January, 2012

Leather exports will touch the target

Export of Indian Leather and Leather products will touch the targetted figure of $4.72 billion for current fiscal. The first five months of the current year, the exports touched $2.74 billion against $ 2.15 billion for the corresponding period last year, marking an increase of 27.33 per cent both in terms of dollar and rupee. Last year, Indian Leather Exports were $ 3.5 billion.

Power scenario matter of concern

The power scenario continues to be a matter of concern inspite of the State govt`s best efforts, Governor K. Rosaiah told the Assembly. To revive the sinking power utilities from the financial mess, the govt. had provided2,600 crore as share capital support and 955 crore as loan. “This govt is making all-out efforts to improve the energy availability and reduce the power shortage”. Since the assumption of office by the present govt., the capacity addition was 30 megawatt (MW) under the state sector, apart from a share of 113 MW from Central Generating stations. Besides, windmills of 556 MW had been established New Projects with a total capacity of 4,704 MW would be commissioned in two years.

Plan for 1.85 lakh crore announced

Despite the negative impact of the economic slow down that has led to the scaling down of growth projections for the current fiscal at the national level, Tamil Nadu plans to spend massive sums on infrastructure and social security in the 12th plan period (2012-17). Governor announced an ambitious outlay of  1,85,000 crore for plan schemes over the next five years. The figure will be more than double the size of the 11th Plan outlay of  85,000 crore, the Governor said in his address to the Tamil Nadu Assembly” This will put Tamil Nadu back on the path of accelerated growth”.

Housing project for cyclone – his districts

A  1000 crore project of building one lakh concrete houses in cyclone-hit districts such as Cuddalore and Villupuram was the highlight of Governor K. Rosaiah`s address to the Assembly. Mr. Rosaiah, who delivered his first address as Governor since assumption of office in August, said the state would take up the constitution immediately to replace the damaged huts in the districts. A detailed memorandum, spelling out the quantum of damage and seeking a special package of  5,248 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund, had been submitted to the Centre.

Unfairly limiting China`s export – WTO

In a report, the WTO says that China is unfairly limiting its exports of several crucial raw materials, which is giving an undue advantage to Chinese manufacturers.

Finance ministry announces new rating index

The Finance Ministry announces that it has come up with a new rating index. Named Comparative Rating Index of Sovereigns (CRIS), it is compiled on the basis of sovereign ratings of various countries put together through rating adata of Moody`s and GDP data of IMF.

GDP growth

The Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) revises India`s GDP growth estimates for 2010-11 slightly lower to 8.4 percent from 8.5 projected earlier.

India chooses the French fighter Rafale

India chooses the French fighter Rafale over the Eurofighter Typhoon in the high-profile deal for the supply of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). Estimated at $10.4 billion, it is the country`s largest defence deal to date.

Can buy laptops from constitutency fund

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for one-time purchase of personnel computers or laptops with internet connection and printers for all MLAs from their constituency dvelopment fund. A state govt. press to release said the MLAs could buy either a personnel computer or a laptop from the “unspeficifed fund`s of  87.50 lakh of the total constitutency development fund of  2 crore for the year 2011-12. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa increased the MLAs constitutency development fund to  2 crore during the debate on the revised budget estimate in 2011-12.

Renovation of Anna, MGR memorials

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has sanctioned 8.90 crore for renovation of the memorials of former Chief Minister C.N. Annadurai and M.G. Ramachandran on the Marina. Thousands of people visited these memorials every day and the govt. wanted to keep the places and the environment clean. An announce-ment to this effect was made during the debate on the demand for grants for Information Department in 2011-12.

Tourist boating proposed

At their react gram Sabha meeting, fisherfolk belonging to Kottaikuppam Panchayat near the Pulicat lake decided to write to the Thiruvallur Collector staking their rights to be included in the govt`s proposed tourist boating services. This follows feelers from the govt. saying that 10 fisherman each from Kottaikuppam. Lighthouse kuppam and Pazhaverkadu Panchayats may be involved in a proposed project to operate official boating services. Ever since, the Tourism Department has been mulling a project to construct a park, boat jetty and an information centre, train fishermen, provide life jackets and post its staff for supervition.

Paying for lifestyle changes with diseases

It has been accepted that one of the reasons for increasing incidences of diseases such as diabetes or metabolic disorders is the changing lifestyle. In around 50 years, simple lifestyles have given way to overindulgence. And the Indian population is suffering from the consequences. Dept. head Chandra Venkatasubramanian said it was for the first time that the 50 year old department was hosting a national seminar of this nature. Around 500 academics participated and 100 research papers were presented and evaluated by a panel of four experts.

Traffic violators to be fined more

Those violating traffic rules would be forced to shell out more from today. With the new spot fine slabs announced by the Chennai City Traffic Police coming into effect, repeat offenders would be specifically targetted. Addl. Comm. of Police (Traffic), Sanjay Arora said that the State government has increased the Compounding fee` attached to each offence as per the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act. For example, those violating the mandatory use of helmet provision would have to Pay a fine of  100 from Jan. 30, as against  50. In case the person violates the same provision again, a fine of  300 could be charged. The existing fine structure came into affect in 2007. The govt. made a decision to hike the fine amounts for 34 different types of traffic offences after a proposal was made by CCTP to bring in greater deterrence.

EU agrees on tougher measures to enforce budget

At its meeting in Brussels, Belgium, the European Union (EU) agrees on tougher measures to enforce budget discipline in the Eurozone. Two member nations, Britain and the Czech Republic, choose not to adopt the measures.

Industries grew 3.1% in Dec.

Reports released by the Centre reveal that in a poor performance, the eight core industries grew by a mere 3.1 percent in December 2011, mainly due to the slackening output of crude oil, steel and natural gas.

5 lakh for Panchayats with sanitation coverage

Village panchayats that achieve 100 per cent sanitation coverage in individual households and schools, and are free from open detecation, will be given an incentive of  5 lakh. In each district, one village panchayat will be chosen. The incentive scheme is part of the clean village campaign launched in 2003 and 2006-07. Intallation of rainwater harvesting structures in all houses, adoption of solid waste management, waster conservation and waste water re-use and establishment of night soil-based biogas plants were the components of the compaign, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa sanctioned 1.55 crore.

Judge sets aside warrant against Jayalalithaa

Principal District and Sessions Judge (Cuddalore) K. Uthirapatty ordered the setting aside of the Non-Bailable warrant issued by the Parangipettai Judicial Magistrate against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a case relating to the filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections. The judge also instructed the JM court that if it had already issued any NBW in this regard it should take steps to take it back. The Judge observed that “unless otherwise the supreme court varies the said order, the trial court shall cease to have any power to make any headway in the trial proceedings and issuing of an NBW to secure the pressence of the revision petitioner (Ms. Jayalalithaa) is wholly contrary and in gross violation of the SC order. Therefore, the error that has happened in the proceedings of the trial court has to be rectified. The judge also noted that “there are other matters which require action from this court on the administrative side”.

Tenements to take slope under new scheme :

New houses for residents of tanements on the Marina Beach will be taken up under a disaster preparedness project of the state govt. The Urban Housing componant of the Emergency Tsunami Reconstruction Project (ETRP) under which tenemants were earlier planned in the slums affected by the tsunami would not be pursued, said an official of the Housing and Urban Development Department. The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board was unable to complete the reconstruction of the tenemants before Dec. 2011 deadline. The project was to be implemented with World Bank funding. “The tanements in the slums on the Marina are structurally weak. Had the cyclone “Thane” hit Chennai, the dilapidated tenements would have collapsed. Many residents would have been injured or killed”, said an official of the Tamil Nadu Slum clearance Board.

Australian Open Tennis 2012

Womens Doubles : </i></b><span style="color: #282828;">Russian pair of Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova win the 2012 Australian Open womens doubles title, beating in the final the Italian duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
Womens Single : </i></b><span style="color: #282828;">Victoria Azarenka of Belarus wins the 2012 Australian Open womens singles title in Melbourne, beating Maria Sharapova of Russia in the final.
Mens Double : </i></b><span style="color: #282828;">Leander Paes (India) and Radek Stepanek (Czech Republic) win the mens doubles title, beating USs Bob and Mike Bryan in the final.</span><b style="color: #282828;"><i>
Men
s Single : 
Novak Djokovic of Serbia wins title, beating Rafael Naal of Spain in the final.
Mixed Doubles : 
Mixed doubles won by Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) and Horia Teau (Romania), who beat Elena Vesnina (Russia) and Leander Paes (India).

World Economic Forum`s Annual Meeting

The World Economic Forum`s Annual Meeting 2012 concludes in Davos, Switzerland. The five day summit, featuring the theme “The Great Transformation : Shaping New Models” witnesses the participation of a large number of government heads and business leaders from across the world.

India signs the Multilateral Convention on tax matters

In yet another move to get information on black money stashed abroad, India signs the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. It is a multilateral agreement that promotes international cooperation while respecting the rights of tax payers.

Chile for partnership with India in energy sector

President of Senate of Chile Guido Girardi called for partnership between his country and India in the renewable energy sector, saying that his country had decided to achieve 20 per cent of its energy needs through renewable energy sources by 2020. He said one of the world`s largest copper industry. Also he said there was tremendous scope for partnership between Chile and India in areas of renewable energy, especially, geo-thermal, tidal wave, wind, biomoss and solar.

4.5 crore for building hostels for students :

The govt. has sanctioned 4.5 crore for the construction of own buildings for hostels of students belonging to Backward Classes, Most Backward classes and Denotified communities. The capacity of each hostel will be 100. There will be two hostels in Ramanathapuram district. Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Villapuram will have one hostel each.

Leather industry records 27% growth

The Indian Leather industry is likely to face challenges in maintaining the existing growth level, said Aqeel Ahmed, Regional Chairman, Council for Leather Exports, Southern Region in Chennai. Mr. Ahmed said that the Europe is the major market for Indian leather exports. At present there is a crisis in Europe owing to which the economy has showed down. Germany is the only market which is doing better. However there is an opportunity to increase the Indian leather industry`s share in the global leather trade.

Sivapathy, Subramanian Sworn in Ministers

N.R. Sivapathy and Mukkur N. Subramanian were sworn in Ministers by Governor K. Rosaiah at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan. Mr. Sivapathy a MLA from the Musiri constituency in Trichy District. Now he will be in charge of School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare. Mr. Subramanian (52) who represents Cheyyar Constitutency in Tiruvannamalai district, will look after the portfolio of Information Technology. They have been inducted in the place of Agri S.S. Krishnamoorthy and S.P. Velumani.

Australia wins Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Australia complete a 4-0 wipe-out of India, winning the fourth and final Test in Adelaide by 298 runs. the hosts regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Healthcare, education offer scope for Indo-UK partnership

Healthcare and education sectors present the UK and India huge opportunities to forge mutually beneficial partnerships. Mike Nithavrianakis, British Deputy High Commissioner, said. He said while there were prospects for colaboration in a range of sectors such as infrastructures automotive, manufacturing. IT and financial services, if he were to cite to couple of sectors where the UK and India, especially the south, could forge partnerships of excellence in the List Century, it had to be healthcare and education.

Fire and Rescue Services Officials get Anna Medal

Three officials of the Fire and Rescue Services, who displayed exemplary courage while fighting the fire at the heritage building “Kalab Mahalhere about 10 days ago, were given this years Anna Medal for Gallantry. While K. Anbalagan, leading Fireman of the Teynampet Fire Station, died in action, N. Priya, Divisional fire officer of the Chennai Central Division, and R. Murugan, Station Fire officer of the Ashok Nagar Fire Station were injured. From this year, the govt. has enhanced the prize amount for the medal from 25,000 to 1 lakh.

Special scholarship scheme to nurture elite sports persons

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a special scholarship schemes for elite sportspersons, under which the govt. will spend 1.25 crore to nurture sports persons capable of winning medals at international competitions such as Olympics. The amount will be utilised to provide them training and quality food, enable than to take part in competitions held in other countries and procure high tech equipments. The scheme will also cover measures to help coaches improve these skills.

Kepler telescope has discovered 26 new planets

NASA announces that the Kepler telescope has discovered 26 new planets spread among 11 solar systems. Some of these planets are onlyh 1.5 times the size of Earth, while some others are bigger than Jupiter. Fifteen exoplanets are between Earth and Neptune in size.

US Economy grew 2.8%

Latest reports reveal that the US economy grew 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, its fastest pace of growth in one-and-a-half years.

India has the world`s most toxic air

A new study by the American universities of Yale and Columbia reveals that India has the world`s most toxic air. India holds the very last place among 132 nations in terms of air quality with regard to its effect on human health. India scores a dismal 3.73 out of a possible 100 points, lagging far behind the next worst performer, Bangladesh, which scores 13.66 points. At the other end of the scale are the European nations of Switzerland, Latvia and Norway, which capture the top three positions in the index.

Lakshya-II is successfully flight-tested

An advanced version of the pilotless target aircraft Lakshya-II is successfully flight-tested at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, Orissa.

Three IPS officers gets President`s Police Medal

Three IPS officers in Tamil Nadu, including two Additional Directors – General of Police, have been awarded the Presidents Police Medal for distinguished Service. They are Srilakshmi Prasad, ADGP, Headquarters, Chennai. Mithilesh Kumar Jha, ADGP, Technical Service, Chennai, and T.P. Sundaramurthy` Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City. Twenty one police officers including an ADGP, have been awarded the Police Medal for Meritarious service.

Japanese investments in State

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa told a Japanese business delegation that she would facilitate Japanese investments in the state. She said that the govt. was paying a lot of attention to improve the infrastructure in Tamil Nadu to international standards. The delegation, led by Nabuo Ohashi, Chairman, Japan-Indian Business Co-operation committee, informed the Chief Minister that a large number small and medium Japanese industries were looking Tamil Nadu as an ideal investment destination.

A coin that conjures up Colifornia Gold Rush

About a month ago, the Govt. Museum Egmore acquired a rare gold coin from the Pudukkottai govt. museum that houses the coin collection of the Tondaiman kings, who once ruled Pudukkottai. The coin which has an image of an eagle and legend on the observe side, is on display as part of the “Exhibit of the week”, programme at the museum, Chennai. This discovery sparked off a major migration that continued for almost seven years as people from different parts of America and many parts of the world flocked to the state from Oregon, Sandwich Islands (Hawai), and Latin America. The coin represents what many would consider one of the most fascinating and vibrant periods of California`s history, says Mr. Sundararajan, Numismatics gallery curator.

Online system of building plan approval suggested

A proposal has been forwarded to the Chennai Corporation to develop on online application that can be used to offer building plan approval through a web portel, said P.R. Krishnamoorthy, Regional head of e-Governments Foundation. He said that while pre-sanction of a layout can be sought online currently, the idea was to degitise the entire process and provide approvals over the internet. All e-services that are currently available on the Chennai Corporation`s website would be extended to residents of areas that recently got merged with the civic body within two months. “Once we have an integrated system in place, we would proactively popularise online services,” he said.

TNSCB move for better quality

The Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board (TNSCB) will appoint project management consultants for its upcoming projects. They will monitor right from the concept to the commissioning stage, said Phamindra Reddy, Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development. “The move would help ensure better quality in projects implemented by the TNSCB”, he told a session on housing at the Municipalika conference that concluded in Chennai. In the next five years, the TNSCB planned to construct around one lakh dwelling units at a cost of  7,500 crore under the Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY). “We have major projects coming up and cannot deploy our manpower all over the state. We cannot appoint additional staff for this”.

63rd Republic Day – Chief Guest Thailand Prime Minister

The 63rd Republic Day celebrations are held in New Delhi; Thailand`s Prime Minister Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra attends the event as the guest of honour.

Stanley hospital gets laser machine

A laser machine to treat varicase veins was handed over to the vascular surgery department of Stanley Govt. Medical College and Hospital, Chennai. ELVeS, the machine, which costs 15 lakh, can send a probe into the affected vein and relieve the problem. It has been donated by the Indian Oil Corporation and was handed over to the Speaker of the Assembly D. Jayakumar. Then it was handed over to Vascular surgery department.

Nod for new reservoir in Tiruvallur district

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has given the nod for the construction of a  330 crore drinking water reservoir in Tiruvallur district to cater to the requirements of Chennai. The proposed reservoir will through filling twice, be able to store one thousand million cubic feet (TMC). It will combine two tanks in Kannan Kollai and Thervai Kandigai villages of Gummidipoondi taluk. A total of 1,252.47 acres of land, including 560.05 acres of govt. land, will be acquired. The project will be completed in two years, according to an official release issued.

Plastic road work begins

Work on the first plastic road for a bus route in the city commenced on 23rd, Jan. The Chennai Corporation`s Bus Route Roads Department started milling and re-laying work on the stretch of Valluvar Kottam High Road and Nelson Manickam Road. According to Corporation officials, the work on the first stretch of plastic road on a bus route would be completed on Jan 31. A stretch of 800 metre bus route of Valluvar Kottam High Road from Unit Office 21 Junction to Dr. MGR Salai junction would have 13,700 square metre of plastic road. A 1,250 metre stretch of Nelson Manickam Road would have 22,500 square metre of plastic road. The civic body would complete re-laying of 121 plastic roads on 80 km long bus routes at a cost of  51.7 crore in three months.

More water treatment plants to come up

Chennai Metrowater is planning to construct additional water treatment plants in Chembarampakkam and Red Hills to cater for the newly-expanded Chennai Corporation covering a population of 6.73 million. After the city expansion, the demand for drinking water has increased to 1,190 m, litres a day (ml), whereas Metrowater Supplies 800 mtd. As part of its strategies to bridge the demand-supply gap in the next five years, Metrowater proposes to construct a 300-mld treatment plant in Chembarampakkam and a 100-mild facility in Red Hills, say officials.

Home schooling catching slowly

While many parents are queuing upto secure admission in the top city schools, same others who are dissatisfied with their children`s experience in schools have decided to take upon themselves the responsibility of educating their children. The concept of home schooling is slowly picking up among parents in the city. “In the last few weeks, I have been receiving at least three to four enquiries from parents every week to guide them or home-educating their children”, says Vidya Shankar, who has been advocating home schooling among parents through various fortums.

First time built an accurate model of part of the solar system

Reports show that physicists have for the first time built an accurate model of part of the solar system inside a single atom (of potassium). The international team, led by Rice University, USA, has shown that they can cause an electron in an atom to orbit the nucleus in precisely the same way that Jupiter`s Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun.

Padma Awards 2012

The Padma Awards 2012 are announced Five people are chosen for the Padma Vibhushan; they are : K.G. Subramanyan (Art-Planning and Sculpture); late Mario de Miranda (Art-Cartooning); late Bhupen Hazarika (Art-Vocal Music); Dr. Kantilal Hastimal Sancheti (Medicine _ Orthopaedics); and T.V. Rajeswar (Civil Services). Other awards include 27 Padma Bhushan winners and 77 Padma Shri winners.

Japan announces its first annual trade deficit

Japan announces in first annual trade deficit in more than 30 years. The country`s first calendar year deficit in trade since 1980 stands at 2.49 million yen ($ 32 billion).

Bilateral trade between Thailand and India

Visiting Thailand Prime Minister Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra announces in New Delhi that Thailand and India will work to double the bilateral trade volume to around $14 billion by 2014. The two countries also decide to forge maritime partnership to develop a seaport at Dawei, a strategic location on the south-western coast of Myanmar, and work for developing port infrastructure in Chennai.

Relaxation extended

The govt. has extended the relaxation of ban on starting new colleges on education in the state for academic year 2013-14 and directed the Director of Collegiate Education to process applications for new colleges. The National Council for Teacher Education has stated that fresh applications will not be accepted for four teacher education courses in Tamil Nadu. In the light of these developments, the govt. has lifted the ban from academic year 2013-14.

7 years on, suggestions on fire safety yet to be implemented

Recommendation by the Fire and Rescue Services Commission to improve fire fighting in the state, made about seven years ago, are yet to be implemented. So is the proposed amendment to the Tamil Nadu Fire Serivce Act (1985), submitted two years ago, to improve safety in buildings. Amending the existing fire service Act was one of the key steps to improving safety in buildings and cities, the Commission suggested. In 2010, TNFRS submitted draft amendments to the govt. and it is still pending.

Coast Guard to install 6 radars in state

The Indian Coast Guard plans to install six radars in Tamil Nadu and is in the process of setting up radars on the Western Coast to improve the coastal surveilance network. The Coast Guard has plans for six radars in the State, including one in Chennai. A radar has been installed at the Light House, which will be activated in due course, he told reporters.

Muslim couple cannot adopt Hindu child : Court

A Muslim couple cannot seek custody of a minor child belonging to a Hindu couple on the basis of an adoption deed as neither the concept of adoption is known to Mohammedian law nor the Hindu adaptions and Maintenance Act applicable to those practicising Islam, the Madras High Court Bench, Madurai has ruled.

On day one, Nataraj promises transparency in TNPSC

The Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) which is plagued by allegations of corruption and malpractice, is set to introduce major reforms aimed at bringing about transparency in the system and simplification of the recruitment process. He said that the commission would upload answer keys to objective type questions on the same day of the examination. Candidates could raise issues pertaining to any anomaly within a stipulated time. We will also allow than to peruse their answer scripts. The objective in the system; ….. even if a candidate fails to make it, he/she should have the satisfaction of going through an indispulate solution process. We will give service without commission.”

State to get 1.8 lakh housing units

The State will get an additional 1.85 lakh housing units in the next five years at a cost of  17,230 crore of these, 1.43 lakh units would be for the economically weaker sections, R. Vaithilingam Minister for Housing and Urban Development said. He said 39,000 units were for other income groups divided into low, medium and high. Also be said, that as land was not available with the government for construction of dwelling units, in future, land pooling and joint ventures with land owners would be conceptualised for availing land for projects.

The strongest solar storm

The strongest geo-magnetic solar storm in more than six years hits the Earth`s magnetic frield; however, it causes only some minor effects on things like airline routes, power grids and satellite services.

Jaipur Literature Festival 2012

The Jaipur Literature Festival 2012, India`s largest annual literature show, comes to a close in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The festival sees a fair amount of upheavals with a political storm over the proposed visit of controversial author Salman Rushdie raging through its five-day duration.

RBI cuts CRR

 The Reserve Bank of India cuts the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 50 basis points from 6 percent to 5.5 percent with effect from January 28, 2012; the move will release 32,000 crore into India`s financial system.

IIM – Trichy bags first international placement among new institutes

Indian Institute of Management, Trichy has achieved the unique distinction being the first among the newly started ones in the country to witness an international summer placement for a student in the batch of 2011-12. A U.S. based company has made the placement offer to the student at the Singapore centre. There was likelihood for more international summer placements.

New NABARD scheme to boost warehousing for farm produce

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a new refinance scheme in order to incentives banks to accelerate the pace of creation of quality warehousing facilities for agricultural commodities, particularly for reducing post harvest losses. The new refinance scheme would help in creation of around nine million metric tonnes of additional storage capacity in the country against the immediate storage requirement of 15 million MT to reduce post harvest losses in foodgrains. The scheme has been conceptualized out of a dedicated fund of   2000 crore allocated in the Union Budget for 2011-12.

1.10 crore for modernising govt press

As the workload of the Govt. Central Press is increasing, Chief Minister sanctioned 1.10 crore towards modernising it to cope with the pressure. A state govt. press release said the amount would be spent on buying a computer-to-plate machine, two computers, software, plate processor and an air-conditioner. The modernisation process would put an end to plate making and substantially improve the quanlity of the printing, besides boosting the output. The govt. said scanning works being done in the open market would be avoided because of the modernisation.

Graduate teachers to be appointed in State

Chief Minister ordered the appointment of 1,267 graduate teachers for 1,049 upgraded middle schools in the state for the current academic year, besides releasing 36.17 crore for development of infrastructure. A govt. press release said 831 middle schools upgraded in 2009-10 would get one graduate teacher each and 218 middle schools upgraded in 2010-11 would get two graduate teachers each.

Chief Ministers decision on Kalas Mahal welcomed

The Prince of Arcot, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, welcomed Chief Ministers initiative in asking a technical committee, which was formed to examine the stability of the fire _ revaged Kalas Mahal in Chepauk, to explore possibility of restoring it or building a replica. The people of Tamil Nadu, particularly those who have love for history and interest in preserving historical structures are overwhelmed with happiness over the Chief Ministers personal interest taken to restore the grand majestic Kalas Mahal, and also seeking a report from experts on safety measures to be undertaken in such structures, he said.

Ground-breaking medical scanner

Scientists from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore and Imperial College London announce that they are close to developing a ground-breaking medical scanner which will spot illnesses. In a major step towards achieving this goal, they have already developed a new way of creating a type of radiation known as Terahertz (THz) or T-rays. It will help in the development of the futuristic hand-held medical scanner.

Rajasthan wins Ranji Trophy

Defending champions Rajasthan retain the Ranji Trophy, clinching the final against Tamil Nadu in Chennai on the basis of first innings lead.

World Health Organisation

A resolution on mental health moved by India is adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The resolution focusses on the global burden of mental disorders and the need for comprehensive, coordinated response from health and social sectors at the country level.

Ramanujan`s brilliance came from his intution

Mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan`s brilliance came from his intution, said Stefan Weckbach, consul General of Germany in Chennai. Speaking at a felicitation meeting organised by the Srinivasa Ramanujan Academy of Maths Talent, Mr. Weckbach said Ramanujan learnt mathematics at the age of 10 and two years later was able to find solutions to same of the toughest maths problems. On the occasion the Academy presented lifetime achievement award to K. Srinivasa Rao, director of the Srinivasa Ramanujan Academy of Maths Talent. Three students who were toppers in the Maths IQ test were also presented with certificates and a cash prize of  5000 each.

Sparking bus shelters soon on OMR

Swanky shelters for commuters to be installed at 54 bus steps on either side of Rajiv Gandhi Salai (formerly Old Mahabalipuram Road) by the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company. The company, which maintains the arterial road, plans to float tenders for the facilities at 42 locations. The shelters will be of stainless steel and they would be designed in such a way that they can accommodate more people. TNRDC`s proposal to set up bus shelters on OMR is bound to bring cheer to the commuters as waiting for buses on the road, particularly during rush hours, is on ordered and dangerous too. At many places, the commuters have to fight for space with the vehicles, mostly share autorickshaws.

SA wins ODI series against SL

Hosts South Africa seal the ODI series against Sri Lanka 3-2, even as Sri Lanka beat the hosts by two wickets in the fifth and final ODI of the series in Johannesburg.

India wins hockey series against SA

The fifth and final hockey Test between India and South Africa in New Delhi ends in a 3-3 draw; with this, the series ends 3-1 in India`s favour.

China`s growing economic

In what is being hailed as a great leap forward in Chinas growing economic presence in Britain, the China Investment Corporation (CIC) buys a 8.68-percent stake in Thames Water, Britains largest water and sewerage company which serves about 14 million customers.

CAPART _ Professional Management

Union Rural Development Minister Mr. Jairam Ramesh announces his decision to step down as the president of the Council for Advancement of People`s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART) and pave the way for its professional management.

Ford to bring in additional investment of 750 crore

Ford India has decided to make additional investment of  750 crore at its Maraimalai Nagar plant for producing their new model, Ford Eco Sport. The fresh investment would create additional employment opportunities for about 400 people. After the present govt. took office in May the company invested 380 crore, providing job opportunities for 340 persons. With the latest decision, the company`s total investment since the present govt. assumed office would be of the order of  1,130 crore.

Tiruchi Universities came under DVAC scanner

The Tiruchi unit of Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) has taken cognisance of allegations of corruption and malpractice in recruitment and promotion of faculties, and unnecessary expenditures, in the Bharathidasan University and Anna University of Technology – Trichi. Vigilance officials have started examining the documents that the Universities were asked to submit recently. Charges of corruption, malpractice and repotism will be corrobooted with the submissions of deserving candidates who were denied their rightful opportunity, official sources said.

CIC seeks 5 more Information officers :

The Central Information Commission has urged the centre to immediately appoint five more Information Officers to bring down the pandancy of cases that has touched 23,000. Chief Information Commissioner Satyanandha Mishra, said that his dipartment was under-staffed and needed more officers to bring down the pendency of cases. The CIC was evolving various methods to increase the number of disposals. With the help of six officers, we are disposing of 1,800 cases a mouth, while the intake is 2,300. We can clear another 1,500 cases with the appointment of five more officers. Unfortunately, there is a huge pendency and it might take eight to ten months for these cases to come up for hearing. Ideally, we should cover than in three months` time. It is pointless to take up cases after a long wait” he said.

Long-term strategy for sports in place

The govt. was taking efforts to popularise and promote sports among children and youth in the state, said P. Palaniappan, Minister for Higher Education. Delivering the 5th convocation address of Tamil Nadu Physical Education and Sports University, he said the Chief Minister has devised a long-term strategy to promote sports. As part of developing the infrastructure, 30 crore was allotted for constructing indoor stadium in 20 districts and talent development centres created in all districts to train sportspersons.

NEW Chief for TNPSC

R. Natraj, retired officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS), was appointed the Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Public Services Commission (TNPSC). He will hold the post till he attains the age of 62 years (March 2013), according to the order issued by the Personnel and Administrative Reformes Department. He fills the vacancy caused by the resignation of R. Sellamuthu following the allegations of large-scale irregularities in the selection of candidates to various govt. posts.

Meet to focus on benefits of ART

A three day conference on HIV and infectious diseases, which got underway, will focus on the benefits of starting antietroviral therapy (ART) early to prevent HIV transmission. The symposium HIV science 2012 will cover a gamut of subjects, including HIV Epidermology, immune resposes to infection, disease progression tuberculosis and viral hepatitis. Experts will speak on the recent developments and updates on HIV/AIDS and other key infections diseases.

H.C. stays move to alter new Secretariat Complex

In a setback to the AIADMK govt, the Madras High Court 20, Jan. granted an interim injunction restraining authorities from making any structural altrations to the new Legislative Assembly-cum-Secretairat complex at the Omandurar Government until a writ petition challenging the decision to convert it into a multi-specialty hospital is disposed of. A division Bench comprising Justices D. Murugesan and P.P.S. Janarthana Raja passed the interim order on a writ petition by R. Veeramani, a city advocate. It directed the authorites to file their counter by Feb. 10. The case has been posted for Feb. 13.

Prize for South Indian Literature

Chinaman, a novel by Sri Lankan author Mr. Shehan Karunatilaka, wins the 2012 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Manavjit Singh wins Gold

World champion Manavjit Singh Sandhu of India wins the trap Gold at the 12th Asian shooting championship in Doha, Qatar; his compatriot Sanjeev Rajpur wins the Gold at the 50m free rifle 3-position event.

National Water Policy

The Union Government begins discussions on a new National Water Policy that calls for privatisatioin of water-delivery services and suggests that water be priced so as to “fully recover” the costs of operation and administration of water-resources projects.

PIL alleges unathorised use of 312 crore for Anna Library

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench, Madurai alleging unauthorised use of   312.17 crore, drawn from Library Fund of Local Library Authorily (LLA) in various districts, for establishing the 332.17 crore Anna Centenary Library at Kotturpuram in Chennai. After hearing preliminary arguments in the case filed by Theni District Library Authority Employees Welfare Association, a Division Bench of Justices directed a Special Good Pleader to take notation behalf of the Director of Public Libraries and file a counter affidavit by Feb. 9.

Health vacancies to be filled

Chief Minister ordered that all 835 vacancies in health posts across the state be filled immediately. The vacancies are in primary health centres, govt. medical college hospitals, other govt. hospitals, ESI hospitals, and Neontal Intensive care units, according to a release. Those enrolled in employment exchanges will soon be invited for counselling and appointment. The village health nurses in PHCs be paid  500 a month as special allowance, considering they are on call all 24 hours, the official release said.

Clean city compaign to reach out residents

Chennai Municipal Solid Waste P. Ltd., a Special Purpose vehicle owned by Ramky Enviro Engineers Ltd., began a campaign to create awareness of keeping the city clean among five lakh families. Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy launched the campaign at Ripan Building. Employees of the company would explain their garbage clearing operation to every household in the zones of Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar. They would coordinate with resident`s welfare associations is organise public performances in all localities. The first phase of the awareness campaign would be completed in 12 days. Later, the campaign would be modifed to tackle the emerging challenges to garbage after all wards are covered by this mouth end.

ID cards for insurance scheme launched

Social Welfare Minister B. Valarmathi launched the process of issuing identity cards to beneficiaries under the C.M`s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme, in Chennai. Those already registered under the old State Insurance Scheme started by the previous govt. need not register themselves, according to a press release. The registration process is for fresh applicants under the scheme. An income ceiling of   72,000 per annum has been fixed as eligibility criteria.

State to bear medical expenses of injured fire offices

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa visited Apollo Hospitals and met the fire service officers who were injured in the fire that broke out in Kalas Mahal in the early hours of Jan. 16. Soon after the fire was put out, N. Priya Ravichandran, Divisional Fire Ofifcer, Chennai City Central, and Station Fire Officer (Ashok Nagar) Murugan, entered the building which housed the offices of several govt. departments. Both officials were seriously injured when the roof of the old building caved. According to experts in plastic surgery, who are not part of the team treating the victims, the treatment may take anywhere between six weeks to three months as it involves skin grafting.

NATO-led war in Afghanistan

France threatens to pull our early from the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, after a rogue Afghan soldier shoots to death several French soldiers and injures many others.

New Southern Railway AGM

G. Narayanan has taken over as the new Additional General Manager of Southern Railway. He is also the Director of Public Grievances, Southern Railway and Appellate Authority for Public Information under the Right to Information Act.

PIL Place for starting medical college in Kunnam

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court seeking a direction to the Tamil Nadu govt. to restart the process of establishing the Govt. Medical College at Kunnam in Perambalur districts. After the Assembly Elections, a new govt. came to power. Thereafter, no further development took place at the site allotted for the college. He came to know that the present govt. had dropped the plan of establishing the medical college at Kunnam.

Students to get free footwear, bags

The state govt. announced a series of measures, including free footwear and bags to students, and allocated about  491 crore. Students of classes 1 to 8 would receive two more sets of uniforms in addition to the existing two sets from 2012-2013 academic year. Besides, the scheme of providing uniform school bags, geometry boxes maps and colour pencil boxes would cover about 92.3 lakh students and the govt. would incur an expenditure of  5 crore. The two categories of concessions would be given to students of the government run and govt-aided schools.

State seeks 2,500 crore from centre

The Tamil Nadu govt. has sought a “one time grant” of 2,500 crore from the centre to improve infrastructure in the expanded Chennai Metropolitan area. The area of Chennai Corporation had almost tripled after the recent merger of adjoining suburban areas. As the infrastructure requirement of this newly annexed area is very high, Finance Minister O. Pannerselvam has sought the one-time grant. Also be said there were a number of schemes, implemented the state govt and the centre, “where convergence is the need”.

Portfolios of four ministers changed

Mr. Krishnamoorthy has been made Minister for School Education, Archa ecology, Sports and Youth Welfare, Tamil Official Language and Tamil Culture, Mr. Shanmugam to hold the subjects of Law, courts and prisons, personnel and Administration Reforms and Prevention of corruption, Mr. Velumani the Minister for Revenue and Mr. Thangamani for steel control. Mines and Minerals and Special Initiatives. The changes in portfolio allocation were made on the advice of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and approved by Governor K. Rosaiah.

Into the `Japanese world of designs`

A single plastic select that changes into a flower vase when water is poured on to it, an electric bucket that performs the functions of a washing machine and the first portable transistor, television in the world. What`s common among there simple, daily use products? No prizes for guessing if you have been to the Lalit Kala Academy in Chennai where 100 such marvels in designs are on display. Technology and automobiles enthusiasts were looking keenly at the compact car designs from the postwar years such as a Mazda K 360 designed in 1959 and electric scooter manufactured by Yamaha Motors and designed in 2003 for “quieter running”.

Changes to Immigration Act proposed

There is a notable change in the mindset of youth booking for overseas employment as they now prefer to accept confirmed placements in overseas companies only, according to Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi. The Minister said that same three years ago, million people used to take up overseas assignments. They would fly to foreign countries after signing contracts with the agents recruiting them and once they landed on the foreign soil, they would be left at the mercy of the agents. “Steep decline in number of persons oiling for overseas placements from million in the past to around 6 lakhs now reflects the change in minister of younger generation”.

Detailed plans ready for hospital on Omandurar Estate

Elaborate plans have been drawn up for converting one black of the Assembly-Secretariate complex on the Omandurar Govt. Estate into a multi-super speciality hospital. The buildings wing of the Public Works Department has floated bids and the total estimated cost of the proposed civil and electrical works is around 26.9 crore. Sources say the govt. is been on finalising the award of contracts expeditiously so that the works can be taken up immediately. According to the plans, the ground and first floors of the Block A will serve as outpatient wards for departments such as Oncology. Cardioclogy and Neurology. The second floor will house laboratories and other facilities for diagnosis. The 3rd and 4th floors will be used as general wards. The 5th and 6th floors of the block will be for special wards.

Indian women wins hockey series against Azerbaijan

The Indian women beat Azerbaijan in the fourth and final hockey Test 2-0 in New Delhi, thus sweeping the series 4-0.

Reopening graft cases on Pakistan President

The constitutional crisis gripping Pakistan takes a new turn, with Prime Minister Mr. Yousuf Raza Gilani appearing before the nation`s Supreme Court and defending his stand in not re-opening graft cases against President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari.

S.M. Krishna official visit to Sri Lanka

External Affairs Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna concludes his official four-day Sri Lanka visit. During the visit, he hands over a completed railway stretch, built by Indian PSU IRCON, to the Sri Lankan government. He also announces a substantial increase in Indias assistance to the neighbouring nations education sector, amounting to a grant of Sri Lankan 2.5 billion.

Awards given for service to muthamizh

Former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has called for promotion and spreading of Tamil music (Thamizhisai). Speaking at the 34th music festival organized at the Tamil Nadu Rajarathinam Pillai Auditorium by the Muthamizh Peravai Arakkatalai, Chennai, he said when someone tried to promote, popularize and spread Tamil music, it meant that he was trying to serve the language and sing its paeans. The rulers should not be found wanting in this regard and should not give room for any type of allegation in this connection. “Those at the helm of affairs need not be the enemies of music in the regional language,” he added. At the same time, he said, “we have the fighting spirit to make the rulers accord due regard to Tamizhisai.

2012, year of intensified polio immunisation

With India reaching a milestone on Jan. 13 in its polio eradication mission as not a single polio case was reported in the last one year, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has declared 2012 as a “Year of intensified routine immunisation in children”. A team representing the Indian Public Health Association had a meeting with the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad at New Delhi recently.