•           To address the grave concerns that has come to notice, through media reports, that some organizations have been propagating illegal adoption outside the domain of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, which is tantamount to child trafficking, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has instructed that all the State Govts/UTs should ensure that all the registered Child Care institutions, whether run by a State Government or by voluntary or non-governmental organizations, are linked to Specialized Adoption Agencies and are reflected in  the online portal CARINGS within one month.

  • The Fifteenth Finance Commission of the Government of India is visiting the state of Gujarat from 22nd to 25th July 2018. The Commission led by the Chairman ShriN.K.Singh, Members – ShriShaktikanta Das, Dr. Anoop Singh, Dr. Ashok Lahiri, Dr. Ramesh Chand and Secretary ShriArvind Mehta along with other officialswill have meetings with Chief Minister, Ministers and other officials of the state.

  • “The funds released to the States/UTs during the last three years is placed at Annexure-A. An amount of Rs.18.17 crore has been released to the Delhi CAMPA till date against the approved Annual Plan of Operation for the purpose of compensatory afforestation and allied activities including protection, conservation and management of forest”.

  • “As per the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017 Report of United Nation University the world-wide generation of E-Waste in 2016 was 44.7 million metric tonnes and the annual generation of E-Waste in India was 2 million metric tonnes.

  • “Resource Efficiency Cell has been constituted in the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change on 13th February, 2018 to recommend appropriate policy and legislative framework and suggest an action plan for achieving resource efficiency and to promote utilization of secondary resources that will contribute towards attainment of Sustainable Development Goals.

  • “Under the ongoing Environmental Information System (ENVIS) Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, a new initiative the Green Skill Development Programme (GSDP) was launched in June 2017 to skill youth in environment, forest and wildlife sectors and enabling them to be gainfully employed or self-employed.

  • “Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018 have been notified by the Ministry on 27th March, 2018. It was noted that Multi Layered Plastics (MLP) having at least one layer of plastic as the main ingredient in combination with one or more layers of materials such as metalised layers or aluminium foil can be used in waste to energy plants, cement kilns etc in an environmentally sound manner.

  •  “The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) accords prior environmental clearance for projects or activities listed in the Schedule to the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2006 (and its amendments) after having followed the prescribed process in the said notification.

  • “Peacocks are commonly found birds, both inside forest areas as well as in agricultural or human habitations. Management and protection of wildlife, including birds is the responsibility of the concerned Stare/Union Territory Governments.

  • “Forest Fire occurs every year during summer due to various natural and anthropogenic reasons including accumulation of inflammable materials such as dry leaves, twigs, pine needles etc. Forest Survey of India (FSI), Dehradun, disseminates satellite based forest fire alerts to the State Forest Departments and other registered users whenever forest fires are detected.

  • “The National Clean Air Programme is a part of larger Central Sector “Pollution Abatement” Scheme. The draft Memorandum for Expenditure Finance Committee (EFC) or the Scheme has been circulated to concerned Ministries including Ministry of Finance seeking comments.

  • “According to the fifth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global mean rate of sea level rise was 1.7 mm per year between 1901 and 2010. As per the studies carried out by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), the sea levels are changing at different rates along the Indian coast.

  • The restructured National Bamboo Mission (NBM) has been launched this year with the approval of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) vide order No. CCEA/13/2018 (i) dated 26th April, 2018 under the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) for implementation with the objectives inter alia:


    To increase the area under bamboo plantation in non forest Government and private lands to supplement farm income and contribute towards resilience to climate change as well as availability of quality raw material requirement of industries.

  • The Government is aiming to reorient the agriculture sector by focusing on an income-centeredness in addition to pure production centeredness approach. The Department has, therefore, been implementing various schemes to meet this objective viz. Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme, Neem Coated Urea, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY), Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), National Agriculture Market Scheme (e-NAM), Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Interest Subvention Scheme etc.


    There has been a big jump in the much needed budgetary allocations for the agriculture sector.

  • The training and demonstration on paddy sowing machine is provided at Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institute (FMTTI) located at Budni , (M.P.), Hisar (Haryana) , Ananatapur (A.P.) and Biswanath Chariali (Assam) ; and also through ICAR’s  All India Crop Research Projects (AICRP) located at TNAU , Coimbatore , IIT Kharagpur , OUAT, Bhubaneswar, NERIST Nirjuli and at CIAE , Bhopal.

  • The Government has set a target of doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022. The Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee under the Chairmanship of Chief Executive Officer, National Rainfed Area Authority, Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare to examine issues relating to doubling of farmers’ income and recommend a strategy to achieve doubling of farmers’ income in real terms by the year 2022.

  • The Government is working to develop inland waterways as an alternative mode of transport in the country, which is cleaner and cheaper than both road and rail transport. There are 111 National Waterways in the country today, after 106 waterways were declared as National Waterways, adding to the list of 5 existing NW, in 2016.

  • On trial basis, Emergency Talk Back System has been provided in 06 ladies coaches of two Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) rakes (03 coaches each) in Mumbai Suburban. One air conditioned EMU rake running in Mumbai Suburban has also been fitted with this system.

  • A tool has been developed to predict the probability of waitlisted ticket getting confirmed at the time of booking as well as during Passenger Name Record (PNR) enquiry of waitlisted ticket. The tool has been developed using the algorithm of Machine learning.

  • Coal India Limited have dispatched 40.07 Million Tonnes (MT) of coal to Power Plants in the month of April, 2018, which is an increase of about 14% over the dispatch of 35.16 MT in April, 2017. The coal stock at the thermal power plants has increased from a level of 7.3 MT on 19.10.

  • Finance Minister Piyush Goyal has said that independent asset management companies (AMCs) and steering committees will be set up for faster resolution...

  • The CBI has charge-sheeted 51 people for alleged rioting at the residence and office of Haryana minister Abhimanyu Singh during protests to demand res...

  • BJP chief Amit Shah will arrive in Kerala today on a day-long visit to gear up the party for the 2019 general elections. BJP sources said, o...

  • Afghan envoy to New Delhi Shaida Abdali has said that India and Afghanistan must stand together to free the two countries from terrorism. Speaking in New Delhi on Monday, Abdali condemned the terror attack in Jalalabad in which several people, including a number of Sikhs, were killed.

  • In Thailand, all 12 boys and their soccer coach have been confirmed alive after going missing in a flooded cave network in northern province.

  • Extending losses for the second session, the rupee weakened by 16 paise to trade at 68.96 against the US dollar in early trade on Tuesday on sustained capital outflows amid strengthening of the American currency overseas.

  • In the FIFA World Cup, Brazil and Belgium registered contrasting victories last night to seal a place in the quarterfinals and set up a last-8 clash on Friday.

  • During an interaction with the media persons in Kathmandu on Friday evening, Gyawali said that main focus of the summit will be to increase connectivity between the BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines. He also said that some concrete steps will be taken for poverty alleviation among the member countries.

    The Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional economic bloc comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.

    The group was formed in 1997 and it brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC.

  • Here's a ground report from Guwahati in Assam.

  • Last month, the US had postponed the much-awaited dialogue due to "unavoidable reasons". 

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary James Mattis would travel to India for the dialogue.

    "The United States is pleased to announce that the inaugural US-India '2+2 dialogue' will be held in New Delhi, India, on September 6," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.

    Pompeo and Mattis "look forward to meeting with their Indian counterparts," Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Defence Nirmala Sitharaman, "to discuss strengthening strategic, security and defence cooperation" as the US and India jointly address challenges in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond, Nauert said.

    The dialogue was announced last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. After June last year, the two countries have tried to schedule the dialogue many times with several dates having been considered.

    Last month, the US postponed the dialogue scheduled to be held in Washington due to "unavoidable reasons". The dialogue is seen as a vehicle to elevate the strategic relationship between the two countries.

    Meanwhile, a senior State Department official told reporters that the co-operation among quad countries the US, Japan, India and Australia would come up in the next week's US-Australia Ministerial Consultations in Palo Alto.

    "I think it will publicly come up in the course of the discussions. We've been encouraged by the two quad meetings that have taken place at the assistant secretary level to date, and we look forward to continuing holding these meetings," the official said. "We believe it's a constructive way for like-minded nations in the region to have a chance to share views and to coordinate to the extent possible to ensure that we reach our mutual objectives in the region.

    "Our fundamental objectives are laid out in our Indo-Pacific strategy, and I think whether it's Australia, the US, Japan or India, we all have some very close-held, very similar views on the fundamental importance of maintaining a rules-based system and international norms, our commitment to free and open markets, all these things," the official said.


  • Sri Lankan Minister for Transport and Civil Aviation Nimal Siripala Desilva told Parliament that the airport, to be operated by Airports Authority of India (AAI), will be used for commercial purposes only and they are waiting for detailed plan to make the airport active.

    Replying to a question, the minister said that a technical committee was appointed to evaluate the airport worth and AAI will own 70 percent majority stake in the venture while the rest will be owned by Sri Lankan government.

     De Silva added that Sri Lankan government will hold the navigation rights and airspace control. Located 240 km from capital Colombo, Matale airport is considered the world’s emptiest airport as there is no passenger flight in service now.

    It was built with high interest commercial loans from China and is suffering massive losses, putting a strain on government revenues.

    Sri Lankan government invited investors to turn the airport into a profit making joint venture last year.

    The minister added that the deal will be submitted to cabinet for approval and presented to Parliament before it is inked.

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today said that India has been working with ASEAN towards evolving a regional security architecture which is focused on ASEAN’s centrality.

    Delivering  the key-note address of the 10th edition of Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi the External Affairs Minister said that this year’s Delhi Dialogue is particularly special, as we celebrate its 10th chapter. It follows the Commemorative Summit of 25th January 2018 in New Delhi, which marked the 25th anniversary of ASEAN-India Partnership.  

    She said that the Summit recognized  India and ASEAN, as maritime partners and neighbors and we  must work together to ensure security and sustainability of oceans, seas and waterways.

    The theme of this year's Delhi Dialogue is 'Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Co-operation'.

    Addressing the special plenary session, Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen V K Singh said the theme has been chosen aptly this time in view of focus that government wants to put on ASEAN India maritime cooperation.

    He stressed that it is the idea of this cooperation that will set tone for Indo-Pacific  region.

    The Minister highlighted that the fact that Delhi Dialogue is being opened with a roundtable with Chief Ministers of North Eastern states shows the focus that government places on the North East.

    He said that Act East policy is not just a progression but a leap forward from the Look East policy.

    Gen Singh further said that Act East policy is wider in scope geographically and is more action driven and result oriented.

    The Minister added that efforts are on to reinforce ancient links of culture and cooperation with the ASEAN region.

    He said government envisions North Eastern states to be active partners in developing linkages with the region.

    He further stated that as part of Act East policy, North East has an important bearing on how things will evolve.

    He asserted that inclusive development of northeast is a priority for the government.Giving the welcome remarks, Secretary (East), Preeti Saran said the Delhi Dialogue has evolved into a useful forum to brainstorm all aspects of ASEAN - India relations.

    She said it has contributed significantly towards strengthening strategic partnership. Saying that ASEAN lies in the heart of Indo-Pacific policy, she expressed confidence that today’s interactions will help give a boost to India’s relationship with ASEAN countries. 



  • This was after the union environment ministry and NBCC sought some more time to file their reply in the matter.

    On 2nd July, NGT had put a stay on any further cutting of trees till further orders on petitions filed by some NGOs which contented that the environmental clearance for the project ignored the assessment of population density post-redevelopment and floating population density.

    It has not taken into account the vehicular traffic density post-redevelopment and the carrying capacity of all the roads around the redevelopment projects.

  •  Additional Superintendent of police- Naxal Operations, Gorakhnath Baghel confirmed the incident.

    Following a specific inputs about the presence of Maoists a joint team of District Reserve Group- DRG and Special Task Force- STF had launched an intensive search operation in the area. 

    The encounter took place in the forest of Timenar near the border of Bijapur district during early morning hours today.

    The bodies of 8 Maoists were recovered from the spot. Security forces also recovered six rifles. .


  • The issue was raised in both the houses by concerned members. In Rajya sabha, JD(U) MP Harivansh raised the issue and asked for a comprehensive plan to tackle the menace.

    The concern was reciprocated by some members, and also the chairman of the house, M Venkaiah Naidu.

    Naidu said that this being a sensitive and larger issue, the govt should hold discussions with parties and evolve a strategy.

    Union minister for electronics and IT , Ravi Shankar Prasad assured the house that necessary steps are being taken and that the centre will also consult members on this matter.

    The issue found resonance in lower house also with members cutting across party lines requesting the govt to take concrete measures.

    Union Home minister Rajnath Singh said that even though law and order is a state subject, centre has issued advisories on two occasions to the state governments on the matter and will continue to talk to all stakeholders. He said that such incidents take place in the backdrop of rumors.

    He also said that as social media is being used to spread fake news and rumours , strict guidelines have also been issued to social media companies to stop spread of rumors.

  • Hours before the Lok Sabha is to take up the no trust vote against his government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for a disruption-free and constructive debate in the House.

    "Today is an important day in our Parliamentary democracy. I am sure my fellow MP colleagues will rise to the occasion and ensure a constructive, comprehensive & disruption free debate," he tweeted.

    He said lawmakers owe this to the people and the makers of the Constitution. "India will be watching us closely," he said.

    The Modi government is expected to have a smooth sailing when it faces the first no-confidence motion in four years in the Lok Sabha.

    Though the numbers are heavily stacked against the opposition, the Congress and other parties have indicated that they are keen to utilise the debate to attack the government on a range of of issues.

    AIADMK has also decided not to support opposition's no confidence motion. There are 37 AIADMK members in Lok Sabha.

    NDA's former alliance partner Telegu Desham Party had moved the 'No Confidence Motion,' which was supported by the Opposition parties.


  • Patiala House Court  will  take cognizance of the matter on July 31. 

    Aircel CEO V Srinivasan and FIPB chairman Ashok Jha have also been named in the charge-sheet. 

    Central Bureau of Investigation  today filed a fresh charge-sheet in Aircel Maxis case in Delhi's Patiala House Court. 

    CBI also named two government officials in the charge-sheet. These two officials have been chaged with 'Abuse of Power'. 

    In September last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 1.16 crore of Karti and the firm allegedly linked to him in connection with this case. 

  • Prime Minister was interacting with citizens from villages that have been electrified in the last four years via the Narendra Modi Mobile App.

    A promise made a promise kept, Prime Minister Narendra Modi sharing his government's commitment to sabka saath sabka vikas with beneficiaries of villages across India that have been electrified in the last four years  described 28th April, 2018, the day Leisang village in Manipur became the last village to be electrified as a historic day for India's development journey. 

    Drawing a stark contrast, Prime Minister Modi said it has been 70 years since India attained Independence but 18,000 villages still did not have electricity connections.

    Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh failed to keep the promise of 100% electrification...that he had made in 2005.

    Most of the 18,000 villages that have been electrified were in remote, hilly areas, areas with poor connectivity.

    It was not easy to reach those villages but a dedicated team of people did it. About 14,500 villages out of 18,000 villages not electrified were in Eastern India.

    That has changed. Now Eastern India can play an even bigger role in India's development journey.

    Prime Minister described electrification as a means not just of development but also a means of empowerment.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his interaction with people from Leisang village in Manipur, which was the last among the 18,000 villages electrified.

    He also spoke to beneficiaries from Arunachal Pradesh.Villagers from Roro in Singhbum also shared experiences of how electrification has transformed their lives.

    Anita Devi from Palamu in Jharkhand told PM Modi that her village and home got electricity in 2016. This changed her life forever. Hear their experiences. 

    PM Modi interacted with people from villages across India that have been electrified in the last four years. People from Tripura's Dhalai told PM that children are very happy because they can watch TV and can buy fans as well, which helps beat the summer heat.  

    People from Sonitpur district in Assam said that the coming of electricity has enhanced convenience. 

    Young Aarti Sharma from Jammu and Kashmir thanked Prime Minister Modi for this wonderful gift.

    She said for the first time India has a PM who cares. Shivnath Singh from Sewaria in Rajasthan said that the day electricity reached his village in 2016 was one of double celebrations.

    His daughter was also born on the same day adding to his joy.


  • The accident occurred near Kirgani on Rishikesh-Chamba-Gangotri highway around 8 am when the Uttarakhand Roadways bus plunged into a 250-metre deep gorge, Tehri District Magistrate Sonika said.

    Six of the injured were flown in a chopper for treatment at AIIMS, Rishikesh, while the rest were being treated at Tehri district hospital and Masiha hospital in Chamba, she said.

    Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat expressed grief at the loss of lives in the accident and announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the family of those killed and Rs 50,000 each for those injured.

    Police and SDRF teams were conducting rescue operations.

  • Here's a ground report from Birbhum, West Bengal.

  • He further said that social media sites have been asked for regulation.

    He also added that the onus lies on state governments to ensure they are not repeated in future. 

    He noted that the Centre had already issued two advisories in connection with the lynchings in the past.

  • The theme of the two-day DD -10 is "Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation".

    The Delhi Dialogue is a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and ASEAN. 

    This is the first major event to be organized after the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, that was held in New Delhi in January 2018. 

    Political leadership, policy makers, senior officials, diplomats, business leaders, think-tanks and academicians from India and ASEAN Member States are participate in the discussions.

    Chief Ministers from the North-Eastern states are also participating in the two-day event. 

  • Here's a ground report from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.

  • Olga Yakusheva, an associate professor at University of Michigan in the US began investigating weight comparisons between women with and without children.

    In a study of nearly 30,000 women who had given birth between one and four times, researchers found that most women never returned to their pre-pregnancy body weight after birth. However, their weight at 1-2 years after giving birth was nearly identical to what they could have been expected to weigh had they remained childless.

    It is not until the toddler years that a higher trajectory of weight gain became evident for mothers as compared to women who did not have children. The typical age-related weight gain for women is 1.94 pounds a year. The researchers found women with toddlers gained almost a full additional pound annually.

    The reason many mothers have higher rates of weight gain is due to lifestyle, said Yakusheva. "Mothers tend to put the needs of their children first so they might not be exercising or taking care of themselves," she said. "It might also be little things like finishing the food on their child's plate or spending more time sitting with their kids reading or watching a movie," she added.

    "Many women really crank up their diet and exercise for a short time to get back to their pre-pregnancy weight, and often get discouraged by the results," Yakusheva said. "But it is much better to take a holistic approach focused on a long-term healthy lifestyle before, during, and after pregnancy."

    She also strongly emphasises that these findings should not make mothers feel guilty.

    "Understanding the demands of motherhood and age-related weight gain is important for promoting positive expectations of body image after pregnancy. As long as women are healthy, that is what matters," she stated.

    Researchers encourage health care providers to counsel women about weight changes expected with age, and to make them aware of subtle ways parenthood could exacerbate the ageing-related weight gain trend over many years.


  • Researchers analysed whole tomato extracts for their ability to tackle gastric cancer cell lines.

    "Their antitumoral effect seem not related to specific components, such as lycopene, but rather suggest that tomatoes should be considered in their entirety," said Daniela Barone, researcher at the Oncology Research Centre of Mercogliano (CROM) in Italy.

    Extracts of San Marzano and Corbarino tomato varieties were able to inhibit the growth and cloning behaviour of malignant cells.

    Treatment with the whole tomato extracts affected key processes within the cells hindering their migration ability, arresting cell cycle through the modulation of retinoblastoma family proteins and specific cell cycle inhibitors, and ultimately inducing cancer cell death through apoptosis.

    "Our results prompt further assessment of the potential use of specific nutrients not only in the cancer prevention setting but also as a supportive strategy along with conventional therapies," said Antonio Giordano, professor at the University of Siena in Italy. "Distinct species may exert different effects, in different stages of a certain neoplasm," said Barone.

    Gastric cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer worldwide and has been associated with genetic causes, Helicobacter pylori infection, and eating habits, such as consumption of smoked and salted food. Tomatoes are consumed worldwide and are a staple of the mediterranean diet, which is popularly thought to lower cancer risk.

    Various tomato components have also been analysed for their ability to counteract tumour growth in experimental systems, although few studies have analysed the effects of tomatoes in their entirety.

    The research was published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology.


  • India Meteorological Department (IMD), in a press release said there is a possibility of heavy to very heavy rain in coastal and north Odisha from the night of July 21.

    The IMD in its warning for fishermen has asked the community to return to coast from deep sea on July 20 and not to venture into the sea on July 21 and July 22 due to the possible low pressure area.

    The Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) of the SOA University said Odisha may experience heavy rains again this week with a cyclonic circulation likely to form over the north-west Bay of Bengal within the next 24 hours and there was high probability of it developing into a low pressure on July 20.

    "This may cause heavy rainfall in the coastal districts as also in Gajapati, Rayagada and Kandhamal districts between tomorrow and July 21," SC Sahu, Director of CEC, said.

    Sahu said heavy to very heavy rainfall may also occur in the north and western Odisha districts of Balasore, Bhadrak, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh, Sambalpur, Bargarh, Subarnapur and Boudh as also the adjoining areas of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh between July 21 and 23.

    The districts of Jajpur, Kendrapara, Angul and Dhenkanal were also likely to experience heavy rainfall during the period, he said.

    Sahu further said that the low pressure may concentrate into a depression on July 22. "Heavy precipitation was likely in both the upper and lower catchments of the Mahanadi while heavy to very heavy rainfall could occur in the Brahmani, Baitarani, Subarnarekha and Budhabalanga river catchments between July 21 and 23," he said.

    Meanwhile, the state government has asked all the district collectors to remain watchful of the possible formation of low pressure area in Bay of Bengal.

  • The Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) has started an artificial limb fitment camp in association with the central government at Myanmar's Yangon city.

     The camp is being organised as per an agreement between BMVSS and the Ministry of External Affairs for providing 5,000 'Jaipur Foot' to the needy amputees of various countries.

     A few days ago, BMVSS organised camps in Vietnam.

    "In both Myanmar and Vietnam, 1,000 disabled people will be provided with 'Jaipur Foot'. This is a humanitarian effort of the Union government where BMVSS is the implementing agency," according to an official statement issued.

    "The joint effort of the Ministry of External Affairs and BMVSS will help the disabled people of various nations in coming years," said D R Mehta, the founder and chief patron of BMVSS.

  • Addressing the second ASEAN-India workshop on blue economy, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Preeti Saran, said for civilisations such that of India and ASEAN countries to prosper, it was important that they strengthen cooperation to preserve the integrity, inviolability and security of the maritime domain.

    "It is this reality that led our prime minister to highlight the importance that we attach to the subject of ASEAN-India Cooperation in the Maritime Domain since we believe that it will be a key facilitator for growth and development of the Indo-Pacific region," she said.

    Saran said oceans hold the key to the fortunes of the fast evolving global order as they cover 72 per cent of the Earth's surface, constitute over 95 per cent of the biosphere and provide a substantial portion of the world's population with food and livelihood. 

    Emerging technologies are opening up new frontiers of marine resource development, leading, among other things, to the mining of seabed mineral resources, Saran noted.

    She recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had reaffirmed this aspect in his address at the Shangri La Dialogue on June 1 in Singapore, when he had said, "oceans holds the key to our future". 

    Observing that there are many facets to this cooperation, Saran said an important element is that of maritime connectivity.

    "This is important since our region has been witnessing a steadily expanding commercial and subsistence activities at sea relating to trade and transportation, resource exploitation and the leisure industry. 

    "Enhanced maritime connectivity would therefore provide lower logistic costs, and motivate increased trade in goods and services," she said. "We are working together for an early conclusion of the Agreement on Maritime Transport between ASEAN and India and are exploring maritime cargo routes/coastal shipping services between us." 

    Asserting that blue economy was one of the most important and key areas of cooperation, Saran said that harnessing marine resources for economic and social development, in a sustainable manner, without undermining these finite natural resources, was imperative.

    She said the Indian government stands committed to promoting the Blue Economy. "Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spoken about it on several occasions at national and international levels. He observed: 'To me the Blue Chakra or wheel in India's national flag represents the potential of Blue Revolution or the Ocean Economy'. That is how central the ocean economy is to us," Saran said.

    The workshop came ahead of the 10th edition of the Delhi Dialogue that will be hosted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj from July 19-20.

    The Delhi Dialogue is a premier annual track 1.5 event to discuss politico-security, economic and socio-cultural engagement between India and ASEAN.

    The theme of the dialogue this year is 'Strengthening India-ASEAN Maritime Cooperation'. This is the first major event to be organised after the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit, that was held in New Delhi in January 2018.

    Chief ministers from the north-eastern states have also been invited to participate in the dialogue. The ASEAN grouping comprises Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. 

  • In a paper published in the journal Nano Energy, researchers from the University of Glasgow's Bendable Electronics and Sensing Technologies (BEST) group describe how they have developed a promising new type of graphene supercapacitor, which could be used in the next generation of wearable health sensors.

    Currently, wearable systems generally rely on relatively heavy, inflexible batteries, which can be uncomfortable for long-term users. 

    The BEST team, led by Professor Ravinder Dahiya, have built on their previous success in developing flexible sensors by developing a supercapacitor which could power health sensors capable of conforming to wearer's bodies, offering more comfort and a more consistent contact with skin to better collect health data.

    Their new supercapacitor uses layers of flexible, three-dimensional porous foam formed from graphene and silver to produce a device capable of storing and releasing around three times more power than any similar flexible supercapacitor. 

    The team demonstrated the durability of the supercapacitor, showing that it provided power consistently across 25,000 charging and discharging cycles.

    They have also found a way to charge the system by integrating it with flexible solar powered skin already developed by the BEST group, effectively creating an entirely self-charging system, as well as a pH sensor which uses wearer's sweat to monitor their health.

    Professor Dahiya said, "We're very pleased by the progress this new form of solar-powered supercapacitor represents. A flexible, wearable health monitoring system which only requires exposure to sunlight to charge has a lot of obvious commercial appeal, but the underlying technology has a great deal of additional potential.

    "This research could take the wearable systems for health monitoring to remote parts of the world where solar power is often the most reliable source of energy, and it could also increase the efficiency of hybrid electric vehicles. We're already looking at further integrating the technology into flexible synthetic skin which we're developing for use in advanced prosthetics." 



  • Growth in Asia and the Pacific's developing economies for 2018 and 2019 will remain solid as it continues apace across the region, despite rising tensions between the US and its trading partners, said a supplement to the Asian Development Outlook (ADO).

    "South Asia, meanwhile, continues to be the fastest growing sub-region, led by India, whose economy is on track to meet fiscal year 2018 projected growth of 7.3 per cent and further accelerating to 7.6 per cent in 2019, as measures taken to strengthen the banking system and tax reform boost investment," it said.

     The ADO published in April had said that India's economic growth will rise to 7.3 per cent this fiscal and further to 7.6 per cent in the next financial year, retaining the fastest-growing Asian economy tag, on back of GST and banking reforms.

     "Although rising trade tensions remain a concern for the region, protectionist trade measures implemented so far in 2018 have not significantly dented buoyant trade flows to and from developing Asia,” said ADB Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada.

     “Prudent macroeconomic and fiscal policy-making will help economies across the region prepare to respond to external shocks, ensuring that growth in the region remains robust.” 

  • They are melting the plastic waste down and feeding it through 3D printers to make intricate pieces such as car parts. These have become increasingly hard to obtain in Venezuela as dysfunctional currency controls restrict the import of basic materials.

    Albermar Dominguez and John Naizzir produce only a kilogram of plastic printing filament a day, but they aim to help once-wealthy Venezuela's vanishing manufacturing sector by making it cheaper for companies that depend on expensive imports.

    It's a sign of how an unprecedented crisis has spurred some young people to innovate following five years of economic contraction caused by failed state-led policies and a plunge in global oil prices.

    "Firstly, we are producing the prime material on a national level. Secondly, we are doing this while focusing on circular economy; using residues from other industrial processes, recycling them so that we are able to produce goods. Thirdly, we are making sure this technology reaches more people. We are taking part in events, in educational projects because we want 3D printing to grow in the country," Dominguez said.

    Many of their former classmates at Simon Bolivar University in Caracas have already left Venezuela, joining an exodus of over a million people amid widespread shortages of food and medicine. Annual inflation has hit almost 50,000 percent and Caracas ranks as one of the world's most dangerous cities.

    Dominguez said he had visited the United States to learn from people in the 3D printing industry, after becoming interested in recycling waste.

    He then returned to Venezuela, and with 27-year-old Naizzir, began rummaging through their university's garbage dump, collecting computer cases and old printers. Later, their company, Nedraki, struck a deal with a recycling plant in the Venezuelan city of Valencia for more material.

    While the nation churned with street protests against President Nicolas Maduro in early 2017, the two men produced their first meter of plastic filament.

    Nedraki now supplies 13 Venezuelan firms with the filament and produces plastic parts like transmission gear cogs for other companies. The filament is coiled on spools and fed into a 3D printer in a corner of the university's campus.

    Dominguez said their filament helps lower costs for a company by up to 40 percent, by removing the expense of importing and transporting the part. Nedraki sells a kilogram of filament for about $17.

    They are now trying to encourage other Venezuelan companies to adopt 3D printing technology.



  • Under the state of emergency, tens of thousands of people were arrested or dismissed from their jobs.

    However, the government has decided against extending it again after seven three-month renewals.

    The decision comes weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan won re-election. During the campaign, opposition candidates said that the first thing they would do if they won would be to end the state of emergency.

    Tueky declared a state of emergency in 2016,  following a coup attempt by Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FTO). The FTO launched several attacks which left 250 people dead and nearly 2, 200 injured.

    In April, the government had extended the ongoing emergency for three months until June.

    Even the parliament passed a bill for early elections on June 24, which was touted to be a move for strengthening the democratic presidential system. 

  • Mandela, South Africa's first black President, is known throughout the world as an icon of peace and reconciliation who came to embody the struggle for justice and liberation. A towering statesman, he emerged from nearly three decades of imprisonment to guide his country from the shackles of apartheid to the formation of a multi-racial democracy.

    The killing of 69 blacks, including women and children, by security forces during a protest against apartheid laws in Sharpeville in 1960 became a watershed. The massacre led to the African National Congress (ANC) abandoning its policy of non-violence and Mandela was among the first to advocate armed resistance, going underground in 1961 to form the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (The Spear of the Nation).

    During the next two years, the ANC blew up public buildings and power lines, cut telephone links and committed widespread arson. Mandela left South Africa and travelled the continent and Europe, studying guerrilla warfare and building support for the ANC. After his return in 1962, he was captured and sentenced to five years for incitement and illegally leaving the country.

    While serving this sentence Mandela was charged along with other anti-apartheid leaders in the 1963 Rivonia treason trial. In June 1964 he was given a life sentence with hard labour.

    While Mandela and his comrades languished in prison, the ANC, though banned, did not go away. Thousands died but the more the government cracked down, the more young blacks flocked to its ranks. Although not the most effective guerrilla organisation, the ANC gained support within and outside South Africa and boycotts of black schools and white businesses proved as effective as the bomb.

    In 1988, an estimated 400 million people watched a tribute concert given by superstars of the rock and pop world to mark Mandela's 70th birthday. He became the world's most celebrated political prisoner despite the fact that few people knew what he really looked like.

    After nearly three decades in jail, Mandela walked from Victor Verster prison a free man on February 11, 1990 having refused to bargain for his release. Mandela wrote of that day: "As I finally walked through those gates... I felt even at the age of 71 that my life was beginning anew. My 10,000 days of imprisonment were at last over."

    Two days after his release, he returned home to a tumultuous welcome from the people of Soweto where more than 1,20,000 people packed a stadium for the biggest political rally in South African history.

    Less than three months later, Mandela led an unbanned ANC delegation in the first face-to-face talks with South African President F.W. De Klerk and government officials. Mandela's election as ANC president in July 1991, replacing the ailing Oliver Tambo, gave him greater authority to negotiate with the white-led government.

    Mandela faced possibly his most painful trial when his second wife Winnie was convicted of kidnapping four youths and of being an accessory to assault. In April 1992 he announced their separation citing "personal reasons". Details of a cold relationship and Winnie's affairs with younger men emerged in a public divorce hearing in 1996.

    Mandela and De Klerk were jointly awarded the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their efforts to end white domination and pave the way for transforming South Africa into a multi-racial democracy. Although he accused De Klerk's government of not doing enough to stop political and racial violence, Mandela agreed to accept the joint prize as a gesture of reconciliation.

    In April 1994 an estimated 23 million people cast their votes during four days of voting in an election hampered by logistical problems but relatively free of violence. The ANC won 62.25% of the vote and control of eight of the nine regional assemblies.

    On May 10th, 1994 Mandela was formally inaugurated as South Africa's first black head of state before a world audience. A Mandela presidency, something millions of black South Africans had only dared dream about, had become a reality.

    Mandela played a key role on the world stage and the world lined up to be seen with him. From U.S. President Bill Clinton to the Dalai Lama, world leaders extolled his humanity, dignity and ready smile.

    On his 80th birthday, in July 1998, Mandela married his third wife Graca Machel, widow of former Mozambican president, Samora Machel.

    In June 2013 Mandela was hospitalised with a recurring lung infection and remained in hospital in Pretoria for almost three months before he was discharged to his home in Johannesburg where he died, on December 5, 2013, at the age of 95.

    A memorial ceremony at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg - scene of the 2010 World Cup final - was the centrepiece of official events. Over 90 world leaders and scores of celebrities joined tens of thousands of South Africans to create an atmosphere of joy and celebration in the rain-soaked stadium.



  • The government announced its plans last month to raise the retirement age, for men from 60 to 65 and for women from 55 to 63, to ease pressure on state coffers from an ageing population and weak economic growth made worse by the impact of sanctions.

    "I do not want them to prolong my youth. I want to earn what I worked for. I worked, and I paid my (pension) contributions. All of a sudden I learn that I will not be able to use them for my living," Moscow resident Oleg Kovalenko said. 


  • Since 2011, Google has imposed illegal restrictions on Android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search, the European Commission in a statement.

    According to the Commission, Google has engaged in three separate types of illegal practices, all of which had an aim of cementing Google's dominant position in general internet search.

    Firstly, Google illegally tied the Google Search app and the Google Chrome browser to device manufacturers as a bundle.

    Secondly, Google granted "significant financial incentives" to some of the largest device manufacturers as well as mobile network operators on condition that they "exclusively pre-installed" Google Search across their entire portfolio of Android devices.

    This harmed competition by significantly reducing their incentives to pre-install competing search apps, according to the Commission.

    Thirdly, the EU executive arm claimed "Google has prevented device manufacturers from using any alternative version of Android that was not approved by Google".

    Google has used Android as a vehicle to cement the dominance of its search engine. These practices have denied rivals the chance to innovate and compete on the merits. They have denied European consumers the benefits of effective competition in the important mobile sphere, which is illegal under EU antitrust rules, said European Union Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager at a media conference in Brussels on Wednesday.

    The Commission now wants Google to bring "the illegal conduct" effectively to an end within 90 days, otherwise it will face penalty payments of up to 5 percent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google's parent company.

    In June 2017, the Commission fined Google 2.42 billion euros for abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to Google's own comparison shopping service.

  • It was the moment well-wishers around the world had been waiting for. Thailand's rescued soccer boys, out from the flooded cave and out of the hospital, were finally heading home.

    Sitting alongside their rescuers, the boys and their coach smiling and waving and sharing details of their frightening ordeal at the press conference.

    The boys from the Wild Boars soccer team and their coach initially disappeared on June 23 after entering the Tham Luang cave network through a small entrance. They had planned to explore the cave after a practice but became trapped when monsoon rain flooded the cave.

    It's been revealed just how difficult it was to bring the boys out of the cave. The rescuers had to get through four kilometers of dark, tight and twisting tunnels, flooded by monsoon rain.

    One rescuer said it was feared that as many as four or five of the 12 boys might not have survived the rescue mission. He added that the Thai government had granted the rescuers immunity from prosecution in the event of such tragedy, so the team could freely go ahead with the rescue attempt.

    The boys and their coach were first sedated to keep them calm, then given an oxygen supply. They were pulled, pushed and coaxed through tiny flooded chambers, each by two skilled divers. It was a nightmarish journey that took four to six hours for each survivor.

    "While we were waiting, we kept looking for a way out and looking for water to drink. We drank water that was dripping down the cave walls," the rescued Pornchai Kamluang said.

    At the press conference, the boys and the coach expressed their gratitude to the international team that worked for 18 days to save them. They also shared their sadness over the loss of former Thai Navy Seal Samarn Kunan who died during one of the operations.

    "We feel really sorry, he was very brave. When we heard he had died, everyone was shocked. We couldn't believe it had happened, everybody was sad," team coach Ekapol Chantawong said.

    Almost a month after their ordeal began, the boys can now finally go back to their homes and families. It was a rescue that captured the world's attention and succeeded against all odds.

    Some of the boys have had treatment for pneumonia in hospital, but all are in good health.

  • In the Augusta Westland Chopper case, Enforcement Directorate has filed a supplementary charge sheet in Patiala House court. Chargesheet has been filed against former Air Force chief SP Tyagi and  his two cousins, two Italian middlemen and Finmeccanica.

    The charge sheet also names as accused Italian middlemen Carlo Gerosa and Guido Haschke.

    The charge sheet accuses them of money laundering of around 28 million Euro.

    The charge sheet was filed before special judge Arvind Kumar and will be taken up for consideration on July 20. 

    The ED, in its charge sheet, has said that money has been laundered through multiple foreign companies which were used as fronts to park alleged kickbacks.

    India had scrapped the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and charges of kickbacks in January 2014.  

  • Neeraj is India's top javelin thrower and he proved his mettle once again on the international stage when he won the gold medal with a massive margin. While Neeraj Chopra threw a distance of 85.17 m, the second best was Adrian Mardare of Moldova who threw a distance of 81.48 m.

    Neeraj's performance was brilliant as he did not falter in even a single attempt and completed each of his rounds. Even as his score of 85.17 m came in his fifth attempt, he came close to his eventual winning mark in his third attempt as well.

  • Pant was rewarded with the Test call-up following a successful run with the willow in the Indian Premier league (IPl).

    Shami, who was dropped from the lone Test match against Afghanistan for failing a fitness test, made his way back to the team after clearing the mandatory yo-yo test.

    Middle-order batsman Karun Nair has also been re-called to the squad while Rohit Sharma failed to make it.

    Pacer Jasprit Bumrah, who is recuperating from a thumb injury, has been included in the squad, but will be available for selection from the second Test onwards based on his fitness, a BCCI statement confirmed.

    Meanwhile, fellow paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar has his back injury after featuring in the third One-day International (ODI) against England on Tuesday and was left out of the first three Tests.

    "Bhuvneshwar Kumar aggrevated a lower back condition in the third ODI against England. His condition is being assessed by the BCCI medical team and a call on his inclusion in the Test squad will be made soon," the board said.

    India's squad for first three Tests against England: Virat Kohli (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, lokesh Rahul, Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Karun Nair, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Rishabh Pant (WK), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Hardik Pandya, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur.

  • Prime Minister Modi said that the Congress government in 2005 had promised to electrify all the households by 2009, but it failed to do so as it had no serious leader.

    The Prime Minister was interacting with citizens from villages that have been electrified in the last four years via the Narendra Modi Mobile App. 

    PM Modi said that the NDA government not only focussed on electrification but also reformed the distribution systems across the country.

    The Prime Minister said that April 28, 2018 is a historical day for India as Leisang village in Manipur became the last village to be electrified. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his interaction with people from Leisang village in Manipur, which was the last among the 18,000 villages electrified. He also spoke to beneficiaries from Arunachal Pradesh.

    Villagers from Roro in Singhbum also shared experiences of how electrification has transformed their lives. Anita Devi from Palamu in Jharkhand told PM Modi that her village and home got electricity in 2016.

  • The accident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when a jeep skidded off and fell 100 meters below the road near Dharapani in Rukum East district.

    According to reports four persons died on the spot while three others lost their lives in the hospital during treatment.

    The condition of four injured is critical and they have been airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.

  • The 6th Meeting of India-Nepal Oversight Mechanism, held in Kathmandu today emphasized on the early completion of all bilateral economic and development cooperation projects by addressing difficulties faced by various projects in the implementation process.

    The progress of all bilateral projects including Cross-border rail projects, Integrated Check Posts, Terai Roads Project, Cross-border transmission lines and Arun-III hydropower project was reviewed.

    Both the sides also discussed measures to be undertaken by the respective Governments and agencies to expedite project implementation and their early completion within specified time-frame.

    The Meeting was co-chaired by Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri and Foreign Secretary of Nepal Shanker Das Bairagi.

    The representatives of projects implementing agencies from both the countries also attended the meeting.  

    The next meeting of Oversight Mechanism will take place on a mutually convenient date.

  • In a move aimed to ensure smooth functioning of Monsoon session of Parliament, Speaker of Lok Sabha has accepted the No Confidence motion moved by Opposition parties. It will be taken up on Friday.

    Congress's Malikarjun Kharge and some TMC MPs expressed apprehensions that the attendance may be low on Friday and sought a change in the date. However the Speaker refused to accept their demand.

    TDP MP K Srinivas had moved the notice that has been accepted. Sumitra Mahajan took the decision after a head count of over 50 MPs from Cong, RJD, NCP, CPM, and RSP supporting the motion.

    Government has expressed readiness for a discussion on the motion.

    BJP has issued three-line whip over No Confidence Motion. Party has also asked its allies in NDA to issue the whip to its MPs.

    Meanwhile, Ahead of the session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed hope that the Monsoon Session will function smoothly. He said all the issues of national interest will be discussed on the floor of the house.Prime Minister also hoped that the members of parliament will set an example for state assemblies across the nation.

    Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured the House that the government will not allow any dilution of the SC/ST Act. He spelt out the steps the Modi government has taken to strengthen the Act including setting up of special courts and increasing the list of crimes under its ambit.

    Union Minister Jitendra Singh answering a question on Nuclear plants in Lok Sabha said that 9 out of 10 approved Nuclear plants will be completed across several states by 2024-25. He said that several  stalled nuclear projects have been revived by the Modi government. Work is on in projects in Haryana and Gorakhpur which will be start functioning in the next 2-3 years.

    He assured the House that rights of people living near these plants is of paramount importance. Jitendra Singh said that victims rights will be secured in case of any accident, and that all environmental norms are being stringently followed.

    While answering a question in Lok Sabha, Union Minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that in the last four years NDA government gave two crore fifty two lakh rupees as scholarship to minority students. He said more than fifty percent beneficieries are girl students. Naqvi said that money was transferred directly to these students and thus loop holes in transfer of money have been plugged.

    Communications Minister Manoj Sinha replying to a question asked by Shashi Tharoor said that 650 India Post Payment Banks are being launched this month, with more than 3000 access points. He reiterated the govt's commitment to financial inclusion.

  • The government has increased the fair and remunerative price (FRP) of sugarcane by Rs 20 per quintal to Rs 275 for the forthcoming 2018-19 sugar season, beginning October.

    The decision on FRP was taken at Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs meeting. The FRP is the minimum guaranteed price that farmers can get for their sugarcane crop. The states, however, have the freedom to fix a higher price.

    Sugarcane price is normally linked to a basic recovery of 9.5 per cent. For every 0.1 per cent point increase in recovery, farmers get an additional Rs 2.68 per quintal. Over the years, recovery levels have improved in most sugar-producing states, helping farmers to earn more from their crop.

    Cabinet has approved extension of pre-matric, post-matric and merit scholarships for Minority students by 3 years. Nearly 1 Crore 66 lakh students have benefited from these scholarships.

    Government has also decided to make insolvency resolution more transparent, efficient and equitable. Cabinet has approved Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2018.

    Cabinet has also approved Special Remission to Prisoners on the occasion of 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. As part of this decision prisoners who fall in 5 categories are will be granted clemency. This includes those not accused of heinous crimes or sedition and have completed 50% of their sentence

    Another decision taken is the approval of the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2018. This will lead to the setting up of a Central University of  Andhra Pradesh. Cabinet has also approved the setting up of a Medical College will in Deoria.

    In another decision, Vidarbha, Marathwada and other chronically drought prone areas of Maharashtra will get irrigation projects. A Special Package for utilization of irrigation potential of about 3.77 lakh hectare has been approved.

  • Sri Lankan sport minister Faizer Mustapha in a statement today said the decision is a blow to the spirit of game but added that it will be accepted without any reservation as his country is a responsible ICC member.

    The minister pointed out that the law governing the offence of ball tampering is somewhat vague and lacks clarity.  

    It called upon ICC to revisit the applicable laws and ensure that a set of simple, clear and certain rules are put in place regarding the issue.

    The statement came after ICC review mechanism upheld the charges against the three Sri Lankans related to conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the game.

    The three were charged for their involvement in the Sri Lanka cricket team's refusal to take to the field in second test match against West Indies last month after Sri Lankan captain was found guilty of changing the condition of the ball.

  • Here's a ground report on how the comprehensive cover makes farmers tension-free. 

  • Here's a report from Itanagar.

  • It is one-of-its-kind initiative to develop connect with farmer customers, resolve their grievances and educate them about their various rights and bank's initiatives. 

    SBI, which has close to 1.50 crore farmer customers, plans to connect with at least 10 lakh farmers through this mega mela.

    As part of the mela, SBI also plans to offer Kisan Credit Cards to farmers. The bank will also make farmers aware of the benefits of timely renewal of KCC account and usage of KCC Rupay Card for transactional convenience.

  • The death toll from the recent storms has exceeded more than 200, with dozens still missing in the aftermath of Japan's worst weather disaster in three decades.

    After days of heavy downpours, the weather has finally cleared in western Japan. Residents are taking this opportunity to go back to their homes, but only to empty them of trash and debris as the storms have made many of them uninhabitable.

    Although Akiko Masaki's parents' home was well above the river, it still wasn't spared from the massive flooding that inundated their entire community. Masaki went over to her parents as quickly as she could and has since been taking care of all their needs with help from her family and friends.

    "I don't think they can come here in a few months, maybe before winter, hopefully," said Masaki. "We bring them, everyday or many friends of them, or friends of mine, come here everyday to bring something to eat, something to drink," she added.

    Usually when a disaster hits Japan, it's the convenience stores that are the first go-to places of survivors for their necessities, but this time around even the convenience stores in the area were completely destroyed.

    Food, water and other necessities have all been in short supply in the aftermath of the flooding. But aid is now slowly making its way out especially to the thousands of evacuees that remain.

    "A couple of days ago, they managed to restore the electricity and water supply here. There's air-conditioning now but before then, they had to endure the heat," said Yuichi Yamada, the public relations head of the Japanese Red Cross Society.

    That's not to say, however, that evacuees are completely safe from health risks, especially since they may not be able to return home soon.

    If there is anything that worries survivors here though, it hasn't been evident. The overwhelming sentiment expressed by many of them is a desire to restore normalcy in their lives as soon as they can.


  • The 12 Thai boys and soccer coach who were rescued from a flooded cave will be discharged from hospital on Wednesday (July 18) and are set to hold a news conference the same day to satisfy huge media interest in their story, a government official said.

    The boys, aged 11 to 16, and their 25-year-old coach were safely brought out of the Tham Luang mountain cave complex near the border with Myanmar last week after a perilous rescue operation that drew global media attention and hundreds of journalists to the scene.

    The authorities have been concerned about the impact of sudden fame and media attention on the boys' mental health, so Wednesday's news conference will be carefully controlled.

  • A magisterial enquiry has been ordered into Greater Noida building collapse case.

    Rescue and relief operations are underway in full swing at the site where a six-storied under construction building collapsed and fell on another building last night. Four bodies have been recovered by the rescuers so far.

    Several people are still feared trapped under the debris.  Four NDRF teams are engaged in the rescue operations.

    Soon after the tragedy, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath directed the District Magistrate to follow up with the National Disaster Response Force team and Police for relief measures and to ensure immediate rescue.

    Meanwhile, three persons, including  the builder and his two associates, have been arrested  in connection with the incident so far. 

    NDRF personnel are at the site, helping with the rescue operations since last night. DG NDRF said that the force is using its expertise as well as equipment to provide all possible assistance.

    Deputy CM of UP Dinesh Sharma has said that the guilty will not be spared. He said that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has brought in strict laws to rein in builders. RERA is also being implemented throughout the state.

  • Obstfeld made the remarks during an interview as the IMF released its updated World Economic Outlook report on Monday.

    The IMF kept its growth forecasts for the global economy unchanged for this year and the next year, but warned of escalating trade tensions that could derail the global recovery.

    "There are a number of challenges, I think the biggest is around trade policy and trade tensions, where there is a real big risk to global growth if the threatened measures and countermeasures all come to pass and the business confidence suffers as a result. There are other risks out there for high levels of private and public debts in many economies, as interest rates rise could cause problems. The strong dollar that we are seeing is having an effective tightening financial condition in emerging and frontier markets. And that is affecting a few of them right now. If interest rates in the U.S. rise very sharply, that could be a bigger effect down the road," said Obstfeld.

    The IMF report came after the Trump administration unilaterally imposed high tariffs on imported steel and aluminum products, provoking strong opposition from the domestic business community and retaliatory measures from U.S. trading partners.

    The risk that current trade tensions escalate further -- with adverse effects on confidence, asset prices and investment -- is the greatest near-term threat to global growth, Obstfeld warned at a briefing, adding that countries must resist inward-looking thinking.

    "Well, what we would like to see is a move to strengthen the multilateral system that has been so successful in promoting trade expansion throughout the entire post-war period. To address some of their concerns, whether it's about intellectual property, whether it's about support by state-owned enterprises in the Chinese case, I don't think the steel and aluminum issues are beyond being resolved also if countries will work together," said Obstfeld.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Party President Amit Shah, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Ravi Shankar Prasad and several senior BJP leaders participated in the meet. 

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP president Amit Shah, LJP's Ram Vilas Paswan, Anu Priya Patel of Apna Dal, RLD's Upendra Kushwaha, Sukhdev Singh from Akali Dal, Ramdas Athavale from RPI and Shiv Sena Sanjay Raut participated. 

    A strategy was drawn up for the Monsoon session. A decision was taken to act unitedly on proposals put forward by the opposition. 

    The recent decision to raise MSP for farmers was hailed by all. A resolution congratulating Prime Minister Modi for this move was passed. 

    Prime Minister shared the credit with all parties and termed it a success for the NDA. 

    He said that the alliance was growing from strength to strength and was morphing into NDA plus.

    Prime Minister Modi tweeted Wonderful interaction with our valued NDA allies. 

    The NDA family is united in our pursuit of development and good governance for 125 crore Indians.

  • Replying to Rahul Gandhi's letter to Prime Minister Modi, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has written to Congress President, appreciating his support on the women's reservation issue, but also asked why the opposition party was adopting a selective attitude rather than a holistic one on women's issues.

    The Congress has been stalling the Triple Talaq bill in Rajya Sabha so far. He appealed to the congress to work with the govt on the anti triple talaq and Nikah halala legislations.

    Ravi Shankar highlighted that the initiative of introducing the Women's Reservation Bill was first taken by the NDA government.

    The Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government had  presented the bill twice, but could not get it passed due to lack of cooperation from the opposition.

    In 2010 the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha. But due to opposition by SP, BSP and RJD on issues like quota within quota, the Bill was allowed to lapse in Lok Sabha.

    Ravishankar Prasad questioned the Congress why the UPA could not get the bill passed in the Lok Sabha for 3 whole years.

    The letter also asks whether Rahul Gandhi had consent from UPA allies on the issue.

    Ravi Shankar Prasad also sought Congress' cooperation on granting constitutional status to OBC Commission.

    Meanwhile, BJP has targeted Rahul Gandhi for his 'I am Congress' tweet.

    The BJP said these tweets are an admission of the party's alleged statement of being a Muslim party.

    The BJP also alleged that the Congress President is in competition with AIMM president Asaduddin Owaisi for the legacy of Pakistan founder MA Jinnah.

    It was reported in an Urdu daily recently that Congress President Rahul Gandhi at a program described the Congress as a party of Muslims.

    Since then, the BJP has been asking for a clarification on those reported remarks.

    Government welcomes your initiative to support the Bill. however, the government would like to understand fully the reasons why the Bill was not taken up for three years by the UPA government in the Lok Sabha and allowed to lapse. 

    The bill was originally proposed by the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee but could not be passed for want of consensus in Parliament.

    Despite disturbances, in 2010, The BJP and NDA stood in firm support of Bill and had it passed in the Rajya Sabha.

    Another Bill of Significant social importance is granting constitutional status to the national commission on backward classes. It also deserves your party's unqualified support for assured passage.

  • He added that he hopes time will be utilised constructively. "I have always expressed my hope that Parliament should run smoothly and that the government is ready to debate on any issue that the Opposition wants to," PM Modi concluded.

    The government has listed a substantive legislative business for the Monsoon session. This includes 48 items in all. 

    Pending bills like the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill or the anti-instant triple talaq bill is among them besides six ordinances that the government intends to enact into laws.

    The monsoon session begins on 18 July and concludes on 10 August. It will have 18 sittings.

    The issues outlined by the opposition for the session include, reservation in the appointment of teachers to universities, reservation in jobs, farmers issues, price rise, situation in jammu and kashmir, atrocities on Dalits, women security and lynching.

    On the government's agenda are 48 items including 46 Bills and two financial items.

    The bills prioritised by the govt include the The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill or the anti-instant triple talaq bill, The Constitution (123rd  Amendment) Bill, that gives Constitutional status to the National Commission for Backward Classes.

    The National Medical Commission Bill, The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill, The Consumer Protection Bill, The Dam Safety Bill and Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill.

    On the govt's agenda are also the six bills replacing ordinances promulgated in the inter-session period which are:  

    --The Fugitive Economic Offenders Ordinance

    --The Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance

    --The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Ordinance

    --The Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance

    --The National Sports University Ordinance

    --The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance


  • While the opposition brought up issues that it wants to highlight in the session, the government assured that it is willing to discuss all issues.

    Here's how the government, Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairman reached out to the opposition to ensure a smooth Monsoon Session.

    Three attempts by the government for a smooth monsoon session of parliament.

    The focus was on keeping disruptions on bay and discussion on issues of public interest.

    The outcome was a broad consensus between the treasury and oppostion benches on the need for debate on all key issues.

    The first all-party meeting of the day was convened by the government.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers, and representatives of Congress, SP, RJD, YSR Congress, TDP, Akali Dal, Shiv Sena, NCP, AAP, CPI, JD(U), TRS and several other political parties participated in the meeting.

    Addressing floor leaders of parties in the two Houses of Parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the Government gives huge importance to the issues raised by all Political Parties and urged them to collectively strive for a constructive atmosphere in the Monsoon Session for national good.

    Legislative business and issues of importance were discussed in the meeting.

    The opposition leaders took up the issues they intend to raise during the session and the government assured that it is willing to discuss all issues.

    The government said that the opposition has promised to co-operate in the smooth functioning of the Monsoon Session.

    In the evening, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu convened a meeting of floor leaders of all parties in the Upper House and Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan met floor leaders of all parties in the Lower House.

    In both the meetings, there was broad consensus among all parties in favour of smooth functioning of the session.

    All eyes are on the Monsoon Session since the second half of the budget session was nearly washed out leaving substantive legislative agenda hanging in the balance.

    The government is hoping for a turnaround in the approach of the opposition in the interest of Parliamentary democracy.

  • Here's a ground report from Banda in Uttar Pradesh.