February, 2012

C.M. distributes prizes to tournay winners

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa distributed prizes to winners of various sports, tournaments organised by the Karur unit of the party and State Transport Corpns. to mark her birthday. Twenty eight teams, comprising 262 members, were given gold coins of 512 grams or 64 sovereign besides trophies and certificates. The tournaments were held for college students. She exhorted them to bring fame to Tamil Nadu and India by winning State-level and national-level tournaments. She assured the participants from the transport Corporation that her government would provide all necessary help and concessions to them.

World-Class look for city roads

The Chennai Corporation began a field survey of roads to adopt world-class street design and planning for the city. In the first phase, a total of 60 roads extending to a length of 45 km. in the seven zones of the old city limits have been identified by the civic body and a field survey commenced on G.N. Chetty Road. Activities on the roads in the zones of Tondiarpet, Royapuram, Thiru Vi.Ka. Nagar, Anna Nagar, Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Adyar will be identified for proper design and planning. The first capacity building workshop on street design and planning was also held by the engineers of the Chennai Corporation with the assistance of a non-governmental organisation Chennai City connect. The engineers discussed case studies of such design and planning of streets in cities including Paris, Singapore and New York. A proposal has been made for public conveniences that will come up every 500 metre on such roads.

State expert panel submits report on nuclear project

An expert committee appointed by the Tamil Nadu govt. submitted its report on the safety aspects of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNNP) to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa marking a crucial stage in the debate over the project. At the same time, the state govt. invited the People`s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE) representatives for talks. “Let the govt. have a cool view of the report”, said M.R. Srinivasan, former chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and member of the experts committee, told reporters after submitting the report to Chief Minister at the Secretariat.

Violence in China

At least 20 people are killed in China`s Xinjiang region in violence that the government blames on separatists. The incident underscores the ethnic tension in the far-western Muslim-majority region that has erupted intermittently in recent months.

India`s economic growth 6.1% in 3rd quarter

Data released by the Centres shows that India`s economic growth decelerated to 6.1 percent during the third quarter (October-December) of 2011-12 as against a healthy 8.3 percent in the same quarter of 2010-11.

Commissioner of Food Safety licensing authority

The Chennai Corporation will no longer issue food licences due to the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) replacing the erstrohile prevention of Food Adultation Act (PFAA). It has directed hotels, restaurants and retailers in the city to approach the office of the Commissioner of Food Safety for issue of food licences henceforth. The FSSA designates the Commissioner of Food Safety as the licensing authority. Hotels, bakeries, tea shops, sweet and savouries stalls, departmental stores, vegetable and first vendors, everybody selling food items would be coming under the purview of the new Act, say those in various trade association.

Placements touch all-time high at IIT-M this year

The placement fever at IIT-Madras reached an all time high this year as over 840 students landed jobs with salaries ranging from 4 lakh to 15 lakh per annum. This has been the most successful placement season in the history of the campus in terms of the numbers of students hired, their pay packets and the number of recruiting companies. Last year 172 companies had recruited 627 students, but this year has already seen 212 companies visit the campus and many more waiting in the wings, according to B. Nagarajan, Deputy Registror (Training, Placement & Public Relations) IIT-M.

England win T-20 series against Pakistan

England beat Pakistan by five runs in the third and final T20 International of the series in Abu Dhabi, thus winning the series 2-1.

Occupy London

The “Occupy London” movement, an offshoot of the worldwide anti-capitalist campaign, loses its four-month battle with the authorities, as police evicts its activists from the protest site.

Kasimedu harbour extrance set for new look

Bowing to the demands of exporters and importers, the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) has decided to revamp the age-old main entrance (zero gate) at the Kasimedu fishing harbour, which has been the main cause of congestion. For year, the zero gate or gate No. 1 had exit of containers and general vehicles and it was recently expanded to six leaves – three each for entry and exit respectively, while gate 10 also had two leaves. As the port was experiencing a 25 per cent increase in container volume for the last few years, it was decided to construct new facilities at the main entrance and thereafter to dismantle or demolish the existing compound wall, steel gates, two wheeler stand, CISF, shed, watch tower, toilet buildings, customs and CISF buildings.

Mahal remains a testimony to Thirumalai Nayak`s regime

It is a 375 year old monument that stands testimony to the glorious years of the Nayak regime. Now, only one-fourth of its original structure remains intect, and yet the King`s palace, popularly known as Thirumalai Nayak Mahal, Madurai continues to enthral tourists and historians alike. Widely considered as the most illustrious of the Madurai Nayak dynasty, King Thirumalai Nayak constructed the palace to mark the shift of his capital from Tiruchi to Madurai, which was supposed to have been done for strategic and administrative reasons. Following several incidents of the palace being damaged during film shoots, the State Govt. has now completely banned this practice. However, despite several major efforts taken up by the Archaecology Department. Tourism Department and bodies such as INTECH, scribbling on the Pillars continues to take a boll on the Mahal. “There are 248 pillars in the Mahal”, Mr. Ganesan says, “and it is impossible to watch all of them. The people have to change by themselves. It is the only solution”.

The new liver transplant machine

Scientists at Oxford University, Britain, reveal that they have developed a machine which can keep donor livers alive outside human body. The new machine, named METRA, could help save the lives of many people who need liver transplants every year.

Friendly foodball match between Azerbaijan-beat India

Azerbaijan beat India 3-0 in an international friendly football match in Dubai.

World Bank warns that China`s export-driven

A joint report by a leading Chinese think-tank and the World Bank warns that China`s export-driven growth model has reached a turning point and the government needs to put in place sweeping reforms to respond to declining growth and avoid a slowdown.

Special committee forthwith for inter-linking of rivers – Supreme Court

 The Supreme Court directs the Centre to constitute a special committee forthwith for inter-linking of rivers for the benefit of the entire nation.

84th Oscar Awards

The 84th Oscar Awards are presented to the winners at a glittering ceremony in Los Angeles, USA. Silent filmThe Artist wins five awards at the ceremony, including the Best Picture Award. Other prominent winners are : Best Actor : Jean Dujardin for The Artist, Best Actress : Meryl Streep for The Iran Lady; Best Director : Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist; Best supporting Actor : Christopher, Actress : Octavia spencer for The Help`s; Best Editing : Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Best Cinematography : Robert Richardson for Hugo; Best Foreign Language Film : Iranian movie A Separation, etc., among others.

Highest scorer in Hockey

Indian men seal a berth in hockey at the London Olympics 2012, beating France 8-1 in the final of the qualifying tournament in New Delhi. India`s ace draf-flicker Sandeep Singh emerges as the highest scorer with a tally of 16 goals.

World`s shortest living man

Nepals Chandra Bahadur Dangi, 72, is recognised as the worlds shortest living man by the Guinness Book of World Records. Mr. Dangi, who is just 21.5 inches tall, snatches the title from Mr. Junrey Balawing of the Philippines.

Remarkable success in drive against Polio

Emboldened by the remarkable success achieved in its drive against polio, the Centre announces that it will now focus on elimination of measles and neonatal tetanus in the country. It may be mentioned here that thousands of children die in India every year of these two diseases.

Udangudi Thermal Power Project

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced that her govt. will implement it as a state sector project, ensuring the availability of the entire power generated to the state. When the coal-fired project was mooted in Oct. 2007, it was meant to be a joint venture project involving the earstwhile Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) and the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (BHEL). A special purpose vehicle – Udangudi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) was established in Dec. 2008 to implement the project that would have two units of 800 MW each. The project was named after its site, Udangudi, about 45 km. from the Tuticorin town.

South African women`s hockey team qualify London Olympics 2012 :

The South African women`s hockey team quality for the London Olympics 2012, beating hosts India 3-1 in the final of the qualifying tournament in New Delhi.

Yemen new president – Mansour Hadi

Mr. Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi takes the constitutional oath to become Yemen`s new President, formally removing Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after a year of protests paralysed the Arabian Peninsular nation.

WHO takes India, which has been polio-free

The World Health Organisation (WHO) takes India, which has been polio-free for a year now, off the list of polio-endemic countries.

Punishment to drunk driving should act as deterrant – court

Saying the only way to reduce accidents owing to drunk driving is to stop such driving, the Madras High Court has said that while dealing with these cases magistrates should understand that a punishment imposed will have to be a deterrent not only to the acused but also others who are likely to commit the offence. The court also directed investigating agencies to register a case under Section 304(ii) IPC if it is found that a person against whom a complaint has been lodged following an accident resulting death was driving under the influence of alcohol.

Charges to be framed against 37 versity staff for manipulating results

The University of Madras has formed a four member director general of police to frame charges against 37 university staff members for allegedly manipulating examination results in 2011. The committee led by formers DGP CL Ramakrishnan will frame charges against seven superintendents of exam centres and 30 section and assistant officers for manipulating the results of the May 2011 examinations conducted by the Institute of Distance Education and the procedural lapses in the June 2011 BE/B.Tech exams” said G. Thiruvasagam, V.C. of the University.

Union Home Minister visit to Bangladesh

 Union Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram and his visiting Bangladesh counterpart Ms. Shahara Khatun hold a meeting in New Delhi. The issues discussed at the meeting include border management, mutual legal assistance treaty, repatriation of prisoners and visa-related issues.

Co-operative bank staff to join stir

Members of the All India Co-operative Bank EmployeesFederation in Tamil Nadu will join the all-India strike on Feb. 28, responding to a call by central trade unions and the All India Bank Employees Association to press their demands. According to a release from P. Balakrishnan, General secretary of the federation, the demands include employment protection for workers, strict enforcement of all basic labour laws and unorganised sector workers without restriction. The unions are also opposing disinvestment in Central and State public sector undertakings and contractualisation of work of permanent / perennial nature.

Education council gets new Vice-Chairperson

Cynthia Pandian, former Vice-Chancellor of Manonmanian Sundaranar University, has been appointed as the Vice-Chair person of Tamil Nadu State Council for Higher Education. A gazette notification said she would hold the post for three years from the date of taking charge. Ms. Pandian is the wife of former Assembly Speaker P.H. Pandian. The govt. also constituted a search committee to recommend a panel of three names for the appointment of Vice-Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University.

Now, CCTV units must for commercial buildings

The pressing need for enhanced monitoring of public spaces has finally bean recognised by the Chennai Corporation. The Corporation council adopted a resolution approving amendment to the Chennai City Municipal Corporation. Building Rules 1972 that makes the installation of CCTV systems mandatory for all commercial establishment and public buildings. The resolution follows instructions to the civic body from the state govt. for taking adequate measures pertaining to installation of CCTV cameras in such buildings where people gather in large numbers. The Corporation, should ensure that the CCTV system is installed after the building is completed.

IT firms may pay more property tax

The Chennai Corporation has set the ball rolling towards an increase in property tax rate and company tax for IT buildings in the city. Mayor Saidai S. Duraisamy said the property tax rate for IT parks was on a par with that of small retail value of such buildings is high and the companies are able to pay hafty amount as salary to their employees. But, the tax rate for such companies was not changed by the previous Corporation Council”, said Mr. Duraisamy. According to Revenue Department officials, the 175 sq.km. area of Chennai Corpon`s earlier jurisdiction has 12,417 limited and private limited companies. The Revenue Department has now been asked to create a comprehensive database of companies located in the 426 sq.km. area of the current jurisdiction of the Corporation and identity the exact number of IT companies located in it. The Revenue Department the Chennai Corporation would then create a separate category of property tax assessment for IT companies with a higher tax rate.

One of the four monorail lines axed

The state govt. has decided to drop one of the four monorail lines that were supposed to be built in the city. While originally an ambitions 111 km. long Phase-I network was proposed to be constructed the revised target means the mono-rail grid would be only 57 km. The corridor from Vandalur to Puzhal via Avadi (54 km.) has been axed because it runs through “undeveloped areas with no pre-existing traffic in the alignment, making it “financially unviable”. It had been built, it would have been the longest monorail corrider in the world. The decision was taken after the Empowered Monorail Committee met, following which a note was prepared and submitted to the govt.

Discovered a type of space bacteria in a river

Researchers at Britain`s Newcastle University announce that they have discovered a type of space bacteria in a river which they say could be used as a new power source. The Bacillus Strataspericus, usually found 20 miles above the Earth, is spotted in the mouth of the Wear river in Sunderland. It is a particularly potent form of bacteria which could be used in microbial fuel cells (MFCs) to convert river waste into power.

New cardiac vest named “Heartscape”

Reports reveal that scientists at a British company have developed a new cardiac vest that can diagnose heart attacks. The revolutionary vest, which has been named “Heartscape”, contains 80 sensors attached to the patient`s chest and back. It will make diagnosis possible 12 hours earlier than usual.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011.

Mr. Rahul Bhatia, Group MD of Inter-Globe Enterprises, is named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. HDFC Chairman Mr. Deepak Parekh is chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Oman-India friendly match football

Hosts Oman thrash India 5-1 in an international friendly football match in Muscat.

High-level International Conference in London

At a high-level international conference in London, global leaders agree that the international community must respond urgently to the crisis in Somalia, described by British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron as the “world`s worst failed state”, blighted by two decades of civil war, and caught up in a vortex-of terrorism, piracy and famine.

Revise decision making process to avoid delays-Railway Minister

The Railways continues to fuse demands and increased expectations from people but fulfilling all of them overnight is impossible, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said. He arrived to Kerala for laying the stone for a coach factory at Kanjikode near Palakkad. He said that needs, were growing and Railways had its own limitation in meeting all the demands. All of them cannot be met overnight, since it required time and money. Railway lines across the country are saturated, all single lines need to be doubled and third lines have become essential in places where only double lines exist. Impetus is being given for gauge conversion and electrification.

Status que ordered on Campus interviews by govt. units

The Madras High Court ordered that status quo be maintained with regard to campus interviews for recruitment by Central and State Govt. undertakings. The C.J. passed the interim order on a petition by M. Palanimuthu, an advocate of Saidapet, Chennai, seeking a direction to authorities to ban all campus interviews and to forbear Central and State govt. undertakings from making recruitment from campuses. Candidates who got registered in employment exchanges may also not get a chance. The Bench had ordered that the matter be put up after six weeks and in the meantime, the petitioner should serve a copy on the respondents. When the matter came up on Feb 21, the bench observed that no counter affidavit had been filed. Instead, counsel sought time to file counter. The court ordered that the matter be put up after two weeks. “In the meantime, status quo with regard to campus selection may be maintained by the concerned respondents.”

Commissioner meets bankers

Of 1,336 bank branches in the city, close to 40 per cent do not have CCTV Camera facilities and other security features such as burglar alarms. Among 450 bank branches that do not have such facilities, nationalised banks are a majority. Chennai has 26 nationalised banks that have 986 branches and 39 private banks that have 350 branches. The Commissioner directed all banks that did not have adequate security measures to immediately do the needful. Bank representatives were also provided a set of guidelines such as installing cameras outside locker facilities beepers to ensure that lockers are not left unlocked and CCTV cameras to be installed inside, in front of and in the parking area of banks. The police also insisted on banks setting up a hotline that connects to the nearest police station, according to police sources.

CMDA may give up mega facelift for bus station

The proposal to modernise the Chennai contract carriage Bus Terminus in Koyambedu, from where private bus services operate, may be shelved. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) will, however, carry at renovation work in the existing area of the terminus at a cost of nearly 4 crore. The renovation will include removal of the damaged bituminous surface and relaying of concrete roads at an estimated cost of   2.9 crore and renovation of finger bays at a cost of  1.02 crore. The existing terminous was inaugurated in August 2003. It has 68 boarding bus bays and 126 bays for idle parking, 51 travel agency offices, 22 shops and 14 passenger waiting halls with a capacity to seat 120 persons.

NY experts moot Times Square model for T. Nagar

Insisting that Chennai must give up building flyovers in favour of large investments on dedicated bus lanes, cycle tracks and pedestrian walkways, New York Transport Commissioner Jentte Sodik-Khan said. “Investments made by city administrations must improve the quality of life of residents. “The strategy of making it as easy as possible has outlined its usefulness. Prioritising public transport is going to be the hall mark of a great city in the 21st century. And Chennai has a real chance to leapfrog past the mistakes that western cities committed”, she added.

SA wins ODI series against New Zealand

South Africa beat hosts New Zealand by three runs in the third and final T20 Inner-national of the series in Auckland; with this win, they take the three-match series 2-1.

Iran and IAEA meet

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) fail to achieve a breakthrough, after two days of talks in Dubai, on a roadmap to ease nuclear tensions surrounding Iran`s atomic programme.

U.S. Plans series of trade missions

The U.S. commerce division has planned a series of trade missions to India to explore partnerships across baord-ranging sectors of mutual business interest, Franchise Scinchey, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, U.S. Department of Commerce, said. Defining the purpose of the visit to be to build two-way trade partnerships develop stronger economies and create jobs in the U.S. and India.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Mr. Rahul Bhatia, Group MD of Inter-Globe Enterprises, is named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011. HDFC Chairman Mr. Deepak Parekh is chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

England sweep the ODI series against Pakistan

England beat Pakistan by four wickets in the fourth and final ODI of the series in Dubai, with this win, England Sweep 4-0.

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as head of Yemen

Yemen votes to instate the US-backed Vice-President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, as the head of state, ending President Ali Abdullah Saleh`s 33-year-long rule.

Scientists announce the discovery of a new family

Scientists announce the discovery of a new family of limbless amphibians from northeast India with their ancient lineage traced to Africa. From DNA and morphological analyses, the scientists show that the new family had evolved independent of other species of legless amphibians (called caecillians) starting from the time of the dinosaurs.

Acquiring land for welfare scheme

Pulling up officials for keeping a matter relating to land acquisition for a Harijan Welfare Scheme Pending for years, the Madras High Court has said if the Tamil Nadu govt`s policy is to proceed with the requisition and if the court has given it liberty, the public authority should proceed further. The proceedings to acquire the land of S. Prabhakar and D. Vijayakumar in April 1993 and published in the gazette for the development of Adi-Dravidar and Tribal Welfare house, several lands were sought to be acquired.

Ramaiyah Pillai gave life to Bharatanatyam

Rich tributes were paid to Vazhuvoor B. Ramaiah Pillai, renowned Bharatanatyam Guru, on his centenary celebrations. Speaking on the occasion, N. Murali, President, Music Academy, said the grace and subtlety of Ramaiyah Pillai set him apart as a Natyacharya. He expanded the repertoire of Bharatanatyam by introducing many items from Tamil literature. He took the dance form to the big screen and popularized it. Recalling his association with Ramayah Pillai in the Tamil Nadu Iyal Isai Nataka Mandram, Mr. Gokulakrishna said the dance guru was very proud of his vocation. The art form would help in inculcating good habits among children, which elevated the body and soul of the learners. Old Tamil film songs choreogrophed by Ramaiyah Pillai were screened at the venue on the occasion.

Healthier options on menu for students

The 15-minute break after the first bell goes is the time for many college students to grab breakfast. And increasingly on the menu are cut fruits, mixed vegetables, steaming oats and fresh juicies. Quite a number of colleges are trying to encourage students to go the healthy way by discouraging sale of junk food in canteens. Over a year after the Department of Nutrition and Diatetics, Women`s Christian College, started a Separate outlet to promote healthy eating habits among students, the response is encouraging. Nearly 70 per cent of students who used to skip breakfast to reach college on time are regular at the cafe.

NIOT scientists win national award

A team of scientists from the National Institute of Ocean Technology in Pallikaranai has won the prestigious National Geo Science Award from the Ministry of Mines under Oil and Natural Gas Exploration and Disaster Management Categories. The team comprising scientists M.A. Atmanand, Director of NIOT, G.A. Ramadoss, Project Director and R. Ramesh, A.N. Subramanian, D. Sathianarayanan, R. Ramesh and G. Harikrishnan won the award for the successful development of a Remotely Operable Vehicle (ROV). They received the award at a function in New Delhi.

Single phosphorus atom etched into a silicon bed

A team of Australian scientists announce that they have made with pinpoint accuracy a transistor consisting of only a single atom. The development marks a major stride towards next-generation computing. The device comprises a single phosphorus atom, etched into a silicon bed, with gates to control electrical flow and metallic contacts that are also on the atomic scale.

ESPN cricinfo best batting performance award

Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar bags the fifth ESPN cricinfo best batting performance award in Tests.

`Anokha 2012` sign off on a creative note

True to the saying All Good Things Come to an End, the curtains come down on the three-day long national level technical festival “Anokha 2012`. But the end was in no means less significant than the start. The creativity and innovation that came through on the last day of the fest at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham proved that it went beyond the confines of engineering.

DVAC probing `irregularities in Periyar University`

The Salem Periyar University is in the limelight for its “wrong no-academic” pursuits. The DVAC, which carriedout a surprise raid on its premises, following a spate of allegations of irregularities, seems to have stumbled upon several shady deals and corrupt practices in this institution. “Here one can purchase degrees and diplomas and temper with answer sheets with ease and impudance. Unqualified persons have been given plum posts in the academic field”. The DVAC team had seized a bundle of 443 revalued answer sheets, all slashed away in a closet in the office of Controller of Examinations under lock and key.

`Genius` computer

Scientists in Sweden announce that they have created a genius computer, using a mix of logic and human-like thinking, that can score 150 in an IQ test.

Britain wins WBC

Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine defends his World Boxing Council (WBC) heavyweight title, beating contender Dereck Chisora of Britain in their bout in Munich, Germany.

Somalia`s agree on the basic structure of a new parliament

Somalia`s disparate leaders agree on the basic strucutre of a new parliament and government to replace the fragile transitional body that has failed to bring peace to the war-torn nation.

Study to examine impact of radiation from Cell Phone towers

The Ministry of Environment and Forest has commissioned a study on the impact of radiation from Cellular phone towers on the avion population, Union Minister of Environment Jayanthi Natarajan said in Chennai. She said that the report of the study, commissioned a couple of days ago, would be submitted in three months. The study was commissioned against the back drop of a previous study finding that the electromagnetic radiation from these communication towers affected bees very badly and reports of adverse effect on scavenger birds in certain parts of Orissa. We`re now worried that the radiation on a particular wavelength will have a deleterious effect on the avian population. This is what prampted the study”.

Amendments to Town Planning Act

The State Govt. is seriously considering certain amendments to the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 for better planning and flexibility to enforcing authority, said K. Phanindra Reddy, Secretary, Housing and Urban Development, Chennai. He said that it would also given flexibility for the enforcing authority, subject to safety precautions. The govt. is in the process of five tuning Inter-Departmental Enforcement Agency (IDEA). The main duty of the IDEA is to monitor the violations. With the active functioning of the IDEA the number of diviations became minimal.

Chinese Poetry in Tamil

It is a professional requirement for any Indian Foreign Service (IES) recruit to learn a foreign language and M. Sridharan opted for Chinese. Mastering the tough language became a passion for this 1996 batch officer; and now he has translated Chinese classical poetry into Tamil. Vaari Choodinum Paarpavar Illai : Kavi thogai – Chinaavin Sanga Ilakkiyam… Arimugamum neradi thamizhakkamum is the collection of his poems from the Chinese classic Book of Poetry. Shi Jing, Pronounced Shizh Ching. Like our Iymperum Kaapiyam (five great epics), the Chinese also have Five Classics. Both Sangam and Chinese Poetry have many similarities when it comes to poetic sense and imagery. They also have agam and puram classification as we have in Sangam poetry”, explained Mr. Sridharan. He has used the pen name Payani to author the poetry collection, which is the first direct rendering of Chinese poetry in Tamil.

US supporting Baluchistan

Pakistan reacts sharply to a US resolution supporting Baluchistans right to self-determination. Across the political spectrum, there emerges a consensus that this is an attack on Pakistans sovereignty.

NSG at Badu in West Bengal

Union Home Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram inaugurates the Regional Hub of the National Security Guards (NSG) at Badu in West Bengal.

Power to appoint civil judges rests with state

The Tamil Nadu govt. has submitted before the Madras High Court that it has not delegated the power of appointing 185 Civil Judges to anyone. The govt. was the appointing authority and that power was vested with it alone. The relaxation of rule was to enable the govt. to issue advt./notification inviting applications and the High Court to carry out all other process of recruitment. According, the advt. calling for applications was published in a Tamil and English daily on Jan. 21, 2012. The counter said the recruitment process had started. As on Feb. 15, 4,154 applications had been received. They were being handed over to the High Court immediately. The High Court was taking up steps to conduct the examination and selection.

Oldest steam loco seeks to Chug into Guinness Book

The 157 – year old ETR-21, the Worlds oldest steam locomotive housed at the Perambur Loco Works of Southern Railway is seeking an official entry into the Guinness Book that will provide formal recognition for the honoriffic. At present, the title for the worlds oldest steam locomotive rests with the sibling, the EIR 22, which is more famous as the care of railway staff at Perambur. The Fairy Queen holds the World Record Certificate from Guinness Publishing Pvt. Ltd., London, which has acknowledged it as the oldest steam Locomotive in perfect working order anywhere in the world.

The new device, named Geckskin

Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Arnherst, USA, report that they have developed a special glue inspired by the feet of gecko. The new device, named Geckskin, is about 16 inches square, about the size of an index card. It can hold a maximum of 318 kg while adhering to a smooth surface such as glass.

France and Britain decide – cooperation in the defence sector

France and Britain decide to further strengthen their cooperation in the defence sector and jointly produce a combat capability stealth drone. They also agree to accelerate plans to create a joint control and command centre for future military operations.

NCTC

The Centre`s ambitious plan to create a National Counter-Terrorism Centre (NCTC) runs into rough weather with nine Chief Ministers and a former Chief Minister opposing the move on the ground that it “infringes upon the powers and rights of State governments”.

Lok Adalat helps settle huge corporate debt

In one of the rare instances of a huge corporate debt being settled through the Lok Adalat, city-based Pentamedia Graphics Ltd. entered into a one-time settlement with its US creditor. Under the settlement, the company would pay $ 1.10 m. to the Export Import Bank of the U.S. The outstanding debt was of $ 6.81 million as on June 6, 2008, of which the principal was $ 5.11 million. Interest on the total debt was accuring at the rate of $931 per day. The bank had taken legal action against Pentamedia Graphics Ltd. for non-payment of the dues in time. The matter was taken up with the consent of the parties before the Lok Adalat conducted by the State Legal Services Authority.

Biotechnology park at Taramani

TICEL Biotechnology Park-II at Taramani will be ready by March 2012 and it will be handed over to respective clients the following mouth. It will become fully operated by June. The 16 storeyed building in the second phase will have three basements, ground floor and 12 upper floors. It is being constituted at a cost of 150 crore with a built up area of 6 lakh sq.ft. of which 4.5 lakh sq.ft. is meant for laboratory and the rest for parking of vehicles. TICEL Biotechnology Park is promoted by Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation along with TIDEL Park, Chennai.

Russian honour for Jayakanthan

Veteran Tamil writes D. Jayakanthan received the order of Friendship, the Civilian award of the Russian President, for his contribution to fostering Russia-India amity and cultural ties. The citation, signed by Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, was read out by Nickolai Listopodev, Consul General, Russian Consulate General in South India. Alexander M. Kadakin, Russian Ambassador to India, handed over the award to the Tamil Writer. Mr. Kadakin said Mr. Jayakanthan had always championed the ideals of Justice, equality and the rights of the working man.

US Congress agrees on a proposal for extending President payroll

The US Congres agrees on a proposal for extending President Mr. Barack Obama`s payroll tax extension and unemployment benefits package for the rest of 2012. The move is aimed at bringing relief to over 10 million middle-class Americans.

Data released by the World Gold Council

 Data released by the World Gold Council shows that despite record high gold prices and a weaker Indian rupee against the US dollar in the second half of 2011, India remained the largest country for gold demand in 2011 at 933.4 tonnes.

Viability of offshore windmill to be explored

The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) will set up a Met most at Dhanushkodi to explore the potential for offshore windmills, according to Sudeep Jain, Chairman and Managing Director. The Centre for Wind Energy Technology would acquire the land for the Met most. He asked Japanese majors to participate in offshore windmill, solar energy and biomass projects. Hajime Kobayoshi Deputy Director, Energy and Environment Industry Division, JETRO, Tokyo said that a 17 member delegation was on a 3-day tour of Chennai Scouting for Indian Partners.

Tourist facilities to be ready in six months

Work to create facilities for tourists, including a wonder boat jetty, angling pond and rest shads, at Pulicat is expected to be completed in six months. Sources in the Tiruvallur district administration said that of the 13 works undertaken for development of Pulicat, three have been completed. Same are in progress and others are at various stages of tendering. Toilet complexes inside Easwaran Temple complex and near Madha Church at Naduvoor Madhakuppam have been completed. The govt. had been released around   2 crore for various works, including construction of parking lot, tourist information centre and installation of solar lighting and signages at Pulicat.

Scientists cannot remain idle at Kudankulam

Raiterating that the nuclear power plants in Kudankulam were “the sofast in the world”, Russian Ambassador to India Alexander M. Kadakin said his country could not allow its scientist to remain idle indefinitely. “We are not setting any deadline. But our scientists are sitting idle since October 2011. They are scientists of highest colibre and their services are very much needed in countries, including Slovakia and Russia”, he said. The expertise of Russia in setting up nuclear power plants was recognised by the country`s competitors – the U.S. and France.

Removing the atmosphere of animosity between India and Pakistan

In what could prove to be a historic step in removing the atmosphere of animosity between India and Pakistan and promoting people-to-people exchange, the two countries agree to completely revise the 1974 Bilateral Visa Agreement and put in place a liberal visa regime for all categories of people, especially businessmen, as part of the confidence building measures aimed, to promote peace in the region.

Marine species identified in India

A marine museum with 150 specimens was inaugurated on the zoological survey of India (ZSI) premises in Chennai. It has 150 marine specimens, including dugong skeleton, different types of coral and model of sea horse. K. Venkataraman, Director ZSI, said 2.50 lakh marine species were found the world over of which 80,000 had been identified. In India, known for its marine diversity only 15,000 species had been identified.

State contribute 20,000 litres of milk a day to Aavin

Cows procured under the State Govt-funded scheme are contributing 20,000 litres a day for the Public Milk distribution system administered by the Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Produces Federation popularly known as Aavin. Around 8,000 milk cows have been given to beneficiaries and the figure accounts for two-third of the 12,000 cross-bred Jersey cows to be distributed this year.

Norms for selection of Civil Judges justified

Qualifications prescribed for the selection of Civil Judges were finalised after extensive deliberation of the recommendations of appropriate sources including the Law Commission and cannot be termed arbitrary or illegal, the Registry has summitted before the Madras High Court. In this counter to a writ petition seeking to quash a notification of Jan. 21 this year calling for applications for 185 posts of Civil Judge, High Court Registrar – General stated that the petitioner had no locus standi to question the critaria of authorities for selection to the post. It was for the appointing authority to prescribe qualifications. The impugned notification stated that there should be a minimum of three years` experience for practising advocates, but for fresh law graduates no bar experience was prescribed. The notification stipulated that fresh law graduates should have secured on overall percentage of 50 per cent marks in the case of open category and 45 per cent marks for reserved categories. The clause further stipulated that candidates should have obtained a law degree within three years prior to the data of the notification.

Legal education will attain global standards _ Chief Minister

Chief Minister was laying the foundation stone for the law school, which will be established on a 25 acre campus at Navalurkuttapattu, Trichy on the outskirts of the city with an investment of  100 crore. She recalled that a school of excellence was established in 2002 at Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, functioning with seven govt. law colleges and a private college under its fold. However, keeping in mind the need for a national level law school on a par with international institutions the Assembly recently passed a Bill to establish the National Law School in the Srirangam constituency. The Chief Minister also laid the foundation stone for several other projects worth  60.27 crore in her constituency.

French as a subject may be discontinued

It is going to be the last few years of French being offered as a second language in schools affiliated to the State govt. Under the Tamil Nadu Learning Act 2006, Tamil was made compulsory for student of Class I from the academic year 2006-07. The law made Tamil Compulsory as the first language and study of any other language by students, who had neither Tamil nor English as their mother tongue optional. The first batch of students for which the rule came into effect is now in Class VI. A govt. number of Matriculation and Anglo-Indian schools that offer a choice of languages, from Class VIII onwards, will have to rethink whether to continue offering a choice of third languages – French, Hindi, Sanskrit – as an optional subject or discontinue it as there would be no public examination in the subject. The school offers French in Classes VIII, IX and X, but will have a shortly offer it as a third language “French is also easy to score, so there are many takers”, said Ms. Pillay, adding that 30-40 students in a batch of 90 currently opt for the foreign language.

National medal to Amartya Sen

India-born Nobel laureate Prof. Amartya Sen is felicitated with the prestigious National Medal of Arts and Humanities by US President Mr. Barack Obama in Washington.

S.R. Jindal Prize

Former President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and fomer Karnataka Lokyaukta Justice N. Santosh Hegde are selected for the S.R. Jindal Prize for their outstanding contributions in their respective fields. The prize carries a cash component of   1 crore.

East Zone win the Duleep Trophy

East Zone win the Duleep Trophy cricket championship, beating Central Zone in the final in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

RBI decides to permit non-banks to setup own and operate ATM

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decides to permit non-banks to set up, own and operate automated teller machines (ATMs) to accelerate the growth and penetration of ATMs in the country. Such ATMs will be in the nature of white label ATMs (WLA) and will cater to customers of all banks.

Survey at Sethu Project site

Even as an expert committee lead by R.K. Pachuri, Chairman of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, constituted by the Centre based on the direction from the Supreme Court to find on alternative alignment for the Sethusamudram Slip Canal Project is about to submit its final report, K. Mohandas, Secretary, Shipping carried out intensive survey at the project site in Palk Bay and Palk Strait.

Pandian AIADMK organising secretary

Former Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Assembly P.H. Pandian has been appointed the AIADMK organising secretary, according to a release from party general secretary Jayalalithaa. Mr. Pandian who held the part of President of the All India MGR Mandram, has been relieved of the responsibility. Ms. Jayalalithaa also appointed secretaires for the partys woman wing in 18 districts.

Centre to provide interest subvention

In a bid to prevent distress sale by farmers, the Union Govt. will provide interest subvention at two per cent per annum to banks in respect of short term crop loans upto 3 lakh extended to farmers during 2011-12. This is subject to the condition that they lend such loans at ground level initially at seven per cent. In a release, Lalitha Venkatesan, Chief General Manager, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), Chennai, stated that in addition, the centre would provide interest subvention at three per cent to those farmers who promptly repay their short-term production credit dues (crop loans upto 3 lakh) on/ before due date fixed by bank.

Edison awards presented

In Pitch-Black darkness, some torches shone. They moved synchronising with the background music. The opening show of the Edison Awards 2012 organised by my tamil movie can raised a lot of noise and screams from the audience. There was more noise when Ilaya Thalapathi actor Vijay made his entry during the performance of aalaap Raju. He won the best actor award for his performance in Velayudham. Sarah won the Best Child Actor award for her performance in Deiva Thirumagal. She tried to mimic actor Vikram. The Lifetime Achievement Award went to Playback singer L.R. Eswari. The awards were chosen based on online voting. A new television Chennai, World Tamil TV, was launched on the occassion.

Vyas Samman

Hindi writer Prof. Ramdarash Mishra is chosen for the 21st Vyas Samman for his poetry collection Aam Ke Patte.

Bilateral trade with Pakistan

Commerce and Industry Minister Mr. Anand Sharma undertakes a historic visit to Pakistan through the Wagah border with the commitment to double bilateral trade in the next three years and remove trade barriers to share economic prospeirty with its neighbour.

Illegal money in foreign countries

 The CBI reveals that Indians have $500 billion of illegal money slashed away in tax havens such as Mauritius, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, British Virgin Islands, etc.

State will only benefit from Food Security Bill

Union Minister of State for Food and Consumer Affairs, K.V. Thomas said that he was trying to meet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to discuss the National Food Security Bill. “The State will only benefit from the Bill. We will give rice at a lower price _ The Bill only specifies the minimum entitlement. It does not, in any way, restrict the state govt. from further extending it to other categories.

CIS to help deliver public services efficiently

A consolidated national-level Geographical Information System (GIS), which will help the government deliver various public services efficiently, is ready and “we plan to take it to the cabinet shortly”, Sam Pitroda, Advisor to Prime Minister of Infrastructure said. Addressing the delegates of an international conference on `Leading Organisational Transformation for effective delivery”. Organised by the Centre of Excellence for Change Management, through Video-conferencing from San Francisco, he said that India had 30 departments using different GIS for delivery of service. They include Telecommunication, Electricity and Water Supply.

Collection mechanism key for recycling

A number of suggestions, including setting up of plastic waste collection centres in malls, apartments, schools and all business establishments, were made at a conference on solid waste management, Chennai. Many of the recommendations of the conference, organised by the Commissionerate of Municipal Administration, would be incorporated in the proposed Municipal Solid Waste Management Policy for the state. Experts from other states and countries participated in the conference. According to a proper presented at the conference, plastics constitute 7.04 per cent of the waste in urban local bodies in the state. Green waste _32.25 per cent, food waste _8 per cent, inerts 34.65 per cent, rubber and leather _1.45 per cent paper 6.45 per cent, rags and textiles _3.14 per cent, timber and wood _6.99 per cent and metal 0.03 per cent are other types of waste generated in urban local bodies.

An exhibition for indulgance

For those seeking to indulge in luxury sedans, yachts, super bikes, accessories and many more and also interested in investing in villas, the Chennai Trade Centre in Nungambakkam is the place to visit. CEO Lifestyle 2012, a two day exhibition of luxury products began there on 11th February.

Smallest room-temperature nanolaser to date and a no-waste laser

Scientists at the University of California, USA, say that they have built the smallest room-temperature nanolaser to date and a no-waste laser, which requires very low power for operation. The second one is a highly efficient thresholders laser that funnels all its photons into lasing, without any waste.

54th Grammy Awards

The 54th Grammy Awards are given away at a grand event in Los Angeles, USA. British soul singer Adele creates quite a buzz at the award function, winning six awards. The prominent winners are : Album of the Year : Adele for 21; Record of the Year : Adele for Rolling in the Deep; Song of the year : Adole for Rolling in the Deep; Best Rock Album : Foo Fighters for Wasting Light; Best Country Album : Lady Antebellum for Own The Night;Best New Artist : Bon Iver, etc., among others.