LIC: No cause for celebration [...]
Exports: Rising & shining [...]
Sex-selective abortions and boys’ better nutrition and medical care blamed for gender disparityMore than 63 million women are “missing” statistically across India, and more than 21 million girls are unwanted by their families, government officials say.The skewed ratio of men to women is largely the result of sex-selective abortions, and better nutrition and medical care for boys, according to the government’s annual economic survey, which was released on Monday. Related: India's missing girls: fears grow over rising levels of foeticide | KumKum Dasgupta Continue reading... [...]
One in four children live in countries affected by conflict or disaster, says Unicef, though billions required in assistance unlikely to be metThe UN’s children’s agency has launched its biggest emergency appeal for funding, warning that conflict is creating unprecedented levels of need.Almost one in four children live in a country affected by conflict or disaster, according to Unicef, which has appealed for $3.6bn (£2.6bn) to provide emergency assistance in 2018. Related: 'The future is very dark': Central African Republic's relentless cycle of suffering Continue reading... [...]
Another company is targeting the budget gaming market in India with its entry-level mechanical keyboard. Rapoo has been known for selling peripherals, mostly mice and keyboards, for quite some time. L... [...]
Last year’s Samsung Galaxy A-series, was in some ways a cut-down version of its flagship S-series of the phones. For this year’s first A-series phone, Samsung has kept the core recipe pret... [...]
Jamida Beevi thought to be first woman to lead Friday prayers in India for a mixed congregationA Muslim woman in the southern Indian state of Kerala has received death threats after leading prayers for a mixed congregation in an act of defiance against established Islamic practice.Jamida Beevi is thought to be the first woman to lead Friday prayers in India for both male and female worshippers, doing so at Wandoor Cherukod village in Malappuram last week. She also delivered a sermon on gender justice. Related: More than 63 million women 'missing' in India, statistics show Related: Second woman arrested in Tehran for hijab protest Continue reading... [...]
Heavy rain and cyclones could bring disease, flooding, landslides and further displacement to those in camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar borderA new humanitarian crisis looms in the Rohingya refugee camps along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, with the region’s annual cyclone and monsoon season predicted to threaten lives and shelters, food and water supplies.More than 668,000 Rohingya have fled across the Myanmar border since August, swelling numbers in the camps strung along the border to more than 800,000. Related: 'There is no peace': traumatised Rohingya vow they won't go back to Myanmar Related: Rohingya girls under 10 raped while fleeing Myanmar, charity says Continue reading... [...]
A biology teacher of a Kendriya Vidyalaya in Chattisgarh's Raipur stoked controversy after she was heard saying that wearing jeans, lipstick or "revealing clothes", or going out at night with boys lead to rapes like in the case of Nirbhaya.
Though the teacher gave the controversial statement a few days back, it came to light recently, when the class 9 and class 10 girls who attended the counselling classes of the biology teacher. A complaint has been filed against the teacher identified as Snehlata Shankhwar, reported Times of India.
Here are the controversial statements made by the teacher
Shankhwar's statement has also left the parents of the children angry and they have approached the school authorities and filed a complaint against the teacher.
The girl students had secretly taped the teacher during the classes when she made the controversial statements and provided it as proof of the 'mental harassment' they had to undergo.
"Girls expose their body only when they don't have beautiful faces. Girls have become so shameless, why did Nirbhaya go out so late at night with a boy who wasn't her husband? It's difficult to understand why an issue was made of this. Such incidents happen with girls in remote areas frequently. Nirbhaya's mother shouldn't have allowed her go out so late at night," the teacher is heard saying in the video.
The teacher, who feels that it was Nirbhaya's mistake that led to her rape added, "Girls who face such incidents are cursed and it's a punishment for them".
The report also said that in the audio clip the teacher is heard saying that when boys see girls "doing it" with one person they assume the girl would "do it" with others as well.
The teacher said that Girls invite rape. (Representational Image).
"Ladki dikha rahi hai matlab ladke samajhte hai ki wo chah rahi hai, iski icha hai, iska chalchalan kharab hai (When a girl exposes her body, boys think the girl is available and she wants it as she is characterless)," she says.
Though principal Bhagwan Das Ahire has ordered an enquiry into the incident, the girl's parents have complained that incident has left the children humiliated.
"My child and her classmates felt extremely insulted when the teacher kept asserting her opinion in front of boys. They couldn't take names in the (anonymous) letter of complaint as the teacher had warned them," a parent of one of the girls was quoted as saying by TOI. [...]
How President Kovind, V-P Naidu kept pattern of Hindi-English budget speeches alive [...]
A total lunar eclipse - the cosmic event occasioned when the earth is positioned exactly between the sun and the moon, and our planet's shadow falls on its natural satellite - will be visible across India tomorrow.
You'll witness a phenomenon called the "blood moon," in which the normally white orb acquires a red-brown glow, according to the BM Birla Science Centre in Hyderabad. The event will also bring about phenomena called the Blue Moon and the Super Moon, the centre said.
Unfortunately, in 2018, a time when fake news inundates social media feeds and online messaging apps at alarming speeds, superstition is still rife in Indian society.
Consider some of the advice that a 'spiritual healer' and tarot reader (we don't name her because the purpose is not to shame her), has for you ahead of tomorrow's lunar eclipse. Here are some of the do's and don'ts she listed, while speaking to one of our Kolkata correspondents.
TAROT READER'S ADVICE
Driving any sort of vehicle, and riding on a horse or any animal should be avoided.
Do not sleep during the eclipse, as sleep will weaken your aura during this period.
Do not touch bed sheets, pillow covers, windows/doors, etcetera during the eclipse. If you touch them by any chance, they should be washed after the end of the eclipse.
Visiting the washroom should be avoided unless it's necessary.
Take a salt water bath after the eclipse to remove any negative energy which may have entered your aura during the eclipse.
ADVICE FOR PREGNANT WOMEN: Pregnant ladies should take full rest and keep a full coconut beside them during the event to protect their babies from the harsh energies. The coconut can be discarded later.
Pregnant ladies shouldn't go outdoors, or use any sharp objects. They should avoid eating during this period.
So, to sum up, between 5:20 pm and 7:25 pm (that's when the main eclipse ends), you should avoid going to the washroom, sleeping, driving, and, well, riding horses.
NOW SOME REAL ADVICE
The BM Birla Science Centre says superstitious beliefs - like not eating anything during a total lunar eclipse - don't have any scientific basis.
Meanwhile, the US' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) appears unconcerned about the perils of untimely horse rides.
Its Eclipse website contains a link to this essay, titled "Lunar Eclipses for Beginners," which contains the following advice:
"Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are completely safe to watch. You don't need any kind of protective filters. It isn't even necessary to use a telescope. You can watch the lunar eclipse with nothing more than your own two eyes."
The author adds: "If you have a pair of binoculars, they will help magnify the view and will make the red coloration brighter and easier to see. A standard pair of 7x35 or 7x50 binoculars work fine. Remember to dress warmly and enjoy the spectacle!"
We'll end on that note. [...]
India set to get its first President from the saffron brigade. But who? [...]
"It completely depends on the BCCI but ideally we would prefer to just play one format," Rohit said in Durban on Tuesday. [...]
South Africa have not named a replacement for the former skipper, who needs up to two weeks to recover from a finger injury. [...]
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is planning to invest $40 million to breed a "super cow" that will have more milk producing ability.
The tech tycoon aims at infusing the genes of the British cattle with the DNA of African breeds and create a cow that can survive in any environment and produces more milk.
The milk production by British Holstein-Friesians on an average is 40 pints per day, whereas the African breeds produce just three and a half pints, but they can survive on lesser food and even survive extreme heat.
"Livestock is magical. You can sell the output and that's money for school fees. You can keep the output and that's diet diversification," Gates stated, as quoted by New York Post.
"For more than a billion people living in the poorest countries, agriculture and livestock are a lifeline out of poverty. The science and research being led by the great minds here in Edinburgh are making huge strides in improving the health and productivity of livestock," he added.
Facebook/ Bill Gates
A software will be used by the researchers at Edinburgh University to develop medicines to protect the diseased cows in tropical areas that are in research partly financed by the Department for International Development.
"The impact per dollar is super-high in this area," Bill stated, as reported by Mirror.
"You can have a cow that is four times as productive with the same survivability. We could justify this on economic or health impacts — but we get both," he added.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates set up the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help reduce the poverty from the developing world. [...]
In a shocking incident, a 19-year-old shot himself dead and live-streamed his suicide to his girlfriend on a WhatsApp video call in Bihar's Patna city. The youth shot himself in the head on Monday.
Akash Kumar used a country-made semi-automatic pistol to kill himself, The Times of India reported. According to police sources, the incident happened at around 3 am when Akash was at his residence chatting with his girlfriend.
Police recovered a 9mm country-made pistol, a loaded magazine, a pellet and the phone through which he was chatting, TOI reported.
"The girl told police that Akash cocked pistol at the live video chat in which she asked him to remove the pistol and take out the magazine," police told the publication.
Akash, who had failed in the intermediate examination in 2017, was under pressure to end his relationship with the girl, who is a class IX student.
According to reports, Akash's father, Sanjay Kumar Rai, was against his relationship with the girl because of her father's criminal background. He was even putting pressure on Akash to get married soon to another girl.
Akash was emotionally hurt and told the girl that his parents scolded him. On Monday, he requested his girlfriend to make a video call so that he could see her for one last time.
"Keeping the cellphone on his legs covered with a blanket, the youth shot himself while resting on his back on the bed," sources said.
The girl immediately called his cousin Chandan Kumar after he stopped responding to the call. "Chandan somehow gained entry through terrace at 5 am after which the police were informed," police said.
His father has filed a police complaint against an unknown person for killing his son. "The youth's father Sanjay Kumar Rai, a property dealer, however, has lodged an FIR against unknown persons for killing his son which is highly impossible looking at the locked door from inside," Beur police station SHO Alok Kumar told TOI. [...]
The homeless "hero" of the Manchester terror attack has been sentenced to more than four years in prison for stealing from victims.
Chris Parker was told he was "not the hero" he pretended to be but "just a common thief", as he was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.
The 33-year-old had previously admitted stealing a purse and a mobile phone from two victims of the Manchester Arena bombing on 22 May last year.
At the time of the atrocity, which killed 22 and left more than 500 injured, Parker initially claimed he had been tending to those injured.
Parker even spoke of how one woman died in his arms, after attacker Salman Abedi exploded a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb in the foyer of the concert venue, as fans left an Ariana Grande gig.
His purported actions prompted members of the public to raise more than £50,000 for the rough sleeper; but he will no longer receive the money, from an online GoFundMe appeal, now the truth has emerged.
Instead, Parker will serve four years and three months in jail for two counts of theft and one count of fraud
Sentencing Parker, Judge David Hernandez told him: "You were not the hero you pretended to be, you were just a common thief.
"It is hard to contemplate a more reprehensible set of circumstances."
Speaking after the sentencing, Supt. Chris Hill, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "No matter what personal circumstances you might find yourself in, to steal from injured and terrified innocent people is deplorable.
"Parker exploited these people when they were at their most vulnerable and needed the help of those around them.
"I cannot begin to imagine what they have been through and I want to thank them for their courage."
At a hearing earlier this month, Parker admitted taking the purse of Pauline Healey as her granddaughter, Sorrell Leczkowski, 14, lay dying yards away.
He also admitted another count of theft, for taking the mobile phone of a teenager, and one count of fraud, after using Mrs Healey's bank cards in McDonald's on the night of the attack.
Prosecutors said Parker had provided "some comfort and assistance" to victims, but also took the opportunity to steal from those hurt.
Ben Southam, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "His actions added to the immense distress the victims and their families have suffered and our thoughts remain with them."
Mrs Healey had travelled to Manchester Arena with her daughter and granddaughter to meet someone, but they had not attended the concert themselves. [...]
Man was carrying oxygen cylinder which was pulled by machine’s magnetic force and then thought to have puncturedAn Indian man died after being sucked into an MRI machine while visiting a relative at a hospital in Mumbai, police said Monday.Rajesh Maru, 32, was yanked towards the machine by its magnetic force after he entered the room carrying an oxygen cylinder, the city’s police said in a statement. Related: Two Indian families opt to keep sons who were swapped at birth Continue reading... [...]
Efforts to send Rohingya back over the border are foundering before they have even begun“They burned my house and my whole village, they stole my crops,” Nagumia says. “I saw them throw the young children, and the old people who could not run, into the fire. They cut people’s throats and their bellies and left them to die. I cannot go back. What am I going to go back to?” Across the Naf River from Myanmar, in the swollen Rohingya refugee camps huddled against Bangladesh’s border, the wounds are too raw: there is almost no one yet willing to consider return. Related: Someone has to ask the Rohingya what they actually want | Kate Allen Related: The Guardian view on returning the Rohingya: a bad deal, worsened by haste | Editorial Continue reading... [...]
Action Express Racing took victory in the 56th edition of the Daytona 24 Hours, establishing a new distance record in the process. Filipe Albuquerque, Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa completed a total of 808 laps in the #5 Cadillac DPi-V.R, beating the previous record of 762 laps on the current track layout in 1992 and the mileage record established in 1982 on the previous 3.84-mile (6.17Km) configuration.
The Prototype race was marked by a high number of casualties among the leading runners, including the Spirit of Daytona Racing (misfire) and Wayne Taylor Racing (spate of right-rear punctures).
Both Extreme Speed Motorsport Nissan DPis also dropped out in the night with a gearbox failure and a blown turbo respectively. Meanwhile, a fire and a recurring electrical problem brought an end to the Joest-run Mazda’s race. That meant the race developed into a two-way contest between the two Action Express Cadillacs and Team Penske's pair of all-new Acura ARX-05s.
Penske's challenge crumbled just beyond half-distance with an alternator problem for the #6 and a trip to the garage for the #7 when Helio Castroneves made contact with the #31 Action Express Cadillac. That left Action Express with a major advantage and allowed both cars to make late stops to top up their fluids amid concerns of overheating.
The Felipe Nasr, Mike Conway, Eric Curran and Stuart Middleton car emerged from its stop in a fight for second with the CORE Autosport Oreca of Colin Braun, Jon Bennett, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval. Braun closed on the fuel-saving Middleton in the final stint but fell short by 21 seconds, as Albuquerque took the flag first 1m10s clear.
United Autosports took fourth place with the best of its Ligier JS P217s driven by Bruno Senna, Paul di Resta, Will Owen and Hugo de Sadeleer. They overhauled the #78 Jackie Chan DCR Oreca driven by Alex Brundle, Ho-Pin Tung, Ferdinand Habsburg and Antonio Felix da Costa in the final two hours.
Both teams' respective second cars, featuring current Formula 1 stars, hit trouble. Fernando Alonso’s #23 United Ligier dropped out of contention for a potential podium place in the evening with a brake issue that forced a lengthy trip to the garage to replace a master cylinder, before losing more time with a throttle issue and a repeat of the brake problem. Alonso and team-mates Lando Norris and Phil Hanson wound up 38th overall, 91 laps down.
In the #37 DCR Oreca he shared with Daniel Juncadella, Robin Frijns and Felix Rosenqvist, Lance Stroll ended up 15th overall and 32 laps down after losing a significant amount of time to repair bodywork and suspension damage after a puncture. [...]
What is it?
The Gurkha manufactured by Force Motors is a serious off-roader – and by serious, we mean serious; its natural environment begins where other SUVs get stuck. Right off the bat, it makes its intentions clear; how many SUVs have you seen that come factory-fitted with a snorkel? But what exactly is it?
Let’s begin with the looks. Looks are subjective, so the G-Wagen-inspired lines and flat panels (with corrugations) will divide opinion. But yes, all kitted out, the three-door SUV (there’s a larger five-door version as well) with the longish wheelbase, flared wheel arches and wide stance does look attractive in its own way. And say what you will of its origins and ancestry, it does have that much sought-after rugged look sorted. This is especially true on this version; kitted out with all manner of accessories such as a roof-mounted shovel, an axe and a declaration that it’s ‘Built for War’. More significantly, it comes with a hard-top roof, so that there's no buffeting at high speeds that you’d get on the soft-top Mahindra Thar. You can also sleep easier at night knowing that someone can’t just saunter in and pilfer stuff, or just take off with the car. No surprises as to what lies beneath. The Gurkha is built on a ladder-frame chassis though a sticky point for off-road purists might be the independent front suspension.
What’s it like on the inside?
The right word to describe the Gurkha’s interiors would be 'disappointing'. They look about as contemporary as a black and white movie; and that’s no exaggeration. Sure, everything is functional, the front seats are reasonably comfortable and there is even a small tachometer – but that’s about it. Otherwise the insides look as well put together as something built by bus-body manufacturers. Quality, fit and finish are atrocious to the point of being comical; and all we can say about the rear is that it has seats that face each other, a roof-mounted handle you can easily whack your head on and no seat belts.
What’s it like to drive?
The retro experience carries on when you hit the road. Yes, the ride is good even over the most badly bombed-out roads and the Gurkha is actually rather fun when you are on the gas, flying down a dirt road. However, for everyday driving, the Gurkha is way out of its depth. The engine is loud, controls like the gear lever need more than a little effort and performance from the 85hp engine is glacial; but this is no luxury vehicle. Designed to trample across terrain that only tractors and off-road trucks can drive over, the Gurkha only limbers up when you get to a dirt track. Truth be told, finding suitable terrain to challenge it, is a challenge in itself. Putting it through a regular off- road course without sand, slush or snow is like challenging Roger Federer to play against a 10-year old. Most of the time you don’t even need the four-wheel drive; forget low-range or locking differentials. And it didn’t disappoint when we finally found a few serious challenges. The Gurkha is in its element crossing ravines and climbing up steep embankments.
The Gurkha’s talking point is its manually lockable differentials on both front and rear axles. Engaging and disengaging the diff locks is a bit of a wrestle with the levers but what you get for your effort is incredible low-speed off-road ability. The Gurkha crawls its way out of seemingly difficult terrain with surprising ease. But some more power from the engine would always have helped. Seat-of-the-pant feel suggests the Gurkha might just be better than the Thar in the rough. The Gurkha is also more flood-ready with a factory-fit snorkel.
Should I buy one?
If you are looking for a regular SUV that can do a bit of off-roading too, you had better look elsewhere. The Gurkha is a hardcore and very focused off-road machine that scores low on mainstream concerns of comfort and value. At Rs 10.23 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), the Gurkha is expensive for what it gets you and is also pricier than the Thar, which delivers something of a similar experience. But if you are on the lookout for an off-roader that has your back in the roughest of scenarios, the Gurkha could just be it. Is it the best of the off-roaders though? You’ll have to wait a wee bit longer till we bring the Gurkha and Thar together. [...]
Air cargo: A weighty proposition [...]
Taming the multinationals [...]
Indo-Iran trade: The hill of riches [...]
Closer scrutiny demanded as NHS supplier concedes surgical instruments in routine use could be product of child labourChildren as young as 12 are making surgical instruments in hazardous conditions in Pakistan, prompting fears that the tools could be used in the NHS, the Guardian has discovered.In Sialkot, Punjab, where 99% of Pakistan’s surgical instrument production is centred, illegal child labour was witnessed in at least a dozen small workshops. Continue reading... [...]
At least four persons were killed and several others injured when a bus plunged into a canal after breaking the railing of a bridge in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, on Monday. The accident occurred at Balirghat under Daulatabad police station area. [...]