October, 2011

The Hindu Literary Prize goes to debut novel

For the second successive year, a debut novel struck gold at The Hindu “Lit for Life” literary festival. Rahul Bhattacharya bassed the “The Hindu Literary Prize for Best Fiction 2011” for his The sly Company of people who care. The book, which narrotes a young Indians Caribbean adventures in the Company of a Guyanese diamond-hunter, was virutally deadlocked for the prize with the English translation of N.S. Madavan’s Litanies of Dutch Battery, but eventually won the day for “its consummate artistry its refusal to exoticise India or Guyana and its non-judgemental attitude to the characters. The award carries a cash prize of   5 lakh and a plaque .

UNESCO grants full membership to Palestine

In a historic vote, the UNESCO grants full membership to Palestine.

Seven billionth baby – Danica

 Humankind crosses a significant milestone with, according to UN estimates, the seven billionth baby coming into the world. The UN chooses to mark the day with festivities worldwird to celebrate the births of a number of symbolic seven billionth babies in several countries. A baby girl named Danica is recognised by the Philippines as the world’s symbolic seven billionth baby. In the process, Philippines becomes the first nation to officially declare the seven billionth birth. In India, a baby girl named Nargis – born in Uttar Pradesh – is named the milestone child amid much celebration.

Benjamin is Chennai Deputy Mayor

P. Benjamin (42), a councillor belonging to the AIADMK, was elected Deputy Mayor. Chennai Corporation Commissioner D. Karthikeyan told the Council meeting that Mr. Benjamin was elected unopposed. Mr. Benjamin is a resident of Nolambur, a newly added area of the Chennai Corporation. After the council meeting, K.P. Shankar of ward 5, took oath as councillor at the chamber of the commissioner.

Titans of film world shower praise on Veteran Director

The contribution of director S.P. Muthuraman in promoting the cause of eye donation was highlighted by speakers at a function organised to present the Sankara Ratna Award, instituted by the Sankara Nethralaya, to the vetiran film personality. He is the seventh person to receive the award, which recognises and honours an individual or an institution that has supported and contributed to Sankara Netharalaya’s cause and Philosophy.

Rank holder’s list could guide parents, students

With the ranking of engineering colleges stayed by the Madras High Court, Anna University’s list of rank holders in various streams of engineering and technology in its affiliated colleges could come in handy far parents and students in selecting the best college the next academic year. According to the rank list April/May 2011 published by the offfice of the Controller of Examinations, Anna University-Chennai, Meenakshi Sundararajan Engg. College has most rank holders out of the top 50 in B.E. Civil Engg. in which 1058 students passed the exams. It is followed by R.M.K. Engg. College with seven rankers. The Sri Sivasubramniya Nadar College of Engg. and Velammal Engg. College have more rank holders than others in Electronics and Communication Engg. cleared by 8,626 students. Students of the St. Joseph’s college of Engg. and the Sri Venkateswara College of Engg. have been equally good at scoring high ranks in Mechanical Engg. Velammal tops in B.E. Electronics and Instrumentation with 16 ranks out of the first 50 followed by Panimalar Engg. College. In B.E. Comp. Science and B.Tech. Information Technology too. Velammal students stand out. In Aeronautical Engg., Hindustan Engg. College has most rankers.

Advani thanks Jayalalithaa for timely action

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has directed the police to bring to book quickly those behind the plot to blow up the conoy of BJP  leader L.K. Advani. In a statement, she said that the police, which had filed a case was carrying out an intensive investigation. Ms. Jayalalithaa expressed relief over the detection of the pipe bomb on the originally proposed route of Mr. Advani, who is undertaking the Jan Chetna Yatra. She also commended Selvaraj, resident of Alampatti village, Selvam, councillor of the AIADMK, and the police for foiling the conspiracy. Mr. Advani, in his interaction with reporter complimented the Tamil Nadu Government and the Police for detecting the pipe bomb. He urged the State govt. to nab the  perpetrators behind the act.

Sundaram Finance Q 2 net rises 34%

Sundaram Finance has registered a higher net profit of   90.73 crore for the second quarter ended Sept. 30, 2011 against   67.53 crore in the corresponding period in the previous year, a rise of 34.35 per cent. Income from operations has increased to   400.99 crore from   330.85 crore. In the 12 months ended March 31, 2011, the company has achieved a net profit of   295.23 crore on an income of   1,370.78 crore.

AAI to complete work on terminals

The state govt. conducted a review meeting with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) officials on completion of works on new domestic and international terminal buildings. Airport sources said that the stress was on commissioning the new terminal buildings. The AAI officials assured that the works on the domestic terminal would be completed by January next year and works such as information  technology connectivity would take another couple of months. By April both the domestic and international terminal buildings would be commissioned. On the issue of land for the extended secondary runway, the state govt. had asked the Kancheepuram District Collector to look into the issue.

Deputy Mayor of Tiruchi

The AIADMK has fielded 30-year-old M. Asick Meera, son of former Environment Minister N. Mariyam Pichai as its candidate for the post of Deputy Mayor. In all likelihood Mr. Meera, elected from ward No. 27 in the local body election in Tiruchi is set to be elected unopposed a the AIADMK enjoys a comfortable majority with 42 members in the 65 member council. By fielding Mr. Meera, who has studied upto Plus-two, the AIADMK leadership has sought to silence criticism that the late Mariam Pichai’s family and the Muslim Community.

Old spectacles can be recycled

Your old and lessused glasses can be put to better use. If you did not know that next time instead of disposing of them, give them to an optical shop as they can be given to those people who cannot afford glasses. Quite a number of optical shops in the city have drop boxes where they collect old glasses, send them to organisations that take up recycling and segarated depending on the use.

Hotel land won back, given to CMRL

After a long legal battle, the land on which Picnic Hotel was located is now back in the possession of Chennai Corporation. The Civic body handed over the land, measuring nearly 14 grounds and located close to the Ripon Buildings, for the Metro Rail project. The hotel management vacated the 13 grounds and 2,218 sq.ft. of land on completion of the deadline set by the Supreme Court for it to hand over the possession. The Chennai Central Metro station would be the starting point for Corridor-II of the project connecting to St. Thomas Mount. It would also be one of the stations in Corridor-I – Washermenpet to Airport.

German Racer Sebastian Vettel win Formula One Championship

Reigning double world champion German racer Sebastian Vettel of Team Red Bull wins the inaugural Indian Grand Prix Formula One championship at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Team McLaren’s British racer Jenson Button and Spain’s Fernando Alonso of Ferrari join Vettel at the podium, finishing the race at second and third places, erespectively.

Commonwealth Heads of Govt. Meeting 2011

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011 concludes in Perth, Australia. At the meeting, it is agreed to develop a charter of values for the Commonwealth as “one clear, powerful statement”.

Kamalesh Sharma is reappointed for Secretary General of Commonwealth

Indian diplomat Mr. Kamalesh Sharma is re-appointed for the second consecutive term as the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

CBSE to promote cultural heritage

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to reinforce promotion of Indian Cultural heritage in schools affiliated to it. A recent circular issued by the Board has said schools would have to hold music and dance programmes. It has advised them to organise events that would give schools the “Opportunity of bringing great artists to the portals of their institutions,” in collaboration with the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Amongst Youth (SPICMACAY). The society has been taking Indian Classical Music and Dance to thousands of schools and colleges across the country for over three decades. In recent years, with addition to music and dance, theatre, yoga and folk arts are also being highlighted.

England win T-20 International Cricket against India

England win the one-off T20 International against hosts India in Kolkata by six wickets.

Australia wins ODI series against South Africa

Australia beat hosts South Africa by three wickets in the third and final ODI of the series in Durban, thus taking the series 2-1. 

New President of Ireland

Mr. Michael D. Higgins is elected President of Ireland; he will succeed Ms. Mary Mc.Aleese.

India and Japan hold fifth bilateral Strategic Dialogue

India and Japan hold their fifth bilateral Strategic Dialogue in Tokyo. India appreciates Japan’s decision to remove seven Indian entities from a banned list, a move that will facilitate high-technology trade. Japan expresses readines sto bring bullet trains into India.

Online grievance redress system for overseas students launched

The Institute of Distance Education, University of Madras, has come out with an online grievance redress system for overseas students persuing degrees through the distance education mode. With a dozen overseas study centres located in about eight countries, many of them in the Middle East, the institute has been offering niche courses like MBA, MCA and M.Sc in specialised subjects to improve career prospects of the overseas students. The students enrolled in Dubai faced differently in obtaining certificates as the franchisee disappeared, leaving them in a lurch. A team of three officials from the university visited Dubai, listened to the grievances and solved them on a case by case basis.

TNAU Professor Chosen for State scientist award

P. Subbian, Professor of Agronomy, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, is among the 11 recipients of the Tamil Nadu Scientist Award 2010 instituted by the Tamil Nadu State council for Science and Technology. Dr. Subbian has won the award for his research in the field of Agricultural Sciences. According to an official release, the objective of this scheme is to encourage and honour scientists and researchers who have contributed significantly to their fields of specialisation through their skill, pioneering / outstanding applied research work and other such activities leading to science and technology development in the state. Those who have been chosen for the award in various other disciplines include. E. Padmini, Associate Professor in Biochemistry, Bharathi Women’s College, Chennai (Biological Sciences); P. Rajkumar, Professor and Head of Organic Chemistry, University of Madras, Chennai (Chemical Sciences), G. Victor Rajamanickam and others.

Russian team leaves Kudankulam site

A team of experts from Atomstroy- exports, the Russian firm that supplies technology and the equipment for the 2×1000 MWe nuclear reactors of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project, who had comped at Kudankulam to inspect the quality of the work completed so far and writers the functioning of the equipment installed, have left the site. The Russians took this decision as they could not get permission to go to the KKNPP site from Anu Vijay Township, where they were staying in the wake of the on going protest against the nuclear power project.

Issue chip-based cards

The Chennai Police has urged all banks to consider issuing chip-based credit and debit cards to avoid duplication. This comes in the wake of a rise in complaints of bank card frauds, including card cloning and data theft from ATMs. Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy, who convened a meeting with representatives of various banks, advised them to be more sensitive towards issues concerning transaction security. He urged for some changes in the present system for bank cards, including the introduction of biometric identification system, cards with chips, and dynamic PIN system for ATM users.

Hotel’s proposal on helipad rejected

The multi-storey building (MSB) panel of Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has rejected a proposal for construction of a helipad on the terrace of the ITC Grand Chola Hotel in Guindy. The hotel is under construction and had initially sought planning permission without helipad, according to CMDA officials. It had also handed over 10 per cent of around eight acre land to the CMDA as part of the Open Space Reservation that has been taken over by the Chennai Corporation. Following a new proposal for commissioning of a helipad on top of the building, the hotel had submitted a revised plan with some modifications, said CMDA officials. It had also sought the OSR land for suitable realignment. Officials of Chennai Corporation and Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services raised objection to the plan for the helipad on the 49-metre-high hotel building citing problems faced by other cities that had recently given approval for such facilities. The official said such a proposal could be accepted only after conducting a proper study on the impact of helipad on the structural stability of neighbouring buildings. The hotel would have three basement floors and ground plus ten floors.

Delhi Planning model proposed for city

A large area around Chennai extending upto Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram is set to be designated as on single urban region for planning purposes. In the base or rapid increase in population in the districts surrounding Chennai and the expansion of the city, a new regional planning model on the lines of National Capital Region Delhi is being examined by the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA). Govt. sources say three kinds of planning regions are under consideration. A smaller region with its southern boundaries reaching Mamallapuram and Tirukazhukundram is an option. The other alternative under review is the delineation of a large area which would include Gummidipoondi and portions of Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram.

NASA launches weather satellite

NASA launches a first-of-its-kind weather satellite that will send back data on weather and climate to help forecasters predict major storms and other changes in the environment. The $1.5 billion NPP satellite will circle the Earth at an altitude of 820 km in a polar orbit.

Pakistan successfully test-fires

Pakistan successfully test-fires its nuclear-capable Hatf-7 or Babur cruise missile. The missile, which has a range of 700 km, was designed specifically keeping Indian targets in mind.

Suicides Farmers between 1995 and 2010

In a report, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveals that India has seen over a quarter million farmers suicides between 1995 and 2010.

British Universities develop artificial blood

Scientists at the British Universities of Edinburgh and Bristol successfully develop artificial blood in the laboratory, which they say in just two years away from being used in transfusions. According to the scientists, the man-made blood-created from stem cells – would be free from infections that have blighted natural supplies and could be given to almost everyone regardless of blood group.

Second FIBA Asia u-16 boys basketball championship

India finish tenth in the second FIBA Asia u-16 boys’ basketball championship in Vietnam.

Eurozone leaders, at their meeting in Paris

Eurozone leaders, at their meeting in Paris, France, arrive at a consensus on how to bail Greece out of a potential default. As per the deal, 50 percent of the Greek debt will be wiped off, European banks will be recapitalised, and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) will be strengthened to prevent  Spain and Italy from collapsing.

World Bank signing a $975 million loan agreement with DFCCIL

The World Bank commits to finance the Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor by signing a $975-million loan agreement with the Finance Ministry and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. (DFCCIL).

Madras Medical College’s HIV testing tub gets accreditation

Madras Medical College’s HIV Testing Laboratory, a National Reference Laboratory, has been granted accreditation by the National Accreditation Board forb Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) for a period of two years. The accreditation has been granted for ‘medical testing in the field of Microbiology and Serology for the scope of Elisa, Rapid HIV Tests and Western Blot’ used in detection  of HIV, according to the certificate. MMC Dean V. Kanagasabai said it is one of the first govt. laboratories in the State to be accorded this status. He credits G. Jayalakshmi HIV (officer-in-charge) and her team, including Usha Krishnan and N. Lakshmipiriya, assistant professors, for their efforts in securing the accreditation.

New welfare measure unveiled for fisherfolk

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa unveiled a slew of welfare measures for fisherfolk at a cost of  113.42 crore. The first scheme, part of fulfilling an assurance given by the AIADMK in the run-up to the Assembly elections, is meant for about 1.7 lakh families of fishermen. Relief of   4,000 would be paid to each family during the period of reduced fish catch. For those in the coastal belt of Tiruvallur to Ramanathapuram, the amount would be paid during Oct-Dec. for Kanyakumari fishermen, it would be in January-March and for those in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, the assistance would be given in April-June. This would cost the exchequer  70 crore annually the Chief Minister stated in a release.

First woman municipal chairman takes charge

Mythili Thirunavukkarasu of the AIADMK assumed office as the first elected women municipal chairman of the 90-year old Kancheepuram municipality. The civic body, which came into existence in 1920, was headed by 13 elected persons between 1920 and 1976. Subsequently, it functioned under the stewardship of 12 officials who were appointed as special officers till March 1986. Therefore from March 1986 to July 1996, the municipality was manned by six elected representatives and once again came under the control of special officers for about four months.

Saidai Duraisamy sworn in Chennai Mayor

Saidai S. Duraisamy of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam was sworn in as Chennai Mayor at a colourful ceremony at the Council Chamber in the 98 year-old Ripon Building. Watched by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, Assembly Speaker D. Jayakumar and State Ministers, Mr. Duraisamy was administered the oath of office by D. Karthikeyan, Chennai Corporation Commissioner. The 59 year-old Duraisamy, who took oath in the name of God, created history by becoming the AIADMK’s first Mayor in the history 323 year old Chennai Corporation. He became the 48th Mayor of Chennai since the institution of the office of Mayor in 1933.

Significant development a unique alliance of countries by the European Union

In a significant development, a unique alliance of countries – China, India, the US, UAE, Indonesia and South Korea – comes out and opposes the proposals by the European Union to impose internationally binding targets to reduce emissions for developed and developing nations under a new treaty by 2015.

2011 Forbes India annual rich list ranks

The 2011 Forbes India annual rich list ranks Reliance Group head Mr. Mukesh Ambani as the world’s richest Indian, with a net worth of $ 22.60 billion. He is followed by steel tycoon Mr. L.N. Mittal ($19.2 billion) and technology czar Mr. Azim Premiji ($13 billion).

Sugarcane production goes upto 780 mt. tonnes

Sugarcane production in the country has gone up from 526 million tonnes to 780 million tonnes. The area under the crop too has increased from five million hectares to seven million hectares, S. Ayyappan, Director General, Indian Council for Agricultural Research and Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Government of India. He was speaking at the 99th Foundation Day and launch of the Centenary celebrations of Sugarcane Breeding Institute. “The worth of produce is expected to rise from   70,000 crore to   1 lakh crore by 2020. The role of the Sugarcane Breeding Institute, with the strength of 70 scientists in this is very significant. It has so far developed 2,900 varieties”, Mr. Ayyappan said.

New simulator to be installed at airport

A new Air Traffic Integrated Simulator Training Centre will soon came up on the Air Traffic services premises at the Chennai Air Traffic Services premises at the Chennai Airport. Giving details about the new facility, D. Devaraj, Regional Executive Director, Airports Authority of India, Southern Region, said the simulator is an advanced electronic tool to training air traffic contractors. The AAI had already floated tenders for obtaining the simulator, which would help in providing training to fresh recruits. It would be also useful for these undergoing refresher courses. The   20 crore equal equipment is expected to be installed on the Chennai Air Traffic Services premises within six months, he said. The syllabus for the course and the duration would be decided once the simulator is installed, he said. An integrated training module would be created, which could be used by all the Air Traffic Controllers across the country.

Provision that bars deaf-muts from contesting poll challenged

A provision of the Tamil Nadu Panchayats Act the excludes the deaf-mute from contesting elections has been challenged before the Masras High Court. The petitioner L.K. Venkat, a physically challenged person and a law graduate, stated that in proviso 37(3) of the legislation, a person would be disqualified if, on the last date of filing of nomination or on the date of election, he was  of unsound mind or deaf-mute. He made a representation to the State Election Commissioner on October 4, regarding the exclusion. He was told that a candidate’s nomination was rejected for the reason that she was a deaf-mute. The petitioner said it was the govt’s duty to give protection and encourage such persons by giving enough opportunity to them as part of confidence-building measures. These people did not need any sympathy, but only wanted recognition by way of equal opportunity. The legal provision was ultra vires the constitution, especially against Article 14 by denying equal opportunity. It was an irony that persons with criminal background could contest elections, but those with physically disability at birth could not.

Underground Metro Station work on

The underground Metro station stated to come up on Anna Salai near the new complex, which is to be converted into a multi-specialty hospital, has begun to take shape. Preliminary work on shifting power cables and water supply pipes commenced recently. The Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. has been temporarily allotted a ship of land within the complex, which the previous DMK govt. had constructed for relocating the Secretariate. CMRL official said that the entry and exit to the station would come up within the campus of the complex. One of the diaphragm walls of the underground chamber would also be inside the complex. Station construction is expected to start by next month. Since the facility was originally supposed to come up inside a high-security zone, the station plan includes additional space for metal detectors and scanners at the entry/exit points. The station would be integrated with the existing pedestrian subway across Anna Salai.

India clinch ODI series against England

Hosts India beat England by 95 runs in the final ODI of the series in Kolkata, sweeping the five-match series 5-0. Team India skipper M.S. Dhoni is named Man of the Series.

B53 nuclear bombs

The last of the B53 nuclear bombs – a crucial component in US’s Cold War Strategy – is dismantled. The feared bomb packed 600 times more power than the N-bomb that had wrecked Hiroshima during World War II.

Union Cabinet proposal to hike India’s contribution to the IMF

25 : The Union Cabinet approves a proposal to hike India’s contribution to the IMF from the current 2.44 percent to 2.75 percent. It will make India the eighth largest shareholder in the multilateral lending agency.

New Council has several promises to keep

From building contractors and realtors to businessmen and full-time politicians the newly-elected corporation council comprises members with diverse backgrounds, offering a lot of promise. The council has at least 16 graduates including a former college lecturer, a 28-year-old MBA and a 38 year old MA in political science. There are also a few councillors who are still in college, including a 23 years-old pursuing a Master’s degree  in economics. Residents, pinning their hopes on these councillors are eager to see them in action, bringing about a difference. “We  wanted a change. Our municipolity was not able to deliver the goods. Sea erosion is a major issue in our area. Something needs  to be done about that. Roads have to be laid, streetlights don’t burn and underground drainage is a necessity as untreated sewage is being let out into the sea”, says T. Joseph, a resident of Nettukuppam in Ward 1. Kudankulam plant has an in-built safety machanism, say experts
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant has built into its design a multi-layered safety mechanism along with additional protocols to safeguard against systemic or humen error at the 2000-MW station, nuclear experts said. The incorporation of broad-ranging safety features makes the plant completely safe and insulated from a set worst-case radiation risk scenarios, including a Chernobyl – type clamity or a Fukushima – like disaster set off by a tsunami, scientists told an interactive public meeting hosted by the Chemical Industries Association to explain the safety aspects of the KKNPP.

Women score 71 out of 200 seats

The Chennai Corporation’s newly – elected council will have 71 women among 200 as against the 52 in the previous council, which had 155 members of the 71, a sizeable number are first time councillors. Particularly those representing expanded areas. While some of them had contested in the previous local body elections, others have emerged successful in their first attempt.

IPI-India Award

The International Press Institute (PIP) – India Award for Excellence in Journalism, 2011, is conferred jointly on Tehelka and The Week for their outstanding journalistic work in 2010.

Yuki Bham briwins ITF Futures tennis tournament

Indian tennis star Yuki Bhambri wins the men’s singles title at the ITF Futures tennis tournament in Lagos, Nigeria.

North Korea and US open their second round of direct talks

North Korea and the US open their second round of direct talks, focussed on the former’s nuclear programme, in Geneva, Switzerland.

NSSO across five states

A study carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) across five-States – Rajasthan, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttarkhand and Tamil Nadu – reveals a four-fold increase in spending on hospitalised care and more than two-fold increase in non-hospitalised care since 2004.

Polaris posts 12% rise in net profit

Polaris Software Lab has reported a revenue of   509.74 crore for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, up from 388.34 crore in the same quarter last year and up from   450.19 crore for the quarter ended June 2011. Operating profit (earning before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) has increased by 25 per cent to  75.54 crore, up from   60.24 crore in the same period last year. The operating profit has grown by 19 per cent quarter-on quarter to   75.54 crore from 63.50 crore. Revenues were well distributed with America contributing 45.43 per cent. Europe 22.40 per cent IMEA 15.25 per cent and Asia Pacific 16.92 per cent Cash and Cash equivalents stood at   417 crore at the end of the September quarter.

Costs imposed on College for seeking excess fee

The Madras High Court Bench has imposed costs of   50,000 on a private engg. college for demanding exorbitent fee than that fixed by the govt. from a student who was allotted the college through the single window counselling system last year. According to the petitioner, he paid   5,000 towards partial tution fee immediately after being allotted the college at the counselling session held in Chennai on Aug.1  last year. He also obtained a bank challan for   7,500 to be paid in the name of the college. However, when he and his father approached the college, they were shocked by the demand of annual fee of   94,150 of which   32,500 was towards tuition fee and the rest, admission fee, caution deposit, special tuition fee, internet, association fee, books and uniform, hostel admission, hostel rent, deposit, swimming and gym. Apart from this, they were asked to pay  1,700 every month. Despite the warning, the college did not admit him and hence the present writ petition.

Food processing key to viability of agriculture sector

A novel food technology is the need of the hour and it is important to examine identify and segragate industries that can absorb research and development inputs to bring about a 10-15 percent increase in value addition in agri produce, Governor K. Rosaiah said. Inaugurating a conference on “Emerging technologies in food processing sector” and 9th edition of the three day Foodpro 2011 exhibition at the Chennai Trade Centre, Nandambakkam, he said that the development of technology was vital for improving productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness and it was imperative for the growth of a nation, underlining the importance of the food processing sector, Mr. Rosaiah said, “Food processing is the key to the viability of agriculture sector”. He pointed out that Indian food industry ranked fifth in terms of production, Consumption and export.

Students from Chennai drawns in Nepal

Tragedy struch a team of college students from Chennai, who were on an educational tour of Nepal, when one of them died while another is missing after the group fell into the Trisuli river when a suspension bridge on which they were posing for photographs gave way on October 22. Two locals also died in the accident and a few students and faculty member were said to be injured, official sources said. The dead student was identified as Florence Angel (22) of MKN Road in Alandur and the missing student is Amida (21), a native of Nagaland. The group of 43 people, including 18 girls who are 2nd year Masters of in Social Work students of Mar Cregorious Arts and Science College, Mogappair, had left for the educational tour to Kathmandu. The students had throughed the bridge when iron rods supporting the structure snapped, plunging more than 40 persons into the waters with heavy currents.

The Hindu Auto Expo

A must-visit event for not prospective car buyers but also for patrons of vintage models. The Hindu Auto Expo, powered by SBI Car Loan, will draw to a close on Sunday evening. This edition of the three-day expo features some of the expo features some of the globally renowned car and like brands, as well as a display of fine vintage cars and car images. With a car to suit every buyer,  the displays range from the world’s cheapest car nano, to some of the most luxurious four wheelers that cost upwards of a crore rupees. Presenting the best of their models are brands like Porsche, Audi, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen, Tata Motors, Hyundai, Skoda, Hyosung, Nissan, Ford and Honda. SBI will iron out worries about financies at the expo with its car loans. All cars can be booked on spot, except models from Parsche.

Astronomers discover a mysterious little dwarf planet

Astronomers discover a mysterious little dwarf planet which they believe is covered in ice and may have the wispy remnants of an atmosphere. The planet, officially named 2007OR10, lies outside Neptune and is orbiting the Sun as part of the Kuiper belt – the ring of icy bodies that orbit the Sun beyond Neptune.

New Zealand wins Rugby World Cup

Hosts New Zealand beat France in the final in Auckland to clinch the 2011 Rugby World Cup. It is their second title triumph which comes after a gap of 24 years.

Powerful earthquake strikes Turkey

Over 1000 people are feared killed as a powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake strikes Turkey’s south-east.

Pakistan allows an Indian helicopter on board to return home

 Pakistan allows an Indian helicopter with four Army personnel on board to return home, hours after it was forced to land in PoK for violating the Pakistani airspace.

Cotton prices expected to decline

Factors such as substantial increase in cotton production and only a marginal increase expected in consumption globally are likely to lead to a decline in domestic cottan prices this season (Oct. 2011 to Sept. 2012). The Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) is expected to go in for MSP (Minimum Support Price) operation, if the prices fall below the MSP. Indian cotton arrivals are low at about 60,000 bales a day now. It will increase to 1.2 lakh bales a day in a couple of weeks and only then will there be a clear picture on the demand and prices. It is estimated that the CCI will require about   13,000 crore to purchase nearly 80 lakh bales at the MSP.

Poor maintenance of rural water supply

Despite availability of piped drinking water, there is a high degree of bacterial cantamination and presence of fluorides in certain pockets of the state. A 2010 study on Multi District Assessment of water safety in Krishnagiri district carried out by UNICEF in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board has revealed around 82% bacterialogical  contamination of various water points in rural schemes. This data was revealed on day two of a workshop on Effective Communication for development on issues related to children jointly organised by the Press Information Bureau and UNICEF, Chennai.

Uthapuram’s Dalits, caste Hindus reach agreement

The long-standing dispute between Dalits and caste Hindus (Pillaimar) of Uthapuram village has been resolved, thanks to concerted efforts by the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Erodication Front. On October 20, an interactive session was organised in the presence of Mr. Garg, the ADSP, were elders from both the communities signed an agreement. When contacted, Mr. Garg said, “It was a team effort and we wanted to solve this issue soon. I hope peace will return to the village.” The agreement allows the Dalits access to the Muthalamman temple and paves the way for construction of a bus shelter near the temple for use by both sections. It also provides for the use of the pathway created after demolishing a wall dividing the two habitations.

Rock paintings in Rajasthan

The Archaeological Survey of India unearths a huge treasure of prehistoric rock paintings near Bundi in Rajasthan. The spectacular archaelogical wealth, belonging to the Mesolithic-Chalcolithic period, proves the existence of a rich ancient civilisation in the region about 10,000 years back.

NDC growth target in 12th Fiver-Year Plan

The National Development Council (NDC), the country’s highest policy decision-making body, endorses a growth target of 9 percent for the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17).

Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra to reach Madurai

The Jan Chetna Yatra led by senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani is scheduled to reach Madurai an route to Kerala on Oct. 27. Muralidhara Rao, one of the general secretaries of the party, told reporters that this leg of the yatra would begin after a two-day break for Deepavali Mr. Advani would address a public meeting at Madurai. In Tamil Nadu, the Yatra would cover 13 Assembly segments in three districts. To a question on the party’s stand on the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Mr. Rao admitted that it had not taken a conclusive stand. We are not totally opposed to such plants. But, our stand a that the apprehension of the people in the Kudankulam region is genuine and it is imperative for the govt. to alloy their fears.

Teachers urge state to till vacancies of Vice-Chancellor

The 26th statutory conference of All India Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organisations (AIFUCTO), besides other demands, has requested the Chancellor of Universities of Tamil Nadu and the State Govt. to appoint Vice-Chancellor’s in various Universities that do not have one for more than six months. The two-day conference took-off in Kangakumari with a secretariate meeting, inaugural session, two business sessions and cultural programmes. Among other demands, the focus was on appointing V.Cs based on regulations of the UGC and in a transparent manner. There was also a request for the constituent colleges of universities to be taken over by the govt. to reduce the financial burden.

Abhijeet Gupta wins National chess title

Abhijeet Gupta claims his maiden National chess title, beating Parimarjan Negi in the final round in Aurangabad, Maharashtra.

Pakistan is elected to the UN Security Council as non-permanent member

Pakistan is elected to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2012. The country garnered 129 votes in the 193-member UN General Assembly.

India-Nepal sign major economic pacts

At a meeting between Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and his visiting Nepal counterpart Mr. Baburam Bhattarai in New Delhi, India and Nepal sign some major economic pacts. India also offers a $250-million line of credit to Nepal.

Nokia’s drive to connect ‘the next billion”

A huge contingent of top executives of mobile phone countries, drawn from diverse countries, of Nokia is currently touring India to understand the mindset of consumers. The team is led by Mary T. McDowell, Executive Vice-President (Mobile Phones), Nokia. In line with this, Ms. Mary McDwell has been assigned the leadership role to drive Nokia’s web for the next billion strategy. Essentially she led team would look to explore how best Nokia could use in multi-various ways mobile phones to leaverage its innovation and strength in growth markets to connect “the next billion people and bring them affordable access to the Internet and applications.” Nevertheless, she claimed that Nokia had done much more in the meanwhile to catch up. The dual SIM trend had since travelled to other parts of the slobe, she said. Selling mobile devices in India was much more than cost optimisation and providing consumers the best possible mobile experience ‘is the key’, she added.

40th Dhanvantari Award

Dr. M.K. Mani of the Chennai Apollo Hospital, who is a pioneer in nephrology in India, is honoured with the 40th Dhanvantari Award.

Muammar Gaddafi is killed

Former Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi is killed in an assault by the nation’s new regime forces on the last pocket of resistance in his hometown Sirte, sparking joy and celebratory gunfire across the nation.

India and France discuss military contracts and civil nuclear safety

India and France discuss military contracts and civil nuclear safety during an interaction between External Affairs Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna and his visiting French counterpart Mr. Alain Juppe in New Delhi.

HCL Tech Q1 revenue crosses $1 billion

HCL Technologies has reported a net income of   496.70 crore for the first quarter ended Sept. 30, 2011 against   331.10 crore in the year-ago period, a growth of 50 per cent. Revenue has increased to   4,651.30 crore from   3,708.10 crore. The quarterly revenue has crossed the $1 billion mark. The company has announced a divident of   2 per share. The company plans to add 10,000 jobs outside India over the next five years, Mr. Vineet Nayar said, “We are looking at playing a more socially responsible role. People are not just looking at ways to save cost but also at creating more jobs locally. Our vision is to create 10,000 jobs outside India in the next 5 years”, he said.

Asthma expression of allergy in respiratory system

There is no training or fellowship offered in India for studying allergies, said R. Sridharan, Consultant Allergist-Asthma Specialist. “Many doctors approach asthma as a respiratory condition but I approach it as an expression of an allergy in the respiratory system”, he added. Addressing asthma as an allergy helps find the root cause of the problem, said Dr. Sridharan, who was speaking it an awareness programme at P.S. Senior Secondary School on October 18. The event was Breathe Free”, a public service initiative by Cipla which was an appeal to school children to avoid or reduce bursting fire crackers and instead light candles this Deepavali. The smoke from the crockers emit harmful gases such as carban dioxide, carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide which irritates the delicate airways of the lungs and aggravates the condition of people with Asthma,” he said. The students were also shown videos on global warming, increasing air pollution, passive smoking and the importance of preserving trees.

Belgium film fare begins

A five-day Belgiam Film Festival organised by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, New Delhi, Honorary Consulate of Belgium, Chennai, Indo Cino Appreciation Foundation and Alliance Francaise opened in Chennai. Inaugurating the film festival, Pierre Vaesen, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Belgium, New Delhi, said Belgium films have a long tradition. Films such as Loft, The Barans, Hector, Chrismas in Paris and Rumba will be screened until Oct. 21.

The Hindu correspondent wins Red Cross Award

The Hindu correspondent Mr. Aman Sethi wins the International Committee of the Red Cross Award for the best Indian print media article on humanitarian issues. The prize-winning article described the police torching of three Chhattisgarh villages in March 2011.

Booker Prize 2011

British writer Mr. Julian Barnes (65), is named the winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel The Sense Of An Ending.

Asianairgun shooting championship

Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra of India wins the air rifle Silver at the Asian airgun shooting championship in Kuwait; the Gold is won by Zhu Qinan of China.

European Court outlaws embryonic stem cell techniques

The European Court outlaws embryonic stem cell techniques, a move which, according to scientists, will stifle research investment.

J&K approves Public Safety Act

The J&K government approves amendments to the Public Safety Act, which had come under heavy criticism for being arbitrary and infringing upon the civil liberties of the people.

Congestion at Chennai Port successfully brought down

After struggling for nearly two months, various stakeholders of the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) on Oct. 17 succeeded in bringing down the inventory of import containers to 2,700. To bring normality at the harbour, the stakeholders decided on October 10 to suspend export activities at ChPT for four days from Thursday morning as the inventory at the first container terminal reached the optimum capacity. The first terminal had around 13,500 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs), of which import boxes accounted for nearly 11,000 TEUs.

TNPSC recruitments come under scanner

Close on the heels of conducting searches on the premises of the Tamil Nadu Public Commission (TNPSC) Chairman and 13 members, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) will seek original selection list, answer sheets and other documents pertaining to the recruitment of candidates to various posts, including Group I services, in 2010-11. Documents were seized from the residences of a majority of Members during the day-long searches. Besides answer sheets and unofficial selection list, the police also found diaries that contained registration numbers of candidates along with the names of those who had recommended their selection. The seizures included unaccounted cash and the copy of a letter written by a Member to the former Chief Minister requesting that he be appointed to the TNPSC. The letter also had a “favourable” endorsement made by the then Finance Minister, the sources said. According to a DVAC official, an investigation was launched based on specific allegations of malpractice in the recruitment of candidates to the posts of Assistant Dental Surgeon, Group-I Services, Village Administrative Officer (VAO), Motor Vehicles Inspector (Grade-II) etc.

Publish final order of Cauvery tribunal in Gazette.

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has asked Prime Minister to issue instructions to the ministry of Water Resources for publishing the final order of the Cauvery water Disputes Tribunal (Feb. 5, 2007) in the Gazette of India and have the Cauvery Management Board in place immediately. In a letter to the Prime Minister Ms.  Jayalalithaa stated that the Karnataka govt. had consistently taken the stand that after the final order of the tribunal, there was no enforceable governing regime since the interim order ceased to exist.

Nearly 3,000 voters boycott polls

Nearly 3,000 voters of Okkiampettai, a locality off Rajiv Gandhi Salai, boycotted the election by not casting their votes. They were annoyed that their area has been merged with Kannagi Nagar, a locality dotted with several hundred Tamil Nadu Slum Clearances Board tenants. The wards of Okkiam Thoraipakkam Panchayat were clubbed to form three wards as part of the delimitation exercise of the expanded Chennai Corporation.

Sanskriti Award

The Sanskriti Awards – given every year to young talents in the field of journalism, art, literature, performing arts  and social achievement – for 2011 are announced; the winners are : Kashmiri poet Ms. Shahida Shabnam, journalist Mr. Rana Ayub, Bangalore-based Mr. Abhishek Hazra, musician Mr. Murad Ali and social activist Mr. Vinayak Lohani.

NDTV Indian of the Year Award

The NDTV Indian of the Year Awards are given away at a ceremony in New Delhi. The awardees are : Veteran actor Dev Anand (Lifetime Achievement Award); cricketer Rahul Dravid (Lifetime Achievement Award); Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal (Indian of the Year 2011); and the Indian cricket team (Indian Heroes Award).

Bangladesh win ODI series

Hosts Bangladesh beat West Indies by eight wickets in the third and final ODI of the series in Chitagong; with this, the series ends 2-1 in West Indies’ favour.

Fifth Summit of IBSA countries

The Fifth Summit of the India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) grouping concludes in Pretoria, South Africa. The joint declaration signed by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, Brazilian President Ms. Dilma Rousseff and South African President Mr. Jacob Zuma witnesses the three nations publicly supporting one another for permanent  seats on the UN Security Council. They also spell out the grouping’s stand on major issues troubling the world.

Centre’s desire to give the Lokpal Constitutional status

Union Law Minister Mr. Salman Khursheed announces that the Centre’s desire to give the Lokpal Constitutional status will not in any way delay the proposed legislation on the subject.

Eqbal’s booklet on Civil miscellaneous appeals

Enthused by the effectiveness of measures to bring down pendency of interim applications in various courts across the state, Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal of the Madras High Court has now come up with a booklet on repeating the achievement in respect of civil miscellaneous appeals pending in subordinate courts. C.J. Eqbal released the booklet ‘Appeals from Applicable orders (Myths and Realities)’ at the first conference of Judicial Officers in the southern states, organised by the Tamil Nadu Judicial Officers’ Association, Chennai.

Judges told to keep knowledge upto date

Supreme Court Judge P. Sathasivam said judges should be well versed with the latest amendments and developments in law and put them into practice to speed up the process of delivering justice. Delivering the inaugural address at the first “Conference of Judicial officers of Southern States of India” organised by Tamil Nadu Officiers Association, he said. “If criminal courts have to be an effective instrument in dispensing justice, presiding officers must cease to be a spectator and a mere recording machine. They have to be an active participant to ascertain the truth.”

The newprocess can increase the data recording density of hard disks by six times

Scientists at the National University of Singapore claim to have developed a surprising use of table salt which, they say, could help deal with the increasing quantities of data that are being created and stored. The new process can increase the data recording density of hard disks by six times. It involves simple sodium chloride, the chemical grade of regular table salt.

Swiss Ambadassors Award

Tata Group Chairman Mr. Ratan Tata is honoured with the Swiss Ambassador’s Award for Exceptional Leadership at a ceremony in New Delhi.

100 year old man world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Mr. Fauja Singh, a 100-year-old man of Indian origin, sets a world record becoming the oldest person to complete a full-distance marathon race. He sets this enviable record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in Canada, finishing the 42-km race in eight hours.

Parties symbols by draw of lots

Continuing with its electoral reforms, the Election Commission of India moves one step ahead by allowing registered unrecognised political parties to have a common symbol as a one-time offer during general elections. Hitherto, such parties were given symbols by draw of lots in individual constituencies if more than one candidate claimed a particular symbol.

Bonus announced for TNEB, transport staff

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a bonus of 8.33 per cent and 11.67 per cent exgratia for employees of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board and State Transport Corportions for 2010-11. A total of 71,012 employees of TNEB and 1,30,554 employees of the transport undertakings would be benefited by the decision. Further 12,064 contract labourers of TNEB would be paid  1500 each as exgratia. Similarly, 14,845 non-conferred staff of transport corporations would get a bonus of 8.33 per cent.  This would mean an expeditive of   61.46 crore for the board and  101.50 crore for transport corporation.

State Council sought for implementing Act

The Tamil Nadu Elders Welfare Association has called for elderly constituion of the State Council for effective implementation of the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. This was one of the 15 resolutions adopted at a meeting of the association, Chennai recently, said a press release. Others include those seeking an increase in the old age pension from   1,000 to   3,000 and 50 per cent concession in bus and train fare for senior citizens. The Association’s general secretary S.M. Chellasamy said the meeting also underscored the need to relax the maximum age limit for issuing insurance policies. The income tax exemption upto   5 lakh should be provided to those aged above 70.