News

  • The Minister of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Mines, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar has said that there is great need for skill development of rural youth for creating more opportunities of employment for them.

  • A ceasefire is in operation between Government of India, National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Neopao Konyak/Kitovi (NSCN/NK) and National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Reformation (NSCN/R).  It was decided to extend the Suspension of Operation with NSCN/NK and NSCN/R for a further period of one year with effect from 28th April, 2018, i.e till 27th April, 2019.

  • Assuring all technical and policy support, the Centre has empahsised that in the fight against air pollution, the focus will now be on the implementation of city-specific action plans.   This was emphasised at the two-day Stakeholder Consultation to discuss the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that concluded in the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) here today.

  • Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Statistics and Programme Implementation, Shri Vijay Goel inaugurated the new office of Central Project Monitoring Unit for the e-Vidhan project of the Government at the Parliament House Annexe.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that education should not only prepare our youth to face challenges of a technologically-driven knowledge society, but also make them analyze critically and come out with innovative solutions to the problems faced by people.

  • The Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Raksha Mantri’s Trophy and citation for the Best Service Hospital in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) for the year 2017 to Command Hospital (Western Command), Chandimandir, here today.

  • SJVN Limited, the operator of one of the largest Hydro Power Plants in the country i.e. 1500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power Station, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ministry of Power, Govt.

  • The Second Book reading session of 'Archives Reads' was organised by NAI today with Author & Prof Deepak Kumar, former Professor, JNU reading from his latest publication “Trishanku Nation – Memory, Self and Society in Contemporary India".

  •             As part of ongoing exercise ‘GaganShakti-2018’, the Operational Commands of the IAF planned and executed Inter Valley Troop Transfer (IVTT) in coordination with affiliated Indian Army Commands.

  • 20 April (Day 1): ? Thunderstorm accompanied with squall and hail very likely at isolated places over Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

     

    Thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds very likely at isolated places over Uttar Pradesh, north Rajasthan, West Bengal & Sikkim, Jharkhand, Odisha, Assam & Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram & Tripura, Telangana, Karnataka, north Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that translating “legislative intent” into “programmatic content” and demonstrating to the common citizens what “Surajya” actually looks like in day to day administration, the civil services have an enormous opportunity today.

  • Two day Regional Conference on “Urban Development: Technological Solutions and Governance Challenges” concluded in Ahmedabad, Gujarat today. The Conference was organized by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in collaboration with the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Gujarat Council along with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), an autonomous research organization under the Ministry of External Affairs.

  • Union Home Minister, Shri Rajnath Singh today reiterated the government’s commitment for the development of marginalized communities and inaugurated several development projects in the Union Territory of Dadra Nagar Haveli.

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will confer the Awards for Excellence in Public Administration for effective implementation of identified Priority Programs and Innovation to districts/implementing units and other Central/State organisations at Vigyan Bhawan in the capital tomorrow on April 21. He will address Civil Servants on this occasion.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that translating “legislative intent” into “programmatic content” and demonstrating to the common citizens what “Surajya” actually looks like in day to day administration, the civil services have an enormous opportunity today.

  •  The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on April 19, 2018 was 38.989 BCM which is 24% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 25 for the week ending on April 12, 2018.

  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has been established by the Government of India for regulation and development of Pension Sector in order to protect the old age income security of subscribers.

  • The first meeting of the BRICS Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors was held in the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings on 19th April, 2018 in Washington D.C. Ministry of Finance, Government of India was represented in the meeting by Shri Subhash Chandra Garg , Secretary , Department of Economic Affairs (EA).

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has advised the youth to protect preserve and celebrate Indian culture and traditions and youth that are both present and future of this country can achieve their life's goals with hard work and dedication.

  • The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has said that education and sanitation are important in our country and public sector, private sector and individuals also should contribute towards achieving this.



  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Berlin tonight, German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Mr Modi on his arrival .Both the leaders will hold b...




  • The BJP today hit out at the Congress party over impeachment motion against the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. In a Facebook post, Unio...




  • The BJP today announced the third list of its 59 candidates for the ensuing Karnataka Assembly elections. Former Speaker of Karnataka assemb...



  • A division bench of the Gujarat High Court today acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani in the Naroda Patiya massacre case. The Court found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction.



  • Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said, there is an urgent need to re-think about the existing governance paradigm of the country. Inaugurating the 12th Civil Services Day event in New Delhi, Mr Naidu said, the essential gap today is between the grandiose conception and the ground level implementation.



  • The National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) Executive Board today decided to investigate allegations against former President Pervez Musharraf for holding assets beyond means.



  • Key benchmark stocks today closed almost flat with marginal losses amid decline in major global share markets.



  • The Calcutta High Court today quashed the State Election Commission's order cancelling the notification for extension of deadline for filing nomination for panchayat polls in West Bengal.



  • Chennai Super Kings beat Rajasthan Royals by 64 runs in an IPL match in Pune.


  • In his Facebook post, Finance Minister Jaitley said that the Supreme Court judgment in Judge Loya death case exposes conspiracy to generate falsehood as propaganda in public and political space.

    He added that the impeachment motion is a revenge petition after the falsehood of the Congress party established in judge Loya death case.

    Referring to the judgement, Jaitley said never ever so blatantly in the past have national political parties, a few retired judges and some senior lawyers "so closely identified themselves with the generation of falsehood that they almost come out as conspirators".

    He also said that "What has happened today is a price the Indian judiciary has to pay for misadventures of many. There is no better time for judicial statesmanship and political foresight."

    BJP Leader Meenakshi Lekhi on Friday said that when Congress was in power, they leveled baseless charges against BJP leaders and tried to corner them in false cases.

    She added that Congress is working towards tarnishing the image of judiciary.

     

  • Besides leaders and workers of RJPN, senior leaders from various political parties, government officials and representatives from different sections of the society also attended the function.

    Six major Madhes parties had announced their unification on April 20 last year and formed RJPN to have greater unity and achieve their objectives.

    Madhesi parties had been demanding constitution amendment on various issues including more representation, citizenship and language.

    RJPN contested last year's historic provincial and parliamentary elections and won 17 seats in 275 member House of Representatives, the lower house of the parliament.

    The party has also formed Government in Province 2 with its coalition partner Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum Nepal.

    Meanwhile, a dissatisfied group of RJPN has formed a new party. RJPN Vice-Chairman Ashok Kumar Yadav announced formation of Rastriya Janta Party (Loktantrik) on Friday.

    Addressing a press conference in Kathmandu he said that RJPN could not get constitution amendment. Yadav also accused RJPN presidium members for betraying the people of Madhes.  

  • Chief Minister Siddaramaiah filed his nomination on Friday from Chamundeshwari seat.

    Meanwhile, BJP's chief Ministerial candidate B S Yeddyurappa is currently on a hectic campaign trail after filing his nominations for assembly polls on Friday.

    The BJP leader filed his nominations from Shikaripura in Shimoga.

    Meanwhile, BJP chief Amit Shah took part in several programmes on the second day of his Karnataka tour.

    During the interaction with professionals and entrepreneurs in Bengaluru, BJP Chief AMit Shah discussed in detail the historic steps taken by the Modi government to motivate the young Indians towards the entrepreneurship and self employment.

    Earlier, he addressed the convention of Shakthi Kendra Pramukhs of 15 assembly constituencies in Devanahalli, and attended the 'Samaj Chintan Sabha' in Bengaluru.

  • Vice President also inaugurated an exhibition put up by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances on identified priority programmes and innovations.

     

    The Vice President also released a book Emulating Excellence- Takeaways for Replication'.

     
    The day is celebrated for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizen and renew their commitments to public service and excellence in work.

    Addressing the function, Vice President said that it is our collective responsibility to work together to realise the dream of a New India.

    Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Jitendra Singh, also addressed the inaugural session of Civil Services Day function.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi touched down in Berlin for a very special visit. His first visit to the country after Chancellor Angela Merkel took oath for the 4th time earlier in March. This is his third visit since he took office in 2014.

    Chancellor Merkel greeted Prime Minister Modi at her Residence, the German Chancellery. The warmth clearly visible as the two leaders shook hands.

  • The apex court further clarified that Col. Purohit can raise the issue of sanction during the framing of UAPA charges before the trial court and seek discharge in the Malegaon blast case.

    The Supreme Court had in January had sought the Maharashtra government's response on Purohit's plea.

    In the plea, Purohit challenged the proceedings against him under the UAPA by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in the absence of valid sanction from the competent authority.

    Seeking a response from the Maharashtra government, the bench of Justice RK Agrawal and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre had declined to interfere with the trial court's proceedings in the matter.

    Earlier, the Bombay High Court had dismissed Purohit's plea.

    The trial court in its 27 December, 2017, order, while discharging Purohit of the offences under the MCOC Act and the offences punishable under certain provisions of the UAPA, had decided to proceed against him under other provisions of the UAPA.

    Purohit has contended that proceedings against him are in the absence of valid sanction from the competent authorities, and are thus a miscarriage of justice and bad in law.

    Seven people were killed in a bomb blast on 29 September, 2008, at Malegaon in Nashik district of north Maharashtra.

  • The Centre submitted its report while responding to a PIL. Further hearing will take place on April 27.

  • The court has sought Yadav's health reports. The next hearing is on May 4. Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced to 7 years in jail in the fourth fodder scam case. He was also fined with Rs 30 lakhs.

    The fourth fodder scam involves fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the treasury of Dumka, now in Jharkhand, but was in Bihar when Lalu was the chief minister.

  • The apex court bench headed by Justice RK Agrawal dismissed the plea filed by Ibrahim's mother and sister, Kaskar and Haseena Parkar, challenging the decision of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and other agencies to attach property owned by them in Mumbai as "proceeds of crime".

    The Central Government had earlier filed a detailed report before the court and said that the properties in Nagpada belonged to Ibrahim and had been acquired using undeclared and ill-gotten income from his criminal activities.

    The underworld don is a designated global terrorist and wanted for several crimes including murder, extortion, targeted killing, drug trafficking and terrorism.

    While he is believed to be residing in Pakistan, his location is not confirmed.

  • Former BJP minister Maya Kodnani, who was among 32 people convicted in the case by a special court, was acquitted in Naroda Patiya Case. She had moved the High Court against the verdict.

    The court however found Babubhai Patel alias Babu Bajrangi guilty and upheld his conviction.

    Out of the 32 convicts in the case, Gujarat High court acquitted 17 people; conviction of 12 was upheld, verdict on two others awaited while one accused is dead.

    The court was hearing 11 appeal petitions moved by the convicts, the Supreme Court-appointed SIT and the families of the victims of the riots.

  • "Iran has several options if the United States leaves the nuclear deal. Tehran's reaction to America's withdrawal of the deal will be unpleasant," TV quoted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying on his arrival in New York.

    Under Iran's settlement with the United States, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China, Tehran agreed to curb its nuclear program to satisfy the powers that it could not be used to develop atomic bombs. In exchange, Iran received relief from sanctions, most of which were lifted in January 2016.

    US President Donald Trump has given the European signatories a May 12 deadline to "fix the terrible flaws" of the 2015 nuclear deal, or he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief on Iran.

    Iran has said it will stick to the accord as long as the other parties respect it, but will shred the deal if Washington pulls out.

  • General Kenneth McKenzie, director of the US military's Joint Staff, said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime retains a "residual" chemical capability at a variety of sites across the country.

    "They will have the ability to conduct limited attacks in the future," McKenzie told Pentagon reporters on Thursday.

    "However as they contemplate the dynamics of conducting those attacks, they have to look over their shoulder and be worried that we are looking at them, and we will have the ability to strike them again should it be necessary."

    Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said there was no indication the Assad regime was preparing to launch another chemical weapons attack.

    "Assad must know the world will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons under any circumstances," she said.

    On April 13, the US, Britain and France fired more than 100 cruise missiles at three Syrian sites, including a large research center in Damascus, in response to an alleged chemical attack in Douma that killed more than 40 people.

    According to satellite imagery displayed by the Pentagon, the three sites were completely destroyed.

    "We achieved the level of success that we wanted against those three targets," McKenzie said.

    "We believe that there was probably some chlorine and possibly sarin at possibly all of the sites." The three-star general added the Syrian regime had now returned to a "state of normalcy."

    "I don't think we sought to change the strategic balance of the Syria conflict with those strikes. We sought to send a lesson that it's bad practice to gas women and children," McKenzie said.

  • Castro's 90-minute valedictory speech on Thursday offered his first clear vision for the nation's future power structure under new President Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez. Castro said he foresees the white-haired electronics engineer serving two five-year terms as leader of the Cuban government, and taking the helm of the Communist Party, the country's ultimate authority, when Castro leaves the powerful position in 2021.

    "From that point on, I will be just another soldier defending this revolution," Castro said. The 86-year-old general broke frequently from his prepared remarks to joke and banter with officials on the dais in the National Assembly, saying he looked forward to having more time to travel the country.

    In his own half-hour speech to the nation, Diaz-Canel pledged to preserve Cuba's communist system while gradually reforming the economy and making the government more responsive to the people.

    "There's no space here for a transition that ignores or destroys the legacy of so many years of struggle," Diaz-Canel said. "For us, it's totally clear that only the Communist Party of Cuba, the guiding force of society and the state, guarantees the unity of the nation of Cuba."

    Diaz-Canel said he would work to implement a long-term plan laid out by the National Assembly and communist party that would continue allowing the limited growth of private enterprises like restaurants and taxis, while leaving the economy's most important sectors such as energy, mining, telecommunications, medical services and rum- and cigar-production in the hands of the state.

    "The people have given this assembly the mandate to provide continuity to the Cuban Revolution during a crucial, historic moment that will be defined by all that we achieve in the advance of the modernization of our social and economic model," Diaz-Canel said.

    Cubans said they expected their new president to deliver improvements to the island's economy, which remains stagnant and dominated by inefficient, unproductive state-run enterprises that are unable to provide salaries high enough to cover basic needs.

    The average monthly pay for state workers is roughly $30 a month, forcing many to steal from their workplaces and depend on remittances from relatives abroad.

    "I hope that Diaz-Canel brings prosperity," said Richard Perez, a souvenir salesman in Old Havana. "I want to see changes, above all economic changes allowing people to have their own businesses, without the state in charge of so many things."

    But in Miami, Cuban-Americans said they didn't expect much from Diaz-Canel.

    "It's a cosmetic change," said Wilfredo Allen, a 66-year-old lawyer who left Cuba two years after the Castros' 1959 revolution. "The reality is that Raul Castro is still controlling the Communist Party. We are very far from having a democratic Cuba."

    After formally taking over from his older brother Fidel in 2008, Raul Castro launched a series of reforms that led to a rapid expansion of Cuba's private sector and burgeoning use of cellphones and the internet.

    Cuba today has a vibrant real estate market and one of the world's fastest-growing airports. Tourism numbers have more than doubled since Castro and President Barack Obama re-established diplomatic relations in 2015, making Cuba a destination for nearly 5 million visitors a year, despite a plunge in relations under the Trump administration.

    Castro's moves to open the economy even further have largely been frozen or reversed as soon as they began to generate conspicuous displays of wealth by the new entrepreneurial class in a country officially dedicated to equality among its citizens.

    Foreign investment remains anemic and the island's infrastructure is falling deeper into disrepair. The election of President Donald Trump dashed dreams of detente with the U.S., and after two decades of getting Venezuelan subsidies totaling more than $6 billion a year, Cuba's patron has collapsed economically, with no replacement in the wings.

    Castro's inability or unwillingness to fix Cuba's structural problems with deep and wide-ranging reforms has many wondering how a successor without Castro's founding-father credentials will manage the country over the next five or 10 years.

    Most Cubans have known their new president as an uncharismatic figure who until recently maintained a public profile so low it was virtually nonexistent. Castro's declaration Thursday that he saw Diaz-Canel in power for more than a decade was likely to resolve much of the uncertainty about the power the new president would wield inside the Cuban system.

    "The same thing we're doing with him, he'll have to do with his successor," Castro said. "When his 10 years of service as president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers are over, he'll have three years as first secretary in order to facilitate the transition. This will help us avoid mistakes by his successor, until (Diaz-Canel) retires to take care of the grandchildren he will have then, if he doesn't have them already, or his great-grandchildren."

    Cuban state media said Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Diaz-Canel and thanked Castro for the many years of cooperation between the two countries, while Chinese President Xi Jinping also reaffirmed his country's friendship with Cuba and expressed interest in deeper ties.

    At the U.S. State Department, spokeswoman Heather Nauert expressed disappointment at the handover, saying Cuban citizens "had no real power to affect the outcome" of what she called the "undemocratic transition" that brought Diaz-Canal to the presidency.

    Vice President Mike Pence tweeted at Castro that the U.S. won't rest until Cuba "has free & fair elections, political prisoners are released & the people of Cuba are finally free!"

    Diaz-Canel said his government would be willing to talk with the United States but rejected all demands for changes in the Cuban system.

    With Castro watching from the audience, Diaz-Canel made clear that for the moment he would defer to the man who founded the Cuban communist system along with his brother Fidel. He said he would retain Castro's cabinet through at least July, when the National Assembly meets again.

    "I confirm to this assembly that Raul Castro, as first secretary of the Communist Party, will lead the decisions about the future of the country," Diaz-Canel said.

    "Cuba needs him, providing ideas and proposals for the revolutionary cause, orienting and alerting us about any error or deficiency, teaching us, and always ready to confront imperialism."

    Diaz-Canel first gained prominence in central Villa Clara province as the top Communist Party official, a post equivalent to governor. People there describe him as a hard-working, modest-living technocrat dedicated to improving public services. He became higher education minister in 2009 before moving into the vice presidency.

    In a video of a Communist Party meeting that inexplicably leaked to the public last year, Diaz-Canel expressed a series of orthodox positions that included somberly pledging to shutter some independent media and labeling some European embassies as outposts of foreign subversion.

    But he has also defended academics and bloggers who became targets of hard-liners, leading some to describe him a potential advocate for greater openness in a system intolerant of virtually any criticism or dissent. International observers and Cubans alike will be scrutinizing every move he makes in coming days and weeks.

    As in Cuba's legislative elections, all of the leaders selected Wednesday were picked by a government-appointed commission. Ballots offered only the option of approval or disapproval and candidates generally receive more than 95 percent of the votes in their favor. Diaz-Canel was approved by 604 votes in the 605-member assembly. It was unclear if he had abstained or someone else had declined to endorse him.

    The assembly also approved another six vice presidents of the Council of State, Cuba's highest government body. Only one, 85-year-old Ramiro Valdes, was among the revolutionaries who fought with the Castros in the late 1950s in the eastern Sierra Maestra mountains.

  • In a press conference addressed with Bach in New Delhi, IOA President Narinder Batra said, "We are bidding for three events, 2026 Youth Olympics, 2030 Asian Games and 2032 Olympics. We don't know whether they will come to India or not. Let us see how fierce the competition is."

    Bach, who is on a two-day visit to the country, said India has the capability to host big Olympic events but advised the IOA to wait for the bidding process to start.

    "We have taken note with great appreciation of the intention of IOA to host future Youth Olympics and Summer Olympics. It would be fantastic for Indian athletes to have their Olympics at their home country. It will give a boost to sports in India and develop interest in many young people to take up sports," Bach, who was last here in 2015, said.

    "But it's not the time to discuss in detail about future candidates as no procedure is currently open neither for Olympic Games nor for Youth Olympics. The next available slot for Youth Olympics is 2026 but we are even yet to decide on 2022 edition host city, the process is underway. Only after we finalise 2022 Youth Olympics hosts, we will start the procedure for 2026," said Bach.

    The IOC chief also had a meeting with Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore during the day.

    The bidding process for the 2026 Youth Olympics is likely to start in early part of 2020. Besides India, Thailand has also expressed interest to host the 2026 Youth Olympics.

    Regarding the IOA's intention to bid for 2032 Olympics, Bach said, "There is a lot of time left till we open bidding procedure for 2032 Olympics. We have to wait till that."

    A decision on the 2032 Summer Olympics host city will only be taken in 2025 and the bidding process is expected to start sometime before that.

    Germany - which has proposed a 13-city bid - and Australia (likely to be Brisbane) have expressed their desire to bid for 2032 Olympics and more countries are expected to join the fray later on.

    Just after taking charge as IOA chief in December last, Batra had said that India should think of hosting big-ticket events like the Asian Games and Olympics.

    Bach also revealed that a four-party working group comprising the IOC, IOA, Olympic Council of Asia and the sports ministry has been constituted "to devise a road map on how the most hopeful Indian athletes can be best prepared for 2020 Olympics".

    "We discussed (with the sports minister) about sports science, coaching, sports for all and role of sports in society. The IOC can assist and put its expertise in all these matters. We can see some initiatives which will be beneficial for Indian athletes so that they can excel in 2020 Olympics," said the IOC chief who was here with the OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah.

  • A delegation led by Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam met him in New Delhi on Thursday and submitted a memorandum putting forward its viewpoints regarding the Terms of Reference of the Commission. 

    During the meeting, the Chairman said, a progressive state like Tamil Nadu which has contributed greatly to India’s prosperity will certainly receive the Commission’s careful consideration. 

    The Commission’s visit to Tamil Nadu was finalized for the end of September.

    On the occasion, Panneerselvam urged for balancing the need for fiscal transfers to less developed states with the growing aspirations of better performing states. 

    Over 40 member delegation of MPs from AIADMK put forward the efforts made and resources mobilized by Tamil Nadu towards the upliftment of the people in the state. 

    The Finance Commission recommends devolution of taxes among states.

  • Jim Bridenstine, a congressman from Oklahoma, US Navy veteran and former pilot, was confirmed on a 50-49 vote, and will become the 13th administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration seven months after Trump named him to lead the agency.

    Bridenstine, 42, has expressed an interest in returning humans back to the moon, spoken of closer ties between NASA and the commercial space industry, and has voiced skepticism about human-caused climate change.

    He was a strong supporter of Trump during the 2016 presidential race.

    Senate Democrat Bill Nelson, a former astronaut from Florida, was unenthusiastic in his welcome for Bridenstine.

    NASA's previous full-time administrator, former astronaut Charles Bolden, resigned in January 2017.

    The confirmation came as Trump complained in a tweet that Democrats are "'slow walking' all of my nominations."

    His pick for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is expected to be voted on next week.

  • The award is given by the Ministry to those best performing public health facilities which demonstrate high level of cleanliness, hygiene and infection control.

    On the basis of numbers of patients and bed occupancy, the awards have been listed in two categories.

    In the first category, AIIMS, New Delhi received the first prize worth Rs. 2.50 crore, while PGI Chandigarh won the second prize worth Rs. 1.50 crore.

    In the second category, North Eastern Indira Gandhi regional Institute of Health and Medical Science, Shillong was adjudged the winner with a prize money worth Rs. 1.50 crore.

    The second prize went to AIIMS, Bhubhaneswar with a prize money worth 1 crore.

    Speaking on the occasion, Nadda said, the Kayakalp initiative will surely prompt other hospitals to excel in achieving the Prime Minister's goal of Swachh Bharat.

    He said, health was not taken seriously earlier, but now it has taken centre stage in the government's agenda.

  • Several teachers and students had approached the Board with the plea that the paper held on the 12th of last month had certain errors in the comprehension passage section.

    Students had to read a passage and write synonyms for the words endurance, obstruction, and motivation.

    But the paragraphs they were supposed to look at were incorrectly marked, they had said in an online petition. 

    A senior CBSE official said, the typing error has been noticed and it has been Board's policy to not let students face any disadvantage.

    The marking scheme has been decided in the interest of students and all those who appeared for the particular question will be awarded two marks.

    The Class X and XII board examinations began on the 5th of last month and will conclude on 25th of this month

  • Thursday was the last date of withdrawal of nominations and after passing of time limit, all candidates were given winning certificates.

    Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath met with the newly elected BJP members of Legislative Council and congratulated them.

    BJP won 10 seats while its ally Apna Dal and opposition parties SP and BSP clinched one seat each. With this win, BJP has improved its tally to 21 members in Legislative Council. However Samajwadi Party will still have the upper hand in the Upper House with 55 members. BSP will now have 8 members in Legislative Council.

    Ten BJP candidates who won today are two state ministers Dr. Mahendra Singh and Mohsin Raza, turncoats Yashwant Singh, Dr Sarojini Agrawal, Bukkal  Nawab, Thakur Jaiveer Singh and party organization functionaries Vidya Sagar Sonkar, Vijay Bahadur Pathak, Ashok Dhawan and Ashok Katariya.

    BJP's ally Apna Dal candidate Ashish Patel has also won. Samajwadi Party candidate Naresh Uttam and Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate Bhimrao Ambedkar have won their seats.

  • During her visit, Swaraj will co-chair the 6th round of India-Mongolia Joint Consultative Committee meeting, IMJCC, with Foreign Minister Tsogtbaatar, covering a range of issues including, inter alia, political, strategic, economic, educational and cultural ties. The last meeting of IMJCC was held in New Delhi in 2016.

    During her visit, the Minister will also deliver the keynote address at the Kushok Bakula Birth Centenary Celebrations in Ulaanbaatar commemorating the birth anniversary of Late Venerable Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, a highly revered Buddhist leader and monk from Ladakh, India and a former Ambassador of India to Mongolia.

    Bakula Rinpoche as the longest serving Indian Ambassador to Mongolia, made seminal contribution to promotion of India-Mongolia ties.

  • The meet will serve as the selections trials for the 18th Asian Junior Athletic Meet to be held at Gifu, Japan, in June.

    The three-day event will see 440 boys and 352 girls in the age group of 16 to 20 years take part in 44 events.

  • Senior BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad today said this case was not activated to serve public interest but to serve the interests of Congress and damage the interests of BJP, the party President Amit Shah in particular.

    He also urged Rahul Gandhi not to fight political battles through corridors of Court.
     

    Union Minister Rajnath Singh has also welcomed Apex Court's decision on judge Loya case. He said its clear that the judiciary cannot be made a field for political battles.

     

    Union Minister Jitendra Singh also said Rahul Gandhi & Congress Party must apologise for their defamation campaign.

     

    BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra said people who have been politicizing the judiciary for their own motives, now stand exposed. He also demanded apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi for maligning Indian Judiciary.
     

    UP CM Yogi Adityanath has said that with the verdict, Congress has once again been exposed. He said that Rahul Gandhi should apologise to the people of the country for creating environment that develops negative emotions.

     

    Former AG Mukul Rohatgi has welcomed the judgement saying the petitioners did not uphold the rule of law. He added that their main aim was to attack some senior functionaries of the current government. He also said that petition had personal interest, not public interest.

     

    Joint CP Nagpur Shivaji Bodkhe has said that the investigation was done professionally by Nagpur Police and those documents and evidence have been presented in the SC, on which the decision was based. He added that the petitions were wrong as they unaware of the truth.

     

  • The 45-year-old director-producer took to Twitter to make the announcement, where he shared his photograph holding a 'Madame Tussauds' briefcase in his hand and with his palm imprint in wax in another one, alongside a copy of his autobiography, "An Unsuitable Boy".

    "Honoured to be the first filmmaker from India at the prestigious @MadameTussauds... Thank you to the entire team in London who worked tirelessly... Will have further details about when and where soon!" Johar tweeted.

    The details about the unveiling of the director's statue are yet to be known. 

     

  • A loss in their last outing has hurt both the former champions and they will look to get back to winning ways when they face off. With two wins and two defeats, Rajasthan Royals are fifth with four points, while Chennai have also gathered an equal number of points with two victories from three matches.

    They are placed fourth because of better net run rate. Both the teams were missing in action owing to a two-year ban for corruption. Rajasthan, under new captain Ajinkya Rahane, had a bad start to the campaign but they have done well with two back-to-back wins before Kolkata Knight Riders outclassed them by seven wickets.

    On a slow wicket, Rahane and Co. failed to stitch partnerships and ended up with a below-par total of 160-8 on board, which KKR chased down with consummate ease, losing three wickets. Sanju Samson has been the batting star for Rajasthan as he has scored 185 runs so far with an unbeaten 92-run innings being the highlight but he didn't get the desired support from other batsmen. Rahane has made some useful contributions but he failed to capitalise on the starts.

    Their bowling unit, led by K Gowtham and Ben Laughlin, have done well. They sustained the onslaught by big hitters like Virat Kohli and A B de Villiers during their match against heavy-weight Royal Challengers Bangalore. But England all-rounder Ben Stokes, who was bought for a whopping Rs 12.5 crore by Rajasthan, has been a big let down and he needs to live up to the billing. Two-time champions Chennai, on the other hand, made a rampaging start to their campaign with back-to-back wins against defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders. While Dwayne Bravo came to their rescue with a 30-ball 68 against Mumbai Indians in their first match, it was Sam Billings who put the finishing touch to their superb runchase against Kolkata Knight Riders in a high-scoring match.

    In their last match against Kings XI Punjab, Ambati Rayudu (49) and MS Dhoni (79) brought the Super Kings close to the victory target of 198 before falling short by four runs. Among bowlers, Shane Watson and Shardul Thakur led the pace attack for Chennai with five and three wickets respectively, while Imran Tahir did the job with his Leg-break googlies. The experienced spin duo of Harbhajan Singh and Ravindra Jadeja too can be a potent force.

    Teams (From): Rajasthan Royals: Heinrich Klassen, Benjamin Stokes, Jaydev Unadkat, Sanju Samson, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Jos Buttler, Ajinkya Rahane, Darcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Dhawal Kulkarni, Zahir Khan Pakteen, Ben Laughlin, Stuart Binny, Dushmantha Chameera, Anureet Singh, Aryaman Vikram Birla, Midhun S, Shreyas Gopal, Prashant Chopra, Jatin Saxena, Ankit Sharma, Mahipal Lomror.

    Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (capt), Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Faf du Plessis, Harbhajan Singh, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Deepak Chahar, KM Asif, Kanishk Seth, Lungi Ngidi, Dhruv Shorey, Murali Vijay, Sam Billings, Mark Wood, Kshitiz Sharma, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Imran Tahir, Karn Sharma, Shardul Thakur, N Jagadeesan. 

     

  • Researchers from the Pennsylvania State University in the US explored the microbiology and geochemistry of the Frasassi Caves in central Italy.

    They found variations in the isotopic content of atoms in the mineral gypsum, which is a weathering product of the cave's formation. Not all gypsum is formed by microbes, but gypsum formed by microbes will have a different ratio of isotopes in the atoms, according to the study published in the journal Astrobiology.

    This isotopic variation, in combination with other data, indicates that life played an active role in producing the gypsum. "Using this cave environment, we provide a real-life field example of how we can detect life, past or present, on other planets," said Jenn Macalady, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University. Scientists know microbes, or microorganisms, speed up chemical reactions. For example, minerals like the gypsum found in the cave form much more quickly in the presence of microbes.

    The team collected samples of gypsum from the cave walls that were likely to have come in contact with fluids or moving air and used a mass spectrometer to study the isotopic ratio of the gypsum. Because microbes speed up chemical changes, Macalady said the presence of isotopic biosignatures could be used to spot the involvement of life forms in forming other minerals, not just those appearing in the Frasassi Caves.

    The structure of the Frasassi Caves - teeming with life at the lowest level of the cave and only remnants of life present at varying elevations above - offers a real-world laboratory setting for identifying current and remnant biosignatures. Mars has caves formed by volcanic activity, which offers a hospitable underground environment for microbes to cling to.

    Mars also has fluids like carbon dioxide and water, researchers said. Those fluids could allow microbes to interact with minerals, speeding up chemical reactions like what was found in the Frasassi Caves, they said. "If we were to find a similar environment on Mars, we could use this particular biosignature to test for the current or past presence of life," Macalady said. 

  • Loya had passed away in Nagpur on December 1, 2014 when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

    A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said attempts were made to scandalise the judiciary by levelling serious allegations against judicial officers and judges of the Bombay High Court.

    It said there is no reason to doubt statements of four judges on circumstances leading to the death of Loya and the documents placed on record and their scrutiny establishes that Loya's death was due to natural cause. The top court said that with these petitions it becomes clear that a real attempt and a frontal attack was made on the independence of the judiciary.

    The apex court said frivolous and motivated litigation has been filed to settle political rivalry. 

     

  • "Three, two, one and liftoff!" said NASA commentator Mike Curie as the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) soared into the cloudless, blue sky atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 6:51 pm (2251 GMT).

    The washing machine-sized spacecraft is built to search outside the solar system, scanning the nearest, brightest stars for signs of periodic dimming. These so-called "transits" may mean that planets are in orbit around them.

    TESS is expected to reveal 20,000 planets beyond our solar system, including more than 50 Earth-sized planets and up to 500 planets less than twice the size of the Earth, NASA said.

    Its discoveries will be studied further by ground- and space-based telescopes for signs of habitability, including a rocky terrain, a size similar to Earth and a distance from their sun -- neither too close nor too far -- that allows the right temperature for liquid water.

    "The stories of these planets will continue on, long after their detection," Martin Still, TESS program scientist, said on Wednesday.

    "It was incredible. It was so emotional," said Natalia Guerrero, a TESS researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an interview on NASA TV after the launch. She was part of a team that built four cameras that serve as the spacecraft's eyes.

    "TESS's four cameras are tiny but mighty," she said. "They are only about four inches (10 centimeters) across, the lenses. They could fit in a mailbox. But they are so powerful. You could have an entire constellation, like Orion, in the field of view of one of these cameras."

    TESS will survey far more cosmic terrain than its predecessor, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope, which launched in 2009. Both use the same system of detecting planetary transits, or shadows cast as they pass in front of their star.

    The new spacecraft will focus on nearby exoplanets, those in the range of 30 to 300 light-years away.

    Kepler's trove of more than 2,300 confirmed planets outside our solar was impressive, but most were too distant and dim to be examined further.

    "One of the many amazing things that Kepler told us is that planets are everywhere and there are all kinds of planets out there," said Patricia "Padi" Boyd, director of the TESS guest investigator program at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center. "So TESS takes the next step. If planets are everywhere, then it is time for us to find the planets that are closest to us orbiting bright nearby stars, because these will be the touchstone system."

    The Hubble Space Telescope, launched in 1990 aboard the space shuttle, and the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to lift off in 2020, should be able to reveal more about planets' mass, density and the makeup of their atmosphere -- all clues to habitability.

    The initial launch attempt Monday was scrubbed about two hours before planned takeoff, so that SpaceX engineers could perform extra checks on the rocket's navigation systems.

    The rocket performed flawlessly. Less than 10 minutes after launch, the rocket's first stage returned to an upright landing on a drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean, marking SpaceX's 24th touchdown of a rocket booster.

    NASA also confirmed that at 7:53 pm (2353 GMT), the spacecraft's twin solar arrays successfully deployed. Next, TESS will spend two months making its way into the correct orbit. Its first scientific data is expected in July. "We are thrilled TESS is on its way to help us discover worlds we have yet to imagine, worlds that could possibly be habitable, or harbor life," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    "With missions like the James Webb Space Telescope to help us study the details of these planets, we are ever the closer to discovering whether we are alone in the universe."

     

  • Djokovic, playing only his fourth tournament since Wimbledon last July after struggling with a right elbow injury, overcame some late nerves to win 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 in the second-round clash. "It was a real battle. I mean, I could have won the match earlier definitely, but it was great to deal with these kind of emotions again," said the 12-time Grand Slam champion.

    Djokovic is working with long-time former coach Marian Vajda for the first time in almost a year after splitting from Andre Agassi, and the 30-year-old has looked rejuvenated in Monaco after early exits in Indian Wells and Miami. The Serbian will next face Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem with a possible quarter-final against defending champion Nadal, who plays Karen Khachanov in the last 16 on Thursday, up for grabs.

    But Djokovic insisted he wasn't looking past the clash with Thiem, a French Open semi-finalist in each of the last two years. "It's disrespectful towards Dominic and Dominic's tennis... To think about and talk about potentially a match-up with Nadal," Djokovic added. "Last year in Roland Garros he beat me in straight sets. He's definitely (a) top-three player in the world on clay."

    Djokovic came through a tight first set in a tie-break and moved a break clear in the second, before late drama as he missed nine chances to close out the match. The ninth seed rediscovered his composure, though, to finally complete the job at the 10th time of asking as the 39th-ranked Coric sent a backhand flying long.

    Two-time Monte Carlo winner Djokovic said that he has gained power since changing to a lighter racquet to try and take pressure off his troublesome elbow. "It feels like I gained more power, especially on the serve. I gained more angle," he said. "The racquet is the most important tool that we have, but it's not more important than our body and our mind, our movements. So it is a tool that helps, but it doesn't play for you."

    Nadal started his bid for an 11th Monte Carlo title with a comfortable victory over Slovenia's Bedene. The 16-time Grand Slam winner, like Djokovic, is looking for a record 31st Masters title, and he swatted aside Bedene for the loss of only four games.

    The 31-year-old Spaniard said he still needs more time on court after playing his first tour match since an injury-hit Australian Open quarter-final exit in January. "It's a positive start, of course. It's important for me to win matches... I need days on court," said Nadal. "Since Shanghai last year, I (have) spent not enough time on court competing. "Every match that I have the chance to win is great news because it's confidence and is a chance to play another day, and that's what I need."

    Japan's Kei Nishikori continued his comeback from injury with an impressive 7-5, 6-2 win over Russian Daniil Medvedev. The former world number four, who has struggled over the last year with a right wrist injury, followed up his first-round victory against Tomas Berdych with a solid display on centre court. "The first set was a real battle, he was playing a little better than me I think at the beginning," said Nishikori.

    "I just tried to stay calm and not do anything too crazy and stay calm at the baseline." Second seed Marin Cilic safely negotiated a potentially-tricky opener against Fernando Verdasco, winning 6-3, 7-6 (7/4). The former US Open champion will take on Canadian Milos Raonic in round three on Thursday.

    Russian Khachanov cruised past Gilles Simon 6-2, 6-2, while last year's runner-up Albert Ramos-Vinolas slumped to a 6-4, 6-2 defeat by Philipp Kohlschreiber. Italian qualifier Andreas Seppi came from a set down to beat Guillermo Garcia-Lopez and progress to a tie with Nishikori. 

  • Liver diseases can be caused by hepatitis A, B, C, alcohol and drugs. Viral Hepatitis occurs due to consumption of contaminated food and water, unsafe sexual practices and drug abuse. 

    If it is not treated on time, these can lead to Liver Cirrhosis and Liver Cancer.

    According to WHO, liver diseases are the 10th most common cause of death in India. 

    WHY IS LIVER IMPORTANT?

    • Fights infections and illness
    • Regulates blood sugar
    • Removes toxic substances from the body
    • Controls cholesterol levels
    • Helps blood to clot 
    • Makes many of the body’s essential proteins
    • Releases bile and aids in digestion
    • Responsible for manufacturing cholesterol and triglycerides
    • Breaks down medications and drugs, including alcohol
    • Breaks down insulin and other hormones in the body

    CAUSES OF LIVER DISEASE

    • Liver disease can be inherited or genetic
    • Unhealthy lifestyle and eating patterns
    • Viruses such as hepatitis A, B and C can damage the liver
    • Increased consumption of alcoholic drinks along with high cholesterol-inducing junk foods
    • Overweight, Marked Obesity and Type 2 diabetes

    SYMPTOMS 

    • Jaundice
    • Sudden weight loss
    • A decrease in appetite
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • General weakness and/or fatigue
    • Pain occurring in the upper abdomen on the right side or near the right shoulder blade
    • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly)
    • Enlarged spleen
    • Abdominal swelling (ascites)

    LIVER CLEANSING

    • Eat garlic, grapefruit, carrot, green leafy vegetables,  apple and walnuts
    • Use olive oil
    • Take lemon and lime juice and green tea
    • Prefer alternative grains (Quinoa, Millet and Buckwheat)
    • Add cruciferous vegetables (Cabbage, Broccoli and Cauliflower).
    • Use turmeric in food

    PREVENTION

    • Adopt healthy lifestyle
    • Maintain a healthy diet
    • Eat foods from all the food groups: grains, protein, dairy products, fruits, vegetables and fats
    • Eat foods that have lot of fibres such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, rice and cereals
    • Ensure safe blood transfusions to avoid contracting hepatitis A, B, C
    • Wash hands after going to the bathroom
    • Exercise regularly to keep your liver healthy

     

  • In the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Chicago, Illinois, Google described a prototype Augmented Reality Microscope (ARM) platform that can help accelerate and democratise the adoption of deep learning tools for pathologists around the world.

    The platform consists of a modified light microscope that enables real-time image analysis and presentation of the results of ML algorithms directly into the field of view.

    The ARM can be retrofitted into existing light microscopes around the world, using low-cost, readily-available components, and without the need for whole slide digital versions of the tissue being analysed.

    “In principle, the ARM can provide a wide variety of visual feedback, including text, arrows, contours, heatmaps or animations, and is capable of running many types of machine learning algorithms aimed at solving different problems such as object detection, quantification or classification,” Martin Stumpe, Technical Lead and Craig Mermel, Product Manager, Google Brain Team, wrote in a blog post.

    Applications of deep learning to medical disciplines including ophthalmology, dermatology, radiology, and pathology have shown great promise.

    “At Google, we have also published results showing that a convolutional neural network is able to detect breast cancer metastases in lymph nodes at a level of accuracy comparable to a trained pathologist,” the post said.

    However, because direct tissue visualisation using a compound light microscope remains the predominant means by which a pathologist diagnoses illness, a critical barrier to the widespread adoption of deep learning in pathology is the dependence on having a digital representation of the microscopic tissue.

    Modern computational components and deep learning models, such as those built upon open source software “TensorFlow”, will allow a wide range of pre-trained models to run on this platform.

    The Google team configured ARM to run two different cancer detection algorithms — one that detects breast cancer metastases in lymph node specimens and another that detects prostate cancer in prostatectomy specimens.

    While both cancer models were originally trained on images from a whole slide scanner with a significantly different optical configuration, the models performed remarkably well on the ARM with no additional re-training, the Google Brain Team noted.

    “We believe that the ARM has potential for a large impact on global health, particularly for the diagnosis of infectious diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria, in the developing countries,” Google noted.

  • Scientists said some 30 percent of the reef's coral died in the heatwave from March to November 2016, the first of an unprecedented two successive years of coral bleaching along the 2,300-kilometre World Heritage-listed reef off Australia's northeastern coast.

    The study published Thursday in the journal Nature found that coral, which serve as habitats for other creatures, were particularly hard hit by the rising sea temperatures caused by global warming.

    Terry Hughes, a report co-author and head of the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at Australia's James Cook University, said the most susceptible to heat exposure were branching corals -- table-shaped creatures that provide nooks and crannies for fish nurseries and fisheries. Corals that were more likely to survive the warmer sea temperatures were smooth and melon-shaped, he said.

    While they were good calcifiers that add volume to reefs, they were "not very useful as habitable providers". "So there is a shift in the mix of species and the overall loss of corals has a broader impact on all the creatures that depend on the corals for food and habitats," Hughes said.

    His research centre said the new study showed that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef "experienced a catastrophic die-off" following the 2016 heatwave. "The coral die-off has caused radical changes in the mix of coral species on hundreds of individual reefs, where mature and diverse reef communities are being transformed into more degraded systems, with just a few tough species remaining," said Andrew Baird, another of the report's authors.

    The scientists said the focus should be on protecting the surviving corals, which number about a billion after the two bleaching events in 2016 and 2017. "They are the ones that are going to refeed and repopulate an altered reef into the future," Hughes said, adding that one way to maintain their health was through improving water quality by reducing coastal pollution.

    Efforts to curb climate change, such as through the Paris Agreement to cap global warming at under 2.0 degrees Celsius below pre-industrial levels, were also critical. "We've now seen four bleaching events (1998, 2002, 2016 and 2017) on the Great Barrier Reef with one degree (Celsius) of global average warming," he said.

    "We are on a pathway where we are committed to a different Barrier Reef. If we continue with business-as-usual emissions, then I don't think the reef can survive."

    Coral reefs make up less than one percent of Earth's marine environment, but are home to an estimated 25 percent of ocean life, acting as nurseries for many species of fish.

  • Vitor Gaspar, Director, IMF Fiscal Affairs Department has also advised countries to build strong public finances in good times in order to tackle looming risks.

    The global debt reached a record high in 2016 at USD 164 trillion, or almost 225 per cent of GDP, Gaspar said, noting that most of the debt is in advanced economies although in the last 10 years, emerging market economies have been responsible for most of the increase.

    China alone has contributed 43 per cent to the increase since 2007. "Public debt is currently at historic highs in advanced and emerging market economies. Average debt-to-GDP ratios, at more than 105 per cent of GDP in advanced economies, are at levels not seen since World War II," Gasper told reporters at a news conference.

    "Countries are advised to avoid procyclical fiscal policies that exacerbate economic fluctuations and ratchet up public debt," he said.

    Responding to a question, Gasper said a very high level of debt -- in particular, if associated with rapidly increasing debt -- have been shown to bring risks to financial stability and risks to broad economic activity. "That is one of the reasons why we emphasised that now in these good times, in this cyclical upswing, it is timely for countries to rebuild fiscal buffers, to build solid foundations of public finance, so that they are prepared for harder times that eventually will come," he said.

    In emerging market economies, debt at almost 50 per cent of GDP on average is at levels that in the past have been associated with fiscal crisis. In contrast, for low-income developing countries, average debt-to-GDP ratios at 44 per cent of GDP are well below historical peaks. "..but it is important to recall that these peaks involve debt levels that countries were unable to service and were eventually tackled through debt relief initiatives by the international community," said Gasper.

    According to Gasper, since the completion of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI), debt levels have been picking up on average. The increase has been about 13 per cent of the GDP in the last five years. "Our debt sustainability analysis indicates that 40 per cent of low-income countries are currently at high risk of or are already in debt distress. This ratio doubled in five years," he said.

    Furthermore, debt service has also been rising rapidly, particularly in countries with high inflation rates. The interest burden has also doubled in the past 10 years to 20 per cent of taxes. Public debt-to-GDP ratios will fall in the majority of countries, the IMF predicts, although it singled out the US as a major exception.

    For the period 2018 to 2023, debt ratios will be declining in three-fifths of low-income developing countries and in about two-thirds of emerging market economies, the top IMF official said. As for advanced economies, debt ratios will be declining in almost all countries, except the US, Gasper said.

    "In the US, the revised tax code and the two-year budget agreement provide additional fiscal stimulus to the economy. These measures will give rise to overall deficit above USD 1 trillion over the next three years, and that corresponds to more than five per cent of the US GDP," he said. "Debt is projected to increase from 108 percent in 2017 to 117 percent of GDP in 2023. If tax cuts with sunset provisions are not allowed to lapse, public debt would climb even higher," he added.

     

  • Over 500 people, including children and the elderly, left the Shebaa area in southeast Lebanon in 15 buses for the Beit Jinn district in Syria, in western Ghouta, which was recaptured from rebels by pro-government forces in December.

    A Syrian refugee, Adnan Hamadeh said, "No matter how long a person is absent, they will return to their homeland, I cannot say anything else. The love of our homeland is more important than anything else in the world. I want to see my mother, brothers and family and try to put our hands into the country and hopefully we can re-build this country."

    The convoy was organised by the Lebanese authorities, the state news agency reported.

    The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, in a statement, said it was not involved in organising "these returns or other returns at this point, considering the prevailing humanitarian and security situation in Syria".

    Syrian government regained control of western and eastern Ghouta after several evacuation deals reached with rebels, saying it will rehabilitate the towns and cities to receive those who have fled the war.

  • A red carpet invitation-only gala event attracted senior government officials, foreign dignitaries and select industry figures to watch Marvel's superhero movie "Black Panther" on a 45-foot screen at a converted symphony concert hall in Riyadh.

    Tickets went on sale on Thursday for the first public viewings on Friday, according to Adam Aron, chief executive of operator AMC Entertainment Holdings.

    The smell of buttery popcorn filled the air as confetti rained down through the multi-storey atrium where Aron and Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad al-Awwad announced the launch and proceeded into the 450-seat hall.

    "For those that would like to come and enjoy watching the movie at the movie theater, they are more than welcome. For those whom would like to watch movies at home, it's their personal choice, and for those who don't want to watch movies at all, it's also their personal choice," he said.

    The opening marks another milestone for reforms spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to open the country culturally and diversify the economy of the world's top oil exporter.

    The prince, 32, has already eased restrictions in the last two years, including on public concerts, women driving and gender mixing. The kingdom held its first-ever fashion show last week with a women-only audience.

    Many Saudis have rejoiced at the end of the cinema ban, sharing praise and pictures of Prince Mohammed on social media. Others expressed confusion at what they consider a government flip-flop, with one tweeting on Wednesday: "Remember you will stand in front of God ... and you will bear the sins of all those who watched the movies." Some religious conservatives view cinema and acting as inconsistent with Islam.

    Among Wednesday's movie-goers was Princess Reema bint Bandar, a second cousin of Prince Mohammed, who brought her 16-year-old son to experience what she called "an historical moment". "Well to some it may be a change, for us it's an evolution. To be able to enjoy a theatrical experience with one's family is honestly one of the epitomes in family bonding. I came today with my son - he is 16 and he is watching this movie - the 'Black Panther', a Hollywood blockbuster in Riyadh," she shared her feeling.

    The kingdom shuttered cinemas in the early 1980s under pressure from Islamists. In 2017, the government said it would lift the ban in part to retain money that Saudis currently spend on entertainment during trips to Dubai, Bahrain and elsewhere. To serve a population of more than 32 million, most of whom are under the age of 30, the authorities plan to set up around 350 cinemas with over 2,500 screens by 2030, which they hope will attract nearly $1 billion in annual ticket sales. Initial screenings are likely to be for families, with occasional ones for bachelors.

    The extent of censorship was not clear but a Saudi official said the same versions of films shown in Dubai or Kuwait will be suitable for Saudi Arabia. 

  • Trump repeated his desire to do something about U.S. trade imbalances with Tokyo. He said earlier on Wednesday he thought the United States would soon be able to trim its trade deficit with Japan and that Tokyo planned to order large numbers of U.S. aircraft.

    "In order to benefit both Japan and the U.S., we will further expand trade and investment between the two countries," Abe told reporters at a news conference. "President Trump and I agreed to start talks for free, fair and reciprocal trade deals...the Japan-U.S. alliance is not just limited to security, but it also contributes to the peace and prosperity of the world, as well as the region.

    "On the economic front, Japan and the U.S. will take a lead and develop a free and fair market in the Indo-Pacific region. Under President Trump, exports from the U.S., including energy, aircraft, amongst others, have already been increasing significantly...As for section 232, Japanese steel and aluminum would not exert any negative influence on the US security."

    Trump went on to say, "We're also working to improve our economic partnership by reducing our trade imbalance and removing barriers to U.S. exports. The United States is committed to free, fair and reciprocal -- very important word -- trade, and we're committed to pursuing a bilateral trading relationship that benefits both of our great countries. Prime Minister Abe and I have agreed to intensify our trade and investment consultations."

  • PM Modi announced a number of initiatives in the direction which include doubling of India’s contribution for Common Fund for Sustainable Development Goals, taking up small projects in the small countries through the permanent mission for the UN, capacity building and training programmes in areas including cricket and skill development. 

    Briefing media in London after the formal executing sessions, Secretary West, Ministry of External Affairs, Ruchi Ghanshyam said that, India focused on achieving sustainable development goals and climate change issues during its interventions at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, CHOGM.

    Replying to a question, she said promoting youth activities among Commonwealth countries was also focussed and India has announced to provide training to 30 boys and 30 girls cricketers. He further said, the under 16 youth cricketers will be provided training through BCCI.

    Meanwhile, on the sidelines of the CHOGM, Prime Minister Modi held a series of bilateral interactions with member-countries including Australia, Bangladesh, South Africa, Gambia, Trindad and Tobago and Mauritius.

    External Affairs Ministry official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that these interactions and bilateral discussions mainly focussed on development, maritime and security concerns of the small states. 

    He added that India’s focus was that assistance to smaller states should be demand driven rather than donor-driven. 

    The spokesperson said, India and Bangladesh focused mainly on development cooperation during the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheik Hasina. 

    He said, broad contours of the discussions were the action plans that the two sides agreed during their earlier visits to each other’s country and now discussed their follow-ups and how to further them. 
     

  • Addressing the Indian diaspora at a mega event titled "Bharat Ki Baat, Sabke Saath" at London's Central Hall Westminster, Prime MInister Modi said that surgical strike was India's answer to the terror factory active in India's neighbourhood.

    On recent incidents of rapes of minor girls in the country, Prime Minister Modi expressed grief and called it an evil of not just the individual but also of the society. Terming it as matter of concern, he said, "we always ask our daughters about what they are doing, where they are going. We must ask our sons too. The person who is committing these crimes is also someone's son. He has a mother too in his house."

    Replying to an answer to a question, PM Modi said that he has no caste or any dynasty. He said that he believes the country is working continuously as a team to realise the dream of a New India.

    PM said that people are equivalent to god in a democracy and if they wish, even a tea- seller can become their representative  and shake hands with royalty.

    He asserted that India has now changed all thanks to the support of 1.25 billion Indians. Addressing the gathering, PM Modi candidly took questions.

    He said people have more expectations from his government because they know that it can deliver. "People know that when they say something, the government will listen and do it. Days of incremental change are over," Prime Minister Modi said responding to a series of questions anchored by Prasoon Joshi, the Chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification.

    On his government's criticism by opposition parties, PM Modi said his problem is not against criticism. "To criticize, one has to research and find proper facts. Sadly, it does not happen now. What happens instead is allegations," he said. "I want this government to be criticized. Criticism makes democracy strong. Democracy cannot succeed without constructive criticism," he added.

    Noting that there is big difference between 'then and now ', Modi said, "when the policy is clear, intention is clear, and the intentions are noble, then you can achieve the desired result." PM Modi said earlier the government was centred around a family but people have shown that in democracy even a tea seller can become their representative and shake hands at the royal palace.

    Responding to a question, Prime Minister Modi said impatience is not a bad thing. "If a person has a cycle, a person aspires a scooter. If a person has a scooter, a person aspires a car. It is natural to aspire. India is getting increasingly aspirational," he said.

    Invoking the father of nation, he said that during the freedom struggle Mahatma Gandhi did something very different and he turned the freedom struggle into a mass movement. "He told every person that whatever you are doing will contribute to India's freedom. Today, the need of the hour is to make development a mass movement," the premier said.

    PM Modi also lauded the 12th century Lingayat philosopher Basaveshwara and said he dedicated his life to the people and worked to unite them. "Basweshwar did for women empowerment, democracy and social causes is an example for world," he said. 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi referring to the surgical strikes said that when someone has put a terror export factory in place, attacks my people, has no power to fight a war so makes attempts to attacks behind the back.

    In such a case we know how to give a reply in the same language.

  • Flights, train services and traffic in Kolkata were severely hit too due to thunderstorm and the strong winds. Of the 15 killed, four each died in Kolkata and Howrah districts. One death was reported from Bankura and another from Hooghly.

     

    Services at the Kolkata airport were affected for over an hour and a half with flights bound for Delhi, Bhubaneswar and Agartala taking off late.

     

    At least 40 incidents of trees uprooting were reported in Kolkata. Trees also fell on cars on Red Road and Southern Avenue area. Traffic was disrupted on Strand Road and surrounding areas after trees fell.

  • Later, BJP chief visited the renowned Kannada writer, historian and scholar M Chidanand Murthy ji's home in Vijayanagar and Siddalingaiah in Bengaluru, where he  received his valuable inputs for BJP's manifesto to build a Nava Karnataka.

     

    His other engagements include a road show in Hoskote, address to Shakti Kendra Pramukhs and interaction with trade and industry leaders.

     

    Addressing a function, BJP Chief Amit Shah slammed Congress for coining the term 'Hindu Terror'.. He said that the Congress leaders should apologise to the nation on this issue..

     

    He also expressed hope that BJP will form next government in Karnatka.
     

  • Talking to media persons, Ravi Shankar Prasad said that unlike UPA regime, actions are being taken by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

     

    He said that Prime Minister Modi has made government's stand very clear and said that actions will be taken against the culprits in rape case.

     

    He also said that former Prime Minister Mamohan Singh should not campare his regime with the current government under Prime Minister Modi.  

  • President presented Gold medals and PhD degrees to students.

     

    Addressing the function President said protection of a child is society's first priority.

     

    Henious crime against girls even after 70 years of independence is a matter of shame.

  • They said that the casualties might go up as many more people were trapped inside the vehicle.

     The injured were admitted to the district hospital.

    Expressing deep sorrow over the accident, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an assistance of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 each to the injured, the district collector said.

    The mini-truck fell off the Jogdaha bridge near Amelia in Bahri police station area of the district, he said.

    The vehicle fell about 60-70-foot down onto the dry river bed. Efforts were on to pull out the truck. The site is about 42 km from the Sidhi district headquarters, he said. Both the district collector and the district police chief reached the spot and were supervising the rescue operation, the officials added. 

  • Indian Ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri laid the wreath.

    A large number of people from Muslim community of Nepal, media persons and officers of Indian embassy also attended the ceremony. 

    Begum Hazrat Mahal was one of the earliest Indian female freedom fighters. She was the wife of Awadh's Nawab Wajid Ali Shah and fought against the British East India Company during the 1857 mutiny. The British attacked Awadh repeatedly and forced her to retreat. She refused to accept any kind of favours and allowances offered by the British rulers.

    Finally, Begum Hazrat Mahal sought asylum in Nepal, where she died on 7 April, 1879. Her tomb is situated in the central Kathmandu near Jame Masjid.

  • The social network, which has been rocked by disclosures about hijacking of personal data on tens of millions of its users, said it will start implementing "new privacy experiences" to comply with the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which become effective May 25.

    "Everyone -- no matter where they live -- will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook," said a statement from chief privacy officer Erin Egan and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer.  "We'll begin by rolling these choices out in Europe this week."

    Under the new policy, Facebook users will be asked to review and make choices about ads they receive, including whether they want Facebook to use data from third parties. Facebook users will also be asked to review and choose what to share about the political, religious, and relationship information on their profiles. Additionally, users will be allowed to opt in or out of use of facial recognition technology.

    The statement said users will be told that facial recognition is optional, but that it could offer some benefit, such as being notified when someone is using an unauthorized picture. "We not only want to comply with the law, but also go beyond our obligations to build new and improved privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook," Egan and Beringer wrote.

    The news comes a week after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg faced 10 hours of questioning in two congressional panels following revelations that personal data was harvested on 87 million users by Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy working for Donal Trump's 2016 campaign. Zuckerberg testified that Facebook intends to offer the same privacy protections embodied in GDPR for its worldwide users, but that there could be some differences in format.

    Egan and Beringer said Facebook users in the EU will start seeing the requests this week so they can make choices before May 25. "As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule," they said.

    They added that Facebook would take steps to comply with the EU rules that limit advertising and public viewing of data for teens. This will mean no use of facial recognition for anyone under age 18 and limitations on who can see certain information teens have shared. To comply with GDPR, Facebook will also limit what it shows to users between the ages of 13 and 15 unless they get permission from a parent. 

     

  • The research also showed that children were exposed to twice as much unhealthy food advertising as healthy food advertising.

    Researchers from University of Adelaide in Australia found that children would view more than 800 junk food ads each year, if they watched 80 minutes of television per day.

    By building a TV monitoring system, believed to be the first of its kind in the world, researchers were able to capture an entire year's worth of television and ads from one free-to-air commercial TV network in South Australia.

    "This is the most robust data we've seen anywhere. It is the largest dataset ever used by health researchers for examining food advertising in Australia, and probably the world," said Lisa Smithers, associate professor at University of Adelaide.

    "Most research in this area is based on only a few days of data, and there are no Australian studies taking seasonality into account," said Smithers, who led the study published in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

    Thirty thousand hours of television containing more than 500 hours of food advertisements - almost 1,00,000 food ads - were logged during 2016. Snack foods, crumbed or battered meats, takeaway or fast food and sugary drinks were among the most frequently advertised foods. During children's peak viewing times, the frequency and duration of "discretionary" (ie junk) food advertising was 2.3 times higher each hour than for healthy foods.

    Across the year, discretionary food advertising peaked at 71 per cent of all food advertising in January, dropping to a low of 41 per cent in August. There is also no process for routine, independent monitoring of children's exposure to food advertising, researchers said.

  • The findings showed that smoking, high alcohol and caffeine intake, diet, obesity, and malnutrition in either or both parents, potentially increases a child’s lifelong risk of heart attacks, stroke, diabetes, immune and neurological diseases.

    The research emphasises the need for greater awareness of preconception health and improved guidance, with a greater focus on diet and nutrition to improve the health of future generations.

    “Research is now showing that our gametes and early embryos are sensitive to a variety of environmental conditions including poor parental diet. These effects can change the process of development, affecting growth, metabolism, and health of offspring, so makes the case for both parents to have a healthy lifestyle well before conception and pregnancy,” said Tom Fleming, Professor at the University of Southampton.

    Maternal obesity is thought to enhance levels of inflammation and hormones, which can directly alter the development of the egg and embryo. This, in turn, boosts the odds of chronic disease later in life.

    In men, being obese leads to poor sperm quality, quantity, and motility associated with many of the same conditions.

    “The preconception period is a critical time when parental health — including weight, metabolism and diet — can influence the risk of future chronic disease in children, and we must now re-examine public health policy to help reduce this risk,” said Judith Stephenson, Professor from the University College of London.

    “While the current focus on risk factors such as smoking and excess alcohol intake is important, we also need new drives to prepare nutritionally for pregnancy in both parents,” Stephenson added.

    The results were based in part on two new analyses of women of reproductive age – 18 to 42 – in the UK and Australia.

    The team also found that women are often not “nutritionally prepared” for pregnancy. Some 96 per cent of the women, for example, had iron and folate intakes below the recommended levels, 14.8 milligrams and 400 micrograms per day, respectively.

    Adjusting diet after a pregnancy has begun is often not good enough to fundamentally improve child health, the researchers said.

    They propose that behaviour change interventions, supplementation, and fortification starting in adolescence, by schools could help young adults prepare for healthy parenthood in the future.

     

  • In 1982, the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) announced, 18 April as the "World Heritage Day", approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with the aim of enhancing awareness of the importance of the cultural heritage of humankind, and redouble efforts to protect and conserve the human heritage.

    At present, Italy leads with 53 sites followed by China with 52 sites. In India, there are 36 sites that have been declared as World Heritage. From Kaziranga in Assam to the Valley of Flowers National Parks in Uttarakhand, India has a range of parks, monuments, wildlife sanctuaries, religious structures and mountains in the list.

     

    Cultural (28)

    • Agra Fort (1983)
    • Ajanta Caves (1983)

     

    • Archaeological Site of Nalanda Mahavihara (Nalanda University) at Nalanda, Bihar(2016)
    • Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi (1989)
    • Champaner-Pavagadh Archaeological Park (2004)
    • Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004)
    • Churches and Convents of Goa (1986)
    • Elephanta Caves (1987)
    • Ellora Caves (1983)
    • Fatehpur Sikri (1986)
    • Great Living Chola Temples (1987,2004)
    • Group of Monuments at Hampi (1986)
    • Group of Monuments at Mahabalipuram (1984)
    • Group of Monuments at Pattadakal (1987)
    • Hill Forts of Rajasthan (2013)

     

    • Historic City of Ahmadabad (2017)
    • Humayun's Tomb, Delhi (1993)
    • Khajuraho Group of Monuments (1986)
    • Mahabodhi Temple Complex at Bodh Gaya (2002)
    • Mountain Railways of India (1999,2005,2008)
    • Qutb Minar and its Monuments, Delhi (1993)
    • Rani-ki-Vav (the Queen’s Stepwell) at Patan, Gujarat (2014)
    • Red Fort Complex (2007)
    • Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka (2003)
    • Sun Temple, Konârak (1984)
    • Taj Mahal (1983)
    • The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement (2016)
    • The Jantar Mantar, Jaipur (2010)

     

    Natural (7)

    • Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area (2014)
    • Kaziranga National Park (1985)
    • Keoladeo National Park (1985)
    • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (1985)

    • Nanda Devi and Valley of Flowers National Parks (1988,2005)

    • Sundarbans National Park (1987)
    • Western Ghats (2012)
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    Mixed (1)

    • Khangchendzonga National Park (2016)

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Over 60 athletes from over 20 nations took part in this year's annual event which takes place at Camp Barneo, known as North Pole Camp, which is located 49 kilometres from the top of the world.

    Runners braved conditions of - 33 degrees Celsius as well as contending with soft snow and small ice pressure ridges along the way.

    In the women's race, Gouping Xie of China came out on top of the 13 female competitors, while Australian runner Marcus Fillinger completed the race accompanied by two husky dogs, Druro and Blue, who become the first canines to complete the marathon.

    The North Pole Marathon returns next April.

    Results Men's Marathon :

    1. Argyrios Papathanasopoulos (GRE) 4:34:36

    2. Dmitri Voloshin (MDA) 5:03:26

    3. David Field (AUS) 5:03:34

     

    Results Women's Marathon:

    1. Guoping Xie (CHN) 6:43:20

    2. Joanna Medras (POL) 7:02:21

    3. Adriana Istrate (ROM) 7:19:51

     

  • The enzyme is able to digest polyethylene terephthalate, or PET - a form of plastic patented in the 1940s and now used in millions of tonnes of plastic bottles. PET plastics can persist for hundreds of years in the environment and currently pollute large areas of land and sea worldwide.

    Researchers from Britain's University of Portsmouth and U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory made the discovery while examining the structure of a natural enzyme thought to have evolved in a waste recycling centre in Japan.

    Finding that this enzyme was helping a bacteria to break down, or digest, PET plastic, the researchers decided to "tweak" its structure by adding some amino acids, said John McGeehan, a professor at Portsmouth who co-led the work.

    This led to a serendipitous change in the enzyme's actions - allowing its plastic-eating abilities to work faster.

    "We've made an improved version of the enzyme better than the natural one already," McGeehan said. "That's really exciting because that means that there's potential to optimise the enzyme even further."

    The team, whose finding was published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, is now working on improving the enzyme further to see if they can make it capable of breaking down PET plastics on an industrial scale.

    "In the same way that washing power detergents were developed and made more stable, being able to work at high temperature or low temperatures, we're going to do the same with this enzyme and hopefully create something that we can use on an industrial scale," McGeehan said.

    Independent scientists not directly involved with the research said it was exciting news but cautioned that the enzyme's development as a potential solution for pollution was still at an early stage.

  • The motion gives a group of exiled judges in Colombia the green light to start investigations against Maduro originally brought forward by the country's former attorney general Luisa Ortega. They will review acccusations that Maduro reportedly accepted $50 million from Odebrecht to help fund his 2013 presidential campaign.

    The judges carrying out the proceedings called themselves Venezuela's "Supreme Court in Exile". The group is made up of judges who were appointed by the Assembly to the country's Supreme Court last year but who fled the country after Maduro accused them of treason.

    Odebrecht is at the centre of Latin America's biggest graft scandal. In 2016 it confessed that it orchestrated sophisticated kickback schemes across a dozen countries for more than a decade - landing elites in jail from Colombia to the Dominican Republic. Maduro has denied any involvement with the firm and dismissed the allegations as part of a smear campaign against him.

    Venezuelen National Assembly President Omar Barboza said, "The National Assembly can't stand by when someone (former attorney general Luisa Ortega) calls on a group of judges chosen by us or (calls on) any other private or public insititution to authorise a judicial process. Our authorisation doesn't condemn or absolve anybody, it simply allows for the investigation to continue, to hold the guilty parties to account for corruption. It would be a betrayal of the people's mandate that we have to not give the people's authorisation."