News

  • Indian Railways has been implementing various initiatives to improve its efficiency and promote Ease of Doing Business.  In order to disseminate the information on such initiatives and to have open house discussion with its vendors, covering above areas and formulate plan and strategy to meet future challenges, Ministry of Railways organized “Suppliers’ Samvad – Journey towards Digitisation, Transparency & Ease of Doing Business” in association with RITES Ltd. and The Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) here today.

  • Ministry of Railways has announced one of the world’s largest recruitment processes for 89,409 posts in Group C and Level I (Erstwhile Group D) and Level II Categories. Since this recruitment process is taking place after a gap of 4 years, many changes proposed in the intervening years had been included this time.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of the Republic of India and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), to usher the “programme based research support” in addressing current and future global and local developmental challenges, was signed today on Thursday, 22 February, 2018 at New Delhi between Shri S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (Bilateral Cooperation), Department of Economic Affairs and Dr. Jean Lebel, the President of IDRC, Canada.

  • The Government of India has notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 vide Gazette Notification S.O. No.29 (E) dated 02nd January 2018. As per provisions of the Scheme, Electoral Bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, graced and addressed the concluding session of the UP Investors Summit 2018 today (February 22, 2018) in Lucknow. 

    Speaking on the occasion, the President said that Uttar Pradesh is a state teeming with talented young people.

  • Hon’ble Minister of State for Communications (Independent Charge) and Minister of State for Railways, Government of India Shri Manoj Sinha today releasedthe ‘Strategic Plan’ for synergy among the PSUs and organizations of DoT in New Delhi.

  • Attention is invited towards recent amendments made in the Screening Test Regulations, 2002 and the Eligibility Requirement for Taking Admission in an Undergraduate Medical Course in a Foreign Medical Institution Regulations, 2002 for making it mandatory for the Indian students to qualify National – Eligibility – cum – Entrance (NEET) to pursue foreign medical course.

  • Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman addressed the plenary session on ‘Defence and Aerospace : Investment  opportunities in Uttar Pradesh’ at Investors Summit- 2018  in Lucknow, today.

    While addressing the plenary session on the second day of the Investors Summit 2018, she said that Uttar Pradesh Defence Industrial Corridor is proposed in a stretch between Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Chitrakoot and it also includes Kanpur and Lucknow.

  • Indian scientists have developed a super critical carbon di oxide Brayton test loop facility that would help generate clean energy from future power plants including solar thermal. This next generation technology loop was developed indigenously by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

  • An Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) has been set up for the North Eastern Region (NER). This was decided after a meeting between Secretaries of  DoNER and AYUSH.

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh said here today that "inclusive" growth is inherent to the rise of "New India".

  • The two-day national workshop on Preparedness, Mitigation and Management of Heat wave concluded successfully today  in Vijaywada with all stakeholders resolving to work towards effectively mitigating the impact of the imminent heat wave this year.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu appealed all State Governments to make mother tongue a mandatory subject at least up to high school level. Delivers 11th Convocation address at Saveetha Institute of Medical and Technical Sciences, in Chennai today.

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission has invited suggestions/views on issues related to the terms of reference from the members of the general public, institutions and organizations.

    The Commission shall review the current status of the finance, deficit, debt levels, cash balances and fiscal discipline efforts of the Union and the States, and recommend a fiscal consolidation roadmap for sound fiscal management.

  • A group of 20 students along with their teachers from Chandel district of Manipur here today called on Minister of State (I/C) of Youth Affairs & sports Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore. The students aged between 11- 16 years are currently on a National Integration Tour organized by Assam Rifles.

  • The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) between India and Kenya was signed and notified in 1985.  Subsequently, the DTAA was renegotiated and a revised DTAA was signed between both countries on 11th July, 2016.

  • In the 9th Executive Committee meeting of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), projects worth nearly Rs 4,000 crore were approved including a 20 MLD Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) for tannery cluster at Jajmau in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri Nitin Gadkari has called upon research organizations to innovate in the area of water conservation and sustainable management of water resources.

  • The Union Minister of Agriculture and farmers’ Welfare Shri Radha Mohan Singhaddressedthe 18th Foundation Day celebrations of the Indian Council ofAgricultural Research - Research Complex for Eastern Region (ICAR-RCER) in Patna, Bihar.

  •  Shri Hardeep Puri, Minister of State(I/C) for Housing & Urban Affairs has informed that the Government has proposed large public agencies like Housing Boards, Railways, Defence and public sector undertakings to adopt new technologies for their housing projectsto provide a further boost to the housing sector.



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, Nagaland needs a stable Government to bring in development and peace. Addressing an election rally fo...




  • In Uttar Pradesh, the Allahabad High Court today dismissed a writ petition challenging the order of the state government, whereby it had refused to gr...




  • The Central Bureau of Investigation, CBI, today arrested the owner of Rotomac Pens, Vikram Kothari, and his son Rahul Kothari for allegedly cheating a...



  • Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has asked Indian Industries for enhancing trade and investment ties for the benefit of both countries. Addressing India-Canada Business Session in New Delhi this evening, Mr Trudeau said, India and Canada have to deepen and broaden the historical relationship.



  • Punjab National Bank today reiterated that it has enough assets and capital to meet any liability. In a regulatory filing, PNB added that it has followed all lawful avenues to recover its dues from Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.



  • The European Court of Justice today found Poland guilty of violating air quality norms and warned of financial penalties if Poland did not comply swiftly.



  • The first sale of Electoral Bonds will commence from the 1st of next month for a period of ten days.



  • AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal, arrested for allegedly assaulting Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, were today sent to 14-day judicial custody by a Delhi court.



  • Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom (48kg) today assured herself of a third successive international medal by advancing to the semifinals of the 69th Strandja Memorial Boxing Tournament for men and women in Sofia (Bulgaria) today.


  • Parrikar, who was undergoing treatment at a Mumbai hospital for a pancreatic ailment, returned Thursday afternoon.

  • The CBI has now arrested Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari his son Rahul in connection with bungling.

    Earlier the agency had carried out searches in the offices and residence of Kothari in Kanpur.

    Vikram Kothari is accused of not repaying loans taken from 7 public sector banks and instead diverted the loan amount towards purposes other than what they were meant for.

    The Income Tax Department has already attached four immovable assets of the Rotomac group and its promoters. 

    Three Properties in Kanpur and one in Ahmedabad, were provisionally attached on Tuesday.

    The department has also attached 14 bank accounts that were in various bank branches in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Efforts are underway to put together 121 projects, which can be signed in two phases - about 50 on March 11 and another 71 on April 20. The summit will be held in Delhi.

  • The ministers discussed issues of mutual interest during the meet.

  • A Delhi Court has reserved order on the bail petition by the duo till Friday. For now, they have been sent on 14-day judicial custody.

    Meanwhile, protests continue over the issue. BJP workers staged a massive protest outside Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's residence. BJP has demanded that action must be taken against the chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well.

    Congress has also targeted AAP over its alleged conduct. 

    On the other hand, AAP continues to call the allegations fabricated. Party members held a demonstration over the issue.

    Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash had alleged on Monday that he was beaten and abused by AAP MLAs after being called for a midnight meeting at chief minister's residence. Prakash's medical report confirmed assault.

  • After the successful first day of the summit, the second day also registered attendance of illustrious persons from the industry and politics. The deliberations focused on how to put Uttar Pradesh on the growth trajectory.

    Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that UP govt has improved the law and order situation in that has in turn facilitated ease of doing business. This is going to benefit not just the state but the entire nation.

    Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the vision of defence corridor in Uttar Pradesh will be realised soon.

    Meanwhile, Union Rail minister Piyush Goyal announced many ambitious plans of ministry for UP including a rail factory in Jhansi

    Speaking on the first of its kind summit in the state, chief minister Yogi Adityanath said more than a thousand MoUs have been signed during the summit that will open up newer avenues of employment.

    UP Governor Ram Naik addressed on the last day of the summit that saw participation of experts from diverse field and sectors in various sessions. 

  • Political temperatures have soared in poll-bound Meghalaya and Nagaland after Thursday's rallies. While leaders of all parties in the fray are going all out to woo voters, people want the day to day challenges that they face to be addressed by those who come to power.

    These challenges range from lack of clean drinking water to poor condition of roads and from lack of power connections to unemployment. Lack of adequate infrastructure is visible in the two states and people want the gap to be filled by the new governments.

    The states may be different but issues that people face in the two states are quite similar. Meanwhile, the Congress too is reaching out to voters for support in the elections.

    A look at the political scenario in Nagaland shows that out of 60 seats in the state assembly, Naga People's Front or NPF is contesting on 59 seats.

    Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) has put candidates on 40 seats, BJP is fighting in 20 constituencies and Congress on 19 seats.

    In the 60 seat Meghalaya assembly, BJP is contesting on 47 seats, Congress on 59 seats and NPP on 53 seats. The two states will go to polls on 27th February and results would be announced on 3rd March.

  • These cars include one Rolls Royce, two Mercedes Benz, one Porsche Panamera, 3 Honda cars, one Toyota Fortuner and one Toyota Innova.

    The ED also froze mutual funds and shares worth Rs 7.80 Crore of Nirav Modi and worth Rs 86.72 crore of those belonging to Mehul Choksi Group.

    Earlier, the Income Tax department has sent a notice to jeweller Nirav Modi to appear before it for questioning on the 27th of February. The notice has been sent under the anti-black money act.

    Meanwhile, the centre has opposed a plea demanding a probe into the PNB scam. Attorney General KK Venugopal deemed the plea unnecessary as investigations are already on. The next hearing in the matter is slated for 16th March.

  • There seem to be no letting up in the Pakistani tactics of resorting to unprovoked ceasefire violation at the LoC to aid and abet infiltration of terrorists. 

    Pakistani troops on Thursday fired at Indian posts along the Line of Control in the Uri sector of Jammu and Kashmir, prompting Indian soldiers to retaliate.

    The Pakistani troops opened unprovoked firing at Indian posts in the Hajipeer area of the Uri sector in Baramulla district at around 8 AM.

    Indian soldiers retaliated the aggression effectively and in equal measure.

    Unprovoked firing from Pakistan has damaged many homes near the LoC. This is not the first time that the civilians have been purposely targetted by the Pakistani army.

    On Monday, Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire, targeting civilian areas in which three villagers, including a woman, were injured.

    A Border Security Force jawan was martyred when Pakistani troops fired from a sniper rifle from across the LoC on February 20 at Tangdhar.

    BSF believes that there are 175 terrorists waiting at the launch pads across the LoC, waiting to infiltrate.

    Meanwhile, an Army commando was injured in a gunfight with militants in Bandipora district of Jammu and Kashmir. The terrorists managed to escape from the site.

    Security forces launched a counter-insurgency operation in the Hajin area of Bandipora Thursday morning following information about the presence of four militants there.

    As the troops were laying a cordon in the area, the militants opened indiscriminate fire at them and fled the spot.

     

  • BSF IG Sonali Mishra said there was a ceasefire violation yesterday too to which BSF & Army gave a be-fitting reply. She added that as per reliable sources there were 2 casualties on Pakistani side.

  • These students are on a national integration tour organised by the Assam Rifles.

    After the meeting sports minister said that Centre would establish a world class football academy in Manipur to promote games and sports activities in the North East.

  • Government said, Canadian side has already clarified that the invitation has been withdrawn; Canadian Minister said, Atwal should not have been invited and the invitation has been rescinded.

    Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that information would be sought from the Indian High Commission in Canada.

    Meanwhile, Canadian officials on Thursday cancelled an invitation to Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal for a dinner event with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi.

    A statement confirming Jaspal Atwal's invitation to Thursday's official event had been cancelled comes less than a day after Trudeau sought to quash perceptions his administration was soft on Sikh extremists.

    Atwal was convicted for a botched assassination attempt on an Indian minister in Canada in 1986, and was sentenced to 20 years by a Canadian court.

  • A report in The Guardian has said that the former prime minister, who was sacked by the Supreme Court last year, had managed to retain power by driving through a law that allowed disqualified politicians to lead political parties.

    Twice-deposed in coups during the 1990s, the 68-year-old has long claimed his most recent eviction as prime minister is the result of a shadowy, anti-democratic conspiracy concocted between the judiciary and  behind the scenes the army.

    “This is only going to add to the wave of support for the PML-N (Sharif’s party),” Daniyal Aziz, a cabinet minister, told the Guardian. “The public think the party is being victimised.”

    It was not unexpected that the supreme court would debar Sharif as party head. The same five judges originally ordered his dismissal as prime minister on the grounds that, in failing to declare a foreign bank account, he fell short of the vague constitutional requirement that politicians be “honest” and “righteous”.

    But the verdict goes further. In a five-page judgement, the chief justice, Saqib Nisar, ruled that all “orders passed, directions given and documents issued” by him as party chairman since then “have never been passed, issued or given.”

    Most immediately, this nullifies all of the tickets given out by Sharif to PML-N candidates for senate elections, on which his career partly hinges. If the party win enough seats to cobble together a majority in the 102-seat senate, Sharif would be able to remove the clause in the constitution which prevents his return as prime minister.

    The Election Commission of Pakistan is expected to delay the vote planned for 3 March. This will give time for a new PML-N head to reappoint the party’s candidates.

    The most likely replacement for Sharif as PML-N chief is his wife, Kusloom, who is currently undergoing treatment for cancer in London, analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi told the Guardian. “Through his wife,” Rizvi said, “ Sharif would still be able to control the party.”

    Even if a shortly expected verdict in Sharif’s trial on corruption charges linked to the Panama Papers delivers a guilty verdict, the party appears unlikely to slip from his grasp. A surprise byelection victory earlier this month in a stronghold of the major opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has quietened rumours of a split.

    And the victimhood narrative binds the party together, said the columnist Mosharraf Zaidi. “Nobody would want to seem to be abandoning him at this moment.”

    Critics accuse the Sharif family of maligning Pakistan’s institutions in an attempt to save his political career. He “should accept the decision rather than planning new conspiracies”, said a spokesman for PTI.

    As Sharif fights on “confrontation in the system will increase, and uncertainty will increase,” said Rizvi, “which could mean problems for democracy as a whole.”

  • Set a challenging target of 189, South Africa rode on local boy Klaasen’s 69 off 30 deliveries and skipper Duminy’s unbeaten 64 off 40 balls to chase down the score in 18.4 overs. The Indian bowlers, especially leg-spinner spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, found it difficult to grip the bowl with constant drizzle pouring in for most part of the South African innings. South Africa made a modest start to their chase with openers Reeza Hendricks (26) and Jon-Jon Smuts (2) sharing 24 runs for the opening wicket.

    But left-arm pacer Jaydev Unadkat (2/42) broke the partnership when he induced a leading edge in the fourth over from Smuts and it was gleefully accepted by Suresh Raina. To make matters worse for the hosts, Hendricks departed in the final ball off the next over when he was holed out by Hardik Pandya at deep square leg off Shardul Thakur.

    However, credit should go to Klaasen and Duminy who brought South Africa back into the match with a blazing 93-run stand for the third wicket which came off just 49 balls after they were down to 38 for 2 at one stage. Klaasen used the crease to perfection and struck three boundaries and as many as seven sixes during his fiery knock in front of his home crowd. Duminy played the second fiddle and gave Klaasen the perfect support from the other end as the wicket-keeper batsman went hammer and tongs.

    After bringing South Africa in sight of victory, Klaasen finally departed when he top-edged a Unadkat delivery straight to Dhoni behind the stumps in the 14th over. Thereafter Duminy took the onus on himself to guide South Africa home and together with Farhaan Behardien (16 not out) shared unconquered 48 runs for the fifth wicket to seal the series-levelling victory.

    Duminy was cool as cucumber as he never panicked after Klaasen’s dismissal and finished off the chase in style with two consecutive sixes of Unadkat. Earlier, Manish Pandey and Mahendra Singh Dhoni slammed quickfire half-centuries to guide India to a challenging 188 for four. While Pandey remained unbeaten on 79 off 48 balls, veteran Dhoni made 52 off 28 deliveries. The duo shared 98 runs for the fifth wicket in just 9.2 overs to take India to the commanding total.

    Sent into bat, India were dealt a severe blow in the first ball of the second over when Rohit Sharma was caught plumb in front of the wicket for a duck by Junior Dala (2/28). But thereafter, Shikhar Dhawan (24 off 14) came to the party and clobbered Chris Morris for two fours and as many sixes in the third over over to up the ante. Raina (31 off 24) matched his partner stroke for stroke and hit right-arm pacer Dane Peterson for three boundaries in the next over to take India to 40 for one after four overs.

    With his pacers going for runs, skipper Duminy brought himself on to the attack in the next over but was welcomed by Dhawan with an exquisite pull to the midwicket boundary. Duminy, however, got his man in the next ball as Dhawan hit a full toss straight to Farhaan Behardien at mid-on.

    India received a big blow in the next over when skipper Virat Kohli gloved a rising Dala delivery straight to Klaasen behind the stumps. Thereafter, Raina and Pandey added quick 45 runs off 31 balls for the fourth wicket to take India forward.

    But the dangerous-looking partnership was broken by Andile Phehlukwayo in the 11th over when he had Raina LBW. After Raina’s dismissal, Pandey and Dhoni mixed caution with aggression to take India forward. The duo took time to settle down but once they got their eyes set, they clobbered the South African bowlers to all around the park. While Pandey struck six boundaries and three sixes during his knock, Dhoni was not far behind his younger partner as he found the fence four times and over it thrice.

  • Two AAP MLAs were arrested and were sent to judicial custody. Delhi Chief Secretary had accused that he was assaulted by AAP legislators at the residence of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal when he was called for a meeting.

     

     

     

  • The Prime Minister said that those who ruled the state for decades have done nothing for the welfare of Meghalaya and if BJP wins, it will do all that has not been done so far.

    The rally at Phulbari town was Prime Minister Modi's second campaign meeting in the state.

    BJP has fielded candidates on 47 seats out of a total of 60 in Meghalaya.

    Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally at Tuensang district in the eastern part of Nagaland. He took with him his govt's special North East push.

    Prime Minister said the large gathering at the rally ground has sent a strong message to people who indulge in divisive politics and politics of vote bank.

    He also stressed on the need for a stable and corruption-free government in the state and called on the people to vote for the BJP.

    It was under Prime Minister Modi's leadership that this pact was inked in August 2015. Prime Minister reiterated that his government is committed to resolution of the long standing Naga issue and the smooth implementation of the historic framework Agreement.

    East Nagaland lags behind in development. Prime Minister Modi promised that the BJP would pay special attention to this region if voted to power.

    He said that his government's Act East policy views North East as a gateway to ASEAN nations. The vision of building a New India cannot be fulfilled without the creation of a New Nagaland.

    Prime Minister highlighted his government's development initiatives for the state. In less than 4 years, more than 500 kms of National Highways have been added.

    An investment of more than Rs 10,000 crore for construction of roads is in the pipeline. Power for all is also high on the agenda. More than 10 lakh LED bulbs have been distributed in Nagaland, reducing consumption of power.

    Rs. 1800 crore will be spent for making Kohima a Smart City. Construction of 8,500 houses in Nagaland has been approved by the Centre.

    Rs. 160 crore to Nagaland is being provided to achieve this. Under National Health Mission, Nagaland has been provided Rs 400 crore. Prime Minister's message was very clear. Fast tracking development in Nagaland and the North East is a key priority for his government.

    Nagaland goes to polls on 27th of February. Prime Minister Narendra Modi campaigned for the BJP in the state addressing a rally at Tuensang district in the eastern part of Nagaland. There are six assembly seats in this district.

    BJP is in alliance with the NDPP. Prime Minister Modi appealed to voters to bring the alliance to power to ensure a stable and corruption free govt in the state.

    He said the twin engines of the BJP-NDPP government in the state and the NDA government in the Centre will fast track development in the state.

  • The medicine, called larotrectinib, is made by Loxo Oncology of Stamford, Connecticut and was granted breakthrough therapy designation by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2016. Taken orally once or twice a day, it interferes with an on-switch for cancer growth caused by an acquired genetic defect, known as tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusions.

    "This is truly a magic bullet for our patients with TRK-positive cancer," said co-author Leo Mascarenhas, deputy director of the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

    Infants, children, adolescents and adults with a range of cancers -- including salivary gland, infantile fibrosarcoma, thyroid, colon, lung, gastrointestinal, melanoma and other cancers -- were included in the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    The 55 patients ranged in age from four months to 76 years, and entered the trial from 2015 to 2017. They suffered from either locally advanced cancers or tumors that had spread to other parts of the body. Three quarters of patients enrolled responded to the therapy, typically within two months of starting the regimen.

    "A total of 13 percent of the patients (seven patients) had a complete response, 62 percent (34) had a partial response," said the report. Another 13 percent (seven) had stable disease. Nine percent (five) had progressive disease, and four percent (2) could not be evaluated because their conditions deteriorated or they withdrew from the study. "No patients discontinued treatment due to drug-related side effects," said the report.

    An initial analysis of the trial -- carried out at more than two dozen sites around the world -- was released at a major US cancer conference in June 2017. If larotrectinib gains approval for wider use, it could treat thousands of patients with these forms of cancer around the world.

    Researchers don't know exactly how many people could be helped by the treatment globally, since current screening practices often do not test for this particular genetic flaw. "Screening strategies that include assays with the ability to detect TRK fusions will be needed in order to identify patients who may benefit from larotrectinib," said the report.

    TRK fusions are found in a range of cancer types but tend to be unusual in common cancers, occurring in between 0.2 percent and three percent of cases. However, in some rare cancers, the fusions are present in nearly every case, researchers say.

    "In this series of studies, larotrectinib had rapid, potent and durable anti-tumor activity in children and adults who had solid tumors with TRK fusions without regard to patient age, tumor tissue and fusion status," said co-principal investigator David Hong, professor of investigational cancer therapeutics at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

  • It also seized nine high-end luxury cars of Modi as part of its investigation against him under the criminal provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Officials of the agency said frozen mutual funds and shares worth Rs 86.72 crore belonging to Choksi and his group, and the rest are owned by the Modi group.

    Choksi is Nirav Modi’s uncle and promoter of the Gitanjali Gems group and other jewellery brands. The central probe agency also seized nine costly cars of Modi, recovered by it during raids last week.

    These include a Rolls Royce Ghost, a Mercedes Benz, a Porsche Panamera, three Honda variants, a Toyota Fortuner and an Innova. Nirav Modi, Choksi and others are being investigated by multiple probe agencies after it recently came to light, following a complaint by the PNB, that they allegedly cheated the nationalised bank to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

    The CBI and the ED have registered two FIRs each to probe the case. Both Nirav Modi and Choski are said to have left the country before criminal cases were lodged against them.

  • The human rights group said in its annual report covering 159 countries that "hate-filled rhetoric" by leaders was normalizing discrimination against minorities.

    "Peddling hatred and fear against whole groups of people based on who they are ultimate leads only in one direction. When leaders foster it or turn a blind eye the end game is horrific and literally fatal," said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty.

    Last week, the United States urged the U.N Security Council to hold Mynamar's military accountable for what it said was the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

    More than 6,500 Rohingya Muslims are currently trapped on a strip of unclaimed land between Myanmar and Bangladesh.

    Amnesty said the international community had failed to respond robustly to "crimes against humanity and war crimes from Myanmar to Iraq, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen".

    "2018 needs leaders prepared to tackle the big challenges - from refugees to protecting human rights defenders to the precarious nature of many peoples' access to basic services instead of simply deflecting responsibility through blame," Shetty said.

    It said that leaders in countries such as the United States, Russia and China were not standing up for civil liberties and instead were "callously undermining the rights of millions".

    Amnesty said President Donald Trump had taken backward steps on human rights that were setting a dangerous precedent. Shetty described his move to ban people from several Muslim-majority countries in January last year as "transparently hateful".

    Last year's report accused Trump of "poisonous" rhetoric. Free speech will be a key issue for those concerned about human rights this year, the report said.

    Amnesty said its staff were arrested at an unprecedented rate in Turkey in 2017, which along with Egypt and China was also among the biggest jailers of journalists.

     

  • But the Security Council resolution would exempt attacks directed at extremists from the Islamic State group, al-Qaida and the Nusra Front targets the Syrian government and its Russian allies say they are pursuing.

    The proposed resolution, put in a final form Wednesday, expresses “outrage at the unacceptable levels of violence” and attacks on civilians in several parts of Syria, particularly in Idlib governorate and the rebel-held Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta.

    Whether Russia uses its veto or abstains in a vote on the resolution remains to be seen. Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called a 30-day cease-fire unrealistic, and diplomats said during negotiations on the text he argued that it couldn’t be enforced. Instead, he proposed a change that would have the parties agree to a cease-fire themselves which was rejected by the sponsors, the diplomats said.

    “We cannot simply decide that there is a cease-fire,” Nebenzia said yesterday in an audio recording from Russia’s U.N. Mission. “That’s a long and complex process to achieve. Cessations cannot be established by putting a word in the resolution.”

    Soon after the final draft of the resolution was circulated, Nebenzia called for an open Security Council meeting Thursday on eastern Ghouta. Some diplomats complained privately that Russia was trying to delay action on the 30-day cease-fire resolution.

    The UN human rights office said yesterday that at least 346 people have been killed in eastern Ghouta since the Syrian government and its allies escalated an offensive on Feb. 4. Nebenzia told the council it’s important that all sides in the conflict present their understanding of the situation in eastern Ghouta “and come up the ways of getting out of the situation there.”

    Russia understands “there are terrorists there who the Syrian army is fighting and the terrorists are shelling heavily Damascus and that has been neglected,” he said. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier urged an immediate suspension of “all war activities” in eastern Ghouta, where he said 400,000 people are living “in hell on earth.”

    The UN chief said a suspension of fighting must allow for humanitarian aid to reach all in need and the evacuation of some 700 people needing urgent medical treatment. “This is a human tragedy that is unfolding in front of our eyes and I don’t think we can let things go on in this horrendous way,” he said.

    US Ambassador Nikki Haley supported the U.N. chief saying “it is time for us to realize that we can’t continue to look away.” Later, she accused “the barbaric Assad regime” of attacking men, women and children.

  • Play ran exceptionally late at the event, with lengthy, slow-moving matches to blame. Svitolina took two and a quarter hours to overcome stubborn resistance from China’s Wang Qiang 6-1, 5-7, 6-2.

    Muguruza, the runner-up in Qatar last weekend, had to wait out a three-hour epic as Daria Kasatkina beat British seventh seed Johanna Konta 4-6, 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 before the Spanish second seed got on court in the early hours of Thursday.

    But Muguruza at least then picked up the pace to defeat American CiCi Bellis 6-3, 7-5, a match which took one and three-quarter hours and ended just before 2 a.m. Svitolina had to save nine of 11 break points against world number 46 Wang who entered the field after the withdrawal of Petra Kvitova, the Qatar champion.

    “I was a little bit angry at myself that I didn’t bring my best game in the end of the second set. I had to accept and bounce back,” Svitolina said. “But I was very happy the way I was playing. In the end, the win is the win.”    Konta, the first ever British woman to win a round in Dubai, was unable to get past Russian Kasatkina. “I can only really look back on this match, and take the good things. I did do a lot of good things, (and I can) then learn from the things and try to do better,” Konta said.

    Karolina Pliskova and Angelique Kerber advanced to set up a battle of ex-world number ones in the last eight. Czech Pliskova, the third seed, beat Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, while Germany’s Kerber dispatched Italian qualifier Sara Errani 6-4, 6-2. Sixth seed Kerber, who won the Sydney title in January before reaching the Australian Open semi-finals, leads the series with her Czech opponent 6-3, winning their last two matches.

    “It was a tricky match, especially because she was playing well,” Kerber said after taking the win over Errani on a secondary showcourt at the Aviation Club.

    “I don’t care which court I play on. It’s always important now to win the matches and focus more on my opponent, on my game, on the next round.”    Japan’s Naomi Osaka, the next opponent for Svitolina, beat Anett Kontaveit of Estonia 6-2, 7-6 (7/5), while French fifth seed Caroline Garcia put out Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 6-2.

    Russian Elena Vesnina upset Roland Garros champion and fourth seed Jelena Ostapenko 6-1, 7-6 (8/6).

    “It was a weird match. At the beginning, everything was going my way. I was playing very clean. Jelena was missing a lot of shots,” Vesnina said. “In the second set, she got back. She is a top 10 player, she is a Grand Slam champion. Of course, she will rebound, she will change something in her game.”

    Pliskova, who headed the rankings from mid-July to mid-September, needed a fightback against Suarez Navarro after losing the opening set to her 27th-ranked opponent. “I was not playing the best tennis today, we were both a little bit struggling,” Pliskova said after finishing with 11 aces, six double-faults and losing her serve five times.

  • Accepting President Abdulla Yameen's recommendation, the Maldivian Parliament (Majlis) on Tuesday extended the state of emergency by another 30 days; hours after India had asserted that it was important that the island nation quickly returns to the path of democracy and the rule of law, expecting that there will be no extension.

    "We are deeply dismayed that the government of Maldives has extended the State of Emergency for a further 30 days.  The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern," the external affairs ministry said in a statement.

    It further said that the consequent delay in the resumption of the political process and the continuing suspension of the functioning of democratic institutions including the judiciary is likely to further delay restoration of normalcy in Maldives.

    The MEA said that it was important to ensure that all democratic institutions are allowed to function in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the Constitution. President Yameen declared the emergency on February 5 after the Supreme Court ordered the release of a group of Opposition leaders, who had been convicted in widely criticised trials. Among them was exiled ex-president Mohamed Nasheed. The court said his 2015 trial had been unconstitutional.

    Tuesday, the MEA statement also said that the Maldivian government should implement its Supreme Court order of February 1, regarding the release of exiled former leader Mohamed Nasheed and eight others, in "letter and spirit". There has been an international condemnation of the Maldivian government's moves, including the imposition of the emergency.

    The US also expressed disappointment over the development in Maldives and asked President Yameen to uphold the rule of law in the troubled Indian Ocean island nation.

     

  • The eNAM website is now available in Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali and Odia besides Hindi and English, while the eNAM trading facility is available in six languages.

    The eNAM has been strengthened with features like MIS dashboard for better analysis, BHIM and other mobile payment facilities, enhanced features on mobile app such as gate entry and payment via mobiles, integration of farmer’s database and e-learning module.

    “We are gradually adding more features to eNAM to make it robust and convenient for farmers to trade online. eNAM is a new initiative and will take some time to take off smoothly and without any hiccups,” Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh said unveiling the new features.

    As many as 479 regulated wholesale mandis have been integrated with eNAM across 14 states and one union territory. And the target is to link 585 mandis by next month, he added.

    To ensure timely payment to farmers after auctioning of commodities on the platform, the government has introduced Unified Payment Interface (UPI) facility through BHIM. Currently e-NAM portal provides for online payment to farmers through RTGS/NEFT, debit card and internet banking.

    Besides making the eNAM mobile app multilingual, the government has introduced a facility for mandi operators to carry out one of the critical operations of ‘Gate Entry’ directly from the app. Farmers can also see the real-time bidding progress and assaying certificates through app.

    Even buyers on eNAM can do online payment from the app through debit card and net banking. SMS alert will be sent to farmers on receiving payment in their bank account. That apart, a grievance redressal management system is being set up at mandis to flag technology issues related to portal/ software and its operation and also track the status of redressal online.

    Moreover, the website has been improved with more informative features like live status of markets of e-NAM based on gate entry, latest information on events, dynamic training calendar etc. E-Learning module in Hindi has also been incorporated in the website so that various stakeholders can learn about how to operate the system and continuously get trained at their convenience. The MIS dashboard has been introduced to provide a greater insight into the performance of each mandi in terms of arrival and trade.

    This will help the Mandi Board officials and APMC Secretary to compare the performance of each mandi on daily, weekly, monthly/quarterly and year-on-year basis. Currently, 90 commodities are allowed for trading on eNAM and 11 more commodities will be added soon.

     

  • Women entrepreneurs in India are bringing about a lot of development in the public and private sectors, NITI Aayog member Anna Roy told a Washington DC audience on Tuesday. More than two dozen Indian women entrepreneurs are currently in the US on a business trip.

    The visit is a result of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) co-hosted by India and the US in Hyderabad in November which was also attended by Ivanka Trump, the advisor and daughter of US President Donald Trump. “What is required is to create awareness, bring visibility to the existing initiatives, bring departments together, enable partner connect, consolidate and leverage from all these efforts,” she said.

    This is what the women entrepreneurs’ cell proposes to do, Roy said at a reception hosted in the honour of a delegation of women entrepreneurs from India by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

    The dedicated women cell will handhold and facilitate promotion of women entrepreneurs in India, Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) had said. The women delegation will also travel to Boston, Pittsburg and San Francisco.

    In Washington, the delegation met officials at the State Department and Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), in addition to interacting with members of the US Chambers of Commerce. The delegation comprises women entrepreneurs focused on cutting-edge areas of India’s economic development.

    “The GES was a crucial event. It gave a strong impetus to what NITI Aayog was planning and had in the pipeline,” said India’s Ambassador to the US Navtej Singh Sarna.

    “Women have held a very important social, political and economic role in India. And today when you modernise that role and you give it the kind of shape of entrepreneurship and give it the facilitation, I think you’re gonna see frankly, a far more focused work than men can do,” Sarna said.

    Today there is a high level of confidence in the structural and transformational reforms that are taking place in India, he said.

    Seema Prem, CEO of FIA Technologies, and a member of the delegation said that the Indian government has come out with policies that support women entrepreneurs.

    “What I have seen is that the government is very, very pro-women. We have seen that in all aspects. I work in the financial inclusion space... what I have seen is that a woman entrepreneur has a lot more leverage and has a lot of acceptance,” Prem said.

    The cell, to be called Women Entrepreneurial and Innovation Cell of Niti Aayog, will be headed by Niti Aayog advisor Anna Roy, and will offer women financial support through the Rs 10,000 crore Fund of Funds and Mudra micro-loan scheme apart from mentorship in scaling up, Kant told ET on the sidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyderabad on Thursday.

     

  • It is being organized by Powerloom Development & Export Promotion Council (PDEXCIL) with the support of Union Ministry of Textiles & Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

    Inaugurating the event, Sri Lankan minister of Special Assignments Dr. Sarath Amunugama said that Sri Lanka sourcing of textile material from India and transforming it into apparel and garments for rest of the world, could lead to win-win situation for both the countries.  

    He cited the rich textile traditions in both countries and  stellar contribution of textile sector to Sri Lanka’s economy.  

    Arindam Bagchi, Acting High Commissioner of India noted that India would encourage Sri Lankan companies to be part of the supply and value chains of large Indian companies.

    He also urged Sri Lanka to make use of fully-funded training opportunities in India, under Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme, in which a number of slots is earmarked for textile related subjects.

    At the event, about 45 exhibitors from various textile clusters of India are displaying variety of fabrics, home textiles, traditional items etc. suitable for apparel, industrial, technical application and general consumers.

  • Special and privilege ties require special events. To mark the 38th birthday of king of Bhutan and 50 year of India Bhutan diplomatic ties a special event was organised at the Royal Bhutanese Embassy in Delhi.

    The event was lead by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Bhutanese FM. Special stamps were released to mark the event.EAM said proud of special ties between the 2 countries.

    Bhutan FM says firm foundation between India & Bhutan have blossomed. A ceremonial cake was also cut. Bhutan has opened its consulate in Assam this year.

    The Bhutanese Foreign Minister is on a 3 day visit to India. As a close friend and neighbour, Bhutan enjoys diplomatic and military support from India.

    In November last the King of Bhutan along with the queen and the prince had visited India.

  • A statement issued by Ministry of External Affairs says - We are deeply dismayed that the Government of Maldives has extended the State of Emergency for a further 30 days.

    The manner in which the extension of the State of Emergency was approved by the Majlis in contravention of the Constitution of Maldives is also a matter of concern.

    The statement says - the consequent delay in the resumption of the political process and the continuing suspension of the functioning of democratic institutions including the judiciary is likely to further delay restoration of normalcy in Maldives.

    It is important to ensure that all democratic institutions are allowed to function in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the Constitution.

     

  • Rajesh Jindal, who was the head of the Brady House, Mumbai, branch of the bank during 2009-11, was taken into custody last night, they said. It is alleged that the issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LOUs) to Nirav Modi group firms without sanctioned limits started during his tenure. Jindal is presently posted as GM, Credit, PNB Head Office, New Delhi. It is alleged that Rs 11, 400 crore of LOUs were fraudulently issued to the firms of Nirav Modi and Choksi. 

  • Around 5000 delegates from across India and the world as well as nearly 18 Union ministers are taking part in the summit.

    Mauritius, Japan, Netherlands, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Thailand are partner countries in the initiative. Here's what the Prime Minister's message to investors was:

    Prime Minister NarendraModi's call to investors to build a new Uttar Pradesh as he inaugurated the two day Mega U.P. Investors summit in Lucknow.

    Ranked as the 3rd most industrialized state, U.P. under Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi is wooing investors by introducing policies that encourage ease of doing business.

    PM Modi shared his 4 P formula of Potential + Policy + Planning+ Performance = Progress

    Adding that U.P. has all four elements and is ready for a Super-Hit Performance on the growth front. He highlighted the vibrancy and eye to detail of the Industrial policy introduced by the BJP government in the state.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed UP as a state where each district is home to at least one unique product or industry.

    He said that the Skill India mission will act as a back up to the state government's effort to nurture this unique quality.

    Giving U.P. a special gift, Prime Minister declared that out of the two Defence Industrial corridors announced in this year's Union budget, one will be constructed in Uttar Pradesh

    He congratulated the state government for moving away from a reign of excessive red tape to roll out the red carpet for investors.

    Prime Minsiter said that MSME rich Uttar Pradesh is on the fast track in generating employment. He said that policies shouldn't just be job centric. They should also be people centric.

    On the agriculture front he said the KrishiSampadayojana is working towards modernisation of the supply chain infrastructure. He also stressed on the need to convert Agriculture By-Products and Agriculture Waste into Wealth.

    Addressing the Summit, UP Chief Minister Adityanath Yogi said in keeping with PM Modi's development push, various projects in the state have been fast tracked and ease of doing business is high on the priority of the government.

    All in all the message at the UP Investors Summit was clear. Govt policies must be drawn up keeping in mind the fact that Ease of doing business and a high investor friendly quotient paves the path to long term, inclusive growth.

  • Veteran Sardar Singh has got one more chance to prolong his international career after he was on Tuesday named captain of the Indian men's hockey team for the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, a tournament where three players will make their debut for the country.

    Sardar, who is in the twilight of his career, has been in and out of the team in recent times and was ignored from India's last two international assignments. Sardar last played for India at the Asia Cup but was dropped from the squad for the Hockey World League (HWL) Final last December and then for the tour to New Zealand.

    But new chief coach Sjoerd Marijne handed another lifeline to the midfield ace when he was appointed to lead India at next month's Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia after regular skipper Manpreet Singh was rested.

    Sardar wants to continue till 2020 Olympics but with three big events -- Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and World Cup -- lined up this year, the Azlan Shah Cup probably is his last chance to impress upon the national selectors with the team think-tank setting their sights on a younger lot.

    Coach Marijne too hinted that it is a big opportunity for Sardar to impress the team management and stay in the reckoning for future tournaments.

    Sardar is one of the leaders in the core group and in Manpreet Singh s absence, he has been chosen for the job. He is an experienced player and having missed two tournaments previously, this is an opportunity for him to show his skills," he said.

    While Sardar will lead, striker Ramandeep Singh has been named vice-captain of the side.

    The tournament will also witness three rookie players in in Mandeep Mor, Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra, who are set to make their debut. While Sumit Kumar (Jr) is part of the ongoing senior men's national camp, Mandeep Mor and Shilanand Lakra have been called-up from the junior men's core group. The two were also part of the India colts team that won bronze medal at the Sultan of Johor Cup last year.

    By introducing new players to the senior fold, Marijne is looking at long-term gains for the team that includes the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

    Just like the New Zealand tour where four players made their international debut, the Azlan Shah Cup is a great opportunity for these new players to get international exposure against top teams, said Marijne.

    It will only help us create a bigger group. Playing top teams in their first tournament will be challenging but this is also an opportunity for the seniors to help the youngsters adjust to this level, added the 43-year-old Dutchman.

    Sardar will be in charge of the midfield along side SK Uthappa, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma and Simranjeet Singh.

    The defence will be guarded by Varun Kumar, Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Surender Kumar and new comers Mandeep Mor and Nilam Sanjeep Xess while Suraj Karkera and Krishan Pathak are the two goalkeepers.

    The forward line will feature Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep, Talwinder Singh and debutants Sumit Kumar (Jr) and Shilanand Lakra.

    This tournament is extremely important for the players who are going because it is another opportunity for them to experience high level competition especially from teams like Australia and Argentina," Marijne said.

    "This is a chance for them to show their capability in the international level and ensure their place in the squad for future tournaments.

    The Azlan Shah Cup is a prestigious invitational tournament that will be played from March 3 to 11 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

    Besides hosts Malaysia and India, the tournament will also feature world no. 1 Australia, world no.2 Argentina, England and Ireland.

    Squad:

    Goalkeepers: Suraj Karkera, Krishan B Pathak

    Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Mandeep Mor

    Midfielders: S K Uthappa, Sardar Singh (Captain), Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma, Simranjeet Singh

    Forwards: Gurjant Singh, Ramandeep Singh (Vice-captain), Talwinder Singh, Sumit Kumar (Junior), Shilanand Lakra.

  • Only 38 MPs were present for the vote, despite 43 lawmakers being needed for the vote to take place as required by the constitution.

    The voting took place on Tuesday evening, hours before the state of emergency was due to expire.  All 38 MPs who voted for the extension were from the ruling party.

    Opposition MPs boycotted the session to ensure the vote could not happen but the extension was approved anyway. Opposition MPs accused the speaker of bypassing the constitution and said the state of emergency was illegal.

    According to the constitution, any vote that requires compliance by the people has to be taken with the presence of more than half of all MPs in 85 member house.

    The state of emergency will end on March 22.

    Earlier, President office in a statement had said that Parliamentary standing committee on national security voted to extend the emergency after it was deliberated by Parliament on Monday. The statement said that restrictions on removal of President, cabinet ministers and prosecutor general have been removed.

    On Sunday, the Supreme Court has put a stay on its earlier ruling of February 1 to reinstate 12 parliamentarians who have lost their seats.

  • The magnitude of the alleged fraud committed by Rotomac Pens owner Vikram Kothari has ballooned compared to its initial estimates.

    Kothari allegedly cheated seven public sector banks of over Rs 3600 crore rupees by not making repayments of loans.

    The Central Bureau of Investigation - CBI has registered a case against Vikram Kothari. The probe agency questioned Kothari, his wife and his son.

    Properties belonging to Vikram Kothari and his family were raided in Kanpur in connection of the probe.

    The Kanpur-based company's owner had taken loans from consortium of seven public sector banks.

    Rotomac was declared a wilful defaulter in February 2017.

    Vikram Kothari, his wife and son have been detained by the probe agency.

  • Aam Admi Party is mired in controversy yet again. AAP MLAs are accused of allegedly assaulting the chief secretary.

    Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash has alleged that he was assaulted by two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) lawmakers in presence of the chief minister after being called for a meeting at midnight. Taking serious note of the incident, Home Ministry has asked for a report from Delhi Lt Governor.

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted and said- I am deeply pained by the happenings involving the Chief Secretary of the Delhi Government. The civil servants should be allowed to work with dignity and without fear. MHA has sought a report on the incident from the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi. Justice will be done.

    IAS association has condemned the incident. Bureaucrat associations DANICS and DASS met the home minister and updated him on the entire issue and demanded legal action against the culprits

    Meanwhile, IAS, DANICS and DASS associations took out a candlelight march at Rajghat to protest over the matter.

    Aam Admi Party, on the other hand, has called the allegations baseless. In fact, they have accused the chief secretary of using derogatory language against some MLAs and leaving the meeting without answering questions.

    However, Opposition has seized the moment to corner AAP.

    For now, AAP seems deeply embroiled in this new controversy and it remains to be seen how it manages to deal with it.

     

  • The government has initiated one of the biggest reforms in the mining sector. Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved private and international participation in commercial coal mining. The move is likely to augment availability of coal and act as a major catalyst for industry. The decision was taken at the Cabinet meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    Union Cabinet also approved 130 km long Jeypore-Malkangiri New Line project at a cost of 2676.11 crore. It will help in combating the left wing extremism through development in the districts of Malkangiri and Koraput. It will also improve connectivity to important towns, including Koraput, Jeypore, Jagdalpur, Dantewara and will result in short lead to many places in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

    Union Cabinet also approved Bill to ban illicit deposit taking activities; Bill provides for severe punishment and heavy fines for those raising illegal deposits.

     

  • In what is almost certainly their final appearance on the world stage, the Vancouver 2010 champions looked destined for silver after French rivals Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron appeared to have stolen the show in Pyeongchang, breaking their own free dance and combined score mark.

    But skating last, Virtue and Moir pulled out the dance of their lives under incredible pressure to earn 122.40 for a combined record total of 206.07 points and the gold medal, narrowly bettering the French duos 205.28.

    "We didnt see them dance, we were very much in our world, we didnt even see their score," said the 28-year-old Virtue. Moir added: "We knew today we would put in a fantastic performance, gave it all we had, we skated with our hearts.

    "We were present, we were together, we knew we were happy. Gabby and Guillaume are a good team, we knew it would be a fight right to the end."    In bronze, almost 13 points behind, came American brother and sister act Maia and Alex Shibutani.

    For Virtue and Moir, 30, this was a record fifth medal to go with their Vancouver gold and the silvers they won in the team and ice dance at Sochi, and gold in last week’s team event in Pyeongchang. "Were going to celebrate with some champagne," smiled Virtue.

    Told in the mixed zone that some rink experts were suggesting they were the greatest skaters of all time, Virtue laughed: "Where are these people?!"    She added: "Thats incredibly flattering, its hard to wrap our heads around, especially so close to the event, but we are grateful of the legends that have come before us."    The duo will allow their achievement to seep in before they tell the world their next steps. "If it is the end we are extremely pleased with that," said Moir.

    "Well probably make an announcement in the coming days, but for us we just want to enjoy this right now and let the dust kind of settle and figure out whats next." Virtue and Moir led after Mondays short programme, in which Papadakis suffered an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction.

    Papadakis and Cizeron have been superb all season, becoming the first ice dancers to break the 200-point mark last year. Their elegant and seamless routine to Beethovens Piano and Moonlight sonatas earned a row of level fours from the judges.

    Papadakis fell into Cizerons arms crying, before the couple exited to the wings of the Gangneung Arena to see if their training companions in Montreal could deny them the title. The Canadian couple began their routine to Roxanne from Moulin Rouge with many at the now-hushed venue believing they were chasing a lost cause. But their energetic and sensual tango stole the rink jurys hearts -- and broke those of their two French friends watching their dream of Olympic gold disappear.

    "It wasnt the best part of the day (watching Virtue and Moir) but its like that, they skated really well," said Cizeron. He added: "We gave our all, thats why we were so emotional on the ice at the end. "In spite of everything, it was a beau combat." Papadakis, commenting on her misfortune a day earlier when her dress slipped, said: "I had no choice but to get over what happened on Monday. "We had to get over it, and we did, otherwise we wouldnt have performed as we did just now."

  • Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the civilian death toll from Mondays bombardment of the enclave outside Damascus was the heaviest since early 2015. 

  • After convincing victories by seven and nine wickets respectively in the first two T20 games, India allowed South Africa to stay alive in the series by slumping to a five-wicket loss against the hosts in the third match in Johannesburg.

    But having clinched the three-match ODI series 2-1, India would now be aiming to secure an unassailable lead in the shortest format series, which comprises six games in all.

    A win on Wednesday will also make Harmanpreet Kaur and Co. the first to have won two series on a single tour of South Africa. It will also be a huge milestone after having won the T20 series in Australia.

    But it would be easier said than done. After a near flawless show in the opening two games, the Indians dished out a below-par display in third T20 to give South Africa a chance to make a comeback in the series.

    In the last match, India’s middle-order collapsed after a fiery start to end with 133 in 17.5 overs. This was after being a solid 93 for two in the 12th over.

    Skipper Harmanpreet looked in a punishing mood during her 30-ball 48 and together with opener Smriti Mandhana (37) added 55 runs for the second wicket in quick time. But once the duo departed, the Indian middle-order collapsed like a house of cards.

    Veteran Mithali Raj too would be hungry for runs after posting a duck in her previous knock. The Indian bowling too looked ordinary in the last match.

    In the absence of injured veteran pacer Jhulan Goswami, the onus was on young fast bowler Pooja Vastrakar to lead the attack and she did it with aplomb picking up two wickets, giving away just 21 runs from her four overs. But Pooja lacked support from the other end as her new ball partner Shikha Pandey went for runs. Off-spinner Anuja Patil was also a big letdown for India as she conceded 44 runs from her four overs and accounted for just one wicket.

    Come Wednesday, Harmanpreet would want her team to tick all boxes correctly in order to register a rare feat in the history of Indian women’s cricket. With the men’s team also scheduled to play their second T20 at the same venue later in the day, the onus will be on Harmanpreet and Co to set the ball rolling for Virat Kohli’s team as they eye an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

    On the other hand, South Africa would be a much more confident unit, thanks largely to seamer Shabnim Ismail, who took her first T20I five-wicket haul in the previous match. Ismail’s figures of 5/30 were the second-best by a South African in the format and helped the hosts get a target that they chased down with six balls to spare.

    They would also be hoping that  Chloe Tryon, who struck a 15-ball 34 in the previous game, continues her good form.

    India: Harmanpreet Kaur (captain), Smriti Mandhana (vice-captain), Mithali Raj, Veda Krishnamurthy, Jemimah Rodrigues, Deepti Sharma, Anuja Patil, Taniya Bhatia, Nuzhat Parveen Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad, Shikha Pandey, Pooja Vastrakar, Radha Yadav, Rumeli Dhar.

    South Africa: Dane van Niekerk (captain), Marizanne Kapp, Trisha Chetty, Shabnim Ismail, Ayabonga Khaka, Masabata Klaas, Sune Luus, Odine Kirsten, Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee, Chloe Tryon, Nadine de Klerk, Raisibe Ntozakhe, Moseline Daniels.

     

  • The trial of the surface-to-surface missile was conducted from a mobile launcher at the Launch Complex-4 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR). The Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM) has already been inducted into the services and Tuesday’s test was carried out by the Army’s Strategic Forces Command (SFC) with logistic support provided by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), they said.

    The 20-mt-long Agni-II ballistic missile has a launch weight of 17 tonne and can carry a payload of 1,000 kg over a distance of 2,000 kms. The state-of-the-art missile, already a part of the country’s arsenal for strategic deterrence, was launched as a training exercise by the armed forces, a DRDO scientist said. Agni-II, a two-stage missile, equipped with advanced high accuracy navigation system and guided by a unique command and control system was propelled by solid rocket propellant system, he said.

    The entire trajectory of the trial was tracked by a battery of sophisticated radars, telemetry observation stations, electro-optic instruments and two naval ships located near the impact point in the down range area of the Bay of Bengal. Agni-II was developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory along with other DRDO laboratories and integrated by the Bharat Dynamics Limited, Hyderabad, sources said.

    The missile is part of the Agni series of missiles which includes the Agni-I with a 700 km range, Agni-III with a 3,000 km range, Agni-IV and Agni-V both having long range capabilities. The first proto type of the Agni-II missile was carried out on April 11, 1999 and last launch was a user’s trial on May 4, 2017.

     

     

  • Our DNA determines what we look like, including our facial features. That appeals to the popular imagination, as the potential applications are obvious, researchers said. Doctors could use DNA for skull and facial reconstructive surgery, and historians would be able to reconstruct facial features using DNA from days long gone.

    "In the past, scientists selected specific features, including the distance between the eyes or the width of the mouth. They would then look for a connection between this feature and many genes," said Seth Weinberg from University of Pittsburgh in the US. "This has already led to the identification of a number of genes but, of course, the results are limited because only a small set of features are selected and tested," said Weinberg.

    "Our search doesn't focus on specific traits. We provided a database with 3D images of faces and the corresponding DNA of these people," Peter Claes from KU Leuven in Belgium. "Each face was automatically subdivided into smaller modules. Next, we examined whether any locations in the DNA matched these modules," said Claes, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Genetics.

    "This modular division technique made it possible for the first time to check for an unprecedented number of facial features," he said. The scientists were able to identify fifteen locations in our DNA. They found out that genomic loci linked to these modular facial features are active when our face develops in the womb.

    "Furthermore, we also discovered that different genetic variants identified in the study are associated with regions of the genome that influence when, where and how much genes are expressed," said Joanna Wysocka from Stanford University in the US.

    However, we must not get ahead of ourselves, said Mark Shriver from Pennsylvania State University in the US. "We won't be able to predict a correct and complete face on the basis of DNA tomorrow. We're not even close to knowing all the genes that give shape to our face," said Shriver. "Furthermore, our age, environment, and lifestyle have an impact on what our face looks like as well," Claes said. 

     

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlighted the government's commitment to doubling farmers' incomes by 2022 at the National Conference on Agriculture on Tuesday.

    The focus of government policy is to reduce the agri-costs while tapping the potential existing of irrigation system using latest technologies.

    Addressing the gathering in New Delhi, Prime Minister reiterated the commitment of his government in this regard. He said that the government is working at four different levels to fulfill the promise made to the farmers of the country.

    The Prime Minister said that coating Urea with Neem has helped in enhancing the efficiency of fertiliser and boosting productivity and also led to cost saving.

    Talking about irrigation system in the country prime minister said that the focus is on expanding micro irrigation while strengthening the existing network. He said as many as 99 irrigation schemes that had been stuck for 2-3 decades will be completed within a specified time-frame and 80,000 crore rupees has been allocated for the same.

    Talking about cooperative federalism, Prime Minister said that the welfare of farmers will be done only when the Centre and state will work together to achieve the pre-set target.

    The Prime Minister said 22,000 rural markets would be upgraded so as to provide a market for farm produce within 5-15 km distance of production points. The government, he said, is also encouraging Farmer Producer Organisation, the provision for agri-credit has been raised to 11 lakh crore rupees from 8 lakh crore rupees.

    He said promoting use of solar energy, converting agriculture waste into wealth and economical use of crop residue will also help in doubling of farmers' income by 2022.  He mentioned that the government has also approved blending of up to 10 per cent sugarcane-extracted ethanol in petrol. He added that as much as 11,000-crore claims have been settled under the crop insurance scheme, which is double of the previous amount.

     

  • Authorities believe more bodies could be buried at the Hulene garbage dump on the outskirts of Maputo, and a search was underway. The garbage in the poor, densely populated area where the disaster happened rose to the height of a three-story building, according to the Portuguese news agency Lusa.

    Lusa and Radio Mocambique both reported 17 deaths. Half a dozen homes were destroyed and some residents in the area fled for fear of another collapse. "The mountains of garbage collapsed on the houses and many families were still inside these residences," Fatima Belchior, a national disaster official, told Lusa. Authorities are trying to help people who lost their homes, she said.

    The Hulene garbage dump is the largest such facility in Maputo. People often comb through the garbage, searching for food and items to sell. Health workers have long raised concerns about the impact of the fumes, flies and other hazards of the dump on the surrounding community. Municipal officials have previously discussed the closure of the dump. 

  • Researchers discovered last month that two large networks of underwater caves in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, the Sac Actun and Dos Ojos networks, are in fact connected, forming the largest such structure on Earth. Diving with SCUBA gear, they have been exploring the ancient relics left in the caves over the millenia, in a project sponsored by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). Researchers believe the water level in the caves has fluctuated over time, and that they were a source of water in times of severe drought a sometimes perilous one.

    Some of the animals and humans who ventured inside never made it out alive. Today, their remains are a treasure trove for scientists, enabling them to piece together bits of the cave's history dating all the way back to the Pleistocene epoch (2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). The animal remains include gomphotheres an extinct elephant-like animal as well as giant sloths and bears, archaeologists told a press conference.

    Then there are the artefacts left inside by humans: burnt human bones, ceramics, wall etchings and more. "It is very unlikely that there is another site in the world with these characteristics. There is an impressive amount of archaeological artefacts inside, and the level of preservation is also impressive," said Guillermo de Anda, an underwater archaeologist. The relics include a shrine to the Mayan god of war and commerce, with a staircase accessed through a sink-hole in the middle of the jungle.

    Many other of the hundreds of sink-holes that connect to the cave have elaborate signs of ritual activity around them, archaeologists said. The ancient Mayans viewed caves, "and especially ones that led to water, as extremely sacred places," the INAH said.

  •  According to Crisil, going by the 2016-17 data, the e-retail market represents about 1.5 per cent (Rs 70,000 crore) of the overall Rs 49 trillion retail sector in the country, indicating enormous growth potential.  The online shopping segment has trebled over the past three fiscal years on rising Internet penetration, awareness of online shopping as well as lucrative deals and discounts.  “E-retail market size is expected to surge 250 per cent in the next three years,” the report said without quantifying the industry siz by that time.  “After the initial phase where e-retailers focused only on gaining market share through discounts, the next phase will be characterised by consolidation, geographical diversification, business realignment, as well as enhancing customer stickiness,” it added.

    Interestingly, the report noted that “a frenzied search for unicorns in the past couple of years ended badly for many investors, who saw their equity wiped out”  and resulted in about 26 prominent start-ups shutting shops in the past two years.

    Crisil’s analysis of 11 major e-retail firms showed that almost 45 per cent of the over Rs 40,000 crore invested between FY14 and FY16 was wiped off due to losses at e-retailers.

    “Chastened investors are now putting money into just a handful of players that are showing sustainability and enjoy a major market share,” the report said.  “While overall funding increased by over Rs 25,000 crore in the first nine months of the current fiscal year over the previous year, the number of players funded came down 30 per cent, underscoring the caution and sharper focus after the losses,” it added.

    Crisil study on 30 companies found that funding for the top three players has increased from 40-45 per cent of overall investments in FY14 to 76-81 per cent in the first nine months of the current fiscal.

    “The trend indicates cautious and focused investing by investors with an eye on profitability,” the report said.  “The industry is now 8-10 years old and is moving from the startup phase to more consolidated phase. Going forward, funding will only get more concentrated with big-ticket players getting the bulk of the pie. Niche players will get funding, but in bits and pieces,” it added.  Crisil also found that the e-grocery, which has lately seen an uptick in the number of players and investor interest, is likely to be the next big online segment after apparel, mobile phones.

    Online grocery is to be the fastest growing segment with an average growth rate at 65-70 per cent between fiscals 2017 and 2020, while the revenues may quadruple over the next three years to Rs 100 billion.

    The growth in the segment would be driven by investments in technology, new strategies adopted by players such as introducing private labels, same day and next day delivery as well as B2B food services.  “In the overall food retail industry, the penetration of online food and grocery stands at a miniscule 0.1 per cent, indicating significant growth potential,” the report said.  Investments in the high-volume, low-margin segment rose over seven times in the first nine months of FY18 to Rs 20 billion, as niche players like BigBasket and Grofers were forced to fight with biggies like Amazon and Flipkart, apart from brick-n-mortar players like D-Mart, and Reliance Retail sharpening focus.

    Meanwhile, noting that online customer base remains largely concentrated in major cities, the report said faster growth will slow down in these regions as it is already highly penetrated and players would need to move into small towns to sustain growth. 

     

  • While the last quarter-century has seen broad improvements in older children's health, "we have not made similar progress in ending deaths among children less than one month old," said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's executive director. "Given that the majority of these deaths are preventable, clearly we are failing the worlds poorest babies."

    The differences are stark. A baby born in Pakistan - the country with the worst newborn mortality rate -faced a one in 22 chance of death, while a newborn in Japan had only a one in 1,111 risk of dying, the report said. Of the 10 highest-risk countries, eight are in sub-Saharan Africa, countries where "pregnant women are much less likely to receive assistance," due to poverty, conflict or weak institutions, according to the report.

    Those eight countries are the Central African Republic (a one in 24 chance of death); Somalia, Lesotho, Guinea-Bissau and South Sudan (all with a one in 26 chance); Cote dIvoire (one in 27) and Mali and Chad (both with a one in 28 chance).

    Each year, some 2.6 million babies do not survive through their first month. The report was released in conjunction with the launch of a global campaign, called Every Child Alive, aimed at ensuring "affordable, quality health care solutions for every mother and newborn."

    More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths can be prevented, the report says, "with access to well-trained midwives, along with proven solutions like clean water, disinfectants, breast-feeding within the first hour, skin-to-skin contact and good nutrition."

    But shortages of properly trained health workers and midwives are a major problem in poorer nations. While a rich country like Norway has 18 doctors, nurses and midwives for every 10,000 people, impoverished Somalia has only one. Every year, one million babies die the day they are born. "We know we can save the vast majority of these babies with affordable, quality health care solutions," Fore said.

    In general, babies born in richer countries fare far better, but there are differences within countries. Babies born to the poorest families are 40 per cent more likely to die than those born to the least poor. Sadly typical was the story of Mary James, an 18-year-old from rural Malawi.

    When her labour started, she and her sister made the long trek to a health center on foot. When her baby was delivered, he was small and terribly weak. She says an overstretched staff did its best, but by night the child was gone. "I felt like my heart was breaking," James told UNICEF staff. "I had a name for the child but he never opened his eyes." Since improvements to health care can be expensive, "it is crucial to invest the money in a smart way," UNICEFs global maternity and newborn program chief Willibald Zeck said.

    That can mean something as simple as ensuring that a pregnant woman who has walked three days to a health care facility is received with "dignity," so she remains long enough to receive proper postnatal care. But the dearth of expensive equipment matters. Zeck, who worked as an obstetrician/gynecologist in Tanzania, said women were often unsure how pregnant they were, and he would have to use his hands to estimate whether a fetus was premature or seriously underweight.

    Still, among countries that have made dramatic improvements is low-income Rwanda, which more than halved its rate from 1990 to 2016, illustrating that "political will to invest in strong health systems... is critical," the report said.

    Education matters, too. Babies born to mothers with no education face nearly twice the risk of early death as babies whose mothers have at least a secondary education. The United States generally affluent, but with considerable income inequality and wide variations in access to health care -- was only the 41st safest country for newborns.

    The countries with the lowest newborn mortality rates, after Japan, are mostly well-off countries with strong education and health care systems: Iceland (a one in 1,000 chance of death), Singapore (one in 909), Finland (one in 833), Estonia and Slovenia (both one in 769), Cyprus (one in 714) and Belarus, Luxembourg, Norway and South Korea (all with risks of one in 667). 

  • The body of a heavily-armed intruder was later recovered along the Line of Control during a search and sanitisation operation launched later.

    The Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked and indiscriminate firing on Sunday along the LoC in Poonch to facilitate an infiltration attempt by a group of terrorists. Indian troops deployed at the border detected the movement and engaged the infiltrators with effective automatic fire. Two jawans were injured in the firing which are now recuperating in the hospital.

     

     

  • Gandhi Nagar is important railway station in Jaipur situated on the Jaipur-Delhi rail route with more than 50 trains passing through the station out of which 25 halting at the station. The station has footfall of more than 7,000 passengers every day.

    There are 40 women staff at the station besides women personnel of the railway protection force have been deployed at the station.

    A step towards empowering women- the all-woman managed railway station, will surely set an example for women across the country that they can independently handle a major railway station.

     

     

  • BJP has recorded an emphatic win in Gujarat civic polls soon after returning to power in the state in the recently held assembly elections.

    While the BJP bagged 46 municipal the Congress was confined to 15. After a resounding victory in Gujarat assembly elections , BJP has scripted victory against Congress in civic polls too.

    Of the total 75 municipalities spread across 28 districts , BJP has emerged victorious in 46. Initial strong opening of congress in the morning fizzled out to just 15 finally.

    Cadres have expressed happiness over BJP's resounding victory.Voting was held on saturday for 74 municipal seats spread over 28 districts along with 2 zila panchayats , 17 taluka panchayats and 1400 gram panchayats in Gujarat.

    64.4% turnout was recorded in the civic polls. BJP candidate was elected unopposed in 1 municipality already necessitating elections for the remaining 74 seats.
     

  • After the bumper voting turnout of 89.8% in Tripura elections, all eyes are now on the next two battlefields - Meghalaya and Nagaland.campaigning has picked up in both the states as the days draw closer to the contest.given that only a week remains for campaigning, political parties and candidates are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters.

    BJP has reiterated that the overwhelming turnout in Tripura indicates that people have voted for change in governance in the state.

    In Nagaland, campaigning is at its peak.195 candidates are in the fray for the 60 member assembly.while Naga Peoples' Front at 58 seats is fighting on the maximum number of seats.

    NDPP will be vying for 39 seats.BJP will contest on 20 seats and Congress will fight on 18 seats.However, NDPP's Neiphiu Rio has already won the north Angami-2 seat independently.women are also upbeat about the approaching elections in the state.

    In Meghalaya, Congress candidate Jonathan Sangma from William Nagar seat and 2 of his security guards were killed by an IED blast planted by ultras when he was returning home after an election campaign.

    Even as campaigning has reached its crescendo in the state, candidates are busy with door-to-door campaigning to convince the voters in their favour.
     Home Minister Rajnath Singh addressed 2 public meetings in Meghalaya on Monday.Regional parties are also approaching the voters to win their trust.
    Meghalaya and Nagaland will go to polls on 27th February and counting of votes will be held on 3rd March.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in the anointing celebrations of Lord Bahubali in Shravanabelagola, near Mysuru. This imposing 58-foot idol of Bhagwan Bahubali who is also known as Gomateshwar is a highly venerated Jain pilgrimage.

    Devotees have to climb nearly 650 steps to reach the idol of Bhagwan Bahubali on the Vindhyagiri Hill.PM also inaugurated the recently constructed steps which make the climb easier.He also inaugurated a new Bahubali general hospital at Shravanabelagola.

    The Mahamasthakabhishek ceremony is performed every 12 years and the 88th festival is being celebrated this time around starting the 17th of February till the 25th for 9 days.Prime Minister sought the blessings of saints. Devotees were thrilled to have the Prime Minister in their midst.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed gratitude at being a part of this holy ceremony. He thanked everyone for their blessings that power him to keep working for the nation.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday flagged off the Palace Queen Humsafar Express between Mysuru and Udaipur in Mysuru Railway Station. Both the Mysuru Palace and Udaipur palace are iconic tourist attractions and this special train will create a new tourist circuit connecting North India and the South.

    The train between Mysuru and Udaipur will act as a backbone of tourism, an employment generating industry. He also dedicated to the nation, the electrified Mysuru-Bengaluru Railway Line and announced two more infrastructure projects for the region.

    After delivering the gifts of development to Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a blistering attack against the Congress govt in the state. He said the party only believed in making false promises and serving self-interest. Calling for change he said that Karnataka aspires for speedy development which the Congress government can never fulfil.

    He said that the longer the Congress rule lasts, the greater will be the loss to the people of the state. PM said What they care for is only power, not aspirations of people. He called it a 'commission government'. Prime Minister also listed out his govt's pro-people schemes like Mudra yojana and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana. 

    Karnataka goes to polls in April this year. Taking forward the Battle for Karnataka, Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented the BJP as the only alternative that can save the state from doom.