- India successfully tests Naval Light Combat Aircraft
- Madhuri Dixit to return with Gulab Gang
- Samsung’s Operating Profit soar by 98 percent
- Meet Government Officer who refused his Dearness Allowance
- How Empowered Village Women fight against Corruption
- Slum Children to spread Gandhi’s Message in United States
- Team from Bihar to represent India in Imagine Cup at Australia
- Seven students to represent India at US science fair
- Kerala to preserve its only Tribal village
- Cops in Bengal dismissed for misbehaving with Woman
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 06:38 PM PDT
India has conducted the maiden flight of the naval version of its Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) over this tech hub under a partially cloudy sky.
The test sortie of the LCA naval prototype (NP-1) was conducted for about 20 minutes by Air Commodore T.A. Maolankar with Wing Commander Maltesh Prabhu as co-pilot of the national flight test centre.
‘The flight performance was outstanding. The naval version is the first attempt to provide a complete marine force multiplier that will give unique battle punch to the naval aviation arm of the 21st century to fulfill national dream of blue waters,’ an elated Saraswat told reporters here.
Though the Indian naval version is the second Stobar in the world after the Russian deck based aircraft, it will be the only carrier borne fighter in the light category.
‘We have flown on the designated flight path up to 30 nautical miles from the base touching a top speed of 450 km from 50 km at take-off and touched an altitude of about 10,000 feet above mean sea level. We also did close formation and slowed down to land smoothly,’ Maolankar said hours after the test flight.
Though the naval version project of the LCA was sanctioned in 2003 with a budget of Rs.1,900 crore for its development cost, the maiden test flight was delayed by about five years due to various factors.
With the indigenously built Kaveri aero engine still on the test bed, the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADEA) of the state-run Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has been forced to use the GE-F-404IN20 engine of the US-based General Electric (GE).
The naval version of the LCA is expected to replace the ageing fleet of the British built Sea Harrier aircraft of the Indian Navy and complement its fleet of MiG-29 carrier aircraft.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 05:33 PM PDT
“Just signed a second film called ‘Gulab Gang’! Go girl power! It is to be produced by Anubhav Sinha, and directed by Soumik Sen,” Madhuri wrote on her Facebook page.
However, no further details on Madhuri’s new project are available. “Dedh Ishqiya” is sequel to 2010 film “Ishqiya”, which featured Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi. While Naseer and Arshad reprise their roles, Vidya’s place has been taken by Madhuri in the film.
The actress is set to return to the small screen also as the judge of the fifth season of “Jhalak Dikhla Jaa” and has started shooting for its promos.
“Meanwhile, on my way to shooting promos for ‘Jhalak Dikla Ja’. The team is awesome and I think this season should be great!” she posted.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 04:31 PM PDT
Samsung Electronics posted its fresh record high of operating profit in the first quarter, a regulatory filing showed Friday.
Consolidated operating profit reached a new record of 5.85 trillion won ($5.16 billion) in the first quarter, up a whopping 98.42 percent from a year earlier, according to the regulatory filing. From three months before, the figure jumped 10.46 percent, reported Xinhua.
The results were larger than the company’s preliminary estimate of 5.8 trillion won ($5.12 billion) announced earlier this month, and it topped the previous record high of 5.3 trillion won ($4.68 billion) tallied in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Sales expanded 22.4 percent on-year to 45.27 trillion won ($39.9 billion) in the three months ending March 31, and net profit surged 81.29 percent to 5.05 trillion won ($4.46 billion). The revenue results were slightly higher than an earlier estimate of 45 trillion won ($39.8 billion).
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 03:25 PM PDT
Kolkata resident Hiralal Burman working as assistant accounts officer Indian Audits and Accounts department has refused to accept his increased allowance to protest the poor DA hike for workers under the 100-day rural jobs scheme.
Burman had shot off a letter to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India last year after the central government decided to raise the dearness allowance by seven percent in July 2011.
“I don’t want the seven percent increased DA. It is a small token of protest from an Indian against the indifference the union government has shown towards workers in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA),” Burman told IANS.
While after the hike, he gets around Rs.1,600 in DA, he says workers in West Bengal used to get Rs.130 as variable dearness alloance (VDA) under MGNREGA and since April have been getting Rs.136 – a meagre increase of Rs.6.
He feels though central and state government employees get compensated whenever there is a rise in price of essentials, labourers under the scheme suffer as the VDA hike under MGNREGA is nominal.
Burman, a government employee for 17 years, has been doing voluntary service in several districts with the aim of improving the living standards of the underprivileged.
“First of all, poor people who look up to the 100 days employment scheme are not getting full 100 days of work. On top of that, the VDA hike for them is very meagre. The hiked VDA in no way can be compared with the ever-increasing inflation,” said Burman, who is in his mid-40s.
Ironically, despite his protests, he continues to receive the hiked amount of DA as there is no law to deduct the increased sum from the salary.
“Even after so many months I continue to get an increased DA. I have informed senior officials, but they have told me there is no specific law to deduct the increased sum. I hope after this news comes up, something concrete will happen,” he said.
Earlier too he has declined to take honorariums for working extra hours.
“Twice I have declined honorariums/special pay offered for working extra hours. I felt that the salary I receive is enough for me; so I refused those honorariums,” he said.
Burman has made it a habit of visiting the rural parts of the state every Sunday and help illiterate villagers in getting their dues under government schemes and policies.
“There are lots of pro-people policies for the poor, but the problem is most villagers are illiterate and don’t know how to take advantage of these schemes. So I help them by writing applications and other official chores.”
Burman, a commerce graduate, has been working among the poor and the marginalised for the last 10-12 years.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 02:22 PM PDT
Seema Saroj, a resident of Pratapgarh district in Uttar Pradesh, was denied payment under the rural jobs scheme for months. She then joined Nari Sangh, a women’s group working for the rights of people, and took on the authorities to get her pending dues.
Saroj is one among over 80,000 women from 666 gram panchayats in nine districts of eastern Uttar Pradesh who have, under the umbrella of the Nari Sangh, been successfully fighting corruption in schemes like the Public Distribution System (PDS) and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).
Launched in 2007 by the NGO People’s Action for National Integration (PANI) with the support of Mumbai-based Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, the Nari Sangh is a project for empowering rural women. It focusses on developing leadership qualities among women and spreading awareness about their entitlements like the right to work, right to food and right to health.
As many as 522 women from the group have been elected to gram panchayats.
Saroj told IANS: “Most of us did not know how much ration we were entitled to and used to take whatever the PDS shop-owner gave us. Similarly we were told that under NREGA, work will only be given to men and even they were not paid.
“I attended some of the meetings of Nari Sangh and came to know what I was entitled to. I then went to the block development officer in my area and asked why work was not given to women under NREGA. He then asked the officer concerned to provide us work,” said the frail woman, draped in a cotton sari.
It was not easy for these veil-clad women to come out of their traditional set-ups. Most of them had to convince their husbands and in-laws before they could become a Nari Sangh member.
“My husband was against my going out and participating in such meetings. Even my neighbours said bad things about me to my in-laws. Initially, I came out of the house on the pretext of getting fodder for cattle. We then used to hold small meetings and talk about problems with other members of the group and how it should be sorted out,” Badka Devi of Azamgarh district told IANS.
Fighting all odds, these women have now earned the respect of other village residents and are approached by villagers for all kinds of help.
“Every official from development officer to tehsildar and health officer to collector of the district knows about Nari Sangh and we are given a patient hearing if we approach them with a problem. This project has made us self-confident and we are now aware of our rights,” Chaviraji Devi, a member of the Nari Sangh from Mau district, told IANS.
Shashi Bhushan, programme director of PANI, said these women have been doing a tremendous job and the project will soon be extended to other districts in the state.
“It was a pilot project and we trained women in villages to fight for their rights. Now these women have taken control of all things in their villages and are aware of their rights. They are confident enough to take on the authorities if their rights are being violated,” said Bhushan.
Nayana Chowdhury, senior programme officer, Sir Dorabji Tata Trust, says the project is very cost- efficient as the annual spending per family is Rs.240.
“The best part of the project is that it is very cost-effective and we don’t have to spend a lot of money on training women. It has gone beyond our expectation and we are trying to study if the model can be replicated in other areas too,” said Chowdhury.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 01:21 PM PDT
Sixteen children from the slums of Ahmedabad in Gujarat, will tour the United States from May 6 to June 16 to spread Mahatma Gandhi’s message of “Oneness” through a 90 minute dance-drama.
Called “Ekatva” (Oneness), the show sharing a “message of love, inspiration, and a call to action: to push the world closer to oneness and peace” will be staged in Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, Austin, Atlanta and Montclair and New Jersey.
“Ekatva” was inspired by a similar project called “Ekta” (Unity), which was created in 2000 by Manav Sadhna, a nonprofit based at the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, and teachers from the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts, the organisers said.
In keeping with the mission of Manav Sadhna, the children “will not only perform in the US, but also work with other nonprofits, serve the underprivileged in the area, help clean parts of the city, work to connect different religions, and uplift the spirit of humanity.”
“It sounds like a large task for small people – but I have learned every day in working with these children, that they are not ‘small’ in any way -they are capable of so much,” said “Ekatva” director Nimesh Patel, a Wharton Business School graduate and former hip-hop artist.
Patel has become a full-time volunteer for the past two and half years to lead these children and the vision of the “Ekatva” experiment.
The performance is directed and choreographed by Mallika Sarabhai and the Darpana Academy of Performing Arts.
A wide range of international organizations including Project Ahimsa have contributed to supporting the “Ekatva” tour and performance.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 03:44 AM PDT
A team from Patna’s Birla Institute of Technology has won the right to represent India at the worldwide finals of a tech competition in Sydney with its solution for enhancing the learning abilities of school students suffering from dyslexia.
“We hope our project does well there too, but either way, we will cherish the whole experience for a lifetime. We have learnt so much,” a representative of The D Labs said of the July finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2012.
The D Labs was chosen as the best in software design category. In addition, it also took top honours in the local accessibility awards.
Its award winning entry records minute details about a child’s activities and then creates solutions suited to his or her needs and orients games and exercises to address those needs.
Now in its 10th year, the Imagine Cup saw over 50,000 students from colleges across India register this year for eight categories. In the most prestigious category, the Software Design, the top seven teams were shortlisted and competed for the first prize and the honor of representing the country at the global finals. These teams showcased their innovative projects before an eminent panel of judges with a mix of academicians and industry representatives.
Imagine Cup is a year-long activity open to students across the globe. The competition begins with local, regional and online contests, followed by screening of best projects from each country and with winners from these legs participating in the global finals held at a different location every year.
In keeping with its 10th anniversary, the competition this year challenged the students to help solve one of the many tough problems that the world is facing today, such as those identified by the United Nations in its Millennium Development Goals from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to ensuring environment sustainability.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 02:40 AM PDT
Seven school students from across the country who excelled in a national science project will go to the US to compete with more than 1,600 others from over 60 countries at a global fair, officials said Thursday.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal Thursday congratulated the seven students, who won the national level science projects-India Initiative for Research and Innovation in Science (IRIS).
The seven students who won the IRIS projects will now travel to the US to compete with more than 1,600 students from over 60 countries around the world, at the 2012 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburg, an official statement said.
Congratulating the seven students, Sibal said: “Through this programme, we are endeavouring to reform the current state with an emphasis on skill development by unlocking the creative talent within the child. The paradigm shift is on the anvil.”
“Learning and education must be child-centric to enable a child to explore the world around him and face the future with confidence and assurance,” he added.
Among the seven students, three are from Delhi – Saral Baweja, Nishi Paliwal (both from Maharaja Agrasen Public School) and Shubham Goyal (DPS). Raghavendra Ramachandran from Chennai, Gargi Pare from Madhya Pradesh, Omkar Singh Gujaral from West Bengal and Sindura Saraswati from Karnataka are the other four who will be going to the US.
The week-long science fair beginning in the second week of May is an opportunity for the best young minds in the world to come together to share ideas and showcase cutting-edge projects, the statement added.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 01:38 AM PDT
Kerala has decided to seek the intervention of National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) to conserve and preserve the traditional way of life of the state’s only tribal village, Idamalakkudi.
A team of the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB) recently visited the village inhabited by Muthuvan tribe, and found that some developments that had taken place there were not in tune with the eco-system.
Located in Idukki district, inside the forest, Idamalakkudi gram panchayat is spread over 106 sq km area, about 270 km from here. It has a population of 2,236 — comprising 1,196 men and 1,040 women.
The KSBB feels that the intervention was required in areas like housing, electrification, drinking water and agricultural practices.
KSBB member secretary K.P. Laladhas, who led the team to the village early this month, said he was surprised to see tin-sheet roofs in the area. The tribals’ traditional houses are environment-friendly huts made of locally available raw materials like wooden frames, bamboo sticks and small stones in combination with pasty soil.
“The need for our intervention is to enhance the strength of the huts for more durability by using eco-friendly materials,” said Laladhas.
Electrification in Idamalakkudi is through solar energy only, but a decade old solar panels are in poor working condition.
For drinking water, the biggest problem is lack of proper storage facility due to hilly terrain. “Construction of check dams and introduction of rain water harvesting has to be taken up,” he said.
Rice, ragi, vegetables and cash crops, like cardamom and pepper, are cultivated but the tribals have no method to store the excess, he rued.
Posted: 27 Apr 2012 12:35 AM PDT
Two officers of a city police station were suspended for allegedly misbehaving with a woman who had come to lodge a complaint, a police official said Thursday.
“Additional officer-in-charge of Kalighat Police station Kalyan Kumar Dutta and sub- inspector Rabindranath Gupta have been suspended and departmental proceedings initiated against them,” said a senior police officer.
On April 23, a woman had gone to the Kalighat police station to register a complaint against her husband and other members of his family for allegedly abusing her physically. The two police personnel allegedly made indecent comments against her.
“The officer told me since your husband is not around, you need a boyfriend… They made incident remarks. I had approached the police station for justice but in return got misbehaviour,” said the woman.
It was only after the woman approached the media that the complaint was registered and the two officers were suspended. The woman’s husband has also been arrested.
Earlier in February this year, two officers of the Park Street Police station were removed from active duty and departmental proceedings were initiated against them after they misbehaved with a woman who had gone their to file a complaint for an alleged rape.
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