Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Good, Bad, Ugly, Controversial & Interesting News -- 10th July 2017

Good, Bad, Ugly, Controversial & Interesting News
10th July 2017
Source: Times of India (Chennai Edition)

GOOD  News

After a delay of one year, the Union ministry of environment and forests has granted environment clearance to the Tamil Nadu government's Integrated Cooum River Eco-restoration Project for a 9.6-km stretch between the mouth of the river and Chetpet Railway Bridge. 20 Sub-Projects such as inclusion of interceptors and diversion of sewage to improve the water quality, river channel improvement to enhance ecological flow of the river, development of parks and maintenance of pathways, river bank vegetation and mangrove plantations are also planned to enhance diversity of flora and fauna in the riverine system are planned under this Rs 105Cr Scheme.

PM Narendra Modi plans to meet all chief secretaries together `probably for the first time' with the aim to fast-track all-round development of states by taking a cohesive approach.

Nearly 300 fertilizer retailers across six districts in, HP , Rajasthan, Telangana and AP have not renewed their licences after the linking of Aadhaar for availing subsidy benefits removed fake beneficiaries from welfare schemes.

India topped the medals tally for the first time in the last 44 years as the Asian Athletics Championships concluded at Bhubaneswar's Kalinga Stadium.

Lower berth in 3AC coach to be reserved for disabled.

Bad News

52 accident case files of one Chennai lawyer go missing from six city courts. The incident points to professional rivalry among lawyers, as well as collusion among lawyers, court officials and brokers thriving on `accident compensation' cases.

Jharkhand Chief Justice retires, finds his order overruled.

Porur lake has shrunk from 800 acres to just 240 acres in the past three decades and is filled with sewage.

The row over fishing between Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen has worsened in the past, resulting in shootings, detention and apprehension of boats and fishing gear. At last count, there were 70 fishermen and 146 fishing crafts of Tamil Nadu and the Union Territory of Puducherry in Sri Lankan custody. Now the Sri Lankan government amending its Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act, tightening rules against trawling in Sri Lankan waters and to penalise fishermen indulging in trawling with an imprisonment of two years and Rs. 50,000 fine, has put Tamil Nadu fishermen in a spot.

The flood situation in Assam continued to be grim. 16 districts are affected with Lakhimpur being the worst hit district with the number of affected rising to 1.21 lakh. The total area under cultivation affected by the deluge stood at 41,239.19 hectares, affecting the livelihood of thousands of farmers across the state. The Brahmaputra and its tributaries (Dhansiri, Dikhow and Jia Bharali in Assam and Siang in Arunachal Pradesh) continued to flow above the danger level, while the Kushiyara in Karimganj district was in spate.

Sikkim is being virtually choked due to the Gorkhaland statehood agitation in Darjeeling and disruptions in Siliguri and facing an acute shortage of supplies, especially essential commodities such as medicines, baby milk powder, vegetables and petrol,  diesel, due to closure of the national highway-10.

Ugly News

Unable to buy a pair of oxen due to acute poverty, a farmer from the home district of Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has been using his two minor daughters in place of the oxen to pull the plough for the last two years..

Controversial News

After securing approval to expand Chennai International Airport, Airport, Airports Authority of India (AAI)  plans to demolish the old terminals and expand the airport to increase passenger capacity to 30 million per year. As a portion of the international terminal building is less than 15 years old, AAI to seek permission from public investment board.

The Gujarat government is scheduled to discuss with lenders on Monday a future course for the Tata and Adani groups' imported coal fired power plants that have fallen into dire straits. Union power ministry is on ways to prevent these projects, with a collective capacity of over 8,000 mw, from turning into non-performing assets (NPAs) for lenders. In an act of desperation, the promoters have offered 51% stake in the project to the state government for Re 1.

A Chinese expert has argued that his country's troops would be entitled to enter the Indian side of Kashmir by extending the logic that has permitted Indian troops to enter an area disputed by China and Bhutan. It is claimed that China is not just interfering, it is building roads and other infrastructure projects right inside Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Why you pay 2 to 5 times the wholesale price: With over 5,000 devices estimated to be in use in healthcare only three are price controlled. The disposable syringes market is estimated to be about Rs 1,800 crore. This estimate is based on retail sales or the MRP, which, as the investigation revealed, is on average 250% more than the price to the wholesaler. Even if the central government and the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority were to control prices of all the medical devices recommended by the state drug authorities of Maharashtra and Odisha, it would barely cover 15% of India's medical device market estimated to be worth approximately Rs 25,000 crore in 2015 and projected to double by 2020. There is no price control on a single item in the category of diagnostic imaging, which includes CT scans, MRI and X-ray , constituting 30% of the devices market and the broad category of `others', which includes ECG machines, dialysis machines, endoscopes and laparoscopes, constituting another 24%.

With the Supreme Court being told that the vault `B' of the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, one of the richest shrines in the country, should be opened, a debate has started.

US President Donald Trump said on Sunday he and Russia's president had discussed forming a cybersecurity unit, an idea harshly criticised by Republicans who said Moscow could not be trusted after its alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

Qatar is forming a committee to pursue compensation for damages stemming from its isolation by four Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut diplomatic ties and severed air, land and sea links with natural gas-rich Qatar last month, accusing it of grievances, including backing extremism.

GST to hit wholesale biz in short term. GST will be good for the cash-and-carry business in the long term, it will lead to some small competing businesses shutting shop due to non-compliance: Metro

Interesting News

From begging to national Lok Adalat bench at Uttar Dinajpur's Islampur court in 7 years, transgender Joyita beats the odds.

Scores of students from across the country are choosing Chennai for UPSC coaching. There are around 50 UPSC training institutes in Anna Nagar, which has become a hub for civil service coaching.

Chennai is supposed to get 80cm of rain from the northeast monsoon, enough to fill the city's four reservoirs.

The GST provision, called the e-way bill, requiring any good more than Rs. 50,000 in value to be pre-registered online before it can be moved, is likely to kick in from October.

Breaking into male bastion, around 300 women have turned well-diggers in a nondescript village in northern Palakkad district of Kerala to find a solution to the acute water scarcity in the hamlet and earn a living. Battling challenges, these homemakers, aged between 35 and 70 years, have dug up over 190 wells across the drought-hit village since last August under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Harvard University study has projected a dramatic fall in China's economic growth, to 4.41 per cent, in the coming years until 2025 while India would perform extremely well, growing at 7.72% during the period.

A 31-year-old musician of Goan origin, Oscar Castellino, has composed a song for the Red Planet, called `Rise to Mars'.His creation was named the `Mars Anthem' by the Mars Society, the world's largest and most influential advocacy organisation for Mars.

Supreme Court judge Justice Kurian Joseph has asked the Centre to revise Leave Travel Concession (LTC) rules for judges of the apex court and grant them eight LTCs in a year, one almost every month considering that the SC has three months of vacation in a calendar year. At present, SC judges are allowed three LTCs every year.

A 21-year-old man has become the first in Britain to give birth after he put his sex transition on hold to get pregnant by a sperm donor.

Bread used to celebrate the Eucharist during Roman Catholic masses must not be gluten-free, although it may be made from genetically modified organisms, the Vatican has ruled.

`Emotional Infidelity' On Social Media Distresses Women More, While Men Get Upset Over Sexual Revelations

Abrain freeze, a quick and intense headache felt when we consume ice cream or chilly treats too quickly, happens when “cold food touches a bundle of nerves in the back of the palate,“ said Stephanie Vertrees, assistant professor at the Texas A&M University, US

Edinburgh-based Celtic Renewables has developed a process to manufacture the biofuel, biobutanol, from draff and pot ale -- barley kernels and a yeasty liquid that are produced when whisky is made and then usually thrown away.

Japan's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research predicted the country's population of 127 million would decline by 40 million by 2065. The fertility crisis has left politicians scratching their heads. Nearly half of Japanese people are entering the ir 30s without any sexual experience, according to new research, as the country faces a steep population decline with a growing number of youngsters avoiding romantic relationships. A survey revealed that nearly a quarter of Japanese men at the age of 50 were yet to marry . It also found one in seven Japanese women aged 50 were yet to tie the knot. The shrinking of the country's population -deaths have outpaced births for several years -has been called a “demographic time bomb“ and is affecting the job and housing markets, consumer spending and long-term investment plans.

Dating app users getting tricked of millions. Fraudsters are using a technique known as catfishing, where a person uses a fake identity to attract those looking for genuine dates, to trick victims into sending them money. Users of dating apps and websites in the UK were conned out of over £39million in 2016, according to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) have pumped 19 times nearly $23 billion (nearly Rs 1.50 lakh crore) into the capital markets in January-June 2017

The number of items available on Amazon Prime has gone up to 2.1 million now from 1.3 million at the time of launch.

Customers' complaints about problems like cash withdrawal and exchange of old notes faced after demonetisation cannot be entertained under the Banking Ombudsman (BO) scheme:  Reserve Bank of India.

India-born former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta, who served a two-year prison term on insider trading charges, has admitted that he made “errors and misjudgments“ and apologised for letting his friends and fellow IIT associates down.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Good, Bad, Ugly, Controversial & Interesting News -- 9th July 2017

Good, Bad, Ugly, Controversial & Interesting News
9th July 2017
Source: Times of India (Chennai Edition)

GOOD  News

Private sector cardiologists can soon do life-saving stenting and angioplasty in Tamil Nadu government hospitals. The state now plans to pay government doctors to do these procedures beyond duty hours and empanel private doctors to work in its facilities.

Preliminary work for metro rail phase-2 to cover a stretch of more than 107 km with 104 stations estimated to cost about Rs. 85,047crore begins. 80% of the lines will be underground.

Going Green - Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) to operate electric buses soon.

First-time voters, between 18 and 21 years, physically challenged people and eligible voters whose names had been missed out from the voting list can make use of the special camps that would be held at all electoral centers on July 9 and July 27.

No stamp duty for donating land to govt.

Tamil Nadu police will have an exclusive cyber hub which will coordinate with their various departments besides its own digital forensic lab for evidence evaluation.

Penalty for traffic violations will soon go cashless as police personnel will be given card swiping machines to enhance the existing handheld challan equipment.

Govt: No raids on traders without prior permission.

PM Modi seeks UK PM May's aid to bring back Vijay Mallya.

The indirect tax wing of the finance ministry has launched a GST app on the Android platform to help consumers navigate various rates of goods and services. The user can find out the GST rate for a good or a service by entering the name or chapter heading of the commodity or service..

Bad News

The divide between the US and rest of the world on the Paris Agreement on climate change was further formalised with the G20 declaration in Hamburg taking note of the American intent to withdraw from the deal. While leaders of 19 countries, including India, called the Paris deal “irreversible“, the US stood by itself. The US did manage to get its position on fossil fuels inserted in the joint statement through a formulation promising more efforts for “clean and efficient“use without any commitment to its end.

China has issued a month-long safety advisory, starting from July 7, asking its citizens living in India to “pay close attention to the local security situation“ and improve awareness about protecting themselves.

Darjeeling on boil over Gorkhaland issue, 3 killed in `police' firing.

Tamil Nadu was the state with the second highest number of protests in the country in 2016, with 47 protests a day, or 25% of the protests, according to a Bureau of Police Research and Development (BP&RD) report. The statistics show that in TN, there were 1,300 communal protests, 734 student agitations, 1,940 labour protests, 3,461 government employees agitations, 8,312 political party protests and 4,703 protests by others, including NGOs, activists and local residents.

World Bank writes to FM on Kerala minister’s outburst that the World Bank was responsible for the corruption in the Kerala State Transport Project

Ugly News

Hundreds of tourists, who visited the Union territory of Puducherry on 8th Jul, were left stranded at the Tamil Nadu Puducherry border due to the dawn-to-dusk bandh called by the DMK, Left parties and VCK to register their protest against `undemocratic and autocratic style of functioning' of  lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi.

A 37-year-old farmer in Melpallathur village in Pullur panchayat near Vellore, reportedly attempted suicide after the kangaroo court run by village elders (ooru nattamai) fined him `50,000 for approaching police in connection with a land dispute with his brothers and was ostracised.

Controversial News

Numerous setbacks notwithstanding, the AIADMK government is still hopeful of implementing the monorail project in Chennai. According to the transport department policy note, monorail would be operated over 43.48 km and will be implemented in two phases. The first phase project will be implemented under public-private partnership on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis with an estimated cost of `3,267 crore and the second phase will be taken up as part of a multilateral funding with an estimated cost of `3,135.63 crore.

Amid strong opposition from lawyers against entry of foreign advocates, Chief Justice of India J S Khehar on 8th Jul batted for global integration and said the legal sector should not remain closed to foreign players who should be allowed to provide their services.

Residents of Delhi who are unable to have surgeries at any city government hospital can now get free surgery in 48 private hospitals without having to worry about huge bills. The bills, for which no upper limit has been set, will be paid by the Delhi government.

Something has to be done about North Korea, Trump tells Xi at G20 summit. US President calls Pyongyang a `Problem & Menace'

Interesting News

TN state health insurance data shows only 7% of the total procedures were for treatment of heart diseases but accounted for a quarter of the money spent. Further, Rs. 270 crore was spent for stenting and angioplasty procedures, 95% in private hospitals.

According to the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BP&RD) report on the  detailed study of the protests held by left wing groups, students, trade unions, government employees, political parties and others in 2016, the most (21,966) were in Uttarakhand, followed by Tamil Nadu (20,450), Punjab (11,876) and Telangana (8,926) with Chhattisgarh (7), Meghalaya (7), and Nagaland (1) were among those with the least.

While the internet is rife with articles praising the `cure-all', wheatgrass (from the wheat plant Triticum aestivum), which purportedly has the power to cleanse the colon, purify the blood, and detoxify the liver, nutritionists and doctors are a little skeptical about just how potent the leaves are. According to sports nutritionist Shiny Chandran. “It is an alkalizing agent, like other greens, and helps balance acidity caused by stress, oily food and excessive caffeine consumption, but is it a miracle cure? I don't think so“

The state selection committee in-charge of MBBSBDS admissions, had received 50,558 applications, of which 31,323 were admissions to 2,594 seats in 23 state-run medical colleges. The remaining 19,235 applications were for admissions in the 783 government quota seats in 10 self-financing colleges affiliated to the state university .This is more than twice the applications it had received last year. In this year, in a first, the counselling for management quota seats as well will be done by it.

Across the state, the transport corporations operated 22,533 buses in the last financial year, compared to 23,078 the previous year. The distance covered by corporation buses per day had dropped by 1.47 lakh km last year -- from 94.02 lakh km to 92.55 lakh km.

The crime rate is calculated by the NCRB as the number of incidents per lakh of population. In TN, the property crimes stood at 26.4% in 2015, which is 14% less than the national rate. Haryana stands first with 104.7% followed by Maharashtra (73.3%) and Arunachal Pradesh (70.1%).

Ahmedabad gets the tag as World Heritage City. It is also India' first city to receive such an accolade. The Unesco tag will add immense brand value to the city and boost tourism. Of the 287 World Heritage Cities, only two were hitherto on the Indian subcontinent: Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka.

President Pranab Mukherjee yo launch Swayam, Swayam Prabha -- the platform of 32 DTH channels to deliver the courses and National Academic Depository (NAD) which will facilitate online verification of certificates. Swayam aims at taking the best teaching-learning resources to all, bridge the digital divide for students.  Swayam, the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform will host courses taught in classrooms from Class IX till post-graduation, which can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time. The courses develop by a group of 7 IITs and IISc are interactive and available free of cost. 10 lakh students would be able to access courses simultaneously.

The government has merged the urban development and housing and urban poverty alleviation ministries. Now this will be known as ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA).

Mallya, who is wanted in India for Kingfisher Airlines' default on loans worth nearly `9,000 crore, has been in the UK since March 2016.In April, he had attended a central London police station for his arrest and was released on conditional bail a few hours later after providing a bail bond worth 650,000 pounds, assuring the court of abiding by all conditions associated with extradition proceedings, such as the surrender of his passport and a ban on him possessing any travel documents.

In Karnataka, there are 1,035 vacancies of specialist doctors. All the previous attempts by the state government to recruit doctors had been unsuccessful. Online bidding, where doctors are free to quote a pay package and can even negotiate their salaries, is a last-ditch effort to ensure better healthcare in remote areas of the state. The online bidding for docs sees 880 applicants.

Who's benefiting from farm insurance? The insurance companies collected over Rs. 9,000 crore as farm insurance premium for the kharif season in 2016. As per the PMFBY rules farmers only gave Rs. 1,643 crore of this amount with the balance Rs. 7,438 crore being directly given to the companies by the state and central governments. The total claims received by the insurance companies were Rs. 2,725 crore. Even when all these claims are paid out in full, the profit of these companies would be about Rs. 6,357 crore.

Globally, while 60% of the parents are open for online degrees, the highest is in India at 82% and the second lowest is in France at 29% with lowest at 28% in Egypt.

A smartphone app that can detect counterfeit goods--from medicines to car parts -- with 100% accuracy may be available to the consumers by next year, according to UK's Lancaster University researchers. According to them, every year, imports of counterfeited and pirated goods around the world cost nearly Rs 50,000 crore in lost revenue.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a research group, between 2025 and 2030, the group predicts, plug-in vehicles will become cost competitive with traditional petroleum-powered cars, even without subsidies, and even before taking fuel savings into account. Bloomberg projects that plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles will make up 54% of new light-duty sales globally by 2040, outselling their combustion engine counterparts.

Research by Treadmill Review found reusable bottles may be hosting a huge number of bacterial cells, “more than 300,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter (CFUsq cm). Slide-top bottles are the worst offender, responsible for hosting 900,000 CFUsq cm followed by squeeze-top bottles.

Chocolate on your face? Here's why they are good: Chocolate is rich in anti-oxidants and can help in reversing the signs of ageing. As they have anti-inflammatory properties, suitable for sensitive and dry skin. Dark chocolate helps in improving skin texture and gives a more smooth skin. They contain flavanols, which can protect skin from UV damage and free radicals. Chocolate facial can reduce wrinkles and fine lines.