National

PM to host 1st India-Central Asia virtual Summit on 27th

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi will host the first India-Central Asia Summit in a virtual format on January 27 during which the leaders are expected to deliberate on steps to take forward relations to newer heights as well as the evolving regional security situation. The virtual summit will be held with the participation of the five Presidents - Kazakhstan’s Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Uzbekistan’s Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Emomali Rahmon, of Tajikistan, Turkmenistan’s Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and Sadyr Japarov ..

No MVA in Goa; Shiv Sena, NCP to fight poll without Congress

THE Shiv Sena and Sharad Pawar-led NCP on Wednesday decided to forge a pre-poll alliance for the next month’s Assembly elections in Goa, saying that the Congress didn’t respond to their proposal for a joint contest. Speaking to reporters, Sena MP Sanjay Raut said that the next Government in Goa, currently ruled by BJP, would not be formed without the involvement of Sena and NCP. Senior leader Praful Patel said the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Sena will field candidates on at least 10-12 seats ..

Mulayam’s daughter-in-law joins BJP

SAMAJWADI Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s daughter-in-law Aparna Yadav joined the BJP on Wednesday, asserting that she has always been impressed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She joined the party in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya and its state chief Swatantra Dev Singh. Expressing her admiration for Modi, she also said the nation’s interest has always been a priority for her and praised several schemes of the BJP Government for cleanliness, empowerment ..

Cabinet clears Rs 1,500 cr infusion in IREDA

THE Government on Wednesday decided to infuse Rs 1,500 crore in the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA), raising its lending capacity to Rs 12,000 crore. A proposal in this regard was approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the decision has been taken in the wake the RBI’s lending norms. The Minister said the infusion of Rs 1,500 crore will enable IREDA to lend ..

Punjab mining raids: ED seizes Rs 8 crore cash from CM’s kin

THE Enforcement Directorate (ED) has siezed around Rs 10 crore in cash, including Rs 8 crore from premises linked to a relative of Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, during the raids conducted in an anti-money laundering investigation against illegal sand mining operations in the poll-bound border State, officials said on Wednesday. The raids that were launched at a dozen locations in the State on Tuesday were completed early on this morning with the agency also seizing a number..

Maltese legislator is EU Parlt President

CHRISTIAN Democrat Roberta Metsola of Malta was elected President of the European Union’s Parliament on Tuesday, taking over for a 2 ½-year term following the death of Socialist David Sassoli last week. Metsola is only the third woman elected to the post. Her birthday was Tuesday, and at age 43, she is the European Parliament’s youngest President. Sassoli, 65,..

Satellite photos show aftermath of Abu Dhabi oil site attack

SATELLITE photos obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday appear to show the aftermath of a fatal attack on an oil facility in the capital of the UAE claimed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The images by Planet Labs PBC analysed by the AP show smoke rising over an Abu Dhabi National Oil Company fuel depot in the Mussafah neighbourhood of Abu Dhabi on Monday. Another image taken shortly after appears to show scorch marks and white fire-suppressing foam deployed on the grounds of the depot. The Abu Dhabi ..

Oil price tops $87/bbl but petrol, diesel prices stay unchanged

INTERNATIONAL oil prices jumped to the highest level since 2014, topping USD 87 a barrel but domestic petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the 74th day in a row - a freeze that may be linked to ensuing Assembly elections in States like Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. Brent - the key global oil benchmark - soared to USD 87.7 per barrel mostly due to rising geopolitical tensions and supply-side disturbances due to Yemen’s Houthi group’s attack on oil facilities in the United Arab Emirates. Also, ..

PM interacts with BJP workers in Varanasi through NaMo app

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday held an audio interaction with BJP workers of his Varanasi parliamentary constituency and reaffirmed the BJP’s commitment towards development. Restoration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor, women empowerment, infrastructure and healthcare development were among the topics that came up for discussion during the interaction. Interacting with one of the ‘karyakartas’ (party workers), Prime Minister Modi asked him to expand the reach of the Government’s welfare schemes ..

Antrix-Devas deal was fraud on people of India: Nirmala

FINANCE Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday accused Congress-led UPA of entering into a “fraud” and “scandalous” deal with Devas Multimedia by allocating S-band spectrum used by the defence for “pittance”. The 2005 agreement was “a fraud on people of India, fraud against the country,” she said, adding the S-band spectrum, which is otherwise used for defence purposes only, was given away for pittance. Devas, she said, promised to deliver on things on which it didn’t even have ..

Army rescues 30 civilians stuck in J&K avalanches

AMIDST fresh snowfall and two avalanches, the Indian Army and General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) rescued 30 civilians stuck on Chowkibal-Tangdhar road (NH-701) on the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday. Two rescue teams comprising of avalanche rescue teams from the Indian Army and a team of GREF reached the NC pass as soon as they received the information of civilians being stuck closer to Khooni Nala and SM Hill on NH 701. “Despite adverse weather conditions compounded by twin avalanches, ..

6,929 panchayats in border, Naxal-hit areas to get satcom services by June

RURAL broadband infrastructure organisation BBNL expects to connect 6,929 panchayats located in border, Naxal-affected areas and in island territories with satellite-based communications (satcom) services. The special purpose vehicle under the Telecom Ministry has already commissioned satellite services in 4,682 Gram Panchayats (GPs) including those located in Galwan Valley, Doka La, Leh, Tawang etc. “At present, all 4,682 GPs out of 6,929 have been connected with satellite services. This includes ..

SC asks Centre: Why intake of women candidates in NDA restricted to 19 for 2022

THE Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to explain why, despite its orders, the intake of women candidates in National Defence Academy (NDA) for year 2022 has been restricted to 19, the figure same as last year. It asked the Centre to place the figures on record about the total number of candidates including women who have appeared in the NDA examination 2021, for entrance tests for Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and for Rashtriya Military School (RMS)..

EC issues list of those who can cast vote through postal ballot in 5 States

THE Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a list of those persons working in essential services who can cast vote in upcoming Assembly elections through postal ballot in five States. The ECI has allowed media persons authorised by it to exercise their franchise using the postal ballot facility for the upcoming Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The commission in a letter to Chief Electoral Office of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa said that media persons authorized ..

75 aircraft to flypast Rajpath on R-Day

THE Republic Day parade at the Rajpath this year will see the “grandest and largest” flypast ever with the participation of 75 aircraft to mark the Azadi ka Amrut Mahotsav celebrations, an IAF official said on Monday. The flypast will conclude with seven jaguar fighter aircraft flying in the ‘Amrit’ formation to commemorate the 75 years of Independence. “The flypast this year will be the grandest and largest with 75 aircraft from IAF, Army and Navy flying during the Republic Day parade. This is in ..

SC for national-level model builder-buyer agreement, says can’t leave it to States

THE Supreme Court on Monday told the Centre that it does not favour individual State Governments to have a builder-buyer agreement, and rather prefers a national-level model agreement, to deter builders from fleecing unwitting home buyers. A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Surya Kant said, if the Central Government can engage with the Central Advisory Council (CAC) under Real Estate Regulation and Development Act (RERA) to create a national model on builder-buyer agreement, then it would act ..

NIA announces Rs 10 lakh bounty against SFJ operative Multani

THE National Investigation Agency (NIA) has announced a bounty of Rs 10 lakh in cash for those providing information about Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) operative Jaswinder Singh Multani who is wanted for hatching conspiracy with ISI operatives to carry out terror attack in Mumbai and other parts of India. NIA’s Chandigarh branch issued the reward against Multani days after filing a First Information Report (FIR) against him as his links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence were established in hatching ..

IIT-Bombay student jumps to death from hostel building

A 26-YEAR-OLD student of IIT Bombay committed suicide by jumping off the terrace of his hostel located on the Powai campus here in the early hours on Monday, police said. Prima facie, the deceased student was undergoing treatment for depression, a senior officer said. The deceased student, identified as Darshan Malviya, had written a message on the board in his hostel room, stating that no one should be held responsible for his death, a Powai police official said. Malviya’s body was spotted by ..

Aircraft carrier Vikrant completes third sea trials

INDIA’S first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant has returned to Kochi harbour after completion of its third sea trials in high seas, a defence spokesperson said here on Monday. “IAC returned from sea trials on January 16 (Sunday), wherein large number of ship systems were operated and tested with training on various equipment fitted onboard,” the spokesperson said, adding that the trial data will now be analysed with mandatory inspections and balance work on the ship. The IAC had begun its ..

India’s growth in next 25 years will be clean, green, sustainable, reliable: PM

CITING India’s commitment to deep economic reforms and ease of doing business, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday asserted that this is the best time to invest in the country as policy-making is focussed on the needs for the next 25 years for a ‘clean and green’ as well as ‘sustainable and reliable’ growth period. In his special address to the World Economic Forum’s online Davos Agenda 2022 summit, Modi underlined a host of reform measures undertaken by his Government to stress that it has worked ..

Legendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj passes away

KATHAK doyen Birju Maharaj, who took the classical Indian dance form to the world and helped make it accessible for generations of students and audiences, died at his home here in the early hours of Monday. He would have been 84 next month. Maharaj-ji, as he was popularly known, died surrounded by his family and disciples, laughing and smiling till the very end. They were playing ‘antakshari’ after dinner when he suddenly took ill, his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told PTI. Birju Maharaj, one of India’s ..

Birju Maharaj: A life dedicated to dance and pursuit of classical excellence

HE ROMANCED Kathak like few others ever did, his mastery over the classical dance form writing him into lasting fame as one of India’s greatest performing artistes. Birju Maharaj lived as he died. He grew up with the ghungroo, tabla and harmonium striking rhythms of harmony and as took his last breath in the early hours of Monday his home was quite fittingly alive with the sound of music – this time old songs he so loved. The legendary dancer, a guru ..

Phytochemicals discovered in Himalayan plant ‘Buransh’ that restrains COVID-19

RESEARCHERS from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Mandi and the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) have identified phytochemicals in the petals of a Himalayan plant that could potentially be used to treat COVID-19 infection. The research found that phytochemical-rich petals of Rhododendron arboreum found in the Himalayan region, locally called “Buransh” show antiviral activity and fight against the virus. The findings of the research team have been recently ..

BSF rescued 33 women trafficking victims on WB border in 2021

     By Amresh SrivastavaNEW DELHI, INDIA’S premier border guarding force BSF on Sunday said that by enhancing anti-human trafficking mechanism along the West Bengal border, it has rescued 33 women in 2021 and out of wh..

Alwar girl case: Raj Govt to recommend CBI probe

     JAIPUR, THE Rajasthan Government on Sunday decided to recommend a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the case of the mentally challenged girl who was found in a distressed condition on a bridge in Alwar wi..

Major fire destroys heritage Secunderabad Club building

   HYDERABAD, A MASSIVE fire broke out at the heritage Secunderabad Club building here in the early hours of Sunday damaging most parts of the structure, police said. However, there were no casualties, they said.A police patrol team no..

Two get jail for filing repeated cases against Wipro Chairman Azim

   BENGALURU,THE Karnataka High Court has convicted two representatives of India Awake for Transparency Limited for filing repeated cases against IT major Wipro Limited and its founder and chairman Azim Premji. Wipro Chairman Azim Premji, W..

Sitharaman holds pre-Budget consultations with BJP leaders

   NEW DELHI,  UNION Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday held pre-Budget consultations with BJP leaders in which representatives from 25 States participated virtually and gave their suggestions on the Budget.The meeting ..

Navies of India and Russia conduct passing exercise in Arabian Sea

   NEW DELHI,  THE Navies of India and Russia conducted a passing exercise in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy said on Sunday. Indian Navy’s indigenously-designed and built guided missile destroyer INS Kochi exercised with R..

‘Over 1.47 lakh children lost their parents due to COVID and other reasons since April 2020’

THE National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has informed the Supreme Court that a total of 1,47,492 children since April 1, 2020, have lost either their mother or father or both parents due to COVID-19 and other reasons. Giving the details in a suo motu matter on children in need of care and protection due to loss of parents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCPCR said its figures are based on data uploaded by States and Union Territories on its ..

India reports 2,71,202 new COVID cases, 314 deaths

INDIA added 2,71,202 new coronavirus infections, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 3,71,22,164, including 7,743 cases of the Omicron variant, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. The country saw 1,702 new cases of Omicron variant, the highest in a single day so far, and an increase of 28.17 per cent since Saturday. Experts said it is not possible to undertake genome sequencing of each and every sample, but stressed that this wave is largely being driven by Omicron...

Retired NRI, Salman lock horns over land row

RAIGAD/MUMBAI AN UNSEEMLY row has erupted between a retired NRI from the US, Ketan Kakkad and his neighbour Bollywood megastar Salman Khan over a plot of land in the picturesque environs of Raigad. Taking strong umbrage at Kakkad’s recent social media outbursts, the actor has hit back with a civil defamation suit against his next-door neighbour, besides Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social platform content creators. The matter pertains to the mid-1990s when the young NRI Kakkad planned ..

IMD plans to use drones for weather observations in a year

INDIA Meteorological Department (IMD) is looking at conducting a pilot project in 2023 for using drones for weather observations across India. Ever since the Ministry of Civil Aviation notified the liberalised Drone Rules, 2021, in August last year, there have been talks of the immense potential that using drones will have for multiple applications. Although this included talks about observational forecasting by the IMD, it was the Minister for State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while speaking ..

Earth’s interior is cooling faster than expected: Research team

A measuring system that measures the thermal conductivity of bridgmanite in the laboratory, under the pressure and temperature conditions that prevail inside the Earth, has been developed by a team of researchers. The study has been published in the ‘Earth and Planetary Science Letters Journal’. The evolution of our Earth is the story of its cooling: 4.5 billion years ago, extreme temperatures prevailed on the surface of the young Earth, and it was covered by a deep ocean of magma. Over millions of ..

Govt will consider demand for reopening of schools in next 15 days: Mah Minister

THE demand for reopening of schools in Maharashtra will be considered after the next 10-15 days as there is a low incidence of coronavirus infection in children and students are suffering education loss, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said here on Sunday. He said the final decision will be taken by Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. Schools have been shut in Maharashtra till February 15 due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the State. “Demands are rising from certain quarters for ..

Vaccination added great strength to fight against COVID: PM

LAUDING India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive as it completes a year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said it has added great strength to the fight against the pandemic and has resulted in saving lives and protecting livelihoods. When the pandemic first struck, not much was known about the virus. However, our scientists and innovators immersed themselves in developing vaccines, he noted. India feels proud that our nation has been able to contribute to fighting the pandemic through vaccines, Modi ..

ATF price hiked by 4.2 pc

JET fuel or ATF price on Sunday was hiked by 4.2 per cent - the second increase in rates this month warranted by firming international oil prices, but petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the 72nd day in a row. Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) price was hiked by Rs 3,232.87 per kilolitre, or 4.25 per cent, to Rs 79,294.91 per kl in the national capital, according to a price notification of state-owned fuel retailers. This is the second increase in rates this month. Rates were hiked by Rs ..

No title defence for No 1 as Djokovic leaves Australia

INSTEAD of starting the defence of his Australian Open title on Monday, Novak Djokovic had to leave the country, a stunning and unprecedented end to his run of success at Melbourne Park. Djokovic has won nine of his 20 Grand Slam trophies at the Australian Open — including three in a row — and was scheduled to play in the main stadium to conclude Day 1 of the tournament. But the No 1 ranked player in men’s tennis left Australia after three Federal Court judges decided unanimously on Sunday to affirm ..

RSP steel to be used by Navy for making sub

THE Rourkela Steel Plant, a unit of Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking SAIL, has received a certificate from the Indian Navy for producing high-strength steel for making submarines, a statement said on Sunday. A high-level Navy delegation led by Rear Admiral R Vishwanathan interacted with S R Suryavanshi, Executive Director (works) and other senior officers of the Odisha-based RSP here on January 13 for commercial production of DMR grade speciality steel, it said. Senior officers of the Chief ..

Pak mercenaries tricking J&K youth into terrorism: Officials

PAKISTANI mercenaries operating in Jammu and Kashmir are tricking the youth into terrorism and using them as “terror mules” who can even be eliminated if they plan to shun the path of violence, senior security officials said on Sunday. Referring to an encounter in Budgam earlier this month and the call details of 24-year-old Wasim Qadir Mir, a resident of Shahzadpora, the officials said he was the latest victim of the despotic behaviour of the Pakistani terrorists who eliminated him during a gunfight ..

Unabated cold wave continues in J&K, Ladakh

INTENSE cold wave continued in J&K and Ladakh on Saturday as morning fog covered most parts of Jammu city and its adjoining areas. An official of the Indian Meteorological department (IMD) said cold wave continued in J&K and Ladakh on Saturday as morning fog added to the chilly conditions in Jammu city and its adjoining areas. Srinagar recorded minus 4.5 degree Celsius, Pahalgam minus 11.4 and Gulmarg minus 9.5 degrees Celsius as the minimum temperature on Saturday...

Philippines awards $375 mn contract for India’s BrahMos anti-ship cruise missiles

IN A major success for the Government’s plans to increase defence exports, the Philippines has accepted Indian BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited’s proposal worth USD 374.9 million to supply Shore-Based Anti-Ship Missile systems for the Philippines Navy. “The Notice of Award has been communicated to BrahMos officials by the Philippines Department of National Defence accepting the proposal worth around USD 375 million,” Government officials said here. The Philippines Government’s Department of Defence ..

World’s largest sapphire cluster unearthed in SL enters Guinness Book

THE Sri Lankan Government said that the massive star sapphire cluster found in the country last year has been registered in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest ever. State Minister of Gem and Jewellery Related Industries Lohan Ratwatte told the local media on Friday said the stone, weighing over 500 kg, had entered the Guinness Book after it was certified as the largest star sapphire cluster by the Gubelin Gem Lab in Switzerland, reports Xinhua news agency...

R-Day celebrations to begin from Subhas Chandra Bose birth anniversary on Jan 23

THE Republic Day celebrations will now begin every year from January 23 instead of January 24 to include the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Subhas Chandra Bose, Government sources said on Saturday. This is in line with the Narendra Modi Government’s focus on commemorating important aspects of India’s history and culture, they said, noting it had earlier started celebrating Bose’s birth anniversary as “Parakram Divas”...

Zuckerberg, Pichai signed ‘big deal’ to carve up ad market, says report

A SERIOUS anti-trust complaint in the US has reportedly revealed that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai were allegedly involved in an ad collusion plot, a charge that both tech giants denied. Attorneys for Texas and other states alleged in newly unsealed court filings that Zuckerberg and Pichai “personally approved a secret deal that gave the social network a leg up in the search giant’s online advertising auctions”, reports Politico. Led by Texas Attorney General ..

PM calls for innovating for India, from India

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday called for innovating for India and from India to tackle challenges facing the country as he counted steps taken by the Government in freeing entrepreneurs and innovation from bureaucratic silos. “Our startups are changing the rules of the game. I believe that startups are going to be the backbone of New India,” he said interacting with youngsters from the world of startups through video conference. “Let us innovate for India, innovate from India.” India, he ..

Indian Army unveils new combat uniform

INDIAN Army unveiled its new combat uniform at the parade on the occasion of Army Day on Saturday. The new combat uniform for Army personnel is aimed to provide more comfort and sustainability. In a first, the Army Day parade witnessed the new uniform and weapons of different era. The troops will also march donning the same uniform during the Republic Day parade this year. The new uniform is of digital pattern like the troops of the US Army. “The camouflage of the changed uniform is better than its ..

Won’t let any attempt to change status quo along India’s border, says Army chief

THE Indian Army’s message is clear that it will not let any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo along the country’s borders succeed, Army Chief Gen M M Naravane said on Saturday. In his address at the Army Day Parade here, he said last year was extremely challenging for the Army and cited the developments on the northern borders with China. Army Day is observed on January 15 to mark Field Marshall K M Cariappa taking over as the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, replacing ..

Showing presence of mind woman drives bus for 10 km after driver suffers seizure near Pune

A 42-YEAR-OLD woman showed her presence of mind by taking control of a mini bus, carrying women and children, after the driver suffered a seizure in Maharashtra’s Pune district, an official said on Saturday. A video of the incident, which took place on January 7, has gone viral on social media. The woman, Yogita Satav, was travelling with other women and children after picnicking at an agro-tourism centre in Shirur near Pune. The driver showed signs of a seizure and stopped the vehicle in the middle ..

Bedridden man in Jharkhand starts walking, speaking after Covishield dose: Doctors

A 55-YEAR-OLD man in Jharkhand, who was bedridden following a road accident five years back, started to walk and speak after he was administered the first dose of Covishield vaccine, doctors claimed on Thursday. Stunned over the “miraculous recovery”, a three-member medical team was constituted by the Government to investigate the matter, they said. Dularchand Munda, a resident of Salgadih village in Uttasara panchayat area of Peterwar block in Bokaro district, was bedridden after meeting with an ..

Forest cover rose by 2,261 sq km in last 2 yrs: ISFR report

INDIA’S forest and tree cover has risen by 2,261 square kilometers in the last two years with Andhra Pradesh growing the maximum forest cover of 647 square kilometers, according to the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) 2021 released on Thursday. The biennial report by the Forest Survey of India (FSI), an assessment of the country’s forest resources, was released by Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav. He revealed that the total tree-and-forest cover in the country includes an increase of ..

In a first, colour coding in Magh Mela Prayagraj

THE Prayagraj Mela Authority, for the first time, has resorted to colour coding for easy identification of various facilities in the Mela township. Police stations, toilets, lost and found centres will either have specific colour tents or balloons to help the pilgrims identify them. These balloons have been designed so that the details of the place over which a given balloon would be floating in the air, would be mentioned in large, bold letters. Magh Mela official, Shesh Mani Pandey, said, “The details ..

Terrorist killed in Kulgam encounter hailed from Pak

THE Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist killed in the encounter with security forces in Kulgam district of Jammu and Kashmir has been identified as Babar Bhai of Pakistan who was active since 2018, police said on Thursday. The encounter took place in Pariwan area of the south Kashmir district on Wednesday after the security forces launched a cordon and search operation following information about the presence of terrorists there. “Killed JeM #terrorist identified as Babar bhai of #Pakistan, active since ..

Qualification testing of cryogenic engine for Gaganyaan programme successful: ISRO

THE Indian Space Research Organisation has successfully conducted the qualification test of cryogenic engine for the Gaganyaan programme for a duration of 720 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex, Mahendragiri, Tamil Nadu. The performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test on Wednesday, the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency said. “This successful long-duration test is a major milestone ..

India, UK formally launch FTA negotiations

INDIA and the UK on Thursday formally launched negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA), which is expected to help double bilateral trade by 2030 and boost economic ties between the two countries. It was launched by Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan here. Goyal said that today, the terms of reference of the free trade agreement have been finalised and formally endorsed by both countries. “We are launching ..

5 killed, 45 hurt as Bikaner-Guwahati Express derails in WB; PM takes stock

AT LEAST five people were killed and more than 45 injured when 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express train derailed and some overturned near Domohani in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Thursday, an official said. The accident occurred around 5 pm in an area under Alipurduar division of Northeast Frontier Railway, an NFR spokesperson said in Guwahati. “Five passengers have died so far. We recovered three bodies from the accident site while two people died in hospital,” Jalpaiguri District ..

PM interacts with CMs over COVID situation

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday interacted with Chief Ministers over the COVID-19 situation in the country and stressed on local containment of the virus spread as well as ensuring minimum damage to livelihood while making strategies to deal with the surge in cases due to the Omicron variant. In his remarks at the meeting, the Prime Minister underlined the importance of vaccination and the need to further accelerate the ‘Har Ghar Dastak’ programme to achieve 100 per cent vaccination coverage. ..

T’gana man weaves saree that can fit into a matchbox

EXHIBITING his extraordinary weaving skills, a young handloom weaver in Telangana has woven a saree which can be kept in a matchbox. Nalla Vijay, a resident of Rajanna Sircilla district, has woven the silk saree. It takes two weeks for him to weave the saree with hands and it costs Rs 12,000. If weaved on machines, it takes three days and costs Rs 8,000. The talented weaver is continuing the family tradition, drawing inspiration from his father Nalla Parandhamulu. He has been weaving sarees on ..

Aus scientists piece together genomic puzzle of iconic flower

AUSTRALIAN botanists have assembled the genomic sequence of one of Australia’s most significant and iconic flowers, the New South Wales Waratah. The team of researchers, led by the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, said the sequencing, published in the Molecular Ecology Resources journal on Wednesday, would play a vital role in the future conservation of the plant. The research would allow future varieties of the flowering plant to be bred with protection against pests and disease. It ..

If there is ever a heaven on Earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here!!!

NIGHT temperature dropped several notches below freezing point in J&K and Ladakh on Wednesday due to clear night sky even as the India Meteorological department (IMD) forecast further drop in minimum temperature in the coming days. “Minimum temperature remained below the freezing point in J&K and Ladakh on Wednesday due to clear night sky. “We are expecting further drop in these temperatures during the coming days as the weather is likely to remain dry till January 16”, an official of IMD said...

Binance CEO becomes one of the world’s richest billionaires

A CRYPTOCURRENCY CEO has become one of the richest people on Earth, CNN reported. Changpeng “C Z” Zhao, who runs the crypto exchange Binance, has joined the ranks of the world’s top billionaires, with an estimated net worth of at least $96.5 billion, according to new calculations from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Zhao’s projected fortune now is just below that of Oracle founder Larry Ellison and surpasses that of Mukesh Ambani, the Indian tycoon whose fortune has also soared over the last two ..

World Bank retains India’s economic growth forecast at 8.3% for 2021-22

THE World Bank has retained India’s economic growth forecast for the current fiscal at 8.3 per cent as the recovery is yet to become broad-based. As per the first advanced estimates of the national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) last week, the economy is projected to grow at 9.2 per cent in 2021-22, surpassing pre-COVID level in actual terms, mainly on account of improved performance, especially in farm, mining and manufacturing sectors. “India’s economy is expected to expand ..

Amit Shah holds meet for second day over UP polls

AMID political turmoil in Uttar Pradesh, Union Home Minister Amit Shah is holding a meeting with party’s State core group members for the second day in a row on Wednesday at the headquarters in the national capital. The meeting is also being attended by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, among others. In 10-hour-long Tuesday’s meeting, deliberations were held on probable candidates and all other aspects of State Assembly polls. Shah, who is also party’s ..

Who sought to benefit in Congress from breach to PM Modi’s security: BJP

THE BJP on Wednesday accused the Congress Government in Punjab of deliberately ignoring the security threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi despite being informed of it by State police personnel, and asked who in the Opposition party sought to benefit from the breach. Union Minister and BJP leader Smriti Irani cited a ‘sting’ done by a news channel which purportedly showed some Punjab Police officials saying that they informed their superiors about protesters blocking the route of Modi’s carcade but ..

COVID vaccination pace in children shows youth’s sense of responsibility, says PM

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lauded the “sense of responsibility” of the country’s youth and said it manifested in the pace of COVID-19 vaccination in the 15-18 years age group that has covered over two crore children since its rollout this month. Virtually inaugurating the 25th edition of the National Youth Festival here, Modi also said his Government’s recent decision to increase the legal marriage age of women to 21 years was for the betterment of “our daughters” and ensure that they ..

Ex-judge Indu Malhotra to head SC panel to probe into security breach during PM’s Punjab visit

THE Supreme Court on Wednesday appointed a five-member committee headed by former apex court judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Punjab. The “questions cannot be left to one-sided enquiry” and a judicially trained mind needs to oversee the probe, a bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana said while appointing the Justice Malhotra panel. The bench also appointed the Inspector General of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), ..

We will continue to deal with China in firm, resolute manner: Army chief

THE Indian Army will continue to deal with the Chinese PLA in a firm and resolute manner in eastern Ladakh and it has been maintaining the highest level of operational preparedness in the region, Army Chief General MM Naravane said on Wednesday. At a press conference ahead of the Army Day, General Naravane said though there has been partial engagement in the region, the “threat by no means has reduced”. “We have continued to maintain the highest levels of operational preparedness while at the same ..

President Kovind greets people on Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal

PRESIDENT Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday greeted citizens for Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Bhogali Bihu and Pongal among others, saying he prays that these harvest festivals develop spirit of fraternity among the people. “I pray to God that these festivals develop the spirit of fraternity among the people while prosperity and happiness prevail in our country,” the President said. The President has greeted his fellow citizens on the eve of Lohri (which falls on 13th January), Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Bhogali ..

Gold worth Rs 47.55 lakh hidden under bandages seized at Hyderabad airport

THE Customs officials at Hyderabad’s Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) have seized 970 gram of gold in paste form from a passenger who had concealed it in the bandages tied to calves of both the legs. The gold valued at Rs 47.55 lakh was seized from a male passenger who arrived from Sharjah on Sunday. A case of gold smuggling has been booked against the passenger. On Monday, another passenger arrived from Dubai with 442.6 gram of gold valued at Rs 21.70 lakh...

‘Indian economy to see 9.5 pc growth this fiscal’

THE Indian economy is likely to register a growth of 9.5 per cent in this financial year, former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Virmani said on Tuesday. Addressing a virtual event organised by industry body PHDCCI, Virmani said that Government expenditure and exports have peaked, but so far private consumption has not recovered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “The current financial year’s growth will be higher and close to 9.5 per cent...

In a first, US surgeons transplant pig’s heart into human patient

IN A medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life and a Maryland hospital said Monday that he’s doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. While it’s too soon to know if the operation really will work, it marks a step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center say the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified animal ..

Mandaviya interacts with 120 expert doctors across country

UNION Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya interacted with specialist doctors from across the country to discuss the COVID-19 situation virtually on Tuesday and listened to their suggestions. “Discussed with 120 expert doctors from across the country regarding the current COVID-19 situation through VC...

‘Molnupiravir not to be included in COVID clinical management protocol as of now’

THE ICMR’s National Task Force for COVID-19 has decided against including antiviral drug Molnupiravir in the Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19 as of now, official sources said on Tuesday. The experts of the task force cited safety concerns and argued that Molnupiravir was not of much benefit in Covid treatment to arrive at the decision in a meeting held on Monday. According to the Health Ministry, Molnupiravir is an antiviral drug that inhibits SARS-CoV-2 replication by viral mutagenesis. ..

‘Very disturbing scenario in Mah where ex-Police chief has no faith in own force’

IT IS a “very disturbing” scenario in Maharashtra where former Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh does not have faith in his own force and the State Government has no faith in the CBI, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday. A bench comprising Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh made this observation after the counsel for the former police chief submitted that the State Police was trying to corner him in departmental cases. The top court, which refused to extend protection from arrest to Singh, said: “This ..

Advanced BrahMos missile test-fired

INDIA on Tuesday successfully test-fired a naval variant of the advanced supersonic BrahMos cruise missile from a stealth guided-missile destroyer of the Indian Navy. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) said the missile hit the designated target “precisely”. “Advanced sea to sea variant of BrahMos Supersonic Cruise missile was tested from INS Visakhapatnam on Tuesday. Missile hit the designated target ship precisely,” the DRDO tweeted. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said the successful ..

Govt to get 35.8% stake in debt-ridden Vodafone Idea in lieu of dues liability

DEBT-RIDDEN Vodafone Idea (VIL) has decided to opt for converting about Rs 16,000 crore interest dues liability payable to the Government into equity which will amount to around 35.8 per cent stake in the company, as per a regulatory filing of the telecom firm. If the plan goes through, the Government will become the biggest shareholder in the company which is reeling under a debt burden of about Rs 1.95 lakh crore. “...the board of directors, at its meeting held on 10th January 2022, has approved ..

UIDAI working on ‘Aadhaar 2.0’, may allow partial authentication

THE Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) is open to looking at solutions that can enable ‘partial authentication’ where needed, and is keen to get feedback from the industry about the demand for such solutions, its CEO Saurabh Garg said on Tuesday. The Aadhaar-issuing body is also exploring possibilities for the usage of blockchain and quantum computing, as it marches ahead towards the ‘Aadhaar 2.0’ vision. “We are also open to looking at what is called partial authentication. Some people ..

Final-year medics, pre-PG doctors to be deployed in Covid management: Govt

THE Centre has asked the States and UTs to deploy the final year MBBS students, resident doctors, and nursing students to augment the human resources and particularly the healthcare workers amid rising COVID cases. In two different guidelines issued to States and UTs on January 8 and 9, the Union Health Ministry has sought regarding the utilising the services of final-year MBBS students, interns, senior Re and junior Residents and the third and fourth year of B.Sc Nursing students, along with M.Sc ..

Padayatra: 30 Cong leaders booked for Covid rules violation

THE Opposition Congress’ ‘padayatra’ demanding implementation of the Mekedatu reservoir project across the Cauvery river entered the second day on Monday, even as the police has booked senior party leaders including Siddaramiah and D K Shivakumar for taking out the protest defying COVID-19 curbs. FIRs have been registered against nearly 30 Congress leaders and others, official sources said. FIRs have been filed against Congress’ State President Shivakumar, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly ..

India, China military talks tomorrow

INDIA is looking forward to “constructive” dialogue with China to resolve issues in remaining friction points in eastern Ladakh, sources in the security establishment said on Monday ahead of the 14th round of military talks between the two sides on the 20-month row. The talks will take place on January 12 at the Chushul-Moldo meeting point, on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh, the sources said. The ‘Senior Highest Military Commander Level (SHMCL)’ talks will begin at ..

‘The Power of the Dog’, ‘Succession’ win top honours at Golden Globes 2022

JANE Campion’s Western drama “The Power of the Dog” was named the best motion picture drama and satirical black comedy “Succession” emerged as the best drama series at the 79th edition of the Golden Globe awards, which was not a starry affair owing to a Hollywood boycott. “The Power of the Dog” also won Campion the golden gong for the best director motion picture and rising star Kodi Smit-McPhee a trophy for best performance by an actor in a supporting role in any motion picture. “Succession”, a much ..

ED attaches assets of Kerala man for duping 900 investors of Rs 1,200 cr by offering cryptocurrency

THE Enforcement Directorate on Monday said it has attached assets of a Kerala-based businessman who allegedly cheated over 900 investors to the tune of Rs 1,200 crore in the name of offering cryptocurrency to them. The action by the federal anti-money laundering agency has been taken against Nishad K and his associates who allegedly lured depositors in the name of launching ‘Morris Coin cryptocurrency’. A provisional order under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) has been issued to attach properties ..

PM Modi sends 100 pairs of jute footwear for those working at Kashi Vishwanath Dham

PRIME Minister Narendra Modi has sent 100 pairs of jute footwear for those working at Kashi Vishwanath Dham after coming to know that most of them perform their duties bare-footed as it is forbidden to wear leather or rubber footwear in temple premises, Government sources said on Monday. These include priests, people performing seva, security guards, sanitation workers and others, they added. Modi got the jute footwear procured and sent over to the dham so that those performing their duties don’t ..

Total employment in 9 select sectors rises to 3.10 crore in July-Sept 2021

TOTAL employment generated by nine select sectors stood at 3.10 crore in the July-September 2021 quarter, which is 2 lakh more than that of the April-June period, according to a quarterly employment survey by the Labour Ministry released on Monday. The quarterly employment survey (QES) report released by Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav said that total employment numbers in the nine select sectors were 3.08 crore in April-June 2021. The rise shows improvement in economic activities after lifting ..

Administering of COVID ‘precaution doses’ begins for frontline workers, elderly

AMID the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant, India began administering ‘precaution doses’ to healthcare, frontline workers and senior citizens with comorbidities on Monday. Beneficiaries have hailed the Government’s decision and said that it is a good initiative. ‘I have got my precautionary booster dose. Everyone should get vaccinated. It is compulsory and it has no side effects. I have got Covaxin,” said Dharmendra Kumar Sharma, a beneficiary at RML hospital. Mahendra Pandey, ..

As EC bans rallies, parties take to digital mode for UP elections

WITH the Election Commission imposing restrictions on poll rallies till January 15 in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, political parties in Uttar Pradesh are gearing up for virtual campaigning. While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) already has a good presence on social media platforms, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and others are putting in efforts to strengthen their digital army and chalking out strategies to boost their support base. “We are miles ahead of rival parties in leveraging our social media ..

SC panel to probe into PM’s security breach; stays parallel inquiry by Centre, Punjab

THE Supreme Court on Monday said it would set up a panel headed by its former judge to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Punjab and stayed the parallel inquiries by committees of the Centre and the State Government into the lapses. Stressing that the apex court was not “undermining the importance of the security of the Prime Minister” and dealing it with “all seriousness”, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N V Ramana said that the separate ..

Mosambi peels can help prevent cancer: BHU study

THE modest ‘mosambi or sweet lime can now be used to prevent cancer. Researchers at IIT (BHU) claim that the ‘mosambi’ (Citrus limetta) peels can be used to remove heavy metals from water and prevent cancer and other life-threatening ailments. The researchers at the School of Biochemical Engineering, IIT (BHU) have synthesized an eco-friendly and cost-effective adsorbent, which can remove toxic heavy metal ions such as hexavalent chromium from contaminated water and wastewater. Dr Vishal Mishra, associate ..

Mosambi peels can help prevent cancer: BHU study

THE modest ‘mosambi or sweet lime can now be used to prevent cancer. Researchers at IIT (BHU) claim that the ‘mosambi’ (Citrus limetta) peels can be used to remove heavy metals from water and prevent cancer and other life-threatening ailments. The researchers at the School of Biochemical Engineering, IIT (BHU) have synthesized an eco-friendly and cost-effective adsorbent, which can remove toxic heavy metal ions such as hexavalent chromium from contaminated water and wastewater. Dr Vishal Mishra, ..

UP woman sets herself on fire to protest against Police inaction

A 45-year-old woman set herself on fire in front of a police station in Mathura’s Raya to protest against inaction against her alleged molesters. The incident happened on Saturday. The woman has suffered 96 per cent burn and has been admitted to a hospital in Agra in a critical condition. The woman was allegedly being harassed by the accused to withdraw her five year old complaint against them...

Prices of ACs, refrigerators increased; washing machines to get costlier soon

PRICES of air conditioners and refrigerators have shot up in the new year as consumer durables makers pass on the impact of rising raw material costs and higher freight charges to customers, while home appliances like washing machines may witness 5-10 per cent price hike later this month or by March. Companies including Panasonic, LG, Haier have already reviewed prices upwards, while other makers such as Sony, Hitachi, Godrej Appliances may take a call by the end of this quarter. According to the ..

Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts cross Rs 1.5 lakh crore

DEPOSITS in bank accounts opened under the Jan Dhan scheme, launched about seven and half years ago by the Government, have crossed the Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark. As per the latest Finance Ministry data, the total balance in over 44.23 crore Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) accounts was at Rs 1,50,939.36 crore at December end, 2021. As per the Finance Ministry data, of the total 44.23 crore accounts, 34.9 crore were with the Public Sector Banks, 8.05 crore with regional rural banks, and the rest ..

NEET-PG counselling to begin from Jan 12: Mandaviya

THE NEET-PG counselling will commence from January 12, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Sunday. The Supreme Court on January 7, in an interim order, allowed resumption of medical counselling for NEET-PG admissions for the year 2021-22. It also upheld the validity of 27 per cent OBC and 10 per cent EWS quotas. “As assured by the Ministry of Health to the resident doctors, following the order of the Honourable Supreme Court, the NEET-PG counselling is being started by the Medical Counsellin..

PM reviews COVID situation in country

REVIEWING the COVID situation amid a surge in cases fuelled by the Omicron variant of the virus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday called for ensuring adequate health infrastructure at district level and accelerating the vaccination drive for adolescents in mission mode. The meeting was held virtually. India logged 552 new cases of Omicron, taking the total tally of such infections to 3,623 across 27 States and UTs so far, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday. Out of ..

Reliance buys New York’s premium luxury hotel Mandarin Oriental for USD 98.15 mn

MANDARIN Oriental New York, the premium luxury hotel a subsidiary of Reliance Industries is acquiring, is known for its much-in-demand ballroom, five-star spa and eating and drinking venues, including MO Lounge. Liam Neeson and Lucy Liu are among regular guests. Set up in 2003, 248-rooms-and-suites hotel towering over Central Park is an iconic luxury hotel located at 80 Columbus Circle, directly adjacent to the pristine Central Park and Columbus Circle. Mandarin Oriental New York occupies floors 35-54 ..

Urjit Patel appointed Vice President of AIIB

FORMER RBI Governor Urjit Patel has been appointed as a Vice President of the Beijing-based multilateral funding institution AIIB, according to sources in the bank on Sunday. India is a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with the second highest voting share after China. It is headed by former Chinese vice minister for finance Jin Liqun. Patel, 58, will be one of the five Vice Presidents of the AIIB with a three-year tenure. He is expected to take over his posting next ..

Places of worship, liquor shops to see curbs too in Mah

THE Maharashtra Government will gradually bring curbs at places of worship and other sites, including liquor vends, that attract crowds to control the coronavirus pandemic, State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Sunday, a day after the State decided to tighten restrictions in the face of surging COVID-19 cases. Speaking to reporters in Jalna, the Minister said that the restrictions imposed by the Government a day earlier were in the interest of the people. “Curbs in crowded areas like liquor shops ..

Young inventor develops ‘smart Army camp’

AN INVENTOR at the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) of the MIET Engineering College in Meerut has prepared a smart camp for the soldiers, which will not only protect those posted on the icy heights from the cold, but will also help them to check the movement of the enemy sitting at a distance of up to 50 km away from them. Developed by Shyam Chaurasia, an engineering student, this Chargeable Smart Army Camp has small heater plates installed in it...

Aligarh couple makes world’s largest lock, to be dedicated to Ram temple

A WELL-KNOWN locksmith in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh district along with his wife has made the world’s largest lock. This lock, which opens only with a 30 kg key, will be dedicated by the couple to the Ram temple being constructed in Ayodhya. The picture of Lord Ram has been engraved on this lock which costs Rs two lakh. Sixty five-year-old Satyaprakash Sharma, a locksmith and a resident of Aligarh’s Jwalapuri area, told IANS that it has taken him nearly six months to make this lock which weighs nearly ..

Court employees demanding money from accused ‘unacceptable’: SC

THE Supreme Court has said that demanding money as illegal gratification while working in courts is “unacceptable” and very high standards apply to not only judges but also those employed there. The apex court observed this while modifying the punishment given to a man, who was posted in a district court in Bihar and was dismissed from service on the charge of having demanded Rs 50,000 for acquittal of the accused in a case, to removal so that he may explore the possibility of another employment. ..