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  • Health ministry simplifies referral system under CGHS

    New Delhi, Jan 18: As part of the new guidelines, after consultation at the empanelled hospital, a beneficiary shall report back to wellness centre concerned, where the medical officer or chief medical officer would endorse listed investigation and issue medicines. The Union health ministry has simplified the referral system under CGHS, permitting all beneficiaries to seek OPD consultations from specialists at empanelled private hospitals after due referral.

    The referral will be mentioned on computer-generated prescription slips. As part of the new guidelines mentioned in the office memorandum dated January 15, after consultation at the empanelled hospital, a beneficiary shall report back to wellness centre concerned, where the medical officer or chief medical officer would endorse listed investigation and issue medicines.

    "For unlisted investigation/ treatment procedure, CMO in- charge shall submit the prescription to competent authority for consideration in case of pensioner beneficiaries. Serving employees shall seek permission for unlisted investigation/ treatment procedure from their department as per prevailing guidelines," it said.

    PSBs commit government to boost rural sanitation sector

    New Delhi, Jan 3: During the meeting, the credit institutions also expressed commitment to provide access to clean toilets for customers across all branches in the country as their contribution to the Swachh Bharat Mission. Department of Financial Services and Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation on Tuesday held a joint video conference with all public sector banks and public sector financial institutions to ramp up lending in the rural sanitation sector.

    During the meeting, the credit institutions also expressed committment to provide access to clean toilets for customers across all branches in the country as their contribution to the Swachh Bharat Mission. Further the two ministries will jointly institute Swachh Bank or Financial Institution awards to recognize exemplary contribution in this initiative through a competitive process.In another landmark development, the institutions also agreed to dedicate a large part of their Corporate Social Responsibility funds to the Swachh Bharat Mission in Financial Year 2018-19. This is likely to infuse significant capital into sanitation initiatives across the country.

    Dense fog disrupts train and flight operations in India

    New Delhi, Jan 2: Dense fog caused by a cold wave continued to envelope parts of India on Tuesday causing delays and cancellations at railway stations and airports. Several flights and trains were delayed in Bihar, early on Tuesday morning as fog caused the visibility to drop drastically. With temperatures dropping to 9 degrees Celsius, passengers sat waiting for hours wearing thick layers of clothing.

    og also played spoilsport in New Delhi which recorded a morning temperature of 6 degrees Celsius. In New Delhi, 40 domestic and 26 international flights were delayed and six cancelled in the national capital, according to local media. Drivers switched on headlights of their vehicles to avoid mishaps. Residents in the northern cities of Ludhiana and Allahabad lit fires to battle the biting cold and stepped out wrapped in blankets and mufflers.

    Higher income can make you selfish: study

    New Delhi, Dec 23: People who earn more money tend to become selfish, while those who earn less take greater pleasure in their relationships and ability to connect with others, according to a study. "Most people think of money as some kind of unmitigated good. But some recent research suggests that this may not actually be the case. In many ways, money does not necessarily buy you happiness," said Paul Piff, from the University of California in the US.

    For the study published in the journal Emotion, the researchers used a survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,519 people. The participants were asked about their household income and answered a series of questions designed to measure their tendency to experience seven distinct emotions that are considered to make up the core of happiness: amusement, awe, compassion, contentment, enthusiasm, love and pride.

    For example, to measure compassion, the participants rated their agreement with various statements, including, "Nurturing others gives me a warm feeling inside." The participants at the higher end of the socio-economic spectrum reported a greater tendency to experience emotions that focused on themselves, specifically, contentment and pride (as well as amusement).

    Individuals at the lower end of the income scale were more likely to experience emotions that focus on other people, namely compassion and love. Poorer individuals also reported experiencing more awe and beauty in the world around them. There was no apparent difference for enthusiasm, according to the researchers. "These findings indicate that wealth is not unequivocally associated with happiness," said Piff. "What seems to be the case is that your wealth predisposes you to different kinds of happiness," he said.

    WCD Ministry cautions public against filling up fake BBBP forms

    New Delhi, Dec 20: The Ministry of Women & Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, since the beginning of this year, has been receiving filled up fake forms from many duped girls/women, whereby the forms falsely promise cash incentive in the name of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme.

    A “Fake Form” is an application form for receiving any form of benefits either in kind or cash which is NOT prescribed or issued by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. BBBP has no provision for individual CASH Incentive TRANSFER COMPONENT by Government of India. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme focuses on challenging mindsets and deep rooted patriarchy in the societal system, strict enforcement of PC&PNDT Act, advancing education of the girl child: focuses on issues of women empowerment on a life cycle continuum. It is not a DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) scheme. It is implemented through the office of Collectors/DMs/DCs in the Districts and for multi-media advocacy outreach through authorized media agencies.

    The fake scheme started by miscreants, which first appeared in the State of UP, gradually spread to neighboring States like Haryana, Uttrakhand, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi. In some measures, forms have also been received from Bihar, West Bengal, Kerala, Rajasthan. Total forms received mainly by registered post have flooded the Ministry running into lakhs of fake forms. We have taken up with the Authorities of the affected States for checking the menace. Also, we have carried out warning public notices against the illegal activity and advising citizens not to fall prey to such misleading and false activity through print media, TVs, Radio, Social Media, Ministry’s website and through post offices, besides action taken by State Governments through their channels and local media. The warning has been broadcast several times. In the media campaigns, Ministry had advised that no personal details should be shared and no one should subscribe to such fraudulent scheme. However, many people continue to fall prey to the fraud and even paying money and disclosing personal details for a non-existent benefit/scheme being falsely offered in the name of BBBP scheme. In other words, the menace is not dying down. In view of the above, the WCD Ministry has decided that hence forth, ANY SUCH FAKE AND ILLEGAL FORMS RECEIVED IN THE MINISTRY WILL BE DISPOSED OFF SUMMARILY BY DESTROYING AND WITHOUT ISSUING ANY NOTICE. A notification to this effect has been issued and can be seen on the Ministry’s Website. The general public is therefore, once again advised not to fall prey to this fraudulent activity of filling fake forms , wasting energy and resource.

    No construction activity within 50m from Ganga edge in hills: NGT

    New Delhi, Dec 19: Modifying its earlier order, the National Green Tribunal, NGT, on Monday said that construction activities will be prohibited within 50 metres from the edge of river Ganga in hilly areas as it would now be treated as 'No-Development Zone'.

    The green tribunal said that keeping in view the topography of mountainous regions, there was a necessity of revisiting its direction. No-development zones are areas where no construction including commercial or residential buildings can come up.

    The court said the area falling between 50-100 metre would be considered as "regulatory" zone and there would be ban on construction activity in this area till the state comes with a specific policy.

    Government asks all states to enforce clinical establishment Act

    New Delhi, Dec 12: The Union Health Minister said that there will not be any dearth of money in the health sector.Nadda said that the Government is committed to 2.5% of GDP in the health sector. After the shameful incidents of doctor callousness in Fortis and Max hospitals, the Indian Medical Association is aiming to take steps to restore the badly damaged patient-doctor relationship of trust saying that the time is here for doctors and hospitals to self-regulate and introspect.It has advised 3 lakh members to prescribe cheaper medicines to their patients.

    Meanwhile, the centre has begun its crackdown on the arbitrary functioning of the hospitals. Union Health Minister, JP Nadda has directed all states to implement the Clinical Establishment Act. The Health Minister has urged the states to implement it as soon as possible. As of now, only 16 among all States and union territories have incorporated this Act.

    Under the Clinical Establishment Act, it is mandatory for hospitals to provide all information related to patients and their treatment.Hospitals have to compulsorily tell the patient about the cost of treatment of every stage of illness and it is also necessary to appoint an ombudsman for redressal of complaints. It is worth mentioning that the license of Max Hospital at Delhi's Shalimar Bagh has been cancelled. The action has been taken in the matter of declaring a newborn child dead and handing the body over to the family in a plastic bag on November 30.

    Armed Forces Flag Day observed across country

    New Delhi, Dec 7: Armed Forces Flag Day observed throughout the country to honor the martyrs and the men in uniform who valiantly fought on our borders to safeguard the country's honor. December 7 marks the annual Armed Forces Flag day in India since 1949. The Flag Day as the name suggests, brings to the forefront our obligation of looking after our disabled comrades-in-arms, widows and dependents of those who have sacrificed their lives for the country.

    The day is also dedicated towards collection of funds from people for welfare of Indian Armed forces personnel and to commemorate the soldiers, airmen and sailors of the armed forces for their yeomen services. Government measures at the Centre and the State level alone are inadequate to provide support to the disabled, non-pensioner, old, their families, war widows and orphaned children.

    It, therefore, becomes the collective responsibility of each citizen to make to ensure rehabilitation and welfare of the dependents of our brave martyrs and disabled personnel. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently appealed to all Indians to actively contribute to Flag Day fund.

    In a tweet, the union minister has said that this Armed Forces Week, "Join us in wearing Armed Forces flag between 1-7 Dec to pay respects to the brave sons & daughters of our nation." You can also contribute towards the welfare of war-widows, children of martyrs & ex-servicemen by visiting ksb.gov.in and pay online.

    Agriculture Minister launches Soil Health Card Mobile App

    New Delhi, Dec 6: On the occasion of World Soil Day, Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh said that the objective of SHC is to provide information about the Soil Health to 120 million farm holdings in the country. The Agriculture Minister stated it while addressing farmers on the occasion of World Soil Day in Jhajjar, Haryana today. It is worth mentioning that every year World Soil Day is celebrated on 5th December. In India, Soil Health Card scheme was launched in February 2015 in Rajasthan. The Minister said that Soil Health Card mobile App has been launched today to help the farmers.

    The app will benefit field-level workers as it will automatically capture GIS coordinates while registering sample details at the time of sample collection in the field and indicate the location from where the sample has been collected. This app works like other Geotagging apps developed for the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana. The app contains farmers’ details including name, Aadhaar card number, mobile number, gender, address, crop details, etc.

    The Minister said that SHC informs farmers about nutrients status of the soils along with the recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to improve soil health and fertility. A farm will get the soil card once in every 2 years so that nutrients deficiency can be regularly detected and improved. He said that the imbalanced use of fertilizers damages the fields and reduces production.

    The Minister informed that in the first phase (2015-17) 100 million SHCs have been distributed so far. The aim of the Ministry is to provide SHC to all 120 million farm holdings by December, 2017. The second phase began on May 1, 2017, and will continue for the year 2017 to 2019.

    Awareness programme on World AIDS day

    New Delhi, Dec 1: The World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1 to raise awareness about AIDS and to mourn those who succumbed to the condition. Established in 1988, World AIDS day provides an opportunity to offer support to those fighting AIDS. To complement the global World AIDS Day 2017 campaign which promotes the theme "Right to health", the World Health Organisation will highlight the need for all 36.7 million people living with HIV and those who are vulnerable and affected by the epidemic, to reach the goal of universal health coverage.

    Many programmes are being organised in New Delhi to mark the occasion. Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, J P Nadda will attend the World AIDS Day function in New Delhi.

    South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters is Miss Universe 2017

    New Delhi Nov 28: South Africa's Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters has been crowned Miss Universe for 2017. India's Shraddha Shashidhar could not make make it to the Top 16. The country was hoping for a double win with Manushi Chhillar bagging the Miss World 2017 crown on November 18. Nel-Peters, 22, was presented the crown by her predecessor Iris Mittenaere of France, according to the Twitter account of the Miss Universe pageant.

    Colombia' Laura Gonzalez and Jamaica's Davina Bennett were announced as first runner-up and second runner-up respectively. In the competition's Q&A section, Nel-Peters was asked, "What quality in yourself are you most proud of and how will you apply that quality to your time as Miss Universe?" She responded by saying, "As Miss Universe you have to be confident in who you are as an individual. And Miss Universe is a woman that has overcome many fears and by that she is able to help other women to overcome their fears. She is a woman that nothing is ever too much to ask for and I think that is exactly who I am."

    Miss Venezuela and Miss Thailand were the other contestants who made it to top five at the pageant. The event, which was held in Las Vegas, was hosted by comedian Steve Harvey. A total of 92 contestants participated in the pageant. Harvey is known for his infamous gaffe during the Miss Universe 2015 pageant when he mistakenly named the first runner-up as the winner. Harvey referred to his blunder and said he was grateful to the Oscars.

    "I'll tell you what I'm grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. I'm grateful for the Oscars. 'Cause it let me off the hook. So, you can sit here and act like you didn't see what Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway did, but it got me off the hook," Harvey was quoted as saying. He was referring to the Oscar awards ceremony earlier this year when Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced "La La Land" as the best picture. It was only after the entire cast and crew were on the stage that the mistake was realised -- the award had actually gone to "Moonlight".

    Dhoni urges Kashmiri youth to take up sports, focus on education

    J&K, Nov 27: Indian cricket stalwart Mahendra Singh Dhoni advised the youth of Jammu and Kashmir to take up sports and give their hundred per cent to perform consistently well. "As far as sports is concerned, it is important to have a platform, but after that, the players have to work really hard. Our country is huge and many people play cricket. The aim should be to represent the country for which you have to consistently perform at first class level," Dhoni said.

    He was the chief guest at the final match of Chinar Cricket Premier League, organised by Srinagar-based Chinar Corps of the Army. He said the youth in the state should also pay attention to education. "Not only sports, education is also very important because if you see (in) Kashmir, tourism is one of the main things and if there is unrest, then tourists do not come here. Education is important and having infrastructure is a must so that people study here and then can apply for jobs outside as well. At the end of the day, a person wants to do well with his life and for his family," he said.

    The former India captain, who now play only in the limited overs format of the game, expressed hope that more players from the state will represent the country in future. "There will be players (to represent India) from here in future. There are players here who will play many matches. In IPL, the combination is also seen in a way which team needs what type of combination and accordingly the team is formed. What is important is players give more than 100 per cent and perform well," he said.

    Dhoni appealed the youth to cooperate with the army to take Kashmir on the way forward towards development. "Army is trying its best to do what it can, trying to guide and create infrastructure to the extent it can. For that it is important to support each other. "If there is good infrastructure, youth will associate with it and when there is educational infrastructure, then Kashmir's development will take place. Industries should be set up here so that there is creation of jobs. The focus should not only be on apple farming and tourism but other sectors as well," he said.

    Miss India Manushi Chhillar crowned Miss World 2017

    New Delhi Nov 20: India's Manushi Chhillar was crowned the coveted Miss World 2017 almost 16 years after Priyanka Chopra won the title in 2000. Chhillar competed against 108 contestants from various countries at a glittering event held at Sanya City Arena in China. Chhillar made it to the top five spots in the pageant along with England, France, Kenya and Mexico. Born to doctor parents, Chhillar, who hails from Haryana, studied in St. Thomas School in New Delhi and Bhagat Phool Singh Government Medical College for Women in Sonepat.

    In the question and answer round that followed her entry in the top five spots, the 21-year-old Chhillar was asked which profession deserved the highest salary and why? She replied: "I think a mother is of highest respect. I don't think its just about cash but love and respect she gives to someone. She is the biggest inspiration in my life. Mother should get highest respect." Ms Chhillar’s profile also says she is a trained classical dancer and has a passion for outdoor sports like scuba diving, snorkelling and bungee jumping.

    Why is Children's Day celebrated today?

    New Delhi Nov 14: November 14 is the birth anniversary of independent India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Children's Day or Bal Diwas, in Hindi, is a day when students across schools enjoy various activities, participate in debates and other extra-curricular activities. Pandit Nehru is fondly called 'Chacha Nehru'. The most popular reason behind the coinage of this term for him was his love for children.

    It was for his special love towards children that he came to be known as Chacha or the favourite uncle for the children of the country. November 14 is marked as Children's Day to commemorate the man, the freedom fighter and the first Prime Minister of a free India. Before his death, India used to celebrate Children's Day along with the world on November 20. However, after Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's death in 1964, it was decided unanimously to commemorate his birth anniversary as Children's Day in the country.

    On this day, chocolates and gifts are often distributed among children, while schools organize different events. It is also a common practice to distribute gifts like clothes, toys and books to orphan children on this day. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru had once said, "The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country".

    Mammals became active after dinosaur extinction: Study

    New Delhi Nov 7: Mammals started being active in the daytime about 66 million years ago when dinosaurs were wiped out, according to scientists who suggest that our ancestors emerged from the shadows only when their vicious, giant predators disappeared. A long-standing theory holds that the common ancestor to all mammals was nocturnal, but the new discovery reveals when the mammals started living in the daytime for the first time.

    It also provides insight into which species changed behaviour first. Researchers from University College London (UCL) in the UK and Tel Aviv University's Steinhardt Museum of Natural History in Israel analysed data of 2,415 species of mammals alive today. Using computer algorithms they reconstructed the likely activity patterns of their ancient ancestors who lived millions of years ago. Two different mammalian family trees portraying alternative timelines for the evolution of mammals were used in the analysis.

    The results, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, show that mammals switched to daytime activity shortly after the dinosaurs had disappeared. This change did not happen in an instant - it involved an intermediate stage of mixed day and night activity over millions of years, which coincided with the events that decimated the dinosaurs. "We were very surprised to find such close correlation between the disappearance of dinosaurs and the beginning of daytime activity in mammals, but we found the same result unanimously using several alternative analyses," said Roi Maor, a PhD student at UCL.

    President Ram Nath Kovind completes 100 days in office

    New Delhi Nov 1: Efficient management of time and speedy decision-making have been the focus of President Ram Nath Kovind who completed 100 days in office on November 1. Kovind, who took over on July 25 as the 14th President, has also sought to reach out to the states, which form a crucial part of the federal structure of the country, by undertaking visits there. He has already visited several states and the target is to cover almost all the states by the year-end.

    In some states, the President travelled to rural and interior areas, the officials said. But in all these travels, he mostly did not stay overnight and returned the same evening, as part of his thrust on efficient time management, oficials said. As President, he also undertook his first foreign visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia from October 3 to 6. Giving an example, they said the waiting time for presentation of credentials by foreign ambassadors and high commissioners has been reduced to the maximum of two to three weeks, which earlier used to be up to months.

    So far, he has received credentials from 12 ambassadors and high commissioners, including the Russian ambassador and the Pakistan high commissioner. President Kovind is also making the Rashtrapati Bhavan more accessible to the public. One of the steps taken in this direction is making the Rashtrapati Bhavan's library accessible to common people online. Recently, the Rashtrapati Bhavan also became a venue for the culmination of Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi's 'Bharat Yatra', a movement to spread awareness about child abuse and trafficking. A highlight of the event was a special gesture by the President to make a Dalit girl sit next to him. This gesture touched Satyarthi and he recorded it in a hand-written letter to President Kovind.

    First Jurassic-era 'fish lizard' fossil discovered from Gujarat's Kutch

    Gujrat Oct 28: A study led by a group of researchers from KSKV Kutch University has discovered a near-completely fossilised skeleton of the Jurassic-era ichthyosaur, a type of marine reptile or 'fish lizard' in Greek. The intriguing animal that looks like a mashup of a dolphin and lizard lived alongside dinosaurs and was found from Kutch district of Gujarat.

    Earlier, a group of Indo-German geologists had found a 5.5-metre-long skeleton near the Kaas hills of Bhuj town back in January 2016 and it was believed to be a fossil of dinosaur. The fossil has further gone through a series of high class experiments and the study finally showed that the fossil was of ichthyosaur from the Jurassic era and was the first to be found in India.

    "The present ichthyosaur find represents the first nearly complete articulated skeleton of an ichthyosaur from India and the first record from the Jurassic of India. It further expands our knowledge on morphological diversity and geographic distribution of Late Jurassic ophthalmosaurids, their dietary habits and palaeobiogeography," the study stated.

    Thumri Queen Girija Devi passes away

    Kolkata Oct 25: Eminent classical singer and Padma Vibhushan awardee Girija Devi passed away at a city hospital in Kolkata on Tuesday night following a cardiac arrest, hospital sources said. She was 88 and survived by a daughter. Considered as the queen of Thumri and fondly called Appa ji, Girija Devi was taken to the city's BM Birla Heart Research Centre Tuesday afternoon with cardiovascular ailments, She was put on life support, her family sources said. "Girija Devi's condition was quite critical when she was brought to the hospital. She was admitted to the CCU and was under constant watch. But she passed away at around 8.45 pm," hospital spokesperson said.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled her death, saying the singer's music appealed across generations and her pioneering efforts to popularise Indian classical music would always be remembered. "Saddened by demise of Girija Devi ji. Indian classical music has lost one of its most melodious voices. My thoughts are with her admirers," he tweeted.

    A legendary singer of the "Benaras gharana" had received Padma Shri in 1972, Padma Bhushan in 1989 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016. Born in a zamindar family at a village near Banaras on May 8, 1929, music was a part of Girija Devi's life from a very early age.

    Indians bag medals at Worldskills competition

    Abu Dhabi Oct 21: Two Indians bagged a silver and a bronze at the global skill competition in Abu Dhabi, showing the best ever performance by India since the country began participating in the WorldSkills challenge in 2007. The Indian team comprising 28 competitors also won nine Medallions of Excellence across key skills. India had won a silver medal in 2009 and five medallions of excellence in 2015. Over 1,300 candidates from 59 countries competed across 51 skill categories this year. The results were announced in a closing ceremony last evening, a statement by Worldskills said.

    Mohit Dudeja won a silver for Patisserie and Confectionery whereas Kiran bagged a bronze for Prototype Modelling. Nine Medallions for Excellence were won in trades/skills like mechatronics, brick-laying, restaurant service, automobile technology, jewellery, graphic design technology, mobile robotics, beauty therapy and car painting.

    "The country should take great inspiration from the grit, the confidence and the determination with which the young team has performed at the Olympic of Skills and proved their mettle against countries like China, Russia, Korea, Japan, Brazil," said Rajesh Agrawal, Official delegate India for WorldSkills. "Our preparation for the next WorldSkills will begin soon and I encourage more and more youth to participate and have the honour to represent the country at such international levels," Agrawal said.

    British autistic artist Stephen Wiltshire sketches NYC skyline from memory

    US Oct 20: An autistic artist in the United States has created an incredible drawing of the New York City skyline - and he did it completely from memory. Stephen Wiltshire is known for his panoramic drawings of iconic urban skylines, a typical feat for any artist, but what sets him apart is the fact that his sketches are done entirely from memory. Wiltshire, who is autistic, has an eidetic memory that allows him to recall every detail of city from one 45-minute helicopter ride. Wiltshire signed his live five-day drawing session of the New York City skyline on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building in New York on Monday (October 16). Wiltshire said drawing the skyline was "truly hard work."

    The finished piece of art, which is the approximately the size of a large gallery wall, was produced using just pen and pencil and gives an in-depth panoramic view of the famous Manhattan skyline. The British artist has sketched several cities in the past, including London, Los Angeles, Sydney, and Hong Kong, but he loves visiting New York, and finds inspiration in its architecture and layout. "It's a very beautiful place. It has lots of skyscrapers, buildings, tall buildings and yellow cabs and some American people," said Wiltshire.

    Ministry WCD launches campaign on 'women for women': #IamThatWoman

    New Delhi Oct 18: In an attempt to end Gender bias in women against women, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is undertaking an online campaign #IamThatWoman. Through the campaign, the Ministry seeks to highlight the various aspects of women standing 'by' and 'for' women. Ministry of WCD has urged people to shun stereotypes associated with women harming other women. Twitter and Facebook users have been encouraged to tag and share stories of women helping women with a photograph and post online with the hashtag #IamThatWoman.

    Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi said, "When a woman has the support of her womanhood, she can be unstoppable. Through this campaign, we aim to shed light on the enormous contributions made by women for women. A mother-in-law can be her daughter-in-law's best companion. It is time we did away with the 'in-law' in 'daughter-in-law'. A woman manager can easily empathise with her female juniors and help her climb the ladder of success. Likewise, a landlady's affection towards a female tenant makes a world of difference in making the young girl feel at home, away from home.

    NGO raises USD 500K to provide education to children in India

    US Oct 17: Pratham USA, an Indian non- governmental organisation has raised more than USD 500,000 this year towards providing quality education to underprivileged children in India. At its latest fund raiser in the Washington DC suburb of Virginia, Pratham raised USD 275,000 from about 360 guests. Actor R Madhavan made an impassioned plea with his keynote address underscoring the importance of tangible results when giving back. "Pratham is doing an extraordinary job in making a huge difference in the lives of people, especially children and women in India," Madhavan said.

    The people who attended the event were visibly moved by Nisha Sisodiya, a young woman from Rajasthan, who bravely told her story of how she overcame an abusive marriage to become a successful entrepreneur after discovering Pratham's vocational programme. Pratham provided her seed funding and mentorship to be able to launch her own beauty salon where she provides livelihood for other women in the community.

    3rd global summit on medical tourism begins in Bengaluru

    Bengaluru Oct 14: Advantage Healthcare India 2017, the third global summit on medical tourism jointly organized by FICCI, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Govt. of India and Service Export Promotion Council (SEPC) has begun in Bengaluru in the presence of thousands of delegates.

    The three-day event is meant to promote India as a premier global healthcare destination and enable streamlined exports of healthcare services. Over 70 countries and 700 hosted buyers from across the world are participating, along with thousands of business visitors from India and abroad.

    IAF ready to tackle any aggression

    New Delhi Oct 6: There can be no mistaking the tone and tenor of Air Chief Marshal B S Dhanoa when he spoke to the media ahead of Air Force Day on the 8th of October. He said that the Indian Air Force is capable of tackling any challenge thrown up China while engaging with Pakistan. He also said that if required the IAF can take out Pakistan's nuclear assets to neutralise any tactical threat its arsenal might pose.

    Ahead of Air Force Day, Air Chief BS Dhanoa addressed an annual press conference on Thursday. He said his team is capable of countering China and ready to take on the challenge of a two-front war Air Chief also said that his force is ready for a full spectrum of operations but decision on surgical strike has to be taken by the government. He further asserted saying if the need arises, the air force is prepared to fight at short notice in full synergy with other two sister services.

    Air Chief also said they have 'Plan B' ready to cater for shortage of strength, if such a situation was to arise. IAF will commission three more women fighter pilots in December, though IAF will achieve sanctioned strength of 42 fighter squadrons by 2032. Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat had said last month that the country should be prepared for a two-front war, insisting China has started "flexing its muscles", while there seems to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India.

    Railways accords highest priority to passenger safety : Piyush Goyal

    New Delhi, Sept 29: Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has assured that the Railways accords highest priority to passenger safety. Addressing the media on Thursday, he outlined the major changes being undertaken by the Railways saying passenger safety is his top priority.

    He also said that compared to laying new lines, renewal of old tracks will be prioritised. To further boost passenger safety, train bogeys and stations will get CCTV cameras. Additionally, the problem of unmanned railway crossings will be tackled within a year.

    Divyang waiters dish out rare experience for diners at 'Hope' restaurant

    New Delhi, Sept 26: 'Hope' restaurant is a center of attraction in the Pink city, a restaurant where Divyang waiters take orders in sign language. In a first of its kind initiative, the restaurant ignites hope and brings divyangs into the mainstream. Have you ever been to a restaurant where you placed your orders in sign language that waiters understood and served you accordingly? Ashish Vitthal Sharma has begun an initiative on the same lines in Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan.

    He has started a restaurant with those who may be verbally challenged and hearing impaired but understand the demands of customers well. These waiters not only do their jobs well but also have a pleasant demeanour and are content with their work. Ashish Vitthal Sharma once came across 3 divyang youths, interacting between themselves using sign language.

    Thinking that people like them are cut off from the rest of the society, he decided to integrate them into the mainstream. While initially customers faced some difficulty in understanding what the waiters wanted to convey to them, soon these waiters became their favourites. This restaurant named 'Hope' has become a center of attraction for the residents of Jaipur.

    World Alzheimer's Day tomorrow - Here's how you can stay away from the disease

    New Delhi, Sept 20: Every year September 21 is observed as World Alzheimer's Day. The condition of Alzheimer is the most common form of dementia. Several researches have suggested ways to reduce, if not completely prevent, the chances of older people around you and/or you from suffering from it. Be social: A team of UK researchers found earlier this year that positive support and a reliable and understanding relationship with partners, children, and family can help reduce the risk of developing dementia in seniors, whereas negative social support can increase it. In addition, researches have also found that those who stay socially active later in life report higher levels of well-being overall.

    Move around : European research published online in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that when compared to those who did no exercise, taking part in vigorous physical activity during middle age was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment later in life. A US study published earlier this year also found that moderately intense exercise, such as a brisk walk, boosts glucose metabolism in the brain which could help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

    Eat a healthy diet : Four studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference earlier this year suggested that certain diets can help to reduce the risk of dementia. The research found that the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), low in meat and dairy but rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, nuts and ‘healthy’ fats; the MIND diet (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay), which is similar to the MedDiet and includes foods beneficial in preventing cognitive decline such as berries; and the Nordic Prudent Dietary Pattern (NPDP), which avoids sugary, fatty and processed foods but includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, poultry, fish, and vegetable oil, could help slow cognitive decline.

    Take up a hobby : Research has found that participating in arts and crafts activities could delay the onset of cognitive decline that often leads to dementia. The team found that those who took part in artistic hobbies such as painting, drawing, and sculpting, were 73% less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who didn’t, whilst enjoying craft activities such as woodworking, pottery, ceramics, and sewing reduced the risk by 45%. A 2013 study also suggested that reading, writing and other brain stimulating activities could be useful in warding off cognitive decline.

    Mortal remains of Marshal of IAF Arjan Singh consigned to flames

    New Delhi, Sept 18: The mortal remains of Marshal of Indian Air Force Arjan Singh was consigned to flames in New Delhi a short while ago. He was accorded 17 Gun salute and a fly past before the final rites. Marshal Arjan Singh was accorded a state funeral. His mortal remains were taken to the funeral site from his residence Kautilya Marg in a gun carriage procession.

    Marshal Arjan Singh passed away in New Delhi on Saturday evening. 98-year old Singh had been admitted to Army's RR Hospital following a heart attack. President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M Vankaiah Naidu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to legendary soldier at his residence. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, former Prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh and BJP veteran Lal Krishna Advani were present at the funeral.

    Operation Insaniyat: India sends relief materials for Rohingya refugees in B'desh

    New Delhi, Sept 15: India's aid to Bangladesh for help in tackling the Rohingya refugee crisis has started arriving where its needed the most in tonnes. These materials include food, water, clothes and shelter building supplies and are proving to be a blessing for those who have been left without a place to call home.

    India has sent 53 tonnes of relief materials to Bangladesh for Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar, who poured into the country following the ethnic violence in the neighbouring Buddhist-majority nation. India will provide 7,000 tonnes of relief materials to Bangladesh.

    Bangladesh's Road Transport Minister Obaidul Quader received the materials from Indian High Commissioner Harsh Vardhan Shringla after an Indian aircraft carrying the assistance landed at southeastern port city of Chittagong.The relief material consists of items required urgently by the affected people, namely rice, pulses, sugar, salt, cooking oil, tea, ready to eat noodles, biscuits, mosquito nets etc.

    The first consignment of India's assistance comes days after Dhaka briefed New Delhi about the problems faced by it due to the influx of these refugees. Bangladesh High Commissioner in New Delhi Syed Muazzem Ali had met Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar last week and discussed the issue of Rohingyas in detail.

    185 inspired youth from J&K join the ranks of Indian Army

    J&K, Sept 12: 185 young soldiers from Jammu & Kashmir passed out from The Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry Regimental Centre on Tuesday. Recruit Course Serial number 110, on having completed one year of strenuous training was attested today at a glittering parade at the Bana Singh Parade Ground of JAK LI RC.

    The Passing Out Parade, depicting graduation of a Recruit and his transformation into a Young Soldier, was reviewed by Lt Gen Satish Dua, Chief of Integrated Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence and Colonel of the JAK LI Regiment and was attended by over 1000 parents / relatives of young soldiers besides a number of civil and military dignitaries.

    The dauntless young soldiers of the Regiment hailing from all regions and religions of the State of J&K, marching in precise unison with a singular aim of devoting their lives in service of their nation, singing their Regimental Song `Balidanam Veer Lakshnam', inspired one and all as their voice echoed in the Parade ground. Their salute to the Tri-Colour with National Anthem playing inspired patriotic fervour in all present.

    Teachers' day being celebrated across the country

    New Delhi, Sept 6: Nation celebrates teachers' day today on the birth anniversary of the country's second President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. On the occasion, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu conferred the National Award to teachers in New Delhi. The award is given as public recognition to meritorious teachers working in primary, middle and secondary schools. The awards which were instituted in 1958 carries a medal, certificate, and award money of Rs. 50,000.

    The vice president also launched national teachers Portal on the occasion. The portal has been made to give out guidelines to teachers to adopt new ways of imparting education in the country. The portal has been made with the joint efforts of central government and various state governments and non-governmental organisations.

    Addressing the gathering, Venkaiah Naidu said that teachers are shapers of the destiny of India and they have an important role to play in making of new India. He added that we need to improve the quality of education. President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also extended greetings to countrymen teachers on Teachers' Day.

    Mastermind of Blue Whale Challenge arrested

    Russia, Sept 1: A 17-year-old Russian girl, an alleged administrator of the deadly Blue Whale suicide challenge, was arrested from the Khabarovsk Krai region in south-east Russia. The girl was responsible for creating the 50 challenges which instructed and forced 'players' in the game to inflict self-harm, eventually culminating in suicide.

    Recently, Vignesh, a 19-year-old college student from Tamil Nadu's Madurai district committed suicide by hanging himself inside his house with authorities linking it to the Blue Whale Challenge. In his suicide note, Vignesh wrote, "Blue whale is not a game, once you enter you can't exit." Police also found the image of a whale carved on Vignesh's left hand with 'Blue Whale' beneath it.

    Such cases have sprung up in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal too. States have advised schools, teachers and parents to counsel children about the risk of such dangerous online games.

    Nitasha winner of India's first transgender beauty pageant

    Haryana, Aug 31: Miss Transqueen India 2017 a beauty pageant for the transgender community was organized in India's northern Haryana state on Sunday. Sixteen participants representing different Indian states walked the ramp during the contest, 'Miss Transqueen India'. Nitasha Biswas, a 26-year-old postgraduate in Business Management from India's eastern Kolkata city was crowned the winner.

    Loiloi from India's northeastern Manipur state bagged the first runner-up position and Ragasya from India's southern Chennai city was crowned the second runner-up. Miss Transsexual Australia International 2017, Laeticia Phylliscia Raveena was also present on the occasion who crowned the winner and the runners-up. Organizer of the contest, Reena Rai said it was important for the people from outside the transgender community to work for the betterment of the third gender without differentiating.

    The sexual minorities, especially transgender people, who are more visible have been driven to the fringes of the society into begging and prostitution. It was only in April 2014; India's apex court recognized transgender as a legal third gender and called on the government to ensure equal treatment to them. But abuse and exploitation are widespread. Often thrown out of home by their families, many of 490,000-strong community lack formal education and are denied jobs, and forced into sex work, begging, or dancing at weddings to make ends meet.

    Recently, Kochi Metro Rail Ltd became the first government agency in the country to hire 23transgender for various works in the metro system. In the first phase of the pageant, 1,500 contestants participated, out of which 16 were selected for the finale in Gurugram. Biswas will now be representing in Miss International Transqueen in Thailand.

    Dera chief Ram Rahim sentenced to 20 years in jail for rape

    Haryana, Aug 29: Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh was sentenced today to 20 years in prison for rape, as security forces in Haryana and Punjab went on high alert to prevent possible violence by his followers.

    The sentence was passed by Jagdeep Singh, a special CBI judge, in a makeshift court in the Sunaria jail where Ram Rahim, 50, had been lodged since his conviction on Friday. Media reports said Ram Rahim broke down and asked for forgiveness with folded hands when the sentence was read out. He then refused to leave the court room, in the jail library, said the report.

    Tributes paid to Subhas Chandra Bose in Japan by Indian community

    Tokyo, Aug 18: Subhas Chandra Bose is believed to have died today after his overloaded Japanese plane crashed in Japanese-ruled Formosa (now Taiwan). A memorial to Subhas Chandra Bose has been set up at the Renkōji Temple, Tokyo. Subhas Chandra Bose's ashes are stored in the temple in a golden pagoda.

    Members of Indian community paid tribute to Netaji Bose today. Every year, Japanese followers of Netaji/INA assemble there on August 18th .Though air-crash theory hasn’t been substantiated, Indians still gather on this important day to recall the great leader and celebrate Indo-Japan friendship.

    Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister, first visited the temple during his term as Foreign Minister. He later visited it during his official visit to Japan on December 9, 2001.

    Government asks Google, FB, MS, others to remove Blue Whale links

    New Delhi, Aug 16: The government has directed internet majors Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Microsoft and Yahoo to immediately remove links of the dangerous online game Blue Whale Challenge, which has led to suicides of children in India and other countries. "Instances of children committing suicide while playing Blue Whale Challenge have been reported in India...You are hereby requested to ensure that any such link of this deadly game in its own name or similar game is immediately removed from your platform," the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said in a letter to the internet majors.

    The Blue Whale Challenge is a suicide game in which the player is given certain tasks to complete for a period of 50 days and the final task leads to suicide. The player is asked to share photos after finishing the different levels of the game. The game is spread via links on social media platforms.

    Expressing concern on availability of such a deadly game on the internet, Meity said, "it is understood that an administrator of the game uses social media platform to invite /incite children to play this game, which may eventually lead them to take extreme steps for self inflicting injuries, including suicide". Mumbai and West Midnapore district have reported deaths linked to this game. Meity said the proponent of Blue Whale Challenge should be reported to law enforcement agencies.

    Internet Service Provider Association of India's President Rajesh Chharia appreciated the government's move for issuing the order to block the game. "Social media companies should not have waited for the order of the government. They should have checked proliferation of such a game as it is their duty to make internet safe. Government order is highly appreciable and a great order for the present and future generations of the country," Chharia said.

    Women commandos - new face of Delhi Police's 'Parakram Army'

    New Delhi, Aug 14: Following the examples of Israel and the US, the Delhi Police has initiated a program to introduce women commandos into the force. 41 young women cadets from the North-east have been specially selected for the purpose and they will be joining Delhi Police's Parakram unit and will be seen in action this independence day. The new face of Delhi Police's 'Parakram Army' will be deployed on the ramparts of the capital for security on Independence Day. Delhi Police has decided to deploy 24 PCR vans at sensitive locations. The speciality is that this time female commandos have been included in this.
    41 girls from North East have become part of the Delhi Police for the first time they are being given special commando training. These women commandos are ready to provide Delhi security on August 15. The Delhi Police has also chosen its poster girl from Chainvelu Thale of Nagaland, the best commandos among them.

    US wants dialogue between India-China over Doklam

    New Delhi, Aug 11: The United States today said it wants India and China to have a dialogue over the Doklam standoff in the Sikkim section. State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert said in a news conference at Washington that US have relationships with both governments and therefore, Washington will continue to encourage both parties to sit down and have conversations about the issue.

    India and China have been locked in a face-off in the Doklam area for the last 50 days after Indian troops stopped the Chinese People's Liberation Army from building a road in the area.

    Kuwait NRI student Riddhiraj donates Prize Money to Indian Army Welfare Fund

    New Delhi, Aug 4: Kuwait living NRI student Ma. Riddhiraj Kumar presented a cheque of Rs. 18,000 to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi as donation for Army Welfare Fund. He won total 80 KD (Kuwait Dinars), equal to his donation, as prize money from ACER. Ma. Riddhiraj Kumar met PM Modi along with his mother on Thursday.

    Student from Indian Educational School, Kuwait, Ma. Riddhiraj won the International Bench Mark Test for Improving Learning Award for Excellence conducted by the Australian Council for Education Research (ACER). Ma. Riddhiraj excelled both in Mathematics and Science, for Middle East, to win a total of 80 Kuwait Dinars. PM Modi congratulated Ma. Riddhiraj for his generosity and excellence in academics. The Prime Minister also learnt that the boy has several innovative projects to his credit.

    Krupa Bhatt, mother of the student, told the Prime Minister that she is working on ‘Every Child is Genius Project’ and organising free seminars for the teachers in India, on identifying talents of the children. Prime Minister also congratulated her for the commitment she is showing in spreading innovative learning projects.

    Swacch Bharat Mission strides on; School in Noida says 'No to Plastic'

    New Delhi, Jul 31: No one is a stranger to the mission to clean up the country - Swacch Bharat Abhiyan. People from all spheres of life have been doing all they can to contribute to ensure the country is spic and span ever since its launch on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2014.

    School children and authorities have been an intrinsic part of the mission, not only in cleaning up and also generating awareness among the general populace about the importance of cleanliness and how to go about achieving it.

    It was on the 2nd of October, 2014 that the dream project of Swacch Bharat was launched. Since then, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has time and again appealed to all to do their part in the mission to make it a success. The goal is to complete the task by the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi in 2019.

    PM Modi hails Pranab Mukherjee's tenure as President

    New Delhi, Jul 24: Prime Minister Narendra Modi releases a book on selected speeches of Pranab Mukherjee; says as President, Pranab Mukherjee guided him and offered him constructive feedback; hails him as a grassroots leader, says President Mukherjee analysed govt's decisions only in the present context. Speaking at the book release function of the selected speeches of the President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the President as a gaurdian and father figure who helped him a lot.

    PM Modi praised the way in which Pranab Mukherjee executed his responsibilities as president without allowing the political inclinations and association to cloud his judgement. PM Modi also praised the President for making the Rashtrapati Bhawan a Lok bhawan or a people's house. Also present were President elect RamNath Kovind and Vice president Hamid Ansari. Vice president Ansari also complemented the work ethics of the outgoing President. A report on the trees of the Rashtrapati Bhawan was also released in the function.

    Hubble beams back images of tiny moon Phobos orbiting Mars

    US, Jul 21: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back images of the tiny Martian moon Phobos in its orbital trek around the red planet. Over the course of 22 minutes, Hubble took 13 separate images, allowing astronomers to create a time-lapse video showing the diminutive moon's orbital path. The Hubble observations were intended to photograph Mars, and the moon's cameo appearance was a bonus, scientists said. A football-shaped object just 26x21x17 kilometres, Phobos is one of the smallest moons in the solar system.

    The moon completes an orbit in just seven hours and 39 minutes, which is faster than Mars rotates. Rising in the Martian west, it runs three laps around the Red Planet in the course of one Martian day, which is about 24 hours and 40 minutes. It is the only natural satellite in the solar system that circles its planet in a time shorter than the parent planet's day.

    About two weeks after the Apollo 11 manned lunar landing on July 20, 1969, NASA's Mariner 7 flew by the Red Planet and took the first crude close-up snapshot of Phobos. On July 20, 1976 NASA's Viking 1 lander touched down on the Martian surface. A year later, its parent craft, the Viking 1 orbiter, took the first detailed photograph of Phobos, revealing a gaping crater from an impact that nearly shattered the moon.

    New Israeli flower named after PM Modi

    Israel, Jul 5: A new fast-growing Israeli flower was named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a special gesture to mark the first visit of an Indian premier to the Jewish nation. Israeli Crysanthumun flower will now be called "MODI", officials here said. "New fast-growing Israeli Crysanthumun flower named in honor of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and will be called "MODI".Indeed, a #GrowingPartnership!," Israel's official twitter handle said in a tweet.

    "Crysanthumun flower will be named in honour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The flower will be called 'Modi'," Office of the Prime Minister tweeted. Earlier, Modi visited the Danziger "Dan" flower farm along with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Mishmar Hashiva where they were briefed about the latest technologies being used for floriculture. "Commemorating Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, Danziger Flower Farm names the flower Crysanthumun as 'Modi.', on the name of Prime Minister," Press Information Bureau said in a tweet.

    "A symbol of blooming In a special gesture, a new fast growing variety of chrysanthemum flower named after Prime Minister Narendra Modi," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted. The Danziger flower farm is one of Israel's leading floriculture companies with approximately 80,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses specialising in reproduction of plants. The farm, founded in 1953, is located in Moshav Mishmar Hashiva, about 56 km from Jerusalem, in central Israel.

    Over 2,00,000 suspected cholera cases in Yemen: UN

    US, Jun 27: The UN health agency has said there are now more than 2,00,000 suspected cases of cholera in an outbreak in war-torn Yemen, many of them children. UNICEF director Anthony Lake and World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan said in a statement Saturday, "We are now facing the worst cholera outbreak in the world," with an average of 5,000 new cases every day. The agencies said that more than 1,300 people have died one quarter of them children and the death toll is expected to rise.

    The UN added collapsing health, water and sanitation systems have cut off 14.5 million people from regular access to clean water and sanitation, increasing the ability of the disease to spread. In addition, an estimated 30,000 local health workers have not been paid for nearly 10 months.

    Great honour to illuminate UN building in New York: Anupam Kher

    US, Jun 22: Veteran actor Anupam Kher said he was proud to be the chosen for illuminating the United Nations headquarters, ahead of International Day of Yoga. The 62-year-old actor took to Twitter to announce the news and expressed gratitude to India's ambassador to US, Syed Akbaruddin, for the privilege. "Great honour to illuminate the #UnitedNation building, NY in preparation of #InternationalDayofYoga. Thank you @AkbaruddinIndia Sir. @UN," wrote Kher, alongside a 23- second-long video of the ceremony.

    The "M S Dhoni: The Untold Story" actor, who is in the US for the premiere of his film "The Big Sick", also shared a series of pictures from the event On the work front, Kher's next release is "Toilet: Ek Prem Katha" and will be seen as former Indian PM Dr Manmohan Singh in the film "The Accidental Prime Minister" based on the 2014 book penned by Sanjaya Baru.

    HC cuts Puducherry pvt univs PG med course fee to Rs 10 lakhs

    Puducherry, Jun 17: In Puducherry, the confusion over fees for medical PG courses in private Deemed Universities is finally settled with Madras High Court provisionally fixing it at 10 lakh rupees. It was a great relief for students selected under Government quota, as the managements were demanding fees to the tune of 40 lakhs rupees. According reports that terming fee claimed by Deemed Universities, exorbitant, arbitrary and prohibitive, the High Court asked the Ministry of Human Resources Development and UGC to constitute a committee to take the final decision on fees.

    Lt. Governor Kiran Bedi termed it as a great victory for Puducherry students. In an unprecedented move Secretary to Lt. Governor had joined as a respondent in the Public Interest Litigation regarding fee fixation. Medical PG admission had been the bone of contention between the Government and the Office of the LG in Puducherry.

    Chief Minister V Narayanasamy in a hurriedly called press conference last night claimed that the verdict of the High Court vindicates his Governments stand on the issue. The court has not found anything wrong with the counselling process. By asking MHRD and UGC to form a committee, it has accepted the Government's position that fee fixation of Deemed Universities do not come under the ambit of the Union Territory Government, he said.

    On World Environment Day, PM Modi calls for protecting, nurturing better planet

    New Delhi, Jun 5: World Environment Day 2017 is being observed today across the world and the theme of this year is Connecting People to Nature. According to United Nations, the theme of this year implores people to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance, and to take forward the call to protect the Earth. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that World Environment Day is the right time to reaffirm commitment to protecting the environment and nurturing a better planet. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, the nation salute the will and determination of all those individuals and organisations working towards protecting the environment.

    He said, this year’s theme of - Connecting People to Nature is nothing but getting connected with ourselves. Environment Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, global warming and climate change are adversely affecting the whole world and people should contribute to save the planet. The State government in Kerala will launch a massive tree planting exercise today on the occasion of world environment day.

    This is being organised under the ' Haritha Keralam' project an initiative to make the state green. The government's programme is to plant one crore saplings across the state by involving school students, 'Kudumbashree' (women self-help group) units and civic bodies. This is kerala's initiative to tackle climate change.

    Another major initiative to be launched on June 5 is the felling of trees that cause ecological imbalance. Involving school children in the project, the government has decided to distribute 40 lakh saplings--each child will get one sapling which they should plant it at home, school compound or public place. Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has urged the people to support the initiative.

    Indian-American girl wins 90th Spelling Bee with 'marocain

    UN, Jun 3: Ananya Vinay, a 12-year-old Indo-American girl, on Friday won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, taking home a USD 40,000 cash prize after correctly spelling "marocain" to become the 13th consecutive winner from the community. A sixth-grader from Fresno, California, Ananya won the spelling competition after competing for 12 hours and spelled 35 words correctly.

    Her rival was Rohan Rajeev, another 14-year-old Indian- American student from Oklahoma, misspelled the word 'marram' which is a coarse grass found on sandy beaches. Ananya's victory underscores the overwhelming dominance of Indian-Americans in the annual intense competition. "Congratulations to our 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion, Ananya Vinay.

    What a fantastic performance!,"the National Spelling Bee's official account tweeted. "She played to win and win she did. Ananya Vinay takes home the 2017 Scripps National Spelling Bee Champion title and trophy," it said. More than 11 million youngsters aged between six and 15 from all 50 US states, US territories such as Puerto Rico and Guam and countries such as Japan and Jamaica had entered the nerve-racking competition.

    Ananya and Rajeev were the last two standing of the initial 291 spellers. Ananya captured the 90th championship title by correctly spelling "marocain", which is a dress fabric made from silk or rayon, during the 36th round of the annual competition held at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in suburban Washington.

    "It's like a dream come true, I'm so happy right now. I just focused on my word and tried to spell it right," said Ananya upon receiving the winner's trophy. In a post-victory interview, Ananya told reporters she was able to recognise one of the final words as it had been mentioned in her social studies book. "You can find words in interesting places," she was quoted as saying by the 'USA Today'.

    Ananya is the 13th consecutive Indian-American winner of the competition and the 18th of the past 22 winners with Indian heritage, a run that began in 1999 with Nupur Lala's victory, which was featured in the documentary "Spellbound." Ananya honed her skill in highly competitive national bees that are limited to Indian-Americans, the North South Foundation and the South Asian Spelling Bee, although she did not win either.

    Ananya's victory broke the Bee's three-year streak of ending in a tie. She wins USD 40,000 in cash, a trophy and other prizes, the report said. Asked about her competitor, Rohan, Ananya said, "It was interesting to go back and forth for so many rounds". The annual contest opened on Tuesday with a record 291 spellers from across the country and the globe. The field was narrowed to 40 finalists on Wednesday, based upon two oral rounds of spelling and the results of a written spelling and vocabulary test.

    By yesterday afternoon, just 15 spellers were still standing and went on to compete for the championship whose final rounds were broadcast live. The National Bee is a high-profile, high-pressure endurance test as much as a nerd spelling match and spellers spend months preparing for it.

    Of courage, valour and mettle: UN Peacekeepers

    UN, May 29: 29th May is observed as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. India has a proud history of UN peacekeeping, dating back to its inception in the 1950s. The blue helmets have been holding peace in many parts of the world and a source of a steadfast committemnt. India has been a major contributor to UN Peacekeeping missions. India currently deploys more than 7,600 military and police personnel to UN peace operations in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Lebanon, Liberia, the Middle East, South Sudan, Sudan and the Western Sahara.

    163 Indian peacekeepers who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty under the UN Flag. India was the first country to contribute a Female Formed Police Unit to UN Mission in Liberia. This year, 2 Indian peacekeepers, Rifleman Brijesh Thapa who served with the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) and Private Ravi Kumar who was deployed with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) posthumously received the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal.

    The prestigious UN medal was awarded to 117 military, police and civilian personnel from 43 nations who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations. India has been providing training to peacekeeping officers from a large number of countries which include nearly 800 officers from 82 countries. India has provided almost 2,00,000 troops in nearly 50 of the 71 peacekeeping missions mandated over the past six decades.

    International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers Pays tribute to all the men and women who have served in UN peacekeeping operations for their high level of professionalism, dedication and courage. India deserves a special mention in it. It is the second-largest troop contributor to peacekeeping missions. This proves that India has shown strong commitment to multi-lateralism through its engagement in peacekeeping missions.

    Education - a need for family well-being

    New Delhi, May 15: The International Day of Families is observed on the May 15 every year. This year’s observance focuses on the role of families and family-oriented policies in promoting education and overall well-being of their members. In particular, the day is to raise awareness of the role of families in promoting early childhood education and lifelong learning opportunities for children and youth. It focuses on good practices for work-family balance to assist parents in their educational and caregiving roles.

    The day also aims to discuss the importance of ‘knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development’.

    Remembering 'Gurudev' on 156th birth anniversary

    New Delhi, May 9: The 156th birth anniversary of Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore is being celebrated today. Several programmes are being organized across West Bengal. President Pranab Mukherjee will pay floral tributes to Gurudev at Rashtrapati bhavan. According to Bengali calendar, Rabindranath Tagore was born on 25th day of Baisakh in 1422 Bengali era. According to the Gregorian modern day calendar he was born on 7th May, 1861.

    Prime Minister Narendra modi too paid tribute to Gurudev saying "Gurudev Tagore will always be remembered for his powerful thoughts and contribution to the freedom movement. Tributes to him on his Jayanti." I&B Minister Venkaiah Naidu also paid his tributes via twitter. ‘My tributes to the Nobel laureate and Great Indian poet Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore on his Jayanti!’

    A revered poet, mercurial writer, calming musician and a cursive painter. These are few of the facets of the towering figure that Rabindranath Tagore was. Tagore was a born poet and he penned his first poetry when he was mere eight years old. At sixteen, Tagore released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhanusimha. He slowly graduated to his first short stories and dramas as he took significant step towards becoming an epitome of Indian literature.

    Tagore's work, mainly in Bengali, denounced the British Raj and advocated independence from colonial rule. Tagore was highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the West and is generally regarded as the outstanding creative artist of modern India. 'Gurudev' as he was fondly known had an unparallel body of work that redefined cultural boundaries not only in India but transgressed through international borders. One such work was Gitanjali --- a collection of 103 English poems of Tagore's own English translations of his Bengali poems. It received international acclaim and fetched him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

    Tagore's works were widely translated into English, Dutch, German, Spanish, and other European languages. Tagore was a prolific composer with 2,230 songs to his credit. His songs are known as Rabindra Sangeet. Tagore has composed the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh.

    Odisha activist wins Goldman Environmental Prize

    New Delhi, Apr 25: Indian environmental activist Prafulla Samantara was on Monday announced as the Asia recipent of the Goldman Environmental Prize for championing the cause of Odidha's Dongria Kondh tribals and safeguarding their land and culture. Samantara, the sixth Indian to win the prize, also called the 'Green Nobel', had led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh's land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills in Odisha from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine to be set up by Vedanta Resources.

    His case established a precedent authorising local village councils throughout the country to decide on mining activities in their regions, giving them control over their land, lives and destinies. The previous five Indians prize-winners are Medha Patkar, M.C. Mehta, Rashida Bi and Champa Devi Shukla (jointly) and Ramesh Aggarwal. The prize honours grassroots environmental heroes from the world's six inhabited regions -- Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands & Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America.

    This year's other winners are Uros Macerl from Slovenia, mark! Lopez from the US, Rodrigo Tot from Guatemala, Rodrigue Mugaruka Katembo from the Democratic Republic of Congo and Wendy Bowman from Australia. The prize recognises individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. It views grassroots leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them.

    Rental housing policy soon: Venkaiah Naidu

    New Delhi, Apr 22: Urban Development minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said that the government is moving full steam ahead in realising the dream of all to own a house. Government has done more for housing urban poor in 3 years than the previous government in 10 years, he added.

    He has said that 15 states being targeted to meet housing for all goals by 2019 and promised to come up with urban rental housing policy soon. Now the government has turned its attention to housing rentals where it will soon bring a policy which will not only make renting a home affordable by increasing availability but also institutionalize an informal economic activity.

    FSSAI develops rapid test kit to detect adulterated milk,oil

    New Delhi, Apr 18: The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) said that it has developed a rapid test kit to check quality of milk and edible oils. "We have started developing variety of rapid test kits for variety of products. But the focus is on milk product and edible oil. We are looking for potential investors and entrepreneurs for bulk production," FSSAI Chairman Ashish Bahuguna told media after a meeting of the Central Consumer Protection Council.

    One test kit cannot be used for all products and it poses a challenge, he said. "We are trying to distinguish between safety and substandard. A product can be substandard without impacting the health," Bahuguna said, noting that milk adulteration was more in North India compared to that in South India.

    Since the previous survey to check adulteration threw up surprising results, the government will hold another set of survey in summer when "reportedly mid-term inflation is on peak because production is lower". After getting the reports, the government will decide a strategy and focus on hotspots.

    Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan urged the FSSAI to come up with test kits for Rs 10-12 for customers to use it to check adulteration. Bahuguna said that a company in West Bengal had manufactured an edible oil vending machine, which can be used for buying small quantity.

    India swelters as mercury reaches 40-degree mark

    New Delhi, Apr 16: Heatwave condition continued to grip major part of country. Mercury rose in many parts of northern India and hovered around the 40 degrees Celsius mark. Heatwave condition continued to grip major part of country. Mercury rose in many parts of northern India and hovered around the 40 degrees Celsius mark. It was another hot day in the national capital on Sunday with the mercury hovering slightly below the 40 degree mark. The maximum temperature was recorded at 39.8 degrees Celsius, which is three notches above what is normal for this time of the year.

    The minimum was recorded at 21.4 degrees Celsius which is normal for this time of the year, the Met office said. The humidity levels oscillated between 63 per cent and 23 per cent, it said. The weatherman has predicted mainly clear skies on Monday with the maximum and minimum temperatures expected to be around 41 and 22 degrees Celsius, respectively. On Saturday the maximum and minimum temperatures were recorded at 40.5 and 22 degrees Celsius, respectively.

    Weather remained dry in Uttar Pradesh, with maximum temperatures hovering above normal at many places in the state. The daytime temperatures were above normal in Allahabad and Agra divisions. The maximum temperatures were appreciably above normal in Kanpur, Bareilly, Jhansi and Meerut divisions, according to the Meteorological Department. Banda was the hottest in the state, recording a high of 45 degree Celsius.

    The MeT, in its forecast for the next three days, said the weather is likely to remain dry in most parts of the state. The sky is likely to remain clear in most parts of the state for the next three days, it said. A severe heatwave swept through the desert throwing normal life out of gear in Rajasthan. The minimum temperatures saw an increase of 2 to 4 degrees Celsius as compared to Saturday.

    Sriganganagar was the hottest place in the state with a maximum temperature of 46 degrees Celsius, followed by Barmer (45.8 deg C), Churu (45.5 deg C), Bikaner (45.4 deg C), Jaisalmer (45.1 deg C), Kota (44.3 deg C), Pilani (43.5 deg C), Ajmer and Dabok (43 deg C each) and Jaipur (42.8 deg C). The minimum temperatures too witnessed a surge at a few places with Ajmer recording 28.2 degrees Celsius, followed by Barmer (27.8 deg C), Jodhpur (27.5 deg C) and Dabok (27 deg C).

    The MeT office has forecast a dry weather with a possibility of severe heatwave conditions at several places in the state over the next 48 hours. It has also forecast warm night conditions at isolated places in the western parts of the state.

    Govt approves setting up of Rail Development Authority

    New Delhi, Apr 6: The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the formation of an independent rail regulatory authority to determine tariffs ensuring fair play and level playing field for private players keen on investment in the railways. Considered to be the biggest and first-of-its-kind reform in the rail sector, setting up of Rail Development Authority (RDA) is meant to improve the services offered to passengers, provide comfort to investors and enhance transparency and accountability.

    The RDA will be formed through an executive order of the government, according to the cabinet decision. It will make suggestions regarding policies for private investment to ensure reasonable safeguards to PPP investors and to resolve disputes over future concession agreements.

    The need of having a rail regulator has been emphasised by various committees for past many years since 2001. This includes Expert Group under the Chairmanship of Rakesh Mohan in 2001, the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC) in 2014 and Bibek Debroy's Committee in 2015.

    The RDA will act within the parameters of the Railway Act, 1989 and its major functions will be tariff determination and recommending principles for classification of commodities, framing principles for social service obligation and guidelines for track access charge. It will also be responsible for setting efficiency and performance standards besides global best practices and benchmarking.

    The Authority will have a Chairman and 3 members and can engage experts from relevant areas. The Chairman and the members of RDA will have a term of five years. An initial corpus of Rs 50 crores will be provided for setting up the organisation.

    Rama Navami celebrations across the country

    New Delhi, Apr 4: Rama Navami is being celebrated across the country today. It is a festival that celebrates the birthday of Lord Rama and falls on the ninth day of Navratri. President Pranab Mukherjee and Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari have greeted the people on the occasion.

    President Pranab Mukherjee wished people on the occasion of Ram Navami today, calling them to re-dedicate themselves to the progress and prosperity of the country. In a series of tweets, the President said Lord Rama was an embodiment of great virtues and the highest values.

    "May his example guide us on the path of noble deeds and the celebrations of this joyous festival bring our people together and lead to a unity of hearts and mind," he said. "Warm greetings and best wishes to all my fellow countrymen in India and abroad on the auspicious occasion of Ram Navami...Let us on this day re-dedicate ourselves to the progress and prosperity of our motherland," he said.

    PCOD in women: Detect and prevent symptoms early

    New Delhi, Apr 3: Polycystic ovarian Disease (PCOD) is a common endocrine system disorder among women of reproductive age. It is one of the leading causes of infertility among women. The exact cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown. however factors like obesity increase the risk of developing the condition.


    • Resistance to insulin • Hormonal imbalance • Sedentary life style • Genetic factors


    • In a normal cycle egg is produced every month in the ovary • When the egg matures, the follicle breaks open and the egg is released • The egg travels through Fallopian tube to the uterus (womb) for fertilization. This is called ovulation. • In women with Polycystic ovarian Disease, the egg is not released due to hormonal imbalance It leads to growth of cyst in the ovarian cysts.

    Polycystic ovarian disease not only affects the reproductive system but is also associated with an increased risk of developing other health problems in later life span.


    • Excessive hair growth on the face, chest or back • Irregular periods • Difficulty in getting pregnant • Weight gain • Thinning hair and hair loss • Oily skin or acne • Pelvic pain


    • Gestational diabetes • Type 2 diabetes • High blood pressure • Cholesterol and lipid abnormalities • Metabolic syndrome • Heart attack • Endometrial or Breast cancer • Sleep apnea • Depression and anxiety


    • Early diagnosis and timely treatment is must


    • Make changes in Lifestyle • Keep your Weight under control • Take a Balanced diet • Exercise Regularly

    Early diagnosis and proper treatment along with life style modifications and weight loss may reduce the risk of long-term complications.

    Gadkari for legal recourse to help OEMs on BS-III ban

    New Delhi, Mar 31: Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has said the government will look at a legal solution to help the automakers impacted by the Supreme Court's ban on sale of BS-III vehicles from Saturday. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai yesterday, Mr. Gadkari said the government respects the court's verdict and while implementing the order, it will see if some legal recourse can be taken.

    He acknowledged that his ministry had earlier granted permission to the automakers to sell inventories before migrating to the stricter emission control BS-IV regime. Asserting that the government is sensitive to environmental concerns, Mr. Gadkari said that Rs 4.5 lakh crore auto industry which employs 50 lakh people should not be neglected either.

    The minister said the Petroleum Ministry has committed to supplying BS-IV compliant fuels before April 1 and added that the automakers have also assured to come out with vehicles which will be compliant with the norms. The apex court had on Wednesday banned sale and registration of vehicles with the older BS-III emission norms from April 1. The order came as a blow to auto firms saddled with a stock of over 8.2 lakh vehicles valued up to an estimated Rs 20,000 crore.

    Lights go off around the world for 10th Earth Hour

    New Delhi, Mar 27: Lights were switched off around the world at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, to mark the 10th annual Earth Hour. Earth Hour was observed yesterday in over 7,000 cities across the globe for one hour between 8.30 PM and 9.30 p.m. The lights were switched off around the world at 8:30 p.m. and the skyline turned dark as the world observed the Earth Hour to mark the 10th anniversary of the Earth Hour, and to draw attention to climate change.

    Earth Hour is a reminder that the planet, which is home to over seven billion people, is facing serious challenges due to climate change. The initiative began in Australia in 2007 as a grass roots gesture by the World Wildlife Fund Australia against man-made carbon dioxide emissions linked to a warming planet.

    SC adjourns till April 6th hearing on Ayodhya disputed structure demolition case

    New Delhi, Mar 23: The Supreme Court today asked BJP leaders L K Advani, M M Joshi and other accused in the Babri Masjid demolition case to give their written submissions and adjourned the matter for two weeks. A bench comprising of Justices P C Ghose and R F Nariman asked all the parties in the case to file their written arguments by April 6 and posted the matter for further hearing on April 7. The court was hearing the CBI's plea against the Allahabad High Court order dropping criminal conspiracy charges against them in the case.

    At the start of the hearing, senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for the BJP leaders, sought permission for appearing before another bench in a part-heard matter. The bench allowed Venugopal's plea but said that the parties should file their written submissions in the case before the next date of the hearing.

    Initiative to save birds from peak summer heat in Karnataka

    Bengaluru/Chitradurg, Mar 21: Peak summers take a toll not just on humans, but also on birds and animals. Scarcity of water in summers is a challenge not just for human beings but also for birds and animals. Surrounded by hills, Karnataka's Chitradurg district sees summer temperatures soar to 45 to 50 degree Celsius and 84 bird species are found here but their numbers are on the decline with many birds dying of thirst during summers.

    Coming to the rescue of such birds, the Gubchi trust has rolled out an innovative initiative to provide drinking water to them. Under it, the Trust works with residents of urban areas towards feeding birds with seeds and water. Not just that, cardboard huts carrying seeds and water are hung in courtyards, rooftops and tree branches at residents' homes to help birds escape the summer heat.

    Youths associated with Gubchi trust visit residents and encourage them to come to the rescue of birds. The residents of Chitradurg have been forthcoming in their support for the initiative. For residents serving birds is less of an obligation and more of a celebration of their responsibility towards living beings.

    Centre's gift to Employees and Pensioners

    New Delhi, Mar 16: The Centre's gift to 48.85 lakh employees and 55.51 lakh pensioners; Cabinet hikes dearness allowance and dearness relief to 4 per cent from existing 2 per cent from January 1, 2017; also gives nod to bill granting degree awarding power to 15 IITs. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved release of an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners from, 01.01.2017. It has increased by 2% over the existing rate of 2% of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise.

    Indian Institute of Information Technology Public Private Partnership (IIIT-PPP) Bill, 2017 was also passed to "grant statutory status to 15 IIITs set up under the PPP mode and declare them as Institutions of National Importance, to enable them to grant degrees to the students in the academic courses conducted by them".

    It also approved proposal for opening of 50 new Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs) under Civil / Defence Sector in the country keeping in view the high demand for these schools for their quality of education and excellent results. It also gave its approval for development of the six laning of Handia-Varanasi section of NH-2 in Uttar Pradesh. This work will be under the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) Phase-V. The total length of the road will be approximately 73 kms.

    Cash withdrawal limits from banks removed

    New Delhi, Mar 14: Keeping up with the pace of re-monetisation, Reserve Bank of India has lifted all the limitations that were placed on cash withdrawals that were placed since November 8th last year. This means the state of pre-demonetisation in the banks is restored. The central bank imposed restrictions on withdrawals from bank accounts in the wake of demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8.

    However RBI relaxed these restrictions gradually. The central bank has kept pace with the remonetisation process by gradually relaxing the withdrawal limits. On January 30, RBI had ended all curbs on withdrawals from current accounts, cash credit accounts and overdraft accounts. Now with the removal of all the restrictions it is clear that re-monetisation exercise is successful.

    Reliance Jio, Paytm apologise for using PM Modi's photograph without permission

    New Delhi, Mar 11: Reliance Jio and Paytm have apologised for using Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph in their advertisements, without permission. Minister of State for Consumer Affairs C R Chaudhary told Rajya Sabha, his ministry had sent notices to both the companies under the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950. The Act bars use of Prime Minister's name and picture for commercial use.

    The two companies used the photograph of the Prime Minister in their advertisements contravening the 'prior permission' stipulated under the Act, he said. Mr. Chaudhary said, Information and Broadcasting Ministry has now issued an advisory to print medium to check-up the permission from competent authority before issuing any advertisement with emblem and names specified under the Act.

    Why pandas are black and white, decoded

    US, Mar 6: The giant panda's distinct black-and-white markings have two functions: camouflage and communication, a new study has found. The study suggests that this dual colouration stems from its poor diet of bamboo and inability to digest a broader variety of plants. The scientists who earlier uncovered why zebras have black and white stripes, took the colouration question to giant pandas in the latest study.

    "Understanding why the giant panda has such striking colouration has been a long-standing problem in biology that has been difficult to tackle because virtually no other mammal has this appearance, making analogies difficult," said Tim Caro, a professor at the University of California, Davis in the US.

    "The breakthrough in the study was treating each part of the body as an independent area," said Caro. This enabled the team to compare different regions of fur across the giant panda's body to the dark and light colouring of 195 other carnivore species and 39 bear subspecies, to which it is related.

    Centre approves over 4,000 PG seats in medical colleges & hospitals

    New Delhi, Mar 3: Centre has approved over 4,000 Post Graduate seats in medical colleges and hospitals across the country for the academic session 2017-18. Health Minister J P Nadda in an official statement yesterday said that with this, the total number of PG seats available in the country will go up to over 35 thousand. He said, this will further boost nations resolve to strengthen tertiary care and improve the medical education in the country. Mr Nadda said, of the total increase, 2 thousand 46 seats are in medical colleges.

    The Health Minister said, looking at the need to increase PG seats in clinical subjects, the government had decided to amend the teacher student ratio in clinical subjects in government medical colleges. Mr Nadda said, this change alone has resulted in the creation of one thousand 137 extra seats in 71 colleges. He said, the budget announcement of adding five thousand PG medical seats in the country is likely to be achieved soon.

    Army paper leak: 18 arrested in Maharashtra

    Mumbai, Feb 27: In a crackdown across Maharashtra, the Thane police arrested 18 people for allegedly leaking the Army recruitment question paper. The raids were conducted in Nashik, Nagpur, Pune and the neighbouring state of Goa. Police had received a tip-off that around 350 candidates were made available with the leaked question papers by coaching institutes late on Saturday night in exchange for Rs 2 lakh. The Army has been informed about the case. Meanwhile the exam has been cancelled in six centres across the state.

    Amarnath Yatra registration to begin from March 1

    New Delhi, Feb 26: Registration of pilgrims for this year's Amarnath Yatra will commence on 1st March for both the Baltal and Chandanwari routes. The registration can be done through 433 designated branches of Punjab National Bank, Jammu and Kashmir Bank and YES Bank located in various States of the country.

    This year's Yatra will start simultaneously on both the routes, from 29th June and culminate on Raksha Bandhan, the 7th of August. Pilgrims will have to furnish a compulsory health certificate while seeking registration for the Yatra. Persons under the age of 13 or above 75 years and women who are more than six weeks pregnant will not be registered for the Yatra.

    Mahashivaratri being celebrated in Nepal

    Nepal, Feb 25: Mahashivaratri is being celebrated in Nepal with gaiety and religious fervour. Amid chants of Om Namah Shivaye and Shambhu, Kathmandu is fully gripped in the festivity of Lord Shiva. Thousands of devotees were lined up to offer prayers at famous Pashupatinath temple. Hundreds of sadhus are also offering special prayers at the temple.

    According to Pashupati Area Development Trust more than one million pilgrims including thousands from India are expected to visit Pashupatinath temple on the holy occasion of Mahashivaratri.

    Exercise makes you feel better and boosts health

    Bhopal, Feb 17: Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better and boost your health. It helps you control your weight, keeps you fit and reduces the risk of many health problems. Here are some benefits of Exercise-

    • Exercise helps to increase the metabolic rate of the body
    • It helps to reduces body weight and increase muscle mass
    • Cardiovascular function gets better
    • It prevent problems like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure
    • It Lowers the risk of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and backache
    • Reduces risk of hernia, varicose veins and certain cancers
    • Exercise boosts energy and elevates mood

    Try to engage in a combination of vigorous and moderate aerobic exercises, such as running, walking or swimming.

    How to exercise-

    • Walk 30 to 45 minutes for at-least five days in a week
    • Start with warm-up phase
    • Walk slow for first 5 to 10 minutes, then brisk walk for twenty minutes
    • Walk at a speed that your heart beat and breathing rate increase
    • Again slowdown in the last phase
    • Do Activities like walking, jogging, cycling and swimming
    • These activities are good for cardiovascular conditioning

    Ways to exercise-

    • Strength training can help you tone your muscles and improve appearance
    • It reduces your body fat, increase lean muscle mass and burn calories more efficiently
    • Using Light weights may be useful
    • Take short breaks in between
    • Stretching is a powerful part of any exercise program
    • Aerobics and strength training make muscles to contract and tighten
    • It improves your strength and stamina over time

    Planning a fitness program may be one of the best things you can do for your health If you want to feel better, stay more energetic and add years to your life, Just start exercising regularly.

    New birds species discovered in Nepal

    Nepal, Feb 16: A new species of birds has been discovered in the high mountainous region of Nepal, bringing the total number of avian species in the Himalayan country to 866. A Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxitilis), considered an autumn passage migrant bird species in Pakistan and India, was first seen and photographed by an expedition last year near the Shey monastery within the Shey-Phoksundo National Park.

    Researchers from an NGO Friends of Nature (FoN) Nepal spotted the bird while studying Himalayan wolf, wild yak and snow leopard last year.

    The identification of the bird reported by the team was confirmed by the bird experts Carol Inskipp and Hem Sagar Baral. The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) and Bird Conservation Nepal authorised the presence of a new bird species in the country, said Naresh Kusi, from FoN.

    Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush is considered an autumn passage migrant bird species in Pakistan and India, 'The Kathmandu Post' reported. "The sighting location was very remote and rarely visited by ornithologists. More research is needed to ascertain the status of Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush in Nepal," said Yadav Ghimirey, director, Wildlife Research at FoN.

    World's tallest sand castle created by Sudarsan Pattnaik

    Odisha, Feb 11: Famous sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik on Friday created a Guinness World Record by building the World's tallest sand castle which is 48 feet and 8 inch (14.84 metre) at the Puri beach in Odisha. Sudarsan has broken the record of 45 feet and 10 inch sand castle which was created in USA, a Guinness World Records official said. After verifying all the criteria of the sand castle, the official of Guinness World Records Swapnil Dangarikar presented a certificate to Sudarsan for the achievement.

    Odisha Chief Secretary of AP Padhi inaugurated the castle and Additional Chief Secretary R Balakrishnnan, Puri District Collector Arabind Agrawal and Director Tourism Nitin Bhanudas Jawale were present on the occasion. Sudarsan and his 45 students took about 9 days to prepare this sculpture. The sand sculpture was built with theme of World Peace. "We are happy after breaking the previous Guinness world record. This achievement will encourage me to touch new milestones," Sudarsan said.

    The previous Guinness record was reserved in the name of American artist Ted Siebert, who had built a 13.97 metre high (45 ft) sand castle at Miami beach in 2015.

    Rashtrapati Bhavan Mughal Gardens opens for public

    New Delhi, Feb 6: President Pranab Mukherjee opened the annual 'Udyanotsav' of the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Saturday. Famous Mughal Gardens opened for the general public from February 5 to March 12. Members of the public will also be able to visit the Spiritual Garden, Herbal Garden, Bonsai Garden and Musical Garden.

    During this period, there will be no online booking for visiting the Gardens. The highlights of this year's 'Udyanotsav' include two new varieties of roses named after the President Mukherjee and his late wife Suvra Mukherjee. Entry and exit for the general public will be from Gate No. 35 of the President's Estate, close to where North Avenue meets Rashtrapati Bhavan.

    Arrangements of drinking water, toilets, first aid / medical facility; rest rooms for senior citizens, women and children will be provided for public visiting the Gardens. The Mughal Gardens will be open exclusively on March 10 to special category of visitors viz farmers, differently abled persons, defence and para-military forces and Delhi Police personnel.

    NEET 2017 to be counted as first attempt: CBSE

    New Delhi, Feb 4: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has said, the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) Under Graduate 2017 for admission to medical colleges across the country will be considered as the first out of three available attempts for all candidates. In a statement, the Board said, the Medical Council of India has clarified that the attempts made by candidates for All India Pre-Medical Test/NEET prior to 2017 should not be counted.

    The confusion mounted after CBSE released a notification on Tuesday, saying that aspirants who had already given AIPMT and NEET 2016 over three times are ineligible to appear for NEET. The CBSE said, all candidates who could not fill up the application form due to the condition of three attempts at AIPMT/NEET will now be able to fill up their application form.

    This year admission to MBBS/BDS course in medical/ dental colleges, which operate with the approval of Medical Council of India/ Dental Council of India, will be made through NEET. The registration process began on Tuesday and will continue till the 1st of next month. The exam will be conducted in 10 different languages on 7th May.

    151st birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai today

    New Delhi, Jan 28: Today is the 151st birth anniversary of author and politician Lala Lajpat Rai, who was popularly known as Punjab Kesari. Lajpat Rai was born in Dhudike in Punjab on 28 January in 1865. Lala Lajpat Rai was a prominent Indian freedom fighter who actively participated in the Indian freedom struggle against the British rule.

    Paying tributes on his birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that Lala Lajpat Rai was respected for his fearlessness, impeccable integrity & fight against injustice.

    'Bharat Parv' cultural festival begins

    New Delhi, Jan 27: The six-day 'Bharat Parv', which aims at generating patriotic mood and promote country's cultural diversity and popularise idea of 'Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat' or One India Superior India, was inaugurated by Union Minister Mahesh Sharma on Thursday. Artists from all the seven cultural zones of the country will perform at the 'Bharat Parv 2017,' which is open for public from 12 noon to 9 PM between January 27 and January 31.

    The Bharat Parv will have inter-alia on display Republic Day parade tableaux, performances by armed forces bands, crafts mela and photo exhibition by Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting with a theme 'Mera Desh Badal Raha Hai, Aage Badh Raha Hai'.

    7th National Voters Day is being observed today

    New Delhi, Jan 25: The 7th National Voters Day is being observed today with the theme ' Empowering young and future voters' to mark the anniversary of Election Commission of India. Various programmes are being organised across the nation to mark the occasion and create awareness. In the national capital, President, Pranab Mukherjee will give away Best Electoral Practices Awards 2016 to the District Collectors, SPs and other officers involved in the Election Machinery.

    Earlier, Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Naseem Zaidi on Tuesday said that educating future voters in India is important task before the commission as every year 20 million persons become eligible for voters rights. According to 2011 census, 62 million youths of the country who are now in the age group of 15 to 17 and the Election commission has set up Voicenet to educate them.

    People's participation in democracy reflects its strength and Election Commission is moving beyond it. According to 2011 census, every year 20 million persons become eligible as the first time voters. Another very important facts before election commission is that 62 million youths of the country who are now in the age group of 15 to 17 as future voters.

    Speaking at a seminar in New Delhi, Election Commission Dr. Naseem Zaidi said that ECI has set up a network called Voicenet, which is operational to educate future voters. At the international seminar at Delhi, the Chief Election Commissioner signed bilateral agreements with Australia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Fiji and Nepal to educate future voters.

    Nation pays homage to Netaji on his birth anniversary

    New Delhi, Jan 23: Nation pays homage to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose on his 120th birth anniversary today. It was on this day in 1887, Netaji was born in Cuttack, Odisha. A number of functions have been organised in different parts of the country to mark the occasion. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary.

    In a tweet, he said that Netaji's valour played a major role in freeing India from colonialism. The Prime Minister added that Netaji Bose was a great intellectual who always thought about the interests & wellbeing of the marginalised sections of society.

    He also said that the government is honoured to get the opportunity to declassify files relating to Netaji Bose & fulfil a popular demand pending for decades. He added that files relating to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose are available on netajipapers.gov.in

    Army chief meets bravery award winners

    New Delhi, Jan 20: Twenty-one young brave hearts, between the ages of 8 and 17, besides parents of four children who died saving someone else's life, met with Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat. Two Darjeeling high schools girls, who acted as trafficking decoys leading to busting of a cross-border flesh trade ring and an 8-year-old Arunachal girl, who lost her life while rescuing friends in a river, were among those chosen for the National Bravery Award this year.

    Gen Rawat later interacted with all the young children and appreciated them for their valour. He exhorted them to continue doing well in life, work hard and be a role model for others. Two children, including a girl, told the Army Chief about their plans to join the force. The Army later sat down and interacted with each of the children, many of whom wanted to take selfies, which the chief obliged.

    The awardees included Tarh Peeju who has has been conferred the coveted Bharat Award posthumously while Tejasweeta Pradhan (18) and Shivani Gond (17) from West Bengal have been selected for the prestigious Geeta Chopra Award. Tejasweeta and Shivani, both volunteers with a rights NGO, first befriended on Facebook a minor girl who had gone missing from Nepal, and who ultimately turned out to be a conduit in the trafficking ring.

    Peeju, who died while rescuing two other children when they were swept away by the current in the Pachin River in Arunachal Pradesh, is among the four awardees to have been conferred the honour posthumously.

    Taking right diet in winter is must

    New Delhi, Jan 17: In winters, our eating habits go for a toss. There is more Intake of fatty and oily foods in our diet. Comfort foods are ever so fattening, makes us more lethargic. And certainly cold becomes the reason for putting on weight. Therefore, it becomes imperative to have right diet and food habits to feel more active. Our eating habits suddenly go for a toss in winters. Intake of fatty and oily foods Increases.

    Comfort foods are ever so fattening, add to that our lethargy to workout because it's cold becomes the reason for putting on weight. So knowing about what is the right diet for this season is must.

    Eat seasonal fruits
    Take green leafy vegetables in more quantity
    Salads and soups can be taken
    Take amla and fruits rich in Vitamin-C
    Eat raw fruits and vegetables instead of juices
    Nuts and jaggery can be taken
    Maintain Proper hydration

    A good diet is an essential part of health-care and winter time is no different. It is important to maintain proper hydration and follow some dietary precautions.

    Reduce the intake of fried food and Saturated fats
    Consume Pure ghee, butter and cream in limited quantity
    Avoid eating pizza, burgers and junk food
    Avoid intake of refined carbohydrates
    Junk food is food that is calorie-dense and nutrient poor

    Eating sensibly ensures that you maintain a strong immune system, build up a strong resistance against infections and keeps you healthy during the season.

    Amitabh Bachchan honoured by US Embassy for TB awareness

    New Delhi, Jan 11: Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has been honoured by the US Embassy to acknowledge his immense contribution to the India-US ties on tuberculosis. The award was presented on January 8 by US Ambassador to India Richard R Verma to the 74-year-old actor, who himself is a TB survivor and brand ambassador for the cause. Bachchan took to his blog to share the pictures from the event.

    After receiving the award, Bachchan went live on Facebook with Verma to discuss the cooperation between the two nations to spread awareness about the much-feared disease. Remembering his first encounter with Verma, Bachchan said that they have been associated since 2015, when the latter was awarded the Padma Vibhushan.

    Bachchan adds, "Within a week later, I received a letter from the ambassador (citing that). We are looking at doing something about tuberculosis in India. Would you be kind enough to entertain in joining this effort? And I readily agreed." The "Pink" actor also said that it was embarrassing that India is the largest carrier of TB in the world.

    Bachchan added, "Without immodesty, I can say that if it (TB) can happen to me it can happen to anyone. If it is detected in time, there is a cure." The actor was especially impressed with the involvement of women in spreading awareness and busting myths about the disease under this initiative.

    He said that it was inspiring how they fought both with the disease and fear of alienation due to the social stigma about the disease. On giving the award to Bachchan, Verma said, "We are proud to give you this award for your leadership and everything that you have done." The US ambassador also said that the US government has been working with the Indian government for over 20 years on tuberculosis. "Over USD 100 million have been invested..... we have treated over 15 million people with our Indian partners, saved millions of lives from the disease

    Centre shortlists 155 candidates for Padma awards

    New Delhi, Jan 10: The Union Home Ministry has shortlisted 155 candidates for this year's Padma awards, focusing on "unsung" figures associated with issues highlighted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The names were firmed up at a meeting on January 5 of the selection committee. Public figures associated with the areas or issues raised by the Prime Minister during his radio programme Mann ki Baat have been given prominence in the list of shortlisted candidates.

    This is the first time nominations were invited online and the ministry had received around 5,000 entries, including those from states. The awards - Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri - will be announced on the eve of the Republic Day.

    Children undertake initiatives to clean Varanasi

    New Delhi, Jan 9: The initiative of a group of children has given an impetus to the cleanliness drive in Varanasi. Youth play a key role in any transformation but now children too are becoming vehicles of constructive change. Meet these children from Varanasi. They are young heads on mature shoulders. After realising that though toilets were constructed in their city there were no child friendly urinals they started a campaign to build child-friendly toilets in Varanasi.

    The children's club held discussions with NGO Pragati Path Foundation and through it got in touch with office-bearers of the local civic body and apprised its office-bearers with their idea and requirements. This led the Varanasi Municipal Corporation to direct Sulabh International that had constructed community toilets in the city..to build child-friendly urinals.

    Children's initiative even encouraged the corporation to invite suggestions for a child-friendly smart city. The Children's Club also appeals to people to not litter in public places. It works towards cleanliness in slums and creating awareness across sections of society on cleanliness.

    World Book Fair to begin Today

    New Delhi, Jan 7: The much awaited World Book Fair, the largest event of its kind in the country, will begin at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi today. The 44th edition of the book fair will be inaugurated by Minister of State for Human Resource Development (Higher Education) Mahendra Nath Pandey.

    The nine-day event will promote the rich Indian heritage through music and dance performances and is expected to host 1,500 participants from across India, including over 50 foreign exhibitors. This year's theme is 'Manushi'.

    The fair will celebrate women writers and writings about women. It will also feature special pavilions dedicated to NBT's journey through 60 years of its existence, books for children, and international literature.

    BHIM App tops download charts on Google Play India

    New Delhi, Jan 5: Within few days of its launch by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BHIM APP has become India's most-popular Mobile app, registering the maximum downloads of any free Android app in India. More than 50 lakh BHIM APP downloads have been registered so far. As of now there are 15 lakh active users of BHIM app which is currently available only for Android phones. Even If You don't have the Internet connection or smartphone you can pay or receive money via this app.

    Welcome 2017, Good Bye 2016

    Sydney, Jan 1: World welcomed the new year 2017 and bid farewell to 2016 with cheers and fireworks. India welcomed the New Year with zeal and fervour. New Zealand was one of the first countries to usher in 2017. The first major fireworks display to welcome in 2017 took place in Auckland. The iconic midnight fireworks display at Sydney Harbour in Australia, welcomed 2017 with light and music.

    Chhattisgarh school sets example, Parents plant trees instead of paying fees

    Chattisgarh, Dec 28: Parents of children in a small village in Chattisgarh are today being able to fulfill a cherished dream.That of sending their children to an English medium school. While others like them in other parts of the country worry about the hefty fees that most such schools charge, parents and guardians here just ensure the trees they plant are growing well.

    In a unique initiative in Chattisgarh's Bargai. Children are being invited for an english medium education. Their parents can hardly afford the high fees that most such schools demand but this school does not seek fees. All it requires for a child to be admitted here is for the parents to plant trees and look after them. Children are provided with all the materials they need. The only rule that they have to follow is to leave everything behind when they go home.

    Over 18,000 students create world record at International Gita Mahotsav

    New Delhi, Dec 14: A five-day long International Gita Jayanti Mahotsav was organised at Kurukshetra in Haryana earlier this month. Gita is a religious scripture that teaches us lessons of humanity. It takes us away from the darkness of despondency, shows us the right direction of living life and fills us with renewed vigour. The international Gita Jayanti Mahotsav was organised in Kurukshetra with the aim to spread the teachings of Gita worldwide.

    It was a 5-day Mahotsav that began on 6th December. On its second day 7th December, Kurukshetra revereberated with the verses of Gita as over 18,000 students joined each other in reciting them at the Mahotsav. 18,473 school students recited 18 verses from 18 chapters of Gita in 7 minutes 29 seconds entering the Guinness Book of World Records.

    Human Rights Day being celebrated today

    New Delhi, Dec 10: Human Rights Day is being celebrated today every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration was adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948 as the shared standard yard stick to protect human rights across the globe. It recognizes inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of mankind as the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world.

    The slogan of this year is stand up for someone's rights today which aims to re-emphasise how important it is to live in peace and harmony, compassion and concern for each other's rights with respect towards the idea of mutual co-existence. In run up to the celebration of Human Rights Day, the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC has organised a series of events. Besides the release of some NHRC publications on the occasion, prizes of 1 lakh, 75 thousand and 50 thousand rupees will be given for the three best short films on human rights. Some short films will also be screened on the occasion.

    During the last 23 years of its existence, the Commission has endeavoured to promote a culture of human rights. It has made a number of interventions on key issues of human rights, which include, among others, issues of bonded and child labour, prison reforms, rights of persons with disability, illegal clinical drug trials, pricing of drugs, manual scavenging and sanitation, human rights of women.

    PM Narendra Modi wins online reader's poll for 'TIME Person of the Year'

    New York, Dec 5: PM Narendra Modi has won the online reader's poll for TIME Person of the Year. The Prime Minister defeated other world leaders, artists and politicians as the most influential figure in 2016 among people who voted. The magazine's editors decide the final Person of the Year, but poll results provide a look at how the world sees these figures. PM Modi won with 18% of the vote when the poll closed Sunday at midnight.

    He placed well ahead of his closest contenders, including Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Julian Assange, who all received 7% of the "yes" vote. Every year, TIME selects the most influential person of the year, noting, for better or for worse, the person or group of people who have had the largest global impact over the past 12 months.

    The smart card way: College goes cashless

    New Delhi, Nov 29: The Laxmi Bai college of Delhi University uses a unique smart ID card system. The Smart ID cards of the students can also be used for cashless transactions on the campus. This system was adopted even before the demonetisation, but is a good example of living... the digital way. On 8th Nov 2016 the Prime Minister's address to the nation unleashed a historic decision to curb corruption and black money, The demonetisation of 500 and 1000 rupee notes.

    The entire country came out in support of the decision and took it upon themselves to bear the temporary transition hardships and move instinctively to electronic money. The Laxmi Bai College of Delhi University has a smart ID card model worth following. The students of this college in Delhi University don't need cash to buy anything on campus. All students of Lakshmi Bai College have smart cards, which they can use for online transactions on the campus, like making photocopies or eating at the college canteen. It just takes a swipe of the card.

    This system was in place even before the prime minister's announcement on demonetisation. The students don't have to worry about carrying money and the system is certainly more helpful after the demonetisation of high value notes. In collaboration with the Bank of India the smart ID cards carry various features and facilities to make payments. The card also keeps track of library books and fees or fines for overdue books.

    The smart ID card is effective only on the campus and can be reported and blocked in case it is lost or stolen. This is a great example of how cashless transactions can help people in their day to day lives. One only hopes that other organizations and institutions follow suit.

    India ranks 20th in Climate Change Performance

    New Delhi, Nov 20: India has been ranked 20th in the Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2017, which underlined that countries like India are making "great efforts" in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency. With the historic Paris Agreement having recently entered into force, the latest CCPI confirms a boost for renewable energy and positive developments in energy efficiency.

    The publication was issued by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe. While these encouraging trends are happening on a global scale, the necessary energy revolution is still happening too slowly, it said. "Morocco (rank 8), this year's host of COP22 continued its upward trend in the CCPI 2017. With massive investments in renewable energy and ambitious mid- and long-term targets, Morocco is a frontrunner in Africa.

    "Positive trends are seen as well among emerging economies of the G20 like India (rank 20), Argentina (rank 36) and Brazil (40) which all improved their ranking in the CCPI 2017," it said. It said that some developing countries like Morocco, India and South Africa are starting to catch up and are already making great efforts in the fields of renewables and energy efficiency. In terms of climate policy, it said that India, Sweden, Luxembourg, Norway and Germany managed to hold their positions.

    "All countries are now expected to put forward national emissions reduction plans, and the G20 countries have to take a leading role in doing so by 2018. "Although, India belongs to the ten largest CO2 emitting countries, per capita emissions are still relatively low, resulting in a good performance in this category," it said.

    Bank open Saturday & sunday also ATMs functional from today

    New Delhi, Nov 11: People turn out in large numbers at banks and post offices to exchange old 500 and 1000 rupee notes; all ATMs functional from today; banks to remain open on Saturday and Sunday also to cater to the rush. There were long queues at banks that opened on Thursday to exchange and collect invalid notes of 500 and 1,000 rupees across the country.

    Banks worked for longer hours to cater to the rush. With all ATMS becoming operational once again from today public inconvenience is expected to be significantly reduced. First the daily withdrawal limit from ATMs will be 2,000 rupees and from November 19 it will increase to 4,000 rupees. The government has also said that it is getting the required currency transferred to banks as soon as possible.

    On your Diwali, don't forget those who miss theirs

    New Delhi, Oct 27: A special campaign called "#Sandesh2Soldiers" has been launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to invite people to send letters and messages to the armed forces this Diwali. According to an official statement, the campaign gives every citizen an opportunity to spread happiness among the Indian Armed Forces, who are guarding our nation's frontiers, far from their loved ones on Diwali.

    As a part of it, union ministers Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal, TV Journalist Rajat Sharma, Bollywood Actors Akshay Kumar, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan and playback singer Kailash Kher have posted their greetings. A special module has been launched on the Narendra Modi App to enable people to send greetings or their hand-written messages to the armed forces.

    The Uncommon Man: cartoonists RK Laxman

    New Delhi, Oct 24: Today is the Birth Anniversary of one of India's most celebrated cartoonists R K Laxman. Born on the 24th October 1921, Laxman has combined humour and genius in his strokes creating memorable cartoon characters that still continue to live in the minds of the people. He is best known for his creation The Common Man, for his daily cartoon strip, "You Said It" in The Times of India, which started in 1951.

    His cartoons have appeared in Hindi and Tamil films. His creations also include the sketches drawn for the television adaptation of Malgudi Days which was written by his elder brother R K Narayan. Laxman has also penned a few novels. Laxman died at the age of 93 at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital in Pune on 26 January 2015, which incidentally happened to be India's Republic Day.

    India’s 2nd Eco-Friendly Airport comes up at Vadodara

    Vadodara, Oct 22: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the country's second eco-friendly international airport terminal at Harni in Vadodara, Gujarat on Saturday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the country's second eco- friendly International airport terminal at Harni in Vododara today.

    Located on the city's outskirts, the new terminal is equipped with facilities of international standard. The state-of-the-art terminal, built at the cost of Rs. 160 crore, is spread over 18 thousand square Metre and can handle 700 passengers per hour.

    New sensor can detect vitamin B12 deficiency in minutes

    Australia, Oct 19: Scientists have developed a new world-first optical sensor that may quickly detect vitamin B12 defficiency, a condition linked to an increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. The device would enable the tracking of vitamin B12 levels in high-risk patients and early intervention ? to top up vitamin B12 levels when low - and help overcome the limitations of current testing methods which are time-consuming and costly.

    "Vitamin B12 deficiency has been shown to be a potential modifiable risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer's disease and is associated with cognitive decline," said Georgios Tsiminis, research fellow at the University of Adelaide in Australia. "Older adults are particularly at risk of B12 deficiency due to age-related reduction in absorbing vitamin B12 received through their diet," said Tsiminis.

    "Our sensor is an early first step towards a point-of-care solution for measuring and tracking B12 in healthy ageing adults. This would allow doctors to monitor B12 levels and intervene as soon as B12 deficiency was detected," he said. The sensor is still at proof-of-concept stage but, with development, has wide-reaching potential applications. "Currently our device could not aid in diagnosing vitamin B12 deficiency in a general practice setting," said Tsiminis.

    "However, this is the first time a rapid technique based on optical spectroscopy has been shown to be able to detect vitamin B12 in human blood serum. We believe this is a very promising first step towards achieving this goal," he said. The optical sensor measurement of B12 in human blood takes less than a minute and requires minimum preparation. This is the first demonstration of vitamin B12 being measured in human blood serum without the need for a full laboratory test.

    The sensor uses an optical measuring technique called Raman spectroscopy which produces a unique optical fingerprint of a target molecule, in this case vitamin B12. "Our method provides a realistic basis for a system that is portable, cost-effective, and affords rapid results, along the lines of the pin-prick test for diabetes," said Tsiminis. "Time and cost limitations currently mean that regular and frequent B12 measurements are not being carried out. Having such a device could make this testing routine, potentially having a real impact on dementia and Alzheimer's disease," he said.

    Clinton taking double-digit lead over Trump: Poll

    Washington, Oct 12: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has taken a double-digit lead over Donald Trump whose popularity appears to have dwindled after surfacing of a video in which the Republican nominee is seen making lewd remarks about woman. As per the latest poll released by PRRI/The Atlantic, Clinton (49 per cent) has a lead of 11 percentage points against Trump (38 per cent).

    A similar poll conducted by them two weeks ago showed that the two presidential candidates were tied at 43 per cent each. The poll said Clinton, 68, now has a commanding lead. Part of the poll was conducted after the 2005 video of Trump, 70, was released by The Washington Post in which he is seen making lewd remarks about women. Trump has since apologised for his remarks and described it as a locker room talk.

    In another poll carried by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, Clinton leads by a similar 11-point margin against Trump. According to it, Clinton jumped to an 11-point lead over Trump, 46 per cent to 35 per cent, among likely voters on a ballot including third-party candidates, up from six percentage points in September, when the split was 43 per cent to 37 per cent in a four-way contest.

    As per RealClearPolitics, which keeps tracks of all major polls, Clinton's lead over Trump has now increased to 6.5 percentage points in the average of major national polls. Till last week, it was around two percentage points. This jump in Clinton's lead is mainly attributable to Trump's lewd remarks about women.

    Contract theory earns pair Nobel Economics Prize

    US, Oct 10: Two US-based academics won the Nobel Economics Prize today for groundbreaking research on contract theory that has helped design insurance policies, executive pay and even prison management. Oliver Hart, a British-American economist, and Bengt Holmstrom of Finland "have developed contract theory, a comprehensive framework for analysing many diverse issues in contractual design, like performance-based pay for top executives, deductibles and co-pays in insurance, and the privatisation of public-sector activities," the Nobel jury said.

    Their pioneering work has laid "an intellectual foundation" for designing policies and institutions in many areas, "from bankruptcy legislation to political constitutions," it added. US economist Paul Krugman, the 2008 Nobel economics laureate, hailed their win, tweeting: "Hart and Holmstrom so obviously deserving that my first thought was 'didn't they have it already?'"

    Working both separately and together, Hart and Holmstrom created tools to help determine whether teachers, healthcare workers, and prison guards should receive fixed salaries or performance-based pay, and whether providers of public services, such as schools, hospitals, or prisons, should be publicly or privately owned.

    World lauds India's ratification of Paris climate deal

    UN, Sep 3: World Leaders have lauded India for ratifying the Paris agreement on climate change. Congratulating India on joining Paris agreement United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's spokesperson said India's leadership is building on continued strong political momentum from Paris for urgent global action on climate change. France also congratulated India for ratifying the deal and terming it a big step forward.

    US President Barack Obama complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying he and people of India are carrying on the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi who believed in a world worthy of our children.

    Create conducive environment for successful SAARC meet:Nepal

    Nepal, Sep 29: Nepal has strongly urged that a conducive environment be created soon to ensure the participation of all member states in the 19th SAARC summit in line with the spirit of the SAARC Charter. Nepal's reaction came after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan joined India in pulling out of the 19th SAARC summit that was to be hosted by Islamabad in November this year.

    They have cited deteriorating regional security situation and interference by Pakistan in their internal affairs as reasons for pulling out. Under the SAARC charter, the summit is automatically postponed or cancelled even if one member country skips the event. Uncertainty now hangs over the fate of the SAARC summit.

    Pakistan stands isolated. After India said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will not travel to Pakistan for the regional SAARC summit in November, three other members - Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Bhutan - have also decided to pull out of the meet.

    Bangladesh has said, "The growing interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh by one country has created an environment which is not conducive to the successful hosting of the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in November 2016." Bhutan too raised concern over "the recent escalation of terrorism in the region" in its communication to the SAARC chair.

    The communique read, "the Royal Government of Bhutan shares the concerns of some of the member countries of SAARC on the deterioration of regional peace and security due to terrorism and joins them in conveying our inability to participate in the SAARC Summit, under the current circumstances." Afghanistan has cited similar reasons for pulling out of the summit, which cannot take place even if one country withdraws.

    We need to work towards respect for women: Amitabh Bachchan

    Mumbai, Sep 13: Actor Amitabh Bachchan said 50 per cent of the strength of the nation should be women and they need to be honoured and given dignity. "We as nation are very proud of the women we have in our country. We have a cultural backlog and we are fast changing. I think 50 per cent of the strength of the nation should be women and they need their dignity and honour in our country. And that is what we need to work for," Bachchan told at the press conference.

    At an event in Mumbai, Bachchan said, "When it comes to execution, I think each individual needs to do their best (for working towards social causes). I don't feel shy to say that I am a survivor of tuberculosis and I gave my example to others (to motivate). I urge everyone we all need to work individually. The 73-year-old megastar has also been associated with health related causes. "We have talked about health issues...the Chief Minister and I are working towards eradicating tuberculosis," he added.

    Central govt employees can fly to JK, NE on LTC

    New Delhi, Sep 10: Central government employees, who are not entitled to air travel, can fly to Jammu and Kashmir, Northeastern states and Andaman and Nicobar Islands under Leave Travel Concession (LTC) allowance for two years till September 2018.

    They are allowed to travel in any airline to Jammu and Kashmir, however, the journey should be undertaken in economy class, an order issued today by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said. The DoPT had in September 2014 relaxed the LTC rules to allow government servants to travel by air to Northeast region, Jammu and Kashmir and Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

    The relaxation has been extended for two more years with effect from September 26, the order said. There are about 50 lakh central government employees. It said that the travel by air to continue to be performed by Air India in economy class.

    The condition that air tickets can be purchased either directly from the airlines (booking counters or website) or through authorised agents only viz. M/s Balmer Lawrie and Co Ltd, M/s Ashok Travels and Tours Ltd and IRCTC shall necessarily apply, thr order said.

    A central government employees gets reimbursement of tickets for to and fro journey besides paid leaves when he avails the LTC allowance. The DoPT has also warned employees against misuse of LTC rules.

    Now, carry your digital driving license

    New Delhi, Sep 8: There is no need for you to show the physical copy of driving licenses and Vehicle registration certificates to traffic cops from now. Govt has launched a new programme that integrates these documents to digital locker. There is no need for you to show the physical copy of driving licenses and Vehicle registration certificates to traffic cops from now. Govt has launched a new programme that integrates these documents to digital locker.

    Another addition to digital lockers which means more options for people to save more documents in the government's innovative digital locker under the ambit of digital India mission. Now you can save driving licenses and vehicle registration forms. Government has integrated digital locker with driving license and vehicle registration system.

    Road transport ministry has over 19crore vehicle registrations and over 10 crore driving licenses on their database. Road transport ministry becomes 17th issuer of documents to digital lockers. Digital lockers will enable to safe-keep their documents such as those related to address, identity, education, and property in a paperless format in the repository's free storage space.

    One has to register and open an account on digital locker linked to Aadhaar card and can save the soft copies of their driving license and Vehicle registration documents in the locker. These documents are then automatically verified. Ane when traffic cops ask for driving license or vehicle registration certificate People can provide these documents through Digital Locker mobile App.

    They just have to select the Issued documents section and can select driving license by transport department and download the Driving license for the field staff. The digitally signed documents are at par with the physical issued documents as per IT Act 2000 when accessed electronically.

    Mother Teresa attains sainthood at Vatican City

    Vetican, Sep 5: Bharat Ratna Mother Teresa has officially attained sainthood in a grand ceremony at the Vatican city today. Pope Francis canonized the nobel laureate nun and founder of missionaries of charity in a grand ceremony at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican City. She founded 'missionaries of charity' for helping the poor and destitute in Calcutta.

    Speaking on the occassion Father Lawrence said that it is a great day for India. .External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj along with Indian delegation attended MotherTeresa's canonisation ceremony.

    Mother Teresa, whose journey from a corner to the Ottoman Empire to the slums of India made her one of the most famous women in the world was regarded by many as a saint during her lifetime.

    Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known as the "saint of the gutters" during her life, was declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis on Sunday. The canonisation process was fast-tracked as she was declared a saint just 19 years after her death.

    Celebrating the life of the saint, Pope Francis said she was a dispenser of divine mercy. Tens of thousands of pilgrims packed St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for a service to honour the nun, who worked among the world's neediest of the slums in Kolkata and become one of the most recognisable faces of the 20th century.

    A Nobel Peace laureate, Mother Teresa found the Missionaries of Charity dedicated to the service to the poor and needy. Her 19th death anniversary celebrated as her feast day will be being observed with prayers and services today.

    '"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love...'', she'd said.

    Cabinet nod to Draft Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill

    New Delhi, Aug 25: In a major change to the surrogacy laws in India, the government has decided to completely ban commercial surrogacy in the country. As the Union Cabinet has approved the Draft Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2015, it gave a strong signal that the exploitation of poor women for surrogacy will not be allowed and surrogacy will be possible only be possible if the couple confirm to various parameters that have been made prerequisite for the procedure.

    The Draft Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2015 incorporates sweeping changes in the surrogacy regulations in India. The government has brought in many stringent conditions which will seek to to prevent misuse of surrogacy and regulate it for the safety of mother.

    The new bill has made banned commercial surrogacy in India, in effect making the fledging surrogate industry ineffective at one go. It will bring surrogacy within the ambit of law. At Present, there is no legislation for regulation of surrogacy in India it is regulated under the national guidelines for accreditation, supervision and regulation of ART clinics of India 2005.

    The biggest change is that commercial surrogacy as it exists in India has been banned completely. The draft bill approved by the cabinet has many conditions which must be met by the couple before they will be eligible for a surrogate child. The government has made it necessary for them to fulfill many conditions. The couple who are wishing to go for surrogacy must be Indian citizens. No foreign national, not even overseas citizens of India will be allowed the services.

    The next condition is that the couple must be legally married for at least 5 years. That age bracket for women is 23-50 years, while that for male is 26-55 years. The doctors must have declared them unfit to have progeny in normal way, only then surrogacy will be allowed. Government will not allow anyone who are already having their biological or adopted child to have surrogate baby. There are many conditions that have to be fulfilled by the surrogate mother.

    The government also seeks to regulate the surrogacy clinics with the bill. Registration will be compulsory and it will have to take care of child's rights. Any decision to abandon the child or ill treat the surrogate mother and not give the child his or her due will invite stringent punishment. Transgression will invite a fine of 10 lakhs and imprisonment of 10 years.

    Bill seeks to ensure that the child will be entitled to rights equivalent to that of a biological child. Clinics will also have to track records of the surrogate child for 25 years.

    Centre issues advisory on use of National Flag

    New Delhi, Aug 16: Ahead of the Independence Day, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an Advisory to ensure strict compliance of the provisions of Flag Code of India. As per government's advisory, flags made of paper only should be used and such paper Flags should not be discarded or thrown on the ground after the event.

    Rather, such flags are to be disposed of, in private, consistent with the dignity of the Flag. The advisory also states that, since plastic flags are not biodegradable like paper flags, wide publicity should be made for not using the National Flag made of plastic.

    Into the gallows at 18: Saluting Khudiram Bose's sacrifice

    New Delhi, Aug 11: 11 August, 1908 - Another black day in the history of India's freedom struggle which silenced the voice of an 18 year old boy forever. The courage of this 18 old boy impressed many. Britishers too were awestruck by the zeal of this 18 old boy, known as Khudiram Bose, born on 3, December, 1889 in West Bengal. This boy was Khudiram Bose - born on 3 December, 1889 in West Bengal.

    Deeply imbued with the sense of nationalism, Khudiram wanted to do something for his motherland. It was in 1905 that British rulers, against the wishes of the whole population, decided to effect the Partition of Bengal. The decision outraged many Indians. The movement that started against the Partition of Bengal received the spontaneous support of the rich and the poor, urban and the rural people. Khudiram, then a student of class 9, did not lag behind and stood among group of people who opposed the idea of partition of Bengal.

    The Partition of Bengal was ultimately revoked. Khudiram and other revolutionaries' heroic acts won them enormous popularity among the common people.

    SC to hear plea seeking probe into alleged NEET paper leak

    New Delhi, Aug 9: The Supreme Court will today hear a plea seeking probe into alleged paper leak of National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, NEET phase II. The petition was mentioned before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur which listed it for hearing today before the bench of Justice A R Dave. The plea filed by a NEET aspirant has sought a status report into the alleged leakage of question papers which should be submitted before the court.

    Uttarakhand Police arrested five people belonging to an inter-state racket on July 23, a day before the entrance exam. CBSE, which had rejected the claim of paper leak, had conduced the NEET Phase II examination on July 24 while NEET-I was held on May 1. The combined results of NEET-I and NEET-II will be declared on August 17.

    16 killed in Texas hot air balloon crash

    US, Aug 1: 16 people were killed on Saturday when a large hot air balloon caught fire and crashed in central Texas. All 16 people aboard a hot air balloon died when it caught fire and crashed in a field near the central Texas city of Lockhart. Hot air balloon crashes in the US are rare, and fatalities even rarer.

    President Mukherjee completes four years in office

    New Delhi, Jul 25: President Pranab Mukherjee completed four years in the office on Monday. To mark the occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate Phase-II of the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum in the presence of President Mukherjee, vice president Hamid Ansari and other dignitaries.

    Saroj Ghose the Museum Advisor to the President said, the museum will depict the story of the planning and construction of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the British Viceroys who occupied the building till 1947, freedom movement in the country, transfer of power and formation of the Republic.

    He said the life and work of 13 presidents of India since 1950, life in Rashtrapati Bhavan, the beauty and environment of the campus will also feature in it.

    MoS I&B extends good wishes to mountaineer & IIMC student Saachi Soni

    New Delhi, Jul 15: Union Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore extended his good wishes while presenting the Tricolour and IIMC flag to young mountaineer and IIMC student Saachi Soni for the upcoming 111 km La Ultra marathon in Ladakh.

    DG IIMC, KG Suresh and Secretary, Information & Broadcasting, Ajay Mittal also wished her success. Saachi would be the 1st Indian woman participating in the 111 km La Ultra marathon to be completed in 20 hrs which would commence on 11th August 2016. She is leaving for Ladakh on July 15th as part of acclimatization exercise

    Pharma market in India expected to be worth USD 55 bn by 2020

    UK, Jul 4: The pharmaceutical market in India is expected to be worth 55 billion US dollars by 2020, becoming the sixth largest market globally in absolute size, the Indian envoy to the United States has said. Speaking at an event in New York, India's ambassador to the US Arun Singh said that branded generics dominate the pharmaceuticals market, constituting nearly 70 to 80 per cent of the market.

    He said that India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally with the Indian generics accounting for 20 per cent of global exports in terms of volume.

    Congressman Lee Zeldin said that Indian-Americans constitute about one per cent of the country's population, but they account for nine per cent of the American doctors and physicians, serving one out of seven patients being treated across the United States.

    Overcoming drug addiction – inspiring story

    New Delhi, Jun 28: In an age when the drug menace is destroying the lives of many young people, here is the inspiring tale of Narayan, who overcome drug addiction by his own determination. Narayan, who from a very young age became addicted to drugs, first by smoking cigarettes and then later taking more intoxicating drugs, and as he got hooked he did not even realize he was on his way to life related to crime.

    When his family came to know of his condition they made every effort to bring him out of the bad habit, by explaining to him, even scolding him, but were unsuccessful. But Narayan decided to bring his life back on track himself. He took the help of a de-addiction center. He was determined to quit his addiction, but with determination he also needed treatment.

    The drug menace is a big international problem that seems to be getting worse. The sad part is that it affects the children and youth the most.

    No decision on India's NSG membership as China remains adamant

    Seoul, Jun 24: The plenary meeting of the 48-member Nuclear Suppliers Group, NSG ended today with no decision on India's membership bid. Divisions persisted over admitting non-NPT members, with China leading the opposition.

    China's stand that India's membership application cannot be considered because it has not signed the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty, NPT, was backed by nearly 10 other countries which effectively torpedoed India's bid, although India had the strong backing of the US, the UK, France and a majority of countries in the nuclear trading group.

    PM Narendra Modi had earlier urged China to make a fair and objective assessment of India's bid to join the prestigious NSG. In a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, he said, India's application of joining the group should be judged on its own merit.

    Make yoga a part of your daily life: Mukherjee

    New Delhi, Jun 21: President Pranab Mukherjee kick started a mass yoga demonstration, involving over 1000 people, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan to mark the second International Yoga Day. President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday urged people to make yoga an integral part of life as it promotes better health and brings harmony.

    Participants included officers and staff of President's Secretariat, their family members, members of Delhi Police, ITBP and President's bodyguard, as well as, other residents of the President's estate. On the occasion,President said yoga can have significant health benefits on both body and mind.

    Stage set in country and across the globe for International Yoga Day tomorrow

    New Delhi, Jun 20: The stage is all set for the second International Day of Yoga which will be celebrated in the country and across the globe tomorrow. The theme this year is to 'connect the youth'. The Common Yoga Protocol will begin at 7 am and last for 45 minutes. The main event in India will take place in Chandigarh where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate. AIR correspondent reports that all arrangements have been made by the administration for the event.

    More than 30,000 participants which includes 100 differently abled children and 10,000 each participants from Chandigarh and adjoining states of Haryana and Punjab will perform yoga asanas with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the main event to be held at Capitol Complex.

    100 other places have been connected with the main event with LED screens where thousands of people would watch live programme held at main event and to do yoga simultaneously. About 4000 paramilitary and 3000 Chandigarh police personnel are deployed to guard the programme. Keeping in view the prediction of rain, special arrangements have been done by the Administration to dry the yoga mats.

    Pre-Monsoon rain lashes many parts of North India

    New Delhi, Jun 18: Delayed by a week, the monsoon is raining down heavily in vast areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Apart from these southern states, it has covered the entire North-East as well. The progress of the South-West monsoon has slowed down the past few days.

    Conditions have not been conducive for its inland movement and it is stuck at Karnataka's Karvar and Gadag as well Andhra's Angol. The met department has said that conditions have taken a turn for the better for Maharashtra and Central India.

    The monsoon is likely to cross these areas in the next 3-4 days. It will become completely active in Goa and South India during this period. The next 2 to 3 days will see it covering Central Arabian Sea, Konkan-Goa, South Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Marathwada.

    15 mins regular exercise can reduce death risk in elderly: Study

    France, Jun 15: Just exercising for 15 minutes daily may lower the risk of death in the elderly, a new study has claimed. "Age is not an excuse to do no exercise. It is well established that regular physical activity has a better overall effect on health than any medical treatment," said David Hupin from University Hospital of Saint-Etienne in France.

    "But less than half of older adults achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise each week," said Hupin. Researchers studied two cohorts. A French cohort of 1,011 subjects aged 65 in 2001 was followed over a period of 12 years. An international cohort of 1,22,417 subjects aged 60 was included from a systematic review and meta-analysis, with a mean follow up of 10 years.

    Physical activity was measured in Metabolic Equivalent of Task (MET) minutes per week, which refers to the amount of energy (calories) expended per minute of physical activity.

    Ebola, zika can be predicted using environmental changes

    UK, Jun 14: Scientists have successfully developed a model that can predict the outbreak of diseases that spread from animals to humans-such as Ebola and Zika-based on changes in climate, population growth and land use. "This model is a major improvement in our understanding of the spread of diseases from animals to people," said Kate Jones from University College London (UCL) in the UK.

    "We hope it can be used to help communities prepare and respond to disease outbreaks, as well as to make decisions about environmental change factors that may be within their control," said Jones.

    More than 60 per cent of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic and although Ebola and Zika are well-known, there are many other diseases including Rift Valley fever and Lassa fever which affect thousands already and are predicted to spread with changing environmental factors, researchers said.

    India, Japan and US begin Malabar Exercise near South China Sea

    New Delhi, Jun 11: India, Japan and the US kicked off their marine war games, Malabar Exercise, near South China Sea. The 8-day joint exercises will see in action over 100 aircraft and 22 naval ships including a nuclear submarine. The exercise assumes significance as it is being conducted close to South China Sea at a time when Chinese assertiveness in the region is a raging issue. It aims to achieve deeper military ties and greater interoperability amid rising tensions in the region.

    The Indian Navy said that their four ships are participating in the 20th edition of the naval exercise in consonance with India's 'Act East Policy' and growing ties among the three countries.

    The Navy said, the exercise will support maritime security in the Indo-Pacific region and benefit the global maritime community.

    PM Modi returns home after concluding five-nation tour

    New Delhi, Jun 10: PM Narendra Modi returned home after his five-nation visit to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico. During the visit he held high level meetings with Afghan President, Amir of Qatar, President of Swiss federation, US President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieta on a wide range of bilateral issues and matters of regional and global concern.

    In Herat, Mr Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani dedicated Afghan-India friendship dam, earlier known as Salma dam to the people. The project built by India at a cost 1700 crore rupees will irrigate 75 thousand hectares of land, generate 42 megawatt power and also supply drinking water in 620 villages.

    With US President Barack Obama, Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann Schneider and Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, Mr Modi discussed India's NSG membership issue and secured their constructive support.

    India and Qatar signed 7 agreements in various fields. Prime Minister as a rare and special gesture shared meal with workers at a medical camp in Doha.

    Indian scientists develop Oral Vaccine for Hepatitis B

    New Delhi, Jun 8: A Good news for prevention of Hepatitis B. Scientists at AIIMS have got initial success in developing oral vaccine for Hepatitis B and they have got positive results while testing it on mice.

    In a breakthrough, Indian scientists have developed tiny spheres loaded with viral protein segments that show promise for oral vaccine against the hepatitis-B virus that may eliminate the need for injections and booster doses.

    The researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, have through studies on mice shown that a single oral dose of the nano-size spheres called nanoparticles can stimulate the immune system into protecting the body from the hepatitis-B virus for over eight weeks in the animals.

    Over the past decade, several researchers elsewhere in the world proposed similar oral vaccines for hepatitis-B. But none has panned out into commercial vaccine.

    While the new concept has yet to be demonstrated in humans, researchers at AIIMS believe their nanoparticle has some unique features that make it an attractive candidate as an oral vaccine delivery system.

    India ranked 2nd on GRD index on ease of doing business: Study

    New Delhi, Jun 6: India has jumped 13 positions from last year to rank second among 30 developing countries this year on ease of doing business. According to 2016 Global Retail Development Index (GRDI), which ranks top 30 developing countries for retail investment worldwide, a pick up in GDP growth and better clarity regarding FDI regulations have helped India achieve a second ranking.

    India's retail sector has expanded at a compound annual growth rate of 8.8 per cent between 2013 and 2015, with annual sales crossing the USD 1 trillion mark, according to A T Kearney, a London-based business consultancy which brings out the GRD Index annually. The GRDI analyses 25 macroeconomic and retail-specific variables to help retailers devise successful global strategies to identify emerging market investment opportunities.

    UP govt approves Detailed Project Report of Metro Rail in Varanasi

    Lucknow, Jun 1: Uttar Pradesh government has approved the Detailed Project Report of the Metro Rail in Varanasi. The approval was accorded during a state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav yesterday.

    In the Report, prepared by RITES, two corridors of 29.23 km length have been proposed, of which one will be of 19.35 km between BHEL to BHU and another of 9.8 km between Beniyabagh to Sarnath.

    17 stations between BHEL and BHU have been proposed, while there will be nine stations between Beniyabagh and Sarnath. The estimated cost of the project will be 13,133 crore rupees.

    The State Cabinet also approved a proposal to hike financial assistance to rape victims from two lakh to three lakh rupees and to acid attack victims from three lakh to five lakh rupees.

    CBSE X Result declared, 96.21 per cent pass, girls outshine boys

    New Delhi, May 28: The CBSE Class X results have been declared on Saturday. Pass percentage of 2016 is 96.21 as compared to 97.32 which was the pass percentage last year. The pass percentage has come down slightly this year. Girls, with a pass percentage of 96.36 have outshined boys this year, whose pass percentage stands at 96.11

    Over all pass percentage of Thiruvanathapuram region is 99.87 which is the highest as compared to other regions. Nearly 14 lakh students have appeared for the Class 10 exam. The students can access their results through the following websites - www.cbseresults.nic.in and www.cbse.nic.in.

    Ten-member NCC girls team scales Mount Everest

    Kathmandu, May 27: The ten-member girl’s team from the National Cadet Corps, NCC has successfully scaled Mount Everest, the world's tallest peak. They scaled the peak after dividing themselves into two teams, where the first team reached the summit on 21st and the second team reached the top on 22nd of this month making it a first ever successful expedition by the NCC Girls Team.

    Defence Ministry in a release said, this is an extraordinary achievement as all ten girl cadets of the expedition team are between the age group of 17 and 21 years. The aim of mountaineering expeditions in NCC is to strengthen the character and instil qualities of courage, comradeship, discipline and leadership among the cadets.

    INSV Mhadei sails to Mauritius with an all women crew

    Mumbai, May 25: Indian Naval Sailing Vessel Mhadei (INSV Mhadei) sailed from Goa with an all-women crew for a voyage to Port Louis, Mauritius today. The boat is being skippered by Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi (a Naval Constructor). This would be the first open-ocean voyage of the Navy's all-women crew of Mhadei, who are currently training to undertake a circumnavigation of the globe in 2017.
    The crew comprising Lt P Swathi, Lt B Aishwarya, Lt Pratibha Jamwal, Lt Vijaya and Lt Payal Gupta would be undertaking this arduous voyage through rough seas and heavy weather, expected during the Monsoons, in the Arabian Sea. This is a training voyage to expose the young crew to weather that would be faced by them during the circumnavigation in 2017.
    All the women officers are keen sailors who took to the sport after joining the Indian Navy. The Skipper, Lt Cdr Vartika Joshi and Lt Swathi have been part of Mhadei crew on earlier voyages. The officers have undergone theoretical training in Navigation, Communication, Meteorology and Seamanship at the navy's training schools in Kochi. Since then, the Officers have been training under Cdr Dilip Donde, India's first Circumnavigator, who undertook his voyage on the same boat, in 2008-09.
    The all-women crew circumnavigation of the Globe would be undertaken on board the new sailing vessel of the Navy presently under-construction at M/s Aquarius Shipyard Pvt Ltd, Goa. The yet-to-be-named boat is expected to be delivered to the Navy by Feb 2017.

    Plea seeks total ban on water supply to breweries in Maharashtra

    Mumbai, May 23: The Supreme Court will hear today a plea seeking a complete ban on water supply to distilleries and breweries in drought-hit regions of Maharashtra. A vacation bench of Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Ashok Bhushan on 16th of this month agreed to hear the plea today after an advocate mentioned the matter before it, seeking this supply be instead made available for drinking purposes.

    The petitioner said, instead of curtailed water supply to the liquor industries, there should be no supply of water at all as the entire region is facing acute water shortage. The petitioner said people are being deprived of the drinking water as it is being given to the liquor industries.

    The Aurangabad bench of Bombay high court had recently asked the state government to curtail water supply to the liquor industry by 60 per cent from 10th May, which would be operative till 27th June. The plea assumes significance as the Supreme Court had earlier upheld the Bombay High Court order banning the hosting of IPL matches, including in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur

    Army team scales world's highest peak- Mount Everest

    Udhampur, May 20: An army team, led by Lt Colonel Ranveer Jamwal from Jammu and Kashmir, has scaled the Mount Everest. Army spokesman in Udhampur said that the Indian Army mountaineering team scaled the mountain yesterday morning despite unfavourable weather conditions.

    He said that the expedition to scale the world's highest peak at 8,848 metres was launched after a hiatus of two years following the Nepal earthquake. The team included one junior commissioned officer (JCO) and personnel of five other ranks. Chief of the Army staff General Dalbir Singh has congratulated the team for its achievement.

    EPFO to give three-year life cover after losing job

    New Delhi, May 17: Employees Provident Fund of India (EPFO) next month is likely to consider and approve a proposal to provide life insurance cover to its subscribers for three years after cessation of employment. As per information the maximum sum assured under the Employees Deposit Linked Scheme (EDLI) will soon be enhanced to Rs 6 lakh this month.

    The proposal provides for voluntary retention of EDLI membership to subscribers at reduced rate of contribution for three years after losing job. The employers are required to pay 0.5 percent of basic wages of workers as premium for the insurance scheme for their workers. EPFO manages a corpus of over Rs 8.5 lakh crore.

    Nine Sherpa guides scale Mount Everest after 2 years

    Kathmandu, May 12: Nine Sherpa guides have scaled Mount Everest for the first time in two years from the Nepali side, officials say. They reached the 8,850m (29,035ft) summit on Wednesday evening. The Sherpas were hired by expeditions to carry equipment and secure ropes on Everest for about 300 foreign climbers trying to make the ascent. May is the best month for climbing and more expeditions are expected to reach the top in the next few days.

    Climbs from the Nepali side over the last two years have been hit by natural disasters. An avalanche triggered by a powerful earthquake killed at least 18 climbers in 2015, and 16 Sherpas were also killed by an avalanche in 2014. The two disasters meant that hardly any climbers were able to scale the peak. Last year's climbing season was cancelled, and nearly all climbers in 2014 similarly were forced to abandon their attempts.

    Consider requesting extradition of Mallya, Britain tells India

    London, May 11: Britain acknowledges the seriousness of allegations against loans defaulter Vijay Mallya and is keen to assist New Delhi. It has asked India to consider requesting mutual legal assistance or extradition.

    The UK government's response came nearly a fortnight after India made a request for the deportation of Mallya, whose Indian passport was revoked in a bid to secure his presence for investigations against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The British government said it could not deport Mallya and asked India to consider requesting extradition. There is also a non-bailable warrant issued against Mallya, who owes more than Rs 9,000 cr to Indian banks.

    UGC missive to Varsities for celebrating International Yoga Day

    New Delhi, May 10: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked varsities to draw an action plan to ensure maximum participation of students and teachers on the International Day of Yoga on the 21st June. In a letter to Universities, UGC secretary Jaspal S Sandhu has sought the personal indulgence of Vice Chancellors in celebrating the day in their varsities as well as affiliated bodies. Sandhu also forwarded a 45-minute protocol for yoga, drawn up by the AYUSH ministry which would be followed on the Yoga day.

    The protocol begins with a two-minute prayer that begins with Om, some loosening exercises, then 18 minutes of yoga postures, followed by pranayam.

    UK in EU: Is risk worth taking: David; Leave campaign by ex-mayor

    London, May 9: Peace in Europe could be at risk if Britain votes to leave the European Union, David Cameron has warned. The UK has regretted "turning its back" on Europe in the past, the PM said, arguing the European Union has "helped reconcile" countries and maintain peace. Cameron asked if leaving the union is a "risk worth taking". Leave campaigners said Nato, not the EU, kept the UK safe and accused Downing Street of "losing the plot".

    Vote Leave said: "During the renegotiation the PM said he 'ruled nothing out'. Now he thinks leaving the EU would lead to war. What changed?"

    Meanwhile, Boris Johnson, who wants the UK to leave the EU, is making a speech on the "cosmopolitan case for Brexit". Mr Johnson - now free from his role as London mayor - will begin a battle bus tour of the country on behalf of the Leave campaign later this week.

    No separate tests for entry into pvt dental, medical colleges: SC

    New Delhi, May 6: The Supreme Court has said, unaided private medical colleges across the country cannot be permitted to go ahead with their pre-scheduled tests for admissions to MBBS and BDS courses in addition to the recently revived single-window entrance, the National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET). The court said this after some lawyers sought clarification on the fate of the entrance tests which have either been conducted or about to be held by the private colleges.

    The bench also asked Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar to take instruction from the Centre on the feasibility of allowing some states, which have already conducted their separate entrance tests, to continue with the admission process for the current academic session. It also asked Kumar to apprise it as to whether all the students, who appeared in All India Pre-Medical/Pre-Dental Test (AIPMT) which later became National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) on the 1st of this month, can be allowed to re-appear on NEET-II on July 24th.

    The bench said the students, who focused on state tests believing that they had better chances of being selected and did not seriously prepare for AIPMT despite filling up the forms, should be allowed to re-appear in NEET-II. Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for CBSE, said, it would be very difficult. She referred to the fact that over 6 lakh students appeared in NEET-I.

    Senior advocate Vikas Singh, who represents the Medical Council of India, suggested that the students cannot avail two opportunities in one examination and those, who take up tests twice, will have to forgo the ranking obtained in one of the two tests results.

    Govt probing reports of acid, yellow rain in Idukki districts

    Idukki (Kerala), May 5: Attention of the Government has been drawn to some reports of acid or yellow rain in Moolakkada and Kunjithanni villages of Idukki Districts in Kerala. The matter has been examined by the Scientists of the Indian Cardamom Research Institute (under Spices Board), Ministry of Commerce & Industry to find-out the auses and effects of yellow rain.

    According to the initial tests conducted on the material found on the cardamom leaf, there is no acidity, fungus or spores. No harmful physical or toxic effect has been noticed in the plants. The Ministry has also not received report of any such phenomenon in the Northern Region of the country growing large or black cardamom.

    Meanwhile, a multi-disciplinary team comprising of experts from Indian Cardamom Research Institute, Indian Council of Agriculture Research and Kerala Agriculture University is being set-up to visit the affected area for further investigation.

    Increasing reach, quality of education through Swayam

    New Delhi, Apr 29: With a view to increase the reach and quality of higher education, the HRD ministry is laying more stress on web-based learning, involving applying for courses and accessing material online. HRD minister Smriti Irani in a tweet outlined the structure of Study Webs of Active-Learning for Young Aspiring Minds (Swayam) which promises linkages and assistance for web-enabled learning.

    The massive open online courses (MOOCS) platform will aim to create a student experience that begins with creating learning plans and providing information to prospective students about the courses that are available. The Swayam flow chart will allow students to check their eligibility and then proceed for preview and availability of teaching in fields of their interest.

    Prez visit to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand to boost ties

    New Delhi, Apr 27: President Pranab Mukherjee is embarking on a two-nation tour to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand today. A high level delegation including Minister of State for Agriculture Sanjeev Balyan is accompanying the President on the five day visit, which is aimed at energising and upgrading bilateral relations. Briefing reporters in New Delhi, Joint Secretary, South, Jaideep Mazumdar informed that this is the first ever state visit of an Indian President to these two countries.

    During the visit to Papua New Guinea, Mr. Mukherjee will meet Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and other leaders. He will also address a business event and an Indian community event. The President will give a speech at the Papua New Guinea University. Mr Mazumdar said the visit is part of the growing engagement with the Pacific Island countries. He said, the island nation is looking towards India for its development needs in health sector, capacity building in IT, agriculture and infrastructure development.

    In the second leg of his visit, the President will leave for New Zealand. Mukherjee will hold meetings with Governor General Jerry Mateparae, Prime Minister John Key, and the Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Mazumdar said agreements in the areas of air connectivity and education are expected to be signed.

    Javadekar orders fire safety audit of all museums in wake of FICCI incident

    New Delhi, Apr 26: Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has described the FICCI building fire mishap as unfortunate and ordered a safety audit of all museums under his ministry. Visiting the FICCI building in New Delhi today, Mr. Javadekar said this is a rented property. Its not the Ministry's property, but a FICCI property.

    He said, this is a real loss and we will assess the loss when the building is again handed over to us. There are around 34 museums under the Ministry including ones of ZSI Zoological Survey of India and Botanical Survey of India. Established in 1972, the National Museum of Natural History in New Delhi is one of two museums focusing on nature in India.

    An early hour massive blaze engulfed the building destroying National Museum of Natural History and leaving six firemen injured. Police said, the fire erupted at the top floor of the building and soon spread down to other floors. About 40 fire tenders were rushed to douse the blaze, which was controlled after about four hours. Injured firemen have been admitted to RML hospital in New Delhi. Their condition is stable now. No loss of life has been reported. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained.

    7 women officers of SSC granted permanent commission by Navy

    New Delhi, Apr 21: Breaking gender barrier, seven women officers have been granted permanent commission by Indian Navy. A Statement issued by the Navy said, the women officers belong to the batch of Short Service Commission officers, who joined in 2008-09. It added that the Navy is also finalising a policy for women officers to serve on select warships that have appropriate facilities for women.

    Navy is the last of the three wings of the armed forces in the country to allow permanent commission for women. While the Army and Air Force allow permanent commission for them, the Navy had limited women officers only to short service commission of 14 years.

    IMA cautions against use of antibiotics to patients

    New Delhi, Apr 20: Indian Medical Association (IMA) has asked doctors to be cautious in prescribing antibiotics to the heart patients. IMA Secretary General KK Aggarwal said, certain antibiotics may increase the risk of heart attack in people with underlying heart diseases. Dr. Aggarwal said, prolonged research has indicated that overuse and misuse of antibiotics can cause disease resistance as well as increase one's chances of life-threatening ailments.

    IMA also recommended doctors to wait for test results or to see how symptoms develop before prescribing antibiotics. World Health Organisation has recently issued an advisory about the current practice of indiscriminate use of antibiotics leading to resistance to medicines, persistence of infections and treatment failure.

    Beti Bachao Beti Padho Scheme extended to 61 more districts with low child sex ratio

    New Delhi, Apr 19: Government has extended the Beti Bachao Beti Padho Scheme in additional 61 districts across 11 States and Union Territories with low Child Sex Ratio. The scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year from Haryana in 100 districts of the country to address the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio.

    Addressing the function in New Delhi today, Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said, out of hundred, 49 districts are doing extremely well. She said, the child sex ratio of the other districts remain stable.

    The Minister said, for the monitoring of pregnancy, Sarpanch of the village should be made Nodal person and district collector have been asked to show the data of number of boys and girls in every village through a board.

    Mrs Gandhi said, superintendent of police in every district will nominate one woman Police Volunteer to monitor security situation of women.

    PM Modi to inaugurate super-specialty hospital in Katra tomorrow

    New Delhi, Apr 18: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the holy town of Katra-the base camp of Mata Vaishno Devi, in Jammu and Kashmir tomorrow. According to official sources, the Prime Minister will proceed directly to Kakryal, Katra after arriving at Jammu tomorrow morning.

    He is scheduled to inaugurate Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Narayana Super Speciality Hospital at Kakryal Katra which has been recently constructed at a cost of Rs. 300 crore and will dedicate the Shrine Board's Sports Complex. The Prime Minister will also address the 5th Convocation of Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University and the invited gathering in the Sports Ground in Katra.

    After dedicating the hospital to the people the Prime Minister shall distribute cards for free medical treatment at the Hospital to the persons who live in the nearby villages and from whom the land was acquired on which the University and the Hospital have been built. Ahead of Prime Minister's visit security arrangements across the Jammu region especially the Katra town has been beefed up.

    Baisakhi celebrations across the Nation

    New Delhi, Apr 14: The festival of Baisakhi is being celebrated across the country with much enthusiasm and fanfare; the day marks the beginning of harvest season in many states; President, Vice President and Prime Minister extend their greetings to the people. Vaisakhi, Vishu, Puthandu, Mesadi, Vaisakhadi, Pana Sankranti and Bohag Bihu are being celebrated with great fervour.

    President, Vice President and Prime Minister have greeted the nation on the occasion. President Mukherjee, in his message expressed hope that bounty of nature continues to shower its blessings on hard working farmers.

    The Vice President said that these festivals associated with the onset of harvest season reflect the rich agrarian traditions and composite culture of our country. The Prime Minister, in his message, Prime Minister has expressed hope that these festivals will herald happiness and prosperity for mankind.

    Karaga festival to be celebrated without fireworks

    Bengaluru, Apr 12: The centuries old Karaga festival in Bengaluru will be celebrated without the customary fireworks this year in the wake of Sunday's fireworks mishap at a temple in Kerala which killed over a hundred people. Burning crackers is a regular practice during Karaga festivities, especially on the occasion of ‘deepotsava’ when devotees light up thousands of oil lamps around Dharmarayaswamy temple in the city.

    The Karaga festival committee press release says that a sum of over one lakh rupees earmarked for fireworks will instead be used for hosting cultural events. The highlight of the festival will be Karaga procession on 22nd of this month, where a man resplendently dressed like goddess Mahashakti, carries on his head, the Karaga, a sacred floral pot and wielding a sword in the hand. The procession moves along the lanes of Old Bengaluru, starting from the Dharmarayaswamy temple in Thigalarapet.

    Tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors to attend conf on tiger

    New Delhi, Apr 11: Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the three-day 3rd Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation tomorrow in New Delhi. More than 700 tiger experts, scientists, managers, donors and other stakeholders are gathering to discuss issues related to tiger conservation. Ministers and government officials from all Tiger Range Countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, India, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand, Vietnam, besides Kyrgyz Republic and Kazakhstan, having ranges of Snow Leopard are participating in the conference.

    While several Tiger Range Countries like India, Nepal, Russia and Bhutan have registered an increase in tiger population, the status of Tiger remains "endangered". Tiger population has decimated to non-viable level in some range countries, which is a cause for concern. Minister of State for Forest, Prakash Javadekar, said, "We have allotted Rs.380.00 cr to the Project Tiger in the current fiscal year".

    Managing work and family life not easy: Indra Nooyi

    New York, Apr 9: One of the most powerful and influential businesswomen in the world, PepsiCo's India-born CEO Indra Nooyi said that she does not regret pursuing her career but is filled with heartaches for "working all the time" and being away from her daughters while they were growing up.

    Nooyi, among the only 4 per cent women who are currently CEOs of S&P 500 companies, said she would tell her younger self to be "careful" of the choices she would make since missing out on her children growing up will eventually "hurt". "Not easy," Nooyi said at the Women In the World Summit here when asked how it was for her balancing her personal life while moving up in her career.

    "Regret is too serious a word. Heartaches many times. It is not regret. I love what I'm doing. I may have regretted not doing it had I stayed at home and spent all the time there. Regret is a very complex word," she said in a very frank discussion alongwith president and CEO of New America Foundation Anne-Marie Slaughter at the summit?presented by renowned journalist and author Tina Brown.

    International convention to mark Homoeopathy Day tomorrow

    New Delhi, Apr 8: The President of India, Pranab Mukherjee will inaugurate an international convention on Homoeopathy on the occasion of the World Homeopathy Day 2016 tomorrow (April 9) at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi at 1230 hrs.

    Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH), an autonomous organization of Ministry of AYUSH, GoI and an international organization Liga Medicorum Homeopathica Internationalis (LMHI) are jointly organizing the Convention with the support of Ministry of AYUSH to commemorate the 261st birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

    The convention is expected to deliberate upon various significant issues in Homoeopathy. Representatives from countries like Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Italy, Netherlands, U.K., Austria, Armenia, Canada, Israel, Australia, Bangladesh, Japan, France, UAE, Cuba, Nepal, Turkey, Argentina, Slovenia, Pakistan, Ghana and Kenya will participate in the convention.

    Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan are opening a school

    San Francisco, Apr 6: The Facebook founder and his wife Priscilla Chan are starting a school with a unique twist. It will offer healthcare services to all of its students from birth to graduation. The K-12 school, called "The Primary School," will be a private, nonprofit institution opening in August 2016 in East Palo Alto, California.

    "It's a new kind of school that brings education and healthcare together," Zuckerberg said in a Facebook (FB, Tech30) post Friday. Funded by the Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan Donor Advised Fund, the school will be geared toward low-income students and attendance will be free.

    In some cases, the school will even accept students before they're born and offer prenatal support for their families. The goal is to literally offer healthcare and education from birth through graduation.

    Gatiman Exp to cover 200 km distance in 100 minutes

    New Delhi, Apr 5: Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu will flag off the much-awaited Gatiman Express for Agra from Nizamuddin station this morning. The Nizamuddin-Agra Gatiman Express is the first semi-high speed service in railways, which will run at a speed of 160 km per hour and is expected to cover the 200 km distance in 100 minutes. On the inaugural day, the train started its journey at 10am and reached Agra Cantt station at 11.40am.

    The train will run six days a week except Friday on both directions. Usually, it will start journey from Nizamuddin at 8.10 AM and will reach Agra at 9.50 AM. In the return direction, train will depart from Agra at 5.50 PM to reach Nizamuddin at 7.30 PM. The fare for fully air conditioned chair car is Rs 750, while for executive Class, it is Rs 1,500.

    Qatar 2022: 'Forced labour' at World Cup stadium

    Qatar, Mar 31: Rights group Amnesty International has accused Qatar of using forced labour at a flagship World Cup 2022 stadium. Amnesty says workers at Khalifa International Stadium are forced to live in squalid accommodation, pay huge recruitment fees and have had wages withheld and passports confiscated. It also accuses Fifa of "failing almost completely" to stop the tournament being "built on human rights abuses".

    Qatar said it was "concerned" by the allegations and would investigate. The government said the welfare of migrant workers was a "top priority" and insisted it was committed to systematic reform of Qatar's labour laws.

    India second largest consumer of tobacco products globally

    New Delhi, Mar 30: Indian Medical Association (IMA) has urged the Centre to ensure timely implementation of the 85 per cent pictorial health warnings display on both sides of tobacco packages from 1st of April. With 27.5 crores adult users, India is the second largest consumer of tobacco products globally. The IMA said, tobacco causes a gamut of serious diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic pulmonary diseases and stroke.

    IMA National President, SS Agarwal said, Pictorial health warnings (PHWs) are the most effective way of communicating the ill-effects of tobacco use, particularly among those with low literacy or no formal education. India will be hosting the Conference of Parties (COP7) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in November this year. Dr Agarwal said, COP7 will be a perfect opportunity for India to take the lead and demonstrate its commitment.

    Kohli hits out at fans making fun of Anushka; Oz papers hail Virat

    New Delhi, Mar 29: Star batsman, Virat Kohli who scored 82 runs not out against Australia and helped India reach the T20 world cup semifinal, has hit out at the people making fun of Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma on internet social sites.

    Hitting out at his fans, for making fun of his girlfriend Anushka Sharma on Twitter, the batsman said, 'it's a shame that people are making fun of Anushka. She has been a positive support to me. I do not require any felicitation from any person from this post'. Think, how would a sister, girlfriend or wife would feel when anyone would utter nonsense against them.

    Meanwhile, Virat was highly praised by the Australian media. A number of cricket experts christened him as world victor. It was Virat Show, said Chris of Sydney Morning Herald. Similarly, Ben of Daily Telegraph commented that it would be safe to say that there is no talent equal to Virat as at present. Some papers equaled Virat to Sachin.

    People remember Christ by re-enacting His example of feet-washing

    Rome/Bhopal, Mar 26: Festival of Good Friday, commemorating the day Jesus was crucified, was observed with due solemnity. "Stations of the Cross" rituals were held throughout the world recounting the 14 events between his condemnation by Pontius Pilate to his burial in a cave.

    In the state capital Bhopal too, Christians gathered at churches where prayers were held, befitting the occasion. Speaking about Maundy Thursday, Archbishop, Bhopal, Dr Leo Cornelio said the word is derived from the Latin word 'mandatum, which means mandate or command. The day was instituted by Jesus who washed and kissed the feet of disciples.

    Meanwhile, bishops at a holy Thursday service in two churches in Kerala, for the first time washed the feet of women. The change comes in line with Pope Francis decree that the tradition is not gender biased. Earlier, on Maundy Thursday, Pope Francis washed the feet of war refugees , following Jesus Christ's example.

    Google Maps now lets you customize locations with colorful stickers

    Washington, Mar 24: Google Maps for Android has a new update out today that lets you ascribe stickers to your home and work locations, as well as label other areas of interest like your local gym and favorite places to eat. The neat-looking doodles, of which there are 24 to choose from, range from castles and barns to igloos and treehouses.

    Once you pick one, it will show up on the map at whatever addresses you've saved in your app. You must sign in with a Google account to use the features, the company wrote in a blog post.

    Celebrate Holi in style, taking necessary precautions

    Bhopal: Festival of colours-Holi will be celebrated with zeal on March 24. Make-shift stalls, selling colours of different hues, have already started appearing in markets. Attractive pichkaris (water guns) of different shapes are drawing the attention of children and the old alike. The various shapes given to pichkaris include famous cartoon character Ben 10, Ganesha, Ninja, Pikachu, Angry Birds, Chotta Bheem, Mickey Mouse, Doraemon, Pokemon, Shin Chan. The price range is from Rs 50 to Rs 500. The demand for herbal colours has also shot up.

    Being Sunday, a large number of people visited New Market to do Holi shopping. During festival times, the sweetmeat shops do a roaring business. Mixture, maida products are in great demand. At homes also housewives get busy in preparing various sweetmeats.

    This festival also carries with it some disadvantages like overeating of sweets leading to sickness and consuming of bhang, which leads to hangover. Besides, use of chemical harmful colours may affect the skin texture. According to doctors, toxins and chemicals present in the synthetic colours can actually cause a host of problems. The doctor advise to use natural skin –friendly and herbal colours. Apply a nice layer of oil to your hair before playing Holi. Wear clothes that cover maximum part of your body and also apply a thick layer of a good quality cream or oil to your skin. Use more of red or pink colours, which look good and can easily be taken off.

    Gaudy purple, green, yellow, orange have more harmful chemicals in them and should be avoided. Apply thick coating of paint on your nails, both in fingers and toes so that they remain protected. If irritation occurs, wash off the colour from that part immediately. In case of a minor rash, apply something calamine lotion. Avoid sunlight in case the skin is seriously affected as it will increase the irritation. While cleaning do not rub the skin vigorously with soaps etc to wipe off the gulal, instead opt for a cleanser. Liberal use of cold cream or moisturiser is good for the skin. Do not use kerosene, petrol or spirits to remove the stains as this will further dry the skin.

    Earth Hour today; Plea to put off extra lights from 8.30pm-9.30pm

    Bhopal, Mar 19: Today, Saturday Mar 19 is Earth Hour. World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has appealed the people to put off unnecessary lights for one hour (8.30 pm to 9.30 pm) today.

    Nearly 172 countries would be participating in the WWF campaign for safeguarding the environment on the occasion of Earth Hour today. This year, for India, the brand ambassador is cricketer Shikhar Dhawan. The campaign has received a positive response in India too as nearly 150 cities have come forward to save energy on this occasion.

    This year, stress is being given on use of solar energy. According to WWF, sunlight is available in India round the year and hence its use could be very helpful in conserving the fast depleting resources.

    Community radio powerful tool in reviving languages, culture: Jaitley

    New Delhi, Mar 18: Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley has said that India is a land of diversity in terms of language, social practices, dialects and culture and Community radio can be a powerful tool to revive culture and languages that are dying.

    Inaugurating the 6th National Community Radio Sammelan in New Delhi this morning, Jaitley said, the community radio can also be useful in promoting health and education. He said, Radio is one of the oldest broadcasting mediums and it has to be encouraged as it reaches easily to the larger sections of the society.

    Jaitley said, regional newspapers are not shrinking because news of the region is what keeps them alive and the same pattern applies to the reach of community radios. He said, 191 community radio stations are now working and more than 400 new stations have been permitted. He said, the growth of community radio will be visible in the next few months. Speaking on the occasion, Minister of State for I & B Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said, Community Radio can play a vital role to empower people and to inform them on Govt's plans and policies. He said, Govt is doing everything to promote Community radio across the country.

    The theme of this year's conference is Community Radio in India: Towards Diversity and Sustainability. The conference will bring together Community Radio Operators, policy makers, Ministries, Depts, International bodies like UNICEF & UNESCO and other stakeholders for exchange of ideas and cross learning. The meet will also hold talks on community radio movement in the country and its role in setting the agenda for discourse on development at the local level. The three-day conference will also discuss on issues such as role of community radio in good governance & community learning & promoting livelihoods, water conservation, financial inclusion and literacy.


    Denmark the 'happiest country' and Burundi 'the least happy'

    UN, Mar 17: Denmark is the world's happiest country while Burundi is the least happy, according to a new survey. The fourth World Happiness Report also found that countries where there was less inequality were happier overall. Switzerland, Iceland, Norway and Finland, which like Denmark have strong social security systems, made up the rest of the top five.

    The US was the world's 13th happiest country, the UK was 23rd, China was 83rd and India was 118th. At the bottom of the 156 countries on the list was Burundi, which is experiencing severe political unrest and the threat of violence. It scored worse than Syria, where a civil war has killed more than 250,000 people over the past five years.

    The report - compiled by the UN's Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) - is an analysis of Gallup World Poll data generated from surveys of 1,000 people in each country every year for three years. The researchers defined six key categories: gross domestic product (a nation's output of goods and services) per capita, social support, healthy-life expectancy, personal freedom, charitable giving and perceived corruption.

    World Sufi Forum to discuss ways to curb terrorism

    New Delhi, Mar 17: A four-day World Sufi Forum, which begins in New Delhi today, would deliberate on among other topics, how Sufi teaching can prevent global terrorism. Being organized by All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board (AIUMB), the apex body of Sufi Dargahs in India, the event is being participated by more than 200 Indian and International delegates, including Sufi Shuyukh, spiritual leaders, scholars, academicians and masters of Sufism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would grace the inaugural function as chief guest today.

    The conclave will also debate on how to guide the Muslim community away from sectarian division. The organizers also said the debate on role of women in Islam will also conducted in the international conference. The Sufi Conference is expected to come out with a declaration against extremism and Wahabism in the last day of the event to be convened in the Ramlila Maidan.

    Frame rules for adoption under new Juvenile Justice Act: SC

    New Delhi, Mar 15: In a step to ensure welfare of children in case of adoptions, the Supreme Court has asked Central and state governments to frame rules for adoption under the new Juvenile Justice Act of 2015. A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur yesterday said, the interest of children both in intra-country and inter-country adoptions, has to be protected.

    It observed that the process of adoption has to be transparent. In its hearing over a plea, the bench, however, refused to order CBI probe into the alleged adoption racket in the country. It asked NGO Advait Foundation, which had filed the PIL in 2012, to come out with the specific allegations.

    NGT green signal to Sri Sri event; Rs 5 cr fine imposed

    New Delhi, Mar 10: With the National Green Tribunal (NGT) giving green signal to the holding of the World Cultural Festival, being organized by the Art of Living, preparations have picked up on war footing to hold the mega event. The three-day event from Mar 11 to 13 will have a temporary stage, the size of more than two times of a football stadium, in 7 acre area.

    It may be pointed out that the NGT has imposed a fine of Rs 5 crore on the organization to make up for the damage done to the environment . It also imposed a penalty of Rs one lakh on the Delhi Pollution Control Committee. Art of Living founder, Sri Sri Ravishankar would appeal against the fine imposed by NGT.

    The event, commemorating 35 years of the organization, is estimated to be attended by nearly 35 lakh people from India and abroad. On the first day, the political representatives would express their views. The second day would see lectures by spiritual leaders. Several film personalities are also expected to grace the event. Representatives from 155 nations are expected to attend the programme. Prominent among these include Sri Lanka president, and former Pak PM Yusuf Raza Gilani.

    Chest pains can occur in moments of joy as well as anger: Study

    Zurich, Mar 3: The emotional stress that causes chest pains and breathlessness can occur in moments of joy as well as anger, grief and fear, a Swiss study suggests. Three-quarters of cases of takotsubo cardiomyopathy, a change in the shape of the heart's left ventricle, which can be fatal, are caused by stress. The University Hospital Zurich study, in the European Heart Journal, suggests about one in 20 cases is caused by joy.

    The condition is normally temporary and people are generally fine afterwards. In the study of 1,750 patients, researchers discovered heart problems caused by: a birthday party, a son's wedding, meeting a friend after 50 years, becoming a grandmother, a favourite rugby team winning a game winning a casino jackpot, A computerised tomography (CT) scan giving the all-clear from another condition.

    The study also suggested most cases were in post-menopausal women. Dr Jelena Ghadri, one of the researchers, said: "We have shown that the triggers for takotsubo syndrome can be more varied than previously thought.

    US astronaut, two Russian cosmonauts back on earth

    Kazhaksthan, Mar 2: US astronaut Scott Kelly and two Russian cosmonauts have touched down on Earth after almost a year in space. The landing took place in the city of Zhezkazgan in Kazhaksthan today morning, NASA television reported. Their 340-day mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is twice the length of a normal stay. Their extended tour is part of an effort to study the effects of long-duration spaceflight on the body.

    But scientists will gain further insights by comparing Scott Kelly with his Earthbound identical twin, Mark. The idea behind the twin study is to help minimise extraneous factors as scientists research how genetically identical individuals respond to different conditions over a year. NASA says the research should inform its stated aim of one day sending humans to Mars. The next crew, consisting the American Jeffrey Williams and the Russians Aleksey Ovchinin and Oleg Skripochka, is set to launch on a Soyuz rocket from Baikonur in Kazakhstan on 18 March.

    Registration for Amarnath Yatra 2016 to start today

    New delhi, Feb 29: The registration for this year's pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath will start from today. Chief Executive Officer, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, PK Tripathi said in Jammu yesterday that registration will begin for both Baltal and Chandanwari routes through 432 designated bank branches.

    The CEO said, those under the age of 13 years or above the age of 75 years and women, who are over six weeks pregnant would not be allowed to be registered. He further said, step-by-step procedure, which the yatris need to follow to register, has been put on the board's website. The 48-day Yatra will commence simultaneously on both the routes from July 2nd and conclude on Raksha Bandhan day on August 18.

    Vyas Samman awarded to Sunita Jain for poetry collection kshama

    New Delhi, Feb 27: 'Kshama' poetry collection by Sunita Jain, a well-known Hindi scholar and writer, has been selected for the 25th Vyas Samman 2015. This book was published in 2008. Instituted by the KK Birla Foundation, the award carries an amount of Rs 2.50 lakh and is given to outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by an Indian citizen.

    "The selection has been made by the Chayan Samiti presided over by eminent litterateur Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari," the Foundation said in a statement. The Foundation has also instituted other awards like the Saraswati Samman, given every year for an outstanding literary work written in any of the Indian languages.

    The writer has published nearly 100 books. Some of her collections include 'A girl of her age', Bojyu, Safar ke saathi, Herwa, Rang Rati, Jaane Ladki Pagli.

    Kshipra river banks reverberate with melodies of devotional songs

    Ujjain, Feb 26: Well-known folk-bhajan singer Sanjo Baghel of Jabalpur left the audience spell-bound with her sonorous bhajans on the banks of river Kshipra on the second day of cultural programme 'Anugoonj-3' in the context of Simhastha at Ujjain on Wednesday. (Pic of Jodha Bai Baiga)

    Anugoonj began with Ganesh Vandana 'Ghar Main Padharo Gajananji Ki Mere Ghar Main Padharo' by Baghel. This was followed by devotional song dedicated to Maa Narmada-Kshipra 'He Maa Narmada Teri Ho Jay Jaykar'. Her third presentation was 'Baithi Ujjain Main Harsiddhi Maa Dware Ghanta Bajat'

    On the second day of 'Anugoonj-3' also, artists, craftspersons and litterateurs remained active at Kalidas Akademi. Deaf and dumb painter Abha Chaube drew paintings of Lord Shankar with zeal. Umaria district's 70 years old Jodha Bai Baiga surprised all by drawing paintings of Bhole Nath Baba while 19 years old patient of hereditary disease austiogesis drew encomiums by making a temple with threads.

    Vienna is the world's best city to live in, Baghdad is the worst

    London, Feb 24: Vienna is the world's best city to live in, a new study has found. The capital of Austria boasts the best quality of life for residents in terms of social and economic conditions, health, education, housing and the environment, according to the 18th Mercer Quality of Life study. Vienna is trailed by Zurich in Switzerland, Auckland in New Zealand, Munich in Germany, and Vancouver in Canada. Baghdad is the worst city to live, the study found.

    The international research also found that Baghdad is the worst city to live in. London and Paris and New York are not even in the top 35 tier, while Paris drastically fell in rankings due to last year’s deadly terrorist attacks, The Guardian reports.

    UK in EU: Referendum on June 23; London Mayor seeks exit

    London, Feb 22: London Mayor Boris Johnson, a heavyweight conservative, has announced that he will back the call for Britain to leave the European Union in a national referendum on the country's EU membership. The yesterday's announcement was regarded by the British media as a blow to Prime Minister David Cameron's efforts to keep Britain in the EU as Johnson was an eloquent Speaker and popular among voters.

    Mr Cameron announced on Saturday that Britain would hold a referendum on June 23rd to decide whether to stay or leave the European Union and recommended British people to choose remaining inside the EU, following a deal with leaders of other EU countries which gives UK a special status in the community. Mr Cameron is scheduled to speak in the British Parliament today to kick off the campaigns before the referendum. Opinion polls have shown that the British public is almost evenly divided while many ruling Tory politicians, including six cabinet members, will side with the so-called Brexit camp.

    WHO seeks $56 mn aid for global action plan to fight Zika outbreak

    Geneva, Feb 18: A 61-year old woman was confirmed as the first Zika case in Trinidad and Tobago. The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency confirmed the case after testing a blood sample from the woman. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization is appealing for 56 million dollars to fund a Global Action Plan to combat the Zika virus, which is spreading across Latin America. The virus is suspected of causing microcephaly or brain damage in babies and Guillain Barre, a neurological disorder.

    The WHO strategy focuses on mobilizing and coordinating the abilities and expertise of the agency’s many partners to help countries tackle the Zika virus. The strategy also calls for ensuring medical care to those who are infected and to fast track research and development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

    The Zika virus was discovered in Uganda in 1947 and has spread from Africa to other regions. The infection is mild and is not life threatening.

    Campaign group warns against high sugar levels in hot drinks

    London, Feb 17: A campaign group here has expressed concern over amounts of sugar in some hot drinks sold in High Street cafes. In some cases the sugar was equal to that of a can of Pepsi or Coca-Cola, which contains nine teaspoons.

    The charity said in some of the worst cases the drinks contained 20 or more teaspoons of sugar. Coffee shop chains Starbucks and Costa said they were committed to reducing sugar content in their drinks. The drinks assessed included flavoured coffees such as mochas and lattes, hot fruit drinks and hot chocolates from coffee shops and fast food chains.

    The charity found that 98% of the drinks tested would receive a red nutritional value label for high sugar content. The recommended maximum intake of added sugar per day for those aged 11 and over is about 30g or seven teaspoons, the NHS says.

    Govt willing to discuss each and every issue: Naidu

    New Delhi, Feb 16: The government today said it is willing to walk extra mile and take up discussion on each and every issue in the coming Budget session of Parliament. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with leaders of all major parties, Parliamentary affairs minister M Venkaiah Naidu said Prime Minister sought cooperation from all parties for passage of important legislations.

    Naidu said all leaders were unanimous that House should be allowed to function. On the JNU incident, Naidu said the enquiry is on and let the enquiry be over. He, however, stressed that anti-India slogans are unacceptable.

    Mhadei sailing with an all-women crew enters Chennai

    Chennai, Feb 13: The Navy's famous sailing vessel Mhadei, skippered and crewed by an all-women crew of naval officers for the very first time, entered Chennai Port today, after participating in the International Fleet Review 2016. The sail boat had left Visakhapatnam on Feb 9.

    Lt Commander Vartika Joshi, a Naval Architect, was appointed as the first woman Skipper of Mhadei on 8 Feb just prior to her return voyage. The boat is crewed by Lts P Swathi, Pratibha Jamwal (Air Traffic Control specialists), Vijaya Devi and Sub Lt Payal Gupta (both Education officers). The sixth member of the crew, Lt B Aishwarya is an Engineer and is expected to join the boat next month.

    The women officers are training to form an all-women crew that would attempt to circumnavigate the Globe next year. Mhadei will remain at the Ports of Chennai (13-16 Feb) and Kochi (23-26 Feb) on her return journey. She will eventually return to Goa on 2 Mar. This is the first all-women crew to man any ocean-going sailing boat of the Navy. All the crew members are volunteers and are driven by their passion for adventure and a love for sailing and the seas.

    Roma community first flag bearer of Indian culture overseas

    New Delhi, Feb 12: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has said Roma community is the first flag bearer of Indian culture overseas and they have maintained Indian identity despite living in challenging circumstances since centuries.

    Addressing International Roma Conference in New Delhi today, Mrs Swaraj said, the community is the best example of peaceful coexistence. She commended Roma Community for maintaining Indian value system and contributing to the growth of the countries they lived in.

    Mrs Swaraj stressed the need for more research in the area and preservation of data and documents. She said, India is progressing and developing at a rapid pace and Roma community can contribute in this journey of development.

    Smart contact lens to help predict glaucoma progression

    New York City, Feb 8: A 'smart' contact lens with a built-in sensor could help determine which glaucoma patients are at a higher risk of progression. Glaucoma remains a leading cause of blindness. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Centre in US found certain patterns of electrical signals emitted from the contact lenses correlate with a faster rate of glaucoma progression.

    Similar to how an electrocardiogram shows a heartbeat, the profile of signals from the smart lens indirectly shows eye pressure changes over time. One of the main indicators of the disease is high pressure in the eye. Doctors often check eye pressure to gauge a patient's eye health. Using these findings, clinicians can better estimate the risk of progression by looking at a readout from the smart lens.

    Give unsold food to needy, France orders supermarkets

    Peris, Feb 6: Supermarkets in France have been banned from throwing away or spoiling unsold food by law. The stores are now required to donate unwanted food to charities and food banks. To stop foragers, some supermarkets have poured bleach over the discarded food or storing binned food in locked warehouses. This law was voted unanimously by the French senate on Wednesday after a petition was launched by Paris councillor Arash Derambarsh.

    It will apply to any supermarket with a footprint of 400 square metres or larger. If companies flout the law they could incur fines up to 75,000 Euros (£53,000) or two years in prison. Jacques Bailet from Banques Alimentaires, a network of Food banks, told the Guardian: "Most importantly, because supermarkets will be obliged to sign a donation deal with charities, we'll be able to increase the quality and diversity of food we get and distribute.

    WHO advises against blood donations from people of Zika areas

    Washington, Feb 5: The World Health Organisation advised countries against accepting blood donations from people who have travelled to regions affected by the Zika virus. With dozens of cases emerging in Europe and North America from travellers returning from affected areas, WHO stressed the potential link between Zika and microcephaly which causes children to be born with abnormally small heads and urged health authorities to take precautions.

    Meanwhile, in the first case of its kind in Europe, Spain's Health Ministry said a pregnant woman who had returned from Colombia had been diagnosed with the virus. The mosquito-borne virus has so far spread to 26 countries in South and Central America and the Caribbean and health authorities have warned it could infect up to four million people on the continent and spread worldwide.

    EU referendum: Cameron to face MPs over reform deal

    London, Feb 4: David Cameron is stepping up efforts to sell his EU reform deal amid reports several cabinet ministers are ready to campaign for Britain's exit. The prime minister will make a Commons statement on the package aimed at keeping the UK in the 28 nation bloc.

    He claims it delivers "substantial" reforms but one unnamed minister described it to the BBC as a "mess". Downing Street says ministers have agreed not to challenge Mr Cameron until he has secured a final deal.

    He is aiming to get agreement from all member states at a summit in Brussels in a fortnight, paving the way for a referendum on whether the UK should remain in the EU in June.

    Rajnath Singh, NSA Ajit Doval meet Muslim clerics

    New Delhi, Feb 3: Home Minister Rajnath Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval met Muslim clerics on Tuesday. Media reports claimed that the issue of radicalisation of Muslim youth was discussed during the meeting which was held at the home minister's residence.

    The home minister requested the clerics to play a role in preventing the youth from taking the wrong path, reports added. Rajnath Singh had recently met representatives of 13 security agencies of different states to discuss the alarming influence of Islamic State (IS) over youths through social media.
    Earlier, Singh said that the Islamic State could not dominate in India due to the country's "life values" and "family values".

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than vice versa

    Wellington, Feb 2: Australian migration to New Zealand hits new high. More people are moving from Australia to New Zealand than vice versa for the first time in 24 years, officials said. According to Statistics, 25,273 people migrated to New Zealand from Australia in 2015.

    This marks the highest net flow of Australians heading to New Zealand since 1991. In 2012 a record 53,000 New Zealand residents had departed for Australia, while just 13,900 people moved the other way. New Zealand and Australia have an agreement which allows most citizens to live and work in either country. New Zealand's economic and political stability, along with the end of Australia's mining boom, have been credited for the shift.

    True reforms are those which lead to transform people's lives: PM

    New Delhi, Jan 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, the government will not eliminate all subsidies but will rationalise and target them to the needy. Addressing the Economic Times Global Business Summit in New Delhi Friday evening, Modi said, unnecessary controls and distortions will be eliminated. He promised efficiency in allocation of resources as well as creation of opportunities for citizens to progress. The Prime Minister said, people's welfare should be the basic foundation of any economic reform and the true reforms are those, which lead to transform their lives. He stressed the need to increase the quality of life of the common citizen particularly the poor.

    Modi also said, the NDA government has ended the era of high-level corruption and crony capitalism. He said, if a government is progressive, and runs an honest and efficient administration, the biggest beneficiaries would be the poor. The Prime Minister added that global economy is passing through a period of uncertainty and India's policies must be to make a positive contribution to the rest of the world.

    He said during the last four quarters, the country has been the fastest growing economy in the world and FDI has increased by 39 percent in the last 18 months. Asserting India's commitment for climate change, Modi said, New Delhi is committed to reduce the emission intensity of by 33 percent its GDP by 2030.

    Officials confirm at least 6 cases of Zika in US residents

    New York, Jan 29: At least six U.S. residents have tested positive for the Zika virus, with officials in New York, Arkansas and Virginia confirming cases in each state.

    The Zika virus has been linked to a spike in cases of microcephaly, a rare birth defect that can cause babies to be born with abnormally small heads and partially formed brains— symptoms that can lead to lasting developmental problems. Nearly 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October, compared with fewer than 150 cases in the country in all of 2014. There is currently no vaccine for the virus, nor is there an effective treatment.

    Now, with about 500,000 people expected to visit Brazil for the Olympics at Rio De Janeiro this year, researchers are scrambling to figure how much of a risk the Games might pose in spreading the Zika virus around the world.

    Fix environmental norms on noise pollution near airports: NGT

    New Delhi, Jan 28: National Green Tribunal (NGT) has expressed its displeasure over government's failure to fix environmental norms on noise pollution in residential areas near airports across the country. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar directed Ministry of Environment & Forests, DG of Civil Aviation and Central Pollution Control Board to convene a meeting and take a clear decision on the issue. The bench said Supreme Court had last November referred these matters to the Tribunal and directed expeditious disposal, preferably within 6 months. The final hearing will be on 16th March.

    The green panel was hearing a bunch of pleas filed by the residents of Vasant Kunj, Bijwasan and Indian Spinal Injuries Centre hospital. The pleas alleged that noise created by aircraft at the IGI airport is affecting health of the residents of nearby areas and sought quashing of government clearance to Delhi International Airport Ltd for construction of a runway at the international airport.

    Join hands to make state peaceful, prosperous, appeals Shivraj

    Ratlam, Jan 27: Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan urged people of the state to contribute their mite to make Madhya Pradesh a golden state. The CM expressed confidence that growth rate of the State will be maintained this year also with people's cooperation. Prosperity, happiness and peace will continue. He urged people to conserve power and water, educate girls and take pledge for de-addiction.

    The Chief Minister said that the state government will make every possible effort to make agriculture profitable. Ratlam will be developed as horticulture hub.

    Chouhan said that this year will be observed as Poor Persons Welfare Year to mark 125th birth anniversary of framer of Constitution Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar and birth centenary of propounder of Antyodaya philosophy Pt. Deendayal Upadhyay. During the year, works for welfare of the poor will be expedited.

    India's growth story bright spot of the world: Leaders at WEF

    Davos, Jan 25: The 5-day annual summit of World Economic Forum (WEF) came to a close in Davos yesterday. World leaders expressed concerns about economic headwinds from China, geo-political risks arising from the refugee crisis in Europe and terror attacks in various parts of the world.

    With regard to India, the leaders at the World Economic Forum exuded confidence that its growth story would continue and the country would consolidate its position as the bright spot of the world. They hoped that doing business in India will become easier.

    From India, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley led from the front and spoke in three public sessions, besides his various other bilateral meetings and closed-door sessions. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan was on one official panel of a WEF session. He had a number of meetings on the sidelines.

    Boats with refugees sink-off Greece, 45 drown

    Athens, Jan 23: At least 45 people drowned when three refugee boats sank-off Greece, as Turkey pledged to do everything to stop record numbers of migrants heading to Europe. Despite wintry conditions, thousands of people fleeing war and misery are still embarking on the dangerous sea journey to seek a better life in Europe.

    In a stark illustration of the high cost of the voyage, Greek and Turkish coastguards recovered the bodies of 45 migrants, including 20 children, whose boats capsized on their way to Greece, officials said Friday.

    Greek rescuers pulled 74 people to safety after two boats ran into trouble off the Aegean islands of Farmakonisi and Kalolimnos in the early hours. But the toll could rise as rescuers were still scouring the waters for people missing from the boat that capsized off Kalolimnos. Separately, the Turkish coastguard found the bodies of three children Friday after a third boat sank near the seaside resort of Didim, the Dogan news agency reported.

    1st anniv of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao': achievers to be with Prez

    New Delhi, Jan 21: President of India, Pranab Mukherjee will host a lunch for 100 women achievers tomorrow (Jan 22) at Rashtrapati Bhavan on the occasion of first anniversary of 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme. These 100 women achievers were selected by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with Facebook through a nationwide contest and public nominations.

    The contest was announced on the Facebook Page of the Ministry of Women and Child Development on 15th Ju1y, 2015 through which nominations were invited in 20 categories namely: Access to justice protecting women & their rights; Agriculture and Animal Husbandry; Animal Welfare; Arts and Culture; Commerce Industry and Entrepreneurship; Community Mobilization; Disability and Disadvantage; Education; Environment, forests and wildlife; Globalizing India; Healthcare and Wellness; Hygiene and Sanitation; Improving the Child Sex Ratio; Innovation Science and Technology; Literature; Media; Nutrition; Sports; Women in Public Life and Women's Empowerment.

    The 200 women nominees were shortlisted by a Jury from 474 nominations received across the 20 Categories. The 200 shortlisted women nominees went for public voting from 3rd Dec 2015 to 20th December 2015 out of which these 100 women were selected.

    State to ensure demolition of all illegal shrines, after 2009, by May

    Mumbai, Jan 20: Bombay high court has asked Maharashtra government to strictly follow its commitment of demolishing illegal shrines in the state which have come up after 2009. A bench headed by justice Abhay Oka, also ordered the state government to file an affidavit by February 15 on compliance of a previous high court order asking the authorities to demolish the illegal shrines in Maharashtra within six months. The bench warned that any laxity on its part would be viewed seriously.

    Following the High Court directive, state government assured the court that the state would ensure demolition of all illegal shrines by the month of May. Government's counsel said that 881 shrines have been identified in the state as illegal, and of them, 41 structures have been demolished. The matter will come up to further hearing on the 18th of next month.

    Precautionary measures in Shimla after spread of jaundice

    Shimla, Jan 19: The district administration here is taking precautionary measures to check the spread of jaundice and waterborne diseases in Shimla town and rural areas of Shimla district. Deputy Commissioner Dinesh Malhotra has issued an order banning sale of eatables in open.

    The sale of 'Golgappa' and other eatables in open place have been immediately banned in Shimla town till further order. The authorities took this action to control Jaundice, which is becoming out of control day by day. The shopkeepers have been advised to provide boiled water to customers.

    The health department has divided the affected area in six sectors. Meanwhile, several Jaundice cases have been reported from some parts of Solan town also in past two days. The water supply to Solan is made from the Ashwani Khudd source, the water of which is contaminated.

    After some respite, cold, fog envelope North India

    New Delhi, Jan 16: Cold wave coupled with dense fog affected normal life in most parts of North India Friday as the mercury dipped in many areas including Delhi. Rail services were hit in the region with cancellation of over 60 trains. Flight operations, however, were normal at IGI Airport in Delhi.

    After over a fortnight, Delhiites too felt nip in the air as dense fog cover greeted them on a wintry morning. Both minimum and maximum dropped by about four degrees.

    Mercury dipped in most parts of Kashmir Valley while the minimum temperature rose by six degrees in Leh town. Kargil was the coldest place in the Valley, an official of the Meteorological Department said. Cold conditions also prevailed in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan with mercury dropping by few notches.

    Home, Defence minister review security situation

    New Delhi, Jan 15: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, NSA Ajit Doval and other top officials today reviewed the security situation in the country. Ahead of the Republic Day, during the hour long meeting presided by Singh, the top brass of the country's security apparatus took stock of various aspects of internal security and analysed intelligence inputs received in recent past .

    Necessary instructions have been given to ensure security in all sensitive locations, border areas and major urban centres, including Delhi where the Republic Day's main function will be held with French President Francois Hollande as the chief guest.

    An additional 10,000 paramilitary personnel have already been deployed in Delhi to ensure greater security cover ahead of the Republic Day celebrations.

    Website for aspirants seeking recruitment in ITBP

    New Delhi, Jan 14: A dedicated website for aspirants seeking recruitment in border guarding force ITBP was launched in New Delhi Wednesday. The website is the first-ever initiative by any paramilitary force in the country to help young men and women gain entry in central forces working under the command of the Union Home Ministry.

    The website launched provides information about the maximum number of career opportunities in the force, vacancies, pay scales and results and other relevant subjects. Online applications for various posts can also be submitted through this portal in an easy manner. ITBP has received government sanction to raise at least ten new battalions for border guarding and other duties.

    Kerala first State to achieve total primary education

    Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 13: Kerala becomes the first State in India to attain complete primary education. To rise to the level of the first Indian State to achieve cent per cent primary education is a historic moment for Kerala, thanks to the sustained efforts by the State Literacy Mission.

    Over two lakh adult learners qualified in the public examination held by the Literacy Mission last year as part of its continuing education programme Athulyam. Payyannur Municipality in Kannur district and Nilambur Grama Panchayat in Malappuram district were the first local bodies to attain total primary education in 2007 and 2009 respectively. In September 2010 Kannuar district achieved complete primary education followed by Kasaragod district.

    It may be recalled that Kerala was declared the first fully literate State in the country in April 1991. Vice-President Dr. M .Hamid Ansari will formally declare Kerala as the first State to achieve total primary education in Thiruvananthapuram today.

    India-Australia social security pact comes into operation

    Melbourne, Jan 11: A new social security agreement signed between India and Australia has come into operation enabling people of both nations to avail retirement benefits in each other's country, a pact likely to boost bilateral business linkages. Australian Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer Kelly O'Dwyer said the Commonwealth government wanted to make sure people who live and work in more than one country are not disadvantaged.

    The Agreement signed in November 2014 came into operation on January 1, 2016. Kelly O'Dwyer said, it is an important step in strengthening Australia's relationship with India, and shows the government's commitment to the 397,000 Indian-born people living in Australia, who make a substantial contribution to our community.

    Ministry seeks GAVI expertise to strengthen health system

    New Delhi, Jan 9: Union Health Ministry has decided to use the expertise of Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI) to strengthen health system in India. The move came after a meeting of GAVI CEO Seth Berkley with the Union Health Minister JP Nadda in New Delhi during which various issues relating to India's health sector were discussed.
    Berkley met Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently where discussions were held on the proposal to have a new strategic partnership with India for 2016 to 2021. It will see further fund support of up to 500 million dollars to accelerate the introduction of modern vaccines for all children in the country.

    Online contribution facility for new pension plan subscribers

    New Delhi, Jan 8: Subscribers of New Pension System can now make their contributions online through net banking, credit or debit cards with pension fund regulator PFRDA launching a platform for the same.

    Through this platform, a prospective subscriber can register for NPS and contribute to his/her Permanent Retirement Account. In a release, Finance Ministry said the subscribers who already have an NPS account can make contributions through eNPS directly. It said, an online platform at www.npstrust.org.in has been developed for the purpose.

    As per government's Digital India campaign to promote e-governance, the Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority has been pursuing development and operationalization of online transaction facilities.

    First Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Diwas to kickstart in Agra city

    Lucknow, Jan 4: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav will kick start a three day (4-6 Jan) mega event of NRIs at Taj city Agra this evening. All the preparations are in place including elaborate security arrangements to organise first Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Diwas by the state government. It is an initiative to further the continuing dialogue with NRIs and to woo them to invest in UP.

    Around 250 NRIs from nearly thirty countries are expected to attend the three day meet where over a dozen MOUs will also be inked, said a senior official. The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry FICCI are partners and Ernst & Young are knowledge partners for the event. The occasion will be marked by festivity and a cultural evening on the opening day.

    UP Ratna awards will also be conferred on NRIs/PIOs from UP in recognition of their outstanding achievements in different fields. NRIs and PIOs will be able to visit the Taj Mahal and other attractions around Agra and to Mathura on January 6. AIR correspondent reports that the event has been planned as an annual one to be held on the same dates every year, said organizers.

    News of New Year celebrations pouring in from different States

    New Delhi, Jan 1: Delhiites celebrated New Year with great enthusiastically with thousands of people thronged restaurants, malls and multiplexes. Famous markets and party hotspots like Connaught Place, Saket Select City Walk, Nehru Place, Khan Market, Rajaouri Garden also witnessed huge number of people including children.

    In Bhopal, the citizens celebrated the new year by holding parties in their localities. Cakes were also cut at some places. Hotels were booked in advance where the celebrations continued till 12'O clock to welcome the new year. Fire crackers went off as the clock struck 12 mid night.

    The city of dreams Mumbai welcomed New Year in high spirit. Along with Mumbaikars, large number of tourists had gathered at various famous locations such as Marine drive, Gateway of India, all chowpati's, famous hotels and other places to celebrate the New Years Eve.

    In Goa, church bells and fire crackers mingled to welcome the new year. On the beaches, in traditional homes, on city streets and of course on Internet people greeted each other happy new year.

    In Himachal Pradesh, the New Year 2016 was celebrated enthusiastically at different places including capital Shimla. The tourists were hoping snowfall but the weather remained dry.Shimla city was looking beautiful in colorful lights in the night.

    In the flood-hit Chennai, the New Year has been welcomed with great enthusiasm and new hopes, putting aside the memories of the recent deluge. People gathered in several thousands in the famous Marina Beach and exchanged their greetings at the break of the New Year.

    However, Thiruvananthapuram witnessed less loud New Year celebrations this time and several city hotels hosted "non-alcoholic parties" with DJs trying to create some extra spirits.

    Health Ministry, IMA working group to address health care problems

    New Delhi, Dec 30: Health Ministry in collaboration with the Indian Medical Association, IMA, will form a first of its kind working group to evaluate and address major health care problems in the country. This was announced by Health Minister JP Nadda, who also sought help of IMA members to fight the major health battles being faced by the Indian population.

    He said this while addressing IMA's annual Central Council meeting the NATCON 2015.
    The IMA Central Council meeting was attended by over 1000 doctors. It discussed issues affecting the Indian medical community, including the increased cases of violence against doctors, un-warranted media trials and the commercialization of the medical practice by its inclusion under the Consumer Protection Act.

    Come Friday & Delhi readies to bring down pollution levels

    New Delhi, Dec 29: The Delhi Government has issued a notification for the Odd-even formula for vehicles. The formula is set to be rolled out from Friday to control the pollution levels in Delhi. Under the 15-days plan, the scheme says, Vehicles with even numbers will ply on even dates and Vehicles with odd numbers will ply on odd dates. The restriction will be started from morning 8 AM till night 8. It said, those who would try to flaunt the odd even scheme may have to cough up 2000 rupees as fine.

    Three thousand additional buses will ply and Delhi metro will also increase its frequency from two thousand in a day to over three thousand to meet the extra rush of the passengers. Delhi police is also charting out a plan to implement the scheme. The scheme will not be binding to women, CNG, Battery cars, Disabled, Ambulances and Fire tenders. Auto rickshaws, Taxis, Buses two wheelers, and VIP vehicles have also got exemption from the scheme.

    Blueprint for start-ups in the country on Jan 16: PM Modi

    New Delhi,Dec 28: Wishing the people on Christmas and the coming New Year, PM Narendra Modi said that India is a country of diverse cultures and traditions. Just now we celebrated Christmas and next in line is the New Year. Our's is a festival driven economy. The PM extended his hearty greetings to the citizens for 2016.
    Reading a letter of a listener from Pune, PM Modi too agreed with his view that tourist destinations should be maintained properly so that a good message reaches one and all both in India and abroad.

    Modi had words of praise for an elder mason from Bhojpura village in Sehore district, Madhya Pradesh. Dilip Singh Malviya has decided to provide his free service in construction of toilets in his village. In this way he has constructed 100 toilets. The people should come forward and contribute their lot in making India a better place to live in, said PM Modi. PM Modi, during his radio address, appealed people to use the word 'divyaang' instead of 'viklaang' while referring to a person with physical disabilities.

    "In our country, let us use the word 'divyaang' instead 'viklaang' (physically challenged). These people are gifted with extra ability," the PM said. PM Modi said the government will unveil a blueprint for start-ups in the country on January 16.

    1.8 degrees temp in Narnaul, Punjab; In Bhopal min temp 8 degrees

    New Delhi, Dec 17: Cold wave has gripped North India with mercury dipping significantly over the region. Following the recent spell of fresh rain and snow over the hills, minimum temperatures over Punjab, Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have dropped substantially and are now settling below normal. In Punjab, lowest temperature was recorded from Narnaul which stands at 1.8 degrees Celsius.
    Meanwhile, the maximum temp in State capital Bhopal was recorded at 23.8 and the minimum at 8 degrees Celsius. According to met department, Cold wave conditions would prevail at isolated places over Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, North Rajasthan, East Uttar Pradesh and East Madhya Pradesh where minimum temperature would remain 4 °C or less.

    Angela Merkel, German chancellor, is Time 'Person of the Year

    London, Dec 10: Time Magazine has named German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its "Person of the Year". The magazine cited her role in Europe's crises over migration and Greek debt. Mrs Merkel had provided "steadfast moral leadership in a world where it is in short supply", editor Nancy Gibbs wrote.
    Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named runner-up and third place went to US presidential hopeful Donald Trump.
    1. Angela Merkel - German chancellor since the 2005 election, leader of the CDU
    2. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - head of the Islamic State militant group
    3. Donald Trump - business magnate seeking Republican nomination as US presidential candidate
    4. Black Lives Matter - activist group campaigning against violence towards black people, notably in the US
    5. Hassan Rouhani - president of Iran since 2013
    6. Travis Kalanick - US entrepreneur, founder of the Uber transportation network firm
    7. Caitlyn Jenner - born Bruce Jenner, became 1976 Olympic decathlon champion, officially changed name and gender in 2015

    President hails scout movement for harnessing youth's potential

    New Delhi, Dec 9: Presenting the Scout/Guide/Rover/Ranger and Adult Leader Award Certificates for the year 2014 at Rashtrapati Bhavan, President Pranab Mukherjee said that over the years this award has inspired many Scouts and Guides and even others to work for community service and nation building.
    The movement of Scout and Guides is a unique platform available to the youth to learn through experience, the values of friendship, hard work, harmony and humanity. Since its inception in 1907, under the leadership of Robert-Baden Powell, the movement has spread throughout the world. Today almost every country in the world has presence of Scouting and Guiding organization. Through its activities like community services, integration camps, exchange programs, outdoor activities, the Scout movement aims to inspire youth to contribute positively in the development of nation and the society.
    India is a young nation, with more than half of its population of the age of twenty-five years or less. In order to truly harness the potential of youth, we need to inculcate in them the core civilizational values i.e. compassion for all; love for motherland; respect for women; truth and honesty in life; discipline and self-restraint in conduct, and responsibility in action. The scout movement aims to fulfill these values.

    "Red alert" on air pollution in Beijing, schools closed

    Beijing, Dec 8: Beijing has tightened its belt to bring down pollution level. The first-ever red alert for smog was issued on Monday, urging schools to close and invoking restrictions on factories and traffic that will keep half of the city's vehicles off the roads. Readings of PM2.5 particles climbed toward 300 micrograms per cubic meter on Monday and are expected to continue rising before the air begins to improve with the arrival of a cold front on Thursday. The World Health Organization designates the safe level for the tiny, poisonous particles at 25.
    Along with school closures and limiting cars to driving every other day depending on the last number of their license plate, a raft of other restrictions will seek to reduce the amount of dust and other particulate matter in the city of 22.5 million people.
    Officials said extra subway trains and buses would be added to handle the additional strain on public transport.

    UN Secy General welcomes Modi-Sharif meeting

    Paris, Dec 1: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the Paris climate summit. When asked for the UN chief's response to the meeting, Mr Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, they welcome it.
    Mr Modi and Mr Sharif met briefly yesterday in Paris as the climate conference began in the French capital. The two leaders warmly held hands before sitting down for a chat. The Indian side describing the encounter as a brief exchange of courtesies, but Pakistanis terming it as a good meeting.
    The meeting was the first between the two leaders after July when they had met in the Russian city of Ufa.

    Meet needs for clean energy in a spirit of partnership: PM

    Paris, Nov 30: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has hoped that the climate summit being held at Paris will arrive at an agreement that restores the balance between ecology and economy - between our inheritance and our obligation to the future.
    Modi emphasized collective global commitment balancing responsibilities and capabilities on one hand with aspirations and needs on the other. It should recognise that, while some face a choice between lifestyles and technologies, others stand between deprivation and hope.
    Democratic India is among the world's fastest-growing economies. We are striving to meet the aspirations of 1.25bn people, 300m more of whom will soon have access to modern sources of energy while 90m gain running water.
    The instinct of our culture is to take a sustainable path to development
    India is also experiencing the impact of climate change caused by the industrial age of the developed world. We are concerned about our 7,500km of coastline, more than 1,300 islands, the glaciers that sustain our civilisation and our millions of vulnerable farmers.
    We will play our part. We have pledged that, by 2030, we will reduce emissions intensity by at least 33 per cent of 2005 levels, and 40 per cent of installed power capacity will be from non-fossil fuel sources. We will have 175GW of renewables by 2022, and have imposed levies on coal and rationalised subsidies on petroleum products. Additional forest and tree cover will absorb at least 2.5bn worth of carbon dioxide. We will clean our rivers and create smart cities. We are replacing diesel with clean energy, and building 50 new metro railways.
    Justice demands that, with what little carbon we can still safely burn, developing countries are allowed to grow. We should meet our need for clean energy and healthy habitats in a spirit of partnership, not put nations on different sides. India will work with governments, laboratories and industry to facilitate a natural transition to a clean energy era through affordable and accessible renewable energy.

    Brussels remains on highest alert; 16 detained; Paris attack key suspect still at large

    Belgium, Nov 23: Belgian Police detained 16 people in a number of raids but lone surviving terrorist of the attack, Salah Abdeslam was not among them. The prosecutors announced that police authorities maintained their highest terror alert in the capital Brussels for a third straight day.
    Following a national security council meeting, Prime Minister Charles Michel said that universities, schools and the metro would stay shut amid a serious and imminent threat of terror attacks. He said, the rest of the country will be at a threat level of three on a four-tier scale.
    Meanwhile, French authorities have released a photograph of the third of three suicide bombers who blew themselves up outside Stade de France in Paris on the 13th of this month. Investigators said, the assailant turned up among refugees on Greek Island of Leros on the 3rd of last month, along with another attacker whose photo has been released but remains unidentified.
    Only one of the three assailants has been identified so far as French national Bilal Hadfi, who lived in Belgium. They were among seven gunmen and suicide bombers in the wave of co-ordinated attacks in Paris that left 130 dead and many others injured.

    World Toilet Day observed

    New Delhi, Nov 19: Just like any other right, it's every person's right to clean water and sanitation.
    To address and educate people about the the same, in 2013, the UN officially recognized November 19 as World Toilet Day to motivate and mobilize millions around the world on issues of sanitation.
    It strives to make sanitation for all a global development priority and to draw attention to global sanitation issues. The theme for 2015 is nutrition and sanitation, giving emphasis on the importance of toilets to support adequate nutrition and better health and educate people who do not have access to toilets.
    Nutrition is related to potable drinking water and cleanliness as well as proper hygienic practice. However, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan started by the NDA government is indeed something to cheer about.
    The government has invested in providing access to toilets, with 89 lakh individual household latrines being constructed in the last year. 3.17 lakh toilets have been built in schools which is a remarkable improvement in the state of affairs.
    According to the United Nations, 2.4 billion people around the world don't have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers.

    India, China agree to deepen defence ties, maintain peace at LAC

    New Delhi, Nov 17: India and China have decided to deepen bilateral defence ties and maintain peace and tranquility at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The two countries also decided to strengthen cooperation against terror, including at the international level. The decisions came after a meeting between Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and General Fan Changlong, Vice-Chairman of China's powerful Central Military Commission (CMC). Gen. Fan is heading the highest-level Chinese defence delegation to visit India in recent years.
    A Defence Ministry said, both Mr. Parrikar and Gen. Fan condemned the recent terror strike in Paris and agreed to strengthen cooperation to fight the menace of terrorism, including at the international level. Mr. Parrikar also offered to share India's expertise in fighting terrorism by way of joint exercises, among other initiatives. The statement said, the visit signifies the enhanced defence exchanges between India and China. During the meeting with Defence Minister, the two sides agreed to implement the consensus reached between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping to ensure peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas.
    Gen. Fan and Mr. Parrikar were of the view that peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas is the cornerstone for smooth development of bilateral relations in diverse areas. They felt that the two armed forces shoulder important responsibilities for maintenance of peace and tranquility and agreed to further enhance communications and exchanges between the two armed forces.
    The two sides welcomed the operationalisation of additional border personnel meeting points. They reviewed the ongoing exchanges and expressed satisfaction at the recently-held bilateral military exercise, 'Hand-in-Hand'. Gen. Fan will call on Prime Minister today before leaving India at the conclusion of his visit.

    Involve religious leaders, thinkers for movement against extremism

    Antalya in Turkey, Nov 16: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proposed a ten-point strategy to tackle terrorism and refugee crisis and said nations must act together to tackle terrorism. Mr. Modi made his effective intervention while speaking in working dinner session last night at G-20 summit being held at Antalya in Turkey. While speaking on this session, Mr. Modi said that changing character of terrorism and its global links and franchise relations offers new threat to pluralist and open society.
    Earlier yesterday, PM strongly condemned Paris terror attack and said the world stands united in strongly condemning dreadful acts of terror in Paris. He was speaking at BRICS leaders' meeting on sidelines of G-20 Summit in Turkey. Mr Modi further suggested that there is a need for united global efforts to combat terrorism.
    In the last night session, Prime Minister reiterated his stand against terrorism and proposed ten measures and called upon G-20 leaders to must act upon. PM said world must speak in one voice against terrorism and there should be no discrimination between terrorist groups. Mr Modi called for isolating sponsors and their supporters.
    Prime Minister also suggested the leaders present in the dinner that restructuring of international legal frame work is required. He also emphasized to adopt a comprehensive convention on international terrorism without delay. Prime Minister's proposal came at a moment when the terror attack on France is being condemned in one voice by leaders participating in G-20 summit.
    The G-20 leaders also observed two minute silence as a mark the respect for those who lost their lives in deadly Paris attacks.
    While proposing the ten point strategy the Prime Minister said that old structure of terrorism remains there and there are countries that still use it as an instrument of state policy. Mr. Modi further narrated his proposal which includes strengthen efforts to prevent supply of arms to terrorist and curb and criminalize terror financing, enhance international cooperation in intelligence, secure cyber space, delink terror and terrorism. PM also suggested that we should involve religious leaders, thinkers and opinion makers for social movement against extremism. He also advised long term approach and stronger role for United Nations in dealing with refugee crisis.
    Mentioning current refugee crisis as one of the greatest human challenges, Mr. Modi thanked the countries that have opened their borders and shelters to address ongoing refuge crisis.
    The G-20 Host Turkey is also facing same problems. Since, Syria is neighbor country the security of Turkey has become vulnerable.

    Incessant rains for 5 days in TN claim 55 lives

    Chennai, Nov 14: The north-east monsoon has wrought havoc in Tamil Nadu. Heavy rains in Cuddalore district alone have led to the death of 27 people. The total death toll has been placed at 55. Most areas in Chennai are under knee-deep water, resulting in closure of schools and colleges. Road and rail traffic too have been affected. More than 26 flights had to be cancelled. The trough of low pressure formed over southwest Andaman Sea is expected to develop into a low pressure area over southeast Bay of Bengal according to Met office. This is expected to bring in heavy rain in northern and coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of 43 persons killed in rain related incidents. Meanwhile, in Bhopal the minimum temp was recorded at 17.2 degrees Celsius and the maximum was at 32.8.

    Post 2005, Hindu daughters have inheritance rights in ancestral property

    New Delhi, Nov 3: Supreme Court has said that a daughter's right to ancestral property does not arise if the father died before the amendment to Hindu law came into force in 2005. Apex court held that amended provisions of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, do not have retrospective effect. The father would have to be alive on 9th of Sept, 2005, if the daughter were to become a co-sharer with her male siblings. A bench of Justices Anil R Dave and Adarsh K Goel held that the date of a daughter becoming co-parcener is on and from the commencement of the Act.
    The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 did not give daughters inheritance rights in ancestral property. However, the Congress-led UPA government modified this Act on Sept 9th, 2005. Earlier, women could only ask for sustenance from a joint Hindu family. The only restriction in force after the passage of this amendment was that women could not ask for a share if the property had been alienated or partitioned before Dec 20, 2004, the date the Bill was introduced. But now the Supreme Court has added this new restriction.

    Study laws of developed countries for online sale of medicines: HC

    Mumbai, Oct 30: The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to take steps to regulate the online sale of medicines, until a specific law or rules are enacted. A division bench of Justices Naresh Patil and SB Shukare was hearing a PIL against the online sale of medicines.
    The Government informed the High Court that it had set up an experts' committee in the chairmanship of Foods and Drugs Administration Commissioner for regulation of sale of medicines through online portals.
    The High Court advised the committee to study laws of developed countries such as the United States, United Kingdom and Norway where online sale of medicines is allowed, and also of Turkey, Thailand and Korea where it is not allowed. The Government pleader said that the committee has invited suggestions till today from the people, NGOs and pharmaceutical organisations, and after perusing them, it would issue recommendations for amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.

    Sir JJ School of Arts to house RK Laxman memorial

    Mumbai, Oct 24: The Maharashtra govt plans to erect a befitting memorial to the legendary cartoonist and creator of 'The Common Man', RK Laxman, on the campus of the Sir JJ School of Arts here, a family member said here on Friday. Ironically, this is the same institution which had rejected admission of the young Laxman in the late 1930s as his "drawings failed to conform to the high expectations" of the hallowed institution! According to Laxman's daughter-in-law, `The memorial should not be just limited to a statue which nobody will notice...; plus it should be accessible to people from all over India and the world," Kicking of the 'Laxman Season' virtually on his 94th birth anniversary, the Chief minister will inaugurate a website, www.rklaxman.com on Saturday afternoon here. It has been conceptualised, designed and executed by Laxman's doting grand-daughter Rimanika and Tejas Taori.

    Geeta who strayed in Pak for over a decade to be reunited with kin

    New Delhi, Oct 26: Geeta, a hearing and speech impaired Indian woman who accidentally crossed over to Pakistan more than a decade ago, arrived this morning at Delhi airport on Pakistan International Airlines flight. In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, Ms Geeta was accompanied by the members of Edhi Foundation.
    Before boarding the flight to the Indian capital, Ms Geeta thanked the Pakistani people for hosting and taking care of her throughout the years. The Edhi foundation will continue to stay in touch with her through social media and even visit her.
    Geeta, now 23, was reportedly just 7 or 8 years old when she was found sitting alone on the Samjhauta Express by Pakistani Rangers 15 years ago at the Lahore railway station. Geeta has identified her family through a photograph sent to her by the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The family reportedly is from Bihar.
    She will be handed over to her parents only after DNA test. The External Affairs Ministry had said, if DNA does not match, she will be accommodated at either of two identified institutions in Delhi and Indore.
    Ms Geeta met External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. During the meeting, Ms Geeta expressed through her gestures to Ms Swaraj that her heart has been always been in India.
    Meanwhile, a team of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences has collected DNA samples of Ms Geeta for testing to determine the parentage of the family identified by her.

    130 pilots taking part in Paragliding World Cup

    Kangra, Oct 24: The Paragliding World Cup will begin today at Bir Billing near Baijnath town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh. State Urban Development Minister and President Billing Paragliding Association Sudhir Sharma said, this is for the first time that this event is being organised in a South Asian country. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju will flag off the event.
    Kangra District Administration and the state government have made elaborate arrangements for the purpose. Snow leopard will be the mascot of this World Cup. More than 130 registered pilots including 14 women pilots from thirty five countries would take part in this one week competition. The different categories of this competition are Paragliding, Hand gliding, Hot air ballooning, and Acrobatic shows. Among the eight Indian flyers six are from the Himachal Pradesh only. To meet any emergent situation forty rescue teams equipped with latest equipment would be deployed at various strategic locations besides helicopters and Air ambulance.

    Govt to import another 3,000 tonnes of pulses

    New Delhi, Oct 20: The government on Monday decided to import another 3,000 tonnes of pulses - 2,000 tonnes of arhar and 1,000 tonnes of urad-as retail price of arhar crossed Rs 200 per kg in two southern cities. A government release said the decision to import 3,000 tonnes of pulses was taken in a high-level meeting chaired by cabinet secretary PK Sinha along with secretaries of consumer affairs, agriculture and commerce ministries. In Mysuru arhar dal was selling at Rs 205 per kg and Rs 210 in Puducherry.
    Last week, the maximum retail price was Rs 185 per kg. The prices of pulses have increased abnormally in the last few months due to reduction in domestic production and also shortage across the globe, particularly in the case of arhar. Cabinet secretary directed that all 400 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Safal in Delhi should start distributing imported arhar immediately.

    More medical colleges needed in the country: Jaitley

    New Delhi, Oct 19: The country is in need of more medical colleges to meet the growing need of doctors and other para medics in the country, which is quite inadequate at present. The country is capable of producing huge talent of human resources in the medical field, and we need to expand quality medical institutions and medical colleges in the country. This was stated by the Union Finance Minister, Arun Jaitly during his address at the 43rd Convocation of AIIMS, New Delhi, here yesterday. Jaitley also stated that there is a need to look into the policy on organ donation to learn from the best practices across the world, in the Indian context, and without commercializing it.
    The Finance Minister stated that people in the country, in their dire need, look towards AIIMS for their health care needs, and this places an onerous responsibility on the Institution to be the best and excel in face of the challenge of catering to the health needs of such a large footfall. Despite having an 'elite institution' tag, AIIMS continues to serve the common masses. The competence and credibility that AIIMS has developed over the years is no small task, the Finance Minister stated. It is the missionary zeal of the faculty, the doctors, the researchers and others serving at AIIMS that has made this possible.

    Angus gets Nobel memorial prize in economic sciences

    Stockholm, Oct 12: Scottish economist Angus Deaton has won the Nobel memorial prize in economic sciences. He got the award for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in Stockholm today. Deaton, who was born in Edinburgh in 1945, now works at Princeton University in the United States.
    The economics award is not a Nobel Prize in the same sense as the others, which were created by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel in 1895. Sweden's central bank added the economics prize in 1968 as a memorial to Nobel.
    The announcement concludes this year's presentations of Nobel winners. The awards will be handed out on December 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896, at lavish ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo.

    3 scientists share Nobel Prize for medicine for work on parasitic diseases

    Oslo, Oct 6: The Nobel Prize for medicine has been jointly awarded this year to three scientists for their work on parasitic diseases.
    Half of the award goes to Ireland's William Campbell and Japan's Satoshi Omura, who discovered a new drug to treat infections caused by roundworm parasites.
    The other half goes to China's Tu Youyou, who used traditional herbal medicine to find a new kind of antimalarial agent.
    "Parasitic diseases affect the world's poorest populations and represent a huge barrier to improving human health and wellbeing," the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, which awards the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, said Monday.
    "These two discoveries have provided humankind with powerful new means to combat these debilitating diseases that affect hundreds of millions of people annually. The consequences in terms of improved human health and reduced suffering are immeasurable."

    Rly minister launches knowledge portal for information

    New Delhi, Sept 29: aking forward PM Modi's ambitious 'Digital India' aspirations , Railways ,minister on Monday launched a knowledge portal for dissemination of detailed information on Indian Railways.
    The Knowledge Portal , is an initiative of the National Academy of Indian Railways and has aggregated most of the available knowledge about Indian Railways at one location by linking websites, documents for dissemination of knowledge on the public transporter.
    The Knowledge Portal Home Page also gives a brief of all the social media activities of the Indian Railway sites.
    Besides the portal has web pages on fan clubs, heritage, and rail museums across the world which is accessible at kportal.indianrailways

    INS Trikand enters Toulon, France on three-day visit

    Mumbai, Sept 26: In continuation of Indian Navy's overseas deployment to West Asia, Africa and Europe, INS Trikand entered Toulon today for a three-day visit. The ship will engage extensively with the French Navy during its stay in the country. Apart from professional interaction, a number of sports and social engagements are also planned, which would go a long way in enhancing cooperation and understanding towards mutually beneficial issues of maritime interest. The Indian and French Navies routinely undertake bilateral maritime exercises known as VARUNA which is the fulcrum of maritime engagement between the two navies.
    INS Trikand, commanded by Captain Vinay Kalia, is a state-of-the-art warship of the Indian Navy equipped with a versatile range of weapons and sensors capable of addressing threats in all the three dimensions-air, surface and sub-surface. The visiting ship is part of the Indian Navy's Western Fleet and is under the operational command of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, with its Headquarters at Mumbai.
    Indian naval assets are regularly deployed as part of the Indian Navy's mission of building 'Bridges of Friendship' and strengthening international cooperation with friendly countries as well as to address maritime concerns of the region including piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
    Relations between India and France have traditionally been close and friendly. With the establishment of the strategic partnership in 1998, there has been significant progress in all areas of bilateral co-operation including defence, nuclear energy and space. Both countries conduct a high-level annual exercise code-named 'Varuna', the last edition of which was conducted off Goa this year with the participation of the French aircraft carrier, Charles De Gaulle. India and France are also collaborating in the Scorpene submarine programme, under which six submarines are being built in India with French assistance.

    Govt exempts social media from purview of Encryption Policy

    New Delhi, Sept 22: Department of Electronics and Information Technology has clarified that social media websites and applications will be exempted from the purview of the National Encryption Policy.
    A proposed addendum to the policy said, the mass-use encryption products, which are currently being used in web applications, social media sites and social media applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter are being exempted from the purview of the draft National Encryption Policy.
    Encryption products used in Internet banking and payment gateways, and those used for e-commerce and password based transactions will also be exempted.
    The clarification came after public outrage grew on the new draft proposal which mandated storing messages that people send through WhatsApp, SMS, Email or any such service.

    Ganesh Chaturthi, Vishwakarma jayanti at Radio Popcorn

    Bhopal, Sept 17: The 11-day grand festival of bliss and blessings, Ganesh Chaturthi, began at the Radio Popcorn premises at Bhabha group of institutions, Jatkhedi, Hoshangabad road today. The radio jockeys, trainees and other staff took keen interest in getting the idol of Lord Ganesha, and other pooja articles. Aarti of Lord Ganesh would be done daily from today till the conclusion of the festival when the idol would be immersed in water.
    In his message to the people, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said 'Lord Shri Ganesh, the deity of wisdom and prosperity inspires to do the best and creative things in life.' Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival of national awakening. It inspires us to follow path of unity and integrity.
    The day also marked Vishwakarma jayanti. Students of various colleges of the group participated enthusiastically in the programmes along with other staff.

    Kashmiri handicrafts truly match its scenic beauty

    Kashmir, Sept 10: Kashmir offers numerous shopping attractions to its visitors. The amazing handicrafts of the valley of Kashmir truly match its scenic beauty. The Pashmina shawls of Kashmir are one of such handicraft items that are famous throughout the world.
    Those associated with the business say, gradually their business is witnessing a downfall.. lets take a look at what all problems they face, in this report.
    Gulzar Ahmed for the past around five years, he has been associated with the business of making Kashmiri hand-embroidered shawls.
    Gulzar says, Kashmiri shawls costs some where from 300 to 1.5 lakh rupees depending up on its variety. Businessman Mushtaq Ahmed says they seek government assistance so that their business can flourish. Along with his studies, Gulzar earn money by making exquisite shawls.Gulzar says, addition and subtraction of mathematics is also used in making shawls.
    It takes around 2-3 months to make one shawl, given the intricacy of the work. Those in the business of selling shawls believe that Kashmiri shawls have suffered a lot due to availability of fake shawls in the market.
    Kashmiri shawls have a huge demand in many parts of the country owing to its exquisite designs and patterns that defines the Kashmiri workmanship.

    Ex-servicemen welcome Centre's decision on OROP

    New Delhi, Sept 7: Welcoming the government's decision to implement OROP, agitating ex-servicemen today announced withdrawal of their hunger strike. However, they will continue their protest till all the sticky issues are resolved.
    Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, leader of the association leading the agitation, said the protest will continue till four specific points raised by the ex- servicemen are not accepted by the government. The ex-servicemen said revision of pension after a gap of five years as announced by the government is not at all acceptable to them, besides appointment of a one-man judicial commission to examine various aspects of one rank-one pension (OROP).
    He urged all those who are on hunger strike to withdraw it as the prime minister has clarified on the issue of premature retirement.

    Annual revision of pension not possible, says FM Jaitley on OROP

    New Delhi,Sept 01: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday virtually ruled out annual revision of pension as demanded by agitating ex-servicemen under 'One rank, One pension' but said govt will safeguard interests of soldiers retiring at an early age through higher pensions. Annual revision in pensions do not happen anywhere in the world, he said.
    Mr Jaitley told a private channel that the Govt is committed to One Rank One Pension, OROP but the only difficulty is the arithmetical translation.
    OROP envisages a uniform pension for the defence personnel who retire in the same rank with the same length of service, irrespective of their date of retirement.
    'I have been very vigilant about fiscal prudence and therefore my job is really that of a housewife in the sense that you must measure every rupee that the house spends so that you don't overspend & then borrow.

    Centre's seeks Rs 640cr in damages from maker of Maggi noodles

    New Delhi, Aug 17: The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) today issued notice to Nestle, the manufacturer of Maggi noodles, on the Centre's plea seeking about Rs 640 crore in damages for alleged unfair trade practices, false labelling and misleading advertisements.
    Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain said after the preliminary hearing that the court has also sought fresh, sealed samples to be tested by accredited labs. He said, further course of action will be decided by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
    The Ministry had filed a class action suit against Nestle, the first time the government dragged a company to NCDRC using a provision in the nearly three-decade-old Consumer Protection Act. Last week, the Bombay High Court had lifted the ban on the sale of nine various instant noodle brands.

    Efforts are on to replace SW, MW transmitters with FM broadcasts

    New Delhi, July 23: Today is National Broadcasting day. On this day in 1927, Indian Broadcasting Company began organized radio broadcasting from Bombay station. To mark the occasion, All India Radio organized a symposium in New Delhi on the subject ’Creation of New India and Broadcasting Medium’. Speaking at the symposium, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore said, Prasar Bharati has been playing a significant role in taking news of public interest to the length and breadth of the country. He said, news broadcast by All India Radio is impartial, balanced and fair. Mr Rathore said, government is committed to the autonomy of Prasar Bharati. He said, in Prasar Bharati public service comes first. He said, efforts are on to replace shortwave and Medium wave transmitters with FM broadcasts throughout the country. He said, government is taking steps to encourage and strengthen Community Radio.

    Over one lakh pilgrims pay obeisance at Amarnath cave

    J&K, July 9: In Jammu & Kashmir, over one lakh pilgrims paid obeisance at the Holy Cave and had darshan of Ice Shiv Lingam during eight days of Yatra till last evening.
    Meanwhile, two more Amarnath pilgrims died of cardiac arrest taking the death toll to four during the ongoing yatra, even as the footfall of the pilgrims at the 3,880 metre high cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas is likely to cross the one lakh mark by this evening. NB Patel (65), a resident of Gujarat, died at Chandanwari along the 45-km Pahalgam cave route in Anantnag district of south Kashmir last night, officials said. PI
    Another 70-year-old Baidev Raj Khoda, a resident of New Delhi, breathed his last at Domail along the shorter 16-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district late last night. The officials said both the pilgrims died of cardiac arrest and their bodies were brought back to the base camps and handed over to their relatives for last rites.
    With the death of the duo, a total of four pilgrims have died during the ongoing yatra which commenced from the twin tracks on 2 July.
    The ninth batch of 1885 registered pilgrims comprising of 262 women, 29 children and a group of 100 sadhus in a cavalcade of 53 vehicles, left today morning from Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas Base Camp that travels through Jammu-Srinagar National Highway escorted by security, to reach base camps in Pahalgam Anantnag and Baltal in Ganderbal district.
    Meanwhile, MeT office has predicted scattered to fairly widespread rainy conditions here.

    IMA: Right to Health be made a fundamental right

    Vadodara, July 1: IMA demands that Right to Health be made a fundamental right. To achieve this goal, the government should strengthen the public healthcare delivery system and promote and support the private health sector which caters to 70 per cent of the healthcare demands of our country, says State IMA president, Dr Chetan Patel said.
    Indian Medical Association (IMA) and its branches are celebrating Doctor's Day across the country today. The focus if this year's celebrations is the principles that govern the relationship between a doctor and the patients. Along with the doctors, their families, social organizations and the general public are participating in the various events. Blood donation camps are also being organized.
    Some discussions to be taken up by the IMA include among others, the increase in the cases of violence against doctors and medical establishments. According to the IMA, the society needs to create an atmosphere where doctors can practice with peace and dignity and will allow the medical fraternity to put forward the best possible healthcare.
    The focus during the various conferences will also include healthcare issues such as the rate of maternal mortality and rate of infant mortality in the region.

    Malad hooch toll climbs up to 81; 31 more battling for life

    Mumbai, June 20: The death toll has gone up to 81 while around 36 others still continue to battle for life in Mumbai’s various hospitals. The death toll in this case is likely to rise, as a few of these patients remain critical.
    According to Mumbai Police, most of these victims include auto rickshaw drivers, rag pickers and scrap collectors. All the affected had consumed a concoction being sold in plastic bags at Laxmi Nagar slums in suburban Malad on Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
    Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has informed that 8 policemen including the in charge of Malwani Police Station, senior Police Inspector Prakash Patil have been suspended for dereliction of duty.
    Meanwhile, the three persons arrested in this case were remanded to police custody till 26th of this month by a local court on Friday. All were booked under Sections 304, punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Section 328 causing hurt by means of poison and 34 Act done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. The accused have been identified as Raju Langda, Donald Patel and Gautam Harte. Police further informed that the search for other three suspects is going on.

    Diabetes emerges as a major disease burden for India

    June 15: A latest study has showed diabetes is now among the top ten reasons for various other disorders among both men and women as it breeds obesity, obstructive sleep apnoea, severe kidney and lower urinary tract infection, stroke and many other diseases.
    While diabetes rate has increased by around 45% globally, it has jumped 123% in India between 1990 and 2013. The findings are part of a global study conducted by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
    The study, based on the analysis of 301 acute and chronic diseases and injuries in 188 countries, said the trend which has been more common in rich countries for several decades is now picking up in developing nations such as India, China and Mexico.
    Maximum jump was observed in Type 2 diabetes, which is usually related to obesity and is the most common form of the disease. Experts say the trend is linked to the economic development of India over last two decades which has massively impacted the lifestyle including the eating and sleeping habits among youngsters.
    Increased stress level, irregular working hours, lack of exercise and consumption of alcohol and fast food were some of the significant contributors for the increasing incidence of diabetes in India, according to a doctor.
    More youngsters now face heart diseases, blood abnormalities, nerve damage, arthritis and other such disorders. The study, however, shows a slight decline in deaths from communicable diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, while chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes are on the rise.

    Robin voted UK's favourite bird in national poll

    London, June 12: The robin has been voted the UK's first national bird in a poll of more than 200,000 people. The BBC Springwatch presenter David Lindo led the campaign, and wants the government to officially name the robin as the national bird. The red-breasted bird received 34% of votes, followed by the barn owl, which received 12%, and the blackbird, 11%.
    Britain should have a national bird like many other countries. More than 224,000 people voted online, at ballot boxes in schools and by post. The robin was initially selected - along with nine other birds - from a list of 60 in a preliminary vote. A ballot for the final 10 then opened to the British public in March. Polling closed on the day of the general election, 7 May.
    Other contenders included the wren, the red kite and the kingfisher - which came 4th, 5th and 6th respectively. The mute swan came 7th in the vote, followed by the blue tit, the hen harrier and the puffin.
    If the government agrees the robin should represent the UK, it would join the ranks of these other national birds from around the world:
    The United States boasts the somewhat larger American bald eagle as its national bird - and indeed, national animal. It has held this status since 1782 and appears on the US seal.
    The colourful Indian peacock has been the national bird of India since 1963, reportedly chosen because of its distribution within the country and its association with national myths and legends.
    France has the Gallic rooster as its national bird - the Latin word Gallus meaning "inhabitant of Gaul" as well as "rooster". In Australia, the emu appears on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms, along with the kangaroo.

    Govt finalizes guidelines for Smart Cities Mission & AMRUT

    New Delhi, June 4: Government has finalized the guidelines for Smart Cities Mission and the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT). Urban Development Minister Venkaiah Naidu today held a meeting with officials to review the status of Smart Cities Mission and the AMRUT. He also had meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issues yesterday. In a tweet, Mr. Naidu said the programmes will be launched soon. The two programmes aim at recasting the urban landscape of the country to make urban areas more livable and inclusive besides driving the economic growth. Central government will spend about one lakh crore rupees under two missions over the next five years.
    Under the Smart Cities Mission, 100 smart cities will be developed to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure for enhancing the quality of urban life. The AMRUT adopts a project approach to ensure basic infrastructure services relating to water supply, sewerage, storm water drains, transport and development of green spaces and parks with special provision for meeting the needs of children. The Mission will be implemented in 500 cities and towns each with a population of one lakh and above.

    Canada court orders tobacco firms to pay billions

    Quebec, June 3: A Canadian court has ordered tobacco firms to pay $12.4bn to smokers in Quebec who claimed they were never warned about health risks linked to smoking. Superior Court Justice Brian Riordan said in his decision released late on Monday that by choosing not to inform health authorities or the public directly of what they knew, the companies chose profits over the health of their customers.
    The case is believed to be the biggest class-action lawsuit ever seen in Canada. JTI-Macdonald, Imperial Tobacco, and Rothmans, Benson & Hedges said they will appeal. The judgement calls on the companies to issue initial compensation of more than $800m in the next 60 days, regardless of whether they elect to appeal. The judge will decide at a later date how to distribute those funds.
    The Quebec case marked the first time tobacco companies had gone to trial in a civil lawsuit in Canada and involved two separate groups of plaintiffs: some of whom became seriously ill from smoking and others who said they couldn't quit. Riordan denounced the firms' actions.
    "The companies earned billions of dollars at the expense of the lungs, the throats and the general well-being of their customers," he wrote.

    Literature extremely important in the current age of technology

    New Delhi, May 5: Today is World Asthma Day. It is observed by the Global Initiative for Asthma, GINA every year the first Tuesday of May. This year's central theme is You Can Control Your Asthma.
    According to the World Health Organisation, WHO there are about 300 million people suffering from asthma across the globe. About 60,000 people die of asthma in India every year. Asthma is a lung disorder that obstructs breathing and the patient experiences chronic inflammation leading to narrowing of the airway that causes recurrent asthma attacks.
    It is also one of the most common non-communicable diseases among children and remains highly un-diagnosed and un-treated. The exact cause of asthma is still undiscovered however in most cases it is linked to hereditary as well as environmental factors.
    Asthma usually appears through symptoms like coughing, tightness in the chest, breathlessness and a patient should not neglect these factors and consult a doctor immediately. It is important to diagnose asthma at an early stage as it helps preserve the lungs. Simple tools like peak flow meter are available to diagnose and monitor asthma for everyone.
    By using combined airway approach and inhalation therapy, asthma can be fully controlled. But patients should continue taking medication as stopping medication midway can worsen the situation.

    Literature extremely important in the current age of technology

    New Delhi, Apr 27: PM Narendra Modi said that creative writing has the capacity to touch lives of several generations.
    Emphasizing the combination of wisdom and prosperity as the key to India's progress, Modi appealed to the people to inculcate reading habits. The PM was addressing audience after the presentation of the 50th Jnanpeeth Award to Prof Bhalchandra Nemade.
    He reiterated that solutions to the problems of global warming and climate change, which the world is debating today, can be found in the Vedas. Praising the writing of Prof Bhalchandra Nemade, the Prime Minister compared his views with those of Shri Aurobindo.
    The Prime Minister emphasized that literature is extremely important in the current age of technology.
    He said people must ensure a special place for books in their homes. He recalled the "Vaanche Gujarat" (Read Gujarat) initiative that he had launched.

    Nadda seeks greater cooperation in eradicating TB before 2020

    New Delhi, Apr 24: Seeking to reach out to tuberculosis patients, the Govt on Thursday said that it will launch a toll-free helpline, whereby even a missed call would suffice to connect them with the health programme against the disease. We will use the mobile and telecommunication technology and provide platform to suspected patients to call us on a toll-free number seeking help and guidance. Even a missed call will suffice.
    Based on the call received, our team will reach the person who had made the call, check his or her status of TB and ensure the persons is covered in the programme to get correct diagnosis, free drugs, treatment and follow up. The missed call campaign will reflect a pro-active approach, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda said in New Delhi on Thursday.
    He added that for the making the missed call programme successful, training and capacity building in the states will have to be undertaken before it is formally launched. Launching the `TB Free India' initiative in New Delhi, Nadda said India accounts for nearly 25 per cent of the TB patients in the world and reaching out to nearly a third of them is a major impediment.

    Pitching for greater media advocacy for TB awareness, Nadda emphasised on greater cooperation in eradicating the disease from the country before 2020. He said, resources will not be a constraint in combating the disease. Referring to the eradication of polio from the country, Nadda said, it was important "To do polio to TB". For effective combating, he said, the government will ensure 90 per cent coverage of BCG (vaccine) under 'Mission Indradhanush'. `Our aim is to diagnose all TB cases within 2 weeks of symptoms and refer them to the nearest public health centre. For this purpose, extensive use of rapid diagnostic kits and active screening of high-risk population shall be done.' `We will work to achieve matched international cure rates for MDR and XDR TB. It is important to have a rigorous follow up of treatment and ensure free treatment at the doorsteps,' Nadda added.
    Emphasising on the 'Make in India' campaign, the minister said, it was important to encourage research in new drugs and new drug regimes. `We will have schemes to incentivise patients to help complete therapy. We will also be working in coordination with other ministries to ensure linking of TB patients and their families to various welfare schemes of the government so that the earning of these families increase and thus they have nutritional support which will enhance the immunity status of each member of the family,' Nadda added.
    The programme was held in the presence of representatives from the USAID, WHO, International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases, World Bank and several other organisations.

    NGT notice to states, UTs on vehicular pollution

    New delhi, Apr 18: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday sought the response from all states and Union Territories (UTs) seeking the status on steps taken to prevent air pollution caused by vehicles.
    A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar issued notice to the chief secretaries of all states and UTs and directed them also to submit the information on density of vehicles.

    The green panel asked the states to take ambient air quality samples in their areas and submit reports in this regard.
    The Tribunal has also asked the state governments to come up with suggestions to combat air pollution in the respective states. The Tribunal had earlier stayed for two weeks its order to impound more than 10 year old diesel vehicles, heavy or light, plying in the national capital.
    On 7th April it had held that all diesel vehicles which were over 10 years will not be permitted to ply in Delhi-NCR. Dismayed at increasing air pollution in the national capital, the Tribunal had banned all vehicles which were more than 15 years old from plying on the city roads.

    Making swimming compulsory: Bangladesh sets example

    Dhaka, Apr 10: As a preventive measure against drowning, the Bangladesh Government has made swimming lessons compulsory in schools. According to United Nation figures, about 18,000 children between five and 17 die each year because they cannot swim. The Education Ministry says rural ponds and lakes will be made suitable for lessons and University pools opened up.
    In India too a number people including women and children lose their lives due to drowning. Human swimming is the self-propulsion of a person through water, usually for the purpose of recreation, sport, exercise or survival. In some countries, swimming lessons are a compulsory part of the educational curriculum.
    As a formalized sport, swimming features in a range of local, national, and international competitions, including every modern summer Olympics, which occurs every four years.

    Indian-origin nurse in Singapore to receive global award

    Singapore, Apr 1: An Indian-origin nurse in Singapore will receive an international achievement award for her work in the healthcare sector of women and refugees, becoming the first Singaporean to get the prestigious biennial prize. Dr Subadhra Devi Rai, a nurse and a senior lecturer at the School of Health Sciences (Nursing) at Nanyang Polytechnic in Singapore, will be bestowed by this year's International Achievement Award by the Florence Nightingale International Foundation.
    Dr Rai was selected as the recipient of the award for her outstanding work in the health of women and refugees. Speaking to the media, Dr Rai said she felt `honoured and humbled to receive this recognition' and hopes that this award sends a `powerful message to other nurses to serve beyond the healthcare setting'.
    `Without a strong understanding and awareness of the people you are helping, there would be a mismatch between the support rendered and what is needed,' Dr Rai was quoted as saying by the local media.
    Her area of interest focuses on issues such as gender-based violence, sexual health and the reintegration of refugees. Over the years, she had been volunteering and working with different organisations to help and raise policy awareness for these issues.
    The NYP lecturer decided to go into teaching when she realised that the younger generation is the key to a better nursing industry in the future.
    "Being in this position allows me to inculcate in my students what is it actually is to be a nurse," she said, adding that she wants to initiate change in the nursing profession by instilling pride of being a nurse in students.
    Dr Rai hopes that with this award, she can inspire her colleagues to aspire more, and that the "sky's the limit".

    Digital India dream: Twitter, Union Govt join hands

    New Delhi, Mar 25: Giving a further push to its Digital India dream, the government has launched a new platform ‘Twitter Samvad’ in association with social networking service Twitter to facilitate direct communication between leaders, government agencies and citizens.
    The service was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his meeting with Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo in New Delhi yesterday. Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, Costolo said, India is one of the fastest-growing markets and will remain the centre of innovation for the company.
    The service is aimed to boost the nation's e-governance plans. Through this, the government bodies can have a direct communication with citizens on a daily basis via Tweets and SMS on their mobile devices.
    As of now, 16 government offices, including the Prime Minister's Office, Ministry of railways, the Bengaluru Police and the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are participating in Twitter Samvad, which is powered by Bengaluru-based ZipDial, which was recently acquired by Twitter.
    During the meeting with Costolo, the Prime Minister also spoke about avenues through which Twitter can help in initiatives such as ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ and ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’. He also urged Twitter to help promote India’s rich tourist potential across the world. Mr Modi talked about the International Day of Yoga and how Twitter can contribute in making it more vibrant across the world.

    New study reveals how pollution increasing allergies worldwide

    London, Mar 23: A new study has provided a deeper insight into air pollution and climate change that are involved in the increasing prevalence of allergies worldwide.
    A pair of air pollutants linked to climate change could also be a major contributor to the unparalleled rise in the number of people sneezing, sniffling and wheezing during allergy season.
    The gases, nitrogen dioxide and ground-level ozone, appear to provoke chemical changes in certain airborne allergens that could increase their potency. That, in combination with changes in global climate, could help explain why airborne allergies are becoming more common.
    In previous work, Poschl; Christopher Kampf, Ph.D.; Manabu Shiraiwa, Ph.D.; and colleagues at the Max Planck Institute explored how allergy-causing substances are altered in the air. Building on that work, they decided to dig deeper into how that happens and examine how traffic-related air pollutants could increase the strength of these allergens. In laboratory tests and computer simulations, they studied the effects of various levels of ozone and nitrogen dioxide on the major birch pollen allergen called Bet v 1.
    The researchers determined that ozone, the main component of smog, oxidizes an amino acid called tyrosine that helps form Bet v 1 proteins. This transformation sets in motion a chain of chemical reactions that involves reactive oxygen intermediates and can bind proteins together, altering their structures and their potential biological effects.

    NGT announces Rs 5,000 fine for littering on railway property

    New Delhi, Mar 19: National Green Tribunal (NGT) has announced a fine of Rs 5,000 on individuals spotted littering or throwing waste on the railway platform and tracks. A bench, headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Swatanter Kumar, passed a slew of directions to the Railways and other authorities for maintaining cleanliness on railway tracks.
    The Tribunal directed the Railways and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi to place dustbins after identifying exact locations for collection of garbage. NGT directed the Railways to collect, transport and treat the waste at the treatment plants instead of directly releasing the garbage into sewer system.
    The green bench also asked the concerned authorities to install mobile toilets near slum clusters in order to control pollution caused by plastic products and human defecation around railway tracks.
    The Tribunal's direction came on a petition filed by lawyers Saloni Singh and Arush Pathania seeking a blanket ban on use and sale of plastic products on railway platforms across the country besides a ban on open defecation by people around tracks.

    Swine flu: 32 test positive in MP; Maharashtra records 17 deaths

    Bhopal/Maharashtra, Mar 16: With the rise in day temperature a few days back the health department of MP Govt was hoping that the threat from the swine flu virus would subside but to its dismay the U- turn of weather has made the matters worse again. Light drizzles on Thursday and Friday have only increased the threat due to the virus.
    In the State capital Bhopal on Thursday, 32 persons tested positive for the disease. The death toll has touched 62 and nearly 120 patients are receiving treatment of whom the condition of 25 is serious.
    In Maharashtra, death toll due to Swine flu is continuously rising, despite State health department's claims that it is well equipped to handle its prevention and control. The State Government too has announced that H1N1 patients would be treated free-of-cost at all government hospitals; the toll in Maharashtra has touched 264 since January this year. In last 24 hours a total of 17 patients passed away at various hospitals in the state; 131 new patients tested positive for the disease taking the number of swine flu cases in the state to 3135. Of these, 1123 cases are reported from Mumbai, 909 cases are from Pune and 424 cases from Nagpur.
    The highest toll has been recorded at Nagpur with a total of 55 patients dead till date. Next in the line is Pune with 47 victims and Mumbai with 21 victims. Besides locals, 21 people from other states who were under treatment at hospitals in Maharashtra passed away due to H1N1.
    It was also informed as on date 410 patients are still in hospitals undergoing treatment. Of these, 36 patients have been put on ventilators.

    40 per cent cancer cases due to consumption of tobacco

    New Delhi, Feb 4: World Cancer day is being observed on Wednesday to raise awareness on its prevention, detection, and treatment. “Rose Day is a day conceived and marked to bring cheer, happiness and smiles to cancer patients all over the country in major cancer treatment centres.
    The theme for this year is "Not beyond us" which highlights the fact that there are many practical things that can be done as individuals and as communities to reduce the burden of cancer.
    Rising addiction to smoking among the youth is one of the foremost causes of spread of cancer in this section of the society. Considering the grave state of the spread of Cancer, the World Health Organisation has cautioned that by 2020, Cancer will be the top most killer disease in the world.

    Legendary cartoonist RK Laxman cremated with state honours

    Pune, Jan 27: The last rites of legendary cartoonist RK Laxman (94) were performed today at Vaikuntha cremetorium in Pune with full state honours. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis attended the funeral and announced that the State government will build a memorial as a tribute to RK Laxman.
    Laxman has been famous for his 'You Said It' pocket cartoons, featuring the famous 'Common Man'.
    He was born in Mysore. His father was a headmaster and Laxman was the youngest of six sons.
    A Padma Vibhushan, Laxman also won the Magsaysay award in 1984 for journalism, literature and creative communication arts. He is survived by wife Kamala, herself an author, retired journalist son Srinivas and daughter-in-law, Usha.

    Rasipuram Krishnaswamy Laxman, son of a school teacher, rose to become India's best known political cartoonist while his ubiquitous 'common man' became an icon in himself. As the news of his demise broke, his admirers were seen making a beeline at the statue of 'Common Man' in Worli in Mumbai.
    Born in Mysore on October 24, 1921, Laxman was one of the seven siblings, including elder brother and eminent novelist, the late RK Narayan.
    Ironically enough, the young Laxman had to face rejection from the Mumbai's JJ School of Arts when he applied there for admission, and subsequently graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from University of Mysore even as he continued with freelancing and contributed cartoons to Blitz, Swarajya.
    His front page pocket cartoon "You said it" started in 1951 in the Times of India.
    His association with TOI continued through the six decades even as he got back to work after recovering from a paralytic stroke in 2003 that incapacitated his left side.

    Good health can be achieved by regular exercise

    Bhopal, Jan 12: Good health is very important for a person to achieve his great goals. Performing regular yoga and other exercises keeps a person's body in trim shape, said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan while addressing students at a mass `Surya Namaskar' function at a school in Bairagarh, Bhopal. The day also marks the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekanand which is observed as `National Youth Day'.
    Man's life is precious as also the number of days he lives. Swami Vivekanand believed that man could achieve any goal he sets. `Surya Namaskar' has been given prominence as it helps in the exercise for all members of the body, said Chouhan urging the students to keep themselves healthy through regular exercises.

    Protect & promote pluralism, Ansari exhorts NCC cadets

    Jan 8: "Every society has fault lines based on social, economic and political differences. These generate tensions at times. We are no exception. "We still face challenges of poverty and under-development on one hand and communalism, casteism, linguistic and regional chauvinism on the other," Ansari said while inaugurating the National Cadet Corps (NCC) Republic Day camp in New Delhi on Thursday.
    The Vice-President, in his address, urged the cadets to protect and promote pluralism which has given us a unique, composite national identity. The NCC Republic Day camp promotes a spirit of unity, camaraderie, teamwork and discipline as it brings together youth from different parts of the country enabling them to imbibe the value of "unity in diversity", the Vice-President said.
    There are a total of 2070 cadets in the camp divided in four contingents, including 707 girl cadets; drawn from 17 NCC directorates located across the country.


    Subsidised 5 kg LPG cylinder scheme for BPL families

    Bhubaneswar, Jan 6: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday launched the sale of subsidised 5-kg LPG cylinders for BPL families and others. The Minister also announced Centre's plan to introduce smaller cooking gas cylinders weighing even one and two kgs. The Minister launched the scheme as part of the oil companies' Corporate social responsibility activities to cover BPL population in urban areas. The facility is a part of the welfare programmes being undertaken by Narendra Modi Government.
    Under the pilot scheme, a BPL family would be provided with LPG connection while there would be no requirement of paying security deposit and cost of pressure regulator. The Minister encouraged people to take advantage of the scheme which is available till March 31.
    Mr Pradhan also launched the sale of 5-kg cylinders under Free Trade LPG scheme in Odisha state's capital to cater the LPG requirement for all sections of the society including the economically weaker section, student, migrant labourers who do not have proof of address due to their short stay in a particular place.
    Mr Pradhan said, LPG being a cleaner fuel, helps in creating better and smoke less cooking environment and it will greatly help women's health.


    New Jersey to hold Global Hindi Conference

    Jan 05: Hindi scholars from various parts of the world, in particular from the US and India, would congregate in New Jersey from April 3 to 5, 2015, to discuss issues pertaining to the development of the Hindi language. The participants are expected to discuss the current status of the teaching and learning of Hindi among other things. The participants are also expected to discuss individual and organisational partnerships and leadership and field capacity building and infrastructure building skills and topics, such as material selection and development funding, professional development of teachers, and volunteer management, said Ashok Ojha, coordinator of the conference in a statement.
    "We will hold sessions on topics such as,'Hindi in higher education,' 'Expanding the use of Hindi in businesses and commerce,' 'Community support for Hindi,' 'Current status of the teaching and learning of Hindi' etc," he said.

    Ojha said the theme of the conference reflects the growing urgency for coordinated efforts by the language education (public and private), government and business communities to expand and develop the quality of the Hindi field inside and outside of India. This conference will provide a forum for community members and leaders, language experts, policy makers, education administrators, advocates and other stakeholders from different parts of the US, Canada, South America and Caribbean countries, such as, Trinidad and Tobago along with experts from India to get together and share their views and research, examine a wide spectrum of opportunities, make plans for the future, identify challenges and find solutions for the advancement of the Hindi language in North America and the Caribbean region, he added.


    AirAsia flight with 162 people on board from Indonesia to Singapore goes missing

    Dec 28: An AirAsia flight with 162 people aboard went missing en route from Indonesia to Singapore today after losing contact with air traffic controllers. There were unconfirmed reports that an aircraft has crashed in the waters off East Belitung, off the east coast of Sumatra. However, the details of the aircraft were not known.

    A transport official said, Flight QZ8501 lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control just after 07:24 am local time. Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said aircraft was in the Indonesian Flight Information Region when contact was lost, 42 minutes after takeoff. There were no Indian nationals on board. An Indonesian transport official confirmed that seven crew and 155 passengers were on board. The plane took off from Surabaya (Indonesia) at 5.20 am local time and was scheduled to land at Singapore's Changi Airport at 8.30 am.

    Indonesian Transport Ministry official Hadi Mustofa said, the plane had asked for an unusual route before it lost contact, local media reported. Air Asia said the pilot had requested deviation from its flight plan because of bad weather. Indonesian TV channels said there were 149 Indonesians, three Koreans, one Singaporean, one Briton and one Malaysian on board.

    A statement on AirAsia's Face book page said, at the present there is no further information regarding the status of the passengers and crew members on board, but all parties will be informed as more information becomes available. Search and rescue operations are in progress and Air Asia is cooperating fully and assisting the rescue service, the statement said. Malaysia has also offered assistance in the search operation.

    AirAsia is popular in the region as a budget carrier. It has about 100 destinations, with subsidiaries in several Asian countries. The loss of contact with the AirAsia plane comes nearly10 months after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, which dropped off radar over Southeast Asia on March 8. Searchers are yet to find any debris from Flight MH 370,which officials believe crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

    Dos and Dont's to protect yourself from swine flu

    Dec 27: Dos list
    -Avoid close contact with an infected person.
    -It is always recommended to cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing.
    -Wash your hands frequently with disinfectant soap and water.
    -Extra care is needed for children.
    -Get yourself checked in case of high fever and breathlessness.

    Dont's list
    -As the flu is now spreading by people-to-people to contact, avoid visiting closed and crowded places.
    -Always ensure wearing a mask while going close to an infected person.
    -Don't touch your mouth and nose before washing your hands properly.
    -Keep your surroundings clean and don't forget to sanitize rooms or belongings that may have been used by patients with influenza symptoms.

    UN declares June 21 as International Yoga Day, PM Modi elated

    New York: By acclamation the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Wednesday declared June 21 International Yoga Day, recognising the ancient Indian science's "holistic approach to health and well-being."
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had proposed holding an international yoga day in his UN General Assembly speech on September 27 this year, voiced his elation on Twitter. "Elated! Have no words to describe my joy," he tweeted.
    The UNGA resolution said a goal of the Yoga Day is the "wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practising yoga would be beneficial for the health of the world population."

    "In the Sanskrit language, the meaning of the word Yoga, is 'to join' or 'to yoke'," India's Permanent Representative Asoke Kumar Mukerji told the UNGA. "We hope that the impact of this resolution will yoke our efforts in the area of Global Health."

    Symbolic of that yoking of efforts, the resolution for the Yoga Day was cosponsored by 175 of the 193 member nations across the whole spectrum of the globe, bringing together countries as diverse as the United States and Syria, Russia and Britain, and China and the Philippines, and countries from every continent and of diverse cultures and religions. The resolution was adopted by acclamation, without having to take a vote. Mukerji called it "a testimony to the enthusiastic cross cultural and universal appeal that Yoga enjoys amongst members of the United Nations."


    M Curie, F Nightingale & M Teresa top list of women who have changed the world

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been named "Asian of the Year" for being development-focused leader of India by editors of Singapore's leading daily, The Straits Times.
    "Despite being relatively new to the job, he has already made a mark on Asia, reaching out to neighbours and receiving national leaders including Xi Jinping of Chinaand Tony Abbott of Australia," said the Singapore Press Holdings Limited, publisher of the daily. It
    said Modi has had a highly successful visit to Japan for a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

    "Mr Modi has got India and the world excited about his country's prospects again. He has given his people a renewed sense of direction and purpose, and there are hopeful signs that he is minded to using his strong mandate to good effect in one of Asia's major powers. We wish him and India every success," Warren Fernandez, editor of the daily said.

    On the economy, Modi's call for a Make in India campaign, if pursued to its logical conclusion with a friendlier investment climate and less rigid labour norms, could help fire up the growth engines of the USD 2 trillion economy and provide welcome ballast to the region when the top Asian economy China is slowing, and Japan is in recession.
    "Economists project that as early as next year, India could pick up the growth baton from China. Given its huge market, its travellers who fill up hotel rooms and cruise ship cabins from Singapore to Sydney, its hunger for capital goods and commodities, a resurgent India will be a boon for the region and the world," the editors said in their citation.

    Politically and socially, Modi has energised India with his stirring calls for a development focus.
    In January, he will receive US President Barack Obama, the first time that a US leader will be the chief guest at the annual Republic Day celebrations in India, the citation said. "We look forward to presenting the award to Mr Modi in person at his convenience," Ravi Velloor, Straits Times foreign editor, said.
    The editors' choice was based on several factors. Modi was picked for being development-focused Prime Minister of India who fashioned an impressive victory for BJP in the polls.

    In every December, editors of the Singapore daily pick an Asian whose actions have significantly impacted his own society or the wider Asian continent in the 12 months past.
    Last year, the award was shared by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The inaugural award, in 2012, went to President Thein Sein of Myanmar.

    M Curie, F Nightingale & M Teresa top list of women who have changed the world

    Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and Margaret Thatcher have been named as the top three women who have 'changed the world'. The definitive list, which also includes campaigners, royals and authors, was compiled following a poll of 2,000 British adults. Also included were fashion pioneer Coco Chanel, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling and iconic sex symbol Marilyn Monroe Pioneer: Marie Curie's work in chemistry made her the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize, which she then went on to win again before dying of radiation poisoning in 1934 at the age of 66

    Powerful women: The founder of modern nursing Florence Nightingale (left) and Britain's only ever female Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (right) came second and third in the list respectively Curie, who died from radiation exposure in 1934 at the age of 66, came top. Her pioneering work in chemistry made her the first woman ever to win a Nobel Prize, which she then went on to win again. Hailed as the founder of modern nursing, 'Lady of the Lamp' Florence Nightingale, who passed away in 1910 aged 90, came second.

    Britain's first and only female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, who died in April 2013 aged 87, rounded off the top three. The 'Iron Lady' led the Conservative party for 15 years and was known for her uncompromising approach to politics. Suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst was voted fourth place and the revered Mother Teresa came fifth. British royals featured highly with Princess Diana (sixth place) receiving more votes than long-serving monarchs Queen Victoria (seventh), Queen Elizabeth I (10th) and Queen Elizabeth II (12th). The Duchess of Cambridge also made the top 40 featuring in 36th place.

    The writing of Anne Frank gave a moving commentary on the war through one little girl's diary until her tragic death in 1945 and sees her placed inside the top 10. When quizzed on the common characteristics of the women in the list, the fact that so many were unafraid to challenge the beliefs of their time was the thing admired most. Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a bus launched a revolution in human civil rights in 1955 featured in 11th, while former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi came 13th.

    The adventurer Amelia Earhart flies in at 14th, while Harry Potter scribe J.K. Rowling also appears inside the top 20, as do Marilyn Monroe and Jane Austen. Media mogul Oprah Winfrey's power is clearly recognised and sees her appear among the women who changed the world, alongside Hillary Clinton and youngest ever Nobel prize recipient, Malala Yousafzai.

    However, only a third of those polled felt there were enough inspirational figures for today's younger generation. In fact, a resounding eight in ten felt young women idolise modern celebrities far too much. The research was commissioned to mark the return of Sky Arts' hit comedy series Psychobitches, the satirical show which playfully delves into the minds of some of history's most influential and iconic women. A spokeswoman for Sky Arts said: 'There's no doubt that the women on this list changed the world and continue to inspire people today. 'These characters - and all the women in the series - offer us a light-hearted look at what these incredible women might have confessed on the psychiatrist's couch, given the chance.'

    Big names to perform at dance, music fest in Chhattisgarh

    Renowned artists will take part in the annual 'Chakradhar Samaroh', a contemporary dance, singing and music festival, beginning here in Chhattisgarh from 29th August.
    The 10-day event will open with presentations by eminent ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas and Kolkata-based kathak dancer Keya Chandra at Ramleela Maidan in Raigarh, Collector Mukesh Bansal said on Wednesday.

    Home Minister Ramsewak Paikra will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony, he said. The festival, which coincides with Ganesh Chaturthi, is being held at Ramleela Maidan from the past 30 years in the honour of musician Chakradhar Singh, who once ruled the erstwhile Raigarh state. The concluding ceremony on September 7 will witness performances by sufi singer from Mumbai Harshdeep Kaur and kathak dancer Mahua Shankar, the Collector said.

    Besides, a 'kabaddi' competition will also be organised on the last day when Chief Minister Raman Singh will be present, he said. Presentations by renowned santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, tabla maestro Pandit Suresh Talvalkar, Kabir panth singer Bharti Bandhu and Bharatnatyam by Bollywood actress Gracy Singh will be among the highlights of the event, which showcases India's rich heritage in music and dance.

    < img src="images/wedding.jpg" alt="" width="" height="" title="Indian wedding expo in Dubai showcases modern, useful changes" />

    Indian wedding expo in Dubai showcases modern, useful changes

    In order to tap the booming wedding market in the Gulf region, an Indian wedding expo began in Dubai. The two-day exhibition showcases wedding products, services and accessories offered to the couples getting married and their families in Dubai. Indian weddings are known across the globe for their grandeur. The expatriate Indian community in Dubai and Gulf has been enamored of such wedding experiences and the effect is no less among the people in the Arab world. Organizers of the event said the Big Fat Indian Wedding Expo would bring forward modern and useful changes, which are taking place in the wedding industry in India.

    Almost a third of the world is now fat

    Almost a third of the world is now fat, and no country has been able to curb obesity rates in the last three decades, according to a new global analysis.
    Researchers found more than 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese. The highest rates were in the Middle East and North Africa, where nearly 60 per cent of men and 65 per cent of women are heavy. The US has about 13 per cent of the world’s fat population, a greater percentage than any other country. China and India combined have about 15 per cent. “It’s pretty grim,” said Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, who led the study. He and colleagues reviewed more than 1,700 studies covering 188 countries from 1980 to 2013. “When we realized that not a single country has had a significant decline in obesity, that tells you how hard a challenge this is.”
    Murray said there was a strong link between income and obesity; as people get richer, their waistlines also tend to start bulging. He said scientists have noticed accompanying spikes in diabetes and that rates of cancers linked to weight, like pancreatic cancer, are also rising. The new report was paid for by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and published online Thursday in the journal, Lancet. Last week, the World Health Organization established a high-level commission tasked with ending childhood obesity.
    “Our children are getting fatter,” Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO’s director-general, said bluntly during a speech at the agency’s annual meeting in Geneva. “Parts of the world are quite literally eating themselves to death.” Earlier this year, WHO said that no more than 5 per cent of your daily calories should come from sugar.
    “Modernization has not been good for health,” said Syed Shah, an obesity expert at United Arab Emirates University, who found obesity rates have jumped five times in the last 20 years even in a handful of remote Himalayan villages in Pakistan. His research was presented this week at a conference in Bulgaria. “Years ago, people had to walk for hours if they wanted to make a phone call,” he said. “Now everyone has a cellphone.

  • Premia India Runway Week: Glamour and bling

    Day 2 of the Premia India Runway Week featured more bling and dazzle, with a lot more jewellery being shown on the ramp, and more Bollywood and beauty in the form of showstoppers.
    Koyal Rana, Miss India World 2014, and Vanya Mishra, Miss India World 2012, both walked the ramp. Said real estate guru Tarun Shienh, CMD, Premia Group, "Through the Premia India Runway Week, we have tried to give a platform to budding designers who have talent and promise to prove themselves in the years to come. It is a show that promotes young talent in the industry."
    Also walking the ramp were actresses Mugdha Godse and Delnaaz Irani. Delnaaz was happy to be in the capital and said, "I last walked the ramp when I was in college. I think people here love me because there was a huge round of applause when I made my entry."
    Shree Raj Mahal Jewellers
    Their collection for the upcoming wedding season comprised gold, diamond and polki jewellery. The gold jewellery had precious stones like rubies and panna in the yellow metal. According to Ashok Goel, jadau jewellery is quite a rage these days, and was one of the highlights of their bridal collection that was unveiled. Mugdha Godse was the showstopper, and told us, "After Khatron Ke Khiladi, where I was doing a lot of stunts with crocodiles and cockroaches, I came here to feel good about myself."
    Sandeep Aggarwal
    His brand, PlusS, focuses on creating outfits for plus-sized people. The collection comprised formal and casual wear in vibrant and soothing colours. Delnaaz Irani was the showstopper and said that the collection conveys the message that even plus-sized women can add that "spice, zing and glamour to their look". Vanya Mishra, Miss India World 2012, in an Aashna and Vikrant outfit
    Blue was the dominant colour in the duo's collection. According to them, blue is the colour that has been associated with Lord Krishna and symbolizes truth, peace, spirituality and strength. The collection made an attempt to showcase blue as a colour that "makes its way through the limelight". The fabrics used were georgette, lycra and net, and jarkans added brightness to the range. Vanya Mishra, Miss India World 2012, was their showstopper. Sanjay and Babita presented this jewellery collection, which comprised polki jewellery in 24-carat gold. These polki sets were the key attraction of the show. Miss India World 2014 Koyal Rana was the showstopper for the jewellery brand.
    Niket and Jainee Day 2 of the Premia India Runway Week featured more bling and dazzle, with a lot more jewellery being shown on the ramp, and more Bollywood and beauty in the form of showstoppers. Koyal Rana, Miss India World 2014, and Vanya Mishra, Miss India World 2012, both walked the ramp. Said real estate guru Tarun Shienh, CMD, Premia Group, "Through the Premia India Runway Week, we have tried to give a platform to budding designers who have talent and promise to prove themselves in the years to come. It is a show that promotes young talent in the industry." Also walking the ramp were actresses Mugdha Godse and Delnaaz Irani. Delnaaz was happy to be in the capital and said, "I last walked the ramp when I was in college. I think people here love me because there was a huge round of applause when I made my entry."
    Manish Gupta
    The collection has been inspired by the paintings of artist Neerajj Mittra. All the garments were hand-painted, and a riot of colours made the collection unique for men. Sachin Khurana was the showstopper.
    The collection was inspired by Red Indian Art and the outfits had intricate 3D embroidery. Textured fabrics, melted gold prints and tailed gowns were the highlights.
    Shivani Singh
    Democrat Jeans presented a twist to the regular pair of denims. The theme for the collection was 'futuristic maharajas'. Inspired by the embroidered attire of maharajas, Shivani created denims with embellishments.
    Nishu Singh
    The menswear collection had various inspirations. Nishu told us that he loved to play with colours and nature, and huge manmade structures inspire him. Therefore, he didn't choose a specific theme for his collection.
    Sonia Jetleey
    The resortwear, suits and saris comprising the collection were made with georgette, which Sonia confessed is her favourite fabric. The collection, titled Pot Pourri, had floral prints and pastel colours, and focused on creating a contemporary look for women.
    Ramesh Dembla
    The collection was titled 'Soul Shine'. The red and black outfits had silverwork, and the designer had used a lot of velvet, lace and net. The outfits for men comprised jackets made of a combination of printed wool and velvet..


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