Sunday, May 31, 2015

Solar Impulse continues on its journey around the world


#SolarImpulse2 #AndreBorschberg #BertrandPiccard Harnessing solar power as an alternate source of energy is one of the major projects on the agenda of the world and a solar powered aircraft that will go around the world depending only on solar power is another example.
The unique solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2 now taken off from China and has started the next leg of its journey – the six-day voyage over the Pacific. This has been branded as the most ambitious leg of the challenge to circumnavigate the globe without a drop of conventional fuel.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 31 May 2015.
This leg of the journey is piloted by Swiss pilot 62-year-old Andre Borschberg and his 5,079-mile (8,173-km) journey from Nanjing to Hawaii would be the longest and most dangerous of 12 flights powered only by the Sun. There is no support with the plane and, in case of failure of any system, it would lead to abandonment of the aircraft and a parachute descent with a life raft into the ocean.
Andre Borschberg and fellow Swiss pilot Bertrand Piccard are flying the single-seater plane by rotation during a five-month journey. Their aim is to promote use of renewable energy.
They had taken off from Abu Dhabi in March and had halted in Oman, India, Burma and China and, after Hawaii, they would proceed to Phoenix in Arizona.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

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Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

DMK wants direct intervention of Prime Minister Modi in the IIT Madras ruckus


#IITMadras #SmritiIrani #Karunanidhi #NarendraModi The leaders of BJP continue to stir the hornet’s nest and give rise to unpleasantness that could have been avoided. The latest one in this list is that of IIT Madras and the ban of a group that was critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
This ban is a controversial one because its members are mainly Dalits even the DMK chief Karunanidhi has sought the direct intervention of the Prime Minister for revoking the order.
This has been reported in zeenews.com dated 1 June 2015.
The IIT-M has derecognized the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle(APSC) based on a complaint that it was critical of Modi. The action had led to protests by political parties including Congress and AAP.
BJP continues to insist that the Union Government was not behind the decision which was taken by the administration of the institute on grounds of misuse of privileges and violation of guidelines. It seems an anonymous letter received by the ministry had been forwarded to IIT Madras for tasking necessary action.
Since IITs are autonomous bodies, the letter could have been ignored by the minister but, by forwarding it to IIT, a situation has arisen that could have been avoided.
PL Punia, chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) has revealed that a notice has been issued to IIT-M and a reply has been sought.
Karunanidhi, on his part, has castigated Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani for "authoritarian" interference and derecognition of the students group. He has added that because of this an otherwise peaceful functioning institute has turned into a war zone. He has gone on to add that such "unilateral" and "authoritarian" interference by Modi's ministers will have impact on both the youth of the country and the peace of the nation.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

The Indian police are an overworked lot – 73% of them do not get weekly offs


Our films depict policemen as pot-bellied characters who are invariably the butt of jokes. Exceptions are certainly there like the police officers of Gangajal and Sarafarosh who do not tolerate any nonsense. But, a study conducted by Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) and Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) has revealed that 90% of police officers in India have to work for more than eight hours a day and 73% of the police staff do not get a weekly off even once a month.
They are always at the beck and call and have to turn up for emergency duties even when they get their rare off days. This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 1 June 2015.
One of the outcome of these long working hours is that police officers were not fit and healthy and their behavior with the public is rude and leaves much to be desired. These further tarnish the image of police in general.
It was a massive study and involved staff of 12,156 police station, 1,003 SHOs and 962 supervisory officers – their ranks ranged from constables to IGPs, in 319 districts in 23 states and two Union Territories.
All nine police stations types - metropolitan, urban, urban-rural mixed, rural, crime, traffic, women, tribal and others were covered in the survey.
The survey found that nearly 90% of police station staff works for more than eight hours a day. More than 68% of SHOs and over 76% of supervisory officers indicated that staff members in police stations were on duty for 11 hours or more per day. 27.7% SHOs and 30.4% supervisory officers reported that their staff worked for more than 14 hours a day.
The study concluded that the existing system was not in consonance with Indian labor laws nor was in compliance with provisions of Article 42 of the Constitution. Moreover, it also out of sync with international norms.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Marvels of technology – robotic cheetah created by MIT, it can jump over obstacles


Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT has developed a robotic cheetah and has trained it to jump over hurdles as it runs. This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 29 May 2015.
MIT claims that this is the first four-legged robot to run and jump over obstacles autonomously. It has been programed to plan out its path in a similar way to a human runner. It estimates the height of the obstacle apart from the distance on approach.
The robot cheetah ‘sees' the obstacle by means of an on-board tool called LIDAR which is a visual system that uses reflections from a laser to map the surrounding terrain. Once that is done, it gauges the best position from which to jump before pushing itself up and over.
The trials of the robot was first carried out on a treadmill while attached to a harness – it managed to clear obstacles 45cm tall while maintaining a speed of 5mph.
The robotic cheetah managed to jump over 90% of obstacles while indoors and it would now be taken outdoors to jump over hurdles on softer terrains like on grass while in the running mode.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.com)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Education system in India is in a mess – high pass percentage but not enough seats


The education system in India is in a mess as is being revealed by reports in the media. It seems in Delhi University, the offline registration has yet to open up for its 54,000 seats. However, it has already received more than one lakh online applications for admission to various undergraduate courses on offer by the premier institute. This has been reported in zeenews.com dated 31 May 2015.
It stands to reason that all those who have passed out, even with high marks, may not get admission to the stream of his or her choice. That is bound to lead to heartburns and disappointments and might ruin many lives.
The education system of today consists of innumerable coaching classes, some in one’s own locality, and others though long distance via mail. The ultimate of all is to pass out with high marks which would ease entry into higher stages of learning. But, when there are 20 students with the same percentage like 97.3% (an arbitrarily chosen figure) and when entry closes at 97.4% (another arbitrarily chosen figure), what happens to the others.
Notwithstanding the %age marks, there are other factors like reservations that lead to more disappointments. And it is not only for Delhi University but is applicable to many others.
In West Bengal for instance, 19 students have come in the top 10 list with the top three students securing 99.2%, 98.2%, 97.8% - all of them belong to the Ramakrishna Mission Vidyalaya, Narendrapur. Others in the top ten also come from the same school.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

With over 2000 deaths, India experiencing 5th deadliest heatwave in the world


India, with the death toll crossing 2000, is experiencing the 5th deadliest heatwave in the world as per an international database of disasters and reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 31 May 2015. The arrival of monsoons is delayed, it is overdue and the weathermen predict that there would be some more delays.
The deaths due to the current heatwave is maximum from the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telengana, while affecting large parts of the rest of the country.
For the records, the deadliest heatwave on record in India is the one of 1998 one in which 2,541 people died. However, in 2003, there has been recorded the most lethal heatwave in the world which killed more than 71,310 people in Europe. These figures are maintained in the Emergency Events Database (EM-DAT) and by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) based in Brussels, Belgium.
As per records, six of the top ten heatwaves in terms of deaths have occurred in the 21st century, which has also recorded eight of the ten warmest years ever since records of global temperatures were started being kept.
2014 was tied at the warmest year on record with 1998, and the first quarter of 2015 has already been declared the warmest on record. Obviously, one can assume that global warming and increasing population are the contributory factors to the increasing ferocity of heatwaves.
Incidentally, in the list of top ten deadliest disasters, Indian heatwaves figure four times — 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2015.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Cancer linked to obesity could turn out to be the biggest killer in next decade


#obesity #cancer #heartdisease In the opinion of academics of Harvard University, cancer linked to obesity could turn out to be the biggest killer of the next decade. As it is, this condition is already to blame for up to 32,000 cancer deaths every year in the UK.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 30 May 2015.
The experts feel diet and exercise regimes should become ‘standard’ treatment for cancer along with the regular chemotherapy and surgery. Thy have warned that unless checked, the US and the UK obesity will cause more cancer deaths than smoking.
The warnings should not be taken lightly because overweight patients have high risk of developing cancer and also are far more likely to die. The WHO predicts that at present nearly 25% of adults in Britain are obese and this would increase to 33% by 2030.
Moreover, children faced a ‘rising tide’ of cancer, heart disease and ill health due to the effects of their obesity which needs to be checked and kept under control.
The researchers have indicated that obesity increases the risk of the most common types of tumors including breast, prostate, bowel, womb and cervical cancers.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Concept of caravan holidays catching up in Britain


The concept of caravan holidaying is fast catching up in Britain because, there has been a marked increase in the number of young families who are taking their holidays in caravans instead of opting for package deals.
In the opinion of Rob Ganley, of the National Camping and Caravaning Club, caravanning is an attractive option for many people who want to avail of an opportunity to spend more quality time together.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 30 May 2015.
He was speaking during National Camping and Caravanning Week and he has added that more and more families are going for tent camping and, progression from tent camping into caravanning is but natural. Many see this as a more comfortable option because the caravan is equipped with all latest modern gadgets from fridge-freezer, grill, hob, microwave oven, to a flushing toilet and a shower.
As far as statistics go - the National Caravan Council has revealed that the sales of new motor-homes are up 18% on last year, with caravan sales up 9%. And, in totality, there are just over 750,000 in use today on Britain's roads.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Italian coastguard rescues 4200 migrants in 24 hours from 22 boats in the Mediterranean Sea


#ItalianCoastGuard #Libya #mediterraneansea #Syria In one of the largest rescues in recent days, the Italian coastguard has coordinated the rescue of about 4200 migrants based on distress signals from 22 boats sailing across the Mediterranean Sea. During the rescue, they discovered 17 corpses on three inflatable dinghies.
300 other migrants were rescued alive from the three inflatable dinghies where the 17 corpses were recovered. This has been reported in nzherald.co.nz dated 30 May 2015.
The distress calls originated from 22 different boats, many of these were off Libya but some were off the southern Italian coast.
The rescue operations were led by the Italian coastguard and included the assistance of Italian, German and Irish naval ships that were working under the auspices of the EU's Frontex border agency. Migrants fleeing from the troubled locations in Syria, Libya have to be rescued on humanitarian grounds and taken care of till rehabilitation is arranged. Till now, more than 40,400 boat migrants have landed up in Italy since the start of the year.
On a rough estimate, the total number of migrants rescued in a period of 24 hours is believed to be one of the highest in recent years. The previous numbers were 3791 migrants on April 12 and 3690 on May 2.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Friday, May 29, 2015

Officers on relief duty in 2013 Uttarakhand floods gorged on mutton and gulabjamuns


We have heard of Emperor Nero fiddling while Rome was burning but, nearer home, we have come to know that officers of Uttarakhand, who had been deputed on relief duties during the 2013 floods in the state had gorged on mutton and gulabjamuns instead of concentrating on relief work.
This has been revealed through an RTI and reported in zeenews.com dated 30 May 2015.
It seems these officials of the state government had put up in posh hotels that charged Rs 7000 per day and savored mutton chops, chicken, milk and cottage cheese – they had been deputed to oversee and monitor the relief operations. The list of irregularities is a long one – they have claimed Rs 194 for half a litre of milk, supplied diesel to two-wheelers, paid relief twice to same people, purchased 1,800 rain coats from the same shop for three days to making payment of Rs 98 lakh towards fuel purchase to a helicopter company, apart from several financial bunglings.
The diesel bills of 30 litres and 15 litres were for vehicles that had registration numbers of scooters, motorcycles and three-wheelers and these vehicles run on petrol.
Taking note of these alleged irregularities, the state Information Commissioner has suggested a CBI probe, subject of the approval of the Chief Minister.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

WHO says cigarette smuggling into India has increased fourfold


The other day there was news about increase in smuggling of gold into India and now it seems smuggling of cigarettes is also on the rise as indicated by WHO and reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 30 May 2015. Obviously, some people know how to get the tag of Achhe Din!
The fourfold increase in cigarette smuggling during 2012 and 2014 is by value as per seizure data of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence. This data has been cited in a latest draft working paper prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO). It contends that illicit trade in tobacco products undermines the various policies of tobacco control policies and leads to considerable loss of revenue.
Warnings on cigarette packets is mandatory as well as pop-up of ‘Smoking kills’ in movies whenever someone lights up. Ads of cigarettes have also been banned but still there are people who crave for the desire to inhale the smoke.
As per estimates of WHO, the import duty evasion from smuggling of cigarettes into the country would work out to approximately at Rs 2,363 crore for 2014-15. Most of the smuggled cigarettes are believed to be from Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, China and the United Arab Emirates and the common transit points are Delhi, Singapore and Dubai.
Smugglers of cigarettes are having a field day because such cigarette packets do not have the pictorial warnings on the packets and are available at cheap rates – hence these appeal to youths as well as adults of low income groups.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Mamata Banerjee in team of Narendra Modi headed for Bangladesh


Politics is a profession where nothing is predictable and where sworn enemies can become fast friends overnight. The blow-hot, blow-cold relationship between Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal and Narendra Modi, is well known. But, of late, there appears to be a thaw and Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to accompany Narendra Modi on his visit to Dhaka on June 6.
It may be recalled that she had snubbed the earlier Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on the same issue four years back – she had skipped a similar tour. In September 2011, she had suddenly pulled out at the last minute. The signing of the Teesta water-sharing treaty was on top of the agenda. The Chief Minister had refused to give her assent to the sharing the Teesta waters with Bangladesh.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 29 May 2015.
It seems the external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had called up the Chief Minister and requested her to join the delegation travelling with the Prime Minister.
His camaraderie between Mamata and Modi has taken everyone, including BJP leaders associated with West Bengal, by surprise. Tongues of the opposition were wagging following a few recent incidents and, the BJP leaders are also surprised.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Uninvited guest flies into 10 Downing Street and flies out again


10 Downing Street is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Britain and it has its quota of security measures to prevent entry of unwanted elements but that is just what happened. The security measures could not prevent the entry of a heron into the building.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 28 May 2015.
The bird perched itself on top of the Prime Minister's front door. It seems it was trying to escape from the unwanted attentions of a crow and was frightened and, hence, had taken shelter in the Prime Minister’s official residence.
The staff of Number 10 staff quickly closed their doors to ensure that the bird did not get into building. However, the heron was only there for a few minutes before hopping out of the door and flying off again.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

UP, like Bihar, to issue free sanitary napkins for all its girl students


The UP government has taken a decision to issue sanitary napkins to its 28 lakh adolescent girls who miss out on school every month due to the monthly cycle of menstruation. Apart from this, nearly over 19 lakh are unable to complete their education because of menstruation. Therefore, in order to ensure that the dropout among girls is arrested, the UP government has decided to provide free sanitary napkins to all girls studying in government and government-aided schools across the state. This has been reported in economictimes.indiatimes.com dated 29 May 2015.
The proposal has been approved by the state cabinet and it is hoped that the scheme can roll out by July when schools reopen after summer break. Under the scheme called Kishori Suraksha Yojana, each girl would be entitled to one pack of 10 sanitary napkins every month. A similar decision had been taken by the Bihar government last year as reported in hindu.com dated 14 February 2014. In order to boost girls’ education and check the dropout rate in higher classes, the Bihar government took a decision to distribute sanitary napkins in State-run schools. Free sanitary napkins will be given every month to every girl in secondary and higher secondary schools and the Bihar government had earmarked Rs.32 crore annually for this scheme. Moreover, to improve cleanliness, there would be dustbins provided for disposal of the napkins. Under the provisions of the plan, the estimated cost would be around Rs.100 per girl for a year and the government would tie up with local self-help groups to manufacture the sanitary napkins. The scheme would cover girls from Class seven to Class 12. (Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)

A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Madhuri Dixit in a spot of bother over her ad of Maggi 2-minute noodle


Madhuri Dixit is in a spot of bother about her endorsement of an ad of Maggi ‘the 2-minute noodle’ that has, till now, been a favorite of not only children of all ages but even for grown-ups. The Food and Drugs Administration of Haridwar has served the Bollywood actress with a notice demanding clarifications on claims made in the advertisement regarding Maggi noodles.
As reported in newsnation.in dated 29 May 2015, she has to respond to the notice within 15 days. In case she fails to do so, a case could be registered against her.
The clarifications have been sought on seven points.
These include how Maggi is good for health, and the basis of making the claims. She also has been asked to provide details of the contract.
It may be recalled that Maggi had come under regulatory scanner because samples collected in Uttar Pradesh and tested were found to have a substance called monosodium glutamate (MSG) and lead far in excess of the permissible limit.
Incidentally, zeenews.com dated 22 May 2015 has indicated that the samples collected in some parts of Uttar Pradesh had found that Maggi contains 17 parts per million lead, while the permissible limit is only 0.01 ppm.
(Image source wikimediacommons.com)

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Indian students in the US contributed $3.3-billion to US economy last year


This year, 90,000 students had applied for US visa to pursue studies in that country and 4000 have succeeded in getting the prized document. According to sources in the American Embassy, last year Indian students in the United States had contributed $3.3 billion to the US economy.
Obviously, it is an arrangement that is advantageous and beneficial to both countries.
The students who have got the visa will now get added to those who are already there and that is nearly 103,000 at present. This will make Indians the second largest group of foreign students in the United States after China. This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 29 May 2015.
Student visa applications across India has increased 60 percent last year and 78 per cent of the Indians select Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Engineering is at the top of the chart, followed by computer science.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


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Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Kenyan lawyer wants to marry Obama’s elder daughter Malia

Modi’s first year in office – how America sees it

Noise pollution leads to obesity – those living near airports or busy streets are affected

Giant barrel jellyfish 5-ft long, 3-ft diameter and weighing 5-stone each found off Dorset coast

ICU beckons me for a second time

Marriages are made in Heaven

Teen, instigated by his mother, bludgeons a Delhi bus driver to death in broad daylight

Dozens of corpses found in bamboo cages in Thai human trafficking camp

Migrants from Syria and Afghanistan have terrified holidaymakers in the Greek island of Kos


The Greek island of Kos is a popular tourist destination for British holidaymakers because of its package deals of cheap hotels. But, boat people from Syria and Afghanistan have encroached in the location and have left the tourists terrified.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 28 May 2015.
The tourists feel the invasion of these migrants have turned the Greek island into a 'disgusting' hellhole. Families had come to enjoy the summer sun, relax on sun loungers on the beach but their privacy has been shattered by the migrants who have set up camps and sleep on cardboard boxes with rubbish strewn everywhere.
The tourists are terrified as the penniless migrants, who have arrived in Greece to claim asylum, occupy positions outside their restaurant and watch them eat.
The migrants who have landed from countries like Afghanistan and Syria have taken shelter under arcades on the seafront in Kos town till such time they receive security clearance for onward travel to mainland Greece. Nearly 6,000 migrants have landed on the Dodecanese island of Kos in the past two months.
Those who possess smart phones and credit cards are staying in local hotels for 10-15 euros a night - while the rest are camped out on the harbor side and at a derelict hotel on the edge of Kos town. The straggly ones get down from the boats and walk straight through the town with backpacks on to join friends and register for their travel permits at the police station.
(Image wikimediacommons.org)


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Forget Unidentified Flying Objects, it is now Unidentified Tarlike Blobs on Manhattan Beach


The sudden appearance of globs of black tarlike substance on a two-mile stretch of southern California coastline in Manhattan Beach had to be closed down. The blobs began to wash ashore from 10 in the morning and continued for nearly two hours.
This has been reported in foxnews.com dated 28 May 2015.
The Los Angeles Fire Department has indicated that lifeguards saw the substance and the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies have collected samples of the material. They are investigating and were trying to identify the substance and its source.
It was not known whether there is any link to last week's oil spill in Santa Barbara County, when a burst pipeline dumped over 100,000 gallons of oil. Scientists with the environmental group Heal the Bay, do not see any connection as of now. In their opinion, these look like a combination of large clumps of oil and tar of various sizes ranging from a baseball to a football ... The sand along the tideline is peppered with thousands of these blobs.
Do these have their sources in some alien planet or from beyond the known boundaries of civilization?
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


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Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Funeral for Desmond Drake, the duck of Somerset who reigned supreme for 25-years in the village pond


Desmond Drake is no more. He was a local celebrity in Compton Martin, Somerset, after frightening other birds in the village pond for 25 years and, a bunch of feathers on the banks was proof that he had breathed his last – he had been eaten up by a fox.
Therefore, in his honor, the village in the West Country will lower a church flag to half-mast when residents gather to hold a funeral for a duck.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 28 May 2015.
Desmond had the ability to eat large amounts of stale bread and cake and also had the power to toss upstart young moorhens all over the place. He was a "village icon" and had been a permanent fixture of the pond, for over 25 years. He had outlived all his contemporaries and, there was even a local society named after him.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


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Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Activists on kayaks protest against drilling for oil in Alaska

Disenchanted with rosy promises of a life with the ISIS, three British girls escape

Over 600 stranded migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar rescued by local fishermen

British spy chiefs recruiting computer geeks for £27,913 to help fight terrorists, criminal gangs and hackers

Ancient 2000-year-old city of Palmyra in Syria targeted for destruction by ISIS

I become a detective to trace a missing consignment

Mt Everest glaciers under threat from greenhouse gases – 70% could be lost by 2100


In a report it has been indicated that more than 70% of the Mt Everest glacier volume could vanish if greenhouse gases continue to increase unchecked – the loss within the next 85 years could increase the risk of floods in the Kosi River downstream from Nepal to India.
This has been reported in zeenews.com dated 27 May 2015.
The study has been carried out by a team of researchers from Nepal, France and the Netherlands and they have concluded that the Everest glaciers could be very sensitive to future warming and that sustained ice loss through the 21st century is likely. In case the greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the glaciers would not be able to sustain its hold and could give rise to dramatic changes in future decades.
The report has cautioned that increased temperatures will result in not only increase in the rates of snow and ice melt but can also result in a change of precipitation from snow to rain at critical elevations, where glaciers are concentrated.
The combined effect would be to reduce glacier growth and increase the area exposed to melt.
The glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin in the Nepal Himalayas are home to some of the world's highest mountain peaks, including Mt Everest, and to over 400 sq km of glacier area. Melting of these glaciers would increase in the meltwater from the Dudh Kosi basin to the Kosi River. This will, in turn, affect the river flows downstream.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Activists on kayaks protest against drilling for oil in Alaska

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Over 600 stranded migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar rescued by local fishermen

British spy chiefs recruiting computer geeks for £27,913 to help fight terrorists, criminal gangs and hackers

Ancient 2000-year-old city of Palmyra in Syria targeted for destruction by ISIS

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A world record for India – it has 194.6-million undernourished persons, the highest in the world


India has successfully sent the Mangalyaan to Mars to check out the feasibility of settling on the Red Planet at a future date and, it also has earned the unique distinction of accommodating the highest number of undernourished people in the world.
The figure is 194.6-million as revealed in the State of Food Security in the World 2015, released by the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome. This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 28 May 2015.
This is a real paradox since the number of crorepatis is continuously on the rise as is the number of undernourished people in any single country – the figure works out to roughly one in every four.
We Indians boast of latest jet fighters in our skies, latest submarines in the oceans, latest battle tanks on the frontiers. We want bullet trains to run in our country, we want to create Smart Cities, we want to clean up the highly polluted Ganga River. And we can now be proud about the highest number of undernourished people.
When we consider the global scenario, the number of undernourished people has fallen by 216 million between 1990-92 and 2015 – it has dropped from just over a billion to 795 million. India's contribution to this decrease has been marginal - its numbers are down by just 15.5 million.
The undernourished constitute just over 15% of the population in India and the government of the day needs to work out suitable measures to improve upon this.
(Image courtesy weikimediacommons.org)


A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Activists on kayaks protest against drilling for oil in Alaska

Disenchanted with rosy promises of a life with the ISIS, three British girls escape

Over 600 stranded migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar rescued by local fishermen

British spy chiefs recruiting computer geeks for £27,913 to help fight terrorists, criminal gangs and hackers

Ancient 2000-year-old city of Palmyra in Syria targeted for destruction by ISIS

I become a detective to trace a missing consignment

Security forces kill four Taliban gunmen before they could storm Kabul guesthouse


Security forces killed four Taliban gunmen in a six hour overnight gun battle in the Wazir Akbar Khan district in Kabul – the area is home to a number of embassies and official buildings. The assailants had come armed with weapons like a rocket propelled grenade launcher and other weapons. As per the interior ministry there has been no civilian or military casualties.
This has been reported in bbc.com dated 27 May 2015.
The Taliban has accepted responsibility for the attack.
The four attackers had one RPG launcher, three AK-47s and one grenade launcher.
As indicated by the Afghanistan's interior ministry, the target was the Heetal Guesthouse which had been attacked by the Taliban earlier in 2009 also. The guesthouse is now called the Rabbani Guesthouse which is a favorite with foreigners.
It is owned by the Rabbani family, including Afghanistan's current Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani, and its former president, Burhanuddin Rabbani.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

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Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


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Disenchanted with rosy promises of a life with the ISIS, three British girls escape

Over 600 stranded migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar rescued by local fishermen

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RAF Tornados and Reaper drones locate and destroy ISIS underground hideouts


Video footage released by the Ministry of Defense has revealed RAF Tornados and unmanned Reaper drones dropping Hellfire missiles and 500lb laser-guided bombs on ISIS underground hideouts to destroy them.
In Anbar province, a Reaper drone used a Hellfire missile to destroy a mortar which was firing on Iraqi troops while a Reaper and two RAF Tornados carried out three attacks with Paveway IV bombs to destroy an artillery position and two other bunkers in northern Iraq.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 27 May 2015.
British armed drones and warplanes have blitzed Islamic State targets in Iraq after seeking out militant hideouts that were covered in sand and camouflage nets to keep them away from prying eyes. Such coordinated attacks have helped Iraqi troops to move in and seize back the key city of Ramadi.
The action was a part of the US-led coalition air strikes carried out in a bid to degrade IS fighters who have captured an arsenal of weapons from Iraqi forces. The US Special Forces were reported to be operating deep inside Iraq – video released showed eight American helicopters flying low over the desert. These helicopters belonged to the US Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne).
The US military has apparently agreed to provide some 2,000 anti-tank rockets to Iraq ‘within the next week’ to help it fight IS.
(Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org)


A few more must reads -

Nashik Kumbhmela 2015 – a once in 12-years pilgrimage

Trip to Nashik should take in Shirdi and the Ajanta and Ellora caves

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the epic Ramayana

Nashik, a tourist center with links to the Mahabharata

Kumbhmela 2015 in Nashik – guided tours to wineries and vineyards

Nashik transforms from a place of pilgrimage to an industrial hub


Activists on kayaks protest against drilling for oil in Alaska

Disenchanted with rosy promises of a life with the ISIS, three British girls escape

Over 600 stranded migrants from Bangladesh and Myanmar rescued by local fishermen

British spy chiefs recruiting computer geeks for £27,913 to help fight terrorists, criminal gangs and hackers

Ancient 2000-year-old city of Palmyra in Syria targeted for destruction by ISIS

I become a detective to trace a missing consignment