19.6.14

India-born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram wins World Food Prize



 Photo: India-born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram wins World Food Prize
India-born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been named the winner of the 250,000 US dollars World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in increasing global wheat production by more than 200 million tonnes following the Green Revolution.
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Rajaram's work serves as an inspiration to do more.
World Food Prize Foundation President and the former US Ambassador to Cambodia Kenneth M Quinn said the 2014 World Food Prize Laureate is an individual who worked closely with Dr Borlaug in Mexico.
He said, Rajaram then carried forward and extended his work, breaking new ground with his own achievements.
The World Food Prize was established in 1986 by Borlaug in order to focus the world's attention on hunger and on those whose work has significantly helped efforts to end it.
Rajaram followed Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Norman E Borlaug at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, leading its Wheat Program from 1976 to 2001. More than 480 high-yielding wheat varieties bred by Rajaram have been released in 51 countries on six continents and have been widely adopted by small- and large-scale farmers alike.

India-born plant scientist Sanjaya Rajaram has been named the winner of the 250,000 US dollars World Food Prize for his breakthrough achievement in increasing global wheat production by more than 200 million tonnes following the Green Revolution.

LG nod for more water ATMs in capital



 Photo: LG nod for more water ATMs in capital
Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has approved setting up of 500 more water ATMs in the city following success of Delhi Jal Board's pilot project at Savda Ghevera colony.
An official release said, these ATMs will provide the citizens with an easily accessible, demand based, affordable supply system. 
The move will also supplement water supply, particularly in areas that are facing crisis and the Jal Board has identified the water-deficient areas following the Lieutenant Governor's directions. 
Ten such ATMs are being installed in Southwest Delhi and will become operational by the first week of July and the rest will come up subsequently.
Orders for installation of 10 reverse osmosis (RO)-based plants have already been placed, and within the next three months more than 50 ATMs will be installed in various resettlement colonies.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung has approved setting up of 500 more water ATMs in the city following success of Delhi Jal Board's pilot project at Savda Ghevera colony.

Joint Press Statement on the State Visit of Prime Minister of India to the Kingdom of Bhutan (15-16 June 2014)



Photo: Joint Press Statement on the State Visit of Prime Minister of India to the Kingdom of Bhutan (15-16 June 2014) 
1.      At the invitation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi paid a State Visit to Bhutan from 15-16 June 2014. The Prime Minister of India was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Shri Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Smt. Sujatha Singh and other senior officials of the Government of India.
2.      The visit to Bhutan by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is highly significant as it is his first visit abroad after he was sworn-in as the Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014 in New Delhi. The visit reinforces the tradition of regular high-level exchanges between the two countries and upholds and strengthens the special and unique age-old friendship between Bhutan and India.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi unveiled the Foundation Stone of the 600 Megawatt Kholongchu Hydropower Project which is a Joint Venture project between the Indian and Bhutanese PSUs, SJVNL and Druk Green Power Corporation. The construction of the Project which is located in Trashiyangtse in Eastern Bhutan will commence later this year.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Supreme Court building which was constructed with assistance from the Government of India.
1.      At the invitation of His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the King of Bhutan, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Shri Narendra Modi paid a State Visit to Bhutan from 15-16 June 2014. The Prime Minister of India was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj, National Security Adviser Shri Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary Smt. Sujatha Singh and other senior officials of the Government of India.

Delhi becomes first Kerosene free city in India



 Photo: Delhi becomes first Kerosene free city in India
Delhi has become the first Kerosene free city in the country after the successful implementation of Kerosene Free Delhi Scheme. 
The scheme had been launched in the year 2012-13 under which free gas connection along with LPG filled cylinder for the first time and gas stove were given to the Jhuggi Ration Card, BPL and Antodaya Ann Yojna ration card holders who were using kerosene oil for cooking.

Delhi has become the first Kerosene free city in the country after the successful implementation of Kerosene Free Delhi Scheme.

13.6.14

PM Modi arrives to sail on country's largest warship and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the coast of Goa



 Photo: PM Modi arrives to sail on country's largest warship and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the coast of Goa
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dabolim INS Hansa enclave a short while ago to sail on country's largest warship and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea. This is his first visit after assuming office last month.
During his stay on the ship, Mr Modi will witness air power demonstration by various Naval aircraft, including MiG 29K, Sea Harriers and Sea King helicopters. He will also witness high-speed manoeuvres by the Navy's Western Fleet ships including aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Delhi-class destroyers and Talwar-class frigates.
Mr. Modi is also scheduled to address officers and sailors of the Navy. AIR correspondent reports that the 44,500-tonne warship acquired from Russia was commissioned in the Navy in November last year by the then Defence Minister AK Antony.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Dabolim INS Hansa enclave a short while ago to sail on country's largest warship and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya off the coast of Goa in the Arabian Sea. This is his first visit after assuming office last month.

Maharashtra Assembly passes Bill to put a complete ban on dance bars across the State



Photo: Maharashtra Assembly passes Bill to put a complete ban on dance bars across the State
The Maharashtra Assembly has approved the Bill to amend the Dance Bar Prohibition Act. The Act has been amended to remove a legal lacuna that led Supreme Court to strike down the State government’s 2005 order to ban dance bars. The move comes as a blow to thousands of bar girls and others associated with such establishments who are hoping to regain their livelihood following the Supreme Court order.
Following the amendment, dance performances in three-star and five-star hotels will also be prohibited. The Supreme Court had earlier questioned the Maharashtra government’s decision to ban dance performances in smaller bars, while such performances continued in 3-star and 5-star hotels.
The Maharashtra Assembly has approved the Bill to amend the Dance Bar Prohibition Act. The Act has been amended to remove a legal lacuna that led Supreme Court to strike down the State government’s 2005 order to ban dance bars. The move comes as a blow to thousands of bar girls and others associated with such establishments who are hoping to regain their livelihood following the Supreme Court order.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi is new Attorney General of India



 Photo: Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi is new Attorney General of India
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as the new Attorney General of India. Mr. Rohatgi's tenure will be for a period of three years. Earlier, he had served as Additional Solicitor General in the NDA government. The law officers like the Attorney General, Solicitor General and Additional Solicitors General represent the government in various courts and give legal advice on complex issues.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has been appointed as the new Attorney General of India. Mr. Rohatgi's tenure will be for a period of three years. Earlier, he had served as Additional Solicitor General in the NDA government. The law officers like the Attorney General, Solicitor General and Additional Solicitors General represent the government in various courts and give legal advice on complex issues.

Vishal Sikka appointed as Infosys CEO; Murthy to step down



Photo: Vishal Sikka appointed as Infosys CEO; Murthy to step down
N R Narayana Murthy will step down as executive chairman of IT giant Infosys. Vishal Sikka, a former SAP board member, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company.
Murthy who was brought back from retirement in June last year to head the firm and put it back on a high-growth trajectory will step down from the 14th of this month.
N R Narayana Murthy will step down as executive chairman of IT giant Infosys. Vishal Sikka, a former SAP board member, has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company.

Jitu Rai wins 10m air pistol silver in ISSF World Cup



 Photo: Jitu Rai wins 10m air pistol silver in ISSF World Cup
Indian pistol shooter Jitu Rai has clinched the silver medal in the men's 10-metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup Shooing at Munich. The 27-year-old shooter from Lucknow shot an impressive 199.4 in the finals, after aggregating 583 in the qualification stage.
Another Indian shooter, Prakash Nanjappa, finished seventh after scoring 97.1 in the finals, to go with his 584 in the qualification.
Spain's Pablo Carrera won the gold after shooting 201.3, while Pavlo Korostylov of Ukraine bagged the bronze.
In the 50-metre rifle 3 position men's event, Olympic bronze medallist Gagan Narang was placed eighth in the qualifying stage.

Indian pistol shooter Jitu Rai has clinched the silver medal in the men's 10-metre air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup Shooing at Munich. The 27-year-old shooter from Lucknow shot an impressive 199.4 in the finals, after aggregating 583 in the qualification stage.

12 % job reservation for BPL candidates in Sikkim



 Photo: 12 % job reservation for BPL candidates in Sikkim
Sikkim government today announced 12 per cent reservation in all state government jobs and posts in public sector undertakings for candidates living below poverty line.
An official notification said in Gangtok that the horizontal reservation will be applicable with immediate effect only to those BPL persons who are of Sikkimese origin.
As per the latest figures issued by the Planning Commission, Sikkim has just about 8 per cent people living below poverty line. This comes to about 55 thousand BPL people in Sikkim.

Sikkim government today announced 12 per cent reservation in all state government jobs and posts in public sector undertakings for candidates living below poverty line.

Tennis: Nadal wins French Open title for 9th time; Retains no. 1 spot




Rafael Nadal of Spain won the French Open title for the ninth time, and the fifth time in a row, beating Novak Djokovic of Serbia 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 last evening in the Men's Singles final.

8.6.14

Delhi's IGI is 6th best airport in the world



 Photo: Delhi's IGI is 6th best airport in the world
For the third year in a row, Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi has been adjudged the second best airport in the world for its service quality among airports handling 25-40 million passengers per annum
Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport was placed at fifth position in this category by the Airport Council International,ACI.
ACI is a global body of airports which represents their interests with governments and international organisations. It covers 1,751 airports in 174 countries.
However, in the global ranking, IGI this year was placed at the sixth position against last year's fourth.
The airport scored 4.84 on airport service quality scale out of 5 points to get the recognition of the sixth best airport in the world among 235 participating airports across all categories.
The IGI airport received the ACI's Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Award for its second position at a ceremony in Seoul in South Korea recently.


For the third year in a row, Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi has been adjudged the second best airport in the world for its service quality among airports handling 25-40 million passengers per annum.

Sumitra Mahajan set to be elected unopposed as Speaker



 Photo: Sumitra Mahajan set to be elected unopposed as Speaker
Senior BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan today filed her nomination papers for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker. 
Minister of state for Parliamentary Affairs Santosh Gangwar said that her name has been proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders from 19 different political parties including Congress, Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, BJD and all NDA allies.
Our correspondent reports that she is all set to be elected unopposed for the post. Mrs. Mahajan is eight time MP from Indore of Madhya Pradesh.

Senior BJP leader Sumitra Mahajan today filed her nomination papers for the post of Lok Sabha Speaker.

Petro Poroshenko sworn-in as President of Ukraine



 Photo: Petro Poroshenko sworn-in as President of Ukraine
In Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko was sworn-in today as President of the country, setting out a plan to bring peace to the conflict-torn east of the country. The 48-year-old President offered political concessions to people in the east and said he did not want war or revenge. 
But he also said he had told Russia's President that Crimea, which Moscow has annexed, would always be Ukrainian. Kiev accuses Moscow of backing armed militants in the eastern Donbass area. Russia denies the allegations.

In Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko was sworn-in today as President of the country, setting out a plan to bring peace to the conflict-torn east of the country. The 48-year-old President offered political concessions to people in the east and said he did not want war or revenge.

UAE enacts compulsory military service for men



 Photo: UAE enacts compulsory military service for men
United Arab Emirates has made it compulsory for the Emirati men to serve in military. The law to this effect was issued and notified in the Gazette under the orders of the country’s president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan yesterday.
The law applies to all males between the ages of 18 and 30 and in good medical health. Men who have a high school degree or its equivalent will serve nine months, while those who do not have a high school diploma will serve for two years. 
Participation for women, who can only serve for nine months, is optional and will require the approval of their legal guardians. Military service will include training periods, military exercises and lectures on patriotism and security. The UAE had first said in January that it would introduce the law.

United Arab Emirates has made it compulsory for the Emirati men to serve in military. The law to this effect was issued and notified in the Gazette under the orders of the country’s president Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan yesterday.
The law applies to all males between the ages of 18 and 30 and in good medical health. Men who have a high school degree or its equivalent will serve nine months, while those who do not have a high school diploma will serve for two years.

Maria Sharapova wins French Open



Photo: Maria Sharapova wins French Open
Former World number one Maria Sharapova has lifted her second French Open trophy. In a thrilling final last night, the seventh seeded Russian showcased a stunning performance to beat higher placed Simona Halep of Romania, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to bag her fifth Grand Slam title, which took her to joint-11th on the all-time list alongside Martina Hingis. Halep, who was playing her maiden Grand Slam final, pushed the Russian to the limits and it took Sharapova three hours and two minutes to win at this year's Roland Garros, which saw the top three Women's Singles seeds, Serena Williams, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska bow out in early rounds.
Meanwhile, World number one Rafael Nadal will today lock horns with World number two Novak Djokovic for the Men's Singles title. Nadal and Djokovic are meeting for the 42nd time, an Open era record for Men. The number one ranking will also be at stake in today's final. The French Open is the only Grand Slam tournament Djokovic has not won, while Nadal has bagged it a record eight times.
In Men's Doubles, the French pair of Julien Benneteau and Edouard Roger-Vasselin has clinched the title. The duo defeated the Spanish team of Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, 6-3, 7-6.
For the Women's Doubles trophy, top seeds China's Shuai Peng and her Taiwanese team-mate Su-Wei Hsieh will take on the second placed Italian team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci today.
Former World number one Maria Sharapova has lifted her second French Open trophy. In a thrilling final last night, the seventh seeded Russian showcased a stunning performance to beat higher placed Simona Halep of Romania, 6-4, 6-7, 6-4 to bag her fifth Grand Slam title, which took her to joint-11th on the all-time list alongside Martina Hingis. Halep, who was playing her maiden Grand Slam final, pushed the Russian to the limits and it took Sharapova three hours and two minutes to win at this year's Roland Garros, which saw the top three Women's Singles seeds, Serena Williams, Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska bow out in early rounds.

Australian cricketer Pomersbach retires due to depression



 Photo: Australian cricketer Pomersbach retires due to depression
Explosive former Australian T20 batsman Luke Pomersbach announced his retirement from professional cricket on Thursday to deal with depression.
Pomersbach only played one T20 for Australia in 2007 but his hard-hitting exploits earned him contracts with the Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League.
He has most recently been playing for the Queensland Bulls and Brisbane Heat. "We appreciate the difficulties and challenges that Luke faces with his illness," said Queensland Cricket chief Geoff Cockerill.
"The most important thing is that Luke continues to receive the necessary treatment and has the best possible support available to him. "To this end, Queensland Cricket has put into place a number of measures to assist Luke to fund the additional medical and other expenses associated with his ongoing treatment and recovery."
Pomersbach, 29, had a history of off-field misdemeanours. He said he appreciated the support he had been given by Queensland Cricket and his teammates over the years.
"Especially over the past couple of months leading up to this difficult decision to leave professional cricket so that I can put all my efforts into getting better and making a full recovery," he said.

Explosive former Australian T20 batsman Luke Pomersbach announced his retirement from professional cricket on Thursday to deal with depression.

4.6.14

US to name first envoy to Somalia in over 20 years



 Photo: US to name first envoy to Somalia in over 20 years
US President Barack Obama is set to announce the first American ambassador to Somalia since the civil war erupted more than 20 years ago. 
Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman yesterday said that as a reflection both of our deepening relationship with the country and of our faith that better times are ahead, the President will propose the first US ambassador to Somalia in more than two decades. 
She said that the announcement from Obama, who is in Europe, was expected soon. Sherman added that, initially, the new ambassador would be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

US President Barack Obama is set to announce the first American ambassador to Somalia since the civil war erupted more than 20 years ago.

Solar powered plane set for inaugural flight



 Photo: Solar powered plane set for inaugural flight
A solar powered plane that will be taken on a round the world journey in 2015 is set to make its inaugural flight today.
The Solar Impulse-2 will take off from Payerne airfield in Switzerland. 
It is a larger, upgraded version of the aircraft that flew across America last year with adventurers Betrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg at the controls. 
The two men want to push the boundaries for alternative energy and believe their plane can be a standard bearer. 
The Solar Impulse 2 plane is as wide as a 747 jet but weighs less than three tonnes.

A solar powered plane that will be taken on a round the world journey in 2015 is set to make its inaugural flight today.

El Salvador: Former left wing rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren sworn in as President



 Photo: El Salvador: Former left wing rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren sworn in as President
In El Salvador, former left wing rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren has been sworn in as President. Mr Sanchez, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front party, becomes the first former guerrilla to lead the Central American country following his March victory. 
In his inauguration speech, he promised to fight corruption and violence, and to govern for everybody. 
El Salvador remains violent and deeply divided despite the end of a civil war in which some 75,000 people died. Mr Sanchez narrowly defeated the conservative candidate Norman Quijano by 0.2 per cent in a run off vote on 9th March.

In El Salvador, former left wing rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren has been sworn in as President. Mr Sanchez, of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front party, becomes the first former guerrilla to lead the Central American country following his March victory.

Telangana comes into existence as 29th state of the country; K.Chandrashekhar Rao sworn-in as its first CM



 Photo: Telangana comes into existence as 29th state of the country; K.Chandrashekhar Rao sworn-in as its first CM
A separate Telangana state has come into existence today as the 29th state of the Indian Union.
TRS Chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao has been sworn-in as the first Chief Minister of Telangana this morning. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao has accorded top priority to the welfare of the poor, transparency in administration and development of Hyderabad.
Addressing the people of the new Telangana state from the Secunderabad Parade Grounds after hoisting the national flag, he unveiled the plan of action for the new state.
He said, the Telangana Rastra Samithi Government will be people centric and fulfill all promises made during the electioneering.
Stating that an Advisory Committee will be set up with intellectuals as members, the Chief Minister said, one lakh crore rupees will be earmarked for the welfare of the down trodden and minorities.
Mr. Rao also said, the Law and Order should be given utmost importance to ensure inflows of investments. Stating that political corruption and women harassment will be dealt with strictly, he said, police department will be modernized soon.
Earlier, Mr. Rao and 11 Ministers were sworn-in by Governor ESL Narasimhan at the Raj Bhawan lawns. He also assumed charge at the Secretariat. 
Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan was sworn in as the Governor of Telangana state . He will be the Governor for both Telangana and the residual Andhra Pradesh.
President's rule imposed in united Andhra Pradesh has been revoked partially today to facilitate the swearing-in of TRS government in the newly-created Telangana.
In the residual Andhra Pradesh, President's rule would continue until TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu takes charge as Chief Minister, which is likely on June 8.

A separate Telangana state has come into existence today as the 29th state of the Indian Union.

President appointed Narasimhan as common Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh



 Photo: President appointed Narasimhan as common Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 28 May 2014 appointed ESL Narasimhan as common Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. His appointment will  come into effect from the date when he assumes the charge of the office.
Narasimhan got the additional responsibility five days ahead of formal bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh on 2 June 2014. He will be serving Telangana until a permanent arrangement is made.
The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act seeks for a common Governor for a time period that will be determined by the President. The two reasons to have a common Governor
Even after bifurcation, the symbiosis between the two states is likely to continue. This is because Hyderabad will be the common capital for both the States for 10 years. The time limit of 10 years will enable Andhra Pradesh to build its own capital. There has been no such precedent anywhere else in the country.
There is a need for arrangement to address the safety and security of people of Seemandhra settled in Hyderabad and Secundrabad. As the Act has mentioned that the Governor will be responsible for the security of the life, liberty and property of people who reside in these two cities
Even after bifurcation, the two states will have a common High Court until a sperate High Court is established for Andhra Pradesh.

Pranab Mukherjee, the President of India on 28 May 2014 appointed ESL Narasimhan as common Governor of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. His appointment will  come into effect from the date when he assumes the charge of the office.

Supersonic Akash air defence missiles successfully intercepted targets



 Photo: Supersonic Akash air defence missiles successfully intercepted targets
Supersonic Akash air defence missiles on 28 May 2014 successfully intercepted the targets. Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted the tests and it will be the first service to induct the Akash missiles in their inventory.
The three Akash missiles were launched from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Balasore, off the coast of Odisha. They were launched on tow body target of Lakshya (pilotless target aircraft) moving at low altitude far boundary, and ripple mode missions. The missiles intercepted the fast moving and maneuvering small RCS targets within small interval of five seconds in ripple mode.
The missiles were developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) along with 13 other DRDO laboratories and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The launchers were developed by a DRDO lab and produced by Tata Power and L&T.
About Akash Missile
• Akash missiles were developed as part of Integrated Missile Development Programme of the 1980.
• It is an all weather area air defence weapon system for defending vulnerable areas against medium range air targets penetrating from low, medium and high altitudes.
• It is a Supersonic surface-to-air missile with a range of about 25 km and carries a 55 kg fragmentation warhead that is triggered by proximity fuze. It is autonomous and its operation is fully automated.
• It uses state-of-art integral ram jet rocket propulsion system and the onboard digital autopilot ensures stability and control.

Supersonic Akash air defence missiles on 28 May 2014 successfully intercepted the targets. Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted the tests and it will be the first service to induct the Akash missiles in their inventory.

Brilliant Manish, Chawla guide KKR to second IPL triumph



 Photo: Brilliant Manish, Chawla guide KKR to second IPL triumph
Manish Pandey played an absolute blinder as Kolkata Knight Riders held their nerves to beat a spirited Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in an exhilarting summit clash to win the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League in Bangalore on Sunday.
This was KKR's second IPL trophy, the only team apart from Chennai Super Kings to achieve the feat. 
Saha walked into the record books by being the first ever player to score a century in the IPL final as his unbeaten 115 off 55 balls had 10 fours and eight sixes.

Manish Pandey played an absolute blinder as Kolkata Knight Riders held their nerves to beat a spirited Kings XI Punjab by three wickets in an exhilarting summit clash to win the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League in Bangalore on Sunday.

Arun Jaitley appointed on ADB's Board of Governor



 Photo: Arun Jaitley appointed on ADB's Board of Governor
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been appointed on the Board of Governors of Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). An official release said, his appointment has come into effect from 27th of May.
The position was previously held by former Finance Minister P Chidambaram. The Board of Governors is the ADB's highest policy-making body and has one representative from each member country.
The Manila-headquartered multi-lateral funding agency, founded in 1966, aims to improve people's lives in Asia and the Pacific.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been appointed on the Board of Governors of Philippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB). An official release said, his appointment has come into effect from 27th of May.

3.6.14

Indian-American on US Holocaust Memorial Council



 Photo: Indian-American on US Holocaust Memorial Council
US President Barack Obama has appointed a top Indian-American fund raiser as the member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council. 
California-based Shefali Razdan Duggal, who helped several millions for the Obama campaign in both 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns, has been appointed as member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council. 
An announcement by Obama in this regard came yesterday along with several other ambassadorial and administration posts.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Council was established by Congress in 1980 to lead the nation in commemorating the Holocaust and to raise private funds for and build the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

US President Barack Obama has appointed a top Indian-American fund raiser as the member of the US Holocaust Memorial Council.

Assad certain to win Syria Presidential polls



 Photo: Assad certain to win Syria Presidential polls
Syria's presidential elections have ended. President Bashar al-Assad appears certain to win. Voting began yesterday morning while the civil war continued to rage. 
The elections, which were extended for five hours, was only held in government controlled areas. Anti-government groups say at least 28 people were killed in battles in the capital Damascus and elsewhere yesterday.
Election officials said, a larger number of people showed up to cast their ballots. They apparently intend to stress that the election process was legitimate, with many voters taking part. 
But anti-government forces and Western nations remain critical. They called the vote invalid and a farce. 
United States has denounced Bashar Al-Assad's attempt to shore up his authority by staging the Presidential elections in the middle of a brutal civil war. 
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf yesterday said that the Presidential election in Syria is a disgrace and Assad has no more credibility. Harf said the decision to hold elections was detached from reality and part of a 40-year legacy of violent repression.
Meanwhile, Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin has insisted that Syria's Presidential election, which Bashar Assad is certain to win, is not an obstacle to a political settlement of the devastating war and urged the UN chief to quickly appoint a new envoy to revive stalled peace talks. 
Churkin said a replacement for UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who resigned last month, is needed to create conditions to move the talks between the government and opposition forward, stressing that there is no military solution to the three-year conflict.

Syria's presidential elections have ended. President Bashar al-Assad appears certain to win. Voting began yesterday morning while the civil war continued to rage.

J&K govt raises retirement age of employees



 Photo: J&K govt raises retirement age of employees
The Jammu and Kashmir Government has increased the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years. 
The decision was taken at the state Cabinet meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in Srinagar yesterday. 
In another decision, the State Government has also enhanced the eligibility age for candidates applying for Government jobs from 37 to 40 years in case of general category and in case of reserved categories, it will be 43 years. Our correspondent reports that the decision will benefit over 4 lakh government employees and their families. 
Ruling colation in the state has fulfilled this long pending demand of its employees in the last leg of its tenure.
By and large the step of enhancing both retirement and recruitment age has been hailed but the main opposition PDP has said that the step was an attempt by the ruling collation to ward off a defeat in the upcoming assembly polls in the state.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government has increased the retirement age of its employees from 58 to 60 years.

31.5.14

Pakistan to grant NDMA status to India to facilitate bilateral trade



 Photo: Pakistan to grant NDMA status to India to facilitate bilateral trade
Pakistan has said it would grant India the status of Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to facilitate enhanced bilateral trade. According to media reports, Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastigir Khan clarified that it was not Most Favoured Nation status but non-discriminatory and parallel market access that is being granted to India. 
He was addressing the media at Islamabad. Khan also described Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's visit to India this week as positive and said Sharif did not indulge in reactionary diplomacy. India had already granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. Various sections in Pakistan, especially the extreme right wing, had objected to the term "Most Favoured" being given to India.

Pakistan has said it would grant India the status of Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to facilitate enhanced bilateral trade. According to media reports, Pakistan Commerce Minister Khurram Dastigir Khan clarified that it was not Most Favoured Nation status but non-discriminatory and parallel market access that is being granted to India.

Former IB Chief Ajit Doval appointed as NSA to PM



 Photo: Former IB Chief Ajit Doval appointed as NSA to PM
Ajit Doval, former Intelligence Bureau  Chief, has been appointed as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.
Doval is the second key appointment made after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumed charge. The first was that of Nripendra Misra as Modi's Principal Secretary.
A 1968-batch IPS officer, Doval is known as one of the best operational brains within intelligence circles.

Ajit Doval, former Intelligence Bureau  Chief, has been appointed as National Security Adviser to the Prime Minister. His appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet.

Indian-Americans - Sriram J Hathwar & Ansun Sujoe script history; jointly win the Spelling Bee



 Photo: Indian-Americans - Sriram J Hathwar & Ansun Sujoe script history; jointly win the Spelling Bee
Two Indian-Americans - Sriram J Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe - today scripted history by becoming co-champions of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, after a thrilling final in which they almost exhausted the 25 designated words, the first tie since 1962.
This is the seventh consecutive year that Indian- Americans have retained the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which was watched live by millions of people in the US.
An eighth grader from the Alternative School for Maths and Science, Sriram is from New York, while Ansun is a seventh grader from Texas. Both said they are happy to share the trophy.
The last three contestants were also Indian-Americans.

Two Indian-Americans - Sriram J Hathwar and Ansun Sujoe - today scripted history by becoming co-champions of the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee, after a thrilling final in which they almost exhausted the 25 designated words, the first tie since 1962.

World observes No Tobacco Day today



Photo: World observes No Tobacco Day today
World No Tobacco Day is being observed today. This year, WHO and partners call on countries to raise taxes on tobacco.
The main goal of this day is to contribute to protect present and future generations not only from the devastating health consequences due to tobacco, but also from the social, environmental and economic scourges of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.
The member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day in 1987.
The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people each year, of which more than 600 000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke. 
Research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke.
World No Tobacco Day is being observed today. This year, WHO and partners call on countries to raise taxes on tobacco.

29.5.14

Get ACC nod for appointing personal staff and OSDs: Govt to Ministries



 Photo: Get ACC nod for appointing personal staff and OSDs: Govt to Ministries
The government has asked all ministries to take prior approval of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, ACC before appointing all personal staff of Ministers, including their Officers on Special Duty. 
The ACC is headed by the Prime Minister. The Department of Personnel and Training said that it has come to notice that some Ministries do not process the cases related to their appointments as per procedures, therefore prior approval of the ACC is required for appointment of personal staff (other than Private Secretary) at the Deputy Secretary level and above.
As per norms, private persons can be appointed as OSDs to Ministers if their names are approved by the ACC.
The DoPT's order is seen as an attempt to discourage ministers from appointing private persons, including their acquaintances, friends or relatives, as their personal staff.

The government has asked all ministries to take prior approval of the Appointments Committee of Cabinet, ACC before appointing all personal staff of Ministers, including their Officers on Special Duty.

Mumbai taxi drivers get English and behavioural skill training



 Photo: Mumbai taxi drivers get English and behavioural skill training
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), along with the Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED), have started training taxi drivers in Mumbai in spoken English and behavioral skills. 
According to a press release by MTDC the cab drivers will also be given more information on prominent tourism places across the city. 
The project has been conceptualized looking into the growing number of tourists visiting Maharashtra, and also to ensure smooth flow of information between tourists and cab drivers. 
The release stated n the first phase, 1,110 cab drivers will be trained, of which 750 will be trained at the international airport. 
The remaining cab drivers will be trained at Dadar, Kurla Terminus, Bandra Terminus, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Mumbai Central and Churchgate stations. 
It stated that the project will be carried out in a total of 37 training sessions spanning two months, with each batch having 30 cab drivers. 
Each cab driver who completes the training session will be given an identity card-cum-certificate, seat covers that show the various destinations of Maharashtra, and related brochures will be made available in the taxi. 
It added that MTDC has planned to conduct free medical camps for the cab drivers after a month, and planned to replicate the training to other cab drivers across the Mumbai region and other parts of Maharashtra.

The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), along with the Maharashtra Centre for Entrepreneurship Development (MCED), have started training taxi drivers in Mumbai in spoken English and behavioral skills.

Al Sissi heading for landslide win in Egypt Prez polls



 Photo: Al Sissi heading for landslide win in Egypt Prez polls
In Egypt, the unofficial results for the Presidential elections have shown that the former army chief General Abdel Fattah Al Sissi is heading for a landslide victory. 
Sissi’s campaign quoting judicial sources engaged in the counting of votes said that he has got 93 per cent votes in Egypt’s presidential elections. 
His rival Hamdeen Sabbahi is reported to have secured only 2.9 per cent votes. The polls were marked by a low voter turnout of around 44 percent even though the polling was extended by one more day till yesterday. 
Official results are scheduled to be declared on 5th of next month.

In Egypt, the unofficial results for the Presidential elections have shown that the former army chief General Abdel Fattah Al Sissi is heading for a landslide victory.
Sissi’s campaign quoting judicial sources engaged in the counting of votes said that he has got 93 per cent votes in Egypt’s presidential elections.

American author and poet Maya Angelou passes away



 Photo: American author and poet Maya Angelou passes away
Renowned American poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou passed away in North Carolina yesterday. 
She was 86. Dr. Angelou rose from extreme poverty to become a force on stage, screen, the printed page and the inaugural dais.
An actress, singer and dancer in the 1950s and 1960s, she broke through as an author in 1970 with, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings'.
In 1993, she was a sensation, reading her cautiously hopeful "On the Pulse of the Morning" at former President Bill Clinton's first inauguration. 
For former President George W. Bush, she read another poem, "Amazing Peace," at the 2005 Christmas tree lighting ceremony at the White House.

Renowned American poet and author, Dr. Maya Angelou passed away in North Carolina yesterday.

Father of Malaysian Hockey Sultan Azlan Shah passes away



 Photo: Father of Malaysian Hockey Sultan Azlan Shah passes away
International hockey suffered a big setback today as the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah passed away in Kuala Lumpur. He was 86.
Sultan Azlan Shah was known as the Father of Malaysian Hockey for his colossal contribution to the sport for over 41 years -- both as a player and an administrator.
His remains will be taken to the palace in Kuala Kangsar tomorrow morning and buried at the royal mausoleum after mid-afternoon prayers.He started Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament in 1983.
Under his stewardship, Malaysia hosted two hockey World Cups -- 1975 and 2002 editions. In 1997, Sultan Azlan Shah was elected as the president of the Asian Hockey Federation and he held the post until his demise.

International hockey suffered a big setback today as the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah passed away in Kuala Lumpur. He was 86.

Govt planning to re-launch farm income insurance scheme



 Photo: Govt planning to re-launch farm income insurance scheme
The government is planning to re-launch farm income insurance scheme to provide a guaranteed income to farmers. The scheme was launched on a pilot basis during NDA rule in 2003-04 in selected districts of the country. 
Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh told reporters after assuming charge of his ministry that the scheme is intended to protect farmers' income by insuring minimum income. He said the minimum guaranteed income will be derived on the basis of average farm income. Singh said, the new government will also open more agriculture universities for research. 
The Agriculture minister said the government will also involve farmers in policy-making and its implementation. He said his ministry will also launch Prime Minister Rural Irrigation Scheme, to augment irrigation facilities. In reply to a question on controlling price rise, the Minister said, whenever NDA has been in power, it has kept the prices of essential commodities under check.
On the possible drought like conditions in the country due to prediction of below average rainfall, he said, states have been advised to make contingency plan and use 10 percent fund of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to tackle the situation.

The government is planning to re-launch farm income insurance scheme to provide a guaranteed income to farmers. The scheme was launched on a pilot basis during NDA rule in 2003-04 in selected districts of the country.

India among top 10 markets for Australian business: Survey



 Photo: India among top 10 markets for Australian business: Survey
India has figured among the top 10 markets for the international business community of Australia, as per Australia's International Business Survey.
India has also emerged as the most challenging of the top 10 countries to do business with. AIBS 2014, a comprehensive study of Australian companies involved in international business commissioned by Export Council of Australia was released recently. 
The survey ranks India as ninth important market . 
The country was also seen as the third important future market, with respondents saying they were planning on doing business with India in the next two years. 
Education and Training industry stood as the most important market for Australian international business community when it came to India.

India has figured among the top 10 markets for the international business community of Australia, as per Australia's International Business Survey.

Sachin now in Maharashtra schoolbooks



 Photo: Sachin now in Maharashtra schoolbooks
Maharashtra government has added a chapter on Sachin Tendulkar in the school syllabus so that children are inspired by the iconic cricketer. 
The State School Education Minister Rajendra Darda said that class IV students in Maharashtra would now get to learn about the cricket legend as part their curriculum from this academic year, since a chapter on Sachin has been included in Marathi and English subject textbooks. 
This is not the first time that students in the state would have to study the life history of a cricketer as part of their syllabus. 
The likes of Chandrakant Gulabrao "Chandu" Borde and Sunil Gavaskar have found themselves in the pages of school syllabuses.

Maharashtra government has added a chapter on Sachin Tendulkar in the school syllabus so that children are inspired by the iconic cricketer.

24 Delhi hospitals get online OPD registration system



 Photo: 24 Delhi hospitals get online OPD registration system
The Delhi government yesterday launched an online OPD registration system in 24 hospitals for the benefit of the patients. 
The move will help reduce the waiting time in the OPDs and streamline the rush for out-patient consultations. 
Delhi Chief secretary S K Srivastava, while launching the system, said that it will allow patients to schedule appointments online, up to 15 days in advance sitting at home. 
As per the system, one has to create an user ID by clicking on the link on the Delhi government website and then select the hospital and department in which they are seeking treatment, fill in their details and get a date and time of appointment.

The Delhi government yesterday launched an online OPD registration system in 24 hospitals for the benefit of the patients.