•  Government of India has taken several initiatives to improve the efficiency of coal based power plants and to reduce its carbon footprint. All new, large coal-based generating stations have been mandated to use the highly efficient supercritical technology.

  • A Three-day International Yoga Fest , a Curtain Raiser for International Day of Yoga (IDY) 2018 was inaugurated by the Minister of State (IC) for Development of North Eastern Region, MoS for PMO, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Dept.

  •  The Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region is providing funds to Government of Assam under the Special Packages of Rs.750.00 crore for Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), Rs.350.00 crore for Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council (KAATC) and Rs.200.

  •  ISRO along with academic institutions is doing experimentation on potential structures for lunar habitation.  Various options are being studied about the requirements and complexities of habitats. The study is more towards futuristic developments.

  •  With respect to health, property and safety, there are no consequences faced by the neighbouring areas of nuclear reactors during their normal operation.  Environmental Survey Laboratories (ESLs) of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), a constituent unit of the Department of Atomic Energy established at all Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) carries out periodic survey of radioactivity levels in environment and estimate the dose to members of public residing around NPPs.

  • At present, there are 19 Remote Sensing satellites (including Meteorological satellites) operational in orbit. These satellites are being utilised to their capacity to meet the requirements of resource monitoring, infrastructure planning, enabling weather forecasting, disaster management support including host of societal applications.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at Moscow, Russia between the State Atomic Energy Corporation 'Rosatom'; the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of Bangladesh and the Department of Atomic Energy on 1st March 2018 on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.

  • Taking a step towards passenger awareness for menu & tariff of meal and catering items being sold onboard in trains, IRCTC is introducing billing through Point of Sale (POS) hand held machines in trains.

  • Indian Railways have registered a rise of 35% in the number of senior citizens who have chosen to give up the subsidy. Option for giving up of concession in passenger fare for senior citizens to the element of 100% was already available.

  • Ministry of Tourism estimates monthly Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through tourism in India, both in rupee and dollar terms based on the credit data of Travel Head from Balance of Payments of RBI,

    The highlights of the estimates of FEEs from tourism in India for February 2018 are as below:-

    Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) through Tourism (in Rs. terms)

    FEEs during the month of February 2018 were Rs.17, 407 crore as compared to Rs.15,790 crore in February2017 and Rs.13,661 crore in February 2016.

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit Punjab (Halwara) tomorrow (March 22, 2018) topresent the Standard to the 51 Squadron and Colours to the 230 Signal Unit of the Indian Air Force.

  • Hon’ble Delhi High Court vide its judgement dated 17.07.2015 in the Writ Petition (C) No. 844/2014 - Rama Pandey vs. Union of India &Ors., has laid down that a female employee, who is the commissioning mother, would be entitled to apply for maternity leave.

  •   The Staff Selection Commission (SSC) is mandated to make recruitment to Group 'B' (Non-Gazetted) posts and Group 'C' of (non-technical) posts under Government of India and their attached and subordinate offices.

  •  No such consolidated data is maintained by this Department regarding vigilance probe for the charges of misappropriation of public funds and income more than the known sources against officers of All India Services and other Allied Central Services.

  •  As per Fundamental Rules (F.R.) No.11, the whole time of a Government servant is at the disposal of the Government which pays him, he may be employed in any manner required by proper authority without claim for additional remuneration.

  • India speaks for a multi-polar world with globalization and is ready to take its well-deserved place in the leading nations of the world.

  • Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilizers in Agriculture is a cause for concern and has drawn the attention of the government because of its implications on environment, socio-economic and production fronts.

  • Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has reconstituted the composition of Committee on Journalist Welfare Scheme and Central Press Accreditation Committee. Journalists are made members of the Journalists Welfare Committee for the first time.

  • Department of Telecommunication, Ministry of Communications today announced that the much awaited Smart India Hackathon 2018 – Software edition Grand Finale is scheduled to be held on Mar 30 & 31, 2018 simultaneously at 28 different nodal centers across India.

  • 266 districts have achieved the target of 75 projects under Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme during 2016-17. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, Giriraj Singh said this in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.

  • Union Minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad today said, the Congress party has links with Cambridge Analytica which has been accused of manipula...

  • Both the Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the 13th day today amidst Opposition uproar. As soon as the Lok Sabha met at noon after its first adj...

  • Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar urged the agitating members to go back to their seats asserting that the government is ready to discuss an...

  • The Supreme Court today asked Jaiprakash Associate Limited (JAL), the parent company of Jaypee Infratech, to deposit another 200 crore rupees by 10th May, for refunding the principal amount to those homebuyers, who are opting out of the housing projects of the firm. A bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, asked the real-estate major to deposit 100 crores by the 6th of next month, and another 100 crores by 10th May.

  • Govt grants approval to amend regulation for admission to PG medical courses in order to expand the scope of persons with disabilities getting benefits of reservation. Government has granted approval to amend the regulation for admission to PG medical courses in order to expand the scope of persons with disabilities getting benefits of reservation.

  • The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept petitions for H-1B visa from the 2nd of next month.

  • Domestic stocks today closed with gains.

  • Continuing his imperious form, Yuki Bhambri crushed Argentina's Renzo Olivo in straight sets to move into the final round of the ATP Miami Masters qualifiers.

  • The United States emphasised on Wednesday that while Pakistan is headed in the right direction, "a lot more needs to be done" with regard to wiping out terrorism from South Asia.

    Heather Nauert, the spokesperson for the US State Department, was responding to a question on the "progress update on that relationship" of US-Pakistan while addressing a weekly press briefing.

    She said: "We’ve certainly seen Pakistan take some positive steps in the right direction, but a lot more needs to be done, in terms of Pakistan cracking down not just on the Taliban, but the Haqqani Network and other terror networks as well".

    Nauert explained that the nation needs to "do more" — a call that the US has made multiple times over the past few months — in order to take on and eliminate the banned terrorist outfits, while, alongside, play a more active role in the Afghan peace process.

    The spokesperson highlighted Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi's Saturday meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence wherein the two leaders held talks on US-Pakistan relations as well as the ongoing regional situation.
    Pence and Abbasi had "talked about the overall South Asia strategy, the administration’s South Asia strategy, and that’s one of the things that the Vice President addressed with him", she said.

    "He said the Government of Pakistan has to do more to address the continued presence of terrorism in Pakistan."

  • Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg was today summoned before a UK parliamentary committee amid a growing row over data breaches linked to the popular social media company.

    The summons letter to 33-year-old Zuckerberg was sent by the chair of the committee, which is investigating the issue of fake news.

    The letter states, it is now time to hear from a senior Facebook executive with the sufficient authority to give an accurate account of this catastrophic failure of process.

    The letter has come as the UK's Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham said she would be applying to court for a warrant to search the offices of the UK-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

    The firm is accused of using the data of 50 million Facebook members to influence the 2016 US presidential election.

  • The India cricket media rights sale has a twist. The mandatory five-minute gap between television and digital broadcast will has been done away with.

    The Board of Control for Cricket in India has made it clear that the telecast will start on digital and television platforms simultaneously.

    The new clause could be the gamechanger in the whole sale and its value. It could encourage the digital companies to bid fiercely. Because they will no longer be at a disadvantage.

    The base price for the digital rights is Rs 7 crores. Concurrently, the clause makes it mandatory for the television companies to bid for the digital rights too. More precisely, they companies will have to have the internet rights so that they can show the matches in their own platforms in their own way. 

  • Myanmar's President Htin Kyaw, one of the most loyal allies of the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi, has resigned due to ill health, the government said Wednesday.

    Htin Kyaw, 71, was sworn in as Myanmar's official president in 2016 after Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party won landmark elections.

    During his two years in office he's essentially acted as a proxy for Suu Kyi, who is constitutionally barred from holding the presidency because her children are foreign nationals. A new position, State Counselor, was created to enable the long-time opposition politician to take a leading role in government.

    Htin Kyaw's resignation comes as international pressure increases on Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi to do something to ease the suffering of the country's minority Rohingya population.

    Almost 700,000 of the Muslim ethnic minority have crossed the Bangladesh border in the last six months, fleeing what the UN has described as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" by Myanmar troops.

    The Myanmar military, which shares power with Suu Kyi, has denied the allegations, blaming the violence on members of the Rohingya militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ASRA).

  •  A suicide bomber blew himself up near a Shi'ite shrine in Kabul on Wednesday killing at least 26 people and wounding 18, officials said, as the Afghan capital celebrated the Nawruz holiday marking the start of the Persian new year.

    Nasrat Rahimi, deputy interior ministry spokesman, said the bomber blew himself up near the Kart-e Sakhi shrine, a target of previous militant attacks.

    The latest explosion to hit Kabul underlined the threat to the city from militant attacks despite government promises to tighten security in the wake of an attack in January that killed around 100 people.

    Wednesday's blast, the latest in a series to have hit Shi'ite targets in Kabul, came as people were walking away from the shrine, near the city's main university.

    Nawruz, an ancient Persian celebration of the start of spring, is widely celebrated in Afghanistan but has also faced opposition from some fundamentalist Muslims, who say it is un-Islamic.

  • The Supreme Court today asked the embattled realty firm Jaiprakash Associates Limited (JAL) to deposit Rs 200 crore in two installments by May 10. 

    The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra asked the real-estate major to deposit Rs 100 crore by April 6 and the rest by May 10. 

    The bench, comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, also asked the firm not to send any notices for default in payment of EMIs to home buyers who have opted for refund. 
    The top court asked JAL to submit a project-wise chart of home buyers seeking refund so that the amount can be dispersed on pro-rata basis. 

    "At present we are concerned with the refund and will take later the issue raised by home buyers who want delivery of flats," the top court said. 

    Meanwhile, JAL informed the apex court that only eight per cent of 31,000 home buyers have opted for refund and the rest want possession of flats. 

    The firm also told the court that it has received/sought occupation certificate with regard to 13,500 flats so far in 2017-18. 

    The firm had on January 25 deposited Rs 125 crore in the Supreme Court after being directed to do so to safeguard the interests of home buyers. 

    The top court had on January 10 directed JAL, the holding firm of JaypeeBSE 3.39 % Infratech Ltd (JIL), to provide details of its housing projects in the country, saying home buyers should either get their houses or their money back. 

  •  In accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the percentage of seats for admission to PG medical courses to be filled up by persons with disabilities has been increased from 3% to 5%.

    The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has granted approval to amend the regulation in order to expand the scope of persons with disabilities getting benefit of reservation.

    The benefit will accrue to all 21 benchmark disabilities as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

    Accordingly, the software used by DGHS for central counseling has also been amended to allow registration of all such candidates.

    Registration/allotment of seats would be followed by a medical examination to ascertain the level of Disability before finally granting admission to candidates selected under the reserved quota.

  • Delhi High Court took up the plea against acquittal of former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case today.

    The decision followed application by the CBI and ED which moved the Delhi High Court on Tuesday challenging a special court acquittal order.

    Delhi High court has issued notice and sought response from A Raja, Kanimozhi and others. The next hearing in the matter is on May 25, 2018.

    The special court had on December 21 last year acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and others in the cases registered by the CBI and the ED.

    Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt. Ltd., film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Director of Kalaignar TV Sharad Kumar in the ED case.

  •  With the logjam continuing in Parliament on the 13th consecutive day, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar once again appealed to the members to run the house.

    He said that many important issues are before the house including the no confidence motion, on which government want discussion. He added that opposition members are not letting house to function.

    Earlier, Rajya Sabha was adjourned for the day within minutes of the House convening for the day, amid sloganeering by TRS and TDP MPs.Amid similar scenes, Lok Sabha was  adjourned for the day after it resumed proceedings at noon.

    Soon after it met for the day, AIADMK & TRS MPs stormed the well of the house, while many other opposition members stood up on their seats and shouted slogans.

    The unprecedented ruckus has so far washed out major work during the second part of the budget session.

  • Senior BJP leader and Union Law Minister Ravishankar Prasad  said that the Congress had liaised with data analytics company Cambridge Analytica, which is in the eye of the storm over misuse of data sourced from Facebook.

    The Union minister quoted a documentary shown by a UK based news channel which accuses Cambridge Analytica of dubious operations to influence and swing elections in favour of their clients.

    He then asked congress to answer three posing questions on its association with the dubious firm. Ravi Shankar Prasad Prasad warned Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg that his company would not be spared if theft of any data of Indians is discovered.

    “The BJP will take it seriously if by collusive methods, data of Indians is exposed.”“Abuse of social media through an agency seeking to compromise data security is the issue,” he said.

  • Barely any have observed how the Swachh Bharat momentum has transcended partisan boundaries from Karnataka to Bengal. The untold story of Swachh Bharat is not merely about the periodic top down interventions but rather about how these sustained interventions have had a twin pronged effect on citizens and local governments irrespective of political hues, thus giving momentum to the most unlikely of pan-India mass movements. The story of Puttenahalli, a suburb of Bangalore tells us how Swacch Bharat has evolved into a silent mass movement that is spurring citizen’s into action in the wake of an apathetic local government that has been a mute spectator to the regression of the garden city into a city breeding garbage.

    An alert and aware citizenry is going beyond shaming local governments to motivating them into taking proactive steps as can be seen in the competitiveness of the Municipal Corporation of Vijaywada to catch up on the cleanliness rankings.

    Andhra to Telangana the competitiveness of cities has triggered a wider public debate

    From the cities to the villages, the mass movement though has now moved deep into the hinterland as is evident from this Mahacharcha that saw Sarpanches from across Maharashtra join in.

    Highlighting how Swachh Bharat has transcended the partisan divide is this story of the Baidyabati Municipality in Hoooghly District of West Bengal

    It is this momentum behind Swachh Bharat that has transcended political partisanship that remains largely under reported by the private media but for

    some notable exceptions.

    Author: Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharati

  • This is a story that needs to be told not from the vantage point of TV studios in Delhi or from the elite echo chambers of the OpEd columns but from the non-descript corners of the country. It is in these non-descript corners that a new India is being scripted and it is from these pockets that India is rising to make itself heard across the globe. Which other Broadcaster in India today operates television channels specific to twenty plus states, reporting TV news from twice as many cities while simultaneously managing the most complex radio network of hundreds of stations with services in several times as many languages and dialects. Telling the India story is as much about Chandubhai of Amreli who sells papayas to Haryana

    as it is about the tales of grit and determination to transform healthcare in Bijapur Chattisgarh

    It is also about a sober and substantive debate on how to double farmer’s income by 2020

    And about bringing the process of law making closer to the citizens

    through dedicated channels on YouTube and Soundcloud you can be a part of this story telling from every corner of India in a manner unthinkable a few years back with this list of several hundred twitter handles of Doordarshan and All India Radio from across India.

    It is this picture of the role played by the public broadcaster in India that is grossly missing in the lopsided debate we have witnessed in recent weeks. A notable exception was this fine piece in the HT on how All India Radio is striving to preserve the oral traditions of India.

    Author: Shashi Shekhar Vempati, CEO, Prasar Bharati

  • Delegates from as many as 52 countries, including the US and China, participated in the informal meeting of the WTO.

    Largest Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting came to a successfully end on Tuesday.

    Ministers also called on Prime Minister Modi. Welcoming the dignitaries, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the deliberations at the Informal WTO Ministerial Meeting would have been constructive.

    He reiterated India's commitment to a rule-based multilateral trading system, based on the principles of inclusiveness and consensus.

    He said that a robust conflict resolution mechanism is one of the key benefits of the WTO.

    The Prime Minister said that it is important to counter the challenges being posed to the multilateral trading system.

    DG WTO said it was frank and meaningful dialogue at informal WTO meet in Delhi. 

    Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu warned about "unilateral action" by certain countries which will impact everybody.

    The meeting comes against the backdrop of imposition of import duties on steel and aluminium by the US administration, and Washington dragging India to the WTO against export incentive programmes.

    The meeting has been convened by India in the aftermath of failure of the trade talks at Buenos Aires last year on account of differences among the members of the WTO. India has been keenly pushing agriculture issues at the WTO.

    It has also been raising its voice against bringing new issues, especially those which are not directly linked to trade, to the negotiating table.

  • Despite repeated requests, opposition continued to create ruckus. The House was then adjourned till noon following uproar.

    Government also slammed Congress for unruly behavior.

    Earlier the lower house was adjourned till noon following uproar, when the house reconvened same situation was witnessed & then it was adjourned for the day and all this despite the government making it absolutely clear that they are ready for discussion on all issues on the floor of the house.

    The second leg of Budget Session has witnessed repeated adjournments  since day one.

  • Yuzvendra Chahal climbed 12 spots, to number two, while Washington Sundar moved up 151 places, to 31st, in the latest ICC T20I Player Rankings for bowlers.

    Both Indian bowlers are rewarded for their impressive display in the recently concluded Nidahas Trophy Tri-Series, in Sri Lanka. Chahal now has a career-high 706 rating points, while Sundar, who was named Man of the Series, has 496 points.

    Chahal, along with Washington Sundar, claimed eight wickets each in the series and played leading roles in helping their side win the title.

    In the batting rankings, India's hero of the final Dinesh Karthik, who blasted an eight-ball 29, before finishing off in style with a six, jumped from No. 126 to No.95, with his best-ever 246 points.

  •  U.N. High Commissioner For Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein slammed the Security Council after Russia on Monday (March 19) blocked a meeting to discuss the human rights situation in Syria.

    "If the Security Council's role in upholding the charter and human rights across the world is blocked, if it can no longer rise to meet the challenge of crises and conflicts, then as the UN and the great framework of international law begin to break down into irrelevance," he said in an alternate meeting later in the day.

    Russia is the largest international backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and a permanent member of the Security Council

    France and six other members had called for the Security Council meeting, which was expected to include a briefing from Zeid.

    China, Bolivia and Kazakhstan voted with Russia to prevent the meeting, while Ivory Coast, Equatorial Guinea and Ethiopia were abstentions.

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed Tuesday to continue to serve as a servant of the people in his speech at the closing of the first session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC).

    In his speech, Xi expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the NPC deputies and Chinese people of all ethnic groups for the trust they have placed on him.

    "It is a glorious mission and profound responsibility to take on this great position of the President of the People's Republic of China. I will, as always, faithfully fulfill my responsibilities empowered by the Constitution, be loyal to the motherland and people, perform my duty scrupulously, do all my best, work diligently, and stay devoted and dedicated," he said.

    "I will continue to serve as a servant of the people, accept supervision by the people, and will never betray the great trust from all deputies and Chinese people of all ethnic groups," he added.

    He also asked all personnel of the state organs to always put the people in the most prominent place in their hearts.

    "No matter how high a position one holds, all personnel of the state organs should keep firmly in mind that our republic is the People's Republic of China, always put the people in the most prominent place in our hearts, always serve the people wholeheartedly, and always work hard for the people's interests and happiness," he noted.

    Xi was elected Chinese President by nearly 3,000 NPC deputies on Saturday.

  • Government had not kept the families of murdered Indians in dark, but had waited to be absolutely certain before pronouncing them dead. She said government not aware about the date of their deaths.

    The dead include 27 from Punjab, four from Himachal Pradesh, six from Bihar and two from West Bengal.

    On Tuesday, Sushma Swaraj confirmed in Rajya Sabha that out of 40 Indians kidnapped in 2014 by ISIS in Iraq, 39 have been killed while one of them escaped by posing as a Muslim from Bangladesh.

    Deep penetration radar confirmed the death of the hostages. Their mortal remains were exhumed and sent to Baghdad for DNA sample verification.

    These people who lost their lives were construction workers from Punjab, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and West Bengal.

    Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh will be flying to Iraq to bring back the bodies on a special flight.

    External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj thanked the Iraqi government & Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh. She said that the government has informed about this sad news only after confirmation.

    After her statement, Rajya Sabha observed two minutes silence.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying: “Every Indian grieves with those who lost their loved ones in Mosul. We stand in solidarity with the bereaved families and pay our respects to the Indians killed in Mosul.... The MEA and particularly my colleagues @SushmaSwaraj Ji and @Gen_VKSingh Ji left no stone unturned in trying to trace and safely bring back those we lost in Mosul”

    Our Government remains fully committed towards ensuring the safety of our sisters and brothers overseas.

    Leaders across the political spectrum condemned this act of ISIS.

    The families are deeply shocked as their hopes are completely dashed.

    Grief & anger is seen across the nation. The war against terror continues on global platform but when will ISIS be wiped out completely remains to be seen.

  • NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Dr. Rajiv Kumar on Monday inaugurated the First India-Japan Workshop on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi. The two-day workshop is being jointly organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Disaster Management Authority and Government of Japan.

    Speaking on the occasion, the Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog underlined the synergy between the two ancient Asian civilizations of India and Japan, both of which have frequently witnessed the fury of natural catastrophes and are investing proactively on mainstreaming risk reduction into development.

    He said that this workshop “marks the beginning of the formal implementation of the initiatives agreed under the Memorandum of Cooperation signed between the two countries on Disaster Risk Reduction in September 2017”.

    While underlining the impact of the disaster on development, Dr. Rajiv Kumar stated that uncontrolled development without proper disaster risk assessment has increased the risk of losses from disasters. He added that climate change has further aggravated the disaster risk. “Therefore, disaster risk management can no longer remain isolated from the overall strategy of sustainable development”, he said.

    Recalling commitments made in Sendai on Disaster Risk Reduction, in Paris on Climate Change and in New York on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Rajiv Kumar emphasized the role of country leadership for implementing the commitments particularly in the field of Disaster Risk Reduction, as returns to investment are not easily visible.

    He said that “Disaster Risk Reduction should be seen not as a cost to economic growth, but rather as a valuable asset for the country”.

    The Vice Minister for Policy Coordination in the Cabinet Office, Japan,  Mamoru Maekawa, thanked the Government of India for hosting this Workshop, which is the first outcome of the Memorandum of Cooperation regarding Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). He shared the Japanese experiences of DRR policies, including legal and planning framework, and discussed how Japan is preparing against mega-scale disasters, in collaboration with government, academia, private companies and citizens.

    He concluded that Japan and India could collaborate for the implementation of the Sendai Framework so as to contribute to Disaster Risk Reduction globally.

  • The Indian Navy and the French Navy have conducted bilateral maritime exercises since May 1993. Since 2001, the exercises have been named VARUNA and there have been fifteen editions of the same till date. The last edition of VARUNA was conducted off the French Coast in Apr 2017.

    The conduct of VARUNA and the special impetus on taking this Navy-to-Navy cooperative engagement forward was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018.

    In 2017, VARUNA was conducted in three sea areas in the European waters. This year too VARUNA-18 would be conducted in three sea areas, namely, the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and South Western Indian Ocean.

    The first phase, being conducted in the Arabian Sea, will see the participation of a French submarine and frigate Jean de Vienne from the French side.

    The Indian Naval participation will include the destroyer Mumbai, frigate Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I and Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft, as well as the Mig 29K fighter aircraft.

    The VARUNA series of exercises have grown in scope and complexity over the years and provide an opportunity to both Navies to increase interoperability and learn from each other’s best practices.

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia have gone on an apology spree.

    After tendering an apology to Punjab leader Bikram Singh Majithia, they have tendered an apology to advocate Amit Sibal, son of former Union Minister Kapil Sibal and Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari in a criminal defamation case filed by them.

    Kejriwal and Sisodia apologised for making unfounded allegations against Sibal in a letter which was submitted before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.

    Sibal and the AAP leaders also filed a joint application in the court seeking withdrawal of the case filed in 2013.

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also wrote to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari expressing regret over certain statements he made against the BJP leader.

    Kejriwal and Gadkari also submitted a joint application today before the court seeking withdrawal of the defamation case filed against the AAP leader.

  • A 2-day informal World Trade Organisation Ministerial meet began in the national capital on Monday with the intent to forge cooperation.Representatives from 50 countries are participating in the meet.

    The meet will provide an opportunity for free and frank discussions to representatives from several developed and developing countries.The meet is also expected to help resolve several complex issues.Addressing the meet.WTO Director-General said the discussion is on with the US for reforming the institution.

    The meet in Delhi has also gained significance because of the absence of ministerial guidance at the previous ministerial meet which took place in Argentina's Buenos Aires in December last year.The meet also gains significance as.

     Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday met several global representatives who are in Delhi. In the backdrop of the meet, WTO Director-General also called on Prime Miniter Narendra Modi during the day.It is hoped that the mini-ministerial meet will pave the way for resolving several pending issues in the global trading body by bringing members together.

    The prime minister reiterated that India is a strong supporter of the multilateral trading system. He stated that it is imperative to prioritise the WTO's activities so that it addresses the concerns of developing countries.
    Talking to reporters, Azevêdo said the mini-ministerial meeting will be useful for carrying forward the mandate of the multilateral trade body.

  • The Supreme Court on Monday  directed the Centre to frame a model scheme before September 30 to address the issues of education, health, social security and pension for construction workers, saying they build not just infrastructure, but also the nation. 

    The top court said that more than Rs 37,400 crore have been collected for the benefit of construction workers, but ostensibly only about Rs. 9,500 crores have been utilized for their benefit. 
    It questioned as to why millions of construction workers across the country are being denied the benefit of remaining Rs 28,000 crore. 

    The top court further directed all the state governments and union territories to constitute an expert committee and bring out statutory rules within six months. 

    A bench of Justices M B Lokur and Deepak Gupta said the directions given by the court from time-to-time to implement the two laws -- The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (BOCW Act) and the Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Cess Act, 1996, (Cess Act) -- have been flouted with impunity. 

    The top court said that the every state government and Union Territory shall constitute an expert committee and frame statutory rules under provisions of the BOCW Act, if such statutory Rules have not already been framed. 

    "Setting up an expert committee and framing statutory rules should be in a time-bound manner, with the exercise being completed preferably within six months and in any event by September 30, 2018," it said. 


  • A special CBI court in Ranchi on Monday convicted RJD chief and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fourth case of fodder scam in which he figured as an accused.

    Former Bihar CM Jagannath Mishra was acquitted by the court, which will pronounce the sentences on Wednesday.

    The verdict in the Dumka treasury case of Bihar’s Rs 1,000-crore fodder scam came as a jolt to RJD, Bihar’s main Opposition party that has the largest number of MLAs in the state Assembly.

    Before this, Yadav, 69, has been convicted in three other cases of the scam that was unearthed in mid-1990s when he was chief minister and had forced him to step down in 1997.

    Judge Shiv Pal Singh pronounced Yadav and 18 other accused in the case guilty and acquitted 12 accused.

    The case (RC 38A/96) pertains to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.76 crore from the government treasury in Dumka, presently in Jharkhand, even though the withdrawal limit was fixed at just Rs 1.50 lakh.

    Officials of the state animal husbandry department, some bureaucrats of the then undivided Bihar government and suppliers of animal food had colluded with politicians to withdraw the funds from the treasury through 96 fake vouchers between December 1995 and January 1996.

    Yadav was the chief minister of Bihar at the time.

    Special CBI courts in Ranchi have earlier held Yadav guilty in three other cases of the scam.

    He was handed a five-year jail term in the Chaibasa treasury case in September 2013; a jail term for three years and a half in the Deoghar treasury case in December 2017; and a jail term for five years in another case linked to the Chaibasa treasury in January last.

  • India on Monday summoned Pakistan’s deputy high commissioner Syed Haider Shah and lodged a strong protest against the killing of five civilians in “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani forces, terming the incident “highly deplorable.”

    Shah was also told that such acts were against established humanitarian norms and professional military conduct, the Ministry of External Affairs said.

    Five Indian civilians – a couple and their three children – were killed and two children were seriously injured in an unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani forces on March 18 in Bhimber Gali sector across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

    “It was conveyed that the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians, who are located 2 kms away from the forward line of defences, by Pakistan forces using high caliber weapons, is highly deplorable and is condemned in the strongest terms,” the MEA said.

  • The Enforcement Directorateon Monday moved the Delhi High Court challenging a special court order acquitting former telecom minister A Raja, DMK MP Kanimozhi and others in the money laundering case arising out of the 2G scam.

    Besides Raja and Kanimozhi, the special court had on December 21 last year acquitted 17 others, including DMK supremo M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal, Shahid Balwa and Vinod Goenka of STPL, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd, film producer Karim Morani, P Amirtham and Sharad Kumar, Director of Kalaignar TV.

    ED, in its charge sheet, had alleged that Rs 200 crore was paid by Swan Telecom (P) Ltd (STPL) promoters to DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

    On the same day, the trial court had acquitted Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others, including former Telecom Secretary Siddharth Behura, Raja’s erstwhile private secretary R K Chandolia, Swan Telecom promoters Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka, Unitech Ltd MD Sanjay Chandra and three top executives of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (RADAG) -- Gautam Doshi, Surendra Pipara and Hari Nair, in the CBI’s 2G case.

    The CBI had alleged that there was a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the exchequer in allocation of licences for the 2G spectrum which were scrapped by the top court on February 2, 2012.

    Special Judge O P Saini, however, had then held that the prosecution had “miserably failed” to prove the charges.

    The special court, which was set up on March 14, 2011 for hearing 2G cases exclusively, had also acquitted Essar Group promoters Ravi Kant Ruia and Anshuman Ruia and six others in a separate case arising out of the 2G scam probe.

    The first case, prosecuted by CBI, had 17 accused, while the second matter, pursued by ED, had 19 undertrials. The third one had eight accused including Essar promoters.

    In the CBI case, Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 others were tried under provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, using as genuine fake documents, abusing official position, criminal misconduct by public servant and taking bribe.

  • Noted music composer Illaiyaraja, littérateur P. Parameswaran and Classical singer Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan have been honoured with Padma Vibhushan.

    There were also many such names in the Padma Bhushan honors that have enhanced the pride of these awards.

    These include the name of Dr Philipose Mar Chrysotom Mar Thoma who will be celebrating his 100th birthday and is a spiritual leader from Kerala.

    Along with this, Ram Chandran Nagaswamy of Tamil Nadu, the doyen of South Indian archaeology and history, legal scholar Ved Prakash Nanda are also recipients of the Padma Bhushan.  Arvind Parikh bags the honour in the field of music.

    The highlight of the Padma Shree list is the honour of anonymous heroes. Fourteen of the awardees are women, while 16 persons are foreigners and three are being awarded posthumous.

    Among these heroes, scientist toymaker Arvind Gupta,  Bhajjya Shyam for art painting, Lakshmi Kutty for traditional medicine from Kerala, India's first Paralympic gold medalist Murlikant Petekar from Maharashtra in the field of sports, Dr Sulagati Narsamma for social work.

    Subhasini Mistry, a social worker from West Bengal, Rajagopaln Vasudevan, the plastic man of India working in the field of science-engineering. Anwar Jalalpuri of Uttar Pradesh bags the award posthumously.

    This time there are many names of other countries also in the Padma Awards. Yoga teacher Nouf Marwai of Saudi Arabia was also honored on Tuesday.

    In these heroes, tennis player Somdev Devvarman, activists Abhay Bang-Rani Bang, Mohan Swaroop Bhatia for folk music, Narayan Das Maharaj from Rajasthan, Yessi Dhoden, who works in the field of medicine, Litterateur Arup Kumar Datta and Prof. Digambar Hansda, Piyang Temjin Jamir and Malti Joshi from the field of education and literature; Pran Kishore Kaul for art, Joyshree Goswami Mahant for Literary from Assam, noted sculptor Prabhakar Maharana,  Krishna Bihari Mishra in literature and education and Sudhanshu Biswas in social work, Nanammal, the yoga grandma also bags the award. 

    Govardhan Panika gets the Padma for Weaving while social worker Sampath Ram Teke bags it for Social Work. In addition to this, 10 more heroes were honored on Tuesday with Padma Shri.

    Of the 85 Padma award winners, 43 of them receive their award today which means the rest will be felicitated on April 2.

    Recommendations of eight state governments, seven governors, 14 Union ministers did not find any place in this year's Padma awards.

    Although the names of 35,595 people were recommended, only 85 of them were selected for this prestigious civilian honor.

  • It was the beginning of the third week of phase two of the budget session and we saw the same old story. adjourned due to disruptions. all because of a few parties, including the Congress, not cooperating with the chair.

    As soon as the Lok Sabha began proceedings members of TDP, YSR Congress, TRS, and AIADMK came to the well of the house raising slogans and preventing the house from functioning. The House was first adjourned till noon, but when the ruckus continued after resumption the chair had no option but to adjourn the house for the whole day.


    In the midst of the din, the Speaker referred to NO confidence motions of TDP and YSR Congress but affirmed that they could not be taken up because there was no order in the house.
    Even in the midst of the din, the treasury made it clear that Govt is willing to discuss any issue and even face the no-confidence motion.

    The government appealed to the opposition to let the house function.The Rajya Sabha was not able to take up any business and the Chairman Venkaiah Naidu was forced to adjourn the house for the day.

    Members of some parties, including AIADMK, DMK and TDP came into the well making separate demands and raising slogans.

    The Chairman lamented that Parliament is being made a laughing stock with the repeated agitations.The continuous stalemate in both Houses during the second phase of the budget session is holding up passage of many important legislations.

  • The event was attended by Brazil President Michel Temer who advocated increased access to water and said his administration is preparing a new law to modernize the country's regulation of sanitation.

    Human rights and United Nations officials have criticized Brazil for not addressing poor sanitation and a lack of clean water access for slum residents, that exacerbated the Zika crisis.

    The mosquito-borne Zika virus was linked to more than 2,500 birth defects and caused an 18-month public health emergency in South America's largest country.

    More than one-third of Brazil's 206 million people lack access to a continuous water supply, leaving residents with few options other than filling containers for household use. Left uncovered, these water containers can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.

    Across the country, more than 35 million Brazilians lack adequate facilities for the safe disposal of human waste.

    The forum runs through Friday (March 23) and its mission is “to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life”.

  • WFP and its partners under the leadership of the Nigerian government says it has managed to stave off famine in three conflict affected northeastern states by helping displaced families and host communities access plots of land, irrigation and training.

    The United Nations estimates that almost 1 million people are in hard-to-reach parts of the northeast, where Islamist group Boko Haram has waged an insurgency for the past nine years.

    The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) recently said there was "an elevated risk of famine" in that area.

    The insurgency has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced more than 2 million others, many of whom are almost entirely dependent on international aid.

    Fatmata Ahmad, a widow with six children whose husband was killed 18 months ago by Boko Haram suspects says she looks better than she was months ago.

    This new report is coming about two weeks after Boko Haram suspects raided a military barracks in Rann, in Borno state killing 11 people including three aid workers.

    However, the WFP says it urgently needs US$ 94 million to continue life-saving food and nutrition assistance to families until the end of 2018, especially for remote places which will be cut-off during the rainy season from June through September.

  • Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia today tendered an apology to senior advocate Amit Sibal, son of former union minster Kapil Sibal, in a criminal defamation case filed by him.

    Kejriwal and Sisodia apologised for making "unfounded allegations" against Sibal in a letter which was submitted before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal.

    Sibal and the AAP leaders also filed a joint application in the court seeking withdrawal of the case filed in 2013.

    Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari expressing regret over certain statements he made against the BJP leader, who had filed a defamation suit against him, a court here was informed today.

    Kejriwal and Gadkari also submitted a joint application today before the court seeking withdrawal of the defamation case filed against the AAP leader.

    The application was moved before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal after Kejriwal's counsel submitted the letter in which the AAP leader has expressed regret for making statements without regard to their verifiability.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday inaugurated a Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and presented the Gandhian Young Technological Innovation awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan. The five day festival is an initiative to recognise, respect, showcase, reward innovations and to foster a supportive ecosystem for innovators.

    It is being organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan in association with the Department of Science and Technology and the National Innovation Foundation-India.The festival is a platform for innovators to build linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years to develop their ideas into implementable projects for the larger social good.

    Speaking on the ocasion, President Kovind said that it was imperative to create an environment to transform innovation into entrepreneurship.The number of innovators participating in the festival this year has considerably increased. 250 innovators are participating in it.

    Steps have also been initiated to promote lateral learning and linkages among the innovators to enrich the ecosystem for sharing of ideas as also provide a window to showcase creative and innovative solutions for social development through innovation emerging from grassroots, student ideas and other technologies.

    The innovations showcased can positively impact fields such as agriculture, rural development, sanitation, health, women and child development, biotechnology and medicine. Platforms like this can provide opportunities for young innovators to present their work not only within the country but worldwide.

  • A 2-day informal World Trade Organisation Ministerial meet began in the national capital on Monday with the intent to forge cooperation.Representatives from 50 countries are participating in the meet.

    The meet will will provide an opportunity for free and frank discussions to representatives from several developed and developing countries.The meet is also expected to help resolve several complex issues.Addressing the meet.WTO Director General said discussion are on with the US for reforming the institution.

     The meet in Delhi has also gained significance because of the absence of ministerial guidance at previous ministerial meet which took place in Argentina's Buenos Aires in December last year.

    The meet also gains significance as Union Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu has met several global representatives who are in Delhi.

    In the backdrop of the meet WTO Director General also called on Prime Miniter Narendra Modi during the day.It is hoped that the mini-ministerial meet will pave the way for resolving several pending issues in the global trading body by bringing members together.

  • Wheels of law completed a full circle for the fourth time in the fodder scam as former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad was convicted by a special CBI court in the fourth fodder scam case while another ex-chief minister Jagannath Mishra was acquitted.

    CBI judge Shiv Pal Singh held Lalu guilty in the case RC 38 A/96 pertaining to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury in the early 1990s. The judge will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence from March 21, according to a CBI counsel.

    RJD has said that it will challenge the verdict in the high court.Prasad has been in Birsa Munda jail at Ranchi since December 23 last year after being convicted in the second case pertaining to illegal withdrawal of money from Deogarh treasury.

    Earlier, the RJD supremo was convicted on September 30, 2013 in the RC 20A/96 case of Chaibasa pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 37.7 crore in the 1990s. He got five years prison term in the case following which he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha and barred from contesting elections for six years after completion of jail term.

    In the second case, Prasad was convicted in the RC64A/96 in connection with fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from Deoghar Treasury in the 1990s. He was awarded 3.5 years sentence in the case on December 23 last year.

    In another Chaibasa case, RC 68A/96 pertaining to Rs 37.62 crore Prasad got five years prison term on January 24 this year.The fifth case relating to fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 139 crore from the Doranda treasury in Ranchi is pending with the court.

  • It was the beginning of the third week of phase two of the budget session and we saw the same old story. Adjourned due to disruptions;  all because of a few parties, including the Congress, not cooperating with the chair.
    As soon as the Lok Sabha began proceedings members of TDP, YSR Congress, TRS, and AIADMK came to the well of the house raising slogans and preventing the house from functioning.

    The House was first adjourned till noon, but when the ruckus continued after resumption the chair had no option but to adjourn the house for the whole day. In the midst of the din, the Speaker referred to No confidence motions of TDP and YSR Congress, but affirmed that they could not be taken up because there was no order in the house.

    Even in the midst of the din, the treasury made it clear that Government is willing to discuss any issue and even face the no confidence motion.

    Government appealed to the opposition to let the house function.

    The Rajya Sabha was not able to take up any business and the Chairman venkaiah naidu was forced to adjourn the house for the day.

    Members of some parties, including AIADMK, DMK and TDP came into the well making separate demands and raising slogans.

    The Chairman lamented that Parliament is being made a laughing stock with the repeated agitations.

    The continuous stalemate in both Houses during the second phase of the budget session is holding up passage of many important legislations.

  • Addressing the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Rashtrapati Bhavan, he said that problems generated by climate change & communicable diseases can be addressed through innovation.

    The President also gave away Gandhian Young Technological Innovation GYTI Awards 2018. President Kovind said that the awards are a unique initiative to recognise and reward innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem for young innovators.

    The 5-day festival is being organised by Rashtrapati Bhavan in association with the Department of Science and Technology and the National Innovation Foundation-India.

    The festival will provide a platform for innovators for building linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in coming years to develop their ideas into implementable projects for the larger social good.

  • Parliament impasses continue for the third week even as the govt is ready to discuss all issues on the floor of the house.

    Opposition particularly TDP and AIAMK MPs continued to disrupt proceedings of the Rajya Sabha, following which it has been adjourned till tomorrow.

    Even in lower house of the Parliament.TDP, TRS, AIADMK MPs also created pandemonium. MPs reached the well of the house and started shouting slogans. Earlier the house was adjourned till noon, but following persistent protest, the house was adjourned for the day.

  • Up to 70 homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed in the picturesque seaside village of Tathra on the south coast of New South Wales when a fire tore through the area on Sunday.

    Some 40,000 hectares (100,000 acres) were also scorched in southwestern regions of neighbouring Victoria as dozens of blazes swept through over the weekend, wiping out beef and dairy cattle. Despite the damage, authorities said there were no reports of serious injuries or deaths.

    “It was an absolutely awful set of circumstances yesterday afternoon for the community of Tathra, dominated by this very hot, dry air and these very strong winds,” NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told Sky News Australia Monday. “We saw literally hundreds of ember showers landing in and around the community of Tathra, burning in-between the streets.”

    The fires flared up as southeastern Australia was hit by a bout of unseasonably warm weather, with gusting winds fanning the large blazes.

    Experts said the infernos showed the bushfire season—which usually occurs in the summer months of December-February—was lengthening as climate change disrupts weather patterns.

    In Tathra, over 1,000 hectares were burnt and more than 60 firefighters were continuing to battle the flames Monday, supported by three water-bombing aircraft, NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman Greg Allan said.

    Firefighters were hopeful they could contain three remaining blazes in the region as the weather became milder, Andrews added. Cooler conditions and rain were also forecast for Tathra, Fitzsimmons said.

    “This event shows destructive fires can occur ‘outside’ the summer bushfire season,” said David Bowman, an expert in environmental change biology at the University of Tasmania.

    “Fire seasons are lengthening globally in response to climate change, similar seasonally ‘anomalous’ destructive fires are being reported elsewhere in the world, such as California.”

  • The court pronounced Lalu Prasad Yadav guilty, but acquitted former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra.

    The RJD supremo, who has been admitted to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) after falling sick in the jail on Saturday, was not be present in the court.

    Prasad and others are accused of fraudulently withdrawing Rs. 3.13 crore from Dumka treasury between December 1995 and January 1996, when the former was the chief minister of undivided Bihar.

    Prasad is already serving a jail term of 13.5 years in three fodder cases and lodged in the Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi. The case is related to alleged withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the Dumka treasury when Prasad was the chief minister of Bihar. Besides Prasad, and 29 people, including former IAS officers and some officials are also accused in the case.

    On Friday, the Special CBI court had made three former bureaucrats of Bihar accountant-general’s office accused in the fodder scam.

    The court issued summons to former Bihar Accountant General P.K. Mukhopadhyay, former Deputy Accountant General B.N. Jha and former Senior Director General of Accounts Office Pramod Kumar on the request of Prasad, who had sought a trial against the three former bureaucrats.

  • “The informal meeting of ministers will provide an opportunity to engage in free and frank discussions with the hope that it will lead to political guidance on some major issues,” the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said in a statement.

    It will look at the issues both at the negotiating table and also in other areas.

    Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia had said recently that the meeting would be more of an “ice-breaker” as it is being held after the collapse of talks at the Buenos Aires WTO Ministerial in December.

    When asked if there would be a statement by the Chair at the end of the meeting, she had said it would be for the mini-ministerial to decide.

    The ministry’s statement further said: “In the absence of ministerial guidance at the Eleventh Ministerial Conference (MC 11) that took place from 10 to 13 December 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, it is hoped that the New Delhi meeting will provide an opportunity for ministers to explore in greater detail the options on different issues for re-invigorating the WTO.”

    It further said that safeguarding and strengthening the multilateral trading system was never as important as it is today, and the WTO is also facing systemic challenges, particularly its dispute settlement arm.

  • A programme will be held at the Lok Bhawan in Lucknow to mark the occasion and Chief Minister Adityanath will be attending it, an Uttar Pradesh government spokesperson said.

    The film 'Ek Saal-Naee Misaal' will be screened and a booklet with the same title will be released at the programme.

    The state government in one year has worked tremendously and has brought Uttar Pradesh back on the track of development, the spokesperson said.

    The Uttar Pradesh Energy department in a statement said, "One of the hallmark of UP's power sector in the recent year is the remarkable increase in household electrification."

    This was envisaged under the 'Power for All' initiative, the department said.

  • The research, published in the European Heart Journal, shows that the risk of heart and blood vessel problems, such as heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure, increases as body mass index (BMI) increases beyond a BMI of 22-23. Furthermore, the risk also increases steadily the more fat a person carries around their waist.

    The study was conducted in 296,535 adults of white European descent who are taking part in the UK Biobank study, and who were healthy at the time they enrolled with the study.

    UK Biobank recruited from 2006 to 2010, and follow-up data on participants were available up to 2015 for this latest analysis.

    Researchers at the University of Glasgow in the UK found that people with a BMI between 22-23 had the lowest risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). As BMI increased above 22, the risk of CVD increased by 13 per cent for every 5.2 increase in women and 4.3 in men.

    Compared to women and men with waist circumferences of 74 and 83 cm respectively, the CVD risk increased by 16 per cent in women and 10 per cent in men for every 12.6 cm and 11.4 cm increase in waist circumference for women and men respectively.

    Similar increases in CVD risk were seen when the researchers looked at waist-to-hip and waist-to-height ratios and percentage body fat mass - all of which are considered reliable ways to accurately gauge the amount of fat a person carries, also known as adiposity.

    It is already known that being overweight or obese increases a person’s risk of CVD, as well as other diseases such as cancer.

    However, there have been studies suggesting that being overweight or obese may not have any effect on deaths from CVD or other causes, and may even be protective especially if people maintain a reasonable level of fitness.

    This is known as the “obesity paradox.” However, the new study refutes these previous, conflicting findings.

    “Any public misconception of a potential ‘protective’ effect of fat on heart and stroke risks should be challenged,” said Stamatina Iliodromit, who led the study.

    “This is the largest study that provides evidence against the obesity paradox in healthy people,” said Iliodromit.

    “It is possible that the story may be different for those with pre-existing disease because there is evidence that in cancer patients, for instance, being slightly overweight is associated with lower risk, especially as cancer and its treatments can lead to unhealthy weight loss,” she added.

    “By maintaining a healthy BMI of around 22-23, healthy people can minimise their risk of developing or dying from heart disease,” she said.

  • Participants took part in a cooperative situation with an anonymous person, earning real money during the experiment.  They could be “good” and cooperate a lot, which was costly, or be less cooperative, which costs less.

    They then found out that information about how much they actually cooperated could be published online along with their name, but that they could avoid this publication if they paid to censor the information.

    It turned out that those who cooperated less, valued the censorship highest which meant that information about this group’s actions tended to be filtered out.

    “That the image people share of themselves is ‘softened’ on the internet is perhaps not that surprising. What is new is that this is shown under experimental control and that the will to ‘filter out’ is so strong that one is prepared to pay for it,” said Hakan Holm from Lund University in Sweden.

    Before the cooperative situation was presented, a group of subjects had to take a “selfie” while other subjects did not. One question was the effect of a selfie on the willingness to share sensitive information.

    “The selfie can be said to increase visibility, and by combining this with the information about subjects’ cooperation, we found that it increased their valuation of censorship. This was especially true for those who cooperated little,” says Holm.

    Another effect that surprised the researchers was that the likelihood to cooperate, for subjects who reported that they often took selfies, was greatly influenced by the selfie-taking.

    For the frequent selfie-takers who took a selfie before the cooperative situation, cooperation was significantly lower than those who did not take a selfie.

    “One interpretation is that among some groups, a selfie can initiate a temporary selfish mindset that crowds out other motives such as the willingness to cooperate with others,” Holm said.

    “However, we would like to see more studies about this effect before it can be considered scientifically established,” he said.

  • The oceans have been measured to a maximum depth of 11 kilometres, though water is known to exist well below the oceans. Just how deep this hidden water reaches, and how much of it exists, are the subjects of ongoing research.

    The study, published in the journal Science, explored microscopic pockets of a trapped form of crystallized water molecules in diamond samples from locations in Africa and China.

    The tiny traces of crystallised water, trapped in spaces called inclusions that measure just a few microns in length, contain the molecular signature of ice. This crytallised water likely formed from liquid water existing at very high pressures, researchers said.

    The structure and chemical studies helped the scientists to determine the pressures and temperatures at which the diamonds formed.

    This allowed the scientists from US Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)in the US to estimate the depths of their formation.

    Many of the studied diamonds from a random sampling seemed to originate from deep inside the Earth, within and even beyond the transition zone sandwiched between Earth’s upper and lower mantles, said Oliver Tschauner, from the University of Nevada in the US.

    While only about 60 diamonds had previously been confirmed to originate at depths greater than about 300 kilometres, the latest study added several more to this tally.

    “It seems many diamonds come from greater depths,” Tschauner said.

    In the past, people had focused more on larger inclusions, tens of times the size of the ones that were the focus of the new study.

    “Some of these small inclusions may have been overlooked before,” Tschauner added.

    Researchers concluded that some of the inclusions likely were formed from fluid existing at depths of 400 to 540 kilometres beneath Earth’s surface. Others may have formed at depths ranging from 610 to 800 kilometres - possibly within Earth’s “shallow” lower mantle.

    “It’s not just a curiosity to have a diamond residing deep in Earth’s mantle - this is direct evidence for aqueous fluid in the deep Earth,” Tschauner said.

    The pressures that formed these deeper diamonds are estimated at about 24 to 25 gigapascals, which is about 224 times more pressure than exists at the bottom the ocean’s deepest point in its Mariana Trench.

    The composition of the fluid that was trapped in the inclusions appears to be complex, with traces of carbonates, oxides, and salt, Tschauner said.

    It is not yet possible to estimate how much watery fluid exists in Earth’s transition zone and how it’s distributed, Tschauner said, but more diamond studies should help with the estimates.

  • Bolt, 31, who retired from athletics after August's World Championships in London, has been busy preparing for a tilt at football and has also worked with Australia's cricketers to boost their running between the wickets.

    Blake, one of the track stars at the April 4-15 Games, arrived in Australia on Sunday and told reporters the eight-time Olympic champion and world record holder in the 100m and 200m was "coming to watch the 100m final".

    "(He) was at the track in Jamaica before I left. He said, 'When I come to Australia, if you don't win there is going to be problems'," Blake told Brisbane's Courier Mail late Sunday.

    "I don't have a Commonwealth medal. It's very important for me to have one in my trophy case. Usain Bolt has left his legacy for us to carry on and that's what we want to do," said Blake of his fellow Jamaican.

    Blake, 28, the second-fastest man of all time, missed the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games due to injury.

  • World number 44 Osaka rolled over Kasatkina, breaking her serve four times and winning the battle of the 20-year-old rising stars in just 70 minutes.

    “I just knew that she was going to fight for every point, too,” said Osaka. “So I couldn’t afford to lose points based on nerves, and I had to keep making the right decisions.”

    Osaka captured the title on her first match point by blasting a backhand into the open side of the court.

    The Japanese dynamo improved to 13-4 on the season two days after her biggest previous win, a dominating semi-final triumph over world number one Simona Halep.

    She was only the fourth unseeded player to reach the Indian Wells final, with the most recent before her being Kim Clijsters in 2005.

    The loss ends a brilliant run in the California desert by Kasatkina, who was playing in her second final in a row after a runner-up finish in Dubai.

    “She was much better today than me, so she really deserved to win,” Kasatkina said. “Of course, we were both nervous at the beginning, because the biggest finals so far.

    “But during the match, she was able to manage her nerves and stuff, and I was still a little bit tight during the match. So it is what it is.”

    Kasatkina was two points from defeat against Venus Williams in the semi-finals but rallied for the upset triumph.

    Kasatkina, who wasn’t even born when Williams first competed at Indian Wells, said she really felt the nerves getting to her on the big stage in the final. She called her coach to come down from the stands for advice at one point but couldn’t remember after the match what he told her.

    Osaka blasted five aces, made three double faults and won 79 percent of her first-serve points.

    Like Osaka, Kasatkina was playing in her first Indian Wells final. This was the first time both Indian Wells finalists were under age 21 since Serena Williams beat Clijsters in 2001.

    The opening set was even until Osaka blasted two aces to take a 4-3 lead. She then broke Kasatkina to make it 5-3 and finished it off with another strong service game.

    Osaka pounced on Kasatkina from the beginning of the second set, starting with an opening break of serve.

    She also broke Kasatkina to go up 4-1 with another precision forehand winner down the line and never looked back.

    Kasatkina is now 1-3 in WTA singles finals, winning in Charleston last year and finishing runner-up last year in Moscow and this year at Dubai.

  • The 29-year-old from Argentina handed Federer his first match defeat of 2018 and extended his own win streak to 11 matches, including a title run earlier this month at Acapulco.

    “I’m still shaking,” Del Potro said. “It’s difficult to describe with words. It’s like a dream.”

    Del Potro, nagged by wrist injuries throughout his career, survived three match points before claiming the championship in a third-set tie-breaker, ending a two hour, 42 minute marathon contest.

    “I cannot believe I won this tournament, beating Roger in a great final and this level of tennis. We played great tennis today,” Del Potro said. “I just want to keep winning titles like this if I can.”

    Del Potro won the first five points of the deciding tie-breaker then closed it out when Swiss superstar Federer, who had won a career-best 17 straight matches to start the year, smacked a forehand long.

    It was an emotional match for both players as each took turns questioning the chair umpire. Del Potro urged him to stop the pro-Federer crowd from making noise on his serve and an irritated Federer also had a couple of lively conversations with the umpire.

    “I don’t remember half of it,” said Federer. “I was trying to pump myself up more, get energy for me. It had no effect on the outcome.”

    Del Potro was competing in his first Indian Wells final since 2013, when he lost to Spaniard Rafael Nadal.

    It was Del Potro’s seventh victory over Federer in 25 career meetings, one of those wins coming in the 2009 US Open final.

    “I always play good against him. I won a couple of finals and lost a couple of finals. In the end I was lucky to win. We played great tennis today,” Del Potro said.

    World number eight Del Potro is back in the rankings top 10 after dropping to 1,045th before beginning his comeback from three left wrist surgeries in 2016.

    “I am excited to see what is next,” he said. “I am still surprising myself and I want to keep surprising the tennis tour,” Del Potro said.

    Federer blasted 10 aces but had five double faults and his serve was broken twice.

  • Putin, who has ruled Russia for almost two decades, recorded his best election performance with 76.67 percent of the vote but rejected the possibility of staying in power indefinitely.

    The opposition said the results were rigged, reporting ballot stuffing and other cases of alleged fraud as the Kremlin pushed for a high turnout to give greater legitimacy to Putin’s historic fourth term.

    Putin, who has extended his power until at least 2024 and is already Russia’s longest-serving leader since Stalin, ruled out remaining president for life.

    The Russian strongman ran against seven other candidates, but his most vocal critic Alexei Navalny was barred from the ballot for legal reasons and the final outcome was never in doubt.

    “I see in this (result) the confidence and hope of our people,” Putin said in an address to a crowd of supporters on a square next to the Kremlin after exit polls put him on track for a resounding victory.

    Turnout was at more than 67 percent as authorities used both the carrot and the stick to boost engagement in the polls.

    Selfie competitions, giveaways, food festivals and children’s entertainers were laid on at polling stations in a bid to create a festive atmosphere around the election. But employees of state and private companies reported coming under pressure to vote.

    According to central election commission data with 99.8 percent of ballots counted, Putin took 76.67 percent of the vote, well ahead of his nearest competitor Communist Party candidate Pavel Grudinin, who was on 11.79 percent.

    Ultra-nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky took around 5.66 percent, former reality TV presenter Ksenia Sobchak was on 1.67 percent, while veteran liberal politician Grigory Yavlinsky received just over 1 percent of the vote.


    The election was held as Russia faces increasing isolation on the world stage over a spy poisoning in Britain and a fresh round of US sanctions just as it gears up for the football World Cup in the summer.

    Among the few leaders to congratulate Putin so far was Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has just been handed a second term himself and has gained a path to indefinite rule after presidential term limits were lifted last week.

    “China is willing to work with Russia to keep promoting China-Russia relations to a higher level, provide driving force for respective national development in both countries, and promote regional and global peace and tranquility,” Xi said.

    In Latin America, the presidents of the leftist regimes in Venezuela and Bolivia both effusively congratulated Putin on his “overwhelming” victory.

    Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro also commended “the glorious Russian people for its display of civic duty” while Bolivia’s Evo Morales said Putin’s victory “guarantees geopolitical equilibrium and world peace before the onslaught of imperialism”.

    Since first being elected president in 2000, Putin has stamped his total authority on the world’s biggest country, muzzling opposition, putting television under state control and reasserting Moscow’s standing abroad.

    The 65-year-old former KGB officer used an otherwise lacklustre presidential campaign to emphasise Russia’s role as a major world power, boasting of its “invincible” new nuclear weapons in a pre-election speech.

    Putin’s previous Kremlin term was marked by a crackdown on the opposition after huge protests, the Ukraine conflict, military intervention in Syria and the introduction of Western sanctions that contributed to a fall in living standards.

  • Video obtained by Reuters showed civilians including women and children walking back to their homes through streets strewn with rubble and lined with damaged buildings.

    Also on Sunday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visited Syrian soldiers who appear close to defeating the last major opposition foothold near Damascus and met some of the many thousands of people uprooted during the government offensive.

    Figures close to rebels said talks were underway with the aim of them leaving to other opposition areas or giving up arms, though rebels have publicly ruled out the kind of negotiated withdrawal that helped Assad recover Aleppo, Homs and other areas.

    Failaq al-Rahman, the main rebel group in the southern eastern Ghouta pocket said on Sunday it was negotiating with a United Nations delegation about a ceasefire, aid and the evacuation of urgent medical cases. But a general evacuation of civilians and rebels was not on the table, he said.

    Troops have splintered Ghouta into three besieged zones in one of the bloodiest offensives of the seven-year war, with rebels facing their worst defeat since the battle of Aleppo in 2016.

  • The seven doctors, posted as resident doctors in Emergency Medicine department of the AIIMS, were travelling to Agra from Delhi in an SUV to celebrate birthday of Dr Harshad Wankhade, who was also killed in the accident. The SUV rammed into a canter around 2.30 AM.

    While three doctors died on the spot, the four others were rushed to a private hospital. They were then referred to the AIIMS trauma centre.

    The deceased have been identified as Dr Yashpreet Kathpal, Dr Hembala, and Dr Wankhade.

    According to doctors in the AIIMS, all the four injured are stable.