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India in pictures in 2015

A selection of news photographs from India that define the year that was 2015.

Two arrested over Pune rape

Two men are held in connection with the rape of a woman in the campus of tech giant Infosys in the western city of Pune.

India court upholds Kerala alcohol ban

India’s Supreme Court upholds the Kerala state government’s decision to ban the sale and consumption of alcohol in bars.

Remembering Omar Sharif, Batgirl and Yogi Bear’s namesake

Omar Sharif, Batgirl, APJ Kalam and Charles Correa

Delhi zoo installs camera traps to track animal movement

Two to three infra-red camera traps were installed in the enclosures recently to gauge their movements and food intake.

Infra-red camera traps would monitor animals’ movement and food intake

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Infra-red camera traps have been laid in the enclosures of foxes and jackals at Delhi zoo to keep a track of activities of these animals that love to spend most of their time in burrows. Two to three infra-red camera traps were installed in the enclosures recently to gauge their movements and food intake.”We were facing a lot of troubles as foxes and jackals spend most of their day huddled in burrows. Whenever we approach them with food or treatment, they sprint towards their holes,” says veterinary officer Dr Abhijeet Bhawal. “The cameras do not have flash so that the animals are not disturbed. The infra-red beams record any movement of these nocturnal creatures. We get to know whether they are healthy and having their food, even in case of new births,” he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The zoo currently has six jackals and four foxes. The official adds that there are plans to install similar technology in the area where hyenas are kept if they show similar detachment.

Has the Indian parliament lost its relevance?

MP Baijayant Jay Panda explains why some Indians feel that Indian parliament is struggling to serve its purpose.

Power supply restored in Chennai

Power has been restored in many parts of the southern Indian city of Chennai as relief operations continue after severe floods.

India presenter reveals sexual abuse

India’s leading female news presenter Barkha Dutt wins praise after revealing she was sexually abused as a child

Lawyer files for return of Koh-i-Noor

A petition demanding the return of the Koh-i-Noor diamond, one of the British Royal Family’s Crown Jewels, has been filed in a Pakistan court, reports say.

India ‘will cut coal for climate cash’

India will cut back its skyrocketing use of coal if sufficient cash for renewables emerges from a Paris deal, says a senior negotiator.

Social media ‘heroes’ in Chennai floods

Residents of flood-hit Chennai are using social media platforms to connect with those who need shelter and food.

Indian economic growth picks up to 7.4%

India’s economy grew at an annual rate of 7.4% between July and September, official figures show, picking up from the previous quarter.

India’s digital ambition: Dream or reality?

Technology expert Mohit Rana does a reality check on India’s plan to expand its broadband net.

Cameron plays safe as Modi tackles tricky issues

Cameron plays safe as Modi tackles issues

Modi hails ‘special relationship’

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails his country’s “special relationship” with the UK as he addresses a 60,000-strong Wembley Stadium crowd.

Tamil Nadu: Former Rajya Sabha member N Rajendran allegedly shoots himself to death

A native of Kovilpatti, Rajendran had joined the DMK later and was the Treasurer of the district unit of the party for a few years.

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DMK leader and former Rajya Sabha member N Rajendran was found dead in his car in Kovilpatti on Wednesday. 62-year old Rajendran parked his car near the new bus stand and shot himself around 6 pm, the police said.Rajendran was a Rajya Sabha member as an AIADMK representative from 1995-2001. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.The police have ruled out foul play and suspect he committed suicide, but the reason behind it is not known yet. An investigation by the police is on.A native of Kovilpatti, Rajendran had joined the DMK later and was the Treasurer of the district unit of the party for a few years. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In recent years, Rajendran had withdrawn from political life and ran a marriage hall and a bus service.The Hindustan Times reports that the Rajendran may have been under pressure due to losses faced in his business ventures and troubles in his daughter-in-law’s home.With inputs from PTI.

The links between the UK and India

What are the current links between the UK and India?

GE to build 1,000 new India trains

General Electric has won a $2.6bn (£1.7bn) contract from the Indian government to build a fleet of new trains for the country.

India woman raped in moving bus

A 19-year-old woman has been raped in the southern state of Karnataka, Indian police say.

Beef ban: Defence Ministry asks Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter ritual

The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’.

Beef

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The Defence Ministry of the Modi government under Manohar Parrikar has asked the Indian army to stop buffalo slaughter, reports an English daily.The ministry has asked the army to ensure that none of its units indulge in the ritual slaughtering of buffaloes, which is an age-old tradition. Instructions have been issued to put an end to the practice of certain army units to behead a male buffalo during Dussehra, that is attributed mostly to Gurkha tradition. The ministry accepted that the practice was traditional but said that ‘laws have now changed’, reports the daily. Interestingly, the government is using the ‘animal cruelty’ angle combined with the fact that buffalo slaughter is illegal by law, to push for this ban.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”It is understood that there may be some who wish to carry out this tradition but rules should not be bent. If there is such a need, rules can be followed and the animal can be taken to government authorized slaughter houses as per the law,” said a top defence ministry source to the English daily.The reaction to this diktat has been mixed. While some in the army welcomed the order, others have opposed the move.Related Read: Now, I&B ministry blocks film on beef-eating practices in Mumbai

Cooperation among BRICS countries in MSME sector important: Sushma Swaraj

Swaraj said among the various sectors identified include cooperation among the BRICS countries in the Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector which she said was particularly important.

Sushma Swaraj

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Swaraj said among the various sectors identified include cooperation among the BRICS countries in the Micro Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector which she said was particularly important. “More than 40% of our economies are driven by this sector, which also generates maximum employment. India has presented a paper for integrating these enterprises effectively in the regional and global value chains. “This can form the basis for the BRICS countries to implement new growth strategies for small and medium companies,” she said. The paper deals with a range of issues such as trade facilitation, cooperation between small and medium scale industries, industrial development, agriculture, telecommunication, energy security, tourism and science and technology.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> As of 2015, the five BRICS countries represent over 3 billion people, or 42% of the world population.

Not a moo point: Cow milk party in Uttar Pradesh in response to beef controversy

The event was seen as a response by intellectuals and religious leaders to the debate trigged all over the nation on beef eating and ban.

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In response to beef and pork parties, a cow milk party was organised by Lok Adhikar Manch at Hazratganj here on Saturday. Professors and scientists from Lucknow University, and locals served cow milk to people and passers-by and spread awareness among them about its utilities.Also read: From Dadri murder to Cow Ministry: 8 incidents that prove that India has gone to the cowsThe event was seen as a response by intellectuals and religious leaders to the debate trigged all over the nation on beef eating and ban. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Speaking on the occasion, Maulana Khalid Rasheed, a leading cleric from a prominent Islamic seminary, asked people to take care of each other’s sentiment. People present at the event said the debate on beef ban was baseless and politically motivated.Also read: Jammu and Kashmir beef ban- Ball in govt’s court as HC sets aside earlier order

Tamil Nadu blocks sale of power to Karnataka

CM Siddaramaiah was planning to buy power from private generators in Tamil Nadu but now that is not possible with the decision by Tamil Nadu.

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With the power shortage in Karnataka and people in the state facing severe power cuts, CM Siddaramaiah had stated that they would be buy power from Tamil Nadu. However, the Tamil Nadu state government is said to have immediately invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act which prevents sale of power outside the state.A report in a leading daily states that the lack of a power corridor in Karnataka and the massive shortage has had the state government look for alternatives. CM Siddaramaiah was planning to buy power from private generators in Tamil Nadu but now that is not possible with the decision by Tamil Nadu.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The states of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are said to be self-sufficient as far as power goes. Tamil Nadu also buys power when required.

India to declassify Subhash Bose files

India’s government will begin declassifying crucial files on revolutionary leader Subhash Chandra Bose from 23 January, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

How the right to information law is changing India

Social activists Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey explain how the right to information law has deepened democracy in the country.

Can Pakistan and India ever live in harmony?

India and Pakistan’s leaders may both want to settle their countries’ differences – but there’s little sign of them being able to do so, says Owen Bennett-Jones.

Sachin Tendulkar dons singers hat, lends voice to Swachh Bharat anthem

Sachin Tendulkar has lent his voice to Swachh Bharat anthem, created under a government initiative to make the “Clean India” campaign a public movement

Sachin Tendulkar has lent his voice to Swachh Bharat anthem, created under a government initiative to make the “Clean India” campaign a public movement

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Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar has lent his voice to Swachh Bharat anthem, created under a government initiative to make the “Clean India” campaign a public movement.The anthem, composed by musical trio Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and sung by Shankar Mahadevan and others, will be released on October 2, marking one year of the launch of Swachh Bharat campaign on Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.Celebrities have come together to create a Swachh Bharat anthem aimed at enthusing and inspiring citizens to join hands in realising the collective dream of a “clean India”, said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They have responded enthusiastically to the Prime Minister’s call for a “jan andolan” (public movement) to make the Swachh Bharat Mission successful, he added. The anthem song written by lyricist Prasoon Joshi will also feature a video being produced by Mukesh Bhatt.Tendulkar has contributed to this endeavour by reciting a few lines that will feature in the anthem, as well as providing various musical suggestions for the recording. The audio of the song is expected to be released on the eve of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.

Hajj stampede leaves 14 Indians dead

At least 14 Indians have been killed in the Hajj stampede near Mecca, India’s foreign ministry says.

Eight things that India PM Modi can take away from Silicon Valley

Technology entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa suggests eight things Narendra Modi can take away from his upcoming visit to Silicon Valley.

India to buy Boeing helicopters

India’s cabinet approves a $2.5bn (£1.7bn) deal to buy 37 military helicopters from the US aviation company Boeing.

Files on India ‘freedom hero’ revealed

India state has declassified files on revolutionary leader Subhash Chandra Bose, whose death has been the subject of a number of conspiracy theories.

AR Rahman responds to ‘fatwa’ over film

Indian musician and composer AR Rahman has responded to criticism against him for composing music for a film on Prophet Muhammad.

Air India to ground ‘fat’ cabin crew

India’s national carrier Air India is set to ground 125 “overweight” cabin crew members including air hostesses.

Bengal woman among Mecca crane collapse victims

Expressing shock and sadness at the tragic accident at Mecca, CM Banerjee said a round the clock control room in Haj House has been opened

Mecca crane crash

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A woman from West Bengal is among those killed in the crane collapse at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Sunday. “As of now, one death and two injuries have been reported from our state. Muniza Ahmed from Asansol has lost her life. Liakat Hossain from West Midnapore and Hasem Ali from Malda have received injuries,” the chief minister said in a Facebook post. Expressing shock and sadness at the tragic accident at Mecca, she said a round the clock control room in Haj House has been opened and a toll free helpline 18003457155 put into operation to help people. “Contact is being made with relatives of dead and injured for all help and support. My deep condolence to the bereaved families. I also wish speedy recovery of the injured.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> We are with all of them,” Banerjee said. Two Indians have been killed and 15 others injured in the accident in Mecca in which more than 100 people have died, the External Affairs Ministry said in Delhi on Sunday.

Modi ‘regret’ as visit shuts down city

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi apologises to residents of the northern city of Chandigarh for inconvenience caused to them by his visit.

Gujarat joins the bandwagon, bans sale of meat for one week

As per information, sale of meat has now been banned in Gujarat for one week.

chicken

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After Mumbai and Rajasthan, Gujarat has now banned sale of meat during the Jain festival of ‘Paryushan’.As per information, sale of meat has now been banned in Gujarat for one week. On Thursday, Rajasthan government imposed a three day ban on meat sale. The issue has become a source of huge outrage in Mumbai where BJP has virtually became isolated in its effort to enforce a ban. Not only Congress and NCP, ally Shiv Sena has strongly come out against any kind of meat ban during the Jain festival of Paryushan. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Also Read: Mumbai Meat ban may be lifted as Shiv Sena gets back at BJP

PM Modi’s land ordinance decision at Niti Aayog’s behest: Maharashtra CM Fadnavis

Fadnavis said that the Maharashtra government has already decided to give highest compensation to farmers as compared to other states.

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After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government will not re-promulgate the controversial Land Acquisition ordinance which expires on Monday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in Mumbai on Sunday that decision was taken at the NITI Ayog’s request.”At a recent NITI Aayog meeting, most chief ministers had demanded that due to the stalemate in Parliament over the Land Bill, critical infrastructure projects of states are getting delayed and so the Centre should empower states to enact their own land acquisition models,” Fadnavis told PTI.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are happy that Modi has accepted our request and decided that instead of re-promulgating the ordinance, states will be empowered to frame their own models,” he said.Fadnavis said that the Maharashtra government has already decided to give highest compensation to farmers as compared to other states. “This decision will expedite rural and urban infrastructure projects,” he said.In May, the Maharashtra government had decided to give four times more compensation than the cost of land as per the ready reckoner (RR) rate for acquiring land in urban areas, while land owners in rural areas would get five times more compensation than the ready reckoner rate.Hitting out at critics, Fadnavis said, “Those who say that the government has taken a U-turn fail to understand that it is a decision taken for the benefit of farmers and people at large. The recent election results in MP, Rajasthan and Bangalore show that people have complete faith in Modi”. He said that people have reposed their faith in the BJP in Maharashtra as well, since the party won more than 2,100 gram panchayat elections in recent times.”People have full faith in Modi and they will always reject the opposition’s destructive agenda,”

Uttar Pradesh: Principal, teacher booked for stopping student from singing Ambedkar song

A principal and a teacher of an inter-college in this district has been booked for allegedly stopping a student from singing a BR Ambedkar song, police said in Saharanpur on Saturday.

Statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar

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A principal and a teacher of an inter-college in this district has been booked for allegedly stopping a student from singing a BR Ambedkar song, police said in Saharanpur on Saturday.City SP, Jagdish Sharma, said a class XI student of the inter-college in Talhedi Bujurg area was singing BR Amdedkar song on the Independence Day when they stopped him in the middle and insulted him.A team from the college was formed to inquire into the matter and prepared a report two days ago, he said. Based on that report, principal, Anoop Singh and teacher, Vidushi Tiwari have been booked under SC/ST Act, Sharma added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

World Photography Day: Taj Mahal world’s most photographed monument?

Taj Mahal is perhaps the most photographed monument in the world.

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The Taj Mahal may be the world’s most photographed monument, with people from all over the world who visit the monument leaving with a memorable picture of their visit.The Taj Mahal is reportedly visited by over six million people annually. With almost everyone owning a smartphone or camera, it is easy to document and share the visit. The monument has also made it easier to do so with a wi-fi facility and the launch of its own twitter account.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lonely Planet’s “Ultimate Travelist” ranks the historic mausoleum built in Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the fifth most attractive travel hotspot in the world and describes it as a “magnificent Mughal masterpiece”.Read: First photo of Taj Mahal, other rare vintage pictures on show for 175th World Photography DayThe monument has a unique backdrop which includes the Yamuna and as the sun rises in the east, it provides different contrasts, shades and colours to the Taj Mahal which faces the south, giving photographers a unique shot at different times in the day.In celebration of World Photography Day and the launch of the monument’s Twitter account, here are a few pictures visitors have shared of the Taj Mahal.Check out the tweets:

Choosing citizenship on India-Bangladesh border

India and Bangladesh have agreed to exchange control of enclaves of land on each other’s territory. Officials have now begun asking the residents of the enclaves which nationality they want to opt for after the exchange of enclaves.

Wild elephant killed as bomb goes off in its mouth

Young female elephant was killed when a country bomb kept in a mango garden to hunt boars went off in its mouth at Pulibonuvari village.

Image for representational purposes onlly.

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A 10-year-old female wild elephant was killed when a country bomb kept in a mango garden to hunt boars went off in its mouth at Pulibonuvari village, said forest department officials.They said the animal mistook the low intensity bomb covered with some eatables as food and had tried to eat it. The resulting blast severely injured its entire mouth cavity and it died. The incident occurred on Monday.The officials suspect the bomb had been kept there by farmers in the area to scare wild boars entering the gardens situated close to the forest. A herd of about two dozen elephants have been prowling the vast and dense Seshachalam forest ranges, they said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>No one has been arrested so far and investigation is on into the death of the tusker, the officials said.

Hundreds of dead fish surface in Ganga river, probe ordered

Hundreds of dead fish were found floating in the Ganga river at Shukhra area on Sunday, promoting district authorities to launch a probe.

Ganga River.

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Hundreds of dead fish were found floating in the Ganga river at Shukhra area on Sunday, promoting district authorities to launch a probe.The fish were suspected to have died due to discharge from industries, government officials said here.Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Umesh Mishra told reporters that the sample of the Ganga river water was collected and will be sent for test.Meanwhile, some social and religious activists staged ‘dharna’ and demanded action. They also gave a memorandum to the SDM.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

In ‘leaked’ mail to ICC, Lalit Modi names three cricketers who were bribed

Modi did not clarify the veracity of the letter but called it ‘confidential’.

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A letter floating around on Twitter revealed that controversial former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi alleged two leading Indian cricketers and a West Indian player had been bribed by an Indian real estate tycoon, who is also a bookmaker. London-based Modi tweeted about the letter which is purportedly written by him to the International Cricket Council (ICC) CEO Dave Richardson in June 2013, passing on “some information that I have just got.”While Modi refused to confirm or deny if he had written the letter he told the person who tweeting the letter that it was confidential and should not have been tweeted. Modi also commented that the letter written to ICC may have been leaked.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Twitter handle which tweeted the image of the letter seems to have made just a single tweet, to which Modi responded.In the letter, it is stated that he told Richardson that he could pass the same to the anti-corruption and security unit of the ICC if he thought so fit. He then goes on to name the three players, who he claims were in close contact with the real estate tycoon who was also named in the letter.In the letter, it is also stated that he had been informed by “reliable sources” that the tycoon had paid in cash and kind to the three players. He concluded by saying that “I hope this is not true but if true it could mean more are involved.” On Twitter, Modi did not clarify the veracity of the letter.
When asked on Twitter how the letter was circulating online, Modi replied,
With PTI inputs.

Heavy rains wash away vital bridge on way to Kedarnath

However, there was no casualty. The bridge was very important as it was used for vehicular traffic on way to Kedarnath, the DM said.

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Heavy rains washed away a vital bridge over Mandakini river between Sonprayag and Gaurikund on way to Kedarnath in Himachal Pradesh this evening, official said.Heavy rains have sent the Mandakini river into spate as a result of which the motor bridge between Sonprayag and Gaurikund on way to the Himalayan shrine was washed away, Rudraprayag District Magistrate Raghav Langer said.However, there was no casualty. The bridge was very important as it was used for vehicular traffic on way to Kedarnath, the DM said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the bridge being washed away, the vehicular traffic will not be allowed to go beyond Sonprayag when the yatra is resumed, he said.Yatra to Kedarnath was suspended earlier today with heavy rains lashing Rudraprayag district since last night amid a MeT department warning of heavy rain and landslides in high altitude areas of the state for the next 48 hours.Meanwhile, an SDRF release this evening said its personnel rescued a total of 400 pilgrims stranded due to heavy rains at different points on yatra routes and moved them safely to their destinations.

Andhra Pradesh government drops ‘Indira’ from Polavaram project name; Congress fumes

The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday changed the name of multi-purpose Polavaram project by dropping the word “Indira” from its title, a move criticised by Opposition Congress, which termed it as a sign of “political bankruptcy” of the TDP-led ruling combine.

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The Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday changed the name of multi-purpose Polavaram project by dropping the word “Indira” from its title, a move criticised by Opposition Congress, which termed it as a sign of “political bankruptcy” of the TDP-led ruling combine.”Indira Sagar Polavaram Project” shall be renamed and notified as “Polavaram irrigation project”, said an Government Order (GO) issued in Hyderabad.The multi-purpose irrigation project, being built on Godavari river, had been accorded national status during bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh last year.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The name change drew a sharp reaction from the state Congress which hit out at the TDP government for removing the name of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from the prestigious project. “It is a brutal political decision of the TDP government. It is political bankruptcy,” Andhra Pradesh Congress President N Raghuveera Reddy said, demanding that the government restore the previous name.Incidentally, the name change has been effected on the day that marks the 40th anniversary of Emergency imposed in 1975 Indira Gandhi.

Prominent Indian scientist denied US visa to attend conference in Ohio

This is not the first time one of the countries eminent scientist has been denied a US visa.

Image for representational purposes only.

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Head of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Dr MO Garg is outraged that his visa to the US was denied, keeping him from attending a conference held in Columbus, Ohio on June 15.Dr Garg is in charge of the civilian research organisation which has 38 labs across the country. He submitted his passport to the US Embassy in Delhi almost 20 days ago in order to attend the conference but has yet to receive his passport back, NDTV reported. The scientist has travelled to the US several times since 1983. Six of his 30 patents are registered in the US.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This is not the first time one of the countries eminent scientist has been denied a US visa. In 2006, the US was forced to apologise after denying a visa to Dr Goverdhan Mehta, the then Director of the Indian Institute of Science from Bengaluru. When they interviewed Mehta for his visa, US embassy officials questioned the validity of his research.

‘Yoga should be adopted for complete well being’

The Ortho Yoga Life is a guideline for those suffering from joint pains.

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Agencies
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It’s yoga in the air, with everyone gearing up to observe International Day of Yoga on Sunday. Yoga teachers too are getting ready to participate with complete enthusiasm, and one among them is Dr Ramesh Mantri, an orthopedic surgeon and a yoga practitioner and guru. Mantri, who has developed the concept of Ortho Yoga Life, said, “Yoga is not (a) superficial exercise. It has to be reaped within the body and mind.” The Ortho Yoga Life is a guideline for those suffering from joint pains. Mantri has presented research papers on this concept at different medical conferences, which have been accepted well. Speaking to dna about yoga, he said, “The concept of yoga revolves around Aahar – Vihaar – Vichaar, which means Food – Behaviour – Thought. Patanjali gave a boon to the society 5,000 years ago and we realise that today we need it the most to maintain positive health.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Mantri emphasised that only yoga can lead to well being in all areas of life, including physical, mental, familial, spiritual and social. There are many forms of yoga, he said, adding that Ashtanga Yoga carries benefits as it is a holistic approach. “If we adapt yoga as our lifestyle, it will surely lead to a healthy life and prevent many problems. Fast food and fast life take you closer to a fast death. We find that psychological problems in the society are increasing at a rate of 30%. If we need to stay away from such problems, the solution lies in adapting yoga as a lifestyle and not as a class or exercise. It should begin at a young age and should be ingrained within the person and one should follow the three-point programme of healthy food, behaviour and thought,” Mantri said. He, however, warned that yoga should not be done without proper training. “Learn properly and then practise and do it every day. Even an hour a day would be sufficient,” he said.

After Nepal quake, ASI declares Taj Mahal, other monuments safe

All monuments have been found to be safe, ASI Director General Rakesh Tewari said.

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The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Friday declared Taj Mahal and all other monuments under it “safe” after conducting a detailed assessment in the wake of the devastating quake that wrecked Nepal and reverberated through several states in northern and eastern India.”We had instructed all our circles in North India to inspect their monuments and report their condition after the Nepal earthquake on April 25. All monuments have been found to be safe,” ASI Director General Rakesh Tewari said.Pointing out that the devastation due to the 7.9 magnitude earthquake was massive, Tewari said, “ASI undertakes a complete assessment of its own monuments” through a quick inspection to see if there is any damage in the aftermath of a disaster.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ASI DG said the organisation has “no plans to send its teams to Nepal to assess the damage to its cultural heritage”, but added that technical expertise could be provided if needed by the neighbouring country.”It is important to do a comprehensive assessment of physical damage in Nepal’s heritage sites, particularly their cultural World Heritage sites and important Hindu monuments.”Once this assessment is done, the process of reconstruction, rebuilding and restoration can be undertaken. If necessary, technical expertise can be provided by ASI,” Tewari said.Several of the monuments that were inspected across North India circles are of UNESCO World Heritage and national heritage status and are considered to be of immense historical and cultural importance.Archaeological experts were worried about the health of the monuments in the country as the April 25 temblor was felt for over a minute at several places. It was followed by another strong 6.6 magnitude quake and several lesser ones.Special emphasis was given on Taj Mahal, a UNESCO World Heritage monument built between 1631 and 1648 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, which drew over 61 lakh domestic and foreign tourists in 2014.

CM Akhilesh Yadav ready for Chinese Manufacturing Zone

UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is ready to provide land for a Chinese manufacturing zone (CMZ) after Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing Rs one lakh crore,

UP CM Akhilesh Yadav (L) AND Secretary General of ASSOCHAM D S Rawat (R).

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Chinese companies have expressed interest in investing in Uttar Pradesh which could expect pumping in of at least Rs one lakh crore, according to an industry body that said Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is ready to provide land for a Chinese Manufacturing Zone (CMZ).Secretary General of ASSOCHAM D S Rawat, who met Yadav on Tuesday, said around 50 Chinese companies were in touch with the industry body for setting up of an exclusive manufacturing hub in the state, which can take advantage by offering cheap land and tax rebates.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They want to invest by creating a ‘Chinese manufacturing zone’ in India and UP suits their needs the best,” he said, adding Yadav is “very excited” about the prospects and talked about providing land and other facilities for the manufacturing zone in Mathura.”The Chief Minister was told about Chinese companies’ willingness to invest in UP and he was excited. He said that he was ready to welcome them and will not let this opportunity slip,” Rawat said. He said that ASSOCHAM was preparing a project report regarding proposal of the Chinese companies. The CM also said that senior officials would be sent to hold meeting with the representatives of Chinese companies, he said.”We told the CM that if his government provides land and gives some rebate to willing Chinese companies, they will create their own zone, they want to bring 100 other companies with them,” Rawat said.”If this project succeeds then it will change the industrial map and fate of the state. The state will get atleast Rs one lakh crore investment from Chinese companies. Besides, other countries will get ready to invest in UP,” he added.The Secretary General said that project of Chinese companies would provide direct employment to 30,000 people and indirect employment to three lakh people. He said that it would also change the perception of the world towards UP.Rawat said that the CM should take advantage of positive notion of the investors towards the state in the last 10 months and put it effectively before the foreign investors. He said that if the government remains in touch with ASSOCHAM and other industry bodies then it could get information regarding ground reality and measures for improvement in a better way. He said that the government should take help of industry bodies and investors’ forum.Rawat also said that to attract foreign investors the government should publish a book titled UP Offers in which facilities being offered to the investors should be presented in a scientific manner. He said that if the government gives land at cheap rate and tax rebates to willing companies from China and other countries, it would send a good message.

Bitten by monkey, Delhi man lodges FIR against unknown people for assault

For 59-year-old Mayur Vihar resident Aravind Akshan in New Delhi it was a regular walk to office until a simian appeared and changed things altogether. The monkey not only bit Akshan twice but also snatched away his lunch-box.

Simian threat. Getty ImagesSimian threat. Getty Images

Simian threat. Getty Images

Akshan said it was a fat and rabid-looking animal which behaved quite aggressively when he tried to shoo it away,” according to The Times of India story.

The monkey bite was so severe that injured Akshan had to dial 100 to be rescued. The police later took him to Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital for treatment.

But the matter did not end there. The furious victim later filed a case of assault but lo! not against the monkey but against unknown people.

I have been attacked by other animals earlier but this time I decided to register a complaint so that someone is held accountable,” he told the national daily.

Officials from the East Delhi Municipal Corporation have been informed and one can only hope that the FIR does the trick of keeping the simians at bay from humans.

Ensure resources to developing nations on climate change: India

United Nations: As the global community readies to adopt an ambitious post-2015 development agenda, India has highlighted the importance of ensuring enhanced resources to developing countries to combat climate change.

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“It is important to ensure that the enhanced provision of resources to developing countries for climate change and environmental concerns is additional and not at the cost of traditional development finance.

“The present double counting of climate finance with Official Development Assistance (ODA) is a matter of concern,” counsellor in the Indian Mission to the UN Amit Narang said.

Even though ODA levels have regrettably declined, this does not diminish their relevance and ODA would remain relevant and important in the post-2015 period, he said, adding that much of the recent discourse has focused on the insufficiency and declining role of ODA.

“In fact the broader agenda envisaged under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)s would require ODA levels to be enhanced and scaled up,” Narang said in the General Assembly debate on ‘Means of Implementation for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda’ yesterday.

He said the organisation of Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July this year is a welcome opportunity to enrich global efforts to forge an ambitious set of ‘means’ for implementing the agenda.

“The linkage between the Post-2015 and Financing for Development processes must be seen through the lens of ‘complementarity’. The objective of the Financing for Development Conference is not to replace the Means of Implementation segment under the Post-2015 Development Agenda, but to complement it,” Narang said.

He said the broader and integrated development template of the SDG will require an integrated and comprehensive financing strategy to ensure the provision of additional, predictable and stable flows of resources to developing countries.

Narang noted that the starting point for forging a revitalised global partnership must be to draw lessons from the implementation of Millenium Development Goals, where the keys failures included a lack of integration and synergy between the substantive goals and the Global Partnership framework.

An excessive reliance on donor-recipient framework to the detriment of systemic issues for boosting growth and a complete absence of monitoring and accountability of the global partnership against agreed targets and indicators.

For South-South cooperation to live up to its potential, it must be allowed to grow under its own impetus, he said.

“It can neither be expected to meet the shortfall in nor should it be straitjacketed in terms of rigid rules or policy prescriptions derived from North-South aid,” he said.

PTI

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