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Showing posts from February, 2014


111-year-old Italian has been crowned the world's oldest living man by the Guinness Book of World Records. Arturo Licata, from Enna, Sicily, has been awarded the title after officials checked his birth papers and marriage records. The Italian has been declared the world's oldest living man after reaching the age of 111 years and 302 days today, The Mirror reported. The world's oldest living person is a woman named Misao Okawa from Osaka, Japan, who was born on March 5, 1898. Licata, born in Enna in May 1902, three months before Edward VII became king, he has joined an elite league of supercentenarians - people who have passed their 110th birthday. He was one of four brothers and two sisters and went to work in sulphur mines in Sicily aged just nine. He went on to work as a security guard and in a pharmacy where he would accompany children suffering form tuberculosis to hospital in Palermo. Licata joined the Italian army in 1921 at the age of 19 and ser…


Sixty-six per cent of Class III students in the country are able to answer mathematics questions correctly but 30 per cent still have problems handling simple multiplication, a survey released today said. It also found that 64 per cent of the children were able to answer language questions correctly. Seventy per cent of the kids were able to handle simple multiplication and 84 per cent of the students data relevant to their context. Further it said 65 per cent of the children were able to listen and respond correctly and about 86 per cent of them were able to recognise a given picture. Releasing the 'national achievement survey' report, HRD Minister M M Pallam Raju said the results show that the level of learning outcome is not as "dismal" as is being projected by other surveys. The survey was conducted on over 1 lakh students across the country, involving over 7,000 schools and 14,000 teachers. The results of the NCERT-conducted study are in sharp…



In the soup over his remark about "crushing" the electronic media, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde went on the defensive, claiming he had referred to the social media and that "media is my friend". "Electronic media means social media. I have very good relations with the press in my last 40 years. How can I (make such comments)... Recorded speech is with me...Media is my friend," he said here last night. Shinde, who had stoked a controversy on Sunday evening by threatening to "crush" the electronic media, a section of which he alleged was engaging in "false propaganda", said, "I was referring to social media and the violence incited against students from the northeast in Hyderabad and Karnataka. My comments were not about journalism." Shinde's outburst came at a Youth Congress event.
Shinde, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Solapur, alleged that since the last four months a section of the electronic medi…


Teens engage in sexting to enhance their popularity in the peer group, according to a new study. Although very few studies have asked 'why' adolescents choose to participate in sexting or the use of mobile porn, those that have asked 'why' continually point to the influence of peer group dynamics, researchers said. "We felt that a possible explanation for the fact that teenagers engage in sexting practices despite the obvious risks, could lie in the role of powerful peer group dynamics such as peer pressure and popularity," said researcher Dr Mariek Vanden Abeele from Leuven School for Mass Communication Research, University of Leuven, Belgium. "We also noticed that teenagers' mobile porn use received little attention from both scholars and public opinion leaders, while current research suggests that this behaviour is fairly prevalent among teens," Abeele said. Drawing from the results of a large scale quantitative survey study…



Aiming to project Kerala as ideal destination for weddings, honeymoons and conferences, the three day Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) will get underway here from September 18. The Mart aims to project Kerala as the ideal destination for weddings and honeymoons along with conferences and exhibitions, state's Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar told reporters here. The mart will also highlight innovative tourism products like Village life experience and culture tours, he said, adding, they will reach out to buyers from new markets like Australia,, Brazil, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Japan, South Africa, Sweden and USA.

These emerging segments are being viewed very seriously by tourist destinations and KTM intends to increase Kearla's market share to an additional Rs 5,000 crore. Only 10 per cent of the national inbound tourist traffic reaches kerala and the KTM has set a target of 15 per cent arrivals from new and emerging markets, he said. The Minister said gl…


YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, who opposed the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, plans to resume his 'Odarpu Yatra' (tour to console people) in Telangana and address a public meeting in Khammam district soon, sources said. A decision to this effect was taken at the Telangana district co-ordinators' review meeting chaired by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, sources said. "He plans to undertake his unfinished 'Odarpu Yatra' tour to all nine Telangana districts, except Khammam, which he has already visited," YSRCP spokesperson Gattu Ramachandra Rao told reporters here today. Dates and tour details would be announced shortly, he said, dismissing "propaganda" that the YSRCP had no base in the Telangana region. Jaganmohan Reddy plans to "console" about 250 families in the Telangana region, which would begin with a public meeting at Khammam, he said. Jaganmohan had originally undertaken his tour to console families of thos…



Congress leader Manishankar Aiyar attracted opposition BJP's ire today in Rajya Sabha when he said he was not interested in listening to speech of a BJP member on vote on account, prompting the Chair to adjourn the House amid uproar.
During the Zero Hour, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien allowed Aiyar, who wanted to ask a question, to do so, which was opposed by BJP members.
Kurien asked Aiyar whether he yielded to allow others to speak, to which he said he had no objection and he can ask his question later.
As the House got ready to initiate discussion on Vote on Account, Kurien said, "Let us reduce the discussion to two hours from four hours," which was opposed by BJP members including Piyush Goyal who was given a chance to speak on Vote on Account.
When it was agreed that discussion will take place as per schedule, Aiyar remarked he was not interested in listening to the speech by BJP member.
"You had given me the chance to ask a question. I h…


Andhra Pradesh Governor E S L Narasimhan has sent a report to the Centre following the resignation of N Kiran Kumar Reddy as Chief Minister but confusion seems to persist over the status of the Cabinet, Raj Bhavan sources said today. The Governor has not asked Kiran to be the caretaker Chief Minister, they said, even as an official notification is yet to be issued on acceptance of the resignation of the 53-year-old pro-united AP leader, who quit the top post yesterday in protest against the State's division. Kiran's resignation came a day after the Lok Sabha passed the Bill to carve out a separate state of Telangana from Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. He also quit the Congress. A number of Congress MLAs from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema have announced resignation from their posts and also from the party over the issue of division, and analysts feel it would be a tough proposition for the Congress to find a successor to Kiran in view of sharp polarisation in the …



Hurdles appeared to have cropped up in the plans to enact the Telangana bill, which the Rajya Sabha could not take up today, following a deadlock between BJP and the government over the demand for a Constitution amendment and a wholesome package for Seemandhra.
A meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and several ministers and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and M Venkiah Naidu could not come to an agreement.
One of the factors behind BJP's stand could be electoral considerations in the Seemandhra region and the possibility of lack of allies TDP in that region, political analysts feel.
On its part, the Congress appeared to mollify Seemandhra sentiments with party President asking the government to come out with a special category status to the residual state of Andhra Pradesh for five years to cater to its developmental needs.
The Upper House, where high drama was witnessed with a TDP member C M Ramesh pushing Secretary Genera…


The victims of sexual assault in Mumbai won't have to face the embarassment and hassles involved in going to a police station to register the complaint now. They would only need to call a women's helpline. The new police commissioner of the metropolis, Rakesh Maria, announced this today. "In a sexual assault case, if the victim calls up women's helpline number 103, a female police officer will go to the residence of the victim to take down her complaint. The victim is not required to go to police station," Maria said. "In the cases of missing of a woman, child or senior citizen, the victim's family can go to any nearest police station and lodge a complaint. In case there is jurisdiction dispute, the case papers would be sent to the concerned police station by the officers of the first police station," he further said. City police are also likely to have a separate quick redressal desk for women and senior citizens so that their comp…


Irrespective of their religious background, people are free to adopt children, the Supreme Court ruled today paving the way for adoption of child by persons hailing from Muslim community even though it is not allowed under their personal law. Holding that Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act is a "small step" towards the concept of Uniform Civil Code, the apex court held that the law entitles adoption by people belonging to any religion and any person, who does not submit himself to personal law, can adopt a child. "To us, the Act is a small step in reaching the goal enshrined by Article 44 of the Constitution(Uniform Civil Code). Personal beliefs and faiths, though must be honoured, cannot dictate the operation of the provisions of an enabling statute," a bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said. The Act does not mandate any compulsive action by any prospective parent leaving such person with the liberty of accessing the …


A day after the Lok Sabha cleared the Bill for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, a YSR Congress MP today filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the legislation for creation of a separate Telangana state. The petition filed by Rajamohan Reddy, Lok Sabha MP from Nellore, sought to declare as unconstitutional the Cabinet Resolution of October 3, 2013 approving the proposal of Union Home Ministry for creation of 29th state of Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh. The parliamentarian has also sought a direction from the apex court to declare the proposed Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2013, as illegal, arbitrary and ultra vires of the Constitution. The Bill is yet to get the nod of Rajya Sabha. On February 7 and 17 respectively, the apex court had refused to entertain petitions challenging the division of Andhra Pradesh on the ground that they were "premature". A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu had on both the ocassions referred to the apex court's…


Stories by modern Hindi and Urdu literary legend, Munshi Premchand are now available in comic format published by Amar Chitra Katha. The comic books in Hindi detailing two stories by the late literary phenomenon, is part of the publisher's contemporary classics section, which began in 2012 with stories by author Ruskin Bond. "We are launching the comics at the World Book Fair and it is our tribute to Premchand. The idea is to make his stories familiar with children," Reena Puri, Editor, Amar Chitra Katha told PTI. The stories "Buddhi Kaki" (The old Aunt) and "Do Bail" (Two Oxen) have been scripted and illustrated by Pratima Singh and Surendra Murthy. The English version of the comics translated by Nandini Nair is also set for launch within a few weeks, says Reena. The books are priced at Rs 50 each. "Buddhi Kaki" first published in 1921 is the story of an old childless widow who craves for love after she bequeaths her entir…


"Calling Congress and corruption are twin sisters ...Wherever Congress goes corruption will follow and wherever there is corruption- Congress will have its presence. Unless we relieve ourselves from Congress, the country cannot be free from corruption,"


BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today hit out at Congress for the "pain inflicted" on the people of Andhra Pradesh due to the Telangana issue and said Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul don't have time to visit them even for a "healing touch". "Two days ago Congress' mahanubhav (Rahul Gandhi) had come to Karnataka, Congress President was also in South - I'm surprised that both madam Sonia and Rahul are coming to south, but both don't have time to visit neighboring Andhra Pradesh," Modi told a 'Bharata Gellisi' rally here. "Today our Seemandhra and Telangana brothers need healing for their pain inflicted by Congress, but they (Sonia, Rahul) don't have time to speak a few words of healing touch to them," he said on a day when Lok Sabha passed the Telangana Bill. Reminding that Congress' victory in Andhra Pradesh helped it in form the government at the Centre in 2009, Modi said, "…


Sharply attacking the Congress and the BJP for being in collusion to defeat the Jan Lokpal Bill, Arvind Kejriwal, who resigned as the Delhi Chief Minister, today said that people will teach both the parties a lesson in future.
"They tell lie that we are not following Constitution. They want to do corruption. Both BJP and Congress have joined hands. We say eradicate corruption. They say it is unconstitutional.
"They break mikes and consider it as Constitutional. People will teach them a lesson," he told a large gathering of his supporters outside Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) headquarters here.
He said both the parties wanted him to work as per their wishes.
"I was disheartened with what happened in the Assembly yesterday. They wanted us to work as per their wishes. They thought we were new and would ask for their advice in every work we do. But We followed the Constitution and I am ready to sacrifice my life for the Constitution," said Kejriw…



"The Prime Minister says his heart bleeds over such incidents. But he should understand that the hearts of crores of Telugu people are bleeding because of the undemocratic acts of the Centre,"Kiran Kumar Reddy, CM, Andhra Pradesh

Three Congress MLAs from Andhdra Pradesh quit the party today protesting Centre's decision to go ahead with the Telangana Bill even as Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy invoked the Telugu pride again and took a dig at the Prime Minister.
It was also the final day of vote-on-account budget session of the Legislative Assembly. Perhaps it could well be the last sitting of the Legislature of the unified Andhra Pradesh, if Telangana were to become a reality soon.
The Congress suffered a set back as three MLAs from coastal region -- Adala Prabhakar Reddy, Sridhar Krishna Reddy (both from Nellore district) and B Satyananda Rao (East Godavari) -- quit the party denouncing the move to carve out the separate state of Telangana.


US President Barack Obama has spent a whopping USD 1.55 million on five of his state dinner since 2009, with the most expensive of them being the first one hosted in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Records from the State Department Office of Protocol, whose budget covers state dinners, show they can cost taxpayers in excess of half a million dollars per event, CBS News reported.
In response to a Freedom of Information request to which it took the State Department 13 months to respond, CBS News has obtained the Office of Protocol's expense calculations for the first five state dinners of the Obama presidency.
The Obama administration spent USD 572,187.36 for the State Dinner for Singh at the White House on November 24, 2009.
Obama hosted Mexican President Felipe Calderon on May 19, 2010 at a cost of USD 563,479.92.
He held his third State Dinner on January 19, 2011 for Chinese President Hu Jintao at a cost of USD 412,329.73.
Obama held the fourth State…


The Railways told the Bombay High Court today that the gap between footboards of local trains and platforms is not the sole cause behind commuters losing their life or limbs in mishaps but there are several other factors involved. This was stated in an affidavit submitted by the railway authorities as directed by the High Court on January 18 while taking a suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the issue. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha had taken up the issue after a 16-year-old college girl, Monica More, lost both her arms after falling into a gap between the platform at suburban Ghatkopar railway station while trying to board a local train last month. The tragic incident brought to the fore the risk lakhs of commuters take daily to board crowded suburban local trains, called transport "life-lines" of Mumbai. The court had directed the Railway Ministry, the Railway Board and the Western and Central Railway to file their …


To protect the ecologically-fragile islands of Sundarbans from noise and air pollution caused by motorised 'jugaad' vans, an alternative public transport model has been built using solar-powered electric vehicles. Research body 'The Energy and Resources Institute' (TERI) and Paris-based Mlinda Foundation has developed the new model under which 50 solar vehicles would soon be launched in Patharpratima block of Sundarbans with consent from the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA). Locally known as 'Vano', the motorised rickshaw vans are so far the only form of public transport available for 40 lakh people living in the Sundarbans delta, a UNESCO World Heritage Site three-hours drive away from Kolkata. Assembled with improvised arrangements, also known as 'jugaad' technology, it is powered by a diesel engine that uses an adulterated mixture of diesel, kerosene, naphtha, used engine oil, etc which gives out highly pollut…


Expressing dissatisfaction at the Centre...West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today said the sooner the UPA government goes the better.
"Despite repeatedly telling this government, it has deprived and exploited the state. The Prime Minister had himself committed before the election (2011 assembly polls) that if we were voted to power, the Centre would help the state and restructure the debt. Nearly three years have elapsed since then," Banerjee told a press conference here. "This government is on the way out. The sooner it goes the better," she said. She reiterated the Left Front government had left behind a huge debt because of the Centre allowing it to take loans. "The previous government did not follow the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management," she said. She said the state wanted a transparent debt-restructuring plan so that it could invest revenue earned for infrastructure development. "West Bengal was…


Cracking the whip, Congress today expelled six Lok Sabha MPs from Seemandhra who had given a notice of no-confidence motion against Government opposing bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. Faced with dissent in Andhra Pradesh, the party intended to send a strong message to those opposing creation of separate state with this decision but a dozen odd party MPs still maintained that they will vote against the Telangana bill when it comes to Parliament. "Congress president Sonia Gandhi has approved the decision of the disciplinary committee of the AICC to expel the six MPs from Andhra Pradesh with immediate effect," said AICC general secretary Janardan Dwivedi in a press release. The MPs expelled by Congress president Sonia Gandhi are Sabbam Hari, G V Harsha Kumar, V Arun Kumar, L Rajagopal, R Sambasiva Rao and A Sai Pratap. All these MPs had signed the notice of non-confidence motion along with some MPs from other parties like TDP and the party has sought to give a …