India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

Coast Guard is planning air enclave off Mangaluru coast

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2.Coast Guard is planning air enclave off Mangaluru coast

It will help boost aerial surveillance system for swift response tocall at sea

The Coast Guard is examining setting up of an air enclave in Mangaluru to boost aerial surveillance system off the State’s coast and to render swift response to call at sea.

This initiative is being planned post 26/11 to boost the coastal security system. Preparations for the same were reviewed by Inspector-General K. Natarajan, Commander, Coast Guard Region (West), who visited the State on Monday.

He was here to review the Indian Coast Guard operations and infrastructure development. During his State visit, Mr. Natarajan also called on Governor Vajubhai Vala.

The air enclave would comprise an offshore vessel with an integrated helicopter landing deck that is to be positioned at Mangaluru, with the development of berthing facilities.

A Hoverport is also being developed for safe and smooth operation of Hovercraft from the shores of Mangaluru. Land has been identified and the Coast Guard is awaiting environment clearance.

A release here said that the District Headquarters No. 3 (Karnataka) functioning from Mangaluru has four fast patrol vessels, two Hovercraft and a remote operating station. The ICG Station Karwar functioning under Mangaluru has two interceptor boats and two interceptor craft, in addition to a Coast Guard Aeronautical Overseeing Team stationed at Bengaluru.

Mr. Natarajan’s Monday visit was the first to the State after he took charge of the western region in Mumbai last month.

The officer visited various units and advised personnel to undertake operations at sea in a professional manner as challenges and threats to security are increasing every day.

During the interaction with the Governor and officials of the State Administration, the Flag Officer discussed the Coast Guard’s expansion plans, safety and security issues. He lauded the support provided by the State Government for the development of the ICG in the maritime state of Karnataka.

3.Pak. Army Chief warns against ‘misadventure’

Pakistan’s Army Chief General Raheel Sharif has warned “enemies” that they will have to “pay an unbearable cost” for aggression.

Speaking at a function to mark the 50th anniversary of the India-Pakistan war of 1965 at the Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi on Sunday, he said Pakistan was “fully capable of defeating all sorts of external aggression.” “If the enemy ever resorts to any misadventure, regardless of its size and scale — short or long — it will have to pay an unbearable cost.”

The reference to “short or long” wars was in response to Indian Army Chief Gen. Dalbir Singh’s remarks at a seminar last week, stressing the need to prepare for the “swift, short nature of future wars.”

Gen. Sharif also referred to Kashmir as “the unfinished business of Partition.” “Without resolving the issue according to the aspirations of Kashmiris, peace in the region is not possible,” he said.

Rejecting Gen. Sharif’s comments, the government asserted India’s claim on all of Jammu and Kashmir. “The only issue with Pakistan is to get back parts of Jammu & Kashmir under its illegal occupation,” Minister of State in PMO Jitendra Singh said.

Speaking to journalists in Bhopal, the Minister of State for External Affairs and former Army Chief, V.K. Singh, said: “If someone is shouting needlessly, let them. When it is time for action, India is completely capable.”

Significantly, the bellicose comments have been made with the backdrop of events organised to mark the 1965 war anniversary.

While Pakistan has traditionally marked September 6 as ‘Difa e Pakistan’ day (Defence of Pakistan Day) to commemorate the defence of Lahore after Indian forces took key posts outside the city, the NDA government decided to celebrate the war anniversary this year as a victory for India for the first time.


Germany pledged six billion Euros on Monday to help the refugees crossing its borders and France vowed to take in 24,000 asylum-seekers this year.

5.‘Indian men low on sunshine vitamin’

Of the 73 lakh men screened by a pan-India survey by a private diagnostic centre from 2012 to 2014, 80.63 per cent had Vitamin D deficiency, which causes osteoporosis.

6.Modi meets Ricky Kej

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met internationally acclaimed musician Ricky Kej on Monday and congratulated him on his win at the 57th Grammy Awards earlier this year. Kej had won the prestigious award for his 2014 albumWinds of Samsara , which bagged the best new-age album trophy in Los Angeles in February. “PM Narendra Modi’s office had invited me for a meet and greet. I came in today morning. He was extremely gracious and generous with his time. We had a 45-minute-long, private meeting with the PM, my wife and me. He said it is not just an award for me, but also for the whole country. We talked music, philosophy and it was a really great time,” Kej said on the phone. Kej had composed a special version of the National Anthem for the Prime Minister. — IANS

7.Kali river contaminates groundwater

Rivers in western Uttar Pradesh like Kali, Krishna and Hindon have been polluted to dangerous levels because of the industrial waste released illegally into them by the industries. So grave is the pollution that they have also contaminated the groundwater of hundreds of villages located on the banks of these rivers thereby endangering the health of millions of people, revealed a scientific study of one of the rivers Kali which flows through nine districts and covers about 200 km.

Testing of 16 water samples, eight of ground water and eight of the river water from eight districts which the Kali flows through, has shown that not only the river water has been seriously contaminated but that has also contaminated the groundwater of all the villages located on its bank in eight districts.

The tests were done from the government-approved lab -- the Dehradun-based People’s Science Institute (PSI). The villages from where samples were picked are located in a radius of 2 kilometers of Kali.

The heavy metals present in the Kali have entered the groundwater of these villages through seepage. The results of the test has shown that dangerously high levels of lead, total dissolved solids and iron, have been found in the water samples picked from the hand pump of eight villages. According to Sunil Gupta, senior consultant, medical oncologist, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Delhi, continued consumption of heavy metals can have serious repercussions on human body and may result in serious diseases like cancer.

Accordingly the research team of Meerut-based NEER Foundation which did the study of water in Kali river in collaboration with WWF, found several cases of stomach ailments, brain disorder and even cancer among the residents of these villages.

Raman Tyagi, the director of the Neer Foundation, told The Hindu that “while these villages don’t have good public health system, private doctors in these villages told us that a large number of people suffer from serious diseases and many of them had died due to cancer owing to groundwater contamination.

For instance, the amount of lead in villages located in Muzaffarnagar, Bulandshahr and Aligarh was dangerously high. The amount of lead in the water in a hand pump at Rampura village in Bulandshahr was 0.35 mg/L which is 35 times higher than its permissible limit of 0.01 mg/L in ground water.

The residents of Antwada village in Jansath block of Muzaffarnagar, were found to be using a hand pump where the amount of lead was found to be 0.21 mg/L which is 21 times of the permissible limit.

8.Persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Pak. can stay on

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification on Monday allowing persecuted minorities from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay in India even after expiry of their visas on humanitarian grounds.

The Centre has decided, on humanitarian considerations, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in respect of their entry and stay in India without proper documents or after the expiry of relevant documents, a statement issued by the Home Ministry said.

The decision has been taken under Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Foreigners Act, 1946, as first reported by The Hindu .

The government also issued two notifications in the Official Gazette under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Foreigners Act, 1946. There are reports that a number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities in those countries, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, took shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution.They have entered India either without any document, including passport, or with valid documents but the validity of such document has expired.

9.IS captures oilfield in central Syria

Activists say members of the Islamic State group have captured an oilfield in central Syria.

According to them, the extremists captured the Jazal oil field late on Sunday after clashes with government forces in the area in the central province of Homs. Syria-based activist Bebars al-Talawy said via Skype that IS fighters first attacked army posts around the Jazal field then stormed it.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that all the engineers working in the field moved to the nearby government-controlled Shaer gas field. — AP

10.U.S. revamping Syrian rebels to combat IS

In an acknowledgment of severe shortcomings in its effort to create and field a force of moderate rebels to battle the Islamic State in Syria, the Pentagon is drawing up plans to significantly revamp the programme by dropping larger numbers of fighters into safer zones as well as providing better intelligence and improving their combat skills.

The proposed changes come after a Syrian affiliate of al-Qaida attacked, in late July, many of the first 54 Syrian graduates of the military’s training programme and the rebel unit they came from. A day before the attack, two leaders of the U.S.-backed group and several of its fighters were captured.

The encounter revealed several glaring deficiencies in the programme, according to classified assessments: The rebels were ill-prepared for an enemy attack and were sent back into Syria in too small numbers. They had no local support from the population and had poor intelligence about their foes.

The classified options now circulating at senior levels of the Pentagon include enlarging the size of the groups of trained rebels sent back into Syria, shifting the location of the deployments to ensure local support, and improving intelligence provided to the fighters.


The 54 Syrian fighters supplied by the Syrian opposition group Division 30 were the first group of rebels deployed under a $500 million train-and-equip programme authorised by Congress last year. It is an overt programme run by U.S. Special Forces, and is separate from a parallel covert programme run by the CIA.

Two Syrian rebel commanders interviewed recently in Turkey with fighters in the U.S. program described an initiative that had struggled from the start.

The group meant to accept the training programme’s graduates, Division 30, was created from scratch this year, and commanders of mostly small fighting groups from different parts of Syria were asked to submit names of fighters for training.

While most of the fighters were Sunni Arabs, Nadim Hassan, an ethnic Turkmen whom few people had heard of before, was named as its leader, a decision many rebels felt had been imposed by the Turkish government. Some commanders were eager to participate.

“It was supposed to be an organised army where no one had benefits over anyone else,” said Abdul-Razaq Freiji, who had defected from the Syrian army early in the uprising and led a small fighting group near the central city of Hama.

The trainees were to get good weapons and monthly salaries ranging from $225 for soldiers to $350 for officers, Freiji said. — New York Times News Service

11.Germany, France urge EU to do more 

The leaders of Gerrmany and France have called on the European Union nations to step up to their responsibilities towards refugees who are streaming into Europe in thousands.  

At a televised press conference in Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that while Germany was doing its bit, “it is time for the European Union to pull its weight,” and show the “solidarity” that is needed if the refugee crisis is to be handled in the humanitarian spirit that underlies the European Union. Promising to speed up asylum procedures and build extra housing, she said Germany has pledged to spend €6 billion.  

Mama Merkel’

Chancellor Merkel — whose pro-refugee interventions have been praised by human rights groups as well as refugees who call her “Mama Merkel” — has for long been pressing for EU quotas on taking in asylum seekers. 

The French President, Francoise Hollande, who announced that France would accept 24,000 refugees this year under a plan by the European Commission, joined Ms. Merkel on Monday in her appeal for a joint European response. Mr. Hollande backed Chancellor Merkel’s support for a joint EU strategy under which each of the 28 countries of the EU would be obliged to accept its fair share of migrants.  

Meanwhile, British Prime Minster David Cameron has said his country would accept more Syrian refugees. The U.K. has already taken in 5,000 Syrian refugees, and will resettle 20,000 more by 2020, Mr. Cameron said in Parliament on Monday.

National quotas

Meanwhile, new agency Reuters, citing an unnamed EU source, reported that the EU has drawn up a new set of national quotas. Under this, Germany will take in more than 40,000 and France 30,000 of a total of 160,000 asylum-seekers it says should be relocated from Italy, Greece and Hungary, an EU source said on Monday. 

These proposals are due to be announced by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker later this week.  

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