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Tag: science

Fire engulfs Dubai hotel near world’s tallest building | Reuters

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Arrests, security fears dampen New Year spirit in Europe | Reuters

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India asks authorities to take action to save choking capital | Reuters

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‘Deep flaws’ in Facebook’s India plan

A group of leading Indian academics criticise Facebook’s controversial Free Basics internet plan, saying it has “deep flaws”.

Despite budget cuts, science in India is surging ahead: Lesson is clear, govt should invest more in R&D

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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ to top $1 billion in ticket sales by Sunday | Reuters

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Modi to meet Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in Lahore | Reuters

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ONGC in talks to up stake in Russia’s Vankor oilfield – document | Reuters

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India approves conversion of ONGC loan to unit into equity | Reuters

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India lowers crime trial age to 16 after Delhi gang rape furore | Reuters

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China’s Shenzhen hit by landslide, major gas pipeline explodes – state media | Reuters

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Exclusive – U.S. Justice Dept probes data breach at Uber: sources | Reuters

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Crop sowing down 5.5 pct, may hit farm output, economy | Reuters

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Maruti wins shareholder approval for Gujarat plant | Reuters

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India enters Guinness Book for conducting world’s largest practical lesson

2,000 students from schools across the national capital who attempted to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) last week have entered Guinness Book for World Records.

2,000 students from schools across the national capital who attempted to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’ at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) last week have entered Guinness Book for World Records.The earlier record was in credit of Northern Ireland which had conducted a similar experiment with 1,339 students.”The large practical science session which was organised during the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) at IIT has set a Guinness Book of World’s Record,” an IIT Delhi official said.Dressed in white lab-coats, 2,000 students had streamed into a giant tent pitched in the administrative block at IIT-Delhi on December 7 to take a shot at the world record for the highest number of students to conduct an experiment simultaneously at the same venue.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The “practical lesson” involved 40 schools, both government and private, across the city, each sending 50 students and a few “back up” ones.The children were trained by their teachers and have had several practice sessions each before the big lesson.During the experiment they managed to together turn methylene blue “reddish-brown” and rapidly decompose hydrogen peroxide to produce foamy ropes as a part of the Elephant’s toothpaste reaction.The video recording and a report on the experiment was sent to the Guinness Book which further evaluated the same and came up with the results.The event was organised by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO, as part of the festival at IIT jointly organized by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.The record will be in VIBHA’s name.Flagging of the experiment, Union Minister Smriti Irani had also said that there are plans to have an even bigger ‘practical lesson’ in Delhi in the coming months, in which school students from across the country will participate.

Mahindra’s discount deal shows Pininfarina’s limited options | Reuters

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Delhi CM Kejriwal says office raided, calls Modi a psychopath | Reuters

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Paris climate deal weak and unambitious: CSE

Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that the developed nations have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts in the agreement.

China and India representatives during the Paris climate talks

Reuters
The climate change agreement adopted is “weak and unambitious” and does not include any “meaningful” targets and have discharged developed nations from their historical responsibility, an Indian green think tank said on Sunday. Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said that the developed nations have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts in the agreement and the phrase “historical responsibility” has been erased from the agreement which weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to there past emissions.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> CSE director general Sunita Narain said that the whole Paris agreement is “weak and unambitious” and does not include any “meaningful” targets. “Developing countries have got words and promise of money while the developed countries have finally got rid of their historical responsibility of causing climate change. They have no legally binding targets on finance or emissions cuts. “The phrase ‘historical responsibility’ has been erased from the agreement and this weakens the obligations of developed countries to take actions due to there past emissions.” “Without historical responsibility, equity will now be interpreted only through the words ‘respective capabilities and national circumstances” further removing differentiation between the climate actions of developed and developing countries,” said Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE. A landmark climate change deal was clinched here with the approval of India, China and the US after days of tough negotiations here. The legally-binding pact seeks to limit global warming to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius. CSE said that to erase any notion of historical responsibility, the developed countries have gone to the extent of mentioning in the text that the loss and damage due to climate change “does not involve or provide a basis for any liability or compensation”. “On the whole, the draft Paris agreement continues to be weak and unambitious, as it does not include any meaningful targets for developed countries to reduce their emissions.” “It (the pact) notes that climate injustice is a concern of some and it maintains that the agreement will be under the UN convention. But as it does not operationalise equity and the term carbon budget didn’t even find mention in the text. This will end up furthering climate apartheid,” said Narain. Elaborating about what India has gained and lost out on the climate change agreement, CSE said that the agreement is under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India has got right words like equity and common but differentiated responsibilities mentioned in many places. The green body also said that India has also got the terms like climate justice, sustainable lifestyle and consumption mentioned in the agreement. But it must be noted that these are not in operational parts of the text and so there are no commitments for these things.”India also believes that it will not have to do much before 2030, but CSE analyses is that India will be under constant pressure to take more burden for mitigating climate change by 2020 and beyond, especially when the next review of all the nationally determined contributions of countries take place,” the body said.While analysing the agreement, CSE said that differentiation between developed and developing countries is maintained in the text in some parts, particularly on finance, but it must be noted that this is weak differentiation based on capabilities and not on historic responsibilities.It said that the the words ‘Equity’ and ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ has come in many places, but gets negated by the fact that the Nationally Determined Contributions of countries are not legally binding and everyone has to take on mitigation commitments.”The text does talk about support for loss and damage, but clearly specifies that this will not be considered as liability or compensation. This further weakens the obligations of developed countries and erases responsibilities of dealing with the consequences of their past emissions.”References to carbon budgets is gone and so developed countries can continue to disproportionally appropriate carbon space in the future as they have done in the past. A fair distribution of the remaining carbon space based on historical responsibilities could have avoided this inequity,” it said.After 196 nations adopted the agreement yesterday, India said it has created a “chapter of hope” in the lives of seven billion people.However, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar also said that the agreement could have been more ambitious as the actions of developed nations are “far below” than their historical responsibilities and fair shares.

Jiah Khan case: CBI slaps suicide abetment charge against Sooraj Pancholi

Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished, read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.

Rabia Khan, mother of Jiah Khan, leaves the sessions court in Mumbai on Friday
Salman Ansari
dna
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday slapped charges of abetment of suicide against actor Sooraj Pancholi over the death of model-actress Jiah Khan.”Nafisa alias Jiah Khan was emotionally attached with the accused. The wilful conduct of Sooraj drove the her to commit suicide. Hence Sooraj is liable to be punished,” read the CBI’s supplementary charge sheet.The CBI relied on several messages between the two to nail Sooraj. It also conducted certain psychological tests on him. The test reports from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Navi Mumbai, showed his statements to be incomplete and fabricated.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”From the psychological assessment and behavioral analysis, it may be inferred that Sooraj is hiding some information… and did not want to disclose some content of his last argument with the deceased, that may have caused her death,” the charge sheet said.The reports also said that it has been inferred that hand- written notes or letters of the deceased showed her mental status.The agency said that the two were in contact with each other since September 2012 and used to stay together till her death- – for nearly 10 months. They were also having physical relationship, it said.”Investigations have revealed that the deceased used to clean the room of Sooraj, and used to iron his clothes. She also used to clean and arrange the dining table, purchase decorative articles for the living room and the bedroom of Sooraj, whenever she used to stay with him in his flat in Shanti Bhawan. Jiah had also presented several valuable gifts to Sooraj,” the charge sheet said.A note written by Jiah establishes that Sooraj had ruined her life, it said. The false promises given by Sooraj to Jiah, as mentioned in the note, said: “You promised me one; we made it to one year. We would get engaged.”

Facebook’s Zuckerberg speaks out in support of Muslims | Reuters

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Offerings from budding scientists: Biodegradable plastic, jaggery chocolates and much more

Better India: First India International Science Festival showcases creativity of the youth

Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan during his visit to Expo

Optometry powered by a cell phone, an app that allows touch-free interaction with computers, biodegradable plastic, a jacket that helps visually-impaired people move, and jaggery chocolates high on haemoglobin content that can be eaten by diabetic people too. These are just a tiny fraction of the sea of projects that were exhibited at the first India International Science Festival (IISF), a nationwide science exhibition that was organised by the Ministry of Science and Technology.Aditya Khant from Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai who came up with Airtouch, an application that allows for ‘touch-free, sensor-independent input for human-computer interaction’. Khant, a student of 12th standard, does not even study computer science in school, and had an exam on Monday. “I build a simpler prototype when I was in the 9th standard in which one could play drums just by hovering your hand over the device.I have been developing that ever since; my mother has helped me with the aesthetics,” he says. He plans to be an entrepreneur.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Delhi-based Shreyas Kapoor of Modern School, Barakhamba, built an app that enables one to accurately find one’s eyesight disorder and apply for a lens accordingly. “An aberrometer (the instrument that determines the power of the lenses a person needs) costs about Rs 13,000. In villages, people are blind because of that. I made an app in which a figure will appear on the screen. A myopic person will see it as ‘8’, while a normal person as ‘5’,” he says. He adds that his school ‘does not know that I exist’, and that he met his mentor, MIT student Kshitij Marwah at a convention sometime ago. He plans to research further on his app, imbibe artificial intelligence in it, and further research on AI in the future.Aditya and Shreyas are both students in a team of 12 students which will represent India in the next leg of the Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS) to be held in Arizona next year. IRIS is a nationwide initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India (DST), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Intel Education. The winning team will have a planet named after him or her and will have their graduation funded.On the other hand is Ananya from Deeksha Vidya Mandir from Kadur. Deeply hurt by the death of their pet cow who chewed on plastic, she decided to make biodegradable plastic out of cornflour or potato starch. “I worked on it for six to seven months,” said the 10th standard student, adding that she wants to be a doctor, without leaving her love for experimenting with innovations like these.Ananya is the silver award winner of Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE), a nationwide science awards programme organised by DST. The gold was clinched by Oza Alay Kumar from Mehsana who came up with an artificial tree model which will turn carbon monoxide into oxygen, and a wind tunnel which cleans the polluted air with solar energy. Prithvi Raj from Jamtara was given the bronze for inventing a jacket with a radio sensor, arel and solar plates that help the visually-impaired to walk safely on the roads.This is the first time that the ministry has come up with a nationwide science exhibition, and in the process has included IRIS and INSPIRE, two reputed science fairs. The initiative is also helped by Vijnana Bharati, a not-for-profit organisation working for science popularisation”We wish for society to understand science better, and with an exhibition of such a huge scale, we hope that we create an environment in which people will be attracted to science. We have a lot of theoretical ideas, but we need better experiments in this country,” said Jayant Sahasbuddhe, Organising Secretary at Vijnana Bharati. The exhibition, which ended Monday, saw an attendance of two lakh, with children presenting 230-plus research papers besides hosting five workshops for over 10,000 delegates as well as the general public.

Afghan president in Pakistan for meeting, hopes for peace talks slim | Reuters

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World’s largest practical science lesson attempted at IIT Delhi

The participating students, with excitement writ large on their faces, got a pep talk from Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani ahead of the lesson.

Vying for an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records, 2000 students from schools across the national capital on assembled at the sprawling lawns of Indian Institute of Technology here to conduct ‘world’s largest practical science lesson’. Dressed in white lab-coats, the students streamed into a giant tent pitched by the administrative block in IIT-Delhi to take a shot at the world record for the highest number of students to conduct an experiment simultaneously at the same venue. Northern Ireland is the current record-holder with 1,339 students.The participating students, with excitement writ large on their faces, got a pep talk from Union Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan and Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani ahead of the lesson.Irani said that there are plans to have an even bigger ‘practical lesson’ in Delhi in the coming months, in which school students from across the country will participate. “We can have it in conjunction with the same team that did this programme today and have over 20,000 students participating. I am hoping that today’s programme has a catalytic effect on how we engage with the sciences and school and higher education,” she said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After the inauguration, the students collected numbered wristbands, displayed them for the camera when entering and took their seats at tables kitted out with graduated cylinders, tissue paper, gloves, droppers and other equipment. During the experiment they managed to together turn methylene blue “reddish-brown” and rapidly decompose hydrogen peroxide to produce foamy ropes as a part of the Elephant’s toothpaste reaction.The video recording and a report on the experiment will now be sent to the Guinness Book which will further evaluate the same and come up with results. The event was organized by Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA), an NGO, as part of the five-day India International Science Festival (IISF) at IIT being jointly organized by the Ministries of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences.

U.S. box office: ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Krampus’ top slow post-Thanksgiving weekend | Reuters

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India in command after Kohli leads by example | Reuters

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Forget ‘smart’ new cities; India needs old ones to be less dumb | Reuters

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LK Advani’s wife admitted to Aiims, condition ‘stable’

New Delhi: The wife of senior BJP leader LK Advani was admitted to Aiims on Tuesday due to health problems. According to doctors, Kamla Advani, who is in her early eighties, has been put in the ICU of the premier institute and her condition is at present “stable”.

LK Advani. APLK Advani. AP

LK Advani. AP

“Kamla Advani was admitted to Aiims in the morning at 6 AM with fever and urinary tract infection. She is under close monitoring by a team of super specialists comprising urologists, geriatric medicine and intensive care specialists. “Her condition is presently stable, she is maintaining blood pressure and oxygenation without any external support,” said Prof Neerja Bhatla, Chairperson, Media and Protocol Division at All-India Institute Of Medical Science.

According to sources, the wife of the former deputy prime minister complained of breathing problems early in the morning following which she was rushed to Aiims.

PTI

Eight Indian institutions among top 500 world universities, IISC leads the pack

This was disclosed by Union Minister for Human Resource development Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

Eight higher educational institutions from India have been listed in the top 500 universities in the world by the QS rankings in 2015.This was disclosed by Union Minister for Human Resource development Smriti Irani in the Lok Sabha on Monday.Two of these institutions’ the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi are ranked 147 and 179 respectively in the QS World University Rankings for 2015-16. The other six were IITs in Bombay (ranked 202);T Kanpur (271); Kharagpur (286); Madras (254); Roorkee (391) and Guwahati (460)<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Irani said Indian higher education institutions would need to work on improving their perception index if they have to better their global rankings.Also Read: IISc breaks into list of top 100 universities for engineering and technology

BMW to raise car prices in India by up to 3 percent starting 2016 | Reuters

NEW DELHI German carmaker BMW will raise the prices of its BMW- and Mini-branded cars sold in India by up to 3 percent starting Jan. 1, 2016, the company’s local unit said on Thursday.

BMW Group India has 39 dealerships across the country selling 20 BMW models, including the 5 Series, 7 Series, BMW X1 and BMW X3. It also sells four variants of the Mini.

(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Texas Instruments’ 12th edition of pan-India science and technology quiz announced

The Mumbai chapter of the quiz will take place at Rangsharda Auditorium on November 30.

Texas Instruments (TI) India 12th edition of Science and Technology Quiz 2015

To encourage the spirit of inquiry and innovation among students, Texas Instruments (TI) India has announced the 12th edition of Science and Technology Quiz 2015.The quiz will be held at a pan-India level, and students from class eighth, ninth and tenth can participate. This year, Texas instruments has also added two new cities to its list. The quiz will now be held in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow, leading to a finale in Bangalore.The Mumbai chapter of the quiz will take place at Rangsharda Auditorium on November 30. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The company believes that this quiz will help the students to make academic choices especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).“With the objective of encouraging adoption of a multi-dimensional approach to learning, the students through this quiz are challenged on their knowledge related to the various dimensions of science and technology. This quiz marks TI’s commitment towards cultivating a spirit of curiosity and innovation amongst school children, whom we look at as future technology pioneers and who will contribute to the development of the country as a knowledge economy,” said Santhosh Kumar, President and Managing Director, Texas Instruments India.

NITI Ayog push to innovation and start-ups; Government and private stakeholders to hold discussions

This will be a follow-up of a NITI Ayog appointed expert committee report on innovation and entrepreneurship submitted last month that recommended private funding for research and development and incentivizing innovations, among other things.

Policy panel National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog will hold discussions with the ministries of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) , Department of Biotechnology and Department of Science and Technology to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and start-ups under the government’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM). This will be a follow-up of a NITI Ayog appointed expert committee report on innovation and entrepreneurship submitted last month that recommended private funding for research and development and incentivizing innovations, among other things.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> While secretaries of MSME, department of Biotechnology and Department of Science will be part of the deliberations, which will be held on December 4 in the form of a panel discussion, other participants will include members of the 15-member expert committee, including its chairman Professor Tarun Khanna.Minister for Science and Technology and and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan is expected to join the deliberations whereas independent innovators and entrepreneurs too have been invited. Besides establish the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Ayog is also looking at setting up a Self Employment and Talent Utilisation (SETU) mechanism. According to Ayog, while AIM will act as a platform for promoting a network of world-class innovation hubs,SETU will be a techno-financial, incubation and facilitation programme to support all aspects of start-up businesses, and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.

Foreign banks buy up bulk of Indian state government debt | Reuters

MUMBAI Three banks snapped up almost 90 percent of bonds sold by Indian states to foreigners, and turned them into derivatives, raising the prospect of more volatility in one of Asia’s best performing debt markets.

Several market participants involved in the sale said offshore units of Nomura, Standard Chartered (STAN.L) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) bought about 30 billion rupees ($451 million) of the 35 billion rupees on offer in October, the first window for foreigners to buy in.

Much of that debt was then sold for a hefty fee as derivatives known as total return swaps to offshore clients keen for the bonds’ higher yields, compared with India’s already popular sovereign debt, and with similar guarantees.

In contrast, traditional buyers of the illiquid bonds are state banks, who hold the debt to maturity.

When contacted by Reuters, the three banks declined to comment.

India has been one of the most resilient emerging markets, with foreign buyers taking up about $9.7 billion of debt this calendar year, nearly exhausting available limits on sovereign debt purchases.

Those purchases have helped domestic debt return 7.8 percent so far this year, the highest in Asia, according to HSBC.

Given that appetite and a need to expand its investor base, India let foreigners buy state bonds and also relaxed the investment ceiling in government bonds by around 56 billion rupees in September: the first step in a gradual opening.

“The main objective of (Reserve Bank of India) in opening these limits is to attract diverse and new sets of investors to the Indian bond market,” said a senior foreign bank treasury official based in Mumbai.

“But if eventually the FII (offshore) units of the foreign banks in India get to corner the limits, elbowing out the long term investors, then that leaves open a big risk of these trades unwinding and disrupting the Indian debt market.”

India’s central bank has sought to discourage “bond tourists”, favouring what it calls “real” investors, who would not flit in and out of the market.

Although currency and market risks have been passed on to other buyers, a sharp sell-off could see these investors re-selling the derivatives back to the banks and forcing them to swap the debt or sell at a discount.

But with foreigners owning only 4 percent of Indian government debt versus 47 percent in Indonesia, for example – the impact of even a significant sell-off would likely be muted.

“We are less concerned as the liquidity in IGBs is one of the highest in the region, and foreign positioning remains a very low component of the outstanding market,” said Rohit Arora, interest rate strategist at Barclays in Singapore, referring to Indian government bonds.

The next window for foreigners to buy state government debt is on Jan. 1.

($1 = 66.450 Indian rupees)

(Writing by Clara Ferreira Marques; Editing by Rafael Nam and Jacqueline Wong)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

India set to become surplus sugar producer | Reuters

LONDON India, which has had a big impact on global sugar prices because of swings between being a net importer and a net exporter of the sweetener, is set for a sustained period as a net exporter in coming years, a senior industry official said on Tuesday.

Barring an extreme weather event, the world’s second-biggest sugar producer and the top sugar consumer is set to cement its position as a net exporter because of remunerative sugarcane prices, the director general of the Indian Sugar Mills Association (ISMA), Abinash Verma, told an industry seminar.

The Indian sugar industry is becoming structurally a surplus producer, Verma said in a keynote address to the two-day International Sugar Organization (ISO) seminar.

“A surplus is expected in the next few years at least,” Verma said, adding that he expects surpluses to average about 10 percent of annual domestic production.

(Reporting by David Brough; Editing by David Goodman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Meet Imran Khan, the man PM Narendra Modi praised in Wembley

Khan, a teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school here in Rajasthan, insisted that softwares should be provided in the regional languages if we want to spread the Digital Indian Mission to the rural areas as well.

Imran Khan (Image credit – Imran Khan’s Twitter account)

Imran Khan, a 34-year-old mathematics teacher, who shot into the limelight after Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed him in his Wembley address on Friday for distributing 52 education apps for free, thanked the latter and said that it was a small step taken by him as a teacher.”It was a small step taken by me as a teacher. It is a big thing for me that our Prime Minister has praised me,” he said.Khan, a teacher at a government Sanskrit senior secondary school here in Rajasthan, insisted that software should be provided in the regional languages if we want to spread the Digital Indian Mission to the rural areas as well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”As a part of Digital India mission, we should provide tablets, computers and other IT tools to the rural areas. The software installed in those gadgets should be available in the regional languages. Many good types of software are available in English but to extend their reach to the villages, they should be provided in regional languages like Hindi, etc as well,” he added.Related read: PM Modi reaches out to NRIs, says headlines not the barometer to assess IndiaEarlier, Prime Minister Modi, who was addressing the Indian diaspora at the Wembley Stadium in London, said that he was sure of India’s bright future because his vision of India, was the India of Imran Khan who created and gave education apps for free; and of the Sarpanch who had conceived ‘ Selfie with Daughter’. He said there are countless such people in India. Khan had developed his first app – the NCERT Learn Science – for the Class 9 students in 2012. Of all the apps he has made so far, General Science in Hindi is the top grosser, with around 500,000 downloads.The teacher has created 42 Android apps and counting, in just three years. While these apps have been downloaded by 2.5 million users until now, the screen views alone have come up to 18 million.Khan, who did a two-year basic teacher training course after his senior secondary degree, became a third-grade government teacher in 1999. He was posted in Kota for four years, before being transferred to the government school in Jaton Ka Bagh ? just five kilometres from his native village, Khareda, in Malakhera.

Modi in UK: India, Britain pledge to work together on climate change

London: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his British counterpart David Cameron on Thursday pledged to work together to tackle climate change and signed a memorandum to strengthen energy cooperation between the countries.

The leaders said climate change is “one of the greatest global challenges of the century having adverse impacts at the national and international levels”, said the joint statement.

British PM David Cameron with PM Narendra Modi. PTIBritish PM David Cameron with PM Narendra Modi. PTI

British PM David Cameron with PM Narendra Modi. PTI

Cameron and Modi welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen energy cooperation between the two countries building on existing successes and promoting closer future collaboration in areas such as electricity market reform, energy efficiency, offshore wind, solar power, smart grids, energy storage, and off-grid renewable energy services.

The two prime ministers also pledged to work together for a comprehensive agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015.

The leaders emphasised the importance of climate finance and of developed countries honouring their commitment to mobilise jointly $100 billion a year by 2020 from a wide variety of sources, both public and private, in the context of meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation.

The two prime ministers announced £ 10 million of joint funding from the Research Councils UK and Indian Department of Science and Technology for new joint renewable energy research centers, bringing the total value of the Indo-UK clean energy research programme to 60 million pounds.

Cameron announced the UK climate investment venture with the Green Investment Bank, which will invest up to a total of 200 million pounds of UK climate finance in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects in India and Africa. He also announced a 10 million pounds five-year programme of technical assistance to support national and state-level reforms in India’s power sector.

Cameron emphasized Britain’s commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, as set out in the 2008 Climate Change Act, meeting its carbon budgets in the most cost-effective manner.

Modi also highlighted India’s commitment to reduce its emissions intensity by 33-35 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels and put in place 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 through nationally determined development measures and priorities.

IANS

Pollution level to be ‘severe’ during Diwali: MeT

The peak time pollution is expected at 1 AM and the duration for maximum pollution will be between 10 PM to 2 PM on the intervening night of November 11 and 12 and 7-9 am early morning.
Representational Image
dna Research & Archives
The meteorological department has cautioned that pollution level during Diwali night is expected to be “severe” due to bursting of firecrackers and advised those persons with heart and lung diseases to stay indoors.According to System of Air Quality, Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an agency of Ministry of Earth Science responsible to track pollution levels the national capital said, November 12-13 is expected to witness dense haze formation. The Diwali this year is falling on November 11. The peak time pollution is expected at 1 AM and the duration for maximum pollution will be between 10 PM to 2 PM on the intervening night of November 11 and 12 and 7-9 am early morning.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Winter is now set and temperature during Diwali-2015 is going to be colder as compared to last year’s Diwali-2014 which was in October. There is enough moisture in the air and atmospheric holding capacity is quite high for particles emitting from firecrackers. In all likelihood, air quality during Diwali-2015 is going to be inferior to that of Diwali-2014 owing to cooler temperature and downward shift of inversion layer,” SAFAR’s Project In-charge, Gurfan Beig, said.There could be an increase in humidity level to above 96% because of the cold weather.”Under this condition, particles emitting from firework will sit on water droplets and multiply it resulting in more particles in suspended air itself. This process is called secondary particle formation which is likely to happen on November 12 and 13, making condition congenial for dense haze formation,” Beig said.The PM (particulate matter) 2.5 level is expected to by 148 % on November 12 and 170 % in case of PM 10. Noida, Delhi University (North) will record high level of pollution and Lodi Road and Mathura Road will witness less pollution.”Everyone with heart and lung diseases, older and adult and children should should avoid all physical activity outdoors. There is a serious risk respiratory effects in general public in prolonged exposure,” Beig added.

Warangal fire mishap: Rajaiah, family quizzed again on Day 2

Police also took many material including burnt objects from the scene of offence including food from the house which will be sent to Forensic Science Laboratory.

Sircilla Rajaiah

The questioning of former Congress MP Sircilla Rajaiah, his wife and their son continued for the second day on Thursday in connection with the mysterious death of his daughter-in-law and three grandsons, whose charred bodies were found at his residence here. “Rajaiah and two others were brought by police from their house for examination (questioning)… It is continuing,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Hanamkonda Sub-Division) Shoban Kumar said over phone. Police also took many material including burnt objects from the scene of offence including food from the house which will be sent to Forensic Science Laboratory and other departments for analysis, the ACP said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The post-mortem on the bodies of Rajaiah’s daughter-in-law S Sarika and three grandsons-seven-year-old Abhinav, and twins Ayaan and Shriyaan, aged three is now underway, the senior police officer said.Charred bodies of Sarika and her three children, who died on the spot due to burn injuries were recovered yesterday. Warangal City Police Commissioner G Sudheer Babu said Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kumar–were among those inside their house when the incident happened on the first floor of the two-storey building at Hanamkonda. The police have registered a case of abetment to suicide against Rajaiah, his wife and son, but said they had not made any arrest so far in connection with the incident but took them to a police station in Warangal for examining them. Following a complaint by Sarika’s parents, a case was registered against Rajaiah, his wife Madhavi and son Anil Kumar at Subedari police station under sections 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and 306 (abetment to suicide) of IPC, and under section 174 (suspicious death) of CrPC for the death of three boys. Following the incident, 62-year-old Rajaiah, who was nominated by the Congress as its candidate for the Warangal Lok Sabha by-election slated for November 21, was replaced by former Union Minister Sarve Satyanarayana as the party’s candidate.

Google aims to begin drone package deliveries in 2017 | Reuters

WASHINGTON Google, which hopes to revolutionize consumer deliveries via drone, expects to begin delivering packages to customers by unmanned aircraft sometime in 2017, an executive said on Monday.

“Our goal is to have commercial business up and running in 2017,” David Vos, the project lead for Google’s Project Wing, told an audience at an air traffic control convention outside Washington.

(Reporting by David Morgan)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Nepali police kill Indian protester at border blockade | Reuters

KATHMANDU Nepali police shot and killed an Indian citizen at a border checkpoint on Monday as they tried to clear protesters whose blockade has strangled Nepal’s fuel supplies and badly damaged relations between the neighbours.

Nepal has faced an acute fuel crisis for more than a month since protesters in the lowland south, angered that a new constitution fails to reflect their interests, prevented supply trucks from entering from India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the killing of an Indian youth and spoke with Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Oli to seek details about the incident.

Many in Nepal see India’s hand in the protests although it denies any role.

Modi said he had assured the Nepalese leader that there was “no obstacle” from India to the supply of fuel and other essentials to Nepal.

With the landlocked Himalayan nation of 28 million recovering from its worst earthquake on record, the government has turned to China for extra fuel. Officials said some Chinese oil was due to arrive in Kathmandu late on Monday.

Hundreds of stick-wielding protesters battled with police near the border crossing, known as the “friendship bridge”, in Birgunj district, television pictures showed.

Raju Babu Shrestha, district police superintendent, said protesters threw petrol bombs and stones at a police post prompting them to “fire in self defence”.

“One protester, an Indian national, who was attacking the police post with the petrol bomb was killed in the firing,” Shrestha said, adding that the man was killed a few hundred metres from the border crossing.

More than 20 people including 15 police officers were injured in the clash, he said.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said India was deeply concerned about the violence in which “an innocent Indian” was killed. He said Indian fuel-truck drivers were advised not to put themselves in danger.

Protests over a new constitution turned violent in August and more than 40 people have been killed as southern plains dwellers objected to seeing their lands divided and included in several federal states dominated by mountain communities.

The constitution was nonetheless adopted on Sept. 20, paving the way for the formation of a government headed by Prime Minister K.P. Oli, who has failed to calm passions that have paralysed economic and political life.

Earlier on Monday, police cleared protesters staging a sit-in on the bridge but a protest leader said they had re-occupied it and five people had been hurt.

The protesters had gone into Birgunj town where they were burning tyres. A protest leader, Purushottam Jha, from a political party that represents minority Madhesis, said police had used teargas in the town and fired into the air.

Police said 219 empty trucks had been cleared to return to India but that none had entered from India.

(Reporting by Ross Adkin and Gopal Sharma; Writing by Douglas Busvine; Editing by Nick Macfie and Robert Birsel)

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More misery for Mourinho, City and Arsenal win | Reuters

LONDON Jose Mourinho’s future as Chelsea manager looked increasingly insecure after a 3-1 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday, Philippe Coutinho scoring twice at Stamford Bridge as the champions lost a sixth Premier League game in 11.

Chelsea’s third home league reverse of the season left them in 15th place in the table with 11 points from 11 games — the worst ever start to a season by the reigning champions.

They are already 14 points behind Manchester City who needed a last-gasp Yaya Toure penalty to beat Norwich City 2-1 and retain top spot on goal difference from Arsenal who won 3-0 at Swansea.

Toure’s spot kick spared the blushes of City keeper Joe Hart who fumbled a routine catch to gift Norwich a late equaliser.

All Arsenal‘s goals came after the break as they made it five league wins in succession — Olivier Giroud, Laurent Koscielny and Joel Campbell all on target.

Leicester City are up to third thanks to a 3-2 victory at West Bromwich Albion where they trailed, with Jamie Vardy scoring for the eighth league match in a row.

Manchester United dropped to fourth after a 0-0 stalemate at Crystal Palace, their second successive goalless league draw.

Chelsea, labouring in the Champions League, out of the League Cup and as good as finished in the title race, are in free fall and Liverpool‘s fans, celebrating a first league win for new manager Juergen Klopp, taunted Mourinho with chants of “You’re getting sacked in the morning”.

Former Chelsea winger Pat Nevin summed up the mood, saying: “The questions over Mourinho will be a cacophony now.

“It’s not just the defeat but the manner of it. They were absolutely outplayed,” he added on BBC radio.

GOOD START

Triple Premier League winner Mourinho was tight-lipped afterwards, but asked if it could have been his last game in charge, he said: “No”.

The day had started so well for Chelsea.

There were only four minutes on the clock when Cesar Azpilicueta’s was headed in by Ramires.

If the home fans expected Chelsea to force home their advantage, though, they were disappointed as a hard-working Liverpool side recovered to dominate possession.

Coutinho equalised two minutes and 40 seconds into the indicated two minutes of first-half stoppage time, curling a precise shot past Chelsea keeper Asmir Begovic.

Liverpool midfielder Lucas was lucky to avoid a second yellow card midway through the second half for a foul on Ramires — a decision that infuriated Mourinho.

To rub salt into the wounds, Liverpool went in front a few minutes later when Coutinho again beat Begovic with a shot that brushed off John Terry, captaining Chelsea for the 550th time.

Christian Benteke made the points safe with a low shot seven minutes from time.

MOURINHO ANGRY

“What happened in the second half was a consequence of crucial moments, moments that the stadium saw, and more than just see it, the players felt it. From then what happened was just a consequence,” Mourinho told reporters.

Asked if he could turn around Chelsea’s unravelling season, he said cryptically: “If they allow us.”

Klopp was sympathetic. “I feel for him. He’s a great coach. I don’t think anyone in this room doubts he’s one of the best in the world. Things like this happen. I had a similar situation at (Borussia) Dortmund last year,” the German said.

While Chelsea lurch from crisis to crisis — they have lost nine times in all competitions including their midweek defeat on penalties by Stoke City in the League Cup which they won last season — Liverpool are buoyant.

They are on 17 points and have moved up to seventh after a run of six matches unbeaten in the league.

Fifth-placed West Ham United lost 2-0 at Watford, their first away loss of the season, while Newcastle United stayed in the bottom three after a 0-0 draw at home to Stoke City.

(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Ken Ferris and Clare Fallon)

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Modi government tells scientific research organisations to find their own sources of funding

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ‘Chintan Shibir’ which unveiled the new policy was that representatives from Vigyan Bharati, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, were part of the meeting.

Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan

The Modi government has apparently told organisations involved in scientific research to start ‘self-financing’ projects send in monthly updates and ensure that research stays in sync with the Central government’s ‘social and economic objectives.’According to a report in the Hindu, the cash-strapped Ministry of Science and Technology, led by Harsh Vardhan, has asked the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to generate half of its funds and start sending report cards to the Centre. The report cards should describe how “each of the laboratory (is) focusing its resources on developing specific lines of inventions which would contribute to the social and economic objectives of the Narendra Modi government for the poor and the common man.”<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The decision was taken at the two-day ‘Chintan Shibhir’ in June in Dehradun. Here, all CSIR labs resolved to turn research projects into ‘for-profit’ ventures over the next two years, says the Hindu.According to the ‘Dehradun Declaration’, all laboratories signed up to develop a revenue model in a ‘business like manner’ with cost-benefit analysis.The research institutions will have to submit their short-term and long-term projects(between 1 and 3 years) to the Modi government.Funding for the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) and Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) — both under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) of the government — have not been affected, said a CSIR scientist to the Hindu.But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the ‘Chintan Shibir’ was that representatives from Vigyan Bharati, an organisation affiliated to the RSS, were part of the meeting. “While DAE institutions are spared for the moment, institutes under the CSIR are badly hit by the government’s budget slash. Under the Dehradun Declaration, research institutions have been asked to raise part of their money for research through external funded projects and grants. While senior and established researchers can manage to secure grants, young researchers are having a tough time. This will affect the quality of research,” a senior scientist at CSIR told the Hindu.The report adds that CSIR labs are now required to show how their research contributes to ‘society outreach’. Apart from submitting report cards of their work, the organisation must now show what part of their work ‘gives back to society’.All this sparks fears of a fresh thrust on ‘indigenous science’. Of late, RSS as well as some BJP ministers have called for a revival of ancient Indian science. Home Minister Rajnath Singh in September even went so far as to say that India’s ‘dhoti wearing pandits’ had better knowledge of space science than America’s NASA scientists. At a student function in a Delhi college, Singh said, “USA’s NASA can make the prediction that after a month, solar and lunar eclipse will happen at this time… the media says America has such advanced technology, it is predicted one and-a-half years, two years ago. I can say with confidence that if you go to the dhoti-wearing pandit in the neighbourhood, he will pull out the ‘panchang’ and tell you when the lunar and solar eclipses happened 100 years ago and when they will happen 100 years later.”Moreover, apart from funds cut, the number of CSIR fellowships have also been reduced. The 2015 notification for Senior Research Fellowships (SRFs) granted by CSIR has not been issued so far. Last year fewer people have been granted SRFs.But Science and Technology is not the only ministry to experience budget cuts. The Health Ministry has also pulled the plug on 18 donor-funded projects and 14 operational research projects financed by the National AIDS Control Organisation, in March this year. Thus, funds for HIV/AIDS research have been significantly cut down.Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan told the Hindu that research in India needed to be commercialised, underplaying concerns. “The technology transfer is not happening and there is no harm in relying on industry to scale up or take forward the research projects under way. If the labs make more money, the research will be better utilised. We are not giving targets to research institutions. We just want them to be better coordinated and have more accountability,” he said.It is however, difficult to see how this could impact PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in a positive way.

Texas Instruments announces 12th edition of science and technology quiz

The company believes that this quiz will help the students to make academic choices especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

To encourage the spirit of inquiry and innovation among students, Texas Instruments (TI) India has announced the 12th edition of Science and Technology Quiz 2015.The quiz will be held at a pan-India level, and students from class eighth, ninth and tenth can participate. This year, Texas instruments has also added two new cities to its list. The quiz will now be held in Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Lucknow, leading to a finale in Bangalore.The Mumbai chapter of the quiz will take place at Rangsharda Auditorium on November 30. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The company believes that this quiz will help the students to make academic choices especially in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).“With the objective of encouraging adoption of a multi-dimensional approach to learning, the students through this quiz are challenged on their knowledge related to the various dimensions of science and technology. This quiz marks TI’s commitment towards cultivating a spirit of curiosity and innovation amongst school children, whom we look at as future technology pioneers and who will contribute to the development of the country as a knowledge economy,” said Santhosh Kumar, President and Managing Director, Texas Instruments India. The regional and national winning team will get laptops, tablets, kindles and other attractive prizes. Schools in Mumbai can participate in this quiz by registering at http://www.ti.com/ww/in/ti_quiz/register.html.

‘Perfect Health Mela’ to be organised in Delhi

Organised by Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), the primary focus of this year’s event is to deliberate, debate and deliver a comprehensive strategy for the national management of new age health epidemics such as dengue and swine flu.
Representational Image

Keeping in view the outbreak of dengue and swine-flu in Delhi, this year’s ‘Perfect Health Mela’ will focus on creating health awareness among the people about the two deadly diseases.Organised by Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI), the primary focus of this year’s event is to deliberate, debate and deliver a comprehensive strategy for the national management of new age health epidemics such as dengue and swine flu.Co-organized in collaboration with Ministry of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Textile and in association with Indian Medical Association (IMA), MTNL, Coke, MCD and NDMC, the Mela is scheduled to take place between November 4 and 8 at Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The five-day event will showcase seminars, on-ground checkups, entertainment programs, lectures, workshops, and competitions all centered around preventive health issues of swine flu and dengue.”Over the past decade we have seen a drastic rise in the dengue and swine flu cases. Large-scale awareness generation is key to the national management of these new age epidemics. During the 22nd MTNL Perfect Health Mela, we will be taking out a white paper on the national strategy required for the management of diseases like dengue and swine flu in India. We will also be educating the public about respiratory hygiene, cough etiquette, and hand hygiene, which are one of the most prominent measures for ensuring immunity from the influenza virus,” said K K Aggarwal, President of HCFI and Secretary General of IMA.

Maldives vice president arrested in probe of explosion targeting president | Reuters

MALE Maldives Vice President Ahmed Adheeb was arrested on Saturday in a investigation over a speedboat explosion targeting President Abdulla Yameen, police and government officials said.

Yameen, 59, was unhurt in the Sept. 28 blast as his presidential boat Finifenmaa approached the capital Male while he was returning from Saudi Arabia after the haj pilgrimage, but his wife and two aides were injured.

“We have arrested the vice president in relation to the Finifenmaa incident,” a police media official told Reuters. “He is now in police custody in Dhoonidhoo detention centre.”

Home minister Umar Naseer told Reuters: “He is arrested on the charges of assassination attempt.”

Adheeb’s arrest comes after defence minister Moosa Ali Jaleel was sacked by Yameen on Oct. 14, amid a shake up in VIP security after the explosion. Two other military officials were also arrested immediately after the incident.

Police said 17 of Adheeb’s supporters were arrested on Saturday for “public order offences”.

Adheeb was arrested at the airport when he was returning from China after participating in a conference.

Local media had speculated that Adheeb had left the country to live in exile, but the vice president confirmed on Thursday in his Twitter feed that he would return.

Security was beefed up in the capital Male and journalists were not allowed into the airport, eyewitnesses said.

The government initially said the blast on the speedboat could be due to mechanical failure but later called it an attempt on Yameen’s life after investigators from the U.S. FBI, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Sri Lanka ruled out mechanical failure as the cause.

A broader crackdown against political dissent belies the popular image of the Maldives, an island chain with a population of 400,000, as a holiday paradise, with radicalised youths enlisting in significant numbers to fight for Islamic State militants in the Middle East.

(Additional reporting by Waheed Mhamed in Male; Writing by Shihar Aneez; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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Britain dismisses Jet Airways appeal over carbon fine | Reuters

LONDON Britain has rejected an appeal from Jet Airways over a 15,000-euro ($16,570) fine for failing to comply with Europe’s Emission Trading System (ETS), according to a government notice published on Friday.

Although the fine is relatively small, the rejection of the appeal could serve as a precedent in other cases where an international carrier may seek to contest a fine levied under the carbon emissions scheme.

The EU requirement that all aircraft using its airports pay for carbon dioxide emissions caused an international outcry, particularly from Saudi Arabia, India and Russia, when it was introduced at the start of 2012. The EU changed the rules a year later to apply only to the portions of flights within the bloc, rather than their entire length, but still faced opposition.

The British ruling notice, published on Friday but dated Oct. 12, said Jet Airways was required to submit carbon allowances to cover 150 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2012.

The carrier had said the Indian government had told it not to comply with the scheme.

“Those directions from the Indian Government could not oust the application of the EU-ETS,” David Hart QC said in the ruling. He was appointed by Britain’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to oversee the case.

A Jet Airways spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment on Friday.

Earlier this year Saudi Arabian Airlines was fined about 1.4 million euros by a regional Belgian government for breaching EU carbon emissions rules.

And the German Emissions Trading Authority this year published a list of 44 non-compliant operators it had fined for not surrendering carbon allowances in 2012.

($1 = 0.9051 euros)

(Editing by Pravin Char)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Google seeks common cause with media firms over ad blocking | Reuters

FRANKFURT Google says European media firms, often the search giant’s harshest industry critics, share a common threat because a surge in ad-blocking technology is a threat to all businesses dependent on advertising.

Carlo d’Asaro Biondo, Google’s president for EMEA strategic relationships, told a media conference in Munich on Thursday that consumers “hate bad ads”, and that Google and content creators must do more to protect consumers from obtrusive ads.

“The problem is that ad blockers that block all ads are throwing the baby out with the bathwater,” d’Asaro Biondo said, according to prepared comments for the conference. “We need to work together to create a standard for better ads online.”

His comments came as part of a six-month charm offensive by Google – its Digital News Initiative – to win over newspaper publishers with collaboration on technology, digital newsroom training and funding for small-scale media innovation projects.

Over the past decade, the media industry has often accused Google of making money at its expense by making its content freely available via Google News, YouTube and other services to drive audiences to view ads on Google sites instead.

While critics have derided Google’s Digital News Initiative as offering token handouts to the media industry, some 100 European publishers have signed up to the project since April, d’Asaro Biondo said, up from just 11 initial partners.

He said those taking part are free to choose how much they participate and do not need to buy into Google’s “worldview”.

Europe’s online advertising market grew to 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in 2014, according to industry figures.

This is the lifeblood of publishers and other content creators and Google aims to make it easier for news organisations to get their share, d’Asaro Biondo said.

Two weeks ago, Google announced a service it calls Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) designed to speed the loading of news pages in mobile phone browsers, potentially reducing reader complaints about ads slowing down page retrievals. AMP will begin running in Google Search early in 2016, he said.

Google gets about 90 percent of its revenue from ads.

Germany’s biggest newspaper publisher Axel Springer last week banned readers who use ad blockers from its Bild tabloid website, stepping up a fight by publishers to stop online advertising revenues being eroded.

Some 200 million people used ad blockers last year, up 40 percent from a year earlier, resulting in $22 billion in lost advertising revenue, according to a recent study by Adobe and PageFair, an anti ad-blocking technology company.

($1 = 0.8958 euros)

(Editing by David Clarke)

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Heritage experts say no to illumination of Taj Mahal

Located about 20 m from the base of the monument, the lightings on the Yamuna side are attracting maximum insects on that side. While the monument falls under the Agra Circle of the ASI, its security has been entrusted to Central Industry Security Force (CISF).

Calling Taj Mahal as “not a monument to experiment with”, top heritage experts have raised objections to the illumination of the famed Mughal-era mausoleum, saying the step jeopardizes its marble surface due to defecation on it by insects attracted by the lighting.According to senior officials of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), few low-level security lighting posts were installed a few months ago at the 17th century World Heritage Site, with a twin purpose of illuminating the Taj and wooing tourists at night.”However, the direct illumination of the marble monument has brought with it, a big problem – insects. And, these are grass-sapping insects which sit on the floors and walls of the illuminated part and discharge their excreta on the surface, leaving a colored pigment on it, thus spoiling the flawless beauty of the architectural icon,” Superintending Archaeologist (Science Branch) M K Bhatnagar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Located about 20 m from the base of the monument, the lightings on the Yamuna side are attracting maximum insects on that side. While the monument falls under the Agra Circle of the ASI, its security has been entrusted to Central Industry Security Force (CISF).”We (Science Branch) have already sent a letter to the Director General, ASI, Director, Science Branch (ASI), Superintending Archaeologist, ASI Agra Circle and to the CISF requesting them to switch off the lights immediately,” Bhatnagar told PTI over phone from Agra.B R Mani, who recently retired as the Additional Director General of the ASI, expressed surprise over the move to install lighting at the world famous heritage site.”First of all, Taj Mahal does not need lighting at all. It is a marble structure and can be seen in all its glory in natural night. It is absolutely unwise to illuminate it with artificial lighting, which attracts insects. On full moon day, one can see Taj in all its splendor. And, if the government thinks by putting up lights they can attract more tourists, then I am sorry to say this, but Taj Mahal is not a monument to experiment with,” Mani said.”And, having the monument lit up and so many people coming to see it at night, also is a potential security threat.Tourists can come once in a while to admire its beauty at night, but not on a regular basis,” he added.Sources at ASI said that there was “pressure” from the tourism ministry to install the lights, even though previous studies on the subject have suggested against it.”There were departmental studies done around mid-2000s and these explored the impact of illumination, saying the insects attracted by the light, drop excreta on the surface, which leads to pigment deposition on the marble. Unless there is no conclusive study on this subject, Taj Mahal should definitely not be illuminated,” Superintending Archaeologist, Agra Circle (ASI), Bhuvan Vikram said.Bhatnagar said that in 2013 there was a meeting in this regard but no progress was made on that front. Built over 20 years starting 1632 by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as a monument of love for his late wife Mumtaz Mahal, it has romanced for more than three centuries as “the tear drop on face of eternity”.Constructed with Makarna marble, the Taj and the neighboring Tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah, nicknamed ‘Baby Taj’, are considered two of the finest marble wonders of India, and experts are of the view that, one “should not meddle” with these architectural icons.Noted archaeologist and former Agra Circle chief K K Muhammed has also disapproved the decision to light the Taj.”In the mid-90s, there was a study done on the illumination of the monument and it had rejected any proposal to do so, citing consequent harm to the surface of the monument… And, we don’t need illumination anyway at the Taj.Even in Europe, Italianate marble structures are not subject to such lighting, and proper care is taken. We can’t do things just in the name of tourism,” he said.According to Mani, there were also proposals earlier to allow people to see the Taj at moonlight from Mehtab Bagh side opposite the riverbank, but priority should be on the monument’s safety and security than revenue or footfall.”There should first be a debate first as to why we need illumination. And, there should be a conclusive study which should tell us the effects of the lighting, but without it, one cannot just put them up, in the interest of tourism,” he added.The Taj is already facing threat from environmental pollution and experts believe that one should not risk the “marble marvel” with other sources of tarnishing. Mud pack treatment for the Taj has already been used by them to combat the ill-effects of air pollution.Considered one of the greatest monuments ever built, it attracts 7 to 8 million visitors annually. The local Agra administration and the Uttar Pradesh government too have taken measures like introducing eco-friendly vehicles to reduce the pollution in the heritage zone.

Refining records boost Reliance profits, 4G plan on track | Reuters

MUMBAI Indian oil-to-retail conglomerate Reliance Industries posted a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by record refining margins, and confirmed plans to launch a keenly awaited 4G telecommunication service by “around December”.

Reliance, controlled by India’s richest man and the country’s second-largest company by value, said on Friday consolidated net profit rose 12.5 percent, even though plunging crude prices dragged revenue down by more than a third.

Higher profits came largely from gross refining margins, which rose to $10.60 per barrel, the highest in seven years and up from $8.30 in the same quarter a year earlier.

“We use a lot of crudes… You are able to use a market which is massively oversupplied and drive the bargain down. Once you do that, it improves your profitability,” co-chief financial officer V. Srikanth told reporters.

“We remain pretty constructive on refining.”

Reliance shook off an impairment of 26.6 billion rupees ($410.9 million) in shale gas assets, offsetting it with the sale of its investment in a U.S. shale gas joint venture.

The company, which generates the bulk of its revenue from refining and petrochemicals, has been expanding into consumer businesses such as retail and telecoms to aid growth. It has spent more than $14 billion to date on telecoms alone, and is spreading into fashion, grocery and online banking.

Reliance’s telecoms business is building India’s biggest fourth-generation (4G) broadband network and plans a December launch for its Jio brand.

It said on Friday it had the network in place and had thousands of professionals testing the system, covering a million kilometres a day.

“We now have close to 10,000 testers in the field, and this is getting enhanced,” said Anshuman Thakur, a former investment banker who joined Reliance to advise on telecoms strategy.

The company’s retail division will also sell its own brand of 4G LTE smartphones under the brand name LYF, pronounced “life”.

Reliance said it was in talks with five manufacturers to manufacture the phones, which would be priced “from premium to affordable”, at as little as 4,000 rupees, and will eventually be made in India.

Cash-rich Reliance’s entry into the crowded telecoms sector poses a potential threat for established players such as Bharti Airtel Ltd and Vodafone’s local unit.

For India’s thriving e-commerce players, however, the arrival of 4G is expected to galvanise business. This includes a new generation of niche banks, including Reliance’s own venture.

“All of the services we are offering, there are synergies, so we try and roll them out close together,” said Thakur, referring to retail, banking and other services.

($1 = 64.8550 Indian rupees)

(Additional reporting by Devidutta Tripathy; Editing by Jane Merriman and Jason Neely)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Facebook’s Like button set to get more emotive | Reuters

REUTERS – Like it or not, Facebook Inc’s trademark “Like” button is set to get more expressive.

The social network said on Thursday it is launching a pilot test of “Reactions”, which will allow users to express a range of emotions including love, happiness, anger and sadness.

“Dislike” is not one of them though.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last month the social network was working on adding a button other than “Like” to express empathy on posts where a “Like” would not be the appropriate response.

Users immediately took to the social media site, speculating that the company was working on a “dislike” button.

In a video accompanying a Facebook post by Chief Product Officer Chris Cox on Thursday, the six new buttons appear as animated emoticons and pop up when the “Like” button is long-pressed. (on.fb.me/1LBnXIG)

The company said it would start the pilot in Ireland and Spain on iOS, Android and desktops.

The feedback from the pilot test will be used to improve the feature and the company hopes “to roll it out to everyone soon,” Cox wrote in the post, which was “liked” by nearly 3,400 users within an hour.

Cox clarified that the button was not a “dislike” button. “As you can see, it’s not a “dislike” button, though we hope it addresses the spirit of this request more broadly.”

Zuckerberg’s comments last month prompted contrasting opinions over the potential “dislike” button.

While some said they would use Facebook more if a dislike button were introduced, others said it would lead to cyberbullying and more negativity on the site.

(Reporting By Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Science in India not dealing with national priorities: YS Chowdary

The Minister of state for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences lamented that there is a gap between the common man and the scientific community, which “needs to be bridged at the earliest”.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Science in India is more “scientists centric” rather than “dealing with national priorities” and if the scientific community does not act swiftly, it will “lose trust of people”, Union Minister Y S Chowdary said on Saturday.The Minister of state for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences lamented that there is a gap between the common man and the scientific community, which “needs to be bridged at the earliest”.”I am coming across a public opinion, increasingly and more frequently, that India’s science is scientists centric by choice and not by national priorities. And also, the gap between the scientific fraternity and common man, who is at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, is widening,” Chowdary said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The minister was speaking at Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Foundation Day. Earth Sciences Minister Harsh Vardhan, ISRO chairman and Department of Space secretary A S Kiran Kumar, CSIR Director General Girish Sahani were also present at the event. Chowdary said Science and Technology (S&T) should be used to address the problems concerning India, especially the rural areas, where majority of its population lives.Noting that resources were not a concern, the Union Minister said major reforms are required in the science administration and also the research as the existing “status quo is not going to deliver”.”Let us attempt big reforms. Reforms need not be restricted to economic development. They must encompass science administration and the way we do science in India,” he said.Chowdhary pitched for an overhaul in the approach so that the “people dont lose the trust” in the institution.”A stitch in time saves nine. We need an overhaul in the manner of research which is carried out. Act swiftly because if we delay, we will lose trust of people. People, including me, will lose an opportunity forever of making changes,” he asserted. He added that the scientific community should prioritise research that can generate spin off companies.”‘Start up India and Stand up India’ cannot be imagined without innovations, etc,” he said.Harsh Vardhan noted that there was a need for an integrated approach as different laboratories under different departments/ ministries do same kind of research without any coordination amongst themselves.

Bengaluru: Student attacked on Indian Institute of Science campus

IISc Students Council members with Sandeep Patil

Image Courtesy: Facebook
The Indian Institute of Science is reeling under the attack on a student on its premises on September 16. The incident has been narrated at length on the Students’ Council IISc Facebook page. The post states that around 9:20 PM on Wednesday night, two students (Sushil and a woman) were going for dinner. Suddenly a high speeding car nearly brushed them and when they retaliated by waving their hand to slow down, the driver, identified as Raghavendra, stopped and started arguing. When they replied back, the driver reportedly got out from the car and took a stone to hit them. He then abused them verbally and told them that his father was an IISc employee and no action could be taken against him. The car driver then came back with his friends and when the couple was returning from dinner allegedly attacked them. Sushil was physically assaulted. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sushil and his friend managed to escape and call security and their friends for help. However, the chief security office of IISc reportedly refused to take action against Raghavendra. The students have filed a police complaint against the culprits. Raghavendra’s father is a non-teaching staff at IISc.The students have now updated the Students’ Council IISc Facebook page with a post stating that they met with the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central), Sandeep Patil, who has promised to take action against the culprits. The IISc Students Council says it is firm in their demand and that loopholes in IISc security must be fixed.

President congratulates IISc, IIT students as institutes figure in world top 200 rankings

New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday congratulated the Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore (IISc-B) and the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi (IIT-D) for figuring in the list of top 200 institutions of the QS World University Rankings.

“I am delighted that IISc, Bangalore and IIT, Delhi have been ranked at 147 and 179 respectively in the QS World University Rankings of 2015-16. Please accept my heartiest congratulations on this remarkable achievement,” the president said in separate messages to IISc-B director Anurag Kumar and IIT-D officiating director Kshitij Gupta.

President Pranab Mukherjee. Agencies

President Pranab Mukherjee. Agencies

“India has outstanding and inherent talent and its institutions have the potential to be the best, provided they can apply themselves to the task of improving quality,” Mukherjee said in a statement issued in New Delhi.

“A high rank not only boosts the morale of the academic community but also opens greater avenues of growth and placement for students,” the president said.

“It provides a benchmark for continuous quality enhancement. I am confident that you along with the faculty members and staff of your Institution will continue to strive for developing our academic institutions into global leaders,” he added.

According to a report in Times of India, it is the first time Indian universities have made it to the top 200 list of the world’s best universities.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) sits on the top spot, followed by Harvard. The University of Cambridge and Stanford University are tied at third place.

With inputs from IANS

Uttar Pradesh: Engineers and PhDs among 23 lakh applicants for 368 peon positions

Many applicants were approached by several media agencies who admitted that they had no job and it was better for them to be a peon than an unemployed graduate or a PhD.
Representational Image

Recently, the Uttar Pradesh state government reportedly sought applications for 368 posts of peon in the state secretariat in Lucknow. In a surprise response, over 23 lakh applicants, which is half of Lucknow’s population, sent in their resumes for the post. Out of these 23 lakh applicants, over 1.5 lakh are B Tech, BSc and BCom graduates, 25 thousand are Masters in Science, Commerce and Arts. 255 PhDs are also in the queue for a job as peon in the secretariat.The advertisement released by the government had only two criteria; a) Applicant should be have passed 5th standard and b) Applicant must know how to ride a bicycle.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>These recruitment were reportedly to be done by a face-to-face interview but it will take more than four years to interview every applicant. NDTV has reported that the government is seeking help from experts on how to continue with the recruitment process. Analysis of these applications suggest that only 53,000 applicants have passed standard 5. Many applicants were approached by several media agencies who admitted that they had no job and it was better for them to be a peon than an unemployed graduate or a PhD.

President Pranab Mukherjee congratulates IISc, IIT-Delhi on global ranking

In the message, Mukherjee said India has outstanding and inherent talent and its institutions have the potential to be the best.

Please accept my heartiest congratulations on this remarkable achievement, says Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday congratulated the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi for figuring in the top 200 in a global university ranking, and said high rank boosts the morale of the academic community. According to the QS World University Rankings of 2015-16 released today, IISc and IIT-D have been placed at 147 and 179 respectively.”In individual messages sent to Anurag Kumar, Director, IISc, Bangalore and Kshitij Gupta, Officiating Director, IIT, Delhi, the President has said ‘I am delighted that IISc, Bangalore and IIT, Delhi have been ranked at No.147 and 179 respectively in the QS World University Rankings of 2015-16. Please accept my heartiest congratulations on this remarkable achievement,” Deputy Press Secretary to President, Shamima Siddiqui said here today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In the message, Mukherjee said India has outstanding and inherent talent and its institutions have the potential to be the best, provided they can apply themselves to the task of improving quality. “A high rank not only boosts the morale of the academic community but also opens greater avenues of growth and placement for students.”It provides a benchmark for continuous quality enhancement. I am confident that you along with the faculty members and staff of your Institution will continue to strive for developing our academic institutions into global leaders,” he said.

IIT Kharagpur researchers develop method to produce tea in plains

At a tea plantation in Jalpaiguri, CISTA members were installing the first such machine from IIT this month.

Women labourers pluck tea leaves at a garden in Dibrugarh, Assam.
File Photo
PTI
Quality Indian tea will no more be limited to the likes of Assam and Darjeeling as IIT is helping new areas in Kharagpur and Purulia to produce scientifically- grown and processed tea.At a small tea garden inside the campus, IIT-Kharagpur researchers have demonstrated how organic tea could be grown scientifically even in the plains and then the leaves processed in a cheaper way with their newly patented energy-saving machine. In the vicinity of the campus, the Science and Technology Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) at the IIT, has identified 17 villages where commercial tea cultivation would soon begin.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Tea cultivation will begin in non-traditional areas of south Bengal using new scientific methods. We are targeting small farmers with 5-10 cottah of fallow land. This will uplift the rural economy as well,” STEP’s Managing Director and Biotechnologist Satyahari Dey told PTI. Under a project funded by the Tea Board, a team of scientists led by Professor Bijoy Chandra Ghosh of the Agricultural and Food Engineering Department has developed new CTC (crush, tear and curl) machines, which occupy less space and consume less energy.”The existing technology used everywhere in India and even outside, is a century old. Our technology is very innovative and patented. It will reduce the cost of tea processing by about 20-30 per cent,” Ghosh said.They have already demonstrated the technology to small tea growers who were welcoming it. “We are confident that this machine will change the tea industry forever due to cost savings,” Confederation of Indian Small Tea Growers’ Association (CISTA) President Bijoy Gopal Chakraborty said. At a tea plantation in Jalpaiguri, CISTA members were installing the first such machine from IIT this month. “You will soon find small tea growers queueing at IIT to get the machine. This will become a game changer,” Chakraborty said. IIT-Kharagpur officials said they would provide all required technological and agricultural inputs for new croppers.Traditionally tea has been grown along the slopes of hills and not in plain lands. Researchers say tea could be grown in plain lands like Kharagpur in West Midnapore district if the agricultural plot is turned into a slope so that the crop doesn’t get damaged due to standing water.”The soil here is laterite and porous. Shade management using an alternate tree crop will ensure that the temperature in the field never crosses 35-36 degrees centigrade.Irrigation can be done through sprinklers,” Ghosh, who started the tea project, said. Purulia’s district administration has also shown interest in starting tea cultivation using the IIT methodology, he said.Ayodhya Hills in the district have a moderately hot and humid climate, fertile acidic soil and slope land — key requirements for tea cultivation.Produce from the IIT tea garden in Gopali area spread over 15 acres, is now being sent out for sampling in the local market. “Our tea quality is very good and people are liking it. This is probably the most scientific tea in the world,” STEP’s Professor Dey said. The present model of their machine can produce 500 kg of tea per day, but it can be scaled down for small tea plantations.He said they wanted the miniature machines to cost less than Rs 10,000 in the market for marginal farmers who could produce only 100 kg of tea in a month. To operate the machines, young and unemployed science graduates would be trained by the institute, Dey added.

Bionic ear made by DRDO to be available soon!

The imported cochlear implant costs about Rs 7 to Rs 10 lakhs.

Picture courtesy DRDO website

Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has manufactured a hearing aid that will solve the issues of many of those who have a hearing problem. Set to cost just one-eighth of an imported hearing aid, the ‘bionic ear’ will be available in the market by end of 2015.According to a report in Deccan Herald, the cochlear implants is being developed by Defence Bio-engineering and Electro-Medical Laboratory (Debel), a unit of DRDO, in Bengaluru. The imported cochlear implant costs about Rs 7 to Rs 10 lakhs. The indigenous bionic ear will be available for Rs 1 lakh.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The cochlear implant project was started in 2012 and has about nearly three and a half years to reach the clinical stage. The implant will undergo trials at five centres across India before large-scale commercial production starts.Scientists from several institutes like Advanced Numerical Research and Analysis Group (Hyderabad), Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and Naval Science and Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam, are working with DRDO on this project.

Teachers’ Day: Famous Indian teachers that shaped our country

These teachers have changed the social, political or cultural landscape of our country significantly.

In honour of Teacher’s Day, we put together a list of India’s most famous teachers. They didn’t just go on to accomplish great achievements in their respective fields, but they knew the value of sharing their knowledge and passing it on.Dr. Sarvepalli RadhakrishnanEven though Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan came from humble beginnings, he went on to become India’s first Vice President and the second President. He also had an extensive career as a teacher, beginning at Madras Presidency College. He eventually became a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mysore and represented the University of Calcutta at the international congresses in the UK and US. Radhakrishnan also gave a lecture on Comparative Religion in Oxford.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After Radhakrishnan became the President was approached by friends and students about celebrating his birthday. Instead he wanted September 5 to be observed as Teacher’s Day.Savitribai PhuleIndia’s first female teacher Savitribai Phule, was also the woman to open the first girl school in the country. In 1948, when Phule and her husband started the school for girls in Pune, it had caused outrage. She received a lot of backlash and abuse for doing what she believed in. Despite it all, Phule managed to open five more schools for girls by the end of that year.As a poet, Phule is considered to be one of the pioneers in Marathi poetry. Phule’s achievements didn’t stop there, she also dealt with issues like untouchability and widow remarriages.Dr. APJ Abdul KalamBefore becoming India’s 11th President, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was a scientist who studied physics and aerospace engineering. He spent four decades as a scientist, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).After leaving office, Kalam passed on his knowledge to students all across the country. He became a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management at Shillong Ahmedabad, and Indore and an honorary fellow of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. He taught information technology at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad and technology at Banaras Hindu University and Anna University and various other institutions.
Rabindranath TagoreThe Visva-Bharati University in Santiniketan is Rabindranath Tagore’s greatest legacy and gift to education. Tagore took teaching out of the confines of a classroom and formed a school he hoped would connect India and the world and become a centre for the study of humanity beyond the limits of geography. Teaching at this school was done under trees.Tagore did not just guide his students academically but also emotionally and spiritually. He even invested his Nobel Prize money into the university, now one of the most reputable universities in the country. Dr. Asima ChatterjeeOrganic chemist Dr. Asima Chatterjee is best known for her development of cancer medicine vinca alkaloids, now used in cancer drugs, and for the development of anti-convulsives and anti malarial drugs from plants.In 1944, she became the first woman to be named a Doctor of Science by an Indian university. She spent most of her life teaching chemistry at Calcutta University and inspiring generations of students to work in the field.Dr. Manmohan SinghBefore he became the 14th Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh was a teacher. He taught in several establishments including Punjab University, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. While addressing the Addressing National Award winning teachers on the eve of Teacher’s Day in 2010, Singh revealed that his own time as a teacher “have been the most satisfying and fulfilling” in his life.
Ustad Alla Rakha KhanOne of India’s most renowned table player Ustad Alla Rakha Khan was also a celebrated teacher to many students. As a young boy Ustad ran away from home to learn the instrument and eventually became the first artist to play the tabla solo at the All India Radio. Ustad was able to bridge the gap between Hindustani and Carnatic musicians by playing with both styles. Khan passed down the art of the tabla to many students, but his most famous student was his son Ustad Zakir Husain.

Hyderabad: Principal at Osmania University assaulted by students

Image credit: NB Subbaiah

Wikimedia Commons
Professor Narsing Rao, Principal of Osmania University’s Science College, was allegedly threatened and assaulted by students on Friday. Deccan Chronicle reports that around 30 students went to his chamber and demanded that hostel rooms be allocated to them. When Professor Rao told them they weren’t eligible for hostel rooms, the students took to threats and violence, injuring the professor.A police case has been registered and eight students were arrested, the report said. This is reportedly not the first time that Professor Rao has been attacked by students.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The assault on Professor Rao is not new at Osmania University. Many professors over the years have been attacked by students. The university has more than 20,000 students who are said to be living illegally in the hostels. Principals have often face threats and are assaulted by students over allocation of hostels and payment of fees for the hostel and the mess.

Sheena Bora Murder case: Forensic Science Laboratory staffers scan vehicle

The investigators will look for evidence of blood – visible or invisible to the naked eye – on car seats.

A team of five investigators from the state-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) went to the Khar police station on Friday evening to examine the vehicle allegedly used to dispose off Sheena Bora’s body. “Field investigators from Toxicology, Biology and Physics divisions are examining the Opel Astra allegedly used by the accused,” said a senior FSL official.The investigators will look for evidence of blood – visible or invisible to the naked eye – on car seats. “The foam on the car seats has deep absorbing capacity. Tests will be conducted on the collected samples to ascertain the presence of blood. Also, the entire car will be scanned by Ultraviolet light, which can throw up any stains otherwise invisible to the naked eye,” added the official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Investigators from the Physics department will scan the car for the presence of soil samples. Soil samples differ based on geographical location. Also, imprints of tyre marks will be taken and the car will be scanned for physical evidence such as hair, nails, fabric, among others,” said the official. The car belongs to Worli-based AM Motors and had been hired from the firm. It has been sold twice over since 2012, and was retrieved from a Vashi-based person.

SAARC Secretariat suggests satellite project under its ambit, India rejects

“If the issue is the referred to the SAARC’s Technical Committee on Science and Technology then it will get stuck for 2-3 years as everyone will chip in. We wrote back to the SAARC secretariat that it was not possible to bring the project under the aegis of the regional grouping,” said a senior government official.

After Pakistan, the SAARC Secretariat has suggested bringing India’s satellite project for countries of the grouping under its ambit, but India has rejected the idea again saying it is not acceptable.In a letter from the SAARC Secretariat, based in Nepal, it has been suggested whether the “issue could be referred” to SAARC’s Technical Committee on Science and Technology.India has, however, rejected the suggestion saying the project is India’s gift to its South Asian neighbours.”If the issue is the referred to the SAARC’s Technical Committee on Science and Technology then it will get stuck for 2-3 years as everyone will chip in. We wrote back to the SAARC secretariat that it was not possible to bring the project under the aegis of the regional grouping,” said a senior government official.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We are very clear from the beginning that this is not a SAARC project, but a project for the SAARC countries. It is India’s gift to its neighbours. By bringing it under the ambit of SAARC or even discussing it in the regional group’s S&T committee is not acceptable to us. And we have informed SAARC secretariat about this,” the official said.Sources said the fresh demand was made at the behest of Pakistan. In its meeting in June, Pakistan had made a similar demand to bring the project under the SAARC umbrella and had even offered to chip in with funds and technical expertise.However, India had rejected its offer saying the project was India’s “gift” to SAARC nations.Moreover, referring it to the SAARC’s technical committee on S&T, would only delay the project further, sources said, and India wants to launch the project by December 2016, as envisaged by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Sources also pointed out that India is waiting for the other SAARC countries approval so that it can book a slot in the orbit, where the satellite could be placed.”Once we get approval from all the countries, we can apply for ITU registration, an important step before launching a satellite,” a source said.

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