did not react to the unfamiliar sounds, but individual members responded when they heard their own sound or name and responded by sending that same whistle back.

RealVNC is the winner of MacRobert Award

July 30th, 2013

RealVNC was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering MacRobert Award for outstanding innovation, commercial success and contribution to society.
About MacRobert Award:

The MacRobert Award is the UKs longest running and most prestigious national prize for engineering innovation.
About RealVNC:

RealVNC is the most widely ported software application which is remote access software. RealVNCs technology allows a computer screen to be remotely accessed and controlled from another device. It is officially part of the internet including web and email protocols. RealVNC collaborates with leading players in the technology industry, including Intel to integrate VNC on chips for PCs and laptops; and Google, who license VNC technology and expertise to enable remote access functionality from its Chrome products. It is also recognized as the standard for integrating smartphones with in-vehicle infotainment systems.

George Alexander Louis- Duchess of Cambridge gives birth to baby boy

July 28th, 2013

Britain has a new future king after the Duchess of Cambridge gave birth to a baby boy. Britains Prince William and his wife Kate have named their son as George Alexander Louis. He will be known as Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge. Britain is likely to be ruled by kings for 80 years or more when the Prince of Wales succeeds the Queen.

Prince Philippe is Belgiums 7th King

July 28th, 2013

Belgiums King Albert after a 20-year reign stepped down the throne which has been overtaken by his son Philippe who took the oath before parliament to

become Belgiums seventh king at the royal palace in the presence of Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo who holds the political power in the 183-year old parliamentary democracy.

Indian woman scientist Sunetra Guptas portrait to be displayed in UK

July 28th, 2013

Kolkata (India) born chemist and physicist Sunetra Guptahas joined leading female scientists like Marie Curie at the art exhibition at the prestigious Royal Society. The exhibition titled Does it Make a Difference? displays drawings made by few great artists to celebrate the leading women in the field of science.
About Sunetra Gupta:

Born in 1965 in Kolkata, completed her education from University of London, Princeton University. She is now a professor at Oxford University. Her major area of work is the evolution of diversity in pathogens with a major focus on the infectious disease agents that are responsible for malaria, influenza and bacterial meningitis. The writer scientist has a simultaneous career as a novelist as well and has written five highly praised novels. In 1970s and 80s and wrote her first works of fiction in Bengali. She was highly praised for her works such as Moonlight into Marzipan, The Glassblowers Breath and So Good in Black. She won the Royal Society Rosalind Franklin Award for her scientific achievements.

INSAT-3D and Alphasat satellites launched successfully

July 28th, 2013

European space consortium Arianespaces Ariane 5 rocket launchedINSAT3D and Alphasat satellites from the spaceport of Kourou in French Guiana, giving a boost to weather forecasting and disaster warning services.
About INSAT-3D:

Designed to provide meteorological observation and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces. INSAT-3D also carried the newly developed 19 Channel Sounder, the first such payload to be flown on an ISRO satellite mission. It will perform weather monitoring through its atmospheric sounding system, which provides vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone from surface to top of the atmosphere. It will provide continuity to earlier missions and further augment the capability to provide various meteorological as well as search and rescue services. The Data Relay Transponder (DRT) will be used to receive meteorological, hydrological and oceanographic data from remote, uninhabited locations over the coverage area from Data Collection Platforms (DCPs) like automatic weather station, automatic rain gauge and agro met stations. It is equipped with a Search and Rescue payload that picks up and relays the alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre located at Isro Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network here.
Who will be the major users of Satellite Aided Search and Rescue service in India?

The major users of Satellite Aided Search and Rescue service inIndia are Indian Coast Guard, Airports Authority of India, directorate general of shipping, defence services and fishermen.
What will be the expanse of service region of INSAT-3D?

The Indian service region includes a large part of the Indian Ocean region covering India, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for rendering distress alert services.
What are Alphasat satellites?

Alphasat is Europes largest telecommunication satellite-ever manufactured and results from a large-scale public-private partnership between the European Space Agency and Inmarsat.

Campaign Clean India adopts Taj Mahal

July 28th, 2013

The World Heritage Site, Taj Mahal has been adopted by ONGC as part of its corporate social responsibilities through the Campaign CleanIndia being run under Ministry of Tourism.

Taj Mahal a world heritage site and is one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is the Crown Jewel among the tourist destinations in India and naturally is a priority destination under the Campaign Clean India programme.
Background of Campaign Clean India:

At the initiative of Ministry of Tourism, the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has agreed to the initiative for permitting ONGC for adopting six monuments under Campaign Clean India. The six monuments/tourist destinations are: Taj Mahal at Agra, Ellora Caves in Maharashtra, Elephanta Caves in Maharashtra, Red Fort in Delhi, Golkonda Fort Hyderabad and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. ONGC is adopting these monuments as part of their corporate social responsibilities and it is the endeavor of Ministry of Tourism that Campaign Clean India is carried out for maximum number of monuments/tourist destinations so that tourists instill the feelings and spirit of cleanliness and respect for such monuments.
What is Campaign Clean India?

The Campaign Clean India is a programme being run by the Ministry of Tourism aimed at undertaking both sensitization and action at field level on bringing our tourism destinations and their surroundings to an acceptable level of cleanliness and hygiene. The Campaign will ensure that these levels are sustained through ownership and involvement of private and public sector stakeholders. The campaign will be part of Governments strategy of the 12th five year plan for improving the quality of services and environs in and around tourist destinations across India.

Free Trade LPG (FTL) scheme gets Govts nod

July 28th, 2013

The Government has approved Free Trade LPG (FTL) Scheme for selling 5 kg LPG cylinders through Company Owned Retail Outlets (COCO)PSU Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). The scheme will be launched on pilot basis in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore for selling 5 kg LPG cylinders with/without Domestic Pressure Regulator (DPR) at COCO retail outlets. The OMCs have COCO retail outlets which are accessible to all and are open for longer hours.
Why the government wants to introduce Free Trade LPG scheme? What is Free Trade LPG (FTL)?

The government sensed that a new category of consumers have emerged especially in big cities who are mobile and thus do not want a permanent LPG connection but still require LPG for their needs. Such customers need flexibility for availing the LPG cylinders as per their convenience and their needs can also be fulfilled by smaller quantities of LPG. The LPG sold under the scheme will be called Free Trade LPG (FTL). At the time of first sale cost of equipment (DPR plus cylinder), cost of product at prevailing Non- domestic 5kg cylinders price and administrative charges will be payable. At the time of subsequent refill

only the cost of product will be payable. The scheme is a step towards beginning of free trade of LPG and would make LPG available for wider use especially for those citizens who are always on the move due to their professional needs. What are the conditions for availing the facility of Free Trade LPG (FTL) Scheme? The prospective customer at the time of first sale would only be required to give a copy of Voter I-Card, Driving license, Pan Card, Aadhaar Card, Bank Pass book, Employees ID, Passport, Student ID or any other such document that can act as a proof of identity. It would be customers responsibility to use the equipment as per the safety instructions. The company would not be responsible for any losses/damages arising in case of accident during transit or usage. OMCs will offer, on request, an insurance policy which will provide cover for loss of life and property in the event of an LPG accident occurring at the customers premises. In transit insurance cover will not be available. On the request of the customer, the COCO RO through the supplying distributor shall also provide the installation of equipment at customers premises and will also provide after sales services on chargeable basis.

Major Port of the Year award goes to Paradip

July 28th, 2013

Paradip port has been honored with the Major Port of the Year award in recognition of its excellent performance in 2012-13. In 2012-13, PPT handled a total of 56.55 million tonnes of traffic, up from 54.25 mt in 2011-12. Also, during the year, the port added 22 mt of capacity bringing the total to 102 mt.
Where is Paradip Port?

Paradip is a major seaport town and a designated notified area in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha, India. Paradip Port is one of the Major Ports of India serving the Eastern and Central parts of the country. Its hinterland extends to the States of Odisha, Jharkhand,Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. The Port mainly deals with bulk cargo apart from other clean cargoes.
Which are the Major Ports of India?

Following are the major Ports in India along with their specialities.

Western Coast Kandla (child of partition) Mumbai (busiest and biggest) Jawahar Lal Nehru (fastest growing) Marmugao (naval base also)

Eastern Coast Kolkata-Haldia (riverine port) Paradip (exports raw iron to Japan) Vishakjapatnam (deepest port) Chennai (oldest and artifical)

Mangalore (exports Kudremukh iron-ore) Ennore (most modern-in private hands) Cochin (natural Harbour)
July 28th, 2013

Tuticorin (southernmost )

Poverty in India decreases to 21.9% in 2011-12: Planning Commission

As per Planning Commission, poverty ratio in the country has dropped to 21.9% in 2011-12 from 37.2% in 2004-05 on account of increase in per capita consumption.
Planning Commission on Poverty:

Using the Tendulkar methodology for determining the poverty line, the national poverty line in rural areas has been estimated at Rs 816 per capita per month in villages and Rs 1,000 per capita per month in urban areas in 2011-12. It implies that persons whose consumption of goods and services exceed Rs 33.33 in cities and Rs 27.20 per capita per day in villages are not poor. For a family of five, the all India poverty line in terms of consumption expenditure would amount of Rs 4,080 per month in rural areas and Rs 5,000 per month in urban areas. The poverty line however will vary from state to state. In 2011-12, the percentage of BPL (Below Poverty Line) people is estimated at 25.7% in rural areas, 13.7% in urban areas and 21.9% for the country as a whole. It shows an improvement in poverty figures if compared to those in 2004-05 when it was 41.8% in rural areas, 25.7% in cities and 37.2% in the country as a whole. In terms of numbers, there were 26.93 crore people below poverty line in 2011-12 as compared to 40.71 crore in 2004-05.
How the estimates of poverty level in India have been made?

This ratio for 2011-12 is based on the methodology suggested by Suresh Tendulkar Committee which takes into consideration the money spent on health and education besides calorie intake to fix a poverty line. As per the Commission, the decrease in poverty is mainly on account of rising real per capita consumption figures which made the 68th round of National Sample Survey on Household Consumer Expenditure in India in 2011-12 the basis for tabulating poverty. Note: A separate committee under Prime Ministers Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) chairman C. Rangarajan will revisit the Tendulkar Committee methodology for estimating poverty. The Committee is expected to submit its report by mid 2014.

India, Saudi Arabia decided to establish Saudi-Indian Business Network

July 27th, 2013

India and Saudi Arabia have decided to create India Business Network (SIBN) separately in Riyadh and Dammam.
What will be the focus of SIBN?

a Saudi-

SIBN would catalyze the promotion of India-Saudi bilateral commerce and trade relations, investment, Business-to-Business interactions and exchanges. The proposed network would comprise of both Indian and Saudi businessmen, entrepreneurs, industrialists and members of business Chambers. Membership of SIBN would be open to all Indian and Saudi businessmen and entrepreneurs.
Salient facts about India-Saudi Arabia Trade:

Saudi Arabia is the 4th largest trade partner of India. Bilateral trade stood at 43.19 billion dollars in 2012-13. India imports 17% of its crude oil needs from the Kingdom which makes it largest supplier of petroleum. It is also one of the major markets for Indian exports and the destination for more than 1.86% of Indias global exports. India is the 5th largest export market for Saudi Arabia, accounting for 7.55% of its global exports. Both the nations have an established framework of cooperation which includes Joint Commission Meetings (JCM), India-Saudi Business Council. Several companies from both countries are collaborating in the spheres of designing, consultancy, financial services and software development. Saudi Arabia is also emerging as a big investor in India.

Educomp ties up with HCL Infosystems for its Life Cycle Services
July 27th, 2013

HCL Infosystems Ltd and Educomp Solutions Ltd. have signed an agreement. As per the agreement, HCL Infosystems will provide life cycle services for existing and new Educomp classrooms across India. Life Cycle services include providing break-fix support and field repair services along with managing new installations in the Educomp Classrooms. About Educomp Solutions Ltd: Educomp is one the leading providers of technology enabled educationsolutions and services for K-12 (from Kindergarten to to Class 12) institutions. The company was set up in 1994

by Mr. Shantanu Prakash and was initially engaged in setting up and maintaining of computer labs in private schools and in government schools on contract basis. EducompSmartclass has reached to around 15,000 schools and 7 million students. HCL Learning will continue to focus on growing its business of providing IT solutions and content to the Indian Education segment. Currently, HCL Learning has over 12000 classrooms, 60 career development centres and offers content as well as innovative products such as DigiSchool and Xcelerate.

First Textile Park inaugurated at Bagru near Jaipur

July 27th, 2013

First Textile Park devoted to hand block printing and craft was inaugurated at Bagru near Jaipur. The textile park would generate new opportunities for exporters and artisans, as the textile sector holds tremendous potential of employment. The park has been named Jaipur Integrated Texcraft Park Pvt. Ltd. (JITPPL) and is also known as is also known as Jaipur Bloc.
What is the significance of Bagru? What is Bagru (Rajasthan) known for?

Bagru is famous for its traditional textiles, various styles of hand block printing and related skills. This is the first park in India dedicated to the segment of hand block printing. The textile park is installed with state-of-the-art technology to conserve and preserve water. This park will aid in continuing and encouraging the craft in a cleaner way and act as a role model for craft based industry. The park will generate employment to about 16000 people, directly and indirectly. It is projected that the park in its first year of operation will do a business of more than Rs 100 crore.

German Whistleblower Prize to Edward Snowden

July 27th, 2013

Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who uncovered the most extensive US global electronic surveillance programmes, has been awarded German Whistleblower Prize for year 2013 worth $3,900 in absentia. The prize jury recognized Snowdens great public service exposing the massive and unsuspecting monitoring and storage of communication data by US and other western intelligence agencies, which cannot be accepted in democratic societies. The jury acknowledged that Snowden took great personal risks in leaking the documents on the operations of the US and other western intelligence agencies, aware of the current criminal prosecution of whistleblowers in security areas.
About German Whistleblower Prize:

The Whistleblower Prize was instituted in 1999 by the German section of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Association of German Scientists. It is awarded once in two years to honor persons, who expose in public interest grave social injustices and dangerous developments for individuals and the society, democracy, peace and environment.

Curiosity rover confirms Martian air mostly contains CO2

July 25th, 2013

The Curiosity rover sent by NASA which landed on Mars on August 6, 2012 with the aim to explore the Red Planet has confirmed that its air is made mostly of carbon dioxide with hints of other gases. This observation is very close to what the twin Viking Landers in the late 1970s detected from Martian meteorites the rock fragments that fell to Earth. The scientist were stunned as Viking found nitrogen to be the second most abundant gas in the Martian air but Curiositys measurements discovered a nearly equal abundance of nitrogen and argon which is a stable noble gas. The difference in the observation might be because of the different tools used. Quest to resolve Mars Methane gas mystery Scientists have not been able to solve the puzzle of methane gas on Mars. Several years ago, telescopes on Earth detected a surprising belch of methane in three regions in the Martian western hemisphere. However, the Curiosity team had not reported any definitive smell of methane near the landing site. Since then, the rover has taken several more air samples. To solve this mystery NASA is set to launch a Mars-orbiting spacecraft called Maven. The craft will target the Martian atmosphere to determine if it exists and the abundance and whether that varies by year or location.

Aussie Spinner Shane Warne included in ICC Hall of Fame

July 25th, 2013

Legendary leg spinner, Australias Shane Warne was inducted into the International Cricket Council (ICC) Hall of Fame at Lords, England. Shane Warnes Achievements: He represented Australia in 145 tests between 1992 and 2007. He took 708 test wickets at an average of 25.41. Shane Warne also took 293 wickets in 194 one-day internationals at an average of 25.73 He was in the playing Australian side that beat Pakistan in the 1999 World Cup final at Lords and was named man-of-the-match. Note: Shane Warne is the 69th member to be included in the Hall of Fame and the 18th from Australia.

Hezbollahs military wing added terrorist list by EU

July 25th, 2013

The EU has decided to put the armed wing of Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations. It was made clear that it would maintain contact with all political parties in Lebanon, including the Hezbollah party, which is part of the countrys government. Why Hezbollah has been added to terrorist list? EU ministers took the decision at a foreign affairs council after a few EU countries with troops in Lebanon or with sizeable communities there felt reassured by the proposed wording, which also includes a review of sanctions against Hezbollahs military wing in six months time. Britain has led the efforts to impose sanctions on Hezbollah, saying it has evidence that the group was involved in the terrorist attack in the coastal Bulgarian city of Burgas a year ago. Information regarding a foiled terrorist attack in Cyprus similar to the one perpetrated in Bulgaria also added to the pressure to blacklist Hezbollah. The governments of the US, Netherlands, France, Gulf Cooperation Council, U.K., Australia, Canada, the European Union and Israel classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. About Hezbolla :

It is a Shia Islamic militant group and political party based in Lebanon. The organization has been called a state within a state. It was conceived by Muslim clerics and funded by Iran following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and was primarily formed to offer resistance to the Israeli occupation. It receives military training, weapons, and financial support from Iran, and political support from Syria. It has now grown to an organization with seats in the Lebanese government , a radio and a satellite television-station, and programs for social development.

Its leaders were followers of Ayatollah Khomeini, and its forces were trained and organized by a contingent of 1,500 Iranian Revolutionary Guards that arrived from Iran with permission from the Syrian Government.Its paramilitary wing is regarded as a resistance movement throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds and is considered more powerful than the Lebanese Army. It has taken the side of the government in the Syrian civil war and in May June 2013 successfully assisted in the recapture of the strategic town of Qusayr. Hezbollahs four main goals: Israels final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration. Ending any imperialist power in Lebanon. Submission of the Phalangists to just rule and bringing them to trial for their crimes Giving the people the chance to choose with full freedom the system of government they want while not hiding its commitment to the rule of Islam.

Archery World Cup: India finished 4th

July 25th, 2013

India finishes fourth in the Archery World Cup Stage 3 held in Medellin, Colombia. Deepika Kumaris gold and bronze medal performances on the concluding day helped India finished fourth in the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Medellin, Colombia. Key Achievements during the Archery World Cup: Deepika Kumari won gold by beating China and bronze medal in mixed event paired with Atanu Das by beating Mexico. This was Indias first World Cup team gold since Shanghai 2011. India finished fourth with one gold and two bronze. US topped the medal tally with 9 medals (2-5-2), while China (2-1-2) and Colombia (1-10) were second and third respectively.

Maiden ATP Tour title win for Divij Sharan and Purav Raja
July 25th, 2013

Divij Sharan and Purav Raja beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France and Igor Sijsling of theNetherlands to clinch their maiden ATP Tour doubles title in the final of the Claro Open in Bogota, Colombia. Divij, who was ranked No. 5 in junior doubles, has won four Challenger doubles titles and 19 Futures titles. Purav who did not play the junior circuit, has four Challenger and 14 Futures titles.

Incheon: The World Book Capital for 2015

July 25th, 2013

International committee of experts representing the book industry and theUnited Nations Educational, Scientific and CulturalOrganization (UNESCO) named the city of Incheonin the Republic of Koreaas the World Book Capital for the year 2015. The committee attributes the title to a city which has devoted itself to promote books and reading and also to highlight the vitality of literary creativity. Ever year UNESCO and the international organizations represent the three major sectors of the book industry: International Publishers Association (IPA) International Booksellers Federation (IBF) International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Why Incheon was chosen? Incheon was chosen on the basis of the quality of its programme and the impact it will have on improving good integration of all stakeholders in the promotion of books. There will be promotion of reading, access to books and writing in all formats to the citizens of Incheon and the Korean Peninsula. The title is an acknowledgement of the best programme dedicated to books and reading and doesnt involve any financial prize.

Incheon is the 15th city to be chosen as World Book Capital. Yerevan, Bangkok and Port Harcourt which are the World Book Capital for the year 2012, 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Two US Jets drops bombs on Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

July 25th, 2013

The two AV-8B Harrier jets launched from aircraft carrier USS Bonhomme Richard dropped four unarmed bomb in the World Heritage listed Marine Park off the coast of Queensland state when the training exercise went wrong. The four bombs were dropped in more than 50 meters of water away from coral to diminish possible damage to the reef. Originally, the jets were to drop the ordnances on the Townshend Island bombing range but they cut off the mission as controllers stated that the area was not clear of hazards. The pilots did the emergency jettison as they were low on fuel and could not land with their bomb loaded. About The Great Barrier Reef: The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the worlds largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reef sand 900 islands spanned over 2,600 kilometers over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometers. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Importance of GBR: It has the worlds biggest single structure made by billions of tiny living organisms known as coral polyps. It is a rich ecosystem bearing a great diversity of life. A major part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as fishing and tourism. The reef ecosystem faces threat from other environmental pressures which include runoff, climate change accompanied by mass coral bleaching, and cyclic population outbreaks of the crown of thorns starfish. It is a very popular destination for tourists, especially in the Whitsunday Islands and Cairns regions. Tourism is an important economic activity for the region generating over $3 billion annually and is a significant part of local groups cultures and spirituality. It was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.

India emerges as the 2nd largest investor in London

July 25th, 2013

India has come up as the 2nd largest investor in the city of London with Indian companies led by software major Infosys with the investment eagerness generated by the 2012 Olympic Games in the British capital.

Infosys leads the inward Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) made by a total of 28 Indian companies, which generated 429 additional jobs for the British economy in 2012. Major sectors of growth: India has registered exceptional growth in the common areas of interest, such as transport and city planning. India brought in a large amount of additional 2.5 billion-pound foreign investment into the UK since the Games and Indian FDI projects in 2012-13 are estimated to generate 24 million pounds in gross value added for Londons economy over the next 3 years. Information and communications technology (ICT) was the key sector in terms of Indian FDI into London, followed by financial services and retail. In the financial services sector Axis Bank stood out for setting up its global operations in London as it has the right mix of potential wholesale and retail business to make it the ideal location for their first international subsidiary. The latest figures were released as part of an overall estimate of the economic impact of the Olympic Games on Londons economy. British government research indicated that the UK economy has seen a 9.9 billion-pound boost in trade and investment from hosting the Games.

P Sathasivam is the Chief Justice of India

July 25th, 2013

Justice Palanisamy Sathasivam took over the post from Justice Altamas Kabir who served as the Chief Justice of India for over 9 months. Justice Sathasivam was elevated to the Supreme Court in August, 2007 and would renounce office on April 26, 2014. Brief introduction about Justice Sathasivam: Started off as an advocate at Madras. There after he was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Madras High Court in January, 1996. Later transferred to the Punjab andHaryana High Court in April, 2007. Major Judgements by Justice Sathasivam :

A bench of Justice Sathasivam and Justice B S Chauhan had upheld the conviction of actor Sanjay Dutt and several others in the Mumbai blasts case. The bench had castigated Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI for training the perpetrators of the 1993 blasts and unable to discharge its obligation under international law to prevent terrorist attacks emanating from its territory. Another Bench led by Justice Sathasivam had set aside the conviction of Pakistani scientist Mohammed Khalil Chisti.

Rajat Gupta fined $13.9 million for Insider Trading

July 24th, 2013

Rajat Gupta fined $13.9 million for Insider Trading. The former Goldman Sachs Director Rajat Gupta has been fined a penalty of $13.9 million for one of the biggest insider trading case and has been eternally expelled from acting as an officer or director of a public company for leaking out boardroom secrets. He has been permanently barred from acting as an officer or director of a public company and from associating with any broker, dealer or investment adviser. He is simultaneously appealing for his June, 2012, conviction in which he was given a twoyear prison term and fined $5 million. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) obtained $13.9 million penalty against Mr. Gupta for illegally spilling corporate secrets to his friend and former hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam. The Securities and Exchange Commission earlier obtained a record $92.8 million penalty against Mr. Rajaratnam for prior insider trading charges. The SEC filed a complaint against Mr. Gupta in late 2011 for disclosing confidential information to Mr. Rajaratnam about Berkshire Hathaway Incs $5 billion investment in Goldman Sachs as well as non -public details about Goldman Sachs financial results for the second and fourth quarters of 2008. Mr. Gupta was sentenced on October 24, 2012, to a term of imprisonment of two years followed by one year of supervised release and ordered to pay a $5 million criminal fine. On December 26, 2012, the SEC obtained a final judgement ordering Mr. Rajaratnam to surrender his share of the profits gained and losses avoided as a result of the insider trading based on Mr. Guptas provided secrets and prejudgement interest.

FDI hike in 13 sectors, 100% in telecom as per Government

July 24th, 2013

FDI in multi-brand retail sector is allowed after the agreement from theForeign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). With the growing demands from the overseas retails the government decided to liberalise Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) limits in 13 sectors including telecom, insurance, retail and defence. The government also cleared the much awaited 100 % FDI in the telecom sector from the existing 74%. Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma stated that the foreign direct investment limit in insurance sector will be increased to 49% from the existing 26%. In multi-brand retail, up to 49% overseas investment would now be allowed through automatic route. There is no decision yet taken on Foreign Direct Investment in media. Key points in FDI stated by Anand Sharma

Petroleum and Natural Gas the sectoral cap remains unchanged at 49% Power exchanges route changed to automatic; cap remains same as 49% In insurance sector FDI cap will be 49% through automatic route Asset reconstruction companies: FDI cap upto 49% through automatic route. From 49% to 100 % it will be through FIPB route In tea sector, condition of divestment to Indian partners deleted In single brand retail, FDI upto 49% it will be under automatic route; beyond 49% it will be through FIPB route No change of route in civil aviation sector for now In defence sector, 26% through FIPB route stays; for state-of-art technologies, FDI beyond this to be approved through CCS.

China lifts control on Bank lending rates

July 24th, 2013

In a move toward creating a market oriented financial system to support economic growth, the Peoples Bank of China and its Central Bankpromulgated to lift the controls on bank lending rates.
Background for why China lifted the control on Bank lending rates:

Beijing has long used its banks to subsidize state industry with low-interest loans. Depositors who put their money were paid low rates on deposits in recent years. Families failed to keep up with inflation and lost money by leaving it in the bank. The household spending was suppressed which is among the lowest in the world as a percentage of the economy and efforts were made for domestic sustenance rather than Chinas growth from exports and investment to more self -sustained domestic consumption. Chinese families looking for a better return on their savings invested into stocks and real estate. They have also shifted money into wealth management products which are indeed too risky for household investors.
How Chinas lifting of control on bank lending rates will affect its economy?

A change in the Chinas interest rate policy will be one of the major changes required to keep its growth strong. Allowing banks to negotiate their own rates with borrowers could bring in more credit to private enterprise. Until now, banks were lending generally to state industry instead of entrepreneurs who create Chinas new jobs and wealth so this can bring a chan ge. This will be a noteworthy development for Chinas financial sector in the direction of having interest rates determined by market forces rather than government. This reform is to further develop the basic role of market allocation of resources to promote financial support for the development of the real economy. It will allow banks to charge lower rates to more valuable borrowers, cutting down costs for healthy businesses and strong growth. Till now the lower limit on lending rates was set at 0.7 times the state-set interest rate. Private sector borrowers may get more access to credit by paying more and this could help to reduce their dependence on a vast, unregulated credit market.

Uttar Pradesh Plan for 2013-14 finalized by Planning Commission

July 24th, 2013

The Planning Commission and the Uttar Pradesh govt together finalized Annual Plan for Uttar Pradesh of Rs 69200 crore for the financial year 2013-14. The Funding Process is bifurcated in 2 parts: The Plan funding from the Central Government to the State of Uttar Pradesh from all sources is expected to be over Rs.30000 crore during 2013-14. This includes central assistance to the State Plan of about Rs 11225 crore. An amount of about Rs 18000 crore is likely to flow from the Centre to U.P. through various Centrally Sponsored Schemes.
Performance of the Uttar Pradesh (UP) during 11th Five Year Plan:

In the financial year 2012-13, growth rate of Uttar Pradesh was better than the national growth. The national average growth was 5%, whereas, average growth rate of Uttar Pradesh was 5.4 % Industry and Service sector achieved the growth rate of 2.8and 7.6 % respectively. Growth rate in agriculture achieved by the state was 2.6 % The social indicators of Uttar Pradesh during the 11th Five Year Plan were positive. The state was successful in establishing the economic activity by focusing on the development of social and physicalinfrastructure. During the 12th Five Year Plan, the state needs to get rid of its dependency on the ground water for irrigation purposes. It needs to improve on the share of industry sector. The latest industrial policy is an initiative to get out of these impediments.
Uttar Pradesh 12th Five Year plan focus:

Development of economic infrastructure and more than 20% of the outlay would be used for this sector. Time bound implementation of national flagship programs and effective implementation of agriculture policy. Encourage private participation by creating an atmosphere conducive to investment. The infrastructure and industrial policy is being implemented to attract private investment and all district headquarters are being connected by 4 lane roads by the end of the plan while all 500 plus habitations will be connected with all-weather roads in two years. Optimum utilization of limited water resources while planning for five per cent growth in agriculture. Education & Health should be given priority while working out development strategy Construction of 300 bridges and 100 ROB in the State with the help of PPP mode for these projects so that they could avail the benefits under Viability Gap Funding Scheme.

Huawei Technologies working on Fifth Generation (5G) Technology

July 24th, 2013

Chinese equipment maker Huawei Technologies is working on the Fifth Generation (5G) which will be probably available for use by 2020. Samsung has also promulgated that it has tested 5G technology and it will be ready for commercial use by 2020.
Advantages of 5G Technology :

Expansion of connectivity by providing possibilities for billions of connections. Offer people to have a fibre network like they experience on a wireless connection. It can provide speed of 10 GBps, which is 100 times faster than the mobile technology used these days.

President announces Securities Laws Amendment, 2013

July 24th, 2013

President Pranab Mukherjee has announced the Securities Laws Amendment regulation, 2013. The ordinance was promulgated by the President following the powers granted to him by Clause 1 of Article 123 of Constitution. Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) will now have more powers to deal with the deceptive investment schemes and to monitor call data records of people or companies alleged for any offence. Objective: to amend Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Act and related Acts for providing more powers to the capital markets regulator for enforcement against illegal Collective Investment Schemes and to curb insider trading.
Why the need for Securities Laws Amendment, 2013?

Owing to new and innovative methods of raising funds from investors, such as art funds, timeshare funds, emu /goat farming schemes, there has been regulatory gap /overlap regarding types of instruments / fund raising. At the same time, SEBI receives complaints against unapproved fund raising activities of certain companies that claim that they do not come under the purview of SEBI Collective Investment Scheme regulations. With the amendments in force now, SEBI would have powers to regulate any pooling of funds under an investment contract involving a corpus of Rs.100 Crore or more, attach assets in case of non-compliance and Chairman SEBI would have powers to authorize the carrying out of search and seizure operations, as part of efforts to crack down on ponzi schemes. Besides, SEBI would have powers to seek information, such as telephone call data records, from any persons or entities in respect to any securities transaction being investigated by it. Establishment of Special Courts enabled by this Ordinance would fast-track the resolution of pending SEBI related cases. The promulgation of the Ordinance demonstrates the firm commitment and resolve of the Government to act with speed and alacrity to curb irregularities and frauds in securities market.

Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis included in Tennis Hall of Fame

July 24th, 2013

Swiss tennis legend Martina Hingis (32) was inducted in Tennis Hall of Fame. She has become the fourth youngest member to be inducted in the Tennis Hall of Fame after Tracy Austin (30), Bjorn Borg (31) and Hana Mandlikova (32).
Martina Hingis Career & Achievements:

She came into limelight after clinching the 1993 Roland Garros junior title at just 12 year of age. Won three Australian Open titles (1997, 1998, 1999), one Wimbledon (1997) and a US Open title (1997). Stood at the number one ranking for 209 weeks. She also won nine grand slam doubles titles and a mixed doubles title. In 1997, Hingis became the undisputed World No. 1 womens tennis player. In 1998, Hingis won all four of the Grand Slam womens doubles titles , only the fourth in womens tennis history to do so. In 2001, Switzerland, with Hingis and Roger Federer as mixed doubles won the Hopman Cup. In 2003, at the age of 22, Hingis announced her retirement from tennis, due to her injuries and being in pain. In 2005, Martina Hingis made a return at an event in Pattaya,Thailand, where she lost to Germanys Marlene Weingrtner in the first round. In 2011, she was named one of the 30 Legends of Womens Tennis: Past, Present and Future. She is counted as the most successful player to play theToray Pan-Pacific Tournament with 5 wins in 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, and reached 8 finals in the years1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007.

Goods and Services Tax report finalized by PSC

July 24th, 2013

Goods and Services Tax (GST) report was finalized by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance which will be tabled in Lok Sabhain August 2013 session. The GST Bill introduced in Parliament in 2010 is being examined by the Standing Committee on Finance. The states and the Centre now jointly would finalize the draft and bring it back to Parliament.
What is the issue over GST?

The GST roll-out missed many deadlines due to differences between the states and the Centre over controversial issues of central sales tax, compensation to states and design of GST structure.
What are the suggestions about Goods and Services Tax (GST) from the panel

of Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) on Finance?

The panel has suggested that the government should look into the issue in case of higher resource mobilizing statesbearing revenue loss due to implementation of GST regime.

It also suggested that the Centre should prepare a framework for the GST regime in which the revenue generating states should be adequately compensated.
About GST

Goods and Service Tax is a tax on goods and services, which will be levied at each point of sale or provision of service, in which at the time of sale of goods or providing the services the seller or service provider can claim the input credit of tax which he has paid while purchasing the goods or procuring the service. On most of the goods and services the rate of tax remains the same but as per the necessity of the nation some goods or services can be declared as exempted or Zero rated. The whole system is developed in such a way that it avoids the cascading effect and the final consumer bears the burden of all the tax. Generally, in such a system Exports are zero rated and all the taxes paid while purchasing and manufacturing the goods including the taxes paid on raw material and services are returned to the exporter to make the exports competitive. The sellers or service providers collect the tax from their customer, who may or may not be the ultimate customer, and before depositing the same to the exchequer, they deduct the tax they have already paid. This is simply very similar to VAT which is at present applicable in most of the states and can be termed as National level VAT on Goods and Services with only one difference that in this system not only goods but also services are involved and the rate of tax on goods and services are generally the same.
Key advantages of GST

It is proposed to bring in a common tax rule for goods and services by considering most indirect taxes. It will also help to increase the revenue collections.

India and ADB Sign an Agreement for Gujarat Solar Power Transmission System
July 24th, 2013

With the rapid growing electricity demand, and increasing reliance on imported sources of fossil fuel the Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement for a $100 million ADB loan (A LIBOR based loan from ADBs Ordinary Capital Resources which has a term of 25 years including 5 years of grace period) to develop a transmission system that will distribute 500 megawatts of solar power from the Charanka Solar Park in Gujarat. ADB is committed to generating 3,000 MW of solar power by 2013 under its Asia Solar Energy Initiative.

Key Objectives of the Project: Using an inventive Public Private Partnership (PPP) model, the project will create job opportunities, improve social services and contribute to poverty reduction locally. It will also support power distribution companies in Gujarat and other Indian power utilities to meet part of their energy needs through solar energy. It will not only benefit Gujarat, but will also help develop the PPP solar park model under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission. An associated Technical Assistance (TA) funded by theDepartment for International Development of the United Kingdom and administered by ADB will provide professional training in energy-related skills and livelihood opportunities to local people. At least half of the participants will be women. Note: The Indian Government is aiming to generate 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. It has launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) in 2010, which is expected to generate 1,000 MW by 2013 by expanding grid-connected solar power generation.

Supreme Court issues notice to Centre, States on disaster management

July 24th, 2013

After the devastating tragedy that struck upon Uttarakhand and which resulted in numerous deaths the Supreme Court issued notice to Uttarakhand and six other states for their alleged failure in implementing the Disaster Management Act in order to handle natural calamities. The court has sought response from the Centre, the states and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands on a PIL alleging that governments have failed to implement the Disaster Management Act that was passed in 2005. Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal andGujarat are the six other states who have received this notice. The court held that it was extremely pathetic that even after 8 years of the act, the Centre and the various state governments had failed to implement its provisions and presently there is no uniform policy in the country for granting compensation to the victims of disaster.

Worlds first ever mission to Moons South Pole Planned for 2016
July 24th, 2013

The International Lunar Observatory Association and Moon Expressannounced first mission to the south pole of the moon in 2016 at NASA Lunar Science Institute conference at NASA s Ames Research Center. Objective of the Mission: It will be a scientific as well as commercial mission. To install a permanent telescope on the lunar surface to assist professional research.

To deliver the International Lunar Observatory (ILO) aboard a Moon Express Robotic Lander. Moon Express is aiming to discover the moons South Polefor mineral resources and water. Lunar probes have provided substantial indication of mineral and volatile deposits in the Moons southern polar region where energy and resourc es may be plentiful. International Lunar Observatory Instrument and its use:

ILOA and Space Age Publishing Company have been founded by Steve Durst. ILO which is a 2 meter dish antenna will help in carrying outInternational astrophysical observations and communications from the lunar surface thus providing commercial broadcasting, scientific research and enabling Galaxy 21st Century education and citizen science on the Moon. ILO will display the scientific study of the galaxy, moon, earth, sun and stars The ILO and its originator will have an internet based access and control system. Space Age Publishing Company

It aims to broadcast its Lunar Enterprise Daily and Space Calendar weekly via the ILO. This mission would help in humanitys growth as a multi -world species. Moon Express will send a sequence of robotic missions to the Moon in support of commerce science and exploration starting in 2015.

July 22: World observes Pi Approximation Day

July 22nd, 2013

Pi Approximation Day was celebrated worldwide on July 22 (as the date is written 22/7). As we know that the value of Pi is 22/7 and it is said to be the common approximation of Pi (). Background: The Pi Day started in the year 1988 when Larry Shaw, a physicist at the Exploratorium, the San Francisco science museum disclosed that the date was March 14 (as the day is 3/14 which represents the value 3.14). Pi Approximation Day is quite closely related to the Pi Day which iscelebrated on March 14 every year (representing the value 3.14) Pi Approximation Day is celebrated in order to mark the Pi orapproximation of EMBED Equation 22/7.

Supreme Court: No acid sale without ID

July 22nd, 2013

The Supreme Court gave an interim direction and has totally banned the counter sale of the chemical taking into the account acid attacks. AStandard Operating Procedure (SOP) should also be laid down for management and handling of acids.

Objective: To prevent acid attacks. As per the directions of Supreme Court: A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) should also be laid down for management and handling of acids. The seller needs to maintain a log/register recording the address and other details of the buyer. All dealers should sell the chemical only after the buyer shows a government issued photo identity card and specifies the purpose of purchase. The seller should submit the details of sale to the local police within three days of the transaction and no acid should be sold to any person under the age of 18 years. All the stocks must be confirmed with the local Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) in 15 days. If the stocks are not declared with the SDM then all the stocks could be confiscated and the defaulter will be fined up to Rs.50, 000. The proper rules and guidelines are yet to be framed by States and Union Territories. Raise compensation to acid attack victims to Rs. 3 lakhs The Supreme Court has directed all States to pay acid attack victims Rs. 3 lakh towards medical treatment and after-care rehabilitation Rs. 1 lakh within 15 days of an incident and the balance within two months thereafter.

Department of Food & Public Distribution Launches Electronic fund transfer

July 22nd, 2013

Department of Food & Public Distribution launched the Electronic Transfer of Funds. Objective: To ensure quick and direct transfer of funds to the beneficiaries. This protected mode of making the payments on-line, would be time saving and eliminate physical cheques and their manual processing. This in turn would help in bringing more efficiency in the financial working of the department. The Department of Food and Public Distribution has a key role in terms of the payment of subsidies mainly for Food and Sugar covering a significant amount of Budget outflow. Implementation & features of the Electronic Fund Transfer System: The Department of Food & Public Distribution and RBI have implemented the electronic payment system of the computerized accounting in joint venture with the National Informatics Centre. The STQC Directorate of IT department has certified the electronic payment system as fully secured.

This system will serve as the middleware between the COMPACT (the accounting application) for processing of bill and CoreBanking Solutions (CBS) for the bank as well as the RBI.

Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) Government to Provide Pre-natal Health Care Facilities to Pregnant Women
July 22nd, 2013

Under the Janani Suraksha Yojna (JSY) scheme, the government would provide free prenatal health care and ambulance facilities to pregnant women across the country. Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY) A safe motherhood intervention under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). Objective: Decrease the neo-natal and maternal deaths happening in the country by promoting institutional delivery of babies. 100% centrally sponsored scheme Integrates cash assistance with delivery and post-delivery care. Key Points under the scheme: The Pregnant women will be given free medical and ambulance facilities from conception to delivery and post natal care. Free treatment and transport facility would be provided during the entire pregnancy period. And the baby born would be given free treatment for 1 year. The women will also be able to avail free consultation from doctors at government hospitals for 45 days from delivery and infants will be given free treatment at the hospitals for one year. The adolescent children will be provided weekly supplements of Iron and Folic Acid to prevent anaemic diseases in the children.

Supreme Court refuses to reduce juvenile age from 18 to 16 years

July 22nd, 2013

A bench lead by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir dismissed a batch of PILs which were filed in the apex court demanding that the Act should be amended and a minor involved in atrocious crimes should not be protected under the law. These pleas in the apex court were opposed by various child activists, including former Chairman of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) Amod Kanth. As per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, person is treated as a minor till he attains the age of 18 years. The petition had opposed that sections 2(k), 10 and 17 of the Act which deal with the issue were illogical in context of the Constitution. The petitions had also submitted that the Act needs amendment as it does not talk about the physical or mental maturity of a juvenile.

In one of the other petition it was mentioned that appointment of a criminal psychologist to resolve through clinical and medical examination if the juvenile accused in a case would be a threat to the society.

After 7 years of ban dance bars in Maharashtra all set to run

July 22nd, 2013

Supreme Court stayed with the Bombay High Courts verdict to repress the State Governments order to close the dance bars, 7 years after they were banned dance bars can again run in Maharashtra. In 2005 the Maharashtra Government brought in an amendment in the Bombay Police Act which was challenged in the High Court by an association representing restaurants and bars. The High Court in 2006 had repressed the Governments decision. The State Government had moved to the apex court against the High Courts order the same year. The Supreme Court while accepting the Governments plea had stayed with the High Courts verdict. As per the Government there were only 345 licensed dance bars and about 2,500 unlicensed bars were doing business in the State. As many as 72% of the bar girls being married and 68% being the sole bread earners of their family, the State Governments order had rendered them jobless and thus High Court struck down it as illogical and unconstitutional.

Bhim Sain Bassi, the next Police Commissioner of Delhi

July 22nd, 2013

Neeraj Kumar who will be retiring on this month end will be replaced by Bhim Sain Bassi, a 1977 batch Indian Police Service officer as the next Police Commissioner of Delhi. Mr. Bassi & his Achievements : He cleared the Union Public Service Commission examination at the age of 21 and was appointed as an Assistant Superintendant of Police in Pondicherry in 1980. Served in various capacities in Delhi and other parts of the country, including Chandigarh, Goa and Arunachal Pradesh,. Mr. Bassi, who is a Commerce graduate from the Shri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University, also has a Law degree. Conferred the Presidents Police Medal for distinguished service and the Police Medal for meritorious service.

Centre to launch Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation Programme

July 22nd, 2013

With the substantial increase of adolescent anaemia, the Centre decided to launch the Weekly Iron Folic Acid Supplementation Programme among the age group of 10 to 19 years. Additional Secretary in the Ministry ofHealth and Family Welfare Anuradha Gupta pointed out that almost 50 % of nutritional deficiency related anaemia is Iron . Cause of Anaemia : It is a result of under-nutrition and reduced dietary intake of iron. The problem is not only among adolescents but also pregnant women, infants and young children. Effects of Anaemia: Anaemia in adolescents results in poor physical growth, reduced and minimal concentration in daily tasks thereby impacting work capacity and work output. The programme will be implemented across the country covering 13 crore adolescents. The Health Ministry has recommended to the States that IFA tablet is will be provided to adolescents one day in a week, preferably Monday.

Marriage law amendment approved by Union Cabinet

July 22nd, 2013

Union Cabinet approved the amendments to the marriage law. The Bill is expected to come in the August 2013 Session of Parliament . Objective : To enable a married woman to get a share of her husbands ancestral property as compensation in case of a divorce. As per the bill in case the ancestral property cannot be divided the woman would get adequate compensation by calculating the husbands share. The Group of Ministers (GoM) have been asked to take an idea on whether a judge can exercise the judgement in granting divorce if one of the partners dont move a second joint application for divorce with common consent. The GoM also had discussion over the issue of allowing courts to decide on doing away with the compulsory 6 month waiting period for couples seeking divorce through a joint appeal by common consent.

Benefit for Coconut Sector as Tapping Unfermented Sap or Neera from Coconut approved by Kerala Government
July 21st, 2013

Tapping unfermented sap or Neera from the coconut was approved by the Government of Kerala all over the state. As a part of the pilot project Neera tapping will take place in each and every district all over Kerala in units of 1500 coconut trees. The federations as well as the companies that are associated to Coconut Development Board will be permitted to produce Neera. Packaging of Neera will be totally free from the alcoholic content, this will be ensured via technological advances. For the purpose of production of neera, Abkari Laws will also be amended.
What is Neera or Pandaneer or Sweet Toddy?

Neera (padaneer in Tamil Nadu) also called sweet toddy is the non-alcoholic drink which would benefit coconut sector. Neera is refrigerated, stored and distributed by semi-

government agencies. It contains many nutrients including potash. delicious health drink and a rich source of sugars, minerals and vitamins.



Palm sap begins fermenting instantly after collecting, because of natural yeasts in the pores of pot and air (ofttimes spurred by residual yeast left in the collecting container). In two hours, fermentation yields an aromatic wine of up to 4% alcohol content, gently intoxicating and sweet. The wine may be left to ferment longer, up to a day, to produce a stronger, more sour and acidic taste, which some individuals favour. Longer fermentation yields vinegar instead of stronger wine.

Bengaluru International Airport renamed as Kempe Gowda International Airport

July 21st, 2013

Union Cabinet approved the new name for Bangalores Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) to Kempe Gowda International Airport Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) is the one and the only airport serving the Bangalore region. It is owned by Bengaluru International Airport Pvt. Limited (BIAL) a majority of 74% held by GVK Group, Zurich Airport and Siemens Projects, along with two government bodies,Infrastructure Development Corporation KSIIDC and the Karnataka State Industrial.
Who was Hiriya Kempe Gowda or Bengalooru Kempe Gowda?

Hiriya Kempe Gowda (also Kempe Gowda I or Bengalooru Kempe Gowda) was a ruler under the Vijayanagara Empire. Considered to be the founder of the metropolis of Bangalore, the capital of the Indian state of Karnataka. Kempe Gowda was a well educated and successful ruler. Famous for his reformist thinking, he led the foundations of a modern city with successful planning and building the present city building many temples and water reservoirs in Bangalore. One of his social reforms was to disallow the custom of cutting-off the last two fingers of the

left hand of the married women during Bandi Devaru, an important custom of Morasu Vokkaligas.

Tears You Apart Launch of National Tobacco Control Campaign

July 21st, 2013

A nation-wide National Tobacco Control Campaign called Tears you apart has been launched by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. Objective: To raise awareness about the danger to the life of tens of millions of Indians who consume smokeless tobacco every day. As per the survey conducted by Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 21 crore Indians make use of smokeless tobacco. Smokeless tobacco includes: paan masala, gutkha, zarda, khaini and paan with tobacco. Concerned authorities need to take action immediately else the death toll could increase to more than eighty lakh by 2030. Around 90% of the oral cancers are caused by smokeless tobacco. As per the estimation nearly 8-9 lakh people die every year due to diseases caused by tobacco. Implementation of the stated regulation which prohibit production, storage and sale of pan masala and gutkha containing tobacco have been issued by 33 states/UTs.

Plan scheme Development Communication and Information Dissemination approved for 12th five-year plan
July 21st, 2013

The plan scheme Development Communication and Information Dissemination with an expenditure of Rs.630 Crore. Objective: To raise awareness among the Government schemes. people of the benefits in a variety of

The media units of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will implement this scheme through different modes of i.e. Public Information Campaigns, people to people contact , outdoor publicity, press tours, electronic and print media, conducted tours, live art andculture shows, special outreach programmes etc.

An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradiction A book by Jean Dreze and Amartya Sen released
July 21st, 2013

In their book An Uncertain Glory: India and its Contradiction, Amratya Sen along with Jean Drze, have presented a view of the conditions of contemporary India with a collection of the wealth of revealing data. The book presents the booming maintenance of the worlds largest democracy and achievements of India since independence. They have also discussed about the prevalent flaws in the development strategy of the nation. Major focus is over the role of human capabilities as an end in them and as a means of further progress.

About Jean Drze



An Indian citizen since 2002 and lives in India since then Taught at the London School of Economics (LSE) and the DelhiSchool of Economics (DSE). Currently a visiting Professor at Allahabad University. Co-authored Amartya Sen in books named Hunger and Public Action and India: Development and Participation Co-author of the Public Report on Basic Education in India
Amaryta Sen

An Indian economist and philosopher Wn Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1998 for making contribution to welfare economics and social choice theory A professor at Thomas W. Lamont University A Professor of Philosophy and Economics, at Harvard University. Some of the books authored by him include: The Argumentative IndianInequality reexamined The Idea of Justice Poverty and Famines Commodities and Capabilities Hunger and Republic Action Development as Freedom Choice, Welfare and Measurement Rationality and Freedom Identity and Violence the illusion of Destiny

Rs 25,000 crore window opened by RBI to help Mutual Fund industry

July 21st, 2013

A special borrowing window of Rs 25,000 crore was opened by the RBI to help mutual funds industry over liquidity problems. The crisis occurred due to different merger schemes in the industry and profit booking. This facility will be made available for a brief period only. A special 3-day REPO auction was decided to be conducted by RBI under which banks can raise funds upto to Rs 25,000 crore at 10.25 per cent for on lending to the mutual funds. In 2012-13 the mutual fund industry lost more than 36 lakh investors. During the last 3 financial years, the mutual fund industry had lost over 15 lakh new investor accounts. In

April-June 2013-14 as per the latest SEBI data, Mutual Funds lost 10 lakh investors in terms of individual accounts or folios.

Midday Meal to be monitored by a Committee formed by HRD Ministry

July 21st, 2013

A committee has been set up by the centre to review the accomplishment of its flagship midday meal scheme and supervise better quality of food served, effectiveness of the supply chain and guaranteed hygienic standards. A programme headed by HRD Ministry had alerted 12 Bihar districts after flaws were found in executing the scheme. The committee would comprise of minister and 20 members from the government side and as well as from the civil society group.

Helicopter Shot discoverer Santosh Lal, a friend of M.S.Dhoni dies

July 21st, 2013

Mahendra Singh Dhonis childhood friend Santosh Lal , a first-class cricketer who invented helicopter shot passed away.
What is the Helicopter Shot?

It is an unorthodox cricket shot played by a batsman. The shot was popularized by Indian skipper M.S. Dhoni. While attempting this shot, the batsman digs a yorker ferociously with the bat forming a whipping arc in the follow through. With the passage of time players have developed different cricketing techniques to score runs. By a successful Helicopter Shot a batsman can hit a Six on a yorker.

NSE embarks to top slot as largest bourse globally for equity trades
July 21st, 2013

As per World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has again embarked its position as the worlds largest bourse in terms of volumes in equity trades. Even after a fall of 9.7% in its equity trades last month NSE registered a total of 112 million trades and thus now making it the worlds top exchange on this parameter among the 50 bourses listed with WFE. NSE was also ranked first in terms of equity trades for the first half of 2013 with a total of 711.8 mn trades. BSE, stood at the 8th place with 24.4 mn trades on its platform. Although the total number of listed companies is much larger in case of the BSE, the exchange lags behind NSE significantly in terms of volume and value of trades.

RBI calibrates MSF to ease rupee volatility

July 21st, 2013

In the wake of continuing depreciation of rupee disturbing the monetary and fiscal calculations, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), fine-tuned the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate to 10.5% from previous 8.25%. This will be 300 basis points above the policy repo rate under the Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF). The increase comes into effect with immediate effect. As a consequence of the increase in the MSF rate, the Bank Rate also stands adjusted to 10.25%.

As per RBI, the overall allocation of funds under the LAF would be limited to 1% of the net demand and time liabilities of the banking system. This is estimated to be around Rs.75,000 crore.
What is MSF?

Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) allows banks to borrow funds from the RBI at a rate which is 100 basis points above the LAF (or the repo rate), against pledging the approved government securities.
How will RBIs caliberation of MST to ease Rupee volatility impact the market?

The increase in MSF is expected to make the loans costlier.

RBI penalizes 22 banks for violating KYC norms

July 21st, 2013

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has fined 22 banks by imposing penalty for violating KnowYour-Customer (KYC) norms and anti-money laundering guidelines. The banks who have been fined include SBI, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank and some other banks all of whom have been fined Rs.3 crore each. The central bank also issued cautionary letters to seven other banks including Citibank, Standard Chartered and Barclays as no violation of serious nature by them was established. The violations by the public sector banks were revealed in a sting operation by online portal, Cobrapost. As per the RBI, the investigation against the fined banks did not reveal any prima facie evidence of money laundering. The banks who have been penalized for violating Know Your Customer (KYC)/Anti-Money Laundering norms includes the countrys largest bank, State Bank of India, and other public sector banks such as PunjabNational Bank, Bank of India and Canara Bank. Earlier, three new generation private banks were slapped with stiff fines by the central bank whose investigations followed an expose by online portal Cobrapost. The latest list includes the relatively new Yes Bank as well as some old private banks such as Lakshmi Vilas Bank.

Scientist engineer Functional blood vessels in mice made from stem cells
July 21st, 2013

Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Stem Institute, Harvard University have been able to engineer stable and functional blood vessels in mice using induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells taken from skin of healthy people and those with Type I diabetes. The blood vessels lasted for 280 days in the brain of the mice.
How was the functional blood vessel created?

Scientist used induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) cells taken from skin of healthy people and those with Type I diabetes. These cells produced vascular precursor cells endothelial precursor cells and mesenchymal precursor cells from iPS cells. While

endothelial cells form the inner lining of blood vessels, mesenchymal cells provide structural stability. Then they were grown in a dish in a medium which provided the nutriments and suitable environment. After the cells attained a certain optimum growth stage forming an engineered construct, it was then transferred onto the brain and dorsal skin of the mice and visualized with a microscope. It was also subcutaneously injected into the backs of the animals. The mice with subcutaneously injected construct were sacrificed (killed) after two weeks. Even within this short period, it had formed blood vessels and connected with the animals vessels. The presence of mouse RBCs in the engine ered vessels is proof that blood had flowed through them. How would it help in future? This work is proof of concept demonstration that vascular precursor cells endothelial precursor cells and mesenchymal precursor cells from iPS cells can be used to engineer blood vessel. This study holds great promise to restore blood flow, especially in the case of Type II diabetic patients with ischemia in the foot.

British Government decorates Krishna Menons London home with blue plaque
July 20th, 2013

In commemoration to V.K. Krishna Menons long and eventful association with London, the British government has decided to put up an English Heritage blue plaque at the house where he lived when he first moved to the city. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel are among the other Indian leaders previously honoured by English Heritage.
Who was V.K. Krishna Menon?

(Born: May 3, 1896, died October 6, 1974) Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon was an Indian nationalist, diplomat and statesman. He was Indias first High Commissioner to the UK and later became Defence Minister of India from 1957 to 1962.
Menon in the UK

While his stay in the UK, he served as a Labour councillor for the Borough of St. Pancras in 1930s, and is still remembered for introducing travelling libraries and childrens corners. During the Second World War, he served as an air warden around Camden Square, where he lived at the time, and in 1955 St. Pancras conferred on him the Freedom of the Borough, the only other person so honoured being George Bernard Shaw. He was described by the former Labour Prime Minister, James Callaghan as the embod iment of the movement within Britain for Indias freedom.

Menon in India:

Menon was noted for his eloquence, brilliance, and forceful, highly abrasive persona. He inspired widespread adulation and fervent detraction in both India and the West; to his supporters, he was an unapologetic champion of India in the face of Western imperialism. Returning to India, he was repeatedly elected to both houses of the Indian parliament from constituencies as varied as Bombay, Bengal, and his native Kerala, and served as Minister of Defense, overseeing the modernization of the Indian military and development of the Indian military-industrial complex, and spearheading the Indian annexation of Goa. He resigned in the wake of the Sino-Indian war, following allegations of Indias military unpreparedness, but remained counselor to Nehru, Member of Parliament and elder statesman until his death. As as Minister of Defense, overseeing the modernisation of the Indian military and development of the Indian military-industrial complex, and spearheading the Indian annexation of Goa. He resigned in the wake of the Sino-Indian war, following allegations of Indias military unpreparedness, but remained counselor to N ehru, member of parliament and elder statesman until his death.
Who are the other Indian leaders honored with Blue Plaque previously?

Other Indian leaders namely Mahatma Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel have been honoured by this English Heritage, previously.
Why is the significance of blue plaque?

The Blue Plaque Scheme of London was founded in 1866 is run by the William Ewart MP and the Royal Society of Arts to commemorates the association between the notable figures of past and Britains famous residents. More than 760 plaques have been placed across London by now. It is a uniquely successful means of connecting people and place. The Royal Society launched the scheme in 1867 with the unveiling of a commemorative tablet for Lord Byron.

harkhand: Hemant Soren government wins trust vote

July 19th, 2013

Hemant Soren (37) has been sworn in as Chief Minister of the coalition government led by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. Soren, son of JMM chief Shibu Soren, was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor Syed Ahmed after President Pranab Mukherjee revoked the nearly six-month-long Central rule in the State. The President had imposed the rule exercising the power from Article 356 (1) of the Constitution after the resignation of Chief Minister Arjun Munda (BJP) in January 2013 when the party was reduced to minority after the JMM had withdrew its support.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren won the vote on confidence motion in the state Assembly

President launches Kisaan Portal- aimed at reaching Information, Advisories, Services to 12 Crore Farmers
July 19th, 2013

President Pranab Mukherjee launched a Kisaan Portal for sending SMS through mobile phones to the farmers across the nation. This initiative will enable the farmers to take informed decision pertaining to different aspects of farming and weather forecasts. It has been set up to spread information, advisories and services through SMS to more than 12o million farmers across the country. To access the service, farmers will have to register themselves by calling Kisaan Call Centre on the toll free number 1800-180-1551 or through the web portal.
What are the key benefits of the SMS Advisories from Kisaan Portal?

The key advantages include: It will help farmers in taking informed decisions relating to different aspects of farming including crop production and marketing, animal husbandry, dairying and fisheries. The farmers can customize the SMS service to get advisories relevant to their specific requirements. Weather forecast SMS and alerts will enable farmers in planning, farming operations effectively and taking the best suited action to deal with adverse weather conditions. Advisories on disease/pest outbreak will also assist the farmers to take quick actions to safeguard their crops and animals. Advisories on best practices, such as selection of better suited crop variety/ animal breed, will lead to better farm productivity and enhanced income to the farmers. Farmers will be informed about the market which will give the farmer better bargaining power which in turn help farmers in taking better decisions about sale of his produce. The SMS service will also include soil test results, selection of fertilizer and its dosage, and also information on various programmes so that farmers can make the best use of assistance and know-how being made available by the Government.

Zc(3900): Scientists find evidence of existence of a new four-quark particle

July 19th, 2013

Particle physicists performing experiments at the Belle particle detector in Japanand in BESIII detector in Chinahave found evidence of the existence of a four-quark particle namedZc(3900).
About Zc(3900):

Composed of two quarks and two antiquarks. A hadron, a type of subatomic particle made of quarks, believed to be the first tetraquark that has been observed experimentally. A decay product of the previously observed anomalous Y(4260) particle. In turn decays into a charged pion () and a J/ meson. This is co nsistent with the Zc(3900) containing four or more quarks.
What are Quarks?

A quark is an elementary particle and a fundamental constituent of matter. Quarks combine to form composite particles called hadrons, the most stable of which are protons and neutrons, the components of atomic nuclei. Due to a phenomenon known as color confinement, quarks are never directly observed or found in isolation; they can be found only within hadrons, such as baryons (of which protons and neutrons are examples), and mesons.For this reason, much of what is known about quarks has been drawn from observations of the hadrons themselves.
What are the differnt types of Quarks?

There are six types of quarksflavors: up, down, strange, charm, bottom, and top. Up and down quarks have the lowest masses of all quarks. The heavier quarks rapidly change into up and down quarks through a process of particle decay. Because of this, up and down quarks are generally stable and the most common in the universe, whereas strange, charm, top, and bottom quarks can only be produced in high energy collisions (such as those involving cosmic rays and in particle accelerators). Quarks have various intrinsic properties, including electric charge, color charge, mass, and spin. Quarks are the only elementary particles in the Standard Model of particle physics to experience all four fundamental interactions, also known as fundamental forces(electromagnetism, gravitation, strong interaction, and weak interaction), as well as the only known particles whose electric charges are not integer multiples of the elementary charge. Quarks have three kinds of charges which are characterized by a quantum number called colour (as three kinds of primary colours exist).
What is Quantum Chromodynamics or QCD?

The theory describing the Chromodynamics or QCD.

What is antiquark?






called Quantum

For every quark flavor there is a corresponding type of antiparticle, known as anantiquark, that differs from the quark only in that some of its properties have equal magnitude but opposite sign.

40% of global population is online: ITU

July 19th, 2013

As per the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), nearly 40% of the global population or 2.7 billion people are already online in 2013 whileIndia still stands far with around 13% Internet penetration with roughly 160 million users. As per ITU: The percentage of people online in developing and developed world is 31% and 77% respectively. Europe, with 75% Internet penetration, is the region with the highest Internet penetration rate. The US, with 61% penetration, is positioned at the second spot amongst regions. Africa has nearly 16% of its citizens online only half the penetration rate of AsiaPacific, where one out of every three (33%) citizens has access to the Internet. More men than women have access to the Internet, but the distinction is not sharp. Globally, 37% of all women are online, compared with 41% of all men. The gender gap is more marked in the developing world, where 16% less women than men use the Internet, compared with only 2% less women than men in the developed world. 41% or nearly 750 million households are connected to the Net by 2013. Nearly half of these households are in the developing world, where household Internet penetration is close to 28%. 78% of households in the developed world are online. In 2013, around 1.1 billion homes globally, of which 90% are in the developing world, are yet to be connected to the Internet. Europe and Africa are the regions with the highest and lowest household Internet penetrations respectively. About 77% households in Europe in contrast to extreme low of 7% in Africa. With an annual growth rate of 27%, Africas Internet penetration grew fastest between 2009 and 2013. India is expected to double its Internet users from 160 million to 330 million by 2015. Indias National Telecom Policy ideates for 175 million broadband subscribers by 2017 and 600 million by 2020.

Panel on manufacturing takes measures to boost the sector

July 19th, 2013

A high-level panel on manufacturing has cleared the Rs.7,555-crore project to build 90seater aircraft. It also decided to increase steel production capacity to 300 million tones through Special Purpose Vehicles of Central Public Sector Enterprises with states. It was also decided to enhance export of textiles by 30% in 2013. In fiscal 2012-13, textiles exports stood at about $34 billion. The panel focused on giving a fillip to creating domestic manufacturing capabilities in advanced materials, alloys and composites.

Indias 90-seater aircraft project (Joint effort of: HAL + CSIR + DRDO):

The project to build indigenous 90-seater aircraft has been on anvil for years. The design and development of the aircraft is estimated to cost Rs.4,355 crore, and series production would entail a further Rs.3,200 crore. The aircraft is to be built through a collaborative venture of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and DRDO.

Eminent Carnatic vocalist Nookala passed away

July 19th, 2013

Eminent Carnatic vocalist Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana, a recipient of Padma Bhushan, passed away.
About Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana:

Born: 1923 at Anakapalle in Andhra Pradesh, he Mahamahopadhyaya by his students and music lovers.




As a child he was a prodigy with theatrical tastes. Learned to play violin from renowned musician Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu. Later, he was influenced with Pinakapani and took up Carnatic vocal.
Honors for Nookala Chinna Satyanarayana:

Padma Bhushan Asthana Vidwan for Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, Kanchi Kamakoti, Sringeri Sankara, Pushapagiri Peetham and the Ganapati Sachidananda Ashram. Sangeetha Kala Acharya by the Madras Music Academy after his demonstration of Pancharatna Kirtanas of Thyagaraja.

Indian oil companies considering Irans gas offer

July 19th, 2013

India is thinking over Irans offer of Production Sharing Contracts (PSCs) in the energy sector, including one for developing the prolificFarzad B gasfield in the Farsi block of the Persian Gulf. This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran has offered three Indian oil companies ONGC Videsh Limited, Oil India Limited and Indian Oil Corporation PSCs at a time of diminishing crude purchases by India. The offer marks a departure from Irans earlier practice of offering Indian companies 15% fixed returns under a buy-back arrangement with the national oil company of Iran and also indicates towards Irans intention of improving ties with India. The PSCs offer the Indian

companies a guaranteed share of production. However, India would have to analyse the advantages and disadvantages before accepting the offer, because of the sanctions the U.S. and the European Union imposed on Iran, primarily aiming its oil industry, to pressurize Tehran to give up its nuclear programme. In past: 2011: Indian companies opened talks with Iran for developing the gas field. But a subsequent meeting did not materialise because India was apprehensive of the impact of the sanctions on its companies. The impact of sanctions led to cut down in Irans crude supplies to India in the past few years. May 2013: Iran had offered the Indian firms PSCs to increase investment in the upstream sector. As a matter of fact, Iran offered to ship gas to India in liquefied form through Oman. Iran does not have the technology to liquefy gas, so it agreed to do the process in Oman. During 2012-13, Indias import plummeted by over 26.5% to 13.3 million tonnes from 18.1 million tonnes the year before. In 2012-13, Iranian share was 7.2% of Indias oil imports, down from 10.5% the previous year.
Farzad B Gas Field - Indian exploration in Iran

Since 2009, the Indian companies are negotiating with Iran for developing the Farzad B gasfield. As per initial estimates, it contains 21.68 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of gas, with recoverable reserves of 12.8 tcf. The investment in exploration is put at $5.5 billion, with an extra $8 billion-$9 billion for developing the field and building a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, and for transport. This gas could go directly to India as LNG.

Supreme Court: Persons in lawful custody not entitled to vote/contest elections

July 19th, 2013

Upholding a 2004 judgement of Patna High court, the Supreme Court has held that persons in lawful custody whether convicted in a criminal case or otherwise cannot contest polls. However, the ruling does not apply to those on bail. What is the matter? The Chief Election Commissioner and others had filed a appeals against a Patna High Court judgement that in 2004 had held that when a person in custody is disqualified from voting he or she must be disqualified from contesting in elections too. Calling the High Courts decision right the apex court held that a person who has no right to vote by virtue of the provisions of Section 62 (5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 is not an elector and is therefore not qualified to contest the election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of a State. Besides, the court said A right to vote is a statutory right, the Law gives it, the Law takes it away. Persons convicted of crime are kept away from elections to the Legislature, whether to State Legislature or Parliament and all other public elections. The Law temporarily takes away the power of such persons to participate in elections. To vote is a statutory right. It is a privilege to vote, which privilege may be taken

away. In that case, the elector would not be qualified, even if his name is on the electoral rolls.

Prominent gastroenterologist Rangabashyam passed away

July 19th, 2013

Renowned surgical gastroenterologist, surgeon and teacher, N. Rangabashyam, passed away.

About Dr. Rangabashyam

Dr. Rangabashyam was a groundbreaker in the field of surgical gastroenterology and proctology that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the colon, rectum, and anus in India. Celebrated for his achievements by reputed institutions across the world, Dr. Rangabashyam started his distinguished career with a brief work in general surgery at Thanjavur. He joined Madras Medical College where he was appointed Professor of Gastroenterology.
Unique Achievements of Dr. Rangabashyam:

He was the first person to start a separate department for Surgical Gastroenterology in Thanjavur, and later became its head. He also started the first M.Ch. (Surgical Gastroenterology) degree course in India. He was the first to start ostomy department at MMC, enterostomal therapy diploma for nurses. He was the first to introduce staplers in surgery in the country, perform laparostomies, and one of the pioneers of hepatobiliary surgery in the country. He made major contributions in the field of colitis, bowel cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers, portal hypertension and bowel disease in the tropics. He contributed chapters to the Oxford Textbook of Surgery and in the Recent Advances in Surgery series.

IOE3-Kanban: 100-megapixel camera developed by China

July 19th, 2013

What is IOE3-Kanban?

IOE3-Kanban, is the name of the camera developed by the Institute of Optics and Electronics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAC). Developers claim that it has a 100-megapixel resolution which makes itChinas highest pixel camera.
What are the unique features of IOE3-Kanban?

The camera is capable of producing images with 10,240 x 10,240 pixels camera and can used to produce high-resolution imaging in the fields of aerial mapping, disaster monitoring and intelligent transportation systems. Intelligent transportation system is aimed at providing innovative services relating to different modes of transport and traffic management. The camera is small and light, with its widest part measuring only 19.3 cm and it can be used at temperatures ranging from minus 20 degree C to 55 degree C.
What is a megapixel ?

1 megapixel = 1,000,000 pixels. Megapixel is a term used not only for the number of pixels in an image, but also to express the number of image sensor elements of digital cameras or the number of display elements of digital displays.

PDP victorious in Bhutan General Assembly polls

July 19th, 2013

Led by Tshering Tobgay, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has registered their victory in the polls to the General Assembly of Bhutan. It won 32 out of 47 seats, while the outgoing party, the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT), managed to retain the remaining seats in the election. The focus of the PDPs election campaign in the last few days was the strained IndiaBhutan relations- where it laid the blame for withdrawal of subsidy on LPG and kerosene among other things, on the mishandling by the DPT.

Founder of Bose Corporation, Amar Bose passed away

July 19th, 2013

Amar Gopal Bose (83), Indian-American founder, Chairman and academic behind the revolutionary sound systems of Bose Corporation, passed away in Wayland, Massachusetts.
About Amar Gopal Bose:

Born on November 2, 1929, in Philadelphia, to an American schoolteacher and Noni Gopal Bose, a freedom fighter and Calcutta University physicist who fled to the U.S. in 1920 after being imprisoned for protesting British rule in India. Did his bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Founded Bose Corporation which brought sound systems with high-end acoustic features. Invented stereo loudspeakers that would reproduce, in a domestic setting, the dominantly reflected sound field that characterizes the listening space of the audience in a concert hall. Later psychoacoustics became the hallmark of his company. Was an Indian American academic and entrepreneur, an electrical engineer and sound engineer. Was a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
What is Psychoacoustics ?

Psychoacoustics is the scientific study of sound perception i.e. a branch of science studying the psychological and physiological responses associated with sound (including speech and music).

Union govt approves proposal for Guwahati metro

July 18th, 2013

The Union government has approved the proposal for the Guwahati metro rail proposal. The Centre has sanctioned Rs. 25 crore for performing feasibility studies for the proposed project. The project, to be carried out in three phases and covering a total distance of 65 km, is estimated to cost Rs.14,000 crore.

Veteran actor Pran passed away

July 18th, 2013

Legendary Bollywood actor and Dadasaheb Phalake Award winner Pran Krishan Sikand (83), popularly known as Pran, passed away.
About Pran Krishan Sikand:

Born: February 12, 1920 in Ballimaran, Kotgarh Old Delhi, into a wealthy Punjabi family. He won his first role in Dalsukh M. Pancholis Punjabi film Yamla Jat (1940). Did hits such as as Half Ticket , Ram aur Shyam , Zanjeer ,Johny Mera Naam and Karz. Played roles in more than 350 films from 1942 2007 and was popular as a movie villain and character actor in Hindi cinema. Won the Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award in 1967, 1969 and 1972. Honored with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Awarded as the Villain of the Millennium by Stardust in 2000. The Government of India conferred on him the Padma Bhushan in 2001 and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in2013 for his contributions towards Indian cinema.

In News: Solar Impulse

July 17th, 2013

Solar Impulse has been in news recently for completing a transcontinental trip across the US, despite a rip in the fabric of one wing. Solar Impulse is a Swiss long-range solar powered aircraft project developed at the cole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne. The aircraft took off from Mountain View, California on May 3, 2013 and took a coast-to-coast journey across the domestic United States before touching down at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York on July 6, 2013.
Who were the pilots for Solar Impulse?

Swiss pilot Andre Borschberg and fellow pilot Bertrand Piccard piloted the aircraft. The men had taken turns flying the spindly, long-winged plane across the country.
Features of Solar Impulse:

Powered by 12,000 solar cells Flies in the dark by reaching high altitudes during the day and gliding downward over long distances by night Uses no fossil fuels Flying speed of around 70 kilometers per hour Runs on 4 electric propellers powered by solar cells mounted on the planes 63 -meter wingspan
Drawbacks of Solar Impulse:

Tiny cockpit Vulnerability to turbulence Lack of a toilet

Future Plans for Solar Impulse:

The current aircraft model, the HB-SIA, is soon to be phased out as the Swiss team prepares test flights in 2014 of the second-generation aircraft, the HB-SIB. The next plane is expected to be 10% larger, with more power, reliability, an auto-pilot function and a toilet so that pilots can make the four to six-day long trips that will be part of its journey across the world in 2015.

Ireland passes legislation allowing abortion

July 17th, 2013

After intense two-day debate, the Irish Parliament passed a watered-down legislation allowing abortion under limited circumstances. It would now need the approval from the Upper House.
The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013, Ireland:

The Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013 would permit abortion if the mothers life is in danger. It would also extend to women who are deemed suicidal if refused abortion. In effect, the bill simply gives effect to a 1992 Supreme Court ruling allowing doctors to perform abortion to save a mothers life. Successive governments failed to legislate on it because of stiff opposition from the aggressive pro-life lobby. Background: It can be recalled that due to lack of such provisions Savita Halappanavar, a young Indian dentist, died in an Irish hospital last October after being refused abortion despite apparent risk to her life. An inquiry found that she could have been saved if doctors had agreed to her request for termination. The incident was followed by widespread outrage and protest.
About Savita Halappanavar:

Savita Halappanavars death has led to a widespread protests in Ireland and a call to relook at the abortion laws. She was 31 year old dentist originally from Belgaum,India who moved to Ireland in 2008. She died on October 28, 2012 in Galway, Ireland. Her death led to widespread protests, in Ireland, India, Englandand other countries and a call to re-look at the abortion laws. She suffered miscarriage when she was 17 weeks pregnant.

Her husband claimed that the University College Hospital Galway where she was admitted denied her an abortion because a fetal heartbeat was present, despite the fetus being declared nonviable. This led to septicemia (blood poisoning), multiple organ failure and her death. The fetal remains were eventually removed but too much time had passed.

Why Savita Halappanavar was denied abortion at the right time when she needed it?

Under Irish law on abortion, and Offences against the Person Act 1861 abortion is illegal in Ireland. As a result Irish women have to travel to UK each year to undergo abortion. Abortion in the Republic of Ireland is illegal unless it occurs as the result of a medical intervention performed to save the life of the mother. However, the availability of abortion services can be even more restricted in the absence of a readily available method of determining the circumstances in which an abortion might be lawfully obtained. However, a judgment of the Irish Supreme Court in 1992, commonly known as the X case, permits abortions where the life of the mother is at risk, including from suicide. Abortion is a controversial issue in Irish politics and five national referendums have been held on the topic in the last 30 years.
Reactions over Death of Savita Halappanavar:

Her death led to protests by local community, and Indian community in particular. In India, the Ministry of External Affairs of India summoned the Irish ambassador over the issue. Human rights group Amnesty observed that the death of the Indian Dentist illustrates gap in Irish law and asked Irish government to amend its law on abortion in the with internationalhuman rights law.

India, Japan to strengthen defense relationship

July 17th, 2013

In a recent meeting between Indias National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and visiting Japanese Senior Vice-Minister of DefenceAkinori Eto, both the nations discussed on the possibilities of expanding the defence ties, which will include joint development and production of defence equipment. It must be noted that Japan, which normally has strict rules prohibitinginternational trade in defence equipment, has offered to sell India the ShinMaywa US-2, a highly sophisticated amphibious plane.
Current defence ties between India and Japan:

The current defence collaboration between the India and Japan primarily involves joint exercises, innumerable rounds between the Coast Guards and plans for an expanded second-ever interaction between the navies later this year.
Why Japan is strict on defence equipment trade?

In 1967 Japan voluntarily gave up international trade in defence equipment under the Three Principles on Arms Exports. These principles are:

1. No exports of arms to communist countries 2. No exports of arms to countries under U.N. sanctions 3. No exports of arms to countries engaged in international conflicts. Nine years later, Japan added a ban on arms-related facilities and technologies to the list.
What are the changes in Japanese defence equipment sales policy now?

Now, Japan has relaxed some of the defence equipment sale norms. India intends to take the advantage of this opportunity and could become the second country after the U.S. to gain from this. Australia and some European countries are already serenading Japan after it announced some exemptions in overseas transfer of defence equipment in 2011. Instead of simply buying the finished product, both sides will be looking at transfer of technology of some of the parts to Indian companies. The intention is to replicate a MarutiSuzuki kind of venture. India feels the move to provide some of the inputs from India would benefit both sides because costs are high in Japan.

AERB gives not to Kudankulam first Unit

July 17th, 2013

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) has given green signal for controlled fission process or First Approach to Criticality (FAC) for the first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu. The FAC is a significant step towards the starting of power generation. The approval was given after a thorough review of associated safety aspects. This clearance for the FAC, however, does not mean the commissioning of the plant. Many low-power tests will have to be done to verify the conformance of the reactors characteristics to design objectives. The AERB would review the results of the tests before giving a go-ahead for the next stage of commissioning, which would follow a phased increase in the power level of the reactor.

Survey to study voter behavior in LS elections in Tamil Nadu

July 17th, 2013

The Election Commission of India will conduct KABP (Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour and Practice of Voters) Baseline Survey in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in all the 39 Lok Sabha constituencies ofTamil Nadu. The survey which will be conducted by the State Elections Department will seek to determine what motivates electors to exercise their franchise and what deters them. It will In each constituency, one Assembly segment will be chosen through random sampling. One hundred and twenty five electors will be interviewed. Totally, 4,875 persons will be covered. The baseline survey is part of the national programme of the Election Commission and the findings of the proposed survey will be useful in designing and planning the Commissions campaign of information,education and communication (IEC) at the time of the polls, due for 2014.

Baseline and endline surveys are part of the Commissions programme of Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP), which is being given greater thrust after the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. One of the major reasons behind the launch of the programme was that at the all-India level, 30 crore electors did not cast votes in 2009.[However, in Tamil Nadu, the turnout was high with about 73%].

RBI directs oil firms to buy dollar from single PSU bank
July 17th, 2013

In the current scenario of continuous down slide of the rupee against the dollar, the Reserve Bank of India, in a bid to cub this volatility, has ordered state-owned oil companies to purchase their dollar requirement from a single public sector bank for every daily transaction. State oil refiners, who are the biggest buyers of dollars, agreed to implement the RBI order with immediate effect. The RBI issued orders to Indian Oil Corporation, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation and Mangalore Refinery to stop seeking quotes from several banks for their $8-8.5 billion of monthly transactional requirement of U.S. dollar. Why RBI doesnt want oil firms to seek multiple quotes for their dollar requirements? As felt by the RBI, Oil firms seeking multiple quotes for their dollar requirement adds to speculation on demand for the dollar and volatility in the local unit. The RBI has, therefore, asked oil firms to buy dollars from a single bank at their published reference rate.

India, Maldives and Sri Lanka ink Indian Ocean security agreement
July 17th, 2013

India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives have signed a tripartite pact on maritime cooperation to secure sea routes in the Indian Ocean region. The three nations will share capacities and information to address threats to maritime security such as piracy, terrorism and gunrunning in the Indian Ocean and to pursue sustainable development of maritimeenvironment. The agreement was signed at a meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Egypt issue arrest warrant against Muslim Brotherhood leader

July 17th, 2013

Egypts current leadership has issued a warrant for the arrest of the supreme leader of Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie and nine other leading Islamists on the charger of instigating violence in the opposition of the military coup which led ouster of President Mohamed Morsy. The violence killed 54 people of which most were Morsys supporters. The military already has jailed five Brotherhood leaders, including Mr. Badies powerfu l deputy, Khairat el-Shaiter, and shut down its media outlets. Members of the Brotherhood and other Islamists have denounced the overthrow of Mr. Morsy and have refused offers by the military-backed interim leadership to join any

transition plan for a new government. They are demanding reinstatement of Mr. Morsys regime. The military-backed interim President, Adly Mansour, issued a fast-track timetable for the transition. His declaration set out a seven-month timetable for elections but also a shortened, temporary constitution laying out the division of powers in the meantime.
Reactions from other Gulf nations over ouster of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt:

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have welcomed the development in Egypt. The two nations, both antagonists of Mr. Morsys Brotherhood, celebrated his ouster by lavishing the cash-strapped Egyptian government with promises of $8 billion in grants, loans and urgently needed gas and oil. Kuwait also promised to offer an aid package worth $4 billion. The donations effectively step in for Mr. Morsys Gulf ally, Qatar, a supporter of the Brotherhood that gave his government several billion in aid during his year in office.

Latvia gets approval to join Eurozone

July 15th, 2013

The small Baltic nation of Latvia has been given approval from its European partners to become the 18th member of the eurozone from 2014. The ECOFIN council which is composed of the Economics and Finance Ministers of the European Unions 28 member states has given nod to the countrys euro membership. It had been a long journey for the former Soviet state since it entered the EU in 2004.
Why Latvia intends to join Eurozone?

Latvia is hopeful that entering the eurozone will bring with it the country a number of benefits like lowere interest rates, lower currency conversion costs and increased foreign investment.
What are the challenges ahead for Latvia for joining Eurozone?

Latvia came out from a crisis in 2008-09 to become the EUs fastest-growing economy, having recorded GDP growth of more than 5% consecutively in both 2011 and 2012. However, Latvian leadership has a major challenge of convincing the people of the benefits of joining the eurozone. There is a widespread skepticism and distrust in the public on the positives of Euro as their new currency as they have witnessed the crisis of Greece and Cyprus and not long ago the Euro was also on the verge of disintegrating.

Hazem el-Beblawi is Egypt interim Premier

July 15th, 2013

Liberal economist Hazem el-Beblawi has been appointed as Egypts interim Prime Minister by Egypts interim President Adly Mansour. The President has also appointed Nobel -laureate Mohamed ElBaradei as Deputy President with responsibility for foreign affairs. Mr. Mansour who was appointed to the post after a recent military coup overthrew President Mohamed Morsy has declared that changes would be made to the Constitution, which would be put to referendum, paving the way for parliamentary elections early in 2014.

India clarifies views to Sri Lanka on 13th Amendment

July 15th, 2013

Indian National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon has clearly voicedIndias view on the 13th Amendment of Sri Lankas Constitution emphasizing on the need for Colombo to fulfill its commitment to India and the international community regarding the same. Sri Lanka has also shared the development being taking place towards the implementation of the 13th Amendment. It has formed a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to reach a consensus on the implementation of the 13th Amendment. The PSC, which was constituted in June 2013, presently has 19 members, all from the ruling coalition United Peoples Freedom Alliance led by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party. Sri Lankan President has explained the practical problems in devolving land and police powers to the provinces of a small country such as Sri Lanka and stressed that the structure that is implemented should apply and be acceptable to all parts of the country. The President also urged India to encourage the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to participate in the PSC and said the government was committed to taking the process forward despite obstacles. Challenges before PSC: Despite all efforts of the PSC, there is still a cynicism as some politicians doubt over the PSCs ability to arrive at a fair decision on the 13th Amendment. The United National Party (UNP), the main Opposition led by Ranil Wikremesinghe, has not nominated its representative to the PSC as yet. The TNA, an amalgam of Tamil parties which has significant support base in the primarily Tamil-speaking north of Sri Lanka, has opposed the PSC. The Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) in the ruling alliance, which has been in favor of implementing the 13th Amendment in its original form, is not part of the PSC, either. What is the 13th Amendment of Sri Lankas Constitution? The Thirteenth Amendment (13A) to the Constitution of Sri Lanka is amendment to the Constitution of Sri Lanka which created Provincial Councils in Sri Lanka.This also made Sinhala and Tamil as the official language of the country and English as link language. Background: Signed on July 29, 1987 b/w India and Sri Lanka. The Indo-Sri Lanka Accord is also known as the Rajiv-Jayewardene Accord, after its architects Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayewardene. On November 14, 1987 the Sri Lankan Parliament passed the 13thAmendment to the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka and the Provincial Councils Act No 42 of 1987 to establish provincial councils.

EC mulls over to deploy EVMs with VVPAT

July 15th, 2013

The Election Commission (EC) is cogitating on the option of deployingElectronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in some constituencies as it will deal with the herculean task of conducting Legislative Assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram before the end of 2013. To implement this, the EC will have to amend the rules relating to EVMs and this has to be done by the Law and Justice Ministry based on the recommendations of the Commission.
What is Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or Verified Paper Record (VPR)?

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or Verified Paper Record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results. VVPAT was jointly developed by Electronics Corporation of IndiaLimited (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and the model had already undergone field trials twice. After the improvement made in the VVPAT, a voter who exercises his vote through the ballot unit of the EVM can physically see the printout of the vote cast by him. The name of the candidate, his/her election symbol and his/her serial number in the ballot will be displayed in the printout, although this cannot be taken home by the voter.

Telegram services in India come to an end

July 14th, 2013

July 14, 2013 was the last day for the legendary 163-year old Telegram service in India. BSNL who had been providing this service terminated it on the account of losses in sustaining the service which had become redundant in the age of mobile phones and internet. Important point in the history of Telegram: It was Sir William Brooke OShaughnessy, a physician at the Calcutta Medical College, who went to Lord Dalhousie and spoke about the necessity of telegram services in 1848. The work to lay telegraph lines began in November 1850 b/w Alipore Telecom Factory in Calcutta (now Kolkata) and the Diamond Harbour Post Office. The service was declared open for general public in February 1955.

Study reveals congenital anomalies linked to consanguine marriages

July 12th, 2013

A study conducted in the U.K. throws light over the suspicion those marriages b/w blood relations might lead to health issues for the child. The study, in a detailed analysis of the issue involving over 11,000 children, born out of consanguineous marriages, revealed congenital anomalies in 386 of them. This figure of 3% is in contrasts with the 1.6% in children born of out of non-blood-relations unions. The researchers termed the babies analyzed under the study as Born in Bradford to obtain these results. Bradford is a small area in the UK where Pakistani Muslims constitute 16.8 per cent of the population. A close knit group, they practice consanguinity; 75% of them marry first cousins.
What can be the possible defects in babies born through consanguine marriages?

These babies could have a multiplicity of congenital problems. Heart problems top the list, followed by nervous disorders, limb anomalies and so forth.
Why problems occur in babies born through consanguine marriages ?

The problem in such close relative marriages surfaces when one of the partners carries a defect in any of the genes associated with some form of illness. When a person marries within the community with one who may also have such a family defect, the child inherits two copies of this faulty gene, and thus has the defect. But when a person marries outside the community, he/she bring in genes from a much larger gene pool, and the odds that the child will inherit the problem reduce remarkably.

Scientists identify molecular mechanisms causing glaucoma

July 12th, 2013

In an important finding, scientists have identified two molecular level mechanisms that lead to glaucoma.
What is Glaucoma?

It is often referred to as a silent eye disease is the second most common cause of blindness in the world. It is an eye disease that causes progressive damage to the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to deliver information to the brain.
Causes of Glaucoma:

Besides old age, several risk factors cause it family history, ethnic background, high intra-ocular pressure and high blood pressure. Long-term usage of steroids could also cause the disease. Ocular hypertension (increased pressure within the eye) is the most important risk factor in most glaucomas.
Why Glaucoma is a more serious disease than Cataract?

Unlike in cataract, which is the leading cause for blindness, loss of vision caused by glaucoma cannot be regained by therapeutic intervention.
What are the findings for Glaucoma?

Scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), who studied the molecular mechanism of glaucoma in collaboration with L.V. Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, found that mutations in certain genes are primarily responsible for glaucoma. Besides, environmental factors too contribute. One of the mutated genes causing glaucoma was OPTN which codes for protein optineurin. OPTN was one of the genes associated with glaucoma where intra-ocular pressure was not involved. An alteration in this gene (M98K) was earlier associated with glaucoma only in South Asian population. This alteration induces cell death in retinal ganglion cells.

Scientists have also enhanced the understanding of the process of autophagy, which was essential to maintain healthy cells. For instance, they were able to check cell death by blocking the enhanced activity of autophagy using chemical inhibitors. How the findings on Glaucoma can help? Understanding the molecular mechanism would go a long way in devising strategies for treating and preventing further damage. Scientists believe that by arresting ganglion cell death, further damage can be arrested and residual vision saved even after the onset of glaucoma. Note: While Cataract is the leading cause of blindness in India, Glaucoma is fourth main cause.

TAPI project: Countries agree on setting up a Company for its execution

July 12th, 2013

Countries involved in the TAPI pipeline projectIndia, Pakistan,Afghanistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to establish a company for execution of the proposed project. They are expected to give it shape to by September 2013. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been appointed as legal-technical consultant, and it will soon identify a company which will drive the project. The company will be from a neutral country. A protocol has also been inked in which the parties fixed the decision on the need to prepare founding documents and the registration of the TAPI Ltd. India has already approved setting up of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to build the TAPI gas pipeline as the multinational firms did not come forward to build the project.

Great Barrier Reef in poor health, admits Australia

July 12th, 2013

As per the report released by the Environment Ministry of Australia, the conditions at the Great Barrier Reef were poor as it faces UNESCOthreats to downgrade its heritage status over concerns about pollution and development.
What has been the major cause of decline in Great Barrier Reefs health?

The report shows that the reefs health has declined since 2009 due to cyclones and floods, despite progress on reducing agricultural runoff. Despite decrease in nitrogen (by 7%); pesticides (by 15%); sediment (by 6%); and pollutants key to outbreaks of devastating crown-of-thorns starfish that prey on corals (by 13%), the reef is in trouble.

As per the report, intense flooding in 2010-2011 followed by powerful cyclone Yasi had badly damaged the worlds largest coral reef, degrading water quality and depleting overall cover by 15% and full recovery of the reef will take decades. A study published in 2012 had revealed that coral cover had more than halved due to storms, predatory starfish outbreaks and bleaching linked to climate change over the past 27 years. Intense tropical cyclones were responsible for much of the damage, accounting for 48%, with the coral-feeding starfish linked to 42%. It is noticeable that UNESCO has warned to downgrade the reefs world heritage status to declare it at-risk in 2014 if there is no significant action on rampant coastal and resources development seen as a danger to its survival.

Experts highlight potential of cassava as biofuel crop

July 12th, 2013

Experts participating in the International Conference on Tropical Roots and Tubers organized by the Central Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI) and the Indian Society for Root Crops (ISRC) have highlighted the evolving potential of cassava as feedstock for the production of bioethanol as fuel.
What is Cassava?

Cassava is a crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy, tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates. It is the thirdlargest source of food carbohydrates in the tropics, after rice and maize. Cassava is a major staple food in the developing world, providing a basic diet for over half a billion people. It is one of the most drought-tolerant crops, capable of growing on marginal soils. Nigeria is the worlds largest producer of cassava.
How Cassava can be used as a bio-fuel?

Cassava has a high energy content, low maintenance and ability to grow under a wide range of climatic conditions, cassava. All these qualities render it a potential for production of bioethanol. The technology for cassava alcohol, patented by the CTCRI in the 1980s, requires refinement for commercial scale production. Bioethanol based on the lignocellulosic residue of cassava and sweet potato could be combined with starch-based options to make biofuel production cost effective. The high productivity of cassava crop in Indiawould make production of bioethanol cost- competitive. The step to bring comparatively less fertile land in the semi-arid areas ofMaharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and high rainfall regions in the north-eastern region under cassava cultivation would ensure supply of raw material for ethanol production.

Tagore Award to be conferred on Zubin Mehta

July 12th, 2013

Zubin Mehta, western classical music conductor of Indian-Parsi origin, will be honored with the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony 2013 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to cultural harmony. He has been unanimously chosen for this by a four-member jury led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and comprising Chief Justice ofIndia Justice Altamas Kabir, Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj and former Governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi.

Membership of MPs, MLAs to be disqualified on date of criminal conviction: Supreme Court

July 12th, 2013

In a major ruling the Supreme Court held that charge-sheeted Members of Parliament and MLAs, on conviction for the offences, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months time for appeal, as was the case before. The court struck down as ultra vires Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act that allows convicted law makers a three-month period for filing their appeal to the higher court and to get a stay of the conviction and the sentence. However, the court clarified, the ruling will be prospective and those who had already filed appeals in various High Courts or the Supreme Court against their convictions would be exempt from it.
What does Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act say?

Section 8 of the RP Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offence: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of 6 years since his release. But Section 8 (4) of the RP Act gives protection to MPs and MLAs as they can continue in office even after conviction if an appeal is filed within 3 months. Why this ruling? The order is a result of three PILs filed by Lily Thomas, the organization Lok Prahari and SN Shukla, saying Section 8(4) of RPA was leading to criminalization of politics.

Australia starts operating MWA telescope to explore universe origins

July 12th, 2013

Taking a major step towards the ambitious Square Kilometre Array (SKA) astronomy project, Australia has switched on a test telescope named Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) to explore the origins of the universe.

What is Murchison Widefield Array (MWA)?

Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) is a low-frequency radio telescope operating at the remote outback site that will host the SKA. The array will help in exploring the origins of the universe, in understanding the interaction b/w the Earth and the Sun, give early warning of destructive solar flares and study our galaxy and other galaxies. The telescope consists of 2,048 dipole antennae, arranged into 128 tile clusters, about 100 km west of Meekathara in the deep radio silence of Australias remote red-sand desert.
What is Square Kilometre Array (SKA)?

Click here for more about SKA

IOR countries to pursue open regionalism to stimulate growth

July 10th, 2013

Trade and industry ministers of Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC) member nations agreed to promote trade within the grouping to encourage economic cooperation and development in the strategic Indian Ocean region. India (Gurgaon) and Mauritius co-hosted the first economic and business conference under the theme of Deepening Economic Linkages for Balanced, Inclusive & Sustainable Growth. They decided to encourage open regionalism and reconcile trade practices in line with international norms and lower trade barriers. The group also agreed to build on the complementarities and identify key growth sectors. The members also expressed concern over the debilitating global economic environment and how low rates of growth in advanced economies have affected developing economies through slower international trade and lesser FDI inflows and urged member nations to adopt measures, consistent with their WTO obligations to boost growth and development in the region.
What is IORARC?

IORARC is Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IORARC) is an association of 20 member countries. The group came into being in March 1995 in Mauritius. Through it pass some of the most important energy transport routes from Middle East to South-East and East Asia, and securing these routes has become a global priority.
Who are the 20 members?

The IOR-ARC, which is the only pan-Indian ocean grouping, has 20 members, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Indonesia, Iran,Kenya, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman,Seychelles,Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

And there are six dialogue partners, namely China, Egypt,France,Japan, and Britain, and the United States, and two observers, namely, the Indian Ocean Research Group and the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization.
Objectives of IORARC:

1. To promote sustainable growth and balanced development of the region and Member States 2. To focus on those areas of economic cooperation which provide maximum opportunities for development, shared interest and mutual benefits 3. To promote liberalization, remove impediments and lower barriers towards a freer and enhanced flow of goods, services, investment, and technology within the Indian Ocean rim.
What was Indias point at this conference?

India called for a common maritime security enforcement regime and liberal visa regimes to boost trade and investment. India looked for deeper relationships with the member nations and intends to play an enhanced role on the high seas to boost trade without militarising the region.

RBI allows asset financing NBFCs to access ECB market

July 10th, 2013

As per a notification by the Reserve Bank of India which reviewed theExternal Commercial Borrowing (ECB) policy, Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) categorized as Asset Financing Companies (AFCs) by the RBI have been allowed to access the ECB market. The access is subject to certain conditions, including availing of ECB under the automatic route with minimum average maturity of 5 years to finance import of infrastructure equipment for leasing to infrastructure projects. Besides, NBFC-AFCs availing of ECB through Foreign Currency Bonds (FCB) will be allowed to raise capital only from markets, subject to regulations by the host country complaint with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) guidelines. Such ECBs can be availed up to 75% of owned funds of NBFC-AFCs, subject to a maximum of $200 million or its equivalent per financial year. ECBs by AFCs above 75% of their owned funds will be considered under the approval route and currency risk of such ECBs is required to be fully hedged. NBFC-Infrastructure Finance Companies (IFCs) are allowed to access ECB for on-lending to infrastructure sector both under automatic and approval routes.

First IVF baby born using NGS technique

July 10th, 2013

The first IVF baby named Connor Levy was born in the US who has undergone an embryo selection using Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) technique, which was developed to read whole genomes quickly and cheaply to select healthy embryos having no chromosomal abnormalities.

Though on this occasion scientists only looked at chromosomes the structures that hold genes the falling cost of whole-genome sequencing means doctors could soon read all the DNA of IVF embryos before choosing which to implant. How this technology can help? The chances of an embryo having the wrong number of chromosomes rise with the mothers age, and potentially with the fathers. Most of the time, embryos with abnormal chromosomes fail to implant. Those that do are usually miscarried. The portion that survive are born with genetic disorders, such as Downs syndrome. Next -generation sequencing could enable IVF clinics to determine the chances of children developingdiseases. This technology can prevent this by reading the genome of the embryo and telling which are with defective chromosomes or possessing the risk of future genetic diseases thus aiding in selection of healthy embryo for further development through IVF.

Government notifies Food Security Ordinance 2013

July 10th, 2013

The National Food Security Ordinance, 2013, which entitles 67% of the population to receive subsidized grains from the government every month, has been notified by the Union Government. The Ordinance has been introduced to implement the Food Security Bill which envisages providing 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains at Rs 3, Rs 2, Rs 1 per kg, respectively, every month to three-fourths of rural population and half the urban population in the country. The scheme would require more than 61 million tonnes of foodgrain and is expected to cost the government about Rs 1,25,000 crore. The plan proposes to continue the Antyodaya Anna Yojna through which government provides poor households 35 kg foodgrain per household per month at subsidized prices of Rs 1-3 per kg. The ordinance puts the responsibility of implementation and monitoring of the scheme under the Targeted Public Distribution System on the States. It gives them 6 months to set up the systems to implement the scheme.

IIFA Awards 2013 Winners

July 10th, 2013

The winners of the 14th IIFA Awards 2013 (International Indian Film Academy) under various categories were declared at an event held at Macau. The award winners and their respective categories are as follows: Best Actress: Vidya Balan for Kahaani Best Actor: Ranbir Kapoor for Barfi.

Best Film: Barfi and the film also bagged 9 awards in technical category- Best Cinematography (Ravi Varman I.S.C.), Best Background Score (Pritam), Best Screenplay (Anurag Basu and Tani Basu), Best Production Design (Rajat Poddar), Best Song Recording

(Eric Pillai), Best Sound Design (Shajith Koyeri), Best Sound Mixing (Debajit Changmai), Best Costume Designing (Aki Narula and Shefalina) and Best Make-Up (Uday Serali). Best Action and Best Editing: Kahaani (Namrata Rao) Best Dialogue: Gangs of Wasseypur

Best Choreography: Ganesh Acharya for Agneepath. Best Special Effects : Ek Tha Tiger

Mohamed ElBaradei is the interim PM of Egypt

July 10th, 2013

Former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei who is also the liberal opposition leader in Egypt has been named as Egypts new Prime Minister to head a caretaker government. ElBaradei leads an alliance of liberal and left-wing parties, the National Salvation Front. Baradei and the IAEA were jointly honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. ElBaradei also played a key role in recent politics in Egypt, particularly the 2011 uprising which dethroned President Hosni Mubarak, and in the 2013 revolution that ousted President Mohamed Morsi.

Andy Murray becomes the first Briton in 77 Years to clinch Wimbledon Mens Single title
July 10th, 2013

Andy Murray of Britain created history when he defeated Serbian star player Novak Djokovic at Center Court of London to become the first Briton in 77 years to win the Mens Singles Title at Wimbledon 2013. Earlier he was Fred Perry, who won his last Championship in 1936. Winners of other formats at Wimbledon: Mixed of France. Doubles Final: Daniel Nestor of Canada and Kristina Mladenovic

Girls Doubles Championship Final : Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic Boys Singles Championship Final: Gianluigi Quinzi of Italy Boys Doubles Title Final: Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia.

Wheelchair Gentlemens Doubles Title Final: Shingo Kunieda of Japan and Stephane Houdet of France. Wheelchair Ladies Doubles Title Final: J. Griffioen and A. Van Koot of Netherlands.

Sr. Gents Invitation Doubles Final: Pat Cash and Mark Woodforde of Australia.

Ladies Invitation Doubles Final: L. Davenport of USA and Martina Hingis of Switzerland. Gentlemens Invitation Doubles Final: Thomas Enqvist ofSweden and Mark Philippoussis of Australia.

RBI defines term control, notifies FDI guidelines

July 7th, 2013

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has notified Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) guidelines pending for past four years as Press notes 2 and 3 of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion will be used to ensure that foreign direct investments comply with FDI ceilings and other norms. The Press note also defines the term control or ownership of a company. As per the notification: A company is considered as controlled by resident Indian citizens if the power to appoint a majority of the directors on its board is held by Indian companies and citizens. A company is considered as owned by resident Indians if more than 50 per cent of the equity is held by the entities in India. If over 50% of the equity of a company is held by a non-resident Similarly, it would be a foreign company. As regards investments made b/w February 13, 2009 and the date of publication of the notification, Indian companies are required to intimate, within 3 months, the detailed position where the issue of shares or downstream investment is not in conformity with the regulatory framework now being prescribed. Note: The recent notification by the RBI has come amidst debate over control of Jet Airways post-UAEs Etihad buying stake. Various ministries and department including the market regulators Securities and Exchange Board of India have raised concerns about the ultimate control of Jet once the deal with Etihad goes through.

Two HIV infected show no sign of disease after Bone marrow transplants
July 7th, 2013

In an exciting development for the scientists and people living with AIDS/HIV, two men became free of HIV infection after bone marrow transplants and are not under Aids drugs treatments for several months without any sign of the virus returning. The two men, who had longstanding HIV infections, were given bone marrow transplants in Boston because they were suffering from cancers of the blood. Tests showed that as their own cells were replaced by cells from the bone marrow donor, the virus in their blood steadily dropped to undetectable levels. Although the results are sanguine for all, scientists are not calling it completely cured case as the virus is notorious to hide itself and remain at low levels but remain capable of

becoming active. To be sure of anything, scientists will have to follow-up the cases for at least one year to understand the full impact of bone marrow transplant. What if the idea works? Even if the bone marrow transplant shows positive results there will be challenges in making it available for everyone in need. Besides, this method also has a high mortality rate of 1520% and the patient has to take drugs to suppress their immune system thereafter. But the experiences of the two men will teach scientists a great deal more about how to combat the virus.

Saudi Arabia extends Nitaqat deadline to November 3, 2013

July 7th, 2013

Giving some relief to Indians in Saudi Arabia who are facing trouble in adjusting to the changes in the employment opportunities introduced by the ongoing Nitaqat (naturalisation) legislation being implemented by the Labour Ministry of the Kingdom, King Abdullah has extended the deadline for implementing the legislation from July 3 to November 3, 2013. This decision would give some more time to Indian expatriates to either find a new employment or return home. The extension of time limit would help the Indian workers most of them who would become jobless as employers now have to compulsorily implement 10% reservation in jobs for locals return to their homeland hassle-free without getting arrested or penalized. What is Nitaqat? The Nitaqat is a new policy being placed by the Saudi government in order to reduce the unemployment rate among Saudi citizens. This policy makes it mandatory for Saudi Companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals. Why Saudi Arabia is implementing such a policy? Saudi Arabias economy depends heavily on the existence of a large proportion of expatriates working for various establishments in the private and public sector. However, unlike the other states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Saudi Arabia has large number of unemployed citizens, which creates a state of resentment among those citizens. As per estimates, the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals has reached 12%. More than 6.5 million non-Saudis are working in the private sector of the Kingdom compared to 7,00,000 Saudis.

Joint Sea-2013: China-Russias largest-ever naval drill

July 7th, 2013

China and Russia are together conducting their largest-ever joint naval exercise named Joint Sea-2013 in the Sea of Japan, a further sign of the broad-based progress

in relations b/w the former Cold War era rivals. Those participating in the drill include eighteen surface ships, one submarine, three airplanes, five ship-launched helicopters and two commando units. The drills will cover anti-submarine warfare, close manoeuvring, and the simulated take-over of an enemy ship. China has long been a key customer for Russian military equipments, but only in the last decade have their militaries started training jointly. The naval drills are to be followed by another round of anti-terrorism joint drills in Russias Ural Mountain region of Chelyabinsk.

Edward Snowden gets asylum offer from Venezuela, Nicaragua

July 7th, 2013

Defying the US warnings to countries to not extend asylum to Snowden arguing that he is wanted on charges of espionage and leaking classified information, two Latin American countries Venezuela and Nicaragua offered asylum to Edward Snowden who disclosed the US clandestine electronic surveillance programme. Snowden, who first fled to Hong Kong, is currently stranded at the Moscow airport transit. The CIA whistleblower Snowden had applied for asylum in more than two dozen countries, including India. The request was denied by India and majority of the countries. But announcements by presidents of Nicaragua and Venezuela offering asylum could be viewed as a big disappointment for the US, which had been asking countries not to grant Snowden an asylum and he be returned to the country.

R. Chandrasekhar appointed as NASSCOM President

July 7th, 2013

The National Association of Software and Services Companies ( NASSCOM), has appointed R. Chandrasekhar (60), the former Secretary Department of Telecommunications (DoT), as its president. Chandrashekhar will take over current Nasscom President Som Mittal, whose tenure ends in January 2014. Mr. Chandrasekhar is a 1975 batch IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh and as the Secretary of DoT drew policies around licensing, spectrum management, National Broadband Plan and the National Telecom Policy 2012, among others.

Military coup in Egypt removes Morsy

July 7th, 2013

The recently elected Islamist President of Egypt Mohamed Morsy has been removed from power in a military coup staged under the leadership of General Abdel Fattah alSisi, head of Egypts armed forces who issued a declaration suspending the Constitution and appointing the head of the constitutional court as interim head of state. Gen. al-Sisi called for presidential and parliamentary elections, a panel to review the Constitution and a national reconciliation committee that would include youth movements. The road map had been agreed to by a range of political groups. Earlier, the top generals summoned civilian political leaders to an emergency meeting to discuss a new interim government while moving tanks toward the presidential palace and restricting Morsys

travel. The militarys intelligence service had banned any travel by Morsy and senior Islamist aides, including the Muslim Brotherhoods supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and his influential deputy, Khairat el-Shater. This move from army has led to violent protests by the supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsy.

Chief Justice Adly Mansour declared interim President of Egypt

July 7th, 2013

The Chief Justice of Egypts Supreme Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour has taken over as the interim President of the nations hours after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsy and launched a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which Mr. Morsy belongs. The supreme leader of the Brotherhood, Mohammed Badie has also been arrested. Mr. Morsy who a year ago became Egypts first freely elected President, has been held in an unknown location since the generals removed him. The Brotherhood has announced it would boycott the new military-sponsored political process and called on its supporter to restrain themselves and not to use violence.

Parveez Rasool is the first J&K cricketer in Team India

July 7th, 2013

Parveez Rasool (24) created history by becoming the first cricketer fromJammu and Kashmir to be named in the Indian team as the selectors chose to rest captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and four other key players for the upcoming ODI tour of Zimbabwe. The allrounder has got the nod in the 15-member squad for the five-match ODI series to be held from July 24 to August 3 at Harare and Bulawayo.

Cabinet passed Ordinance to implement Food Security Bill

July 7th, 2013

In order to implement the Food Security Bill, the cabinet unanimously approved an ordinance regarding the same. The Food Security Bill guarantees food entitlements to two-thirds (67%) at highly subsidized rates. The bill envisages providing 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains at Rs 3, Rs 2, Rs 1 per kg, respectively, every month to three-fourths of rural population and half the urban population in the country. The scheme would require more than 61 million tonnes of foodgrain and is expected to cost the government about Rs 1,25,000 crore. The plan proposes to continue the Antyodaya Anna Yojna through which government provides poor households 35 kg foodgrain per household per month at subsidized prices of Rs 1-3 per kg. Many are of the view that the programme will burn a hole in governments pocket whereas research agency Crisil estimates that the Food Security Bill could generate additional savings of around Rs 4,400 this year for each below-poverty-line (BPL) household, which

begins to purchase subsidised food. As per the agency, these savings equals around 8% and 5% of the annual expenditure of a rural and urban household.

Himachal Pradesh becomes countrys first smoke-free State

July 6th, 2013

Himachal Pradesh has been declared the first smoke-free State in the country in compliance with Section 4 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA), 2003. The State has achieved 85.45% compliance with the relevant parameters. The State government intends to eliminate tobacco products and has hiked taxes on bidis and cigarettes from 11 and 18% to 22 and 36%, respectively in the 2013-14 Budget. What is the scope COTPA 2003? The Act is applicable to all products containing tobacco in any form i.e. cigarettes, cigars, cheroots, bidis, gutka, pan masala (containing tobacco) khaini, mawa, mishri, snuff etc. as detailed in the Schedule to the Act. The Act extends to the whole of India including the state ofJammu and Kashmir. What does Section 4 of COTPA provide for? Section 4: Prohibition Of Smoking In Public Places The Government of India passed new rules on May 30, 2008 for effective realization of the objectives of smoke free environments as stipulated under the Indian law. No person shall smoke in any public place Public Place means any place to which the public have access, whether as of right or not, and includes auditorium, hospital buildings, railway waiting room, amusement centres, restaurants, public offices, court buildings, work places, shopping malls, cinema halls, educational institutions, libraries, public conveyances and the like which are visited by general public but does not include any open space. Mandates display of board containing the warning No Smoking Area- Smoking Here is an Offence Hotels & Restaurants should ensure physical segregation of smoking and non-smoking area. Hotels having thirty rooms or a restaurant having seating capacity of thirty persons or more and in the airports, a separate provision for smoking area or space may be made.

FIIs withdraw $5.6 billion from debt market in June 2013

July 6th, 2013

Past June 2013 was quite unfortunate for Indian currency and Indian debt market as it saw a historic outflow of FIIs to the tune of $5.6 billion which was the highest ever withdrawal in the markets history. A weak rupee diminishes the returns earned by FIIs. The exit meant net FII investment in the Indian debt market turned negative in the first half of calendar 2013, with outflows of $1.8 billion.

The pull out shattered the inflow trend of the first five months of this year when FIIs had pumped in $3.9 billion. The net inflow in calendar 2012 was $5.9 billion. It was not only the debt market which plunged, FIIs also pulled out $1.8 billion from the equity market. Their net investment in equities, however, remained positive at $13.5 billion. Markets worldwide have been affected by the US Federal Reserves announcement that it will gradually withdraw its quantitative easing strategy, which has served its purpose. What is the current status? Indian investors fear that foreign inflows into the market will be hit if the US stimulus comes to an end. At the end of June, the cumulative FII investment in Indias debt market was at $31.7 billion, while the equity exposure was $139.5 billion. A total of 1,753 FIIs are registered with market regulator SEBI for transacting in the countrys market, w ith the number of registered sub-accounts pegged at 6,404.

Telefonica launched worlds first Firefox OS smartphone

July 6th, 2013

Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider Telefonica has launched the worlds first smartphone with the Firefox Operating System (OS) to compete with devices running Googles Android and Apples iOS. The ZTE Open smartphone are being offered in Spain for 69 euros (about $90) and will soon be available in several Latin American countries. Features: The ZTE Open smartphone is equipped with a 3.5-inch 480x320p touchscreen, a 3.2MP camera, 256MB RAM and 512MB flash memory enhanced with a 4GB microSD card that comes as part of the package. It is fully integrated with Facebook and the Spain-based social network Tuenti.

Ghaziabad, Allahabad most polluted in Uttar Pradesh: Survey

July 6th, 2013

In a recent survey conducted by Delhi-based Centre for Science andEnvironment (CSE) it was found that Ghaziabad and Allahabad are the two most air polluted cities in Uttar Pradesh. As per the survey: Pollutants of the size of 10 micron was found in Ghaziabad, Allahabad, Kanpur and Bareilly, which was four times the acceptable size of particulates in urban areas. Air pollution levels were thrice as high as the prescribed limits in Lucknow, Firozabad, Agra, Mathura, Khurja, Saharanpur, Moradabad and Gajraula. Unnao has come out as the cleanest air quality despite a heavy presence of tanneries in the town. Nitrogen-di-oxide pollutant is found to be increasing dangerously in Meerut, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad and Kanpur. It is the highest in Meerut and lowest in Rae Bareilly. Khurja and Ghaziabad have dangerous levels of sulphur-di-oxide mixed in the air. The presence of multi-pollutants was found in cities like Mathura, Khurja and Ghaziabad.

The leading cause of pollution was found to be the manifold increase in the number of vehicles. The growing use of diesel was a major contributor to the growing air pollution levels. The emissions were leading to serious ailments and diseases like cancer.

India establishes IPv6 Test Lab

July 6th, 2013

Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) which is the technical arm of Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications & IT has set up an Internet Protocol Version 6 (IPv6) Lab which has been approved by the IPv6 Ready Logo Committee under IPv6 Forum, an International body. By doing this, India has entered the club of select group of nations which include Europe, USA, Japan, China and Taiwanhaving IPv6 Ready Logo test lab facilities. Other What will IPv6 test lab do? As the world has moved on from addressing scheme IPv4 to the new IPv6 scheme it was imperative to have such a lab to encourage service providers, content providers and the customer premises equipment vendors to move to IPv6 address implementation. Establishing a testinginfrastructure was also stipulated in the National Telecommunication Policy -2012. TEC will play an instrumental role in the Interoperability and testing of IPv6 products as a major piece of the India IPv6 Strategy roadmap announced by the India Government in building the New Internet infrastructure as inter-operability creates genuine end-user confidence in new technologies.

Father of Mouse: Douglas Engelbart passed

July 6th, 2013

Douglas C. Engelbart, a technologist who ideated the computer mouse and laid out a vision of an Internet decades before others brought those ideas to the mass market, passed away. It was in 1968 when he first showcased his idea to an audience of 1,000 leading technologists in San Francisco, Engelbart, a computer scientist at the Stanford Research Institute, demonstrated a cubic device with two rolling discs called an X-Y position indicator for a display system. Engelbart also displayed, in real-time, the image and voice of a colleague 30 miles away. That was the first videoconference. And he explained a theory of how pages of information could be tied together using text-based links, an idea that would later form the bedrock of the Webs architecture. In 2000, Engelbart was given prestigious accolades including the National Medal of Technology and the Turing Award. At the same time, he grappled with his fade into obscurity even as technology entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates built fortunes off of the personal computer and became celebrity billionaires by realizing some of his early ideas.

Engelbart worked at teaching position at the University of California, Berkeley. He later took a job at SRI and during this period developed the design for a desktop mouse. SRI later licensed the technology for $40,000 to Apple, which released the first commercial mouse with its Lisa computer in 1983.

Man-made factors to blame Uttarakhand Floods: Environmentalists

July 6th, 2013

The devastating floods of Uttarakhand which ravaged the region by killing thousands and leaving hundreds of other stranded has more man-made factors and less natural cause behind it. As per Environmentalists the uncontrolled development and poor disaster planning has aggravated flood damage. How is it a man-made disaster? As per experts indiscriminate development in hill towns and along rivers has blocked the natural flow of water and exacerbated flood damage. They place the blame on successive governments who have prioritized large scale infrastructure construction and neglected disaster prevention. The unbridled growth of tourism accompanied with proliferation of roads, hotels, shops and multistory housing in ecologically fragile areas and above all mushrooming hydroelectricity dams that disrupt water balances are the underlying causes of this catastrophe. It was not unprecedented that Uttarakhand region witnessed such heavy rainfalls as the records show that Uttarakhand has recorded single-day rainfall in excess of 400mm several times, including 450mm in 1995 and 900mm in 1965. Cloudbursts, floods and rapid swelling of fast-flowing rivers arent uncommon. But this time the floodwaters, loaded with tens of thousands of tonnes of silt, boulders and debris from dam construction, found no outlet. The routes they took in the past, including ravines and streams, were blocked with sand and rocks. The waters deluged towns and villages, submerging some buildings under several feet of mud, asphyxiating life. It is highly probable that the floods were exacerbated by Glacier Lake Outbursts Floods (GLOFs) which inundated the Kedarnath temple. GLOFs, or the explosive bursting of glacier lakes, are thought to be a result of human-induced climate change, which is causing rapid melting of glaciers in the Himalayas, themselves warming at twice the global rate. Lack of an early warning system, effective evacuation plans and a responsive disaster management system added to the calamity. Modestly priced radar-based technology to forecast cloudbursts would have saved lives. But it wasnt installed. There was failure on the level of local governance too. Sloppy, unregulated construction of roads and bridges was permitted on crumbling, landslide-prone ridges and steep slopes, overlooking the regions delicate geology and high earthquake vulnerability. Large scale deforestation and construction of hundreds of buildings in the flood plains of rivers have taken place. Riverbeds were recklessly mined for sand. As construction debris accumulated, land contours and flows of streams and rivers changed. Indiscriminate construction of hydroelectric dams was the biggest mistake. These involve drilling huge tunnels in the hills by blasting rocks, placing enormous turbines in the tunnels, destroying soil-binding vegetation to build water channels and other infrastructure, laying

transmission lines and carelessly dumping excavated muck. Many dams have been built on the same river so close to one another that they leave no scope for its regeneration.

Russia to send Olympic torch to space

July 6th, 2013

Russia who will be hosting 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi has announced to send an unlit Olympic torch into space. The Russian Federal Space Agency will take the torch to the Soyuz TMA-11M manned spaceship in early November 2013 as part of the four-month torch relay. Once it reaches space, Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov will take the Olympic torch on a spacewalk. It will be first event of its kind.

Marion Bartoli clinches Wimbledon 2013Womens Singles title

July 6th, 2013

French tennis player Marion Bartoli defeated German Sabine Lasicki to win the womens Singles category of Wimbledon tournament played in London. Marion Bartoli is a top-10 French professional tennis player. She has won one singles major; seven other Womens Tennis Association singles titles and three doubles titles.

Fact Box: National Cyber Security Policy (NSCP) 2013 Of India

July 5th, 2013

India launches National Cyber Security Policy 2013 to secure cyber space The government has announced a National Cyber Security Policy 2013 which aims to address the threats emanating from the cyber world. The Policy proposes to: Set up different bodies to tackle various levels of threats, along with a national nodal agency, to coordinate all matters related to cyber security. Create a National Critical Information InfrastructureProtection Centre (NCIIPC), which will act as a 247 centre to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space. It will function under the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), a technical intelligence gathering agency controlled directly by the National Security Adviser in the Prime Ministers Office. The current agency, Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), will deal with all public and private infrastructure. Create a workforce of around 500,000 trained in cyber security. Provide fiscal benefits to businesses to adopt best security practices. Set up testing labs to regularly check the safety of equipment being used in the country. Create a cyber ecosystem in the country, developing effective public-private partnerships and collaborative engagements through technical and operational cooperation. Building indigenous security technologies through research.

Curb sale of adulterated milk: Supreme Court to State govts

July 5th, 2013

Expressing concern over the sale of adulterated milk in the country, theSupreme Court has directed the governments of Haryana, Rajasthan,Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi to file their response stating what action they are taking to curb the menace of milk adulteration, after the Centre submitted that it is for the state governments to take action on the issue. The direction from the court came during a hearing on a PIL filed by a group of citizens led by Swami Achyutanand Tirth of Uttarakhand, who have alleged that synthetic and adulterated milk and milk products are prepared using urea, detergent, refined oil, caustic soda and white paint, which, according to studies, are very hazardous to human life and can cause diseases like cancer. The court would later on expand the ambit of the PIL to include all the states in the country on the issue. According to a survey of India (FSSAI): conducted by Food Safety and Standards Authority

Over 68% of milk in the country does not conform to the standards set by the FSSAI. Over 68% of the non-conforming milk was found in urban areas, 66% of which was loose milk. Most common ways of adulteration was found to be the addition of water, and the main reason for deviation from the standards was addition of glucose and skimmed milk powder. It had also found that some samples contained detergent. Over 83% of the non-conforming milk in rural areas was found to be loose milk.

Bhiwani, Bharatpur and Mahendragarh are now part of NCR

July 5th, 2013

The Union Urban Development Ministry has announced that the National Capital Region has been expanded by including Bhiwani and Mahendragarh districts of Haryanaand Bharatpur district of Rajasthan in the NCR. There is also a proposal to include Jind and Karnal of Haryana in the NCR. How would the inclusion in NCR benefit? The included regions can expect better infrastructure, improved connectivity with Delhi and other regions, and more development. The NCR Planning Board provides loans on lower rates of interest for the development of the constituents of the region. Property prices are also expected to rise with their inclusion in the NCR. Note: The NCR region now extends to a total of 11 districts in Haryana, 6 in Uttar Pradesh and 2 in Rajasthan.

India-China trade deficit expands to $12 billion

July 5th, 2013

There is a 34% surge in the trade deficit b/w India-China that reached $ 12 billion in the first five months of 2013, portraying a grim picture for Indian exports as bilateral trade continued to decrease, discouraging hopes of attaining a trade volume of $ 100 billion by 2015. Some key facts: The India-China bilateral trade touched $ 26.5 billion till May 2013. The trade deficit for India has expanded year-on-year to $ 12 billion, up by 34%. The trade volume was lowered by over $ 2 billion compared to 2012. While the Chinese exports registered marginal increase the bilateral trade numbers are falling. Exports have declined substantially while imports have risen marginally. Adding to the concerns, Indias main export items like cotton, iron ore and copper have continued their downward slide. Iron ore plunged by 76% to $ 595.42 million. Cotton and copper declined by 40% to $ 1.39 billion and 24% to $ 688.53 million respectively. Indias overall share in Chinese exports has dropped to under 1% from 1.33%. Cotton yarn and diamonds are the other two exports that rounded off the top five. Cotton yarn is the only item which is showing a jump of 115% to reach a value of $ 740 million. Diamonds have increased by 14% to record $ 562.1 million. The Chinese exports to India were increasing by 2.7% year-on-year.

Taj Mahal placed among top three landmarks in the world

July 5th, 2013

As per leading travel website TripAdvisors 2013 Travellers Choice Attractions Awards, Indias Taj Mahal is among the top three landmarks in the world. Taj Mahal was ranked third in the list of Top 25 landmarks. The top two ranks were bagged by Machu Picchu in Peru and Angkor Wat in Cambodia respectively. Taj Mahal, listed among the new seven-wonders of the world, is world-famous for its architecture and aesthetic beauty. Taj Mahal which was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, is situated in the northern Indian city of Agra. It received UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1983. It attracts 2-4 million visitors annually, with more than 200,000 from overseas. Petra World Heritage Site in Jordan and Bayon Temple in Cambodia are ranked 4th and 5th respectively in the list of 25 top landmarks in the world.

Brazil wins Confederations Cup 2013

July 5th, 2013

Brazil vanquished world and European champions Spain by registering a 3-0 win in the Confederations Cup final. Brazil who will be hosting the next World Cup has clinched the cup for a third time in a row. FIFA Confederations Cup

International football tournament for national teams Held every four years by FIFA 8 Teams contest - holders of each of the 6 FIFA confederation championships (UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, OFC), along with the FIFA World Cup holder and the host nation. 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup was the 9th FIFA Confederations Cup, and was held in Brazil.

Treaty inked in Marrakesh (Morocco) giving blind, visually impaired better access to books
July 5th, 2013

Treaty to help visually (Morocco)

impaired get


to books signed



A significant treaty was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, that will make access to books for the visually impaired, blind and print disabled easier. The negotiations were facilitated by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) for the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled. How will the treaty help the visually impaired? The treaty will provide access to books for the visually impaired by requiring its contracting parties to adopt national law provisions that permit the reproduction, distribution and making available of published works in accessible formats through limitations and exceptions to the rights of copyright right holders. The issue of copyright was playing a hindrance in providing the visually impaired access to knowledge. The treaty allows the waiver of copyright restrictions in order for books to be available in formats such as formats such as Braille, large print text and audio books. The treaty also provides assurances to authors and publishers that that system will not expose their published works to misuse or distribution to anyone other than the intended beneficiaries. Why do we need this treaty? There are an estimated 285 million blind and partially-sighted people in the world, of which the largest percentage lives in India. Only 1 to 7% of all books published are available in formats accessible to them. Indias key campaigner for the treaty, the late Rahul Cherian of Inclusive Planet had anticipated the possibility of such a treaty.

Ms Sujata Singh will be next Foreign Secretary of India

July 5th, 2013

Ms Sujata Singh (59), envoy to Germany, will be Indias next foreign secretary after an approval of her appointment by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Sujata Singh is a 1976

batch IFS officer who will succeed the current Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai who set to retire on July 31, 2013. She will be the third woman to head the services after Chokila Iyer and Nirupama Rao.

India rejects Snowdens request seeking political asylum

July 5th, 2013

India turned down USA whistleblower Edward Snowdens request seeking political asylum. The Indian Embassy in Moscow had received a communication containing a request for asylum. Earlier, Snowden, currently sheltered in the transit zone of Moscow airport, has sought asylum in 20 countries, including India. These asylum requests have been filed by Sarah Harrison, legal advisor of WikiLeaks in the matter of Snowden. The requests were made to a number of including Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Cuba, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Ireland, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland,Spain, Swiss Confederation, Venezuela. countries

Snowden is wanted in the US on the charges of espionage and leaking classified documents. Documents leaked by him last month revealed a systematic and largescale surveillance of phone and internet communications by the NSA around the world.

India is close to completing Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor

July 5th, 2013

Indias first commercial fast breeder reactor the 500 MWe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is in an advanced stage of completion at Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu. Indigenously developed mixed-oxide type fuel pins for the PFBRs first core were under manufacture and delivery. 95% of the PFBR construction had been completed and is expected to go critical by September 2014. The Nuclear Fuel Complex, Hyderabad, is manufacturing the reactors fuel bundles and they are being assembled in a workshop at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research at Kalpakkam. The Centre had sanctioned Rs. 5,677 crore for building the PFBR. Electricity generated from the PFBR would be sold to the State Electricity Boards at Rs. 4.44 a unit. The responsibility of developing PFBR is with Bhartiya Nabhkiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI).

Election Commission directs all State district collectors to set up district level panels to monitor paid news
July 3rd, 2013

In the wake of increasing incidence of paid news and upcoming RajasthanAssembly polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has directed all State district collectors to set up district-level Media Certification and Monitoring Committee. ECI has also

recommended an amendment to the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, to include paid news as a corrupt practice. What will be the role of the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee? The Media Certification and Monitoring Committee is part of a three-tier apparatus at the District, State and Central level. The Committee will be engaged in suo motu as well as complaint-based monitoring of paid news. If it is established that a candidate has paid for news, the amount paid will be included in his/her election expenditure and he/she will have to furnish this expenditure to the returning officer within 30 days of the elections.

India-Russia talks cut no ice on nuclear liability

July 3rd, 2013

No progress could be made b/w India and Russia on the issue of nuclear liability. The talks were held b/w Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) Chief R.K. Sinha and Russias nuclear corporation Rosatom head, Sergei Kiriyenko. What is the issue? Russia is building nuclear reactors in India at Kudankulam. India wants Russia to place the new reactors under its Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Act, 2010, which holds the operator wholly liable in the event of an accident, gives it a right of recourse against suppliers if the accident is caused by defective equipment. Whereas, Russians refer to the Indo-Russia inter-government agreement of 2008, which makes the operator alone liable for possible damages at Units 3-6 to be built at Kudankulam. This issue has stalled signing of contract for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at the Kudankulam nuclear power project.

India to host 2016 World T20 and 2023 ODI World Cup
July 3rd, 2013

As per the announcement made by the International Cricket Council (ICC), India will host the World T20 in 2016 and the 50-over World Cup in 2023. The Champions Trophy, the last edition of which was won by India recently has been replaced with World Test Championship,the first edition of which will be held in England and Wales in June-July 2017. India will host its 2nd edition in February-March 2021. ICC agreed on the following: Full members of the ICC will play a minimum of 16 tests over a four-year period. In order to ensure that all ODIs player over the four-year cycle b/w World Cups count towards a teams ranking, the ODIs ranking period will be changed from three years to four years. In order to bring consistency, the calculations of the T20 ranking will be changed to cover the same period.

The date of the annual ICC Rankings update will be changed to May 1 rather than August 1.

Najeeb Jung appointed as new Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi

July 3rd, 2013

President Pranab Mukherjee appointed Najeeb Jung (62), former Vice-Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, as the new Lieutenant-Governor ofDelhi. He will replace Tejendra Khanna. Mr. Jung had joined the Indian Administrative Services in 1973 and served at various positions at the Centre and Madhya Pradesh. He had quit IAS after serving as Joint Secretary (Exploration) in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Other Key Appointments: Former Delhi Police commissioner K K Paul appointed asMeghalaya governor replacing Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary. Punjab Congress chief Virendra Kataria has been appointed as LG of Puducherry succeeding Iqbal Singh. Lt Gen (retired) A K Singh replaced Lt Gen (retired) Bhopinder Singh as LG of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

U.N. peacekeeping forces to take over from French troops in Mali

July 3rd, 2013

United Nations peacekeeping force will take over from African troops in conflict-scarred Mali. A 12,600-strong force will take over security duties from French troops who entered Mali in January 2013. France had sent troops to the country to recapture two key towns from alQaeda linked Islamists holding Malis north. The move was backed by the UN. The majority of his soldiers will be Africans already stationed in Mali butChina has offered to supply more than 500 troops, its biggest contribution to U.N. peacekeeping. Other nations including Sweden,Bangladesh and Norway will also contribute their troops in the UN forces. The U.N. mission is due to play a significant role in presidential polls announced for July 28, 2013.

Supreme Court: If a cheque from joint a/c bounces, liability is on person signing cheque
July 3rd, 2013

The Supreme Court has held that in case of issuance of cheque from joint accounts, only the person who signs the cheque can be prosecuted in a cheque bouncing case under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. The other joint account members cannot be held culpable unless the cheque has been signed by them also. As per the apex court, the proceedings filed under Section 138 cannot be used as an arm twisting tactics to recover the amount allegedly due from the appellant. The court clarified that the culpability attached to dishonour of a cheque can, in no case except in case of Section 141 of the N.I. Act (offences by companies), be extended to

those on whose behalf the cheque is issued. This Court reiterates that it is only the drawer of the cheque who can be made an accused in any proceeding under Section 138 of the Act. Distinguishing Individual and Company: The court distinguished b/w individuals and companies and held that Section 141 of the N.I. Act is an instance of specific provision that in case an offence under Section 138 is committed by a company, the criminal liability for dishonor of a cheque will extend to the officers of the company. In case of the company, the officers of the company, who are accountable for the acts done in the name of the company, can be made accused for the acts which result in criminal action being taken against the company.

Fact Box: IRNSS-1A

July 3rd, 2013

ISRO successfully launches IRNSS-1A: Indias first navigation satellite Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has successfully launched IRNSS-1A on PSLV C 22 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. It was for the first time ISRO has launched an India satellite at almost midnight taking into account the orbit and inclination at which the satellite will be injected into the space and the season of launch. Total seven satellites of the IRNSS constellation will be launched and the full constellation will be up during 2014 timeframe. The entire IRNSS satellite constellation will compromise of three satellites geostationary orbits and four in inclined geosynchronous orbits, of which IRNSS-1A is the first one. Factbox: IRNSS-1A IRNSS expands to Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System. Indias first dedicated Indian Navigation Satellite System and has a life span of aroun d 10 years. Placed in an inclined geosynchronous orbit at 55 degree East longitude with an inclined orbit of 29 degrees with respect to the equator. Positioned at 36,000 Kms altitude. It is intended to provide terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation services and help in disaster and fleet management. To provide accurate position information service for terrestrial (cars, goods transport, buses) aerial (flights) and maritime (shipping) navigation for users in India as well as neighbouring regions extending up to 1,500 km from Indias borders/boundaries, which will be its primary service area. It will provide two types of services: 1. Standard Positioning Service (SPS) for all users 2. Restricted Service (RS), an encrypted service provided only to authorized users. Applications of IRNSS: Terrestrial, aerial and marine navigation, disaster management, vehicle tracking and fleet

management, integration with mobile phones, precise timing, mapping and geodetic data capture, terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travelers, and visual and voice navigation for drivers.

Fact Box: INS Trikand (F51)

July 3rd, 2013

Indian Navy inducts INS Trikand (F51) Indian Navy has further expanded it arsenal by inducting Russian built guided-missile stealth frigate INS Trikand. It is the last of the six stealth frigates ordered from Russia. The Navy had earlier inducted three 4,000-tonne Talwar-class stealth frigates ( Talwar, Trishul and Tabar) from Russia in 2003-2004. India went on to buy another three (Teg, Tarkash and Trikand) under a $1.15 billion contract inked in 2006. Factbox: INS Trikand INS Trikand (F51) is a Talwar class frigate of the Indian Navy. The Talwar class A class of frigates designed and built by Russia for the Indian Navy. Equipped with state-of-the-art combat suite: Supersonic 290-km BrahMos missile system, Shtil advanced surface-to-air missiles, upgraded A-190 medium range gun, electro-optical 30-mm close-in weapon system and anti-submarine weapons such as torpedoes and rockets and advanced electronic warfare system. Trebovanie-M: A combat management system which integrates weapons and sensors to enable the ship to simultaneously neutralize multiple surface, sub-surface and air threats. Innovative features to reduce its radar, magnetic and acoustic signatures to ensure it is relatively difficult to detect by enemy radars. Capable of speeds in excess of 30 knots Note: India is also building its own stealth frigates. Three Shivalik-class frigates, built at Mazagon Docks (MDL), have already been inducted by the Navy. There is a programme called Project-17A of over Rs 50,000 crore which is under consideration which plans to construct seven advanced stealth frigates, with all weapon and missile systems under the hull for a lower radar signature. The project will be shared b/w MDL at Mumbai and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) at Kolkata.

India imposes ban on testing of cosmetics on animals

July 2nd, 2013

In a remarkable decision intended to prevent cruelty to animals, India has decided to ban the testing of cosmetics and its ingredients on animals. This has made India the first country in South Asia to impose such a ban. The decision was taken at a meeting of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Cosmetics Sectional Committee, chaired by the Drugs Controller General of India and is in line with the European Unions stand. The step follows appeals from various

quarters, including that from the National Advisory Council Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and campaigner for animal rights Maneka Gandhi and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to prevent cruelty to animals. What is the ban? Any cosmetic product which performs animal testing will face action as per provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and the Animal Cruelty Act. Infringement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act by any person or corporate manager or owner is liable for punishment for a term which may extend from 3-10 years and shall also be liable to fine which could be Rs.500 to Rs.10,000, or with both. The law also makes it mandatory to use modern non-animal alternative tests, replacing invasive tests on animals. It implies that any manufacturer interested in testing new cosmetic ingredients or finished products must first get the approval from Indias regulator Central Drug Standards Control Organization. A manufacturer will be given approval to test only after complying with the BIS non-animal standards. Animal Testing Status: Companies around the world are switching to effective, modern non-animal tests and more than 1,200 companies have already given up animal-testing methods. But many still are carrying out with the same old procedures of subjecting animals to painful tests.

Railway launches SMS facility for ticket booking

July 2nd, 2013

Indian Railway has launched a new pilot service which makes it possible for the 80% of the population that owns mobile phones. The service doesnt even involves any use of Internet by the customer. IRCTC has INTRODUCED a number of options to buy tickets without having to access the Internet. Besides the short code 5676714, one can even send an SMS to 139 or the Airtel Money system *400# or the system powered by Pyro where one needs to have a BSNL SIM card enabled with Java computer language. It will not be necessary to carry a hard copy of the ticket while travelling the SMS confirmation will be valid proof. The facility allows for ticket cancellation as well. To make use of any of these options, you have to get your mobile number registered with IRCTC. Each SMS will cost Rs. 3 and as the project is being launched on a pilot basis, mobile service providers have dispensed with agent charges for now. These charges as and when imposed would be the same one pays to other agents, including online charges. The new technology will also ease the pressure on Internet ticketing as 45% of tickets are booked through Internet. It would also put an end to fleecing by touts.

Government to set up 51 low-cost airports

July 2nd, 2013

The Union government has decided to construct 51 new low-cost airports to provide fillip to civil aviation sector and enhance air connectivity to Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Apart from the low-cost airports, the government has decided grant new international airport status to Bhubaneswar and Imphal at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The 51 cities which have been chosen for the project are: Andhra Pradesh: Vijayawada, Nellore, Kurnool, Kadapa, Nizamabad, Tirupati, Anantapur and Karimnagar 1. 2. 3. 4. Jharkhand: Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh Bihar: Muzaffarpur, Chapra and Sasaram Punjab: Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Firozpur Uttar Pradesh: Agra, Allahabad, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Meerut, Aligarh, Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Azamgarh 5. Arunachal Pradesh: Tezu, Bomdila and Along 6. Assam: Silchar, Jorhat and Tezpur 7. Madhya Pradesh: Gwalior, Singrauli, Burhanpur, Khandwa, Jabalpur, Sidhi and Shahdol 8. Rajasthan: Ajmer, Kota, Bhilwada and Alwar 9. Maharashtra: Kolhapur, Nasik, Jalgaon, Solapur and Amarawati 10. Odisha: Brahmpur, Rourkela and Kendujhar

Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS): NASA launches satellite to study Suns atmosphere
July 2nd, 2013

The U.S. space agency NASA launched a satellite to uncover the secrets of the Suns lower atmosphere. NASAs Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) was launched aboard an Orbital Sciences Pegasus XL rocket off the California coast. About IRIS mission: Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) is a $182 million mission which will continue for two years. It aims to observe the movement of solar material. It will try to know how it gathers energy and heats up as it makes its way through a mysterious region in the suns lower atmosphere. IRIS will help in knowing not only the causes the ejection of solar material, including solar wind, but also solar eruptions that can disrupt human technology. What is this mysterious region? This is a region b/w the suns photosphere and corona where most of the suns ultraviolet emission is generated, which impact the near-Earth space environment and Earths climate.

British Government gives go ahead to three-parent baby

July 2nd, 2013

The UK government has given approval to the controversial IVF technique that would lead to the creation of babies with three parents. If the proposal is passed by its parliament then Britain would become first country to allow this technique. The decision has invited criticism from different calling it unethical, unnecessary and unsafe. What is a Three-Parent Baby? It is a baby born with the genetic contribution (DNA) from three people. It is done through IVF technique which involves taking the nucleus of one egg (first female) and inserting it into the cytoplasm of another egg (second female) which has had its nucleus removed, but still contains mitochondrial DNA, and then fertilizing the hybrid egg with a sperm (third person). The purpose of the procedure is to remove a nucleus from a cell with defective mitochondria and place it in a donor cell with healthy mitochondria, which after fertilisation will contain a nucleus with genetic material from only the two parents. How would this technique help? As per experts, this method will give a choice to women with mitochondria disorders to bear children free from such diseases. These are caused by mutated mitochondria tiny structures that supply power to human cells and are passed from a mother, through the egg, to her child. It is said to affect one in every 6,500 babies. The technique will help combat genetic problems that can cause rare and debilitating conditions affecting the heart, muscles and brain.

Multidrug-resistant TB stock declines to alarming level

July 2nd, 2013

Even as the government is trying to tackle the stock-out situation for anti-tuberculosis paediatric drugs, a new problem has surfaced. Stocks of second-line medicines like Kanamycin, an injectible drug used for treating multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB have dipped alarmingly. Currently, there is stock only for two and a half months. Indiais among the few countries with a high burden of MDR TB. The Prime Ministers Office has asked the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) for clarification on the availability of drugs. The Central TB Division (CTD) called an emergency meeting to find the way forward to extenuate the crisis. Manufacturers of paediatric drugs, prolongation pouches and streptomycin have been identified and the ministry is hopeful of getting supplies to states by the end of July. States with a lower disease burden have been asked to transfer drugs to those with a higher burden facing extreme shortage of drugs. Why this lapse? The shortage of drugs was due to procurement failures and delays at the level of the government of India. It also confirmed stock-out of paediatric doses, Rifampicin (the key drug to treat TB), streptomycin injection as well as diminishing stockpiles of Kanamycin

injections and other first line drugs. The emergency procurement of paediatric drugs was delayed by six months and the orders had just been placed. As for Kanamycin, emergency procurement of over 400,000 vials, done with the support of the Geneva-based Global Drug Facility (GDF) through WHOs intervention h ad not reached the country because of delays in processing orders, payments and the ministry not issuing the necessary customs duty clearance on time.

Surge in the cases of Leptospirosis

July 2nd, 2013

A rise in the number of cases of leptospirosis has been reported in Thiruananthapuram even as the district is focusing its efforts on curbing the dengue fever. Dengue has eclipsed the fact that the incidence of leptospirosis has been on the rise in all districts of the state after the rain began. What is Leptospirosis? Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease caused by bacteria Leptospira that affects both humans and animals. Humans become infected through direct contact with the urine of infected animals or with a urine-contaminated environment. The bacteria enter the body through cuts or abrasions on the skin, or through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and eyes. Person-to-person transmission is rare. The disease has also been known to trigger abortions in cattle. How does the transmission take place? Leptospirosis is transmitted by the urine of an infected animal and is contagious as long as it is still moist. Although rats, mice, and moles are important primary hosts, a wide range of other mammals including dogs, deer, rabbits, hedgehogs, cows, sheep, raccoons, opossums, skunks, and certain marine mammals are able to carry and transmit the disease as secondary hosts. What are the symptoms? In the early stages of the disease, symptoms include high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, chills, redness of the eyes, abdominal pain, jaundice, haemorrhages in the skin and mucous membranes, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. Who are most vulnerable? Although the disease can occur to anyone who comes in contact with the urine of infected with Leptospira, its prevalence is seen in cleaning workers, manual labourers and farm workers are most vulnerable. The number of infection increases in rainy season as people wade through waters contaminated with garbage and animal excreta which contain the bacteria. How is it controlled?

To counter leptospirosis vulnerable sections are put on Doxycycline prophylactic treatment. Care is taken to distinguish the disease from other diseases like Malaria and Dengue as these too show similar symptoms and spread in the same season.

EU agrees talk to Serbia for open membership

July 2nd, 2013

The leaders of the European Union have agreed to open membership negotiations with Serbia by January at the latest, in acknowledgment of its efforts to improve ties with seceded Kosovo. The step indicates EU inclination toward embracing once-troubled countries in the Balkans. Presidents and Prime Ministers from the 27 EU nations also welcomed Croatias upcoming accession as the blocs 28th member. In the two-day summit held in Brussels the EU agreed on seven-year, 960-billion budget. The EU leaders also announced negotiations for closer relations with Kosovo, a possible step on the way to membership talks. Serbia and Kosovo: Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008. Serbia has never recognized the sovereignty of Kosovo, which is considered by Serbias nationalists to be the cradle of the countrys medieval statehood and religion. However, Kosovo has been recognised by over 90 countries including the U.S. and 22 of the EUs 27 members. In Apr il 2013 a vital agreement was reached b/w Serbia and Kosovo when they decided to normalize relations and end years of acrimony.

Croatia enters European Union

July 2nd, 2013

Croatia was added into the European Union (EU) on July 1, 2013 making the total number of member states in the EU to 28. Croatia is the second country from the once war-torn former Yugoslavia to enter the bloc. It negotiated with the EU for more than 6 years after the bloc agreed to embrace it. Croatia which is struggling with its economic woes has joined the EU amid concerns whether the country is fully prepared to face the fierce competition of the open market. The economy has been battered by the ongoing financial crisis and owing to structural weaknesses that yet need to be addressed by reforms. From this event Croatia is hopeful that it will help to lift many people out of poverty and modernzse the economy. Croatia will also receive funds from the EU to build roads, clean up the environment and increase research and development. However, there are concerns that tough EU competition will shut down or buy out parts of the national economy. There is concern about whether EU membership will lure immigrants seeking work, which could put the reeling labour market under even more pressure.

India-UK decide to develop Economic Corridor together

July 2nd, 2013

India and United Kingdom have decided to collaborate to develop the BangaloreMumbai Economic Corridor (BMEC)project in close association with private companies from Britain. Both sides have agreed to examine and evolve the modalities and content of this project through mutual discussions and work out a roadmap for a possible partnership in this area. In addition to this, India has also offered to UK, investment or partnership opportunities in the National Manufacturing and Investment Zones (NIMZs). . NIMZs are proposed to be developed as green field industrial townships and benchmarked against the best manufacturing hubs in the world. The new National Manufacturing Policy aims to create 100 million jobs and increase the share of manufacturing in Indias Gross Domestic Product from 16% now to 25% by 2022.

Port Pipavav retains top spot in seafood exports

July 1st, 2013

Pipavav port located in Saurashtra (Gujarat), has retained the top position for the second consecutive year in seafood exports in FY13 in terms of quantity. The port has recorded an increase of 6% over the previous fiscal. As per Marine Products Export Development Authority, the port had handled 2,33,738 tonnes of marine exports as against 2,19,801 tonnes in FY12. However, in value terms, both Vizag and Kochi maintained an almost equal share in earnings of Rs 3,344.97 crore and Rs 3,265.64 crore respectively in FY13. Kochi port has come up as No.2 in quantity-wise exports, touching 1,62,109 tonnes. South-east Asia maintained the position as the largest buyer of marine products, followed by the EU, the US, Japan, China and the Middle East.