News

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, will pay a State Visit to Republic of Rwanda (23-24 July), Republic of Uganda (24-25 July) and Republic of South Africa (25-27 July). This will be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Rwanda and the first visit by our Prime Minister to Uganda in over 20 years.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that the Culture is a way of life and Religion is a way of worship. He was interacting with the members of ‘Youth For Bharat’, who called on him, here today.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has asked the young officers to take the benefits of government schemes to the poorest of the poor in the society. He was addressing the gathering at Guru Puja, Samkalp, a Project by Jan Kalyan Shiksha Samiti, here today.

  • NRC is being updated in Assam in accordance with the Assam Accord signed on 15 August, 1985. The entire process is being carried out as per directions ofthe Hon’ble Supreme Court who is constantly monitoring the process.

  • Following the successful conduct of the Khelo India School Games, Sports Authority of India took another significant step towards the development of sports earlier today, cleared 734 players for a scholarship programme under Khelo India Talent IdentificationDevelopment scheme.

  • The GST Council in its 28th meeting held here today under the Chairmanship of Shri Piyush Goyal , Union Minister for Railways , Coal , Finance & Corporate Affairs  took following decisions on GST Rate on Goods .

    GST rates reduction on 28% items:

    28% to 18%

    Paints and varnishes (including enamels and lacquers)
    Glaziers’ putty, grafting putty, resin cements
    Refrigerators, freezers and other refrigerating or freezing equipment including water cooler, milk coolers, refrigerating equipment for leather industry, ice cream freezer etc.
    Washing machines.

  • The Vice President of India and the Chancellor of Panjab University, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has appointed Prof. Raj Kumar as the next Vice Chancellor of Panjab University, here today. At present Prof.

  • A group of  RTI activists representing  "Right to Information Activists Social Welfare Society"  held a meeting with Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh here today and discussed issues regarding citizens' right to information and related concerns.

  • The GST Council in its 28th meeting held here today under the Chairmanship of Shri Piyush Goyal , Union Minister for Railways , Coal , Finance & Corporate Affairs  took following decisions relating to exemptions / changes in GST rates / ITC eligibility criteria, rationalization of rates / exemptions and clarification on levy of GST on services.

  • The GST Council in its 28th meeting held here today under the Chairmanship of Shri PiyushGoyal , Union Minister for Railways , Coal , Finance & Corporate Affairs has approved the new return formats and associated changes in law. It may be recalled that in the 27thmeeting held on 4thof May, 2018 the Council had approved the basic principles of GST return design and directed the law committee to finalize the return formats and changes in law. The formats and business process approved today were in line with the basic principles with one major change i.ethe option of filing quarterly return with monthly payment of tax in a simplified return format by the small tax payers.

  •             The GST Council in its 28th meeting held here today  has approvedthe proposal to open the migration window for taxpayers, who received provisional IDs but could not complete the migration process.

  • The GST Council in its 28thmeeting held here today has recommended certain amendments in the CGST Act, IGST Act, UTGST Act and the GST (Compensation to States) Act.

    2.         The major recommendations are as detailed below:

    Upper limit of turnover for opting for composition scheme to be raised from Rs. 1 crore to Rs. 1.5 crore.

  • Science& Technology, Earth Sciences; Environment, Forest & Climate Change Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan unveiled a state-of-the-art Air Quality and Weather Forecast System– SAFAR (System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting)at ChandniChowkin Delhi today.

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today delivered an address over live video link, on the occasion of the expansion of Emergency Ambulance Service over the entire island in Sri Lanka, with Indian Assistance.

  • The Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju accompanied by the Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism, Shri K.J. Alphons and a high-level Central Team visited the flood affected districts of Alappuzha and Kottayam and reviewed the flood situation and relief measures undertaken by the Central and State Governments in the flood affected areas of Kerala.

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh launched the Student Police Cadet (SPC) programme for nationwide implementation at a ceremony in Gurugram, Haryana today. In his address on the occasion, the Home Minister expressed hope that the SPC would lead to a silent revolution over the years by focusing on character building by imparting moral values to budding minds.

  • Speaking at the inauguration of the 7th Annual General Body Meeting of Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development (ITRHD), in New Delhi today, Shri Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting praised the efforts of ITRHD -an NGO devoted to preservation of Indian Heritage and Culture in Rural India and working in about 7 states of India.

  •  

    I urge all parties to reject the motion that has been moved in the House

    Today the nation has seen the negativity expressed by some members. India saw how some people are so deeply opposed to development:

    If you were not prepared for the debate why did you bring the motion? Why were you trying to delay the motion

    The only thing they have to say- remove Modi

    What we saw among members of the Opposition was sheer arrogance.

  • A new Cruise Terminal having facilities to handle 5000 tourists will come up at Ernakulum Wharf of Cochin Port by February 2020.  Cochin Port Trust has issued work order to the contractor today for commencing the construction of the new Cruise Terminal.

  •           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.



  • 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.


  • The new constitution seeks to maintain Cuba's one-party socialist system but institute a major government reorganisation. It will now be publicly debated through November before submission to a referendum.

    The government is also attempting to make changes to its Soviet-style command economy, with the goal of creating "prosperous and sustainable" socialism.

    After the vote, President Miguel Diaz-Canal said Cuba's economy grew less than expected in the first half of 2018 and an ongoing liquidity crisis will force fresh belt tightening.

    Since oil prices crashed in 2014 and Venezuela, the country's closest ally and main economic partner and fuel supplier, began to struggle, foreign currency revenues and oil supplies have steadily fallen, forcing cuts in imports and energy use.

    The economy grew 1.1 percent during the first half, Diaz-Canel said, compared with the 2 percent forecast by the government for 2018 and 1.6 percent growth last year.

    Cuban economists estimate the country needs up to 3 percent annual growth to break even.

  • On the last day of the championship, four of the five Indian wrestlers reached the medal round with Suraj Rajkumar Kokate (61kg) and Mohit (125kg) winning bronze medals.

    The only one to miss out was Somveer Singh in the 92kg category.India, with 173 points, finished second in the team championship behind Iran (189 points).

    Uzbekistan finished third with 128 points.

    Rathi won the first gold of the day for India in the 74kg with a sensational turn around against Mongolias Bat-Erdene Byambasuren in the gold medal match.

    Rathi trailed 2-5 after the first period and then lagged behind 2-9 in the second but from there he turned the bout on its head and pinned his opponent to claim the gold.

  • 16 per cent reservation will be given to SCs, and one per cent to STs.

    The decision was taken following an advice received from the Union Personnel and Training Department in the light of the orders passed by the Supreme Court on May 17th and the 6th of last month on a special writ petition. 

    An official notification said, such promotions would, however, be subject to further orders of the apex court.

  • Amit Shah gave this message to the party workers at the concluding session of the state BJP's working committee meeting in Jaipur.

    Amit Shah's visit has boosted the morale of the rank and file of the party ahead of the Assembly polls in Rajasthan that are due later this year.

    After the meeting, Union Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore exuded confidence that BJP will retain power in Rajasthan as well as in 2019 after the Lok Sabha elections.

  • The commission will be in Gujarat up to 25th July. It will meet Chief Minister, Ministers and other officials of the state.

    Detailed presentations will be made on the finances of the State Government.

    Apart from the meetings and presentations, State Government will also showcase its flagship programmes to the Commission.

    Commission will pay its homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Ashram on 24th July.

    During the field visits same day, Commission will visit SardarSarovar Dam, Statue of Unity and GIFT City. On 25th July, it will visit Rajkot to see Aji-I reservoir, SAUNI Yojana Phase 2 and Integrated Command & Control Center (ICCC) under Smart City Project.

    The Commission will also meet leaders of various political parties, Representatives of Trade and Industry.
     

  • The southwest Monsoon has been active over east Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan, Gujarat Region, Madhya Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and coastal Andhra Pradesh.

    The Met department had predicted Heavy to very heavy rain in Uttarakhand and at isolated places over Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi.Heavy rain also affected normal life.

    In Odisha, rain related incidents claimed three lives yesterday. Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts are facing flood-like situation, while Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri are grappling with water logging.

    Met officials have predicted more rain during the next 24 hours.Met department has also predicted heavy rain in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Vashakhapatnam, East and West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh.

    Telengana Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao has asked government officials to take necessary measures in view of forecast of heavy rain in the state.

     

  • It has  decided to slash the tax rate on as many as 17 items to 18 percent from 28 percent category.Premium of Ayushman Bharat Will also be exempted From GST.

    GST on ethanol sold to oil companies for blending with petrol and diesel has also been reduced to 5 percent from 18 percent.Meanwhile, footwear Worth Rs. 1000 will only attract 5% GST which was earlier 18%.

    Soon , taxpayers with turnover up to Rs 5 crore will now find it easier to file returns.

    While they will continue to pay GST monthly, they will only file returns quarterly.93 percent of taxpayers will file GST returns quarterly.

    Meanwhile, threshold limit for composition dealers will be increased to Rs 1.5 crore from Rs 1 crore earlier.

    The Focus of GST Council Meet was completely on Simplification and rationalisation.

    The next GST Council Meet will take place on 4th August which will focus on the issues relating to MSME sector.
     

  • In a statment issued, after meeting Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in New Delhi today, the Home Minister said the entire process  of NRC is being carried out as per the directions of the  Supreme Court, which is constantly monitoring the process.

    Rajnath Singh   assured    that the NRC exercise is being carried out in a totally impartial, transparent and meticulous manner .

    He said the Government wants to make it clear that the NRC to be published on 30th July is only a draft adding after draft publication, adequate opportunity for claims and objections will be available.

  • Constable Saleem Shah was abducted by militants from his residence in Mutalhama area of Kulgam in south Kashmir on Friday and his body, bearing severe torture marks, was recovered yesterday.

    The encounter began this morning as security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Khudwani after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of militants in the area.

    In another development, Pakistani intruder was gunned down at International Border in Bobiya in Hiranagar City early morning today when he was trying to enter Indian territory.

    In another development, one Pakistani intruder was gunned down at International Border in Bobiya in Hiranagar City early morning today when he was trying to enter Indian territory.

      The troops guarding a post in Boboiya area of Hiranagar sector observed some suspicious movement close to the fence and opened fire.

    One intruder was killed in the operation.

    The body is still lying on the fence, which is yet to be retrieved for furter investigation.
     

  • The intruder was shot dead after the security forces saw him trying to enter the Indian territory, said Ram Awtar, Inspector General, BSF, Jammu frontier. The complete area has been cordoned off and the search operation is underway.

    Last week, the BSF troopers killed an intruder from Pakistan along Punjab's border with Pakistan in the frontier district of Gurdaspur.

  • Typhoon Son Tinh, the third tropical storm to hit Vietnam since the start of the year, made landfall Wednesday night, damaging infrastructure and crops through Thanh Hoa and Nghe An provinces. Heavy rains have continued in the wake of the typhoon, unleashing floods and landslides across vast areas of the country, including in capital Hanoi. 

  • Nicaragua has been racked by civil unrest since protests broke out in April against former Marxist guerrilla leader Ortega and his Sandinistas over plans to cut welfare benefits.

    Ortega scrapped the cuts, but the violent repression of dissent sparked wider protests, leading to accusations that the president increasingly resembles former dictator Anastasio Somoza, whom he helped to topple nearly 40 years ago.

  • The Southwest Monsoon has been active over east Uttar Pradesh, east Rajasthan, Gujarat Region, Madhya Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and coastal Andhra Pradesh. The Met department had predicted Heavy to very heavy rain at a few places over Uttarakhand and at isolated places over Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, west Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chandigarh and Delhi. 

    Heavy downpour cripples normal life in Odisha

    Heavy rain lashed several parts of the country, affecting normal life. In Odisha, rain-related incidents claimed three lives yesterday. Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts are facing the flood-like situation, while Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri are grappling with waterlogging. Met officials have predicted more rain during the next 24 hours.

    Meanwhile, the Central team led by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiran Rijiju expressed satisfaction over the flood relief operations in Kerala. The Minister said, 80 crore rupees have already been given as compensation and within 10 days, an expert committee from Centre will evaluate the situation in Kerala. He said the compensation package would be given to all those affected by the flood, based on prescribed guidelines. Rijiju was speaking to media persons after visiting the worst-hit districts Alappuzha, Ernakulam and Kottayam in Kerala. The toll in rain-related incidents in Kerala has gone up to 41 since the onset of monsoon on May 29. As many as 1.18 lakh people have taken refuge in 606 relief camps across Kerala as rains continued to batter several parts of the state. 

     

  • Constable Saleem Shah was abducted by terrorists from his residence in Mutalhama area of Kulgam in south Kashmir on Friday and his body, bearing severe torture marks, was recovered yesterday.

    The encounter began this morning as security forces launched a cordon and search operation in Khudwani after receiving specific intelligence input about the presence of terrorists in the area.

    In another development, Pakistani intruder was gunned down at International Border in Bobiya in Hiranagar City early morning today when he was trying to enter Indian territory.

  • Mission Indradhanush is one such major step. Children and pregnant women are vaccinated under the scheme to safeguard them from seven life-threatening diseases.

    Good health of children and women is a must for creating a healthy India. The idea has been a driving force behind the initiatives taken by Modi government in the health sector.

    One such major step is Mission Indradhanush Immunization drive which covers (ALFA PGX) children under 2 years of age and pregnant women. Vaccination on demand is also provided to children up to 5 years of age.

    The campaign provides protection against seven life-threatening diseases - diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, measles and hepatitis B.

    Vaccination centers are being set up in villages itself, so as to make facilities available in their proimity. In Amethi district, a total of 1584 children have been vaccinated in 20 villages, against the target of 1504 children.

    Similarly, a total of 438 women were vaccinated as against the target of 408 women, which shows the steady progress of the program.

    Four phases of Mission Indradhanush have already been completed in 528 districts across the country.

    About 3 crore children and around 80 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated under Mission Indradhanush so far.
     

  • The team lost 228-229 to favourites France. The trio had earlier stunned top-seed Turkey 231-228 in the semifinal to book a place in the final.

    This is India's third silver medal in the World Cups in 2018 and their sixth medal overall.

  • The service has been introduced in two provinces of Sri Lanka with grant assistance from Government of India and is being expanded to remaining seven provinces.

    The inaugural function is being held in Jaffna of northern province where Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and other dignitaries arev present.Prime Minister Modi had received a request for assistance for setting of an emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka during his first visit to the country in March 2015.

    The service was introduced to cover the Western and Southern Provinces of Sri Lanka during July 2016.

    The service received enthusiastic response from Sri Lankan people and thousands of patients got benefitted through it.

    The service also bridged a critical gap in health services of Sri Lanka as the country lacked an emergency health care system.Keeping its success in mind, government of Sri Lanka further requested government of India to help expand the service to the entire country and fund it.

    This was also agreed and Prime minister Narendra Modi announced expansion of the service during his second visit to Sri Lanka in May last year.India has also undertaken many projects for your well-being, together with Sri Lankan Government, particularly in education, health and community development sectors.

    I am also pleased to announce that we have decided to extend the 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service, currently in operation in Western and Southern Provinces, to all the other Provinces as well.

    We are also happy to share with you India's holistic healthcare traditions such as Yoga and Ayurveda.India has given a grant of 22.8 million US dollars - $7.6 million in first phase and 15.2 million dollars for the country-wide expansion being launched today.

    Sri Lankan Prime Minister while signing MOU for the countrywide expansion stated: that this is a good example of the Indian success story being transferred to Sri Lanka.

    He thanked Prime Minister Modi and the Indian Government for an efficient ambulance service saying that saving any life is a success story and the achievement is much more by saving thousands of lives.

    This is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after Indian housing project.

    Apart from providing ambulances, the grant covers training of manpower in India and meeting operational costs for one year.India and Sri Lanka have a history dating back thousands of years and both countries share close cultural and economic links.

    The project will be another milestone to Prime minister Modi's 'Neighbourhood policy' and help bring the two neighbours further together.

  • It is not an occasion for frivolity.  The lead participants in the debate are normally senior political leaders. 

    They are expected to raise the level of political discourse. 

    If a participant happens to be a President of a national political party nourishing Prime Ministerial aspirations, every word he speaks should be precious. 

    His facts should convey credibility.  Facts are always sacrosanct.  None should ever trivialise the debate. 

    Those who desire to be Prime Minister never blend ignorance, falsehood and acrobatics.

    Regrettably, the President of the Congress Party missed a great opportunity.

    If this was his best argument for 2019, God help his party.  His lack of understanding is not only confined to basic issues but also to the niceties of protocol.

  • The No Confidence Motion brought by opposition fell flat on Friday. The motion was defeated by more than 2/3rd margin. The no-confidence motion was introduced by the TDP against the  government demanding Special Status Category to the Andhra Pradesh. 

    Any instance of violence brings shame to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a reference to incidents of mob lynchings and assault on women raised by opposition parties. In his over 90-minute address, he asked the Congress to not bring politics in matters of national security and accused opposition of insulting the Army by terming the surgical strikes in the Pak-occupied-Kashmir as 'jumla strikes'.

    He also accused them of insulting the Army chief. "Abuse me if you have to, but don't attack the armed forces", Prime Minister Modi said, adding "I will not tolerate this insult to our armed forces".

    The Prime Minister also targeted Sonia Gandhi for her suggestion that the opposition had the numbers to back its no-confidence motion and said it reminded him about her claim outside Rashtrapati Bhawan in 1999 that "we have 272" after the Vajpayee government had fallen by one vote. "She destabilised Atal Ji's government and never formed one herself. Her claim proved hollow," he said.

    The Congress has a history of destabilising governments of its rivals, he said, referring to fall of dispensations led by Charan Singh, Chandra Shekhar, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

    "Two times the Congress was involved in buying votes with the power of money," he said. The issue of non-performing assets (NPA) was the outcome of the "loot" of banks during the UPA rule when a chosen few were given loans with merely a telephone call.

    "This was telephone banking during the UPA government," he said. Banks had given away loans of Rs 18 lakh crore in 60 years but it rose to Rs 52 lakh crore during the UPA's rule between 2009-14, he said. 

    The NDA government is committed towards the development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Prime Minister Modi said, blaming the UPA government for the state's woes.

    Prime Minister Modi said he had told Naidu that he had fallen in the YSR Congress trap and accused his party of making this into an issue due to its political rivalry with the Jagan Reddy-led party. "I want to tell the people of Andhra Pradesh that we will keep working for them. We will do everything possible for the development of the state," he said. 

    In his speech, Prime Minister Modi also referred to his government's efforts to get the triple talaq bill passed, saying it stood with the Muslim women in their quest for justice.

    India is seeing the record pace at which roads are being built, villages are being connected, i-ways are being built, railways development is happening, he said, adding that his government has done development without any appeasement. "Our mantra is 'sabka saath sabka vikas'," he said.

    India had not only strengthed its economy but also played a role in bolstering the global economy and has become sixth largest economy, he said.

    The Congress, however, neither believed in the reports of renowned global bodies, not in the RBI, nor the Election Commission and neither the Chief Justice of India, he said.

    Taking on the opposition over its criticism of his government on employment front, he accused it of spreading baseless information and claimed that nearly one crore people have got employment in 2017-18. Citing Employment Provident Fund figures, he said 50 lakh people have got job in the formal sector in nine months. He said the transport business alone has created 20 lakh jobs in the informal sector.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked all the parties that have supported the govt in the vote on.

    Thanking allies for support, Prime Minister Modi in a tweet said that NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. He added that govt's efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of youth continue. 

  • Addressing the gathering PM Modi  said that his government is according top priority to ensure that farmers get remunerative prices for their produce.

    PM said the centre has taken a number of decisions recently for the welfare of sugarcane farmers.

     He said the government has raised the price of sugarcane to 275 rupees per quintal which is 80 per cent more than the cost of production.

     Prime Minister said his government has also imposed 100 per cent import duty on sugar and allowed export of 20 lakh tonne of sugar.

    This will leave sugar mills with no excuse to delay the payment of sugarcane arrears in time. Mr.Modi said his government is taking all possible measures to ensure that sugarcane dues are cleared by sugar mills at the earliest.

    He said previous governments left thousands of crores of sugarcane arrears which was cleared by his government in a time-bound manner.

    Prime Minister said his government also raised minimum support price of 14 crops between 200 to 1800 rupees per quintal which is a record in itself.

    He said when opposition parties were in power, they did not do anything concrete for farmers and now only shedding crocodile tears. 

  • The Commission led by the Chairman N.K.Singh, Members – Shaktikanta Das, Dr. Anoop Singh, Dr. Ashok Lahiri, Dr. Ramesh Chand and Secretary Arvind Mehta along with other officialswill have meetings with Chief Minister, Ministers and other officials of the state.

    Detailed presentations will be made on the finances of the State Government. Ahead of the visit, Commission understood in New Delhi, various aspects of its finances and issues related to socio-economic spheres from Accountant General of Gujarat.

    Apart from the meetings and presentations, State Government will also showcase its flagship programmes to the Commission.

    Commission will pay its homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Gandhi Ashram on 24th July.

    During the field visits same day, Commission will visit SardarSarovar Dam, Statue of Unity and GIFT City. On 25th July, it will visit Rajkot to see Aji-I reservoir, SAUNI Yojana Phase 2 and Integrated Command & Control Center (ICCC) under Smart City Project.

    The Commission will also meet leaders of various political parties, Representatives of Trade and Industry.

    There will also be an interactive session with Urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions to understand the status of the devolution (funds, functions and functionary) to the third tier and outstanding issues related to the State Finance Commission.

  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meet in New Delhi on Saturday. Finance Minister Piyush Goyal will chair the 28th meeting of the Council. Sources said the Council may consider a reduction in tax rates on the host of items with low revenue implications as part of the tax rationalization exercise. The items which could be considered for cutting of tax rates might include sanitary napkins, handicrafts and handloom goods. The Council will take up the issue of rationalisation of taxes in view of demand raised by stakeholders.

  • Grouped in Pool B, India will take on world number 16 Ireland on July 26 followed by world number 7 USA on July 29, apart from facing the Olympic champions in their home ground on the opening day of the prestigious tournament. "The pressure will be on England and not on us," asserted Indian team skipper Rani on the eve of the match. "Yes they will have the home ground advantage but we are not new to playing in front of big crowds. We have done well against England before and we will carry the confidence of doing well in our recent tournaments including the CWG where we had tasted victory against England in the Group Stage in Gold Coast," added Rani.

    India's previous appearance at the FIH World Cup was in 2010 when the event was held in Argentina. Rani then was the cynosure of India's ninth-place performance as she had scored seven goals for the team during the course of the tournament. While there will be a lot riding on Rani during this edition too, she has a unit that has dished out confidence-inspiring performance over the past two years where India even climbed to a career-best ranking of world number 10.

    "The team, especially the forward-line does not depend on Rani alone anymore to score goals. We have young strikers including the experience of Vandana Katariya with 200 plus international caps who have scored on multiple occasions for the team. "I like to look at the positives we have and having a drag-flicker like Gurjit Kaur who is one of the best in the world is also an advantage we have," stated chief coach Sjoerd Marijne.

    After having arrived in London a week prior to the start of the tournament, the Indian team has had good training sessions at the event venue Lee Valley Hockey and tennis stadium, including two practice matches against Australia and Belgium. "We have had good match practice against two of the top teams in the World. The team is upbeat and excited ahead of the first match and right now, our only focus is to do well against England. "We have played USA and Ireland too in the past and have specific game plan against them. But for now, our focus is on the first match," signed off Rani. 

  • 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.

  • The No Confidence Motion brought by opposition fell flat on Friday. The motion was defeated by more than 2/3rd margin. The no-confidence motion was introduced by the TDP against the  government demanding Special Status Category to the Andhra Pradesh. 

    Any instance of violence brings shame to the nation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a reference to incidents of mob lynchings and assault on women raised by opposition parties. In his over 90-minute address, he asked the Congress to not bring politics in matters of national security and accused opposition of insulting the Army by terming the surgical strikes in the Pak-occupied-Kashmir as 'jumla strikes'. He also accused them of insulting the Army chief. "Abuse me if you have to, but don't attack the armed forces", Prime Minister Modi said, adding "I will not tolerate this insult to our armed forces".

    The Prime Minister also targeted Sonia Gandhi for her suggestion that the opposition had the numbers to back its no-confidence motion and said it reminded him about her claim outside Rashtrapati Bhawan in 1999 that "we have 272" after the Vajpayee government had fallen by one vote. "She destabilised Atal Ji's government and never formed one herself. Her claim proved hollow," he said. The Congress has a history of destabilising governments of its rivals, he said, referring to fall of dispensations led by Charan Singh, Chandra Shekhar, H D Deve Gowda and I K Gujral. "Two times the Congress was involved in buying votes with the power of money," he said. The issue of non-performing assets (NPA) was the outcome of the "loot" of banks during the UPA rule when a chosen few were given loans with merely a telephone call. "This was telephone banking during the UPA government," he said. Banks had given away loans of Rs 18 lakh crore in 60 years but it rose to Rs 52 lakh crore during the UPA's rule between 2009-14, he said. 

    The NDA government is committed towards the development of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Prime Minister Modi said, blaming the UPA government for the state's woes. Prime Minister Modi said he had told Naidu that he had fallen in the YSR Congress trap and accused his party of making this into an issue due to its political rivalry with the Jagan Reddy-led party. "I want to tell the people of Andhra Pradesh that we will keep working for them. We will do everything possible for the development of the state," he said. 

    In his speech, Prime Minister Modi also referred to his government's efforts to get the triple talaq bill passed, saying it stood with the Muslim women in their quest for justice. India is seeing the record pace at which roads are being built, villages are being connected, i-ways are being built, railways development is happening, he said, adding that his government has done development without any appeasement. "Our mantra is 'sabka saath sabka vikas'," he said.

    India had not only strengthed its economy but also played a role in bolstering the global economy and has become sixth largest economy, he said. The Congress, however, neither believed in the reports of renowned global bodies, not in the RBI, nor the Election Commission and neither the Chief Justice of India, he said. Taking on the opposition over its criticism of his government on employment front, he accused it of spreading baseless information and claimed that nearly one crore people have got employment in 2017-18. Citing Employment Provident Fund figures, he said 50 lakh people have got job in the formal sector in nine months. He said the transport business alone has created 20 lakh jobs in the informal sector.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked all the parties that have supported the govt in the vote on. Thanking allies for support, Prime Minister Modi in a tweet said that NDA has the confidence of the Lok Sabha and the 125 crore people of India. He added that govt's efforts to transform India and fulfil the dreams of youth continue. 

  • 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.