Monday, October 31, 2016

Russian Soyuz space capsule back on Earth with three astronauts from the ISS


A Russian Soyuz space capsule has brought back three astronauts from the ISS and has landed in Kazakhstan. The three astronauts who have come back to Earth are from the United States, Japan and Russia and they are back from a 115-day mission aboard the International Space Station.
This has been reported in thestatesman.com dated 31 October 2016.
The landing happened near Dzhezkazgan on the treeless Central Asian steppes. The three who returned are Kate Rubins of NASA, Japan's Takuya Onishi and Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia. They were removed from the capsule and then sat on the steppes still in their capsule seats as they gradually readjusted to the forces of gravity after nearly four months in weightless conditions. Subsequently, they were shifted to a nearby medical tent for initial examination.
With their return, the three who remain on the ISS are Andrei Borisenko and Sergey Ryzhykov of Russia and NASA astronaut Robert Shane Kimbrough. They have arrived on October 22 after a two-day voyage.
Incidentally, the trip back to Earth was much quicker for the three returnees today - it took about 3 1/2 hours from undocking until landing. It landed upright and that made the extraction of the astronauts quicker than when capsules land on their sides.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Work on Calcutta Eye in the Millennium Park on the banks of the Hoogly to start in January 2017


Calcutta Eye is one of chief minister Mamata Banerjee's dream project - it tries to recreate the famous London Eye landmark at Millennium Park along the Hooghly. It has, finally, received the green signal of the National Green Tribunal after being held up for nearly two years.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 1 November 2016.
Objections had been raised by environment activists because the bank of the Hooghly was eroding and projects were being planned at the cost of blocking the flow of the river. There were genuine concerns about the safety of the proposed Calcutta Eye project because it would be a very heavy and tall structure and people will be riding the giant wheel. However, fast erosion of the riverbank has changed the character of the soil.
But, with the green signal from the NGT, work on it is expected to begin by January or February.
Incidentally, parts of the giant wheel would be built by different companies in Belgium, UK and China and would finally be assembled in Calcutta. It is expected to take 18 months from the day work starts for the wheel to be ready.
The Ferris wheel will be 120 metres in diameter and have 60 cubicles, each with eight seats. The budget for the project is Rs 300 crore and the share of the state government is Rs 86 crore.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Mamata Banerjee to visit the United States in 2017 to woo industries


Getting industries to come to West Bengal is one of the priorities of Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of the state. Therefore, she has chosen to go to the USA in 2017 and bypass Harvard University who have sent an invite to her.
The university's Kennedy School of Government wants the chief minister to deliver the keynote address at the India Exchange programme scheduled in February, 2017 but, Mamata Banerjee prefers to go to the US in the later half of 2017 and showcase Bengal as an investment destination.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 1 November 2016.
Incidentally, she had turned down a similar request from Harvard in 2011.
The preference of USA over Harvard is that US-India Business Council has invited Mamata to the USA. THe invitation is from USIBC chairman Ajay Banga - the MasterCard global CEO. He has promised the CM to arrange for an investors' meet in the US.
Moreover, she has also got an invite from under secretary (political affairs) Thomas A Shannon to Washington DC. This happened when he met Mamata in Kolkata on July 1.
It is understood that she might stop over at Boston - where Harvard, MIT and Tufts Universities are situated - in the course of the proposed US tour.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Coca Cola launches new ginger flavoured fizzy beverage in Australia


Encouraged by increase in sales of Coca-Cola ginger-flavoured beverages by six per cent over the past year, Coca Cola has launched a new limited edition ginger-flavoured drink called 'Coca Cola Ginger'. The new range of this fizzy beverage, described as having a 'Great Coke taste with a refreshing ginger twist', will be sold individually or in a six-pack and are bright red with a section of gold at the top.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 31 October 2016.
It is understood that labels on the new Coke bottles are similar to the original, but feature strips of gold and both the plastic and glass bottles have gold lids. Australia has been selected as the first country in the world to try the new flavor which has been launched nationwide. Coca-Cola South Pacific Group Marketing Manager said the company was excited to unveil the new flavor in Australia.
Coca Cola feels that research has revealed that ginger is particularly popular during the Summer months. Hence, introducing Coca-Cola Ginger in the market is the ideal way to spearhead its exciting and unexpected Summer campaign that is expected to capture the imagination of Australia.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Gold coin on offer to Kerala civic authorities who cull maximum number of stray dogs


The alumni association of a prominent college has announced an incentive to eliminate the menace of stray dogs in Kerala. The association would give gold coins to the civic authorities which killed the maximum number of stray dogs till December 10 in Kerala because four persons have lost their lives and over 700 have been injured in canine attacks in the last four months.
This has been reported in thehindu.com dated 31 October 2016.
As per official government figures, 701 people, including 175 children, were injured in stray dog attacks in the last four months across the State and, in the current year, 53,000 people have taken treatment for dog bites in government medical college hospitals alone. Obviously, this is a matter of concern.
Therefore, office-bearers of the Old Students Welfare Association of the Pala-based (Kottayam) St. Thomas College has indicated an incentive in the form of a “gift” of gold coin that would be given to the heads of panchayats and municipalities across the State where most stray dogs were killed.
The outfit had recently provided air guns at subsidised rates to deal with violent dogs and, before that, a State-based industrialist had offered cash incentives were for culling dogs.
The gold coins would be bought with contributions from the representatives of the 1,200 member-association and the weight of the coins would be decided according to the total amount collected. The civic authorities, who apply for the gold coins, should submit day-to-day figures of the culled dogs.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Andaman Islands are emerging as a tourist hotspot for people of Kolkata


The Andamans is an archipelago of 572 islands in the Bay of Bengal and it is gradually emerging as a top destination for tourists from Kolkata - thanks to better connectivity with the mainland by virtue of the introduction of a number of flights between Kolkata and Port Blair.
The Andamans are a beautiful part of India which has a rich history and breathtaking natural beauty.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 31 October 2016.
Vistara is the latest airline to add a Kolkata-Port Blair service - it has aligned its flight arrival and departure timings with ferry and catamaran services to Havelock. The daily count of flights to Andamans, therefore, has increased to six. A large number of flights have been added within the past 18 months. Capacity has increased while fares have gone down by nearly 50%. Obviously, tourist traffic to the islands has surged.
Right now, IndiGo Airlines, Jet Airways, SpiceJet, Air India and Go Air operate daily flights.
Port Blair has white sandy beaches, rich flora and fauna and its calmness and serenity has remained unexplored by the average holidayer from Kolkata because of poor connectivity. There used to be only a couple of flights, seats were difficult to get and fares were high. The return fare in the off-season was Rs 20,000-25,000 and it doubled in the peak season. Now, the average return fare has come down to around Rs 12,000 in the off-season.
Out of the islands, Havelock Islands has emerged as a major attraction among tourists. It is set against a backdrop of lush forests. The most attractive beaches are Radhanagar Beach, Beach 5, Neil's Cove and Kalapathar Beach.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Buses missing from the roads of Kolkata due to Diwali


While Diwali is a festival for enjoyment, people of Kolkata faced a hard time when it came to public transport in the city because thousands of them faced inconvenience as most private bus operators had withdrawn bus services due to Diwali. Against the normal availability of eight thousand bus and mini bus in the city and its outskirts, there was hardly five hundred buses and six hundred mini buses.
This has been reported in thestatesman.com dated 30 October 2016.
Many of the bus operators have stooped plying their fleets since the pre-Diwali night and the state-run transport corporations also reduced the number of bus services because many bus drivers and conductors were on leave for celebrating Diwali.
To make matters worse, there were fewer taxis on the road and yellow cab drivers who did ply were charging exorbitant rates and people who landed up at Howrah station were in difficulties. Of course, new age taxi operators, like Ola, Uber and BookMyCab, operated more or less as usual and provided some relief to commuters. Incidentally, an Uber driver is said to have made 18 trips between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. while a Uber operator made 11 trips between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Sky lanterns made in China are a craze in Kolkata this Diwali


Firecrackers and illumination lights made in China are taboo in many places this Diwali but, in Kolkata, the sky lanterns or phanush made in China have become a sort of craze. These lanterns come in packets of five and are priced at Rs 30-40 each.
As explained by one of the sellers, there are restrictions on decibel levels and bans on chocolate bombs. Therefore, the thrust is on alternate items which are far cheaper than most aerial fireworks.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 30 October 2016.
The craze and mass appeal is such that events are being organized in free public places were people are being invited to watch the release of these lanterns. One such event was held at Deshbandhu Park and another is planned for Vivekananda Park.
Sky lanterns or phanush will counter the sound pollution caused by crackers during Diwali. Sky lanterns are soothing to look at and are safer.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Happy days on the cards for Kolkata Metro through branding of stations


The General Manager of Kolkata Metro Railway had recently indicated that it was considering a proposal to increase its revenue by branding stations. As a result, keen corporate houses have woken up to immense possibilities.
Kolkata Metro is already on the job to work out the details of how much corporates will be charged for exclusive advertising rights at the stations because Metro Rail is keen to increase non-fare revenue by March 2016-17.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 29 October 2016.
Metro Rail has said that there will not be any change in the names of the stations, neither will the corporates be able to prefix or suffix their names to that of the stations. Already a bank and a corporate house has approached the authorities and, before taking any decision, the matter will be discussed with stakeholders, including the state.
Incidentally, corporate branding and dazzling Metro stations can be seen across the world and, in some cities, Metro stations are as swanky as airports. The proposal can lead to a win-win situation for all because, while the earnings of Metro will increase, commuters will get better services and corporates will grab eyeballs. Ultimately, the move could lead to cleaner, brighter stations and, if stations adjoining shopping malls are branded, it will be all the more advantageous.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Repair of potholes on the roads of England and Wales will take 14 years and £12bn


Potholes are not unique to India and the authorities in India can take solace from the fact that indications are there that it will take 14 years and £12bn to fix the millions of potholes that are present on the roads of England and Wales.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 29 October 2016.
The fresh figures that have been made public by the Local Government Association (LGA) reveal that the time it will take to clear the backlog has increased three years from 10.9 years in 2006. The LGA has indicated that the roads are deteriorating fast and it would take almost £12bn, and the work would go on till nearly 2030, before the existing backlog of road repairs can be cleared.
The necessary funds could be generated by earmarking a portion of the £27bn collected in fuel duty each year. Councils have realized that if the pothole backlog is ever to be dented then a large amount of cash is required.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Bickerings within the BJP surfaces via Shatrughan Sinha and Yashwant Sinha


Ever since taking over office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set a trend for not only himself but also of how the government should run. But, the results are always not what he would have liked. Therefore, BJP parliamentarian Shatrughan Sinha made some taunting remarks over the fact that India still ranking a poor 130 in the world in ease of doing business.
Last year, India's rank was 131 - or, this year it has gone up only one place compared to last year. Shotgun, Lok Sabha member from Bihar, hoped that the "dashing dynamic PM" would find a solution.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 29 October 2016.
The BJP has been mentioning Narendra Modi's knack for business-friendly administration and keeps holding up Gujarat as proof. Therefore, Shatrughan Sinha, a former Union minister wants the dashing dynamic PM to look into the situation and provide necessary impetus for improvement.
He has also openly criticised his party during last year's Bihar elections while expressing support for rival Nitish Kumar. Continuing in the same vein, he aimed a barb at Modi's claims of a "56-inch chest" while showering praise on Nitish, the "popular CM of Bihar". This was with reference to the release of a kidnapped businessman. Shotgun praised Nitish Kumar for the brilliant success of his police department and its senior officers and made special mention of the police officer who had led the operation.
Shotgun said - the police officer may not have a 56 (inch) chest but his 32 (inch) waist was enough to take care of the goons.
Interestingly, Shatrughan's comments come close on the heels of another Sinha - BJP veteran and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha. He embarrassed the party by leading a team of civil liberty activists to Kashmir and meeting the separatists. Obviously, there are bickerings within BJP and that is gradually surfacing.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Friday, October 28, 2016

Owls being sacrificed in UP during Diwali to bring home the riches


Animals are sacrificed to appease the Gods and in UP, as Diwali approaches, the bird markets witness a very seasonal and very brutal trade in owls. This is done by some in the belief that if an owl is sacrificed in a house during Lakshmi puja, the goddess will be forced to "stay" with the family and bring in the riches.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 29 October 2016.
Much of this trade is routed through Agra, as revealed by wildlife activists. In the city, the birds costing upwards of Rs 30,000 each, can even be home delivered. Moreover, for the squeamish, the trader will sacrifice it for the believers.
In the opinion of wildlife activists, Agra is one of the major hubs for this trade and places like Korai-Karavili village, near Fatehpuri Sikri, and Kosi Kalan in Mathura are infamous for it.
These owls are sold at a premium and are brought in only after a specific demand is made. This demand is usually for black magic, or during the Diwali season for sacrifice. The birds are often delivered right to the buyer's doorstep due to which such transactions remains undocumented.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

World's largest marine reserve to come up in Ross Sea, Antarctica


It has been labeled as a real win for marine conservation. It will be the world's largest marine reserve in Ross Sea, Antarctica and it has finally materialized after years of negotiations. Ross Sea is named after British explorer James Ross and is a deep bay in the Southern Ocean which forms one of the last intact marine ecosystems in the world.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 28 October 2016.
The decision was the outcome of deliberations of nearly 250 oceanic experts from 24 countries and the European Union - they had assembled in Tasmania and struck the historic deal to manage and protect the region's pristine ecosystem and reduce illegal fishing.
The agreement that has been sealed by the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) will result in creating a 1.55 million sq km (600,000 sq miles) reserve in the Ross Sea. The area is roughly six and half times the size of of the UK.
Limited amount of fishing will be allowed mainly for research purposes. This will be throughout the protected zone because several countries fish in the waters surrounding Antarctica for lucrative toothfish, which are sold in North America as Chilean sea bass. Ross Sea is home to penguins, seals, toothfish and crystal krill and the zone is a critical research area for scientists who are trying to understand how marine ecosystems function, and, simultaneously, monitor the impacts of climate change.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Saying no to Chinese fircrackers does not help the cause of Indian manufacturers


Realization appears to have dawned that banning import and sale of Chinese firecrackers during Diwali has had little or no effect on domestically made crackers. This is mainly because of anti-cracker campaigns run by schools, resident welfare associations (RWAs) and others.
The ASSOCHAM had interacted with firecracker wholesalers, retailers, traders in 10 cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Chennai, Dehradun, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Lucknow and Mumbai to understand the enthusiasm and demand for firecrackers together with impact of ban on Chinese crackers across India.
This has been reported in indianexpress.com dated 28 October 2016.
The dismal outlook is not only on cheap Chinese firecrackers but multiple other factors like growing environmental awareness, rising cost of living, growing tendency amid people to save their hard-earned money rather than spoiling it on burning crackers, paucity of time, traffic congestion during festive period etcetera.
Agreed that banning Chinese firecrackers was a welcome move targeted at strengthening the domestic industry, but growing criticism of bursting firecrackers and the associated negative publicity together with rising air and noise pollution have resulted in the firecracker industry across India gong into the doldrums.
Hundreds of units in Sivakasi have closed down because of intense campaigns and growing sales of China-made crackers over the years. On a rough estimate, nearly 30,000 people have lost their livelihood. There are about 800 licensed firecracker making units in Sivakasi and this industry accounts for a market size of about 2,500 crore rupees. But, rise in cost of raw materials and, overall inflation have also discouraged people from buying firecrackers and this trend has been going on for past few years now.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Migratory birds from Siberia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan have started to arrive in the Chilika Lake


It is good news for bird watchers as migratory birds begin to arrive at Chilika Lake, India's largest brackish water lagoon. The birds like wigeon, pintail and gadwall have been spotted at Mangalajodi and Nalabana island - this is the designated bird sanctuary within the 1,100 sq km lake. These birds have started to flock to their winter home.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 28 October 2016.
The birds have started to arrive and, once the water level recedes and mudflats are exposed, their numbers will increase during December and January. The authorities have taken measures to protect the avian guests. The focus is not only on ensuring a disease-free stay for the birds but also take steps against poaching. About 18 camps have already been set up and the chief district veterinary officers have been asked to remain vigilant and step up surveillance to prevent avian influenza.
There are around 1,600 tourist boats plying on Chilika Lake in both Satapada and Balugaon regions and the annual arrival of migratory birds from Siberia, Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan is a regular feature. They visit the lake in October and return in March.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Kali puja pandals in Kolkata encroach on to the roads leading to traffic snarls


Commuting in Kolkata means negotiating the traffic snarls that are now cropping up due to encroachment of Kali puja pandals on to the roads choking the traffic on thoroughfares, lanes and by-lanes. The just concluded Durga Puja has drained all the energy out of cops who remained on their toes for unending hours. Therefore, manning traffic and revelers of Kali Puja has become an even bigger headache for them - Kali puja pandals are mushrooming all over the city.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 28 October 2016.
It seems the organizers have started to occupy large portions of roads at least 15 days before the Puja leading to chaos on the roads because vehicles hardly have space to move, leading to massive traffic jams. Kali puja does not need too much funds and can be held with a moderate fund. Thereby, the number of pujas keeps increasing, and at an alarming rate.
Kali Puja pandals may not be big crowd-pullers compared to Durga puja pandals but their impact on roads is no less. On a rough estimate, the city hosts 10-15 times more Kali pandals than Durga pandals. Moreover, organizers of Kali Puja usually the young brigade who are aggressive and brash, with very little respect for rules. Hence, clashes are not uncommon.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


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Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


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Thursday, October 27, 2016

3rd International Dwarf Fashion Show held in Japan


The International Dwarf Fashion Show being held in Japan is a new type of show where glamorous women of short stature have broken down the stereotype of tall, leggy models with an empowering parade. The show is now in its third year, having graced Paris and New York fashion weeks over the past two years with roaring success.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 27 October 2016.
There were models of restricted growth dressed in American Wardrob outfits as they strutted their stuff down the catwalk in Ebisu, Tokyo. The objective of the Japanese Fashion Week show is to empower women by challenging the conventions of beauty and bringing to light the fact that models come in all shapes and sizes.
To participate in this show, models had to be under 1.30 metres in height and entrants from around the world get complimentary travel and hotel expenses to walk in the show. The point to note is that dwarfism is a state of the body that one has to accept.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Conservationists predict mass extinction of wildlife like dinosaurs


Conservationists are worried about the fate of wildlife and have warned that nature is facing a global "mass extinction" for the first time ever since the demise of the dinosaurs. It is an alarming situation because figures paint a very grim picture. It seems global wildlife populations are set to fall by more than two thirds on 1970 levels by the end of the decade.
This has been reported in news.sky.com dated 27 October 2016.
The figures of 14,152 populations of 3,706 species of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles from around the world shows a 58% fall between 1970 and 2012. There is no indication that the average 2% drop in numbers each year will slow. This is based on a Living Planet report from the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
The report goes on to caution that by 2020 populations of vertebrate species could have fallen by 67% over a 50-year period unless corrective action is taken on priority to reverse the damaging impacts of human activity. The main reasons for this trend is over-exploitation, loss of habitat, climate change and pollution.
A few examples are - loss of African elephants in Tanzania due to poaching, drop in numbers of maned wolves in Brazil because of grasslands being turned into farmland. Some other species under threat are the orcas or killer whales, leatherback turtles, the European eel and vultures in south-east Asia.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

New Zealand draw the 5 match ODI series at Ranchi - both teams tied 2-2


It was a disappointment for Indian skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni who lost his first match in his home-town of Ranchi as the Indians lost by 19 runs. Thereby, the Kiwis leveled the five-match One-Day International (ODI) cricket series at the JSCA International Stadium.
Winning the toss, the visitors chose to bat first and managed to post a sore of 260 for 7 that looked easy because of star Indian batmen in the team but turned out to be not so easy. Martin Guptill brought up his fifty in 56 balls and went on to score 72.
This has been reported in thestatesman.com dated 27 October 2016.
Chasing 261, the down-slide began when Rohit Sharma (11) fell early to Tim Southee. Then, Virat Kohli (45) and Axar Patel (38) tried to hold fort but wickets kept falling and, when captain Dhoni (11) also fell cheaply to Neesham, it was an uphill task. Opener Ajinkya Rahane (57) was the only Indian batsman to post a fifty. Tailenders Dhawal Kulkarni (25 not out) and Umesh Yadav (7) put up a record 10th wicket stand of 34 against the visitors but, in the end, India were all out for 241 in 48.4 overs.
The bowlers who wreaked havoc were Tim Southee (3/40) and all-rounder James Neesham (2/38).


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Pakistan traders opt out of 5th International Trade Fair at Jorhat due to border unrest


A total of 15 Pakistan traders have opted out of the 5th International Trade Fair scheduled to be held at Jorhat. The decision is, apparently, a fallout of escalation of tension between India and Pakistan following the terrorist attack on an army camp at Uri in Jammu & Kashmir.
This has been reported in telegraphindia.com dated 27 October 2016.
The 19-day fifth International Trade Fair at the Jorhat District Sports Association Ground, is, however, scheduled to have one stall from the neighboring country.
Initially, Pakistani traders had shown interest in setting up 16 stalls at the fair along with several traders from Nepal, Bangladesh and Thailand. The interaction had started about three months ago and by early September, the Pakistani traders had confirmed their participation. Thereafter, official process involving Pakistan and Indian high commissions had started and this was also concluded.
But, after the Uri attack, in which 19 soldiers were killed, the relations between India and Pakistan got strained and the Pakistani businessmen kept on hold their participation. It seems the same 15 traders have already cancelled their participation in an international trade fair in Hyderabad from October 7.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Revival of baluchari sarees of Bengal on the cards


Baluchari sarees have become extinct and efforts are on to revive the woven textile range that is unique to Bengal. It is set to make a comeback through the efforts and promotion by Tantuja which is the state government's weavers' cooperative society and Weavers Studio Resource Centre (WSRC), which is an NGO working for revival of Bengal's lost textile traditions.
They have brought forth a series of initiatives under a program to revive the lost glory of these sarees.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 26 October 2016.
Baluchari sarees are unique to Bengal and have been a part of Bengali family heirlooms. Traditional motifs are borrowed from epics, religious texts and local legends. However,over the years, these have lost the charm and the revival project aims at recreating its traditional designs and exploring new directions for the future.
There will be an exhibition that will be held from November 18 to December 4 at Birla Academy of Art and Culture and, it will showcase nearly 50 exquisite Baluchari sarees (the oldest of which is 150-year-old), historical pieces from Tapi collection and contemporary ones from Bishnupur and Beneras.
There are also plans by WSRC and Tantuja to make 12 looms operational in the first year - this is expected to generate approximately 1,000 jobs in the next two years.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Angler lands an enormous silver trout weighing 34lbs 12ozs


An angler caught an enormous silver trout weighing 34lbs 12ozs within 15 minutes and it broke two nets. It was an almighty tussle to land this enormous trout which has set a new British record. This catch beat the earlier British record for a rainbow trout of 33lbs 4ozs that has been held for more than a decade since 2003.
This has been reported in dailymail.co.uk dated 25 October 2016.
The angler hooked the catch of a lifetime after it escaped from a fish farm and had fed for five years on an endless supply of prey to reach an enormous size. The fisherman was hoping to land a catch of a 10lbs brown trout using a maggot as bait but, what he ended up with was a monster from the deep weighing 34lbs 12ozs.
The fisherman hailed from Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, and he caught the silver giant during a trip to Loch Earn, Perthshire, which is stocked with tens of thousands of brown trout. Most probably the rainbow specimen had managed to escape from a trout farm on the loch and has feasted on an unlimited supply of small fish like minnow and stickleback.
Experts has pegged its age as around five years based on a test of its scales. Obviously, it would have entered the loch at a young age to have put on so much weight in that time. It was 38ins long with a girth of over 26ins.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to sow lettuce


Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS), have taken to farming in preparation of Mars mission at a future date. They have made a beginning by planting their third on-orbit crop of red romaine lettuce. It was done by NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough who initiated the Veg-03 experiment. This is one of his first science assignments as a new crew member aboard the orbiting laboratory.
This has been reported in zeenews.india.com dated 26 October 2016.
The astronauts are making use of plant growth system called 'Veggie' for their experiment. The Veg-03 crop will be the the team's first on-orbit attempt at a new, repetitive harvest technique termed ‘Cut-and-Come-Again'. As explained by Nicole Dufour, NASA's Veggie project manager, once the plants are approximately four weeks old, a selection of leaves can be harvested for a bit of fresh lettuce and possibly science samples. Some leaves will be left in as-is condition along with the core of the plant, and it will continue to grow and produce more leaves.
The experiment will, in the long run, increase the on-orbit crop yield, and allow for more opportunities to supplement the diet of astronauts with fresh, nutritious food from the same plants. This is an important goal of the ‘pick-and-eat' food concept.
Astronauts on future long-duration space missions will have to grow their own food to supplement their diets.
Incidentally, using the Veggie plant growth facility aboard the station, Veg-03 builds on the successes of previous studies, including Veg-01, which resulted in the first-ever on-orbit harvest and sampling of fresh produce during the summer of 2015. Various techniques that will emerge from Veggie crops will assist NASA to prepare for the Journey to Mars.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017

Residents of high-rise buildings in Kolkata to bear the brunt of Diwali firecracker pollution


Residents of high-rise buildings in Kolkata are in fear of a very noisy Diwali. In areas around Dhakuria Lake people are worried. Ever since the Laxmi Puja immersions there has been relentless bursting of sound crackers.
Apparently, calls to local police station have fallen on deaf ears.
This has been reported in timesofindia.indiatimes.com dated 24 October 2016.
Similar is the situation in Salt Lake, Tollygunge, and a section of Ballygunge, Behala, Santoshpur and Sarsuna. Activists claim that at least 14 police station areas in the south, southeast and added areas are the worst affected.
Reports from police headquarters at Lalbazar also accept that "more ground action" will be required to make this Diwali sound free because the markets are flooded with illegal firecrackers which are cheaper than the ones that emit lights.
Police have indicated that the market names might have changed, but not the products. A few examples are - the popular Kalipatkas have been renamed Chutphuts and double-sound Dodomas are now Navarangs. Generators being passed off as flowerpots (Tubris) burst like chocolate bombs instead of releasing a fountain of light.


Image courtesy wikimediacommons.org


Some more interesting links -

Pine needles to produce electricity in Uttarakhand

Lost £250 wedding ring retrieved after the eight million gallon lake was drained

Jakarta to pay $1.5 for every rat caught to contain rat menace


Fuchka Festival in Kolkata and selfies (satire)

Moody fires cannons to eliminate mosquitoes (satire)

Lord Shiva’s Durga puja is about selfish people and selfies (satire)


Carey Mulligan leaves teddy bears outside gates of 10 Downing Street to protest attacks on Aleppo

Battle to liberate Mosul rages and ISIS fighters flee the city dressed as women

Group clashes in prisons in Brazil kill at least 18 inmates


The Guardians of the Galaxy 2 trailer released

Trailer of xXx: Return of Xander Cage starring Deepika Padukone launched in four Indian languages

Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Yoga to release on 28th January 2017