29. Current Affairs Third week November Unit Two

This is the second installment of current affairs. You are free to add any other matter regarding recent current affairs.

Sea walls threatening erosion
Turkey warns Syria
West warns Iran
India and Climate Change
Clean Energy
GK Naydu Prize
Pluripotent cells
Mahashweta devi criticizes Mamta
Children under Pressure
Russia moves war ships
Carbon Credit rating
Rupee plunges to a new low
Akash Missile
US and Tibet
Pakistan and USA
Agricultural Productivity
Medical advances Cholesterol
Solar Lighting
Sustainable Habitats
Change of Governors

39 thoughts on “29. Current Affairs Third week November Unit Two

  1. Seawalls worsening Erosion:

    320 Km long coastline of Karnataka has been proposed to be constructed by Granite seawalls. 2010-11 Report by State of Environment for Karnataka says that the livelihood of fishermen and ecosystem are threatened, and has called it unscientific.
    The govt. of Karnataka had planned to invest Rs.911 Cr on this project of building permanent walls along the coast till 2018. But, this finding has set a drop back for the government.

    A 42Km coastal wall drawn in 3 districts of Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada & Udupi has revealed several environmental consequences besides undermining the aesthetic view. It has led to:
    -increased soil erosion at both ends of the wall
    -salt water intrusion in paddy fields
    -reduction in Olive Ridley turtles nesting in Devbag beach

    Erosion is a natural phenomenon and occurs because of multiple reasons, not just wave action. So, constructing seawalls cannot be the single solution. ‘Green walls’ or vegetation is more sustainable alternative to prevent erosion, says report.

    Original article @:

  2. Turkey’s prime minister has called for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down for the sake of his own people and the region, AP is reporting.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said al-Assad’s fight against his own people is “cowardice.”

    Erdogan said in a televised speech Tuesday that “for the welfare of your own people and the region, just leave that seat.”

    It was the first call from Turkey, which has been mounting criticism about Syria’s brutal crackdown, for Assad to step down.

    Erdogan’s call comes after Jordan’s King Abdullah became the first Arab leader to say al-Assad should step down. In an interview with the Guardian, Turkish president Abdullah Gul said Syria had reached “a dead end” under the regime, and that Ankara had lost trust in al-Assad.

    10.27am: Protesters are converging on Tahrir Square for a fourth day of demonstrations,

  3. 3. Sydney Morning Herald
    US and Britain hope bank ban will hit Iran’s nuclear program
    Sydney Morning Herald – ‎ ‎
    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here at a uranium facility in 2008, has a difficult task ahead as international sanctions take effect.

  4. 4. India inks climate change adaptation deal with neighbours
    Press Trust Of India
    New Delhi, November 20, 2011
    First Published: 18:16 IST(20/11/2011)
    Last Updated: 18:17 IST(20/11/2011)
    Realising that consequences of climate change in Himalayas can no longer be ignored, India along with Bhutan, Nepal and Bangladesh has signed a declaration for wide-ranging collaboration on energy, water, food and biodiversity issues to addresss the threat to their ecosystem.

    Wildlife Fund (WWF), a leading conservation organisation, said in a statement that the deal signed at Bhutanese capital Thimphu could lead the way to similar climate adaptation plans being implemented to cover other threatened ecosystems.
    “The success of our initiative will not only have direct and immediate benefits for our own people, but we could be setting a worthy precedent for other countries that share similar conditions,” Bhutan’s Prime Minister Lyonchhoen Jigmi Y Thinley was quoted as saying in the statement.
    The four nations reached the pact at the two-day “Climate Summit for a Living Himalayas” against the backdrop of melting glaciers, erratic weather conditions, changing rainfall patterns and increasing temperatures impacting the people and wildlife of the region.
    Environment Secretary T Chatterjee represented India at the summit attended by high-level government officials, NGOs, leaders of civil society, and youth ambassadors from the four Eastern Himalayan nations.

    1. It is often said that there are hardly any plant species of India that are not found in some areas in the Himalayas. The character of vegetation in the Himalayas changes with altitude and aspect, giving rise to a variety of micro-climates which house one of the most unique type of ecosystems in the world. Not safeguarding this system will prove detrimental ecologically and other concomitants such as economic and political turmoil will follow suit. Mere legislation is not enough-a classic case in example is Project tiger- there are laws, money keeps pouring in, but the tiger population is still dwindling.

  5. “The four nations broadly agreed to combine powers to increase access to ‘affordable and reliable’ clean energy resources and technology through a regional knowledge sharing mechanism.
    “This would include diversification of energy supply, improved regional connectivity for electricity and natural gas, as well as efforts to enhance energy efficiency across the Eastern Himalayas,” the statement said.
    It, however, said agreements on water security – the most contentious are of the Summit declaration – were somewhat diluted.
    “…But the four nations did manage to see eye to eye on future activities including collaborative ecosystem and disaster management, knowledge sharing in water use efficiency, and improving understanding of impacts of climate change on water resources across the region,” the statement said.

  6. “Consensus was also reached on food security and securing livelihoods, with the deal covering adaptive approaches to improving and sustaining food production, promoting systems that help vulnerable communities gain better access to nutritious food, as well as regional knowledge sharing and capacity building,” it added.

  7. 5. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement award for Wadekar
    PTI | Nov 22, 2011, 06.29PM IST
    MUMBAI: Former India captain Ajit Wadekar will be honoured with the Col CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement trophy at the annual Indian Cricket Board awards ceremony to be held in Chennai on December 10.

    The award will comprise a trophy, citation and cheque for Rs. 15 lakhs, said a BCCI release on Tuesday.

    The 70-year-old Wadekar, who represented India in 37 Tests and scored 2113 runs, expressed his jubilation at receiving the honour.

  8. “This is wonderful, really. Whatever little services to cricket I have made have been recognised by the Cricket Board. It’s good to get it at such an early age,” said Wadekar.

    Wadekar made his first-class debut for Mumbai in the late fifties. He had his Test baptism against Garry Sobers’ West Indies in the 1966-67 season and established himself in the national side with an innings of 67 in the third Test of the series at Chennai.

    The very next year, Wadekar became a part of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi’s team that beat New Zealand 3-1 to register India’s first-ever Test series win overseas.

    Wadekar was appointed the captain of the national team in early 1971 and that became a turning point in the history of Indian cricket.

  9. He led India to consecutive series victories against the formidable West Indies and England on their own grounds. This was an unprecedented achievement as never before had India won a Test, leave alone a series, in the Caribbean and England.

    The Mumbaikar, who scored 15,380 runs in 237 first-class matches, and led Mumbai to Ranji Trophy triumphs in 1968-69, 1969-70, 1971-72 and 1972-73, retired from both international and first-class cricket in 1974.

    He was Indian team’s cricket manager from 1992-93 to 1995-96 and the chairman of the All-India Senior Selection Committee in 1998-99.

    “We won in 1971 because of the contributions of everyone, especially Dilip Sardesai, Sunil Gavaskar, Eknath Solkar and our spinners. We played as one unit. I would not have been able to lead India to victory in the West Indies and England,” said Wadekar.

  10. Heaping praise on present Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Wadekar said, “According to me Dhoni is a great captain, the best captain. We lost in England because we went there without proper preparations. Ours is the best team.”

  11. Regions and territories: Ajaria

    A mountainous semi-autonomous region of Georgia, Ajaria is situated on the Black Sea coast on Georgia’s southwestern border with Turkey.
    Its narrow band of coastal lowland has a lush sub-tropical climate while high in the mountains there can be snow for six months of the year.

  12. Regions and territories: Chechnya

    The southern Russian republic of Chechnya is surrounded on nearly all sides by Russian territory but also shares with neighbouring Georgia a remote border high in the Caucasus mountains.
    Rich in oil, its economy and infrastructure were reduced to ruins by years of war between local separatists and Russian forces, combined with armed banditry and organised crime.

  13. Regions and territories: Abkhazia

    Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia in 1999. Georgia continues to regard it as a breakaway region
    Situated in the north-western corner of Georgia with the Black Sea to the south-west and the Caucasus mountains and Russia to the north-east, Abkhazia was once known as a prime holiday destination for the Soviet elite.
    Abkhazia’s battle for independence from Georgia since the collapse of the USSR reduced the economy to ruins. More recent times have seen major Russian investment in the territory, as Moscow seeks to consolidate its influence.

  14. Mahasweta calls govt fascist, Didi hits back
    Express news service

    Kolkata Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday came down heavily on Magsaysay award winner and noted writer Mahasweta Devi for having dubbed her government as “fascist” at a media meet.
    Mamata was reacting to the celebrated writer’s statement which she made during a press conference held by the Association for the Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR).
    At the press meet, Mahasweta Devi criticised the state government for not allowing the APDR to hold a rally at Metro Channel on November 24 and 25 at Esplanade in central Kolkata.

    Treating human diseases using adult cells taken from a patient and
    genetically reprogramming them so that they behave like embryonic stem
    cells has come a step closer.
    scientists report the sequence of events for successfully correcting
    a gene mutation responsible for both cirrhotic liver disease and lung
    emphysema. They first took adult skin cells and corrected the gene
    mutation. Having done that, they next reprogrammed the adult cells to
    make them behave like induced pluripotent stem cells

    After completing the genetic correction in the cell line, the
    researchers introduced the stem cells into a mouse. The mouse had a
    mutation that resembled the condition seen in humans.
    That the successfully corrected gene was active in the liver cells was
    proved by the presence of normal protein in both test tube and mouse
    Earlier studies have shown that it was possible for correcting gene
    mutations . Even correcting human stem cell lines was also tried. But
    “this is the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of the generation
    of mutation-corrected patient-specific iPSCs, which could realise the
    therapeutic promise of human stem cells

    The researchers selected a deficiency caused by a mutation in A1AT for
    this study. This gene is active in the liver where it is responsible
    for making a protein that protects against excessive inflammation. Any
    mutation results in inability to release the protein properly from the
    liver resulting in liver cirrhosis and lung emphysema.

    Unlike harvesting embryonic stem cells that lead to the destruction of
    embryos, iPSCs( stem cells) use only adult cells and hence the
    question of embryo destruction does not arise.

    Several studies have demonstrated that adult human cells reprogrammed
    to become induced pluripotent stem cells behave like embryonic stem
    cells. Hence, they are capable of becoming any of the 256 adult cells
    found in our body.


    There is an increasing number of suicide among the teenagers ,,and it is very easy to blame busy parents there could be many factors pushing young and distressed individuals to end their lives. In big families the children are left alone to deal with the private demon on their own ,,, what they exactly need is free channels of communication with parents ,, this helps them to grow emotionally strong , and schools also should learn to deal with children”s weakness and sensitive nature and handle them with care.

    lack of good parenting and communication gap make them emotionally weak,,, says many psychiatrist s.

    their is factor called emotional quotient ,, it is the potential to feel , use, communicate, recognize,remember, learn from,and understand and understand emotions , emotional quotient is a measure of intelligent quotient that of sensitivity to emotions ,,,, it is very important for a child to understand himself first and also the understand the feelings and emotion of others.

    A child with more emotional quotient becomes more responsible and respectful.

    The children should be encouraged to identify and express their feelings,and also understand the feelings of other , they should learn to self control ,face challenges , handle negative feelings and emotions .

    so every parents and schools atmosphere , play a vital role in handling every child” pressure and over frustration over studies or to come up in a flying colours .

  17. Please read up the article in op-ed page of the Hindu which gives information on measuring the groundwater table and how fast can it be replenished. Krypton-81 is the isotope which is used as opposed to the traditional C-14. K-81 has a greater half life , thus allowing us to measure the age of the source more accurately.

  18. There has been much discussion in Pakistan about the US threats and the issues of the attack on North Wazirisitan.

    ■Chinese vice premier Meng Jianzhu arrived here in Islamabad Monday on a two-day official visit to hold talks with the Pakistani leadership. He said China will not leave Pakistan alone in this time of need.
    ■Pakistan army chief Kayani cancels UK visit.
    ■PM Gilani convenes the APC (All Parties Conference) on September 29 to discuss national security
    ■Khar says Haqqani group was once CIA’s “blue-eyed boy”, says Khar.
    ■US, Pakistan need to improve ties: Blake.
    ■Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu’s visit Monday also comes at a time of intense strain between Islamabad and Washington.
    ■Saudi intelligence officials are visiting Pakistan
    ■General Pasha, the head of the ISI is visiting Saudi Arabia
    ■US threat: PML-N demands joint session of Parliament
    ■Saudi Arabia steps in to cool down US-Pak tension.
    The Americans are talking to Gulbiddin Hekmatyar, and the Taliban. They had also approached the Haqqanis which are based in Khost. The Haqqanis are not interested in any peace talks with the Americans–hence the pressure on Pakistan.

    ■“If we talk about links, I am sure the CIA also has links with many terrorist organisations around the world, by which we mean intelligence links,” FM Khar
    ■“And this particular network, which [the United States] continues to talk about, is a network which was the blue-eyed boy of the CIA itself for many years.” FM Khar
    ■“I just hope that we’ll be given a chance to co-operate with each other and the doors will remain open — because statements like this are pretty much close to shutting those doors,” Khar
    ■“I think we must not be tested more than we have the ability to bear.” Khar.

  19. Russia Moving Warships Into Syrian Waters

    Russia is preparing to move warships into Syrian waters, according to reports in Israeli newspaper H’aaretz.

    The move was allegedly announced by a Syrian news agency. It has not been confirmed at the time of writing.

    The warships are reportedly being readied as Moscow sends a message that Russia is opposed to international intervention putting an end to disturbances in Syria. Russia used a UN Security Council veto in October to block a resolution that would have condemned Syria’s President Bashir Assad for the violence.

    If true, the move shows an increasingly brazen attitude by the Russian armed forces.

    Earlier this month a Russian official warned that western intervention in Iran would be a “very serious mistake”, and just yesterday a Russia military chief warned that its border disputes had the potential to end in nuclear conflict.

  20. Fantastic response from all. I am delighted. Keep it up. Sorry circumstances – the Groundnut fair- forced me to cancel the workshops which will revive tomorrow. Cooperate and make them a huge success . Rao

    As nations have progressed we have been emitting carbon, or gases which result in warming of the globe. Some decades ago a debate started on how to reduce the emission of harmful gases that contributes to the greenhouse effect that causes global warming. So, countries came together and signed an agreement named the Kyoto Protocol.

    The Kyoto Protocol has created a mechanism under which countries that have been emitting more carbon and other gases (greenhouse gases include ozone, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and even water vapour) have voluntarily decided that they will bring down the level of carbon they are emitting to the levels of early 1990s.

    Developed countries, mostly European, had said that they will bring down the level in the period from 2008 to 2012. In 2008, these developed countries have decided on different norms to bring down the level of emission fixed for their companies and factories.

    A company has two ways to reduce emissions. One, it can reduce the GHG (greenhouse gases) by adopting new technology or improving upon the existing technology to attain the new norms for emission of gases. Or it can tie up with developing nations and help them set up new technology that is eco-friendly, thereby helping developing country or its companies ‘earn’ credits.

    India, China and some other Asian countries have the advantage because they are developing countries. Any company, factories or farm owner in India can get linked to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and know the ‘standard’ level of carbon emission allowed for its outfit or activity. The extent to which I am emitting less carbon (as per standard fixed by UNFCCC) I get credited in a developing country. This is called CARBON CREDITING.

    These credits are bought over by the companies of developed countries — mostly Europeans — because the United States has not signed the Kyoto Protocol.

  22. How does CARBON CREDITIN work in real life?

    Assume that British Petroleum is running a plant in the United Kingdom. Say, that it is emitting more gases than the accepted norms of the UNFCCC. It can tie up with its own subsidiary in, say, India or China under the Clean Development Mechanism. It can buy the ‘carbon credit’ by making Indian or Chinese plant more eco-savvy with the help of technology transfer. It can tie up with any other company like Indian Oil or anybody else, in the open market.

    In December 2008, an audit was done of their efforts to reduce gases and their actual level of emission. China and India are ensuring that new technologies for energy savings are adopted so that they become entitled for more carbon credits. They are selling their credits to their counterparts in Europe. This is how a market for carbon credit is created.

    Every year European companies are required to meet certain norms, beginning 2008. By 2012, they will achieve the required standard of carbon emission. So, in the coming five years there will be a lot of carbon credit deals

  23. Rupee Plunges to Record as India RBI Weighs Options to Stem Currency Drop:
    India’s rupee fell to a record, prompting the central bank to say it’s weighing action to stem the worst performance in Asia this year.
    The rupee weakened 0.3 percent to 52.3225 per dollar in Mumbai, bringing its decline in 2011 to 14.6 percent. The BSE India Sensitive Index (SENSEX) of shares tumbled 22 percent in the period as investors sold emerging market assets on concern the U.S. and Europe will struggle to curb deficits.
    The rupee’s slump is raising costs for companies including Hindustan Unilever Ltd. (HUVR) and Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL) A further drop will also spur price gains and increase fuel subsidy costs in Asia’s third-largest economy, which imports 80 percent of its fuel. Inflation has held above 9 percent for 11 consecutive months, while higher interest rates are threatening to slow the pace of economic expansion.
    “It is now very difficult to look for reversal in rupee depreciation when the Indian economy is struggling with high inflation, low growth,” said J. Moses Harding, executive vice president at IndusInd Bank Ltd. (IIB) in Mumbai. “It is possible that rupee has shifted into a higher base of 51 per dollar with the next objective at 54 to 56 per dollar.”
    The currency dropped past the previous low of 52.18, reached on March 3, 2009. It earlier touched 52.73, the weakest level since at least 1973, when data became available.
    Impact on Companies
    “There is impact on companies and it’s a problem,” Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn said. “But, any action we take now, if any, has to take into account the fact that these actions might have consequences further down the road.”
    Offshore investors pulled $1.8 billion from local equities since foreign holdings reached a record $104.4 billion in July, according to data from the market regulator.
    “What will hurt more is that the depreciation has been so steep and sudden,” Maruti’s Chief Financial Officer Ajay Seth said in an interview yesterday. “Volatility in the rupee will be severe in the next three to six months” because of global economic concerns, he said.
    Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee raised the government’s borrowing target by 13 percent to a record 4.7 trillion rupees ($90 billion) in September, signaling the gap in public finances is widening as a slowing economy cuts revenue. Income was 37.2 percent of the annual target in the six months through September, compared with 58.4 percent achieved a year earlier, official data show.
    Growth Forecast Cut
    The Reserve Bank cut the nation’s growth forecast to 7.6 percent from 8 percent, and the rupee’s slide inflated the import bill and pushed the trade shortfall to a 17-year high of $19.6 billion in October.
    India’s current-account deficit could widen, from 2.6 percent of gross domestic product in the fiscal year through March 2011, if oil prices continue to push up the import bill, the central bank said last month.
    The current account, the broadest measure of trade, showed a deficit of $14.1 billion in the three months through June, compared with a shortfall of $5.4 billion the previous quarter, according to central bank data.
    “The rupee is being pressured by India’s deficits and slowing growth with no sign of monetary easing,” said Suresh Kumar Ramanathan, a currency strategist at CIMB Investment Bank Bhd. in Kuala Lumpur. “We see the rupee’s peak at 54 to a dollar.”
    The rupee is expected to reverse its losses once the European crisis is resolved as its slide has been driven by global dynamics, central bank Governor Duvvuri Subbarao told reporters in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad today. The Reserve Bank will manage the volatility, he said.
    India’s growth potential is “good”, according to Vishnu Varathan, an economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. in Singapore, who believes the rupee’s weakness is “a tad overdone.”
    “The concerns are warranted but India can outgrow its deficits and these are good opportunities for longer term investors to buy the rupee,” he said. “They’ll need deeper pockets, but there is no reason to think the rupee is beyond the point of no return.”
    Varathan predicts the rupee will rebound to 46.5 a dollar by the end of next year.
    ‘No Bottom’
    Three-month offshore forwards traded at 53.46 to the dollar, compared with 53.05 yesterday. Forwards are agreements to buy or sell assets at a set price and date. Non-deliverable contracts are settled in dollars. CIMB Investment Bank’s Ramanathan predicts the rupee could drop to 54 a dollar before March.
    Infosys Ltd. (INFO) sees “no bottom,” for the rupee unless the central bank steps in, Chief Financial Officer V. Balakrishnan at India’s second-largest software exporter, said in an interview to Bloomberg UTV today. The volatility and uncertainties are “impacting the momentum of business,” he said.
    The government yesterday signaled the central bank may not sell dollars “aggressively” to stem the local currency’s depreciation as rupee-liquidity is tight.
    R. Gopalan, secretary of economic affairs at the finance ministry, said the central bank’s ability to intervene in the foreign-exchange market is “limited.” Banks borrowed 1.32 trillion rupees today from the monetary authority’s overnight facility, the most since March, according to data from the central bank.
    ‘Death Spiral’
    “The Reserve Bank of India’s ability to intervene is hampered by the squeeze in system liquidity,” IndusInd’s Harding wrote in a note yesterday. “Aggressive intervention by the RBI in the spot market will lead to higher call money rate.”
    India’s call money rate, at which banks lend to each other overnight, was at 8.65 percent, 15 basis points, or 0.15 percentage point, more than the RBI’s main lending rate. The central bank has raised its repurchase rate 13 times since the start of 2010 to 8.5 percent to help cool persistent inflation.
    Eight of the 10 most-traded Asian currencies have declined this year, on concern the U.S. and Europe’s debt woes will slow global growth and sap demand for emerging-market assets.
    The rupee’s fall is due to global uncertainty, and any central bank action may not help, Finance Minister Mukherjee told reporters in New Delhi today.
    Increased intervention is one option to stop the rupee’s “death spiral,” which is posing “serious macro-economic dangers,” Patrick Perret-Green, Singapore-based head of foreign-exchange and rates at Citigroup Inc., wrote in an e-mail today. “However, the likely cure will be time.”

  24. US lawmakers concerned over rights violations in Tibet:

    Dharamsala, Nov 18 (IANS) Three US lawmakers have expressed concern over human rights violations in Tibet and asked the US ambassador to China to collect first-hand information on self-immolation protests, the Tibetan government in exile said Friday.

    Congressmen Frank R. Wolf, James P. McGovern, and Joseph Pitts Nov 17 sent a letter to US Ambassador to China Gary Locke asking him to visit Tibet in the light of the recent self-immolations, said a post on the official website of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).

    ‘Raise the Chinese government’s repressive policies in Tibet with senior party officials and publicly use your platform as ambassador to make it clear to the Tibetan people that they have a friend in the United States of America,’ they said.

    The Congressmen are members of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan caucus in the US House of Representatives.

    Apprising the ambassador about the recent testimony of Tibetan prime minister-in-exile Lobsang Sangay and Kirti Rinpoche to the Lantos Commission, the members said: ‘Their testimony was moving and deeply disturbing. They spoke of the abuses suffered by the Tibetan people which in recent months have driven these peace-loving people to desperate forms of protests.’

    The Congressmen urged Locke to press for a fact-finding mission into Kirti Monastery which has featured prominently in the recent wave of self-immolations.

    The CTA said the Tibetans immolated themselves to protest China’s policies, and for their demand of freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama to his homeland.

    Spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, along with many of his supporters fled Tibet and took refuge in India when Chinese troops moved in and took control of Lhasa in 1959.

    He then headed a Tibetan government-in-exile which never won recognition from any country. India is home to around 100,000 Tibetans.

  25. Akaash fuels global interest
    November 30, 2011

    With the government all set to initiate the process for acquiring 10 lakh more Akaash tablets priced at Rs 2,276 each, there has been an international interest in the low-cost machine.

    Panama has approached the Indian Embassy there to buy one lakh units of Akaash. Even Philadelphia — has shown interest in the product. Malaysia had approached the HRD ministry even before Akaash was formally unveiled, but it wanted to produce tablets locally.Thailand has directly approached Datawind, the company that is manufacturing the first one lakh tablets. Ministry sources do not rule out helping countries, but made it clear that domestic needs are paramount. Sources said production of one lakh tablets is going on as per schedule, but after receiving the initial feedback the manufacturer has been asked to make minor changes like improve the processor. .

    The ministry has written to vice-chancellors of state, private and central universities and state chief secretaries explaining the scheme, especially the fact that with 50% subsidy provided by the Central government, a student has to pay only Rs 1, 138 for a tablet. It has also asked all states to spell out their requirements. States have been told to give their suggestions on technical specifications, subsidy and distribution of tablets.

    The Unique Identification Development Authority of India has also approached the ministry to collaborate with Akaash. “We are still working out the details. Aadhar numbers and tablet can be put to creative use for establishing identity of students and their attendance,” an official said.


    29-11-2011 : Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi
    Press relese : 1830 hrs

    A Memorandum of Understanding was signed today at Rashtrapati Bhavan between the Roshni Prachodya Society of the President’s Estate and the, All India Institute of Local Self Government in the presence of the Secretary to the President, Dr. Christy Fernandez

    Project Roshni is a green innovative concept encompassing environment management and empowerment of local communities, to create inclusive and eco-friendly sustainable urban habitats. The Society has taken initiatives in Solid and Liquid Waste Management, Water Conservation and Rain Water Harvesting, Bio-Diversity Conservation, Energy Audit and Conservation, Use of New and Renewable Energy Sources etc. Roshni Prachodaya Society has a mission to universalise Roshni, so as to fulfil the larger vision of the President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil – “To make all Urban Habitats Eco – Friendly and Sustainable”.

    All India Institute of Local Self Government is a premier institute of excellence to strengthen and re-enforce urban local governance. It strives to give quality education, training, conducting research and works towards empowering local governments in order to work towards transformation of society and for betterment of life. It has joined hands with Roshni Prachodaya Society to spread the message of creating sustainable urban habitats throughout the country.


    Dated : 29/10/2011

    The President of India, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil opened the 43rd Conference of Governors at Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi. In her opening address at the Conference, the President spoke about global recognition of India’s economic and technological prowess, the multiple challenges of terrorism, Left Wing Extremism and insurgency, the need for evolving a viable strategy for increasing production, productivity and profitability in rain fed areas, the role of Governors in the context of the 6th Schedule of the Constitution of India and the need for a multi-pronged strategy to combat and prevent corruption.

  28. Change of Governors as appointed by the Ho’ble President of India on 26/8/2011:

    1. Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra to discharge the functions of the Governor of Goa for the remainder of his term, in addition to his own duties.

    2. Shri M.O.H. Farook, Governor of Jharkhand transferred and appointed as Governor of Kerala for the remainder of his term.

    3. Shri Ram Naresh Yadav as Governor of Madhya Pradesh.

    4. Shri Vakkom Purushothaman as Governor of Mizoram.

    5. Shri K. Rosaiah as Governor of Tamil Nadu.

    6. Dr. Syed Ahmed as Governor of Jharkhand


    Dated: 1/11/2011

    The envoys who presented their credentials were: –
    1. The High Commissioner of Nigeria,
    2. The Ambassador of Belarus,
    3. The Ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire,
    4, The Ambassador of Luxembourg,
    5. The Ambassador of Hungary,
    6. The High Commissioner of Fiji,
    7. The Ambassador of Tunisia,
    8. The Ambassador of Cuba,
    9. The Ambassador of Macedonia,
    10. The Ambassador of Azerbaijan
    11. the Ambassador of France

    Welcoming the envoys the President said that India is a large country and the world’s largest democracy, as well as one of the fastest growing economies of the world. She stated that India is working for greater growth to meet the aspirations of its people and is committed to inclusive growth. The President mentioned that to fulfill these aspirations, it is expanding its social infrastructure particularly education, skill building and health, as well as putting into place extensive physical infrastructure over the next five years, with an investment of over US Dollar one trillion. A growing India will expand opportunities for the global economy as well, the President emphasized. India also seeks to enlarge economic engagement with other countries for peace, progress and development. Speaking about global governance structures, the President said India has all the credentials for its legitimate aspiration to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. She also emphasized that reforms in international bodies must be taken up, so that they reflect contemporary realities as well as to make them more credible and effective.


    Quarterly GDP at factor cost showed an increase in growth rate of 6.9 per cent over the corresponding quarter of previous year 2010-2011.

    The economic activities which registered significant growth in Q2 of 2011-12 over Q2 of 2010-11 are, ‘electricity, gas , ‘trade, hotels, transport and
    communication’ and ‘financing, insurance, real estate and business services’.

    The estimated growth rates in other economic activities in this quarter ‘agriculture, forestry & fishing’, ‘manufacturing’ and ‘construction’ in ‘community, social and personal services’.

    The growth of
    ‘mining and quarrying’ sector declined to (- )2.9 per cent during this period. The decrease in
    the growth of GDP in second quarter of 2011-12 is largely due to the negative growth in
    ‘mining and quarrying’ and steep fall in the growth of manufacturing sector, as compared to
    their levels of growth in Q2 of 2010-11

  31. Indian drugmaker OK’d to launch generic Lipitor
    December 01, 2011

    AP: Linda A. Johnson

    India’s largest maker of generic drugs won approval late Wednesday to sell a generic version of cholesterol blockbuster Lipitor. The world’s top-selling drug ever lost U.S. patent protection earlier in the day.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it granted Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. approval to sell a generic verson of Pfizer Inc.’s Lipitor, called atorvastatin calcium. The last-minute decision ended widespread speculation over the outcome of a delay caused by long-standing manufacturing issues at some Ranbaxy factories.

  32. Solar lighting system to light up 120 villages in India
    November 30, 2011

    Daily News & Analysis

    More than 120 villages in India including 50 from the state, will be lit up with innovative solar LED lighting system in the next two years. Approved by president, Pratibha Patil, the project is an effort to develop the rural population in collaboration with BMC Technologies and Hanul Technologies.

    At a press conference in the city on Saturday, vice chairman, India800 Foundation, Lord Amir Bhatia said, “We had a meeting with the president of India. We would be installing innovative solar powered LED lighting system in these villages that are developed by Pune-based Hanul Technologies, which facilitate saving of over 60% electricity. This will surely transform the lives of communities that still do not have access to basic infrastructure.”

    He said the system has been installed in Sakur village in Sangamner taluka of Ahmednagar district. More projects will be undertaken in Amravati and Ahmednagar districts in Maharashtra.

  33. World Bank hails India’s advances in preventing HIV/AIDS
    November 30, 2011

    Rediff: Aziz Haniffa

    On the eve of World AIDS Day 2011, the World Bank has released groundbreaking new evidence from India that demonstrates major advances in the understanding and prevention of HIV/AIDS of up to 3 million HIV/AIDS cases.

    A recently published impact evaluation found a significant decline in HIV prevalence among female sex workers and young women (15-24 years) seeking antenatal care in the high-prevalence southern states in India.

    The study, “Impact of Targeted Interventions on Heterosexual Transmission of HIV in India,” which was published in the medical journal BMC Public Health, evaluated the impact of targeted interventions among female sex workers — a vulnerable group at high risk — in four high-prevalence southern states: Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.

    The drop in prevalence is associated with a significant increase in consistent condom use, the World Bank said, and noted that among the women seeking antenatal care in districts with high intensity of targeted interventions, HIV prevalence declined by more than 50 percent from 1.9 percent in 2001 to 0.8 percent in 2008, compared with low-intensity districts where the infection rate remained constant at 0.9 percent in both 2001 and 2008.

  34. President Appoints A Committee of Governors to Study and Recommend steps for Increasing Agricultural Productivity
    The President, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil has constituted a Committee of Governors under the chairmanship of Shri Shivraj Patil, Governor of Punjab & Rajasthan to study and recommend measures for enhancing productivity, profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of the agriculture sector in India with special reference to rainfed area farming.

    The Committee will deliberate on the need for formulating requisite policy initiatives and legislative measures, institutional reforms including restructuring and convergence of schemes at local level so as to integrate with the village economy and avenues and prospects for investment in agriculture and allied sectors. It will also discuss on measures for transfer of innovations and new cutting edge technologies to the farm and allied sectors, steps to meet the emerging scenario of farm labour and farm mechanization and also to recommend the role and participation of agriculture related Public Sector Undertakings, agriculture Universities and Research Institutions both at the Central and State levels in the promotion of sustainable agriculture and knowledge management and a way forward for Farmer-Industry Partnership.

    Other members of Committee are
    2. Shri K. Sankaranarayanan, Governor of Maharashtra & Goa,
    3. Shri N.N. Vohra, Governor of Jammu & Kashmir,
    4.Shri Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary, Governor of Meghalaya, 5. Shri H.R. Bhardwaj, Governor of Karnataka,
    6. Shri Devanand Konwar, Governor of Bihar,
    7.Smt. Margaret Alva, Governor of Uttarakhand,
    8.Shri Nikhil Kumar, Governor of Nagaland,
    9. Shri J.B. Patnaik, Governor of Assam,
    11. Shri Shekhar Dutt, Governor of Chhattisgarh,
    12.Shri K. Rosaiah, Governor of Tamil Nadu,
    13.Shri Vakkom Purushothaman, Governor of Mizoram
    14.Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Bhopinder Singh, Lt. Governor of Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

  35. Reconstruction and repair of 49,000 houses for internally displaced persons in Northern and Eastern Provinces and for Indian Origin Tamils in Sri Lanka

    The Union Cabinet today approved the reconstruction and repair of 49,000 house for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Northern and Eastern Provinces and for Indian Origin Tamils (IOTs) in Sri Lanka under grant assistance from the Government of India

  36. 19.076 lakh tonne Sugar Released for the Month of December, 2011

    The Central Government has decided to make available 19.076 lac tons of sugar (levy sugar 2.07 lac tons and non-levy sugar 17.006 lac tons) for the month of December, 2011

  37. Army Conducts Successful Flight Test of Missile Agni A1-06
    Dated: 1/12/2011

    The AGNI A1-06 was successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island today at 0930 hrs by the Indian Army. The missile was launched from a Road Mobile Launcher System and reached the target point in the Bay of Bengal. The missile was tracked by radar andtelemetry stations located along the coastline. Two Naval Ships located near the target point tracked the missile in the terminal phase of the flight.

    The missile, indigenously developed by DRDO, is already in the arsenal of Indian Armed Forces

  38. The Pakistani tail is wagging the American dog

    November 30, 2011

    The Globe and Mail (Canada)

    It’s time – way past time – to stop the tail from wagging the dog.

    The latest confrontation between the United States and Pakistan underscores the futility of working with an “ally” that is hell-bent not on saving Afghanistan as an independent country but on taking it over with China’s backing as U.S., Canadian and other foreign soldiers leave by 2014.

    In the geopolitical sweep of Asia, Pakistan is not a friend of the West but a nuclear-armed enemy that can cause huge damage to stability and democracy in the Indian subcontinent. Yet, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, have offered little but abject apologies when Pakistan has taken unintended casualties at the hands of NATO forces in the war to keep Afghanistan free of terrorist intruders.

    This is the case in the wake of a weekend engagement in one of the most rugged parts of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan, in which 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed. NATO says its troops took fire first, a fact acknowledged by a senior Pakistani defence official to The Washington Post. Both sides say they believed they were attacking insurgents along the border. Predictably, however, Ms. Clinton offered condolences as if the U.S. were to blame – and the Pakistani government made sure this was the message received by the poverty-stricken people of Pakistan, whose hatred of the U.S. grew accordingly.

    But the collection of political hacks and vengeful generals in Islamabad and Rawalpindi went further, as they had in a similar but smaller incident a few months ago. They closed indefinitely the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan and a southern route starting in Karachi, cutting off the vital flow of military and other supplies to more than 100,000 international troops in Afghanistan. For good measure, they banned use of a base for the unmanned Predator drones that have been effective in finding and killing Taliban leaders. And they say they’re boycotting a key international conference, set to take place in Bonn on Dec. 5, on Afghanistan’s future.

    This is an ally? No, this is the regime that created and armed the Taliban, the Islamist extremists who took over most of Afghanistan in 1996 following the withdrawal of Soviet troops, and that continued to command them after 9/11 despite promises to the contrary. Lest we forget, the Taliban and their Pakistani overseers were responsible for the deaths of Canadian troops in Kandahar province, the tribal Pashtun Taliban’s home base.

    The excuse for maintaining full relations with Pakistan, including billions of dollars in misused U.S. military and economic assistance (although Canada has quietly pressed for cutting aid), is that choosing any other option is riskier. This was the argument of George W. Bush, who at least applied pressure by publicly exposing the nature of the Pakistani regime. The Obama-Clinton duo relaxed the pressure while, nonetheless, making clear they understood what they were up against.

    But the time has come for a surgical change in U.S. policy in South and Central Asia. Otherwise, the war in Afghanistan will drag on beyond 2014 with no decisive end in sight. The change – which could well lead to Pakistan’s severing relations altogether – would entail stopping all U.S. aid, except possibly humanitarian assistance. It would also mean that Pakistani co-operation in military operations, as conditional and duplicitous as it is, would end.

    With patience, however, a new alliance to maintain Afghanistan’s integrity as the historic pivot of Asia can come into being. It will have to go beyond the current U.S.-NATO alliance. In particular, it will have to include India – Pakistan’s bugbear. This has started to happen, given the recent signing of an unprecedented strategic pact by Kabul and New Delhi. The U.S. and India have already established a strategic, if non-specific, alliance.

    Indeed, putting an end to the Pakistani tail’s wagging the U.S. dog could well become a landmark event in what is beginning to emerge as a series of steps to establish credible collective security against China’s ambitions to dominate Asia and the Pacific. Another step is the recent agreement by South and Central Asian countries not to interfere in Afghanistan’s affairs. This may not restrain Pakistan but should deter China for the time being.

    But what’s most important is the long range. America’s distancing itself from Pakistan now would be a major development in this direction – a prospect that some of the Republican candidates for the U.S. presidency clearly recognize and welcome.

    David Van Praagh, a professor of journalism at Carleton University, is the author of The Greater Game: India’s Race with Destiny and China.

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