New Delhi concerned over decision to allow foreign ownership of islands
The Maldives government’s move to allow foreign ownership of its islands will not affect India’s strategic interests, Maldives President Abdullah Yameen said on Thursday, after ratifying the constitutional amendment on freeholds.
The decision could benefit countries like China that are eager to build land holdings in the Indian ocean.
“We are too small a country to upset a close neighbour like India,” new Maldivian Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb told The Hindu in an exclusive interview. “We are open for business, but not open to give up our sovereignty to any country, including China.”
The conciliatory statements from Male come a day after India raised concerns over the land law amendment that was passed overnight on Tuesday by the Maldivian People’s Majlis (Parliament).
In his statement, President Yameen specifically referred to India’s objections to China building military bases, or using reclaimed islands for them, as it is accused of doing in the South China Sea.
3.R.K. Pachauri removed as TERI head and Ajay mathur was new TERI chief
Nobel laureate and climate scientist R.K. Pachauri was on Thursday removed as the Director-General of TERI by its governing council. At a meeting in Bengaluru, the top decision-making body named Ajay Mathur, currently the Director-General of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency of the Central Government, as its new Director-General. He will take over after he is relieved from his current position. Accused of sexual harassment by a junior colleague in February this year, Mr. Pachauri was found guilty of misconduct by the organisation’s Internal Complaints Committee in May. According to the official statement, the current leadership of TERI was discussed at the GC meeting in Mumbai in September 2014.
3.SAARC satellite to cost Rs. 235 cr.
The launch of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) satellite has been pegged at an estimated Rs. 235 crore and the cost associated with the launch will be met by the country, Parliament was informed on Thursday.
It will enable full range of applications and services to the member-nations in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications namely television, direct-to-home, very small aperture terminals, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support, Minister of State for Atomic Energy and Space Jitendra Singh said in the Rajya Sabha.
The satellite was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the SAARC summit in Nepal in November last.
The Indian Space Research Organisation will build the satellite with 12 Ku-band transponders and launch it using the Indian Geostationary Launch Vehicle Mk-II.
A one-day conference was held in New Delhi on June 22 to discuss the proposal in which delegations from all the SAARC member nations participated.
4. Smart windows to set ambient heat and light for your home
Made of new materials, smart windows which can automatically control heat and light passing through them may soon become a reality, shows research.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to engineering materials that will allow windows to let in light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat.
By allowing indoor occupants to control the energy and sunlight passing through a window more precisely, the new materials can significantly reduce costs for heating and cooling buildings.
The scientists have engineered two new advancements in electrochromic materials — a highly selective cool mode and a warm mode — not thought possible several years ago.
The cool-mode material is a major step toward a commercialised product because it enables control of 90 per cent of near infrared light and 80 per cent of the visible light from the sun and takes only minutes to switch between modes.
This could help reduce energy costs for cooling buildings and homes during the summer. The researchers reported the new architecture in Nano Letters .
“We believe our new architected nanocomposite could be seen as a model material, establishing the ideal design for a dual-band electrochromic material,” Delia Milliron, lead researcher, says.
“This material could be ideal for application as a smart electrochromic window for buildings,” she adds.
In a second research paper, she and her team have reported how they can achieve optical control properties in windows from a single-component film. — IANS
They can let in light without transferring heat or block light while allowing heat
5. Pakistan Navy not invited for International fleet review 2016
The Indian Navy has not invited Pakistan’s Navy to the International Fleet Review (IFR), which will be hosted for the first time by the Eastern Naval Command here for five days from February 4, 2016.
At an informal interaction with presspersons here on Thursday, a Navy official said 39 navies, including those of China, the U.S. and Japan, had confirmed participation. Seventy navies had been invited. Asked why Pakistan was not on the list, he said the External Affairs Ministry had “sent a circular” to the Pakistan High Commission.
Some 400 dignitaries, including the chiefs of staff of several navies, will attend the event.
The President and the Prime Minister are likely to be here for three days.
Visakhapatnam was chosen as the venue because the Andhra Pradesh government was keen on hosting the event, the official said.
the 5-day event will be held at vizag in february
6. Live in relation not a crime AG to SC:
7. Creditors satisfied with second round of Greek reforms
Greece’s creditors will head to Athens shortly to open talks on a huge new international bailout, the government said on Thursday, as Parliament approved a second batch of reforms needed for negotiations to go ahead.
Greece’s finance ministry said representatives from the European Union (EU), European Central Bank (ECB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF), from whom it is seeking a third bailout worth up to €86 billion ($93 billion) over three years, were likely to fly in on Friday.
Greece and its creditors last week struck a bailout-for-reforms deal aimed at preventing Athens from crashing out of the Eurozone as it struggles to pay its enormous debts.
Parliament passes law
As dawn neared on Thursday, the Greek Parliament passed legislation on changes to the civil justice system, a bank deposit protection scheme and measures to shore up the liquidity of Greece’s banks — reforms demanded by the creditors before talks can go ahead.
EU Commission spokeswoman Meena Andreeva pronounced the troika satisfied with the vote, saying the reforms had been made law in a “timely and overall satisfactory manner”.
The bill passed by a resounding 230 votes out of the 298 Members of Parliament present, after a marathon five-hour debate that nonetheless exposed deep divisions in the governing Syriza party over whether to accept more austerity.
Mutiny in Syriza
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras suffered his second major mutiny in a week, with 36 Syriza MPs defying him to vote against the bill or abstain.
A week earlier, 39 of his lawmakers had opposed a first bill linked to the bailout, which approved sweeping changes to Greece's taxes, pensions and labour rules. In both cases, Mr. Tsipras was forced to rely on Opposition parties to get the legislation passed.
The tough reform package sparked five hours of fiery debate on Wednesday night, with weary lawmakers clashing on everything from Marxism to submarines into the early hours and the speaker of Parliament comparing the bailout deal to “a coup”.
Some 6,000 anti-austerity demonstrators staged a protest near Parliament ahead of the debate, with a handful of them lobbing a few petrol bombs in the direction of the police. — AFP
8. Pakistani intelligence sought huge data collection tools: report
Pakistani intelligence sought to tap worldwide Internet traffic via underwater cables that would have given the country a digital espionage capacity to rival the U.S., according to a report by Privacy International.
The report says the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency hired intermediary companies to acquire domestic spying toolkits from Western and Chinese firms for domestic surveillance.
It also claims the ISI sought access to tap data from three of the four “landing sites” that pass through the country’s port city of Karachi, effectively giving it access to Internet traffic worldwide.
9. ‘Staggering execution spree’ in Iran
Amnesty International on Thursday protested at what it called a “staggering execution spree” in Iran so far this year that has seen almost 700 people put to death.
“Iranian authorities are believed to have executed an astonishing 694 people between 1 January and 15 July, 2015,” said the London-based rights group, in what it termed an unprecedented spike.
“At this shocking pace, Iran is set to surpass the total number of executions in the country” recorded by Amnesty for the whole of 2014.
A sinister picture
Said Boumedouha, deputy head of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said the spike “paints a sinister picture of the machinery of the state carrying out premeditated, judicially-sanctioned killings on a mass scale”.
Amnesty said the surge “reveals just how out of step Iran is with the rest of the world when it comes to the use of the death penalty”.
For its part, Human Rights Watch has accused Saudi authorities of waging a “campaign of death” by executing over 100 people in the first six months of 2015, more than during the whole of last year.
Amnesty said the reasons for this year’s “shocking surge in executions are unclear but the majority of those put to death in 2015 were convicted on drug charges”. — AFP
The Reserve Bank has rejected the Union Finance Ministry’s “diluted” proposal for a non-statutory Public Debt Management Authority, and instead proposed a public debt management cell to be headed by the Finance Secretary.
11. Tata Power plans 18,000 MW generation capacity by 2022
Tata Power has announced plans to grow its business by scaling up the generation capacity to 18,000 MW by 2022 from the current generation capacity of 8,750 MW and growing its value added businesses 10 fold by that time.
The company said in seven years it would achieve coal or coal equivalent capacity of 25 million tonnes per annum and would have a distribution capacity of 4,000 MW of power.
Of the 18,000 MW capacity, 20-25 per cent would come from clean and green sources, the company said on Thursday.
The future growth areas include the 1,600 MW coastal Maharashtra project at Dehrand for which the company has completed the acquisition of private land for the project and the 380 MW Dugar Hydroelectric project that would come up through a joint venture.
The company is also planning the 1,980 MW Tiruldih Power Project for which around 40 per cent of the required land has been acquired.
Recently, the company signed a share purchase agreement with Ideal Energy Projects Ltd., promoted by IRB group, to acquire a 270 MW power project located near Nagpur, Maharashtra.
So far as green energy is concerned, Tata Power’s 126 MW Dagachhu Hydro Power Corporation (DHPC) in Bhutan achieved full commissioning in 2014-15.
The company said in seven years it will achieve coal or coal equivalent capacity of 25 million tonnesper annum and will have a distribution capacity of4,000 MW of power.
12. Reliance Group arm signs MoU with Augur
Both the parties will collaborate on new technologies for the civil and military market as part of the ‘Make in India’ policy.
Continuing its efforts to build capabilities in defence manufacturing Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group through its entity Reliance Unmanned Systems has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Augur Overseas Operation of Singapore, a wholly owned subsidiary of Augur Aeronautical Centre, to manufacture Aerostats and Airships in India.
Earlier, Augur Aeronautical Centre had tied up with Pipavav Defence, a company that was recently acquired by Reliance Group.
As per the MoU, both the parties will collaborate on new technologies for the civil and military market as part of the ‘Make in India’ policy. The two companies have agreed to form a joint venture (JV) firm with Reliance having 51 per cent stake as per Government’s policy.
“The joint venture will be involved in development, production, sales, modification and life support for different sizes of Aerostats and Airships. This JV will address the requirements of domestic market and also addressable regional/global markets,” Reliance Group said in a statement on Thursday.
“As part of the existing arrangement, the first medium size Aerostat envelope was delivered recently. This was after successful acceptance tests were performed at Pipavav facilities. The tests included integration and simulated mooring; verification of equipment and functioning of Aerostat envelope together with pressurisation system,” Reliance Group said.
Aerostat radars are deployed extensively in the surveillance, reconnaissance and communication roles by the armed forces. These are also useful in detecting low-flying fighter aircraft.
Reliance Group said the estimated requirement by Indian armed forces including the paramilitary forces was about 40 systems in the next five years and this would cost about Rs.12,000 crore.
During times of natural disasters, Aerostats are used to bring in emergency supplies such as food, water and blankets for the affected people. Aerostats also find application in the tourism industry.
Apart from Augur Aeronautical Centre, major players in this field include TCOM-LP and Lockheed Martin. Aerostats are currently manufactured in the U.S, Germany and France.
1. Visa rules relaxed for Pak. minority pilgrims
Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan, visiting India on a group pilgrim visa, will no longer have to report to the police.
The Home Ministry announced on Friday that it had streamlined the procedure as the minority communities are facing problems while visiting India. “Relaxation has also been granted to facilitate their entry and stay in India,” a statement said.
Under the revised guidelines, each group will have 50 people and a leader. The individual members will not be required to report to the Foreigners Registration Officer (FRO). The group leader alone will have to report to the FRO at each place of visit within 24 hours of arrival.
2. Brain starved of hormone can spark binge eating
Absence of a hormone in the brain may trigger overeating in people who eat for pleasure rather than as a response to hunger, researchers say.
In lab experiments, researchers found that when the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone was reduced in the central nervous system of mice, they overate and consumed more high-fat food.
GLP-1 peptides are small sequences of amino acids that have many functions, including how our bodies regulate eating behaviours. They are secreted from cells in both the small intestine and the brain and are supposed to let our brain know when we are satisfied and should put down the fork.