September, 2011

MCCI, 175 years on and moving ahead

As part of the 175th year celebrations of the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Governor K. Rosaiah inaugurated the Vocational Training and Skill Development Centre, launched a Coffee Table Book and released Member’s Directory 2011. Presiding over the Chamber Day and Completion of 175 years of MCCI, he said chambers should build mutual networks, act as a medium to guide, cantion and support business to grow. They should act as a bridge between the Govt. and investors and the business class. Also he said. “Chambers of the Commerce are the backbone of development around the world. They are the ones who convey in one voice to the policy and decision makers, the requirements and expections of the businesses.”

National Junior handball championship

Tamil Nadu and Delhi clinch the sub-junior girls’ and mini-boys’ titles, respectively, in the National junior handball championship in Chennai.

Jail sentences for Rwanda Ministers

Two former Rwandan ministers are handed 30-year jail sentences by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda for involvement in the central African country’s 1994 genocide.

Agni-II test fired successfully

In a big boost to the country’s missile programme, the nuclear weapons-capable Agni-II is test-fired successfully from the Wheeler Island off the Odisha coast.

Study calls for well-defined parking zones

If all the 5.75 lakh cars registered in the city were to be parked on – sheet parallel to one another, the area that the vehicles occupy would be as much as seven percent of Chennai. As existing regulations on parking are inadequate and the enforcement is lax, most of the vehicles in the city eat into precious space on the road. The primary recommendations of the study is to introduce well-defined parking zones that are fairly priced as “the city cannot afford to keep on supplying free parking”. The city-wide surveys found that clearly demonstrated parking areas are by and large absent. Besides, the problem is only going to get worse as the rate of vehicular growth in the city is about 10 per cent per annum. Each month, nearly 4000 new cars and over six times that number of two-wheelers hit the road.

Books presents insights into Chennai’s culture

As a guide to making the most of a few precious hours speed during a quick stopover in the city, Global Adjustments launched a coffee table book “Stopover Chennai”. The book which will help visitors experience the city’s culture from inside out has contributions from music director A.R. Rahman, actor Radikaa Sarath Kumar, grandmaster Viswanathan Anand, Columnist Ian Watkinson, restaurateur M. Mahendran, artist Pascal Raynaud and illustrator Maniam Selvam, Releasing the book M. Madhavan Nambiar, former Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, recollected his connection with Global Adjustment and said: “Chennai is such a lovely city. I am looking forward to spending my retirement life here”. Mr. Watkinson said that the intention of such a book is to not bring out a dry and textual guidebook of the city.

Chennai fifth largest hub for e-commerce

Based on the volume of goods purchased and sold online, the city is the fifth largest e-commerce hub in the country. Chennai residents buy everything from water filters, nose hair trimmers, tanzaints gemstones to men’s underwear online. The findings, based on a census carried out by e-Bay to identify online shopping patterns, show that the residents predominantly buy technology products online (46 per cent). Kancheepuram the district hosts much of the IT corridor and several educational institutions comes second, after Chennai, in online shopping volumes. Among all states, Tamil Nadu ranks third in the country.

China’s first spacecraft Tiangong-1

China successfully launches its first space lab module, the 8.5 tonne Tiangong-1. This is a key first step in China’s objective of becoming only the third country, after Russia and the US, to assemble its own space station by 2020. The module will be used to take hyper-spectral images of China’s farmlands to detect heavy metal pollution, residues of pesticides and plant diseases. Tiangong-1 is China’s first spacecraft designed for orbital docking tests and space research.

Centre increases market borrowing

The Centre announces a hefty   52,800-crore increase in market borrowings to   4.7 lakh crore during the current (2011-12) fiscal.

Daily Thanthi Award

Literature should not only be conceived; it should also reach the common man and Daily Thanthi’s contribution on this score is extremely commendable, observed G. Thiruvasagam, V.C. of Madras University, Chennai. Presenting the “Mootha Thamizharingnar” Award, instituted by Daily Thanthi in Commemoration of the birthday of its founder C.P. Adhithanar to littereteur and Former MP Kumari Ananthan, the VC said there had been any number of literary giants. But all literature is meant for common man and must be understood by him.

Audi RITZ Icon Awards 2011

The third edition of the Audi RITZ Icon Awards 2011 was held in Chennai to honour inspirational and successful brands in various categories. Actor Vickram, director K. Balachander, designer Anamika Khanna, director A.L. Vijay, entrepreneur Omar Sait, glass artist Anjali Srinivasan, artist couple Ramachandra and Anamika, Singer Benny Dayal, floutist Navin Iyer, poet Kutti Revathi and Visually impaired Chess player S.T. Saikrishna were given awards in the individual category.

CCE system for all schools

The School Education Department will introduce the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system for classes I to VIII from the next academic year. The decision to introduce CCE has been taken following the recommendation of an expert group constituted by the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT). A senior official of the Department said that the CCE will be introduced for classes IX and X from 2013-14. As per the CCE, students are evaluated through Formative Assessements (FA) that is conducted throughout each term, and  Summative Assessments (SA) carried out at the end of a particular term. The FA will be carried out by the teacher for class participation, project and dismissions, SA will largely be done through a paper-pen test. The FAs (accounting for 40 marks) and SAs (for 60 marks) thrice, covering three terms and the cumulative scores would be converted to grades, on a 10 point scale.

Serbia and Kosova long-running talks in Brussels

Long-running talks in Brussels, Belgium, between Serbia and Kosovo break down after violence escalates on the disputed Balkan border.

India-Pakistan agree to bilateral trade

India and Pakistan agree to work towards doubling the bilateral trade volume to $6 billion annually by 2014. The decision is reached at a meeting in New Delhi between Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Anand Sharma and his visiting Pakistan counterpart Mr. Makhdoom Amin Fahim. They also decide to put to place a liberalised visa regime from November 2011 for business communities of both nations.

Expantion of Sathyamangalam wildlife sanctuary

In a significant step towards protecting the varied wildlife and as the next big step to declare it a tiger reserve, State govt. has expanded the Sathya-mangalam wildlife sanctuary to 1.41 lakh hectares. Through a notification, the forest department has added 88,726 hectares in seven reserve forests of Sathyamangalam forest division to the existing wildlife sanctuary spread ever 52,434 hectares. Over the years, tigers are sighted in the division more as experts believe that the big cat population from Bandipur and Mudumalai sancturices is spilting over into the Sathyamangalam forest division.

Korean film festival begins

“Korean films and TV shows have spread across parts of Asia. Europe and America but not so much in India”, said Chang, Embassy of Public of Korea. At the inauguration of a Korean film festival, he said that through such film festivals, Indians could get an insight into Korean culture. “Emotionally, Koreans and Indians are very similar”, he added.

Retailers, stockists warned on thin plastic bags

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board will soon take action against wholesalers and retailers stocking and selling plastic bags less than 40 microns thick, said Member Secretary K. Karthikeyan. The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board would insist that the manufacturers print the symbol denoting that plastic products, including PET bottles, pipes and carry bags, were recyclable. Manufacturers of plastic carry bags would also be asked to contribute for selling up plastic waste collection and recycling facilities. Milk sachets, which can be recycled are not thrown away by people as they get many by selling them.

India-Myanmar bilateral trade

At a meeting between Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Anand Sharma and his Myanmar counterpart Mr. U. Win Myint, India and Myanmar set a $3-billion bilateral trade target to be achieved by 2015.

Policy to promote infra projects

 The Centre comes out with a draft National Public-Private Partnership (PPP) policy with a view to improving transparency and promote infra projects.

Modern ship repair facility coming up near Chennai

Tamil Nadu will have the first and the most modernship repair facility which will became operational in the next couple of months, according to a top official of Larsen and Toubro. The   4,000 crore project is being set up jointly by L & T and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) in two phases  on a 1,200 acre of land at Kallupatti, about 29 km from Chennai, through L & T Ship building Ltd., for developing a minor port and building specialised ship, along with a repair units.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2011

The winners of the 2011 Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize are announced. They are : Mahan Maharaj of Vivekananda University near Kolkata; Palash Sarkar of the Indian Statistical Institute; Shiraz Minwalla of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research; K.N. Balaji and U. Ramamurthy of the Indian Institute of Science, Shirshendu De of IIT-Kharagpur; A.P. Sharma of the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology; R. Shankaranarayanan of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology; G.N. Sastry of the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, and B. Sundaram of the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.

Wrest control over the Senate

Socialists in France wrest control over the Senate from the ruling conservative coalition led by President Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy.

Prithvi-II missile successfully test-fired

 The surface-to-surface Prithvi-II ballistic missile is successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Odisha.

Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar Award

The M.A.C. Charities announced the various annual awards for 2011. The Dr. Rajah Annamalai Chettiar Award for oustanding contribution is Tamil language and literature will be presented to S.V. Shanmugam, scholar, Dr. M.A. Chidambaram Chettiar Award for excellence in fine arts to Tamil poet Vaalee and Dr. A.C. Muthiah Award for excellence in first-generation entrepreneurship to industrialist M.P. Ramachandran.

Singapore Grand Prix Formula One title

Red Bull’s German racer Sebastian Vettel wins the Singapore Grand Prix Formula One title in Singapore.

WB announce increase aid to countries in the Horn of Africa

The World Bank announces that it will increase aid to countries in the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia) to $1.88 billion through 2014.

Saudi King announced nation’s women will get the right to vote

Saudi King Abdullah announces that the nation’s women will get the right to vote and run as candidates in local elections to be held in 2015. This is a major advancement for the rights of women in the deeply conservative Muslim country.

Newly released Census 2011 figures

 Newly released Census 2011 figures reveal that for the first time since 1921, urban India added more numbers to its population in a decade than rural India did. The country’s rural population  today, at 883.1 million, is 90.6 million higher than it was a decade ago. But the urban Indian population is 91 million more than it was in 2001.

Residents want certificate of posting reintroduced

Residents across the city are upset that the Department of Posts has stopped issuing certificate of posting, which serves as a proof of posting letters, without prior notice. Many of them want the service to be reintroduced. According to the Postal Department website, a certificate of posting is given as an assurance that letters and other articles entrusted to servants or messangers for posting have actually been posted. Customers said the service was available for their posting ordinary post office of a nominal cost of   3. The department had withdrawn the services three months ago and most customers and staff members were not aware of it.

Now, book travels, movie tickets in post offices too

Continuing with its thrust on revenue generation by offering non-postal services as a one-stop solution for consumer needs, the Department of Posts has recently introduced services for users to book travel and movie tickets. From collecting bills offering  proof of address cards to selling applications, stationary and various products, post offices in the city are metamorphosing into a multi-utility service provider since  2008. Officials said the department has tied up with a Delhi-based organisation, Beam Services that would serve as a platform to book tickets and also recharge mobile phones. The service is available in Anna Road head post office, Mylapore, Tambaram, Ashok Nagar and  Triplicane post offices.

TTDC procuring 1500 trendy life jackets

The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) is in the process of procuring 1,500 trandy life jackets to encourage tourists wear them while enjoying joy rides on waterbodies. Almost two years have passed the Thekkady boat tragedy, which claimed 32 lives. Since then the Kerala govt. has made it mandatory for everyone to wear life jackets. Initially, TTDC-run boat houses achieved 100 per cent compliance in ensuring tourists wear life jackets. But the numbers came down during summer season as some toruists refused to wear them since they appeared dirty, or because they knew swimming or just felt that they would not fit into their style statement. According to official sources TTDC has placed order for purchasing 1500 life jackets, each costing about  1,100. It would supplied in two phases. Udagamandalam boat house will get a major chunk of the new purchase 700 life jackets, followed by Yarcaud (250), Pitchavaram (250), Mudaliarkuppam (200) and Muttukadu (100).

Carnatic vocalist to be honoured

Carnatic vocalist Sanjay Subrah-manyan has been chosen for the second Indira Sivasailam Endowment Medal, instituted by the Music Academy, Madras, in association with the Indira Sivasailam Endowment Fund. The selection was made on the basis of specific criteric that included excellence appeal, adherance to classical tradition while innovating within its framework, depth of knowledge and the ability to bring about a greater and deeper public appreciation of carnatic music.

G20 Finance Ministers meeting in Washington

G20 Finance Ministers hold a meeting in Washington, USA; there, it is reaffirmed that the development agenda will remain at the core of G20’s priorities, and that development and global economic issues can no longer be treated in isolation.

UN to remedy the deepening global crisis

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh addresses the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York; he calls for changes in the structure of the UN to remedy the deepening global crisis.

India’s hypersonic missile, Shourya test-fired

India’s hypersonic missile, Shourya, is successfully test-fired from the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur, Orissa.

38th National sub-junior basketball

Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh win the boys’ and girls’ titles, respectively, at the 38th National sub-junior basketball championship in Lucknow, UP.

66th Session of the UN General Assembly

Palestinian President Mr. Mahmoud Abbas, in his speech at the UN General Assembly’s 66th Session in New York, calls for his country to be given full membership of the UN. This dramatic declaration comes against the backdrop of failed peace talks and mounting international criticism of Israel’s aggressive expansion of settlement activities.

India-Sri Lanka naval exercise name – SLINEX-II

A five-day India-Sri Lanka naval exercise, named “SLINEX-II” conclude in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka. It is the biggest exercise between the two Navies till date.

All safety steps taken in our nuclear plants

In the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident, the emergency response and preparedness measures in India’s nuclear facilities had been strengthened and several recommendations of the safety reviews mandated by the govt. of India had already been implemented, said Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). A road map was being prepared for implementing the other recommendations. Dr. Banerjee said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had, immediately after the accident at Fukushima this march, Emphasised that the safety of nuclear power plants would be a matter of the highest priority for the govt. of India while implementing the national nuclear power programme.

Notice on plea to reserve more wards for SCs

The Madras High Court ordered notice on a write petition seeking a direction to the Chennai Corporation to reserve wards for SCs proportionate to the increase in the number of wards consequent to this expansion of the city. In this petition, filed through counsel P. Vijendan, Y.A. Nathan of Kolathur, Chennai North District president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, stated that the govt, by a G.O. of August 30, this year, had extended the city limits. The number of wards had gone upto 200 from 155. Consequently, the population of SCs in the city had increased. But, proportionate allotment of wards to them had not been done. The civic authorities should have given proper representation to SC as per the constitutional mandate.

Elections to local bodies on October 17 & 19

Elections to the local bodies in Tamil Nadu will be held in two phases on October 17 and 19, State Election Commissioner  S.S. Ayyar said. In the first phase, elections will be held for nine municipal corporations, 60 municipalities, 259 town panchayats and 191 panchayat unions. Sixty five municipalities, 270 town panchayats and 194 panchayat unions will go to the polls in the second phase.

Court slap fine for Niqab

In what could have legal implications across Europe, a French court slaps fine on women wearing the Niqab, the Islamic full-face covering.

Centre allocates 50 crore to Sikkim earthquake

The Centred allocates an immediate 50-crore grant to Sikkim to help it deal with the September 18 earthquake that devastated the region.

Students earn laurels for innovative projects

Students of the St. Joseph’s college of Engineering have bagged three awards for innovative projects instituted by the Indian National Academy of Engineering F. Menaka Mischella, S. Saravanan and the team of I. Nelson Naveen and C. Princy Perpetua were the winners for their projects on navigation database decoder, design and development of multi-purpose air-conditioner and real time implementation of GPS, based maritime border indicator for fishermen out of the 20 shortlisted projects under the innovative student project category, nine received awards. St. Joseph’s has won three awards.

Cabinet resolution sought to shut down nuclear plant

The sensitivity shown by chief minister and her “sensible position” on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project should translate into the adoption of a resolution by the state cabinet recommending the closure of the nuclear plant, social activist Medha Patkar said, Ms. Patkar said that people would continue their protest until the cabinet passed the resolution. Asked how she would address the perception that closing down the plant would mean loss of  hundreds of crores of rupees already spent, she said one should not count this project in terms of money because it  involved human lives and natural resources.

More channels brought under Arasu Cable

The banquet of television channels offered by the Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable Corporation was enlarged to cover channels such as Vijay TV, Discovery Tamil, Animal  Planet, NDTV, CNN and Tamil Now. An official release mentioned the names of other pay channels such as Zee Tamil, Pogo, cartoon network, Neo Cricket, Sony Max, AXN, HBO National Geographic, ESPN, Star Sports, Star Cricket, Ten Cricket and Ten sports. Subscribers did not have to pay additional charges for viewing the channels, apart from the monthly subscription of   70, according to the release. The services are available in 31 districts excluding Chennai.

Shooting World Cup

Ole Kristian Bryhn of Norway clinches the men’s 50-m rifle 3-position Gold at the shooting World Cup finals in Worclaw, Poland.

India and Zimbabwe agree BIPA

India and Zimbabwe agree to accelerate the approval of their Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPA) that aims to boost bilateral investments.

Squalamine – drug to treat diseases

In what may revolutionise human medicine, scientists at the Georgetown University, USA, claim to have found evidence that a compound in the liver of sharks can be used as a drug to treat several diseases. The compound – named squalamine – can be used to treat a broad spectrum of diseases ranging from dengue and yellow fever to hepatitis B, C and D.

Jnanpith Award for 2009 & 2010

Eminent Hindi authors Mr. Amar Kant and Mr. Shrilal Shukla are chosen for the 45th Jnanpith Award for 2009, and renowned Kannada litterateur Ms. Chandrasekhar Kambar is chosen for the 46th Jnanpith Award for 2010.

Australia wins Test series against Sri Lanka

The third and final Test between Australia and hosts Sri Lanka ends in a draw in Colombo; with this, the series ends 1-0 in Australia’s favour.

Afghan former President killed by suicide bomber

Burhanuddin Rabbani, former President of Afghanistan and Chairman of the High Peace Council  – leading Afghan efforts to negotiate with the Taliban – is killed by a suicide bomber in Kabul.

Suresh Tendulkar committee pegged poverty line

In a starting affidavit before the Supreme Court, the Planning Commission says that only those individuals consuming less than   32 per day in urban areas and   26 per day in rural areas will be treated as poor. The affidavit bases its assertions on the findings of the Suresh Tendulkar Committee, which pegged the poverty line at   447 a month, or about   15 a day, at 2004-05 prices.

Halt Kudankulam C.J. urges P.M.

After the Jaitapur nuclear power project in Maharashtra, it is now the turn of the 2000 MWe Kudankulam atomic plant in Tamil Nadu to run into serious opposition. As protests by local residents and activists intensified, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister urged Prime Minister to order the halting of the project until concerns and fears about the plant’s safety were addressed.

Induction stoves for people living in hill areas

 Chief  Minister Jayalalithaa said people living in hill areas such as Kodaikanal and the Nilgiris would get induction stoves instead of table fans in view of the cold climate prevailing there. She said people in the Nilgiris district and Kodaikanal in Dindugal district had requested her to distribute induction stoves to them because they could not  use table fans. They had said induction stoves would be useful for cooking “Govt. Schemes are meant to benefit people. So we will give them induction stoves along with mixer and grinders”, she said.

World Cup chess championship

Peter Svidler of Russia wins the title of the World Cup chess championship in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia; his compatriot Alexander Grischuk takes the second place.

Civil war in Yemen

A fresh wave of violence rocks Yemen, drawing the troubled country close to a civil war as loyal government troops and defecting military units begin fighting each other in the country’s capital Sana’s.

Modi’s 3 day fast

 Gujarat Chief Minister Mr. Narendra Modi concludes his three-day “Sadbhavana mission” fast, undertaken with a view to fostering communal harmony in the State, in Ahmedabad.

Big hike in cash component for gallantry award winners

The state govt. has increased manifold, the quantum of cash awards given to recipients of gallantry awards. Considering the fact that the quantum was carried out 17 years ago, the government has decided that the recipicients of the Param Vir Chakra would be given   15 lakh against the existing   22,500. Those given the Maha Vir Chakra would get   10 lakh (  50,000); Ashok Charka   12 lakh (  20,000), Kirti Chakra   8 lakh ( 12,000);  Vir charka   7.5 lakhs (  7,000),  and Shourya Charka   5 lakh (  5,000). Under the personnel accident scheme, every ex-serviceman would be given an insurance cover upto   3 lakh and under the other scheme, an amount of   1.78 crore would be invested annually.

Army not to dilute standards for addressing officer shortage

There will be no dilution of standards in procedures to recruit young men and women to the training institutions of the Army, Lieutenant General V.K. Ahluwalia told. Admitting that there was shortage of officers, he said that 352 young men and women had joined the Army after the passing out parade in DTA, St. Thomas Mount. This was among the biggest contingent in recent years. At present, 135 people were being trained in the OTA at Gaya. The target was to train 750 people in one year and Gaya and this would take five to seven years.

Two multi-level parking lots coming

A multi-level parking facility each in Velachery and Anna Nagar East is on the anvil as part of the measures to ease congestion in the two areas, which are emerging as major commercial centres. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and Chennai Corporation would commence a feasibility study on the facilities proposed at the MTC bus terminus on Third Avenue in Anna Nagar East and at the Vijay Nagar bus terminus in Velachery. The proposal for selling up the two multi-level parking lots have been part of the Chennai Comprehensive Transportation Study. However, the lack of co-ordination among the various land owning departments and the planning agencies has been a stumbling block for the implementation of such projects.

USA developed a new laser

Researchers at the Michigan State University, USA, announce that they have developed a new laser which can accurately detect roadside bombs and help identify improvised explosive devices (IEDs), often used by terrorists. The laser combines short pulses that cause molecules in the explosives to vibrate, as well as long pulses that are used to ‘listen’ and identify the different vibrations.

An ethnic party wins parliamentary election

An ethnic Russian party, named The Harmony Centre, wins parliamentary elections in Latvia for the first ever time in the post-Soviet history of the Baltic state dominated by anti-Russia politicians.

Earthquake in Sikkim

A 6-8 magnitude earthquake, with its epicentre in Sikkim, kills over 70 across several places and leaves many injured; a large number of people remain missing.

U-18 Asia cup women’s hockey

India whip Sri Lanka 13-0 in an important match of the U-18 Asia Cup women’s hockey in Bangkok, Thailand.

India expenses support for NTC

India expresses support for the National Transitional Council (NTC) as the ruling authority of Libya and announces plans of considering financial assistance to that country.

First women PM in Denmark

Ms. Helle Thorning-Schmidt wins in Denmark’s Prime Ministerial elections, becoming the first woman to emerge as the Prime Minister-elect in the nation’s history.

State aid for over 1000 Sri Lankan Tamil students

The govt. will provide financial assistance to over 1000 Sri Lankan Tamil students pursuing higher education in various colleges in the state. Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam told the Assembly that the govt. was providing free school education to Sri Lankan  students living in refusee camps. As it was necessary to fund their higher education, it would introduce a finance assistance scheme from this year. About 21,500 Sri Lankan students in 112 refuge camps were finding it difficult to travel to educational institutions as the camps were far away. Therefore, the govt. had decided to give five seats each in 1,254 hostels run by the Adi  Dravidar Welfare Department (excluding hostels for tribals) and 1,238 hostels administered by the Backward Class Department.

Forest department to get marshland

The Forest Department, which plans to undertake restoration of the eco-sensitive Pallikaranai  marshland, will soon get 421 acres for the purpose from the Chennai Corporation. The civic body has initiated the process of handing over the marshland following a request from the Forest Department. According to sources in the Corporation, the area to be handed over is on the southern side of Radial Road near NIOT junction. The area to be given is not being used by the civic body for dumping  garbage. Corporation officials had conducted an inspection of the marshand recently with the Forest Department. 

Library facilities praised, membership sought

“Excellent collection, next display …. landing of books may be arranged at the earliest”, reads a suggestion in the visitors book kept in the children’s section of the Anna Centenary Library in Kotturpuram. It has been a year since the library was inaugurated, but visitors cannot borrow books, as the library is yet to open up memberships. “This is one of the best libraries I have ever seen. I came here regularly  pick-up a book sit for hours together. The reading space is very well-lit, quiet and comfortable”, says G.R. Manoharan, who has revived his reading habit post retirement.

RBI hikes the repo and reverse repo rate

In a move to contain persisting inflationary pressure, the RBI hikes the indicative short-term policy rate (repo rate) by 25 basis points from 8 percent to 8.25 percent. Consequently, the reverse repo rate stands automatically adjusted to 7.25 percent and the marginal standing facility (MSF) rate to 9.25 percent.

New handloom designs soon

The state govt. will introduce 500 new designs to meet the changing trends and promote products of handloom weavers co-operative societies, handloom and textiles minister B.V. Ramana told the Assembly. Replying to the demand for grants for his department, the minister said 51 district – level exhibition 11 special exhibition and one national exhibition would be organised to promote sales in the current year.

MLA’s constituency allowance, perks go up

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has increased the constitutency allowance of MLAs, Ministers, Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Leader of the Opposititon and govt. Chief whip by   5000. Ms. Jayalalithaa said the MLAs constituency allowance was being increased from   5,000 to   10,000 thereby hiking the salary including perks of an MLA to55000 per month. Similarly, the salary and perks of the Ministers and speaker would go up from   27,000 to  32,000 and that of Deputy Speaker, Leader of the opposition and govt. chief whip to   31,500 from   26,500

New welfare schemes, more beneficiaries

1) 60,000 milch cows to be given to rural poor women in five years 2) 12,000 milch cows per year Total cost :  232 crore 3) Allocation for 2011-12   56 crore 4) Seven lakh poorest of the poor in rural areas to receive goats/sheep 5) Four goats/sheep per household 6) Total cost:   925 crore 7) 1 lakh beneficiaries this year 8) Allocation for 2011-12  – 9) 135 crore l Households headed by women to be given priority in both schemes 10) Within them, widows, destitutes, differently-abled women and transgenders to receive preference 11)30 per cent of beneficiaries to be from Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes 12) Beneficiaries of the cows scheme to be below 60 years of age 13) Beneficiaries of the cows scheme not to own land over 1 acre and cows/buffaloes 14) Implementation of the cows scheme in 21 milk-deficit districts. 15) Beneficiaries to have their choice of cows – cross-bred Jersey breed or cross-bred Hoistein Friesian breed in hilly areas 16) Beneficiaries visit to shandies in neighbouring States to be arranged 17)   30,000 earmarked for the purchase of cows 18) Beneficiary-household of the goats scheme to have at least one member of the age group of 18 years – 60 years 19)Beneficiaries of the goats scheme to be landless agricultural labourers without cows/goats/sheep 20) Beneficiaries to be given the choice of four goats/sheep 21) A lumpsum of   12,000 is earmarked for the purchase of four goats/sheep per beneficiary 22)Government to bear the cost of insurance of the animals 23) No household can be beneficiary of both the cows and goats schemes.

127 State govt. staff selected for Anna Medals

As many as 127 State govt. employees, including 100 police personnel, have been chosen for receiving Anna medals this year. According to an official release, with a view to recognising the outstanding devotion to duty of the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Prison Service, Home Guards and Finger Print Service personnel in the State, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s medals are awarded on the occasion of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai’s birthday that falls on Sept. 15. The recipients of this medal are also eligible for a lumpsum grant according to the ranks as specified in the Medal Rules.

Craftspersons redesignated as Poompuhar artisans

As part of the efforts to promote handicrafts, the State govt. has redesignated hundreds of craftspersons attached to the seven manufacturing units of Tamil Nadu Handi Crafts Development Coporation Ltd. as Poompuhar artisans. It has also increased their salaries. They were earlier known as piece rate workers and their monthly salaries were between  3,000 and   5,000. “Forty artisans had petitioned us asking for an increase and to be redesignated. We acted on both their demands and now their wages are in the 15,000 to  20,000 band”. Minister for Rural Industries C. Shanmugavelu said.

Assessment test by NASSCOM from next month

From next month graduating engineering students across the state will get to take the NASSCOM Assessment of Competence  Technology (NAC-Tech) which will award them grades certifying their employability level depending on how “industry ready’ they are “we have tied with Attest, an arm of Aptech Computer Education, that will conduct the test through various leading retail outlets across the country, starting with Chennai” said K. Purushottaman, regional director, NASSCOM. While it would be conducted separately for colleges that have registered for it, students can also apply for it individually.

China expresses despute on Oil & Gas exploration

In a significant development, China expresses its opposition to India engaging in oil and gas exploration in the disputed South China Sea.

Union Cabinet approves paper for 12th Five Year Plan

The Union Cabinet approves the Approach Paper for the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17), which seeks to raise the annual economic growth rate to  9 percent during the five-year period, up from 8.2 percent estimated in the current (11th) Plan.

Fisheries University in Nagapattinam planned

A fisheries university will be set up in the coastal Nagapattinam district at a cost of   30 crore, as part of the State Govt.’s effort to develop fisheries through technology and create knowledge base in the field, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said. In a suo motu  statement in the House, she said the University would come up on 85 acres in Panangudi and Nagoor villages in the district, which has a 188 km. coastline. Fishing dry fish production and shrimp culture are the main economic activities of the district where 9,000 fishing vessels are in the trade.

Four city colleges launch B.Com (Honours) programme

Four colleges in the city, affiliated to the University of Madras, have introduced the B.Com (Honours) programme this year. The three year programme has been launched as part of the special emphasis to promote industry – institute integration. Justice Basheer Ahmad Syed Women’s college, M.O.P. Vaishnov college for Women, D.G. Vaishnav College and S.D.N.B. Vaishnov College for women are the four institutions that have started the programme. Initially, the B.Com (Honours) programme was meant to be four years duration. In accordance with the U.G.C’s regulations, the maximum time period for a degree programme is three years. Therefore we changed the curriculam to incorporate the course for three years”, said S. Gurusamy, Professor, Department of Commerce, University of Madras.

Pakistan sweep the series ODI against Zimbabwe

Pakistan beat hosts Zimbabwe by 28 runs in the third and final ODI in Harare to sweep the series 3-0.

Russia improve relations with North Korea

Russia takes a decisive step towards improving its relations with North Korea, announcing plans to revive defence ties and writing off the latter’s multi-billion dollar debt.

Common Entrance Test for IITs and NITs

 The Joint Council of the IITs decides to introduce a common entrance test for admission to the IITs and National Institutes of Technology (NITs).

To improve safety infrastructure in anganwadis

Besides announcing three major projects to the extent of over   98 crore to improve the safety and infrastructure in child centres (anganwadis) and for introduction of child-friendly toilets, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has said that the govt. would soon fill the 28,596 vacancies in nutrious meal centres and anganwadis functioning under the Social Welfare Department. The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) was being implemented through these child centres and 26 lakh persons, including children up to six years of age, adolescent girls, pregnant women, lactating mothers and old age pensioners, were benefited. The govt. would spend 47.61 crore on reparing the child centres. Minor repairs would be carried out in 10,372 centres functioning from own building. Another 7,449 centres would require major renovation.

Free dhoti, sari scheme

A sum of   256 crore will be immediately released to handloom and powerloom weavers’ societies for implementation of the scheme for free supply of dhotis and saris, Chief Minister said. The amount would be given through co-optex towards advance for the procurement of yarn and other preliminary works. The yarn would be obtained and supplied to the weavers by the first week of October.

Fishing harbour to come up at Manakkudi

The state govt. has decided to construct a fishing harbour at Manakkudi of Kanyakumari District with the participation of private sector, fisheries minister K.A. Jayapal told the Assembly. This was to decongest the Chinnamuttom fishing harbour and address the need of additional berthing facilities, Mr. Jayapal said, wrapping up the debate on the demands for grants to his department. Artificial reafs would be created at a total cost of  2.93 crore in 19 coastal villages of the State.

Memorials for Singaravelar, Jeevarathinam

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced the construction of memorials for Singaravelar and Jeevarathinam and installation of a statue of Chidambara-nathan. Noting that her govt. attached top priority for perpetuating the memory of those who had made sacrifices for the progress of Tamil society, she told the Assembly that the memorials for Singaravelar and Jeevarathinam would be constructed at Foreshore Estate in Chennai. The statue of Chidambara-nathan would be erected at Kaliyakavilai in Kanyakumari district.

Work on ‘double-decker’ structure begins

 Work on the city’s first ‘double-decker’ structure featuring flyover and a Metro Rail station above it at the junction of Arcot Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai in Vadpalani has begun. According to the sources in Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. (CMRL), piling work is going apace. The facility is planned to come across the busy Jawaharlal Nehru Salai – also known as 100 feet road. A portion of the 700 metre long, four-lane flyover would be constructed by the CMRL. The flyover would be 18.6 metres wide. The service roads on either side would be 7.5 metre wide and the drainage-cum-footpaths on both sides 2.5 m wide. After widening, the total width of Arcot Road would be nearly 39 metres.

First time “white” light pulses

Physicists at the Max Planck Institute, Germany, announce that they have generated for the first time “white” light pulses, which they claim hold promise for unprecedented control of the motion of electrons.

Shotgun World Cup win Russia

Russia win the team Gold in the men’s skeet event at the shotgun World Cup in Belgrade, Serbia.

China recognise the Libyan NTC

China becomes the last of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members to officially recognise the Libyan National Transitional Council (NTC) as the country’s ruling authority.

India and Sri Lanka sign an MoU

India and Sri Lanka sign an MoU in a major initiative to expand the teaching of English in Sri Lankan schools.

The portrait of Choodamani as writer and painter

 Those who know her for decades were listening keenly, as admires of R. Choodamani tried to reconstruct her persona by dwelling on her works and life. At a function organised by the R. Choodamani Memorial Trust in Chennai, friends and admirers of the writer gathered to reminice about the woman who spent most of her life in her house and poignant short stories. Admirer Gnana Rajasekaran said he was moved by her short story ‘Veliyil Nalla Mazhai’, said there was no anger or pessimism in her writing. “Like Bharathiar she was a creator who ruled over her works, never succumbing to the lure of bisases”, he said.

Miss Universe 2011

Miss Angola Leila Lopes is crowned Miss Universe at the pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil; Miss Ukraine Olesia Stefanko is named 1st runner-up and Miss Brazil Priscila Machado is adjudged 2nd runner-up.

ICC Awards 2011

The 2011 ICC Awards are presented in London, Prominent winners are : Jonathan Trott of England (Sir Garfield Sobers Cricketer of the Year); Alastair Cook of England (Test Player of the Year); Kumar Sangakkara of Sri Lanka ((ODI) Player of the Year), India skipper M.S. Dhoni (Spirit of Cricket Award), etc., among others.

Pipeline bursts into flames in Nairobi

At least 120 people are burnt to death as a fuel pipeline bursts into flames in a locality in Nairobi, Kenya.

India’s industrial growth low

Data made available by the Centre reveal that India’s industrial growth plummeted to a 21-month low (since Oct 2009) at 3.3 percent in July 2011.

Social security scheme for farmers

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa unveiled a new expanded social security scheme for farmers and agriculture workers, which includes a monthly pension of   1,000 for those who have crossed 60 years, educational assistance for their children and marraige and maternity assistance. She said that the security scheme would cover small and medium farmers in the age group 18 to 65, who owned 2.5 acres of wetland or five acres of dry land. Agriculture workers and lease holders in the same age group were also eligible for the benefits. Unlike the earlier scheme, under which only the head of the family was given the identity card, the new scheme would cover all family members.

Metrowater plans to instal bill collection Kiosks

In a bid of serve its increasing consumer base and augment revenue collection, Chennai Metrowater in proposing various measures, including installation of kiosks providing information about the bills. As part of its drive to improve tax and charges collection, Metrowater would instal Kiosks in two or three locations in the city. The machines with in built facility to read consumer cards would provide information about tax and charges arrears. Consumers may choose the period of payment and drop the cheques, the cheque deposited, said officials.