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UILS NEWSLINE - April 16th, 2012

"Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven't planted "-David Bly

National News

AERB first new member of MEDP

India 's Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) was admitted as the first new member in the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP). The MDEP was launched by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) of the United States and the French Nuclear Safety Authority ( Autorite de Surete Nucleaire , ASN) with the objective of evolving innovative approaches to leverage the resources and knowledge of national regulatory authorities in reviewing new reactor designs. India will be the 11th member of this body whose other members are Canada , China , Finland , France , Japan , the Republic of Korea , the Russian Federation , South Africa , the United Kingdom and the United States .

No review of 2G licence cancellations, says SC

The Supreme Court has rejected pleas of seven telecom companies to reconsider its judgment in the 2G scam cancelling 122 licences in 22 telecom circles. However, it agreed to hear in open court the Union government's plea seeking review of its direction to auction these annulled licences.

India gets a nuclear-powered submarine

The 8,140-tonne nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra, with lethal "hunter-killer'' and intelligence-gathering capabilities, was formally inducted into Indian Navy on a 10-year lease from Russia at a cost of around $1 billion. INS Chakra, propelled by a 190MW nuclear reactor for a maximum speed of around 30 knots, will give India the capability to deploy 'a potent weapons delivery platform', armed as it is with 300-km Klub-S land-attack cruise missiles and advanced torpedoes, at a place of its choosing at long distances with lot of stealth.

Record nuclear power output

The Nuclear Power Corporation of India surpassed all records in electricity generation for the financial year 2011-12. The NPCIL, under which there are 19 nuclear reactors operating across the country, has produced 32,455 million units (MU) compared to 26,473MU produced last year-an increase of about 23%. NPCIL chairman is Mr. S K Jain.

Bumper crop

A bountiful rabi harvest and procurement of 65 million tonnes of grain have boosted food stocks to record levels. With states like Madhya Pradesh, apart from the wheat baskets of Punjab and Haryana, delivering bonus yields, food stocks are expected to hit the 75 million tonne mark.

Fertility rate in India drops by 19% in 10 yrs

India 's total fertility rate (TFR) - the average number of children expected to be born per woman during her reproductive years has fallen by 19% over the past decade. Among bigger states, the percentage decline in TFR during this period the last decade varied from as high as 28% in Punjab to 5.6% in Kerala. India 's TFR now stands at 2.5 as against a TFR of 3.2 in 2000. On an average, an illiterate woman in India is bearing 1.2 children more than a literate woman (3.4 against 2.2). According to the National Population Policy 2000, India should have reached placement-level fertility rate of 2.1 by 2010, and ought to attain population stabilization at 145 crore by 2045. Population stabilization is when the size of the population remains unchanged. It is also called the stage of zero population growth. However, India now expects to reach the population stabilization TFR of 2.1 at 165 crore by 2060.

Women take the lead in India 's grey march

In India the number of those aged above 60 is rising rapidly and women are now a majority in this segment. This is in line with the trend in developed countries, where women tend to live longer than men. The Registrar General of India 's (RGI) latest data from the Sample Registration System (SRS), 2010, has confirmed feminization of India 's elderly. The data shows that the percentage of women in the age group of 60 years and above is higher in 17 out of the 20 large states. It is as high as nearly 12.6% in Kerala, 10% in Maharashtra and 10.3% in HP and Tamil Nadu. Only three states Assam , Bihar and J&K have more elderly men than women. Overall, nearly 7.5% of India 's population is aged 60 years and above. In rural India , 7.5% of the population is above 60, and the corresponding figure is 7% in urban areas.

Madhya Pradesh first state to ban gutkha

Madhya Pradesh cancelled licences of seven "gutkha" companies and banned its manufacture and sale in the state from April 1. MP is the first state in the country to ban tobacco, magnesium carbonate and nicotine-based gutkha following provisions of the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restrictions on Sales) Regulation, 2011.

Youngest patent-holder on wheelchair

Drawing inspiration from scientist Stephen Hawking, a wheelchair-bound nine-year-old boy in Jaipur has invented a game of six-player circular chess. The boy, Hridayeshwar Singh Bhati, who suffers from duchene muscular dystrophy, has got the game's design patented in his name.

LS nod for judicial accountability bill

The Lok Sabha cleared the judicial accountability legislation that seeks to set up a credible mechanism to probe complaints of misbehaviour by judges. The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010, and Constitutional 114th Amendment Bill, 2010, law aims to aid setting of new probity standards in higher judiciary. The bill seeks to establish credible and expedient mechanism for probing individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a Supreme Court or a high court judge. It provides to regulate the procedure for such investigation and for the presentation of an address by Parliament to the President in relation to proceeding for removal of a judge and for matters related to it.

Cabinet approves changes in Marriage Act

The Union Cabinet okayed changes in the Marriage Act to quicken the process. The changes approved for the Cabinet also marks the first attempt to legally recognize a wife's right to property acquired by her spouse during their marriage as well as to give equal rights to both adopted and biological children. The Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, seeks to make "irretrievable breakdown of marriage" a new ground for grant of divorce, in a shift from the current regime where estranged couple with irreconcilable differences is constrained to keep up the fiction of being couple for an indeterminably long period.

U.P.'s first power plant

The 1,200-MW Rosa Thermal Power Project of Reliance Power in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh has become fully operational with the final unit of 300 MW being commissioned on March 31.

Kalifulla sworn in as Supreme Court judge

Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice F.M. Ibrahim Kalifulla was sworn in as Supreme Court judge. Justice Kalifulla, who hails from Tamil Nadu, will be the second judge to represent the Madras High Court in the Supreme Court after Justice P. Sathasivam.

Rajasthan Ratna for Jagjit Singh, Komal Kothari

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced institution of Rajasthan Ratna, a State equivalent of Bharat Ratna, and named seven eminent persons including the late folklorist Komal Kothari and ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh as the recipients in the first year.

SC expands deliberations on media norms

The purview of the Supreme Courts deliberations to frame guidelines for how media should report subjudice matters, has now been expanded to include related cases which had been pending in the apex court since 1999. While hearing Saharas, which arose from indignation over a news report on leaked privileged communication between the counsel of Sahara Real Estate Corporation and Sebi application, a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia had directed that any party, who desires to make submissions in the matter, may do so by way of intervention.

India 's growing, even in sq km

India 's land area has altered with new land mass constantly being created by filling up of the seas or being reduced by soil erosion that has over time eaten up the weak coast. The last four national land-area censuses show the size of several states has changed. India 's total area changed from 32,87,263 sq km to 32,87,252 sq km. In the most recent survey result of 2011, India 's total area stands at 32,87,261.71 sq km.

Clinical establishments brought under Act

Almost two years after it was passed by Parliament, the Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010, has now been notified by the Union Government. The Act makes it mandatory for all clinical establishments to provide medical care and treatment necessary to stabilise any individual who comes or is brought to the clinical establishment in an emergency medical condition, particularly women who come for deliveries and accident cases.

Miss India contest, 2012

Vanya Mishra, a 19-year-old student from Chandigarh , was crowned Pantaloons Femina Miss India World (PFMI) 2012 at a colourful function at Bhavan's College ground in Andheri. Prachi Mishra, an investment adviser from Allahabad , walked away with the PFMI Earth title. Rochelle Maria Rao, 23, a TV anchor from Chennai, was adjudged PFMI International 2012.

Antrix signs ` 100 crore deal with France

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) will launch a French advanced remote sensing satellite in a few months. Isro's commercial arm, Antrix Corporation, signed a ` 100 crore deal to launch the 800kg satellite, SPOT 6, built by Astrium SAS, a subsidiary of France's EADS. It will be launched by Isro's polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV).

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Tougher U.K. student visa rules

Under tougher immigration rules, which came into force from 6 th April, students from outside the European Union will be required to have a firm job offer of a minimum £20,000 a year from a government-approved employer if they wish to stay on in Britain after completing their studies. In a separate move, the government announced that it was freezing the annual cap on highly skilled workers for two years. It will remain at 20,700 till 2014.

Google tests 'real-time information' glasses

Google has announced test of its "Project Glass", a pair of augmented reality glasses that provides users real-time information right in front of their eyes. The augmented reality glasses is a solid metal band running across the brow line with a small heads-up display on the right side.

World's biggest radio telescope

Australia and South Africa are competing to host the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a huge $2.5bn radio telescope which will be 50 times more sensitive and 10,000 times faster than any other telescope on the planet.

Hacking row: Murdoch Jr quits TV giant

Hemmed in by inquiries related to the phone-hacking scandal, James Murdoch, who quit as the executive chairman of News International in February, resigned as chairman of the BSkyB satellite broadcaster.

Hungarian president resigns after plagiarism row

Hungary 's president Pal Schmitt resigned, bowing to pressure over a plagiarism scandal which saw him stripped of his university doctorate. Pal Schmitt became the first president in post-communist history to quit the largely symbolic post. The 69-year-old was stripped of his sports doctorate after the university found he had copied chunks of his thesis without proper acknowledgement, a charge he denies.

Suu Kyi set to enter Myanmar 's Parliament

Myanmar 's opposition icon Aung San Suu Kyi won a parliamentary seat in a landmark election, setting the stage for her to take public office for the first time. The victory marks a major milestone in the Southeast Asian nation, where the military has ruled almost exclusively for a half-century and where a new reform-minded government is seeking legitimacy and a lifting of Western sanctions. It also marks the biggest prize of Suu Kyi's political career, and a spectacular reversal of fortune for the 66-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate who the former junta had kept imprisoned in her lakeside home for the better part of two decades

Indian activist honoured

Arbind Singh, a well-known development activist from India , was given the prestigious Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award at a function in Oxford for his work in the informal labour sector. The Foundation, set up by Jeff Skoll, a philanthropist and social entrepreneur, works with local activists to drive social and economic change among the neglected sections of society. 

Hong Kong chooses new head in a bitter election

Hong Kong appointed as its new Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, a businessman with close ties to China , following a bitter election that brought to the fore growing public anger against corruption and a closed, elite-run political system.

$10 million on Lashkar chief's head

India 's tormentor-in-chief Hafiz Saeed, the head of Pakistan 's deadliest terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba, now carries a $10 million bounty on his head. The US has announced this reward for the capture or information leading to the capture of Saeed, making him one of the most wanted terrorists in the world.

India votes for resolution against Sri Lanka

India voted for a United States-sponsored resolution at the United Nation's top human rights body censuring Sri Lanka for its alleged rights violations during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

BRICS bank

BRICS nations decided to examine the viability of a development bank for developing countries, besides agreeing to make it a little simpler for those trading within the group by settling transactions in local currency. Four members - India , Russia , Brazil and South Africa - seemed to fear the clout that China would enjoy if the proposal to set up a bank and move to a single currency went through

SPORTS

Ajit Pal named chef-de-mission

In an unprecedented move, the Indian Olympic Association picked an Olympian for the first time as the chef-de-mission for the Olympics naming former hockey captain Ajit Pal Singh to head the Indian contingent at the London Games.

Punjab 's Shers roar to WSH crown

Sher-e-punjab won the inaugural Bridgestone World Series Hockey title with a 5-2 win over Pune Strykers. Shers went home richer by ` 2 crore while runner-ups Strikers got ` 1 crore. The other two semifinalists, Karnataka Lions and Chandigarh Comets got ` 50 lakh each.

Paes hits a half-century !

The red-hot pairing of Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek, seeded seventh, claimed their second title of the season, winning the ATP Masters event in Miami . It was a double celebration for the Indo-Czech pair as the win gave the Mumbai-based Paes a milestone 50th title. Paes became the 24 th player in ATP Tour history to complete 50 doubles titles.

Star Group bags broadcast rights

STAR Group staved off competition from Multi-Screen Media (Sony) to secure the broadcast, internet, and mobile rights for cricket in India from July 2012 to March 2018. The deal - valued at ` 3,851 crore for 96 matches - includes rights for India's international matches at home and domestic events such as Ranji Trophy and Irani Trophy but does not include the IPL.

NEWS & VIEWS

  • The Afghanistan cricket team has qualified for the Twenty-20 World Cup for the second time.
  • Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy swept the by-elections in Myanmar , winning 43 out of 44 seats it contested.
  • The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Subhash Ghai-owned Mukta Arts against a Bombay High Courts judgment cancelling the Vilasrao Deshmukh government's allotment of 20 acres to the film-maker's company at throw-away price for a film institute.
  • By the end of 2012, India would have generated a whopping eight lakh tonnes e-waste - up eight times in the past seven years. An additional 50,000 tonnes is imported from developed countries despite a ban.
  • Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US-based Kashmiri activist who for years propagated the Pakistani line on the issue while being on Islamabad 's payroll, was sentenced to two years in prison by a US court on charges of illegally working for Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.
  • US President Barack Obama, nominated Korean-American physician Jim Yong Kim for the post of World Bank President.
  • Democratic Republic of Congo rebel warlord, Thomas Lubanga has become the first person to be convicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in its tenth year of functioning, for conscripting children below 15.
  • Pakistan won the Asia Cup (Cricket) defeating Bangladesh in the final by 2 runs. India and Sri Lanka were the other two teams in the tournament.
  • Spain will make budget cuts worth more than €27 billion ($36 billion) in 2012, including a freeze on public workers' salaries, to rein in its public deficit. Government ministries will have an average reduction in their budgets of around 17 per cent.
  • The Supreme Court will soon get a judge representing the north-eastern States. Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who hails from Assam , has been recommended by the Collegium of Judges- headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia-for elevation to the Supreme Court.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

World's first flying car takes maiden test flight

Flying cars aren't just science fiction anymore. Woburn , Mass-based Terrafugia Inc. prototype flying car has completed its first flight, bringing the company closer to its goal of selling the flying car within the next year. The vehicle - dubbed the Transition - has two seats, four wheels and wings that fold up so it can be driven like a car.

Universe expanding, driven by 'dark energy'

The universe is expanding at exactly the speed professor Albert Einstein has predicted - driven by "dark energy". A team of cosmologists from University of Portsmouth and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics has examined the period between five and six billion years ago when the universe was half its present age. The findings support Einstein's general theory of relativity which predicts how fast galaxies, separated by large distances, should be moving toward one another and at what rate the structure of the universe should be growing.

Titanic Director Is First Man to Travel Alone To Mariana Trench

"Titanic" director James Cameron dove to the Earth's deepest point in a specially designed submarine, making him the first man to travel alone to the near 7-mile depth of the Marianas Trench . He reached a depth of 35,756 feet.

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