News

  • Ministry of Shipping signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with IIT Kharagpur today for setting up the Centre for Inland and Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT) at IIT Kharagpur. The MoA was signed in the presence of Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping(I/c) and Chemicals & Fertilizers.

  • The objective of the MPLAD scheme is to enable Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature with emphasis on the creation of durable community assets based on the locally felt needs to be taken up in their Constituencies.

  • In a major decision, the Union Environment Ministry has today given two years of extension and allowed the construction works related to Polavaram Multipurpose Project. Informing the media in New Delhi the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Shri Prakash Javadekar said that today the order has been signed and ministry has allowed the construction works for two years.

  • This Ministry has launched a new regular employment-unemployment survey, namely, Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) during April, 2017 with certain changes in survey methodology, data collection mechanism and sampling design vis-à-vis the earlier quinquennial (once in every five years) Employment and Unemployment surveys of NSSO.

  • Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari has called for upliftment of villages in the country. He said, the villagers turn to cities due to lack of employment, clean drinking water, drainage system, health facilities, etc. The Minister said, the government is seriously working for the welfare of poor, farmers and labourers.

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the following:

    1. The ACC has approved the appointment of Shri Arvind Kumar,  IPS (AM:84), Special Director, Intelligence Bureau as Director, Intelligence Bureau vice Shri Rajiv Jain on completion of his tenure on 30.06.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today replied to the motion of thanks on the President’s address, in Rajya Sabha. He thanked the members of the Upper House for participating and contributing towards the debate.

  • Indian Railways (IR) has plans to set up 500 Mega Watt (MW) of Land based Solar plants, including those on its unused land. Out of the above, total 3 MW has already been set up on Railway’s unused land.

  • Indian Railways have taken several key measures, as a result of which the number of consequential train accidents have decreased from 118 in 2013-14 to 104 in 2016-17, to 73 in 2017-18 and further to 59 in 2018-19.

  • Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps are undertaken on a continuous basis to prevent accidents and to enhance safety. These include timely replacement of over-aged assets, adoption of suitable technologies for up-gradation and maintenance of track, rolling stock, signalling and interlocking systems, safety drives, greater emphasis on training of officials and safety inspections at regular intervals to monitor and educate staff for observance of safe practices.

  • Luxurious coaches with glass ceiling termed as Vistadome coaches having panoramic view have been introduced. Some of these coaches have infotainment system also.

     

    13 such coaches are available on following sections of Indian Railways:

     

    Dadar and Madgaon (1 coach)

     

    Araku Valley (1 coach)

     

    Kashmir Valley (1 coach)

     

    Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (4 coaches)

     

    Kalka Shimla Railway (2 coaches)

     

    Kangra Valley Railway (1 coach)

     

    Matheran Hill Railway (1 coach)

     

    Nilgiri Mountain Railway (2 coaches)

     

    These coaches have larger glass windows and good quality interiors.

  • Around 3,650 women candidates have been given employment in the Indian Railways in technical categories in the last three years.

     

    In the past few years, against notifications issued for various technical posts, a total of 2,79,60,224 applications were received and out of these, 46,76,928 (16.73%) were from women.

  • Ministry of Railways has planned to electrify balance Broad Gauge routes of Indian Railways by 2021-22, keeping in view the advantages of electrification and to achieve seamless operation on electric traction over entire Broad Gauge network.

  • All unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) on Broad Gauge (BG) have been eliminated on 31st Jan 2019.

     

    In 2018-19, 1477 Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Road Under Bridges (RUBs) were constructed over Indian Railway.

  • The export and import policies for agricultural products, which include the decisions on lifting and imposing bans on export/import of individual agricultural products, are framed keeping several factors in mind, such as availability of surplus over the domestic requirements (including the requirement of buffer stock and strategic reserve, if any), concerns of food security, diplomatic/humanitarian considerations, international demand and supply situation, price competitiveness, need to balance between remunerative prices to the growers and availability of agricultural products to common man at affordable  prices.

  • No anti-dumping duty has been imposed recently on Indian shrimp exports by the United States of America. However, US had imposed anti-dumping duty on import of frozen warm water shrimps from certain countries, including India, in 2004, based on the representations of Southern Shrimp Producers Alliance, an association of local shrimp producers in USA.

    The Initial anti-dumping duty imposed by US was 10.17% which was reviewed subsequently.

  • The bilateral trade in goods and services registered a growth of 14.5% in the year 2018 with the US. The bilateral trade in goods registered a growth of 22.4% (DGCIS figure) and bilateral trade in services registered 9.3% (US Census Bureau) in 2018.

  • India has achieved a record high of USD 330. 07 billion of merchandise exports in the year 2018-19, registering a positive growth of 8.75% as compared to the previous year.

     

    Government has taken following steps to increase exports:

     

    A new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) 2015-20 was launched on 1st April 2015.

  • India’s share in global trade (merchandise and services) was 2.1% (481.74 USD billion out of total 23,044 USD billion) for exports and 2.6% (600.62 USD billion out of total 23,112 USD billion) for imports in 2017.

  • It has come to the notice of the Government that due to supply situation of raw cashew nut in the international market, certain section of the cashew industry is having issues in operation. The Government has no proposal to introduce a comprehensive scheme for protection of cashew industry at present.

  • Arranging for basic necessities for over 11 lakh Rohingyas from Myanmar for a long time will be difficult.

    She said Bangladesh has been making diplomatic efforts to find out a permanent solution since the very beginning of the crisis to send back the forcibly displaced Rohingyas back to their homeland.

  • This will be for a two year term 2021-2022. In a tweet India's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Syed Akbaruddin said that the group of Asia Pacific nations unanimously endorsed India's candidature.

    He also thanked all the supporting nations for their support.

    India is set to contest the election for the UNSC non permanent seat in 2020. UNSC has five permanent members - United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia and France and 10 non-permanent members, who are elected by the UNGA for a two-year term on the Horseshoe Table.

    India has served as a non-permanent member of the UNSC for seven terms – of which the most recent one was in 2011-12.

  • Official sources said that the persons whose names appear in the Additional Draft Exclusion List are those persons whose names are included in the Draft NRC published on July last year, but have been subsequently found ineligible due to various reasons.

    Those persons who have been excluded will be informed individually through letters. Such persons will get the opportunity to file their claims which will be disposed of through a hearing by a Disposing Officer.

    All the claims will be disposed of before the publication of the Final NRC on 31st of July. 

    Over 1 lakh person who has been excluded will be informed individually through Letters of Information to be delivered at their residence along with the reason of exclusion.

    Such persons will get the opportunity to file their claims which will be disposed of through a hearing by a Disposing Officer.

    The hearings will start on 5th of July.All the claims will be disposed of before the publication of the Final NRC on 31st of July.

    The entire NRC process is being carried out in Assam under the monitoring of the Supreme Court.

    The NRC authority announced, all genuine Indian citizens as per cut of date of Midnight of 24th March 1971 will be included in the Final NRC.

    On 30th July last year, name of 40 lakh people did not appear in the NRC draft list.

  • The theme of the summit is Human centred future society. Food security, energy security, financial stability, terrorism-related issues, Innovation in the digital economy and artificial intelligence will be discussed.

    Former Union Minister Suresh Prabhu is Prime Minister's Sherpa at the summit.

    On Tuesday, he attended the G20 Sherpa meeting to prepare for Prime Minister's Summit with G-20 leaders.

    In a tweet, Suresh Prabhu said, global issues are being discussed at intense negotiations and India’s priorities were highlighted for global good. 

    More than 20 countries will be participating in the G20 Summit.Informal meeting of the BRICS leaders and bilateral meetings with other leaders would also take place on the sidelines of the summit.

    India has participated in all the Summits held so far. It will host the G20 summit in 2022 for the first time.

  • Briefing the media after the meeting, the two leaders said that the talks have made progress on many matters.

    \Talking about the pressing issue of trade barriers India and US made it clear that efforts are being made to sort out differences and earnest efforts will be made to increase understanding of the matter.

    On the issue of S-400 anti missile defence systems, India made it clear that the ties with Russia have a historical and strategic importance that cannot be wished away immediately.

    The United States also reiterated that it understands that India has defence requirements and said that US is committed to help India in this regard.

  • In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, Secretary Pompeo exchanged views on various aspects of Indo-US relationship with the Prime Minister.

    The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson said that the two sides are working together to further strengthen the strategic partnership.

    He further said that Prime Minister Modi will meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the upcoming G-20 Osaka Summit to be held in Japan. The Secretary of State arrived in New Delhi on Tuesday on a three-day visit to India.

    He is also scheduled to meet Indian and US businesses in a round table format and deliver a policy speech at the India International Centre.

    Pompeo's visit is an important opportunity for both sides to explore ways to further strengthen the India-US Strategic Partnership.

    Diplomatic sources said the talks should be seen as a getting to know each other meeting, rather than one with concrete deliverables and agreements. 

  • Noting that the United States and India are natural strategic partners, a State Department Fact Sheet said that President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are firmly committed to accelerating the upward trajectory of this partnership. "Prime Minister Modi's sweeping mandate in the recent elections creates a unique opportunity to realize this vision," it said hours after Pompeo landed in New Delhi on a three-day visit. The United States and India are moving quickly to achieve their shared vision for a free, open, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region by expanding cooperation in areas such as energy, aviation, and space, it added. Pompeo's visit marks the third visit to India by a Secretary of State during the Trump Administration.

    After his India visit from June 25-27, Pompeo will travel to Japan to attend the G-20 Summit with Trump. Modi would also be attending the summit of leaders from top 20 economies of the world. The two leaders are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the summit. Trump and PM Modi would be joined by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for their second trilateral summit. "We have elevated the level of strategic interaction between our two countries, most notably through the annual 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue that pairs the Secretaries of State and Defense with their Indian counterparts," the State Department said.

    The first 2+2 was held in September 2018 and culminated in the announcement of a new tri-service exercise and the signing of a secure communications agreement that will enable India to operationalise its status as a Major Defense Partner. The next 2+2 is likely to be held in Washington later this year. The United States granted India Strategic Trade Authorization tier 1 status last year, allowing India to enjoy the same license-free access to certain defense articles as NATO allies Japan, South Korea, and Australia. This status also creates greater supply chain efficiency and supports US industry and investment, it said. "The reinvigorated quadrilateral dialogue between the United States, India, Japan, and Australia has met four times since President Trump took office to discuss ways to strengthen a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong, and prosperous," the State Department said.

    Asserting that the support for US-India ties transcends political parties and presidential administrations, the State Department said as the world's oldest and largest democracies, the United States and India share deep respect for one another's values and traditions. "Our people and cultures are profoundly intertwined," it said. "The Indian diaspora in the United States is nearly 4 million strong. Indian-Americans are thriving in the United States and helping to make our communities more secure and prosperous through their leadership in industry, academia, and government, the State Department said. Indian students enrich US campuses, contribute to its economy, and build lifelong bonds with Americans. The number of Indian students studying in the United States has increased for the fifth year in a row, more than doubling from 96,000 students in the 2012-13 academic year to 1,96,000 in 2018. "In 2018, Indians received 70 per cent of H-1B visas issued worldwide. The program allows talented Indian professionals to participate in the US economy and return to their country with new skills to contribute to India's economic growth, to our mutual benefit," the State Department said.

  • This was informed by commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal in his second marathon meeting with stakeholders, including e-commerce companies, on Monday. "We will put in place an institutional framework to bring out a national policy on e-commerce within next 12 months," the official said. The government in February released the draft national e-commerce policy proposing setting up a legal and technological framework for restrictions on cross-border data flow and also laid out conditions for businesses regarding collection or processing of sensitive data locally and storing it abroad.

    Several foreign e-commerce firms have raised concerns over some points in the draft pertaining to data. An inter-ministerial panel under DPIIT would be formed to address stakeholder grievances on FDI and draft e-commerce policy. Goyal also said in the meeting that the Press Note 2, which talks about FDI in e-commerce, is clarificatory in nature and the government has not made any changes in the existing law. "Companies who participated (in the meeting) agreed with this. They confirmed unequivocally that the Press Note 2 of 2018 on FDI in e-commerce was only clarificatory in nature and did not change the provisions in the FDI policy," the official added.

    The minister also stated that India wants to engage with the world on data and e-commerce issues "but there has to be reciprocity", the official said. Top executives from Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, Paytm, eBay, Makemytrip, Swiggy and others attended the meeting. The minister will meet again with retail and e-commerce firms to further address their issues.

    The e-commerce firms shared sectoral concerns like the ones related with GST, and discounts. Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy in a statement said the company appreciates the government's efforts to "engage in a candid, positive and progressive discussions aimed at creating a vibrant e-commerce market and Digital India". "We look forward to working with the ministry and many other stakeholders to realise this growth dream," he added. A Walmart spokesperson said the company welcomes the multiple consultative meetings that Goyal has hosted with business leaders.

    The minister has shown an open mind to discuss various issues related to e-commerce so that there is meaningful progress to ensure that everyone benefits from the growing digital economy, promoting a positive investment environment for both international and domestic companies, the spokesperson added. "E-commerce is an incredible opportunity for India to enable 70 million medium and small Indian businesses to become the bedrock of India's digital economy. Snapdeal welcomes the government's determination to ensure that the policies governing the sector are followed both in letter and spirit," a Snapdeal spokesperson said.

  • While Australia became the first team to reach the semifinals of the showpiece, England's defeat, their second straight following the stunning reverse to Sri Lanka, made their path to the last four way tougher than it was not less than a week ago. Captain Finch rose to the occasion with his second century of the tournament before England rallied to stop Australia at 285 for seven in their blockbuster showdown.

    In reply, England found the left-arm pace duo of Jason Behrendorff (5/-43) and Mitchell Starc (4/44) too hot to handle, capitulating to 221 all out in 44.4 overs. Ben Stokes waged a lonely battle for his 89 off 115 balls. England were off to the worst possible start, losing James Vince in only the second ball of the innings. Bigger blows awaited the hosts as the Lord's saw in disbelief the quick departure of the in-from Joe Root followed by skipper Eoin Morgan. At 26 for three in the sixth over, England were staring down the barrel against a side that is historically known to raise its game on the biggest stage, more so when the stakes are high.

    England were pushed further down the abyss when Jonny Bairstow was dismissed by Jason Behrendorff, making it 53 for four in the 14th over. With a 71-run partnership for the fifth wicket, Stokes and Jos Buttler somewhat rescued the innings, but the wicketkeeper-batsman got out after making 25 off 27 balls. The match was as good as over when Starc bowled Stokes with one of the tournament's finest yorkers to leave the home team reeling at 177 for six. Earlier, comfortably placed at 185 for three in the 36th over, Australia were headed for a 300-plus total, but lost the plot due to England's fine comeback and lack of discretion on part of most of the batsmen that followed Finch and David Warner (53).

    Sent into bat after Morgan called it right at the toss, Australia were given another fine start by their in-from openers, who took them to 123 in the 23rd over, when leading scorer Warner got out. Dropped on 15, Finch (100) went on to make his 15th ODI century, off 115 balls, but got out in the very next ball to leave the responsibility of finishing the innings in style on Steve Smith's shoulders. Smith (38) batted positively until he was sent back by Chris Woakes, while Alex Carey smashed 38 off 27 balls, but the defending champions seemed to have lost the plot with the wickets of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis.

    Maxwell hit Jofra Archer for a four before sending his thunderbolt over long on and into the crowd for a six. But Maxwell did not last long, and Australia were 228 for five, when Stoinis was run out in the 42nd over due to the combined efforts of Jonny Bairstow, Adi Rashid and Jos Buttler. This was after Warner and Finch shared another 100-plus stand for the first-wicket. It was the pair's fifth successive partnership of 50 or more at the tournament, a World Cup record. Finch found the fence 11 times during his 116-ball knock and cleared it twice, with Moeen Ali being at the receiving end on both occasions. 

  • However, in terms of incremental performance Haryana, Rajasthan and Jharkhand are the top three states who performed well in comparison to the last health index.

    The report released by Vice Chairman of NITI Aayog Dr. Rajiv Kumar ranks the states and Union territories innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes, as well as, their overall performance with respect to each other.

    Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rajeev Kumar said, the  Centre is working with states to improve the health indicators.

    Health Secretary Preeti Sudan said, the health index will help the government to assess its performance and states will also get direction on the way forward.

  • Hardeep Puri said this while addressing media in New Delhi on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of Urban Missions of PMAY(U), Smart Cities Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation -AMRUT.

    Puri said, the validated demand for total houses under the scheme is one crore and so far more than 81 lakh houses have been sanctioned.

    He said, sanctioning of all the houses will be made by 1st quarter of next year. Mr Puri expressed hope that all the houses will be handed over to the beneficiaries by 2020.

    The Minister said, an investment of eight lakh crore rupees has been made in these three schemes of  PMAY, Smart Cities and AMRUT.

  • He said the 2019 Lok Sabha elections have shown that the people are thinking about the betterment of the country over themselves and the spirit is commendable.

    Replying to debate on Motion of Thanks to the President’s address to the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament today, PM Modi said, he never thinks about polls in terms of victory and defeat but as an opportunity to serve 130 crore Indians.

    The Prime Minister said, the government did not deviate from its development path and did not dilute its development agenda.

    He added that it is important that the country progresses and every Indian is empowered.He said the government and the opposition have to work together to fulfil the dream of a strong, safe, developed and inclusive nation.

    The Prime Minister said, after Independence, the country has accepted a culture in which common people had to struggle with the system for their basic rights.

    In an apparent attack on Congress,  Prime Minister Modi said the party has risen so high that it has been uprooted from the ground unlike BJP’s aim to remain closer to the people at the grassroots and strengthen them.

    The Prime Minister rejected the allegation of not giving credit to previous governments at the Centre and different states.

    Remembering the Emergency dark period, imposed in 1975, Mr Modi said this can never be wiped out from the peoples’ memory.

  • Delivering the opening statement at the 41st session of the UNHuman Rights Council in Geneva, Bachelet said she is disturbed by the attacks on the Muslims and hate speech by some religious leaders following the bombings.

    She said statements by some religious leaders inciting violence constitute worrying early warning indicators that should be addressed.

    She said the lack of a unified approach between the President and Government regarding key human rights concerns risks adverse impact on the effectiveness of the security forces in ensuring safety and protection for all.

    Bachelet noted the state of emergency should be of minimal duration, and a priority should be given to bringing political, religious and other community leaders together to address root causes of all forms of violence and discrimination.

    The High Commissioner commended the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka for its commendable and courageous role.

    Her comments came as hate speech against Muslims are on rise following the attacks which killed over 250 people including 45 foreigners. 

  • BJP today attacked Congress on Emergency terming it a dark period in Indian history.

    In a tweet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, India salutes all those greats who fiercely and fearlessly resisted the emergency. PM said, the country's democratic ethos successfully prevailed over an authoritarian mindset.

    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, the declaration of emergency and the incidents that followed, mark as one of the darkest chapters in India’s history. Defence Minister said, on this day, people of the country should always remember the importance of upholding the integrity of our institutions and the Constitution. 

    BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi said Constitution was subverted and human rights were violated by this anti-democracy decision. BJP MP blamed former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of taking such extreme step for political gain.

    The BJP MP also hit out at West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for her allegation that country went through Super Emergency in the last five years.

    MP Meenakshi Lekhi alleged that the Chief Minister has no right to talk about Emergency as people of West Bengal are witnessing the similar situation in the state under her regime

  • K. Natarajan, the second Coast Guard officer to lead the force, would take over on June 30. He joined the force on January 18, 1984, and holds a Masters Degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from Madras University.

    K. Natarajan has held various important Command and Staff appointments, both afloat and ashore. The Flag Officer has commanded all classes of Indian Coast Guard ships, namely Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV) Sangram, Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) Veera, Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) Kanaklata Barua and Inshore Patrol Vessel (IPV) Chandbibi.

    The Flag Officer has held the appointments of Chief Staff Officer (Personnel & Administration) at Headquarters Region (East), Chennai and Chief of Staff at Headquarters Region (West), Mumbai. The Officer has also held the appointment of Officer-in-Charge, Coast Guard Training Centre, Kochi.

    On elevation to the Flag rank in August 2009, he spearheaded the Staff Division of Policy and Plans at the Coast Guard Headquarters as the Deputy Director General (Policy & Plans) till April 2014. The newly appointed chief of Indian Coast Guard, K. Natarajan was instrumental in giving a fillip to the overall growth of the Coast Guard, post 26/11, in terms of assets and infrastructure development including a dedicated academy.

    The Flag Officer was the Commander of the Coast Guard Region (Andaman & Nicobar) from May 14 - July 2015 and on 27 Jul the same year took over the helm of the Western Region.

    The Flag Officer was elevated to the rank of Additional Director General on 12 August 2016 and is currently holding the charge of the Coast Guard Commander (Western Seaboard).

    He is an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington. He has specialized in Search and Rescue as well as Maritime Safety and Port Operations, at the US Coast Guard Reserve Training Centre, Yorktown, Virginia.

  • A vacation bench comprising Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice B R Gavai, however, granted liberty to the Gujarat Congress to file an election petition after the conclusion of polls to the two Rajya Sabha seats vacated by Union Ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani. 

    An election petition is a procedure to call into question the election results of Parliamentary, Assembly or local elections.

    The plea was filed by Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Pareshbhai Dhanani.

    The two Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant after Mr Shah got elected to the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar and Ms Irani from Amethi. Both had been elected as Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat in 2017.

    The Election Commission had clarified that the vacancies for by-polls to all Houses, including the Rajya Sabha, are considered "separate vacancies" and separate notifications are issued and separate polls are held, though the schedule can be the same.

    In his plea, Congress MLA and Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly Pareshbhai Dhanani had sought a direction to quash and declare the poll panel's order as "unconstitutional, arbitrary, illegal, void ab initio" and said it violated Article 14 of the Constitution. 

    He had submitted that the poll panel is directed to hold simultaneous by-elections and polling for filling of all vacancies in all states, including Gujarat.

    The MLA, through his lawyer, had submitted that separate elections for the two Rajya Sabha seats in Gujarat would upset the scheme of proportional representation as mandated under the Representation of People Act.

  • During Goa’s liberation movement, Ranade was active in attacking police stations at Betim, Banastarim and other outposts. 

    He was arrested by Portuguese police in 1955 and was imprisoned at the Fort of Caxias near Lisbon in Portugal. He was kept in solitary confinement for six years. 

    Ranade was released from prison in January 1969, after the liberation of Goa in 1961, having served 14 years. Mohan Ranade was awarded Padmashri in 2001 and Sangli Bhushan in 2006.

    He received the Goa Puraskar in 1986 for social work. He authored books on the Goa liberation movement.

    Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has condoled Mohan Ranade’s death. In a tweet, he said that Ranade was a fearless freedom fighter and his sacrifice and struggles for Goa will always be remembered. 

  • The report takes a comprehensive look at health in terms of health outcomes, governance and processes and impact of policy interventions. 

    An official release said the Round-II report focuses on measuring and highlighting the overall performance and incremental improvements in these parameters over a two-year period of 2016-17 and 2017-18 in the states and Union Territories.

    The report has been prepared in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare with technical assistance from the World Bank.
     

  • The accident occurred early morning today when a private bus coming from Ambikapur of Chhatisgarh to Garhwa in Jharkhand, turned turtle, after falling from the valley and got trapped in between.

    SP of Garhwa Shivani Tiwari confirmed five deaths and injury to 40 others. The injured are being treated in local hospitals.

  • US President signed the order in presence of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last night. 

    Donald Trump's move to impose a fresh set of sanctions on Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and a string of military commanders comes days after Tehran said it shot down an American drone in the region on Thursday.

    The US President's order will deny Iran's leadership access to financial resources and authorises the targeting of persons appointed to certain official or other positions by the Supreme Leader or the Supreme Leader's Office.

    Moreover, any foreign financial institution that knowingly facilitates a significant financial transaction for entities designated under this Executive Order could be cut off from the US financial system. 

    Giving details of fresh sanctions, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin told reporters at a White House news conference that it includes actions against eight senior commanders of Navy, Aerospace and Ground Forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps

  • The Indian women eked put a hard fought win over the Asian champions at the Hiroshima Hockey Stadium.

    Captain Rani Rampal gave India the lead in the 3rd minute before drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur struck twice in 45th and 60th minutes to set up the win. Kanon Mori scored the lone goal for Japan in the 11th minute.

    The Indian women's team has already secured its place in the final round of the 2020 Olympics qualifiers after entering the final of this tournament. 

  • The Chariman said officials who played a key role during the time were promoted by the successive Congress governments.

    Taking part in a discussion on Emergency-the darkest period of Indian democracy held by Vivekananda International Foundation in New Delhi this evening, the Chairman said, the people responsible for wrecking the Constitution and performing cruelty on people should be punished. 

    Prasar Bharati Chairman said the country became an unsafe place for men due to measures like sterilization adopted at the time. Comparing emergency era to dictatorship, Prasar Bharati Chairman A. Surya Prakash said, the media was under an attack. 

    He said the 42nd amendment introduced during the emergency is an example of how the Constitution was misused during that period. 

  • Briefing media persons in Dhaka yesterday, Cabinet secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said that four bodies were recovered and there might be more bodies under the debris.

    He said that train collapsed as it was overloaded.  

    A four-member  enquiry team  headed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Railways has been set up to investigate the cause of the accident.

  • It is an increase of about 68 percent over last year. The surge in FDI came as Japan Tobacco Inc invested $1.47 billion in purchasing business from a Bangladeshi company. Power sector attracted the highest level of FDI worth over $1 billion.

    Releasing the figures compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) on Monday said that  China was the biggest source for FDI inflows last year at $1.03 billion, followed by the Netherlands  and the UK.

    The increase in the FDI inflows into Bangladesh comes against the backdrop of declining FDI in most of the world except Asia.

    Government of Bangladesh is working to improve its ranking in the ease of doing business index from the current level of 176 out of 190 to below 100 in the near future.

  • External Affairs Minister formally joined BJP in the presence of party working president JP Nadda at a ceremony at his office in Parliament on Monday.  A career diplomat and a former foreign secretary hailed for his expertise on India-US relation was handpicked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his government and was sworn as external affairs minister on May 30. Union Minister Dr. S Jaishankar also played the role of `crisis manager' and `trouble shooter' during his tenure as the Foreign Secretary. 

    The BJP named External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar as its candidate for a Rajya Sabha seat from Gujarat hours after he joined the saffron party in the presence of its working president JP Nadda.

    Bypolls of two Rajya Sabha seats were necessitated after Union cabinet ministers Amit Shah and Smriti Irani were elected to the Lok Sabha causing the vacancies.

    Carrer diplomat turned External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar is the second foreign secretary who have become External Affairs Minister after Natwar Singh. The EAM is also probably the first bureaucrat who has become a cabinet minister so soon after retirement.

    Also he has been the longest serving Indian ambassador to China and played pivotal role in reinforcing economic, trade and cultural relations between the two countries.

    As foreign secretary, Dr. S Jaishankar was known for his muscular policy with China. EAM shaped India's position on the Belt and Road Initiative, which had led to the boycott of the flagship BRI summit in Beijing. 

    With more than three decades of diplomatic experience Dr. S Jaishankar attracted limelight during his tenure as Indian ambassador to the US where he played an important role in intensive negotiator between the US authorities and Indian government to mutually handle the diplomatic ties. The Union Minister used his wide contacts and great tactics with the Washington bureaucracy in order to smooth out the crisis.

    As external affairs minister, Jaishankar's immediate challenge would certainly be to deal with the trade dispute with US as Washington is soon set to end the preferential trade treatment for India. The minister will also have to balance India's energy security needs and its relations with US over the issue of purchasing oil from sanctions-hit Iran. 

    EAM Dr. S Jaishankar will have to maintain the current positive momentum to project the position and power of India at global level.

  • Choksi, accused of money laundering by the ED in the multi-crore Punjab National Bank scam, is presently in Antigua and has told the high court that he is unable to travel to India due to ill health.

    The bench on Monday directed Choksi's advocate to submit all of his client's latest medical reports to the team of doctors at the JJ Hospital's cardiology department.

    The hospital shall, on July 9, submit the sealed report to the court with its opinion on whether Choksi can travel, the bench said. The court will hear the plea on July 10.

    Choksi has claimed that he left India in January 2018 to undergo a bypass surgery and not to avoid prosecution. In an affidavit filed in the High Court, he said he would return to India if he is medically fit.

    Earlier, the ED had told court that it was ready to provide an air ambulance to bring Choksi to India from Antigua.

  • A special investigation team has been set up to look into the death of Tabrez Ansari, who was declared "brought dead" by doctors at the Tata Main Hospital in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, on Saturday.

    Two police personnel have been  suspended in connection with the incident.

    They were officers-in-charge of Kharaswan and Sini police stations.

  • The bill seeks to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act of 2004, extending the benefits of reservation to people living near the international border in the state.

    The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was also introduced in the house. The bill proposes to allow voluntary use of Aadhaar for authentication and identity proof in opening bank accounts and procuring mobile phone connections.

    It gives a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on reaching the age of 18 and stipulates stiff penalties for violation of norms.

    The SEZ amendment bill was also introduced in the Lok Sabha on Monday. It proposes to allow trusts to set up units in special economic zones.

    The Union Cabinet had recently approved the Special Economic Zone Amendment Bill 2019, which will replace the ordinance related to it, and also seeks to amend the Special Economic Zone Act 2005.

  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha that his Ministry has prescribed a common standard format and design of the Driving Licence for the whole of the country.

    This Ministry, through its flagship application called SARATHI developed by NIC, has a common countrywide database of all driving license holders.

    Almost 15 crore driving license records are available in its central repository. 

    The SARATHI application has the feature to identify duplicate records online in real time and access information about the challans if any. 

  • The apex court directed the Bihar government to file an affidavit on the adequacy of medical facilities, nutrition and sanitation, and the hygiene conditions in the state.The matter has been posted for hearing after 10 days.

    Both the Centre and the Bihar government are taking all necessary steps for the treatment of children affected by the suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Bihar. After the arrival of Monsoon in Bihar, there has been noticeable decrease in cases of AES in Muzaffarpur district and adjoining areas. No death was reported due to AES on Monday.

    Meanwhile, Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Centre, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh governments on the outbreak of suspected Acute Encephalitis Syndrome in Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

    Apex Court asked them to file affidavits within seven days giving details of facilities dealing with public health, nutrition and sanitation, for treatment of children suffering from Encephalitis.

    The court was hearing a petition over the issue. The petition had sought a direction to the Centre for providing all necessary medical equipment and other supports for effective treatment of AES affected children.

    The official figure of deaths due to AES in Muzaffarpur has reached 130 and a large number of children affected by the disease are being treated in different hospitals of the state.

    Several NGOs have also come forward to help the victims of this disease in the hour of crisis. Medical Superintendent of Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital said that in the last 24 hours, only four new patients have come to notice, but no death has been reported.

    For the last one month Children's death due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome has been in news, while, Muzaffarpur has been the epicentre of this disese, deaths have also been reported from Samastipur and adjoining districts of Bihar.

  • Madan Lal Saini, also a Rajya Sabha MP, was 75. He was diagnosed with infection in lungs and was admitted at a private hospital in Jaipur.

    On Saturday, he was shifted to Delhi owing to his deteriorating health conditions and was being treated under the Hematology Department at AIIMS.

    Madan Lal Saini was appointed BJP state president last year. He was a former MLA and RSS volunteer who held various posts in the Bhartiya Kisan Morcha as well.

    President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP working president JP Nadda and Information and Broadcasting minister Prakash Javadekar expressed grief demise of BJP leaader.

    President in a tweet said "Sad to hear of the demise of Shri Madan Lal Saini, MP (RS). A veteran in public life, he remained committed to serving those at the grassroots. Condolences to his family and well- wishers."

    Prime Minister tweeted "The passing away of Shri Madanlal Saini Ji is a major loss for the BJP family. He contributed to strengthening the Party in Rajasthan. He was widely respected for his congenial nature and community service efforts. My thoughts are with his family and supporters. Om Shanti."

    I&B Minister Prakash Javadekar said "Shocked by the sudden demise of Madan Lal Saini ji, State President, of Rajasthan. He was a dedicated BJP worker and was known for his simplicity & direct connect with people. He was also active in labour movement for a long time. Heartfelt Condolences to his family. Om Shanti."

  • Shakib al Hasan starred with both bat and ball as Bangladesh beat Afghanistan at the Rose Bowl in Southampton on Monday to ensure their slim chance of reaching the semi-final remains intact. Chasing 263 to win, Afghanistan could only manage 200 as Shakib enjoyed a fine day out on a pitch that assisted spinners, taking 5 for 29 to ensure Afghanistan slumped to yet another defeat. 

    Put into bat, Bangladesh decided to open with Liton Das and pushed Soumya Sarkar lower down the order. The move backfired as the right-hander after an impressive start, fell early to Mujeeb ur Rahman.

    Tamil Iqbal made 36 runs before being removed by Mohammed Nabi by 36. Shakib Al Hasan was yet again remarkable. He reclaimed top spot on the World Cup 2019 leading run-scorers list with a fine 69-ball 51-run inning. With the ball gripping a bit, Afghanistan's spin trio proved quite effective, especially Mujeeb ur Rahman, who followed his first scalp with the wickets of Shakib and Soumya Sarkar in successive overs in his second spell, to reduce Bangladesh to 151 for 4 in the 32nd over.

    Rahim top-scored with a gritty 83, powering Bangladesh past the 250-run mark. His ability to play spin was on show and he managed to keep the Afghan spinners at bay before being dismissed in the penultimate over. His 83-run knock was laced with four boundaries and a six.

    Afghanistan made a fine start to the chase, with openers Gulbadin Naib and Rahmat Shah batting sensibly to take them to 48 for 0 after the first 10 overs. Shakib was brought on to bowl the 11th over and struck immediately, getting Rahmat Shah to give a simple catch to Tamim Iqbal at mid-on. Hashmatullah Shahidi was dismissed by Mosaddek Hossasain for 11. Captain Naib did get a few runs but was extremely scratchy and nobody in the top order could influence the run rate. Shakib completed the fairytale feat of a fifty and a fifer in the match.

    His spell virtually killed the game and although the Shenwari-Najibullah stand rekindled some hope, the asking rate had shot up beyond reach for this sort of a pitch and were all out for 200 runs in 47 overs. With this win Bangladesh kept their  hopes alive of reaching the semi-finals with 7 points after 7 matches.

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and OBC youth leader from Mehsana Jugalji Thakor, will file their nominations as BJP candidates from Gujarat for the by-polls of two Rajya Sabha seats today.

    By-polls for the seats were necessitated following the resignations of national president Amit Shah and Union Minister Smriti Irani who were elected to the Lok Sabha.

    Polling and counting for all six seats will be held on July 5.

  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das launched the Complaint Management System (CMS), a software application on Monday. 

    Speaking at the launch, the RBI Governor said that it aims to facilitate RBI's grievance redressal process. 

    RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said application also improves transparency by keeping the complainants informed through auto-generated acknowledgements and enabling them to track the status of their complaints and file appeals online against the decisions of the Ombudsmen, where applicable. 

    RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das informed that the RBI also plans to introduce a dedicated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for tracking the status of complaints.

    The RBI Governor stressed that sustaining the confidence of consumers in banks and other financial service providers (FSPs) through prompt and effective grievance redressal, together with empowering customers through education is pivotal for maintaining trust in the banking system.

  • This will be the first high-level engagement with the US after the General Elections in India. Mike Pompeo's visit will be an important opportunity for both sides to explore ways to further strengthen the India-US Strategic Partnership.

    It will also continue the high-level engagement on matters of mutual interest including bilateral, regional and global issues. The visit will deepen and broaden the bilateral relationship and kick-start a dialogue towards the resolution of some of the key issues in trade ties.

    During the three days visit, US Secretary Mike Pompeo will hold talks with External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar and call on other dignitaries in the government.

  • The Bill seeks to amend Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, the Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002. The Bill also proposes to give children an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age.

    NK Premachandran of RSP opposed the introduction of bill saying that it violates an earlier Supreme Court judgment and allows private entities to store. Allaying concerns, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, Aadhaar is in national interest and it does not violate privacy.

    The Law Minister also added that the government wants to reassure that there is no mandatory compliance because SIM cards can be taken with or without Aadhaar. The bill makes provision for allowing voluntary use of Aadhaar as an identity proof for opening bank accounts and getting mobile phone connection. 

  • The accident occurred when the Dhaka bound intercity train Upaban Express was crossing a bridge at Baramchal around midnight. Four bogies of the train derailed and two of the bogies fell into the canal. 

    The accident has disrupted Sylhet’s rail communications with other parts of the country, including Dhaka.

  • The seven bodies include of a women also. The search for the 8th missing mountaineer will be carried out today. These bodies were traced at an altitude of appx 21000 feet near the peak from where the mountaineers were reported missing on 26th May 2019. 

    The ITBP had launched search operation last week from Pithoragarh to search the missing mountaineers in which 4 were British, 2 were Americans, and 1 each from Australia and India. The team reached at the spot at 1030 AM yesterday. After analyzing the incident site search team started search of missing mountaineers and recovered bodies of seven mountaineers including one women and one Indian Mountaineer. 

    After five hours of continuous efforts, the ITBP mountaineers were able to retrieve these seven bodies and kept them at a safe place nearby. Some mountaineering equipment was also recovered from the site by the search team.

  • Batting first, the 1992 champions posted 308 for seven with Haris Sohail's 59-ball 89 being the highlight of their innings. In reply, South Africa were stopped at 259 for nine in 50 overs. With just three points from seven outings, South Africa are out of the tournament while Pakistan could still sneak into the semifinals, provided they win their remaining matches and other results go in their favour.

    Chasing 309, South Africa began on a poor note, losing Hashim Amla (2) in the second over. There was swing straightaway for Mohammad Amir and even though the Pakistan pace spearhead's big appeal for an LBW could not impress the umpire, Hawkeye showed the ball would have hit the stumps, giving him a wicket off his first ball. Skipper Faf du Plessis (63 off 79 balls) joined Quinton de Kock (47 off 60) early and the duo shared 87 runs for the second wicket to keep South Africa in the game. De Kock fell three short of a fifty, and the Proteas lost two more wickets after that, giving Pakistan the upper hand. A 53-run partnership ensued between Rassie van der Dussen (36) and David Miller (31), but the former got out while trying to hit Shadab Khan against the turn. Miller, who failed to make use of two reprieves, was bowled by Shaheen Afridi to dash whatever little hopes South Africa had at that point.

    Later, Andile Phehlukwayo blazed away to 46 off 32 balls with six boundaries. Shadab (3/50 in 10 overs) and Wahab Riaz (3/46 in 10) were Pakistan's most successful bowlers, while Amir picked up two wickets. Earlier, Sohail marked his return with a scintillating knock and powered Pakistan to a competitive total. Playing in his first match of the tournament since the outing against West Indies in their opener, Sohail smashed nine fours and three sixes. The 30-year-old added 81 runs for the fourth wicket with Babar Azam (69 off 80 balls), but it was Sohail's brisk 71-run partnership with Imad Wasim (23 off 15 balls), which gave Pakistan innings the impetus it needed in this must-win game. The last 10 overs yielded 91 runs, with Sohail doing most of the damage.

    Pakistan were off to their most convincing start in the tournament, with the opening duo of Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq adding 81 runs in just under 15 overs. Both the openers struck half-a-dozen boundaries each during their stay in the middle but fell for an identical 44. Fakhar and Imam drove and pulled pacers Kagiso Rabada and Lungi Ngidi (3/64)with authority. South Africa had their first breakthrough when Imran Tahir (2/41) had Fakhar scooping one to the safe hands of Hashim Amla at first slip. Tahir went past Allan Donald as the highest wicket-taker for the Proteas at World Cups with 38 wickets when he produced an excellent one-handed catch to dismiss Imam. 

    Earlier, electing to bat, Pakistan scored 308 for 7 in the stipulated 50 overs. Today, eager to keep the semi-final hopes alive, Bangladesh will take on a spirited Afghanistan in a do-or-die World Cup encounter at Southampton. The match will begin at 3 PM Indian time. 

  • The electoral commission declared Ghazouani winner late on Saturday with 52% of the vote. His nearest rival, anti-slavery campaigner Biram Dah Abeid, came second with 18.58%, while third place candidate Mohamed Ould Boubacar, who is backed by Mauritania's biggest Islamist party, got 17.85%.

    The election was the first in the sparsely populated Saharan nation's history, since independence from France in 1960, to choose a successor to a democratically elected president. None of the three remaining candidates got more than 10%.

    Ghazouani has campaigned on continuing economic and security progress made under outgoing president Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who took the helm in a 2008 coup, then won elections in 2009 and 2014.

    Under the leadership of the 62-year-old president, the economy has grown and will receive an extra boost when a large offshore gas field starts producing early next decade.

    Hours earlier government spokesman Sidi Mohamed Ould Maham had declared Ghazouani "president-elect" at a news conference, and opposition candidates represented by Abeid said they would contest the results.

    Abdel Aziz surprised many of his compatriots and international observers by stepping aside after serving the maximum two five-year elected terms in Mauritania, a country of fewer than 5 million people comprising a large chunk of the western Sahara Desert.

    His decision bucked a trend in which African leaders, including in Rwanda and Congo Republic, have changed or abolished term limits to cling to power.

    Despite his economic record, Abdel Aziz has been criticised for not facing up to Mauritania's most searing injustice: the persistence of slavery. Tens of thousands of black Mauritanians still live as domestic slaves, rights groups say, usually to lighter-skinned masters of Arab or Berber descent.

    That is despite the practice being abolished in 1981 and criminalised in 2007, the year before he took power.

  • The motion was moved by Union Minister of State Pratap Chandra Sarangi.

    The Rajya Sabha is also scheduled to take up the motion today. Newly appointed BJP working President JP Nadda will open the debate in the Upper House.

    President Ram Nath Kovind had addressed the joint sitting of both Houses on the 20th of this month. The Parliament session will continue till 26th of July.

  • 50 others injured after a tent fell on them due to strong winds during a religious programme at Jasol village under Balotra sub division.  According to administration, large number of people were present when the incident took place. People may have died of suffocation or due to electrocution. More than 40 injured are being treated at Balotra Hospital, while 10 people have been referred to Jodhpur Medical College. 

    State Government has announced an assistance of 5 lakh rupees each to the families of deceased persons and two lakh rupees to injured persons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has termed the collapse of a ‘Pandaal’ as unfortunate. In a tweet, Prime Minister Modi said, his thoughts are with the bereaved families and wished for the quick recovery of the injured. Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah has also expressed grief over the loss of lives in Pandaal collapse.

  • The service is now available in all nine Provinces of Sri Lanka. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the gathering through a special video message.

    He recalled his personal connect with the project since its inception and  noted that the service has become a brand in itself.

    The minister also recalled how the service had helped Sri Lanka during floods and the recent terrorist attacks. He also pointed out that the project was a great example of what India and Sri Lanka can achieve together.

    High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu in his address, mentioned that the project symbolizes the spirit of India, which is nothing but the spirit of sharing.

    He also noted that India will forever remain the ‘First Responder for Sri Lanka’. The emergency ambulance service was first announced during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka in March 2015.

    Accordingly, service was launched in two provinces in July 2016 under an Indian grant of 7.5 million US dollars covering purchase of 88 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and setting up of an emergency response centre.

    Given the positive impact of the project, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe requested PM Modi for extension of the service all across the island which he did during his next visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017.

    An additional grant amount of 15.02 million US dollars was provided by India to undertake island-wide expansion which covered purchase of 209 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and training costs.

    The emergency ambulance service which can be obtained by simply dialing toll free no ‘1990’ on any network in Sri Lanka, is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after the Indian Housing Project.

    The service has been appreciated well, given the quick response time, efficiency of operations, and employment and training involving local people.

  • An estimated number of 700,000 objects larger than one centimeter and 170 million objects larger than one millimeter are expected to reside in Earth orbits, according to the European Space Agency (ESA).

    Due to the risk of collision, operators have been forced to change the direction of some satellites in use or change their position, included the International Space Station (ISS), Woerner told the crowd at the committee.

    In April 2017, experts on the matter met in the German town of Darmstadt for the 7th European Conference on Space Debris, and talks addressed acute issues like practices in debris avoidance, novel concepts for removing debris, and the deployment of large constellations of several thousand satellites for telecommunications.

    One of these approaches is the Dutch Orbit-ED, designed to capture an out of control satellite and remove it from harms way. It is being tested using a robot and a satellite model.

    Another approach is using deployable nets to catch derelict satellites as they tumble in space.

    Onoosa Directo Simonetta Di Pippo said the final goal was to create a "safe commercial space" to protect the so-called "space economy" and guaranteeing a commercial activity for those private entities entering the market.

    Woerner said it was necessary to stop polluting and remove all the garbage.

    "I can't discuss is this a German debris, is this a Portuguese debris or a Chinese debris. It doesn't matter, we have to get rid of it," he told the audience .

  • Professor Vincent Janik of the Scottish Oceans Institute (SOI) said the study of three young seals could be used as a new model to study speech disorders by providing a "better understanding of the evolution of vocal learning."

    The three seals - Zola, Gandalf and Janice - were first trained to mimic common seal sounds, before the pitch and tone were slowly shifted to replicate human-like speech. Their ability to learn the new sounds was analysed by monitoring for a shift in formants - sounds that determine the phonetic quality of a vowel and encode most the information in human speech.

    Zola was particularly adept at mimicking melodies, replicating a series of notes from the nursery rhyme 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Litter Star,' while Gandalf and Janice were also taught to accurately reproduce combinations of human vowel sounds.

    Lead researcher Dr Amanda Stansbury, now working at El Paso Zoo in Texas, said the study builds upon previous anecdotal evidence of how flexible seal vocalisations are.

    Using seals as a test subject overcomes a significant ethical issue in studying humans, in that you cannot isolate a newborn from birth and control their aural environment. There is no such problem with seals pups, which are naturally separated from their mother two or three weeks after birth.

    Professor Janik told in an interview that there are enough physiological similarities between humans and seals to build a workable model for tackling speech disorders, which is surprisingly not possible with most nonhuman primates, whose abilities in this field are quite limited.

    "You can test which sounds are learnt, and in what quantities and combinations," Janik said. "You can then identify which sounds help slower learners to develop and use that as a blueprint for working with humans."

  • V K Saraswat, who is also a former DRDO chief, said "Indian companies producing bulletproof jackets import Chinese raw materials due to price advantage. There are efforts going on now to invite collaboration from foreign companies who are willing to set up companies in India to produce some of the raw materials used for manufacturing bulletproof jackets for the Army."

    "So far, four to five foreign companies have shown interest to set up units in India. It will be premature to give their names at this stage," the Niti Aayog member added.

    The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had asked the Niti Aayog to prepare a road map for "incentivising" domestic manufacturing of lightweight body armours (bulletproof jackets). The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has also finalised quality norms for body armours to be used by Indian forces, according to Saraswat.

    He said it has been agreed that future tendering of bullet proof jackets will be as per BIS norms. According to government projections, more than 3 lakh bulletproof jackets will be required by Indian armed forces, Saraswat said, adding that "based on that, armed forces have already placed order with private companies in India for production of bullet proof jackets".

    Indian companies were earlier procuring raw materials for bulletproof jackets from the US and Europe. Now, most of them are being obtained from China due to lower prices. The idea of manufacturing lightweight body armours in India was mooted as the bulletproof vests currently in use by the Indian forces are very heavy.

    Indian companies like Kanpur-based MKU and Tata Advanced Materials export body armours to armed forces of many countries. If the lightweight bulletproof vests and helmets are produced in bulk in the country, it will ensure low-cost supplies and end to the endless wait for foreign vendors to supply the equipment.

  • Siddhant also said he is set to collaborate again with Excel Entertainment, who launched him in "Gully Boy", for a film. "I have two films in my hand. One is an action film, (where I will be) trained in taekwondo. Another one is a proper comedy film," the actor said.

    "I am doing a film with Excel. But it is not my next film. The film with them is huge. It is a lead role," Siddhant added. Asked if any of the upcoming films is with Yash Raj Films, as reported, he refused to comment on it.

    Speculations are rife about director Zoya Akhtar planning a prequel for Siddhant's character MC Sher. But the actor dismissed reports and said he would not like to cash in on the popularity of the role.

    "I would rather not touch it as it is too scary. I don't want to cash in on that character, I want to move on. If I had to repeat myself I would have done 9 am to 5pm job," he said.

    "Zoya Akhtar is interested in making 'Gully Boy' (sequel), maybe something on the Delhi chapter. There is a huge pop scene in Delhi as well so she may do a part two," he added. Siddhant said he wants to prove himself as lead and is carefully choosing scripts.

    "I am not related to anyone in the film industry and I can't afford to miss the flight. I am an outsider, there is nepotism and other things also happen. I am taking time to read scripts. I happen to read at least three to four scripts a week.

    "I want to prove myself in a lead role and that script has to be bang on, so I take time to choose the right one. I believe every film is your first film. I haven't done much, I am yet to prove myself," he said.

  • Remembering Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his Balidan Divas, Prime Minister Modi in a tweet said that "A devout patriot and proud nationalist, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee devoted his life for India's unity and integrity. His passion for a strong and united India continues to inspire us and gives us strength to serve 130 crore Indians."

     

    J P NADDA, AMIT SHAH PAY TRIBUTE TO DR. S P MOOKERJEE

     

    BJP Working President, JP Nadda paid floral tribute to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his Martyrdom Day at Shaheedi Park Feroz Shah Kotla Ground in New Delhi.  

    Senior BJP leader and Union health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, BJP MP Manoj Tiwari, BJP leader Gupta Vijender were also present on the occasion.

    Born on July 6, 1901, the Late Mookerjee breathed his last on June 23, 1953.

    Remembering the visionary leader, the JP Nadda said that Dr. Mookerjee dedicated his life for the nation, and he is an inspiration for all of us.

    J P Nadda also said that BJP is committed to carry forward the vision of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerjee for national integrity.

    Later, BJP working president JP Nadda and Party Chief and Union Home Minister Amit Shah paid their tributes to Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee at BJP headquarters in New Delhi.

     

    RAJNATH SINGH PAYS TRIBUTE TO DR. SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE
     

    Senior BJP leader and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh paid tributes to Jana Sangha founder, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his punyatithi. Paying tributes, Rajnath SIngh said that Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee's immense contribution to our country will always be remembered.

    My humble tributes to the Jana Sangha founder, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee on his punyatithi.

    His immense contribution to our country will always be remembered.

  • In an interview, Costner said the poster that showed his character Frank Farmer, carrying Houston's Rachel Marron out of a nightclub, was actually shot by the singer's stunt double.

    "That wasn't even Whitney actually. She had gone home and that was her double, and her head was buried into my shoulder, which was appropriate anyway. She was frightened," the 64-year-old actor said.

    Costner said the credit for the poster belongs to him as he was the one who pushed the photo on executives, even though they were reluctant about it.

    "I picked that picture out because my friend Ben Glass took it... I sent it to Warner Bros, and I go, 'There's the poster.' Because it was so evocative. It wasn't special photography; it wasn't anything.
    "They didn't like it at first because you couldn't see Whitney's face. And so they sent me like five mockups where they put her head (on it) where she's looking (out). I said 'Guys, I think we had it the first time.' That it was really, and that ended up being the poster," the actor said.

    Directed by Mick Jackson, "The Bodyguard" featured Costner as a former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard who is hired to protect a music star, from an unknown stalker.
    The film was a box office hit, earning over USD 400 million against its USD 25 million budget.

  • Despite positive reviews, "Booksmart" failed to do a good business at the box office. In an industry poll published by a daily, Abrams, along with other leading voices from Hollywood, lamented the dwindling fortunes of the independent cinema.

    "When you have a movie that's as entertaining, well-made, and well-received as 'Booksmart' not doing the business it should have, it really makes you realise that the typical Darwinian fight to survive is completely lopsided now," Abrams said.

    "Everyone's trying to figure out how we protect the smaller films that aren't four-quadrant mega-releases. Can they exist in the cinemas?" he asked.