India set to become water scarce by 2025: report

NASA probe discovers bigger, older cousin to Earth

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3. NASA probe discovers bigger, older cousin to Earth


NASA’s Kepler mission has confirmed the first near-Earth-size planet, Kepler-452b, in the “habitable zone” around a Sun-like star.

4.Bar on entry of journalists, NGOs into jails

The government has banned the entry of journalists, NGO activists and filmmakers into jails for writing articles or taking interviews of inmates. A government order comes in the wake of the controversy over British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary India’s Daughter , shot in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, where she interviewed one of the convicts of the December 16 gang-rape victim.

“No private individual/press/ NGO/company should ordinarily be allowed entry into the prison for doing research, making documentaries, writing articles or interviews etc,” Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Kumar Alok said in an advisory sent to all States and Union Territories.

However, State governments may consider allowing visitors/press/ documentary makers if the authorities feel that a particular documentary/ article/ research is for the purpose of creating a positive social impact or the proposed work is relating to prison reforms.

5. Landmark trade pact on slashing tech tariffs

Major trade powers have reached a deal to cut tariffs on around 200 technology products, a decision that could pave the way for lower prices for consumers.

The Geneva-based World Trade Organization says 49 of its members including the United States, China and the 28-country European Union reached a tentative accord that caps three years of talks.

The products on which import duties will be scrapped under Friday’s deal include GPS navigation equipment, medical scanners and new-generation semiconductors.

The deal, which should be finalized by December, expands the scope of the 1996 IT Agreement involving 81 countries. WTO chief Roberto Azevedo called it a ‘landmark’ agreement that covers trade in products valued at over $1.3 trillion a year, or some 7 per cent of global trade. — AP

WTO says 49 of its members including the U.S., China and the 28-country EU reached a tentative accord that caps three years of talks.


1.Abdul Kalam, ‘People’s President’, passes away

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, widely acclaimed as the “people’s president” for his warmth and accessibility, passed away on Monday after collapsing on stage during a lecture at the Indian Institute of Management in Shillong. He was 83.

Mr. Kalam, a scientist by training who had earned several sobriquets, including Missile Man, and played a critical role in India’s nuclear tests in May 1998, was President between 2002 and 2007. He had been fielded as the National Democratic Alliance candidate by then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

The former President, who continued to be active even after demitting office and travelled the length and breadth of the country delivering lectures and meeting people, died while doing what he loved best – talking to students. He was reportedly brought dead from IIM to Bethany hospital in the Meghalaya capital.

The Centre announced a seven-day mourning.Every year, the former President came to Shillong to deliver lectures, wrote Patricia Mukhim, editor of the Shillong Times , in a Facebook Post. Mr. Kalam, the country’s 11th President, was one of India’s most eminent scientists, and had the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions.

Apart from leading the Indian Space Research Organisation’s satellite launch programme, Mr. Kalam headed the country’s guided missile programme for many years.

As scientific adviser to the Defence Minister, the former President led the “weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests.”

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