February, 2013

State gets its first solar toilets

The state got its first solar, sensor-based-toilets with the Tambaram Municipality installing three units at the junction of Duraiswamy Reddy st. and GST Road, “Namma toilets”, the user friendly units made of fibre reinforced polymer material, were inaugurated by animal husbandry minister. T.K.M. Chinmaya at an event that also saw the participation of Tambaram municipality chairman M. Karikalan. The toilets have several advantages over the conventional 12 existing toilets in Tambaram. Besides being corrosion – free, the toilets have two digesters to process waste and release sewage in to the existing network after processing it. People will not be charged for using these toilets.

City prof. bags C.V. Raman prize

Every year, Feb. 28 is celebrated as National Science Day to commemorate renowned physicist C.V. Raman’s discovery of what is known as the Raman effect. But it has taken over 20 years for a scientist from the state to receive the award constituted under his name. S. Rajarajan, 58, a Professor of microbiology at Presidency college has been awarded the Dr. Sir C.V. Raman birth centenary gold medal this year. Dr. Rajarajan, who hails from Cuddalore is an aluminus of Presidency college and the University of Madras and holds a Ph.D in medical microbiology.

White tiger cubs await Tamil names

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has an unusual task at hand-giving Tamil names to the four white tiger cubs who were born at Vandalur zoo on October 29 last year. The nine year old Anu, the oldest tigress at the zoo, gave birth to four cubs. With the new borns, the zoo, currently has 21 tigers. The gestation period of tigers is around 105 days. “Four months have passed since the cubs were born. It is time they are named since wild species, especially big cats respond when called by a name,” said a zoo official.

3 Ministers sacked, new faces inducted

Three members of the state cabinet Gokula Indra (Tourism), N.R. Sivapathy (School Education) and V.S. Vijay (Health) were dropped, in yet another reshuffle of Ministers that came after nearly time months. Tamil Nadu Poonachi, Vaigai – Chelvam and K.C. Veeramani will be inducted as Ministers at a Ceremony. The portfolio of P. Chendur Pandian has been charged. K.P. Munusamy, Municipal portfolio of P. Chendur Pandian has been changed. K.P. Munusamy, Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister, has been given the portpolio of Law, which was hitherto handled by Mr. Sivapathy Mr. Chendur Pandian will look after Tourism and his portfolio of Khadi & Village Industries has been assigned to Mr. Poonachi Ms. Indra has been made party’s organising secretary. Mr. Vijay replaced with S.C. Ezhumalai.

Union Budget – 2013-14

28 : Finance Minister Mr. P. Chidambaram presents the 2013-14 Union Budget. He provides a tax break of 2,000 to individual tax payers with taxable income of up to    5 lakh. He imposes a one-year surcharge of 10 percent on the “super rich” section of tax payers. Duties are raised on luxury vehicles, mobile phones (priced over    2,000), cigarettes, etc. Investment allowance makes a comback. Bringing focus on women, the Budget provides for setting up women’s banks with   1,000 crore capital, besides setting up “Nirbhaya Fund” of  1,000 crore for women’s safety. The Budget gives first time buyers of affordable homes an additional deduction of Rs.1 lakh for home loans up to   25 lakh.

Highlights : • The Union Budget for 2013-14 aims at a higher growth rate leading to inclusive and sustainable development. • Fiscal Deficit for 2012-13 contained at 5.2%; pegged at 4.8% for 2013-14 • Plan Expenditure placed at    5,55,322 crore, 33.3% of total expenditure; Non-Plan Expenditure estimated at   11,09,975 crore. •  1,000 crore ‘Nirbhaya Fund’ for Women’s empowerment and safety. • Proposal to set up India’s first Women’s Bank •   1,000 crore for skill development of 10 lakh youth to enhance employability and productivity • Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme to be rolled out throughout the country during UPA-2 term • Substantial rise in social sector outlay Allocation for Rural Development Ministry up by 46% to   80,194 crore • Defence spending up by 14.1% with an allocation of   2,03,672 crore • Minority Affairs Ministry allocated   3,511 crore, 60% higher than revised estimates for 2012-13 • First home loan up to    25 lakh from bank or a housing finance corporation entitled to additional deduction of interest up to   1 lakh • Capital infusion of    14,000 crore in public sector banks. • New taxes to yield   18,000 crore • Personal Incoem Tax slabs unchanged : relief of  2,000 for tax payers in first slab of 2-5 lakhs • Surcharge of 10% levied on persons (other than companies) whose taxable income exceeds   1 crore • ;Voluntary Compilance Encouragement Scheme’ launched for recovering service tax dues • The Budget estimate of Plan expenditure for 2013-14 at   5,55,322 crore out of a total expenditure of   16,65,297 crore is 29.4 percent more than the revised estimate for the 2012-13 fiscal •  2,03,672 crore to the armed forces for 2013-14 •   86,741 crore has been set aside for modernising capabilities. • In the Budget,   6,275 crore has been allocated to the Ministry of Science and Technology •    5,615 crore to the Department of Space and   5,880 crore to the Department of Atomic Energy.

West Indies sweep the ODI series against Zimbabwe

Hosts West Indies sweep the ODI series against Zimbabwe 3-0, beating them in the third and final match by five wickets in St. George’s.

Iran and the P5+1 comprising six world powers – conclude two days of nuclear dialogue

Iran and the P5+1, comprising six world powers, conclude two days of nuclear dialogue in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The talks end on a positive note, with the participants reaching specific agreements for further meetings in coming months. The six global powers – the US, the UK, China, Russia, France and Germany – drop their original demand that Iran shut down its uranium enrichment plant at Fordow. Instead, they insist that Iran suspend its enrichment programme there.

Economic Survey 2012-13

The Economic Survey 2012-13 is tabled in the Parliament. It suggests a slew of hard, but good decisions to stick to the path of fiscal consolidation and rescue the economy out of the morass. Claiming that the downturn is “more or less over” and that the economy is looking up, the Survey projects a cautiously optimistic growth rate of 6.1-6.7 percent for 2013-14, while conceding that the GDP growth for the 2012-13 is likely to slip to a decade’s low of five percent

Highlights : • Inflation expected to come down to 6.2-6.6% by March 2013 • Fiscal deficit in 2012-13 likely to be contained at 5.3% • Fiscal deficit target pegged at 4.8% of GDP for 2013-14 and 3.0 for 2016-17 • Industrial output estimated to be growing around 3% in 2012-13 • Non-performing assets (NPA) of the banking sector increased from 2.36% in Mar 2011 to 3.57% in Sept. 2012. • Foreign exchange reserves remain steady; by end of Jan 2013 they stood at US $ 295.5 billion.

Railway Budget – 2013-14

Railway Minister Mr. Pawan Kumar Bansal presents the 2013-14 Railway Budget. Economy class passengers are spared from fare hikes, but those travelling on superfast trains and reserved compartments are subjected to various supplementary charges. Freight rates are hiked by about 5.79 percent on almost all categories of commodities.  

Highlights : • Highest ever plan outlay of    63,363 crore • 67 new express and 26 new passenger trains; run of 57 trains to be extended and freqency of 24 trains to be increased • 500 km of new lines, 750 km of doubling and 450 km gauge conversion targeted in 2013-14 • Freight loading of 1047 MT, 40 MT more than 2012-13 • Growth of passenger traffic pegged at 5.2% • Fuel Adjustment Component’ concept linking tariffs with movements of fuel prices • E-ticketing through mobile phones; internet ticketing from 0030 hrs to 2330 hrs; SMS  alerts providing updates on reservation status • Next-Gen e-ticketing system capable to handling 7,200 ticket per minute against 2,000 at present • Introduction of 160/200 kmph Self Propelled Accident Relief Trains • By announcing just seven new factories and just about 100 new trains, including 67 long-distance Main/Express trains, Mr. Bansal presented a stripped-down budget that stressed on reform more than political ambition • In a bid to provide comforts and facilities comparable to ful-service airlines, Indian Railways will introduce a new “hyper luxury” class for those wiling to pay more, Mr. Banzal announced. To be called ‘Anubhuti’, this class will use new coaches that will be manufactured exclusively at the coach factory in Rae Bareli at an additional cost of  30 lakh per coach. • Mr. Bansal has decided to go in for a massive augmentation of the IRCTC website during this calendar year • The Railway Budget hinted at the target to create fund balance of   30,000 crore in the terminal year of 12th Five-Year Plan.

Madurai temple under security blanket

After a specific alert from central security agencies, the Meenakshi Sundereswarar temple, Madurai has come under security blanket. Based on the instructions from the office of D.G.P. steps had been taken to step up vigil in and around the temple. The Central security agencies had warned of a “possible attack by trained terrorists who may have infiltrated to target specific infrastructural facilities in the country like in the past”, he noted. In a bid to ensure that there was no let down, the present security arrangement was reviewed and adequate precautionary steps would follow with immediate effect, it was decided at a meeting.

100 – year-old store of riches sings many tale

From the Veda Veena of ancient times to the harmonium, range of musical instruments are on display at the Govt. Museum in Egmore. The artefacts at the exhibition inaugurated on Feb. 24 were bought by the museum officials in 1903. The thavil, mrudhangam, kanjeera and the salangai are familiar to us but there are some instruments like the Panchamukha Vadyam  which are still in use, says curator Thulasi Brinda. The drum with five faces, believed to depict Shiva’s five phases, is still played during puja at the Tiruvarur timple. Little-known instruments like various kinds of harps (yazh) used as long ago as 2 B.C. during Sangam period, and the Burmese harp, which is still in use, are on display.

Ancient continent found

Scientists claim to have discovered a lost ancient continent between India and Madagascar, found buried under huge masses of lava. The continent fragment known as Mauritia detached about 60 million years ago while Madagascar and India drifted apart, and had been hidden under lava since then.

South Korea’s first-ever woman President

Ms. Park Geun-hye is sworn in as South Korea’s first-ever woman President at a grand ceremony in Seoul.

PSLV – C20

In a successful multiple launch mission, a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C20) puts the Indo-French SARAL and six other satellites (SAPPHIRE, NEOSSAT, AAUSAT, BRITE, Uni-BRITE and STRand, all from abroad) in their precise orbits. The launch, carried out from the Sriharikota spaceport, is the 22nd consecutive successful PSLV mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). SARAL is a unique satellite that will cater to the research community. It will help in oceanographic studies.

85th Academy Awards (Oscar Awards)

The 85th Academy Awards, also referred to as the Oscars, are presented in California, USA. The award winners are – Best Film : Argo, Best Director : Ang Lee (Life of Pi); Best Actor : Daniel Day – Lewis (Lincoln); Best Actress : Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook); Best Supporting Actor : Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained);  Best Supporting Actress : Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables); Best Foreign Language Film: Amour, Best Animated Film : Brave,  Best Original Screenplay : Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino), etc. among others.

South Africa sweep the series against Pakistan

Hosts South Africa beat Pakistan by an innings and 18 runs in the third and final Test in Centurion, sweeping the series 3-0.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Regional leaders sign a deal aimed at bringing peace and stability to the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo after years of unrest. Eleven countries in the Great Lake region sign the accord in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Indo-Tibetan Border Police raise nine more battalions

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) announces its plans to raise nine more battalions by 2015 to meet increasing requirements for personnel.

New budget restaruants to be renamed Amma Unavagam

The Chennai Corporation Council requested the State govt. to rename the new budget restaruants ‘Amma Unavagam’. “The council has passed the resolution following requests to rename the budget restaurants” C.M. inaugurated 15 budget restaurants in all zones of the city. The Corporation, will open 24 more ‘Amma Unavagams’ on the Chief Minister’s birthday. “The Corporation will find suitable buildings on rent if officials are unable to find a suitable place in a ward”. At least 100 more ‘Amma Unavagams’ will be opened by March 31.

Now, birth and death certificates to record time

Birth and death certificates issued by the Chennai Corporation will soon record the time. The Chennai Corporation Council decided to tweak the software to facilitate changes in the formed of the birth and deaths certificates online. The birth and death registry and certificates issued by the Chennai Corporation will record the time of such events after the new format is readied.

Free mosquito nets for poor residents

The civic body will distribute free mosquito nets to poor residents living along the city’s waterways. The Corporation council passed a resolution to distribute mosquito nets to residents along the 16 minor and major waterways such as the Coovum, Adyar and Buckingham Canal. The move followed reports that fogging operations were not effective in tackling mosquitoes in some areas. The civic body has been carrying out fogging operations in most areas in the city.

Britain suffers its first-ever sovereign rating downgrade

Britain suffers its first-ever sovereign ratings downgrade from a major agency when Moody’s strips the country of its top-notch triple A rating.

3,600 crore helicopter kickback scame

In its report to the Defence Ministry, Agusta Westland – the company implicated in the   3,600 crore helicopter kickback scam – denies alligations that it made pay offs to bag the deal from India in February 2010.

CTC’s vital role in defending State’s rights

Behind the present mood of jubilation among farmers and political leaders in the State over the latest development in the cauvery dispute lies the silent and yet significant work of a compact team of dedicated officials is safeguarding the interests of the state. The team, formally known as Cauvery Technical Cell (CTC) has been functioning for most of the last two decades from an old building of the British Raj period in an innocuous comer of the sprawling campus of the Govt. Museum, Egmore.

Veterinary varsity research training centres

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa inaugurated three new research and training centres of the Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University in Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai and Krishnagiri districts. The centres set up at an estimated cost of   80 lakh each, would impart training to cattle owners in modern technologies to improve their economic status.

Coaches for double-decker train arrive

With the arrival of coaches from the Rail Coach Factory, Kapurthala, the much awarited Chennai-Decker Train could be on the tracks soon. The 14 coach rake stationed at the Basin Bridge Yard for interior work includes 12 passenger coaches, brake van-cum luggage-power car and pantry. Though the train was announced in the 2012-13 Railway Budget it is unlikcely to roll out before Union Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal presents his maiden Budget for 2013-14 on February 26. The Train No. 22625 Chennai Central-Bangalore AC Double Decker Express will leave is Chennai at 7.25 a.m. and reach Bangalore at 1.30 p.m. while Train No. 22626 will leave Bangalore at 2.40 pm and arrive at 8.45 pm.

Nemmeli Plant to open

The second desalination plant in the state, located on East coast road at Nemmeli with a capacity to treat 100 million litres a day (MLD) of seawater, will be inaugurated by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today. The desalinated water from Nemmeli plant will offset the shortage due to loss of water from Veeranam tank. The desalinated water from Nemmeli will cater to the drinking water needs of south Chennai and extended areas in the southern finger.

Aavin diversifiers into nutty chocolate bars

In a bid to use surplus milk and diversify its products portfolio, Aavin his begun production of chocolate bars. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa who launched the products ‘Nutty’ and ‘Milky and Nutty’ expressed her happiness over diversification of Aavin. The chocolates will be available across the city at Aavin’s 75 parlours and will soon be sold in other parts of the state. The Chocolates are priced competitively at    30 for a 45g. pack. The chocolates are manufactured at the doing major’s Ambattur plant where up to 100 kg. of Chocolate is produced every day. Each 100 g. of choclate contains 25 g. of fat, 7 g. of protein and 63 g. of carbohydrate, of which sugar constitutes 57 g. The energy value per 100 g. chocolate is 505 calories.

Chennai hospital ties up with Moscow institute

In order to find a cure for heart disease and stroke, Frontier Lifetime Hospital has entered into collaboration with the Institute of Atheroscleosis Research, Moscow, Russia. A team of expert scientists from Frontire Lifetime (Dr. K.M. Cherian Heart-Foundation) will work with some of the best minds in the field of genetics and molecular biology from Russia to identify the genes responsible for atherosclerosis head lead to shokes and heart attacks. The collaboration aims at understanding why people both in India and Russia are prone to heart attitudes and stroke.

C.M. declares open memorials

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa declared open several memorials dedicated to personalities from various walks of life through video conferencing facility from the Secretariat. The memorials with statues were dedicated to triumvirate of Tamil music at Sirkazhi costing   1.151 crore, memorials for former Chief Minister Omandur Ramasamy Reddiar at Villupuram (  69 lakhs), freedom fighter Gopal Naicker, Virupatchi (   69 lakhs) and Mahamaham multi-purpose hall in Kumbakonam (   63 lakhs)

Property fair to showcase 250 projects

With 250 projects from 70 builders on exhibit, the sixth edition of Fair Pro 2013 organised by the confederation of Real Estate Developers’ Association of India (CREDAI) will be held from Feb. 22 to 24 at Chennai Trade Centre in Nandambakkam. Developers and builders who are members CREDAL will exhibit various projects including flats, villas and plots priced between   15 lakhs and   10 crore.

Awards presented by Loyola business institute

Loyala Institute of Business Administration has announced Shree cement as the winner of the Mother Teresa Award for Corporate Citizenship. Polaris Financial Technology was chosen for a special award for their work through the ‘touch the soil” programme.

NABARD sanctions 47.50 crore for water conservation

The National Bank of Agricultural and Rural Development (NABARD) announced it has sanctioned    47.50 crore to Tamil Nadu under Rural Infrastructure Development fuel for exacting water conservation and canopy improvement project in degraded forest lands. NABARD Chief General Manager Lalitha Venkatesan said with this the cumulative sanction under RIDF XVIII for 2012-13 stood at   1,337.53 crore of which   152.70 crore was meant specifically for development of storage and werehousing facility in the state.

Coast Guard will have 150 vessels, 100 aircraft by 2018

Stating that the centre way paying special attention to build the capacity and capacity of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to tackle emerging maritime challenges, Director General of ICG Vice-Admiral M.P. Muralidharan has said the force was poised to grow to more than 150 vessels and 100 aircraft of 2018. Addressing after commissioning the Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV). Hovercraft 190 the fourth of the series of 12 ACVs designed and built by UK – based Griffan Hoverwork Ltd – at Mandapam Coast Guard station.

Life Time Achievement Award

Former Tata Group chairman Mr. Ratan Tata is chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award by Ernst & Young.

Artificial brain in humanoid robot

Reports reveal that scientists have successfully incorporated an artificial brain in a humanoid robot which has bestowed on it a rare ability to learn the basics of languages. The new technology has enabled the robot, named iCub, to understand what is being said and, more strikingly, even anticipate the end of a sentence. This experiment was a joint effort by France’s Inserm, CNRS and Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1.

The first meeting of the Russia-Arab League Forum

The first meeting of the Russia-Arab League Forum in held in Moscow, Russia. The ongoing crisis in Syria dominates the talks at the meeting. The two sides call for dialogue between the government and the opposition in Syria. They agree that they will push the warring sides to adopt the path of dialogue.

AirAsia hiked foreign direct investment limit

Venerated business conglomerate Tata Group and Malaysia-based no-frills carrier AirAsia join hands to enter the aviation sector as a joint entity. This will be the first investment in the aviation sector by a foreign airline after the government hiked the foreign direct investment limit from 26 percent to 49 percent in 2012.

Online applications for scholarship

As sequel to the Namakkal scandal in disbursal of scholarship to students in the middle of last year, the manual system of submission of applications by SC higher secondary students for post-matric scholarship will be dispensed with. This will come into effect from the next academic year, a govt. official says, adding that only online submission of application will be allowed.

3D theatre at govt. museum

The next 3D film the city’s residents watch, may not be at a conventional cinema hall. In about two months, the govt. museum, Egmore is set to open an exclusive theatre that will screen 3D films. The concept, already widely popular across the city’s cinema complexes, is being brought into the museum to attract more visitors. Once opened, it will be the first of its kind facility in a state museum. About 60 per cent of the work to establish the 3D theatre in the building housing the children’s museum has been completed so far. Though the science city complex in Kotturpuram has the facility to screen 3D films, the upcoming theatre at the museum will be a sophisticated air-conditioned facility. A source at the museum said that the project worth   40 lakh, also aims at renovating the children’s museum, and making it completely air-conditioned.

Budget hotels in 15 zones to open

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa will inaugurate budget restaurants of the Chennai Corporation. One of the restaurants will be inaugurated at Santhome by the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. Women belonging to self-help groups have been given the responsibility of managing them. Councillors some of the localities had a taste of the food. Each of the 15 zones of the Corporation will have one budget restaurant in the first phase. The 15 restaurant to be inaugurated are at Thiruvottiyur, Mathur, Madhavaram, Old Washermenpet, Royapuram, Pulianthope, Oragadam, Kilpauk, Santhome High Road, T. Nagar, Maduravoyal, Nanganallur, Thiruvanmiyur, Perungudi and Thuraipakkam. In 200 canteens to be opened by March 31, over 2,400 women from various parts of the city are expected to find work. The govt. decision is expected to ensure healthy food to those living in slums, daily labourers, drivers, load men and migrant workers. But all residents will be served food at the restaurants. The restaurants will offer idli (100 grams) for a rupee, sambar rice (350 gms) at   3.

Firstwomen members of the Shura Council in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah swears in the country’s first women members of the Shura Council, an appointed body that advises on new laws.

Nuclear co-operation agreement between India and British

Visiting British Prime Minister Mr. David Cameron holds talks with his Indian counterpart Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. At the talks, Mr. Cameron pushes for stronger trade relations between India and Britain. The two leaders also discuss regional and global issues, including Iran, Afghanistan and Syria. Dr. Singh and Mr. Cameron agree to begin talks on a bilateral civil nuclear cooperation agreement. They also decide to step up discussions on cyber security in order to make India’s information technology networks as safe as possible.

Container feeder service begins between Karaikal, Colombo

The first container feeder service between Marg Karaikal Port and Colombo began with the maidan call of M.V. Tiger  Bridge, a vessel of Bengal Tiger Line Shipping company. On its maiden voyage, the vessel carried 50 laden containers. A port official said the feeder versal was expected to call every alternate Friday, and latex it would become a weekly service.

New airport terminal to be ready for arrivals soon

Finally, its almost ready. By the first week of March, air passengers will be able to use the new domestic terminal at Chennai airport. At first though, only when they arrive in the city, but mid March, when they leave too. Airport officials said that both the arrival and departure terminals will soon be thrown open for public use. Shifting departure proceedings from the old due to the new terminal is much more complex then the shifting of the arrival proceedings, since there are more procedures involved. That is another reason the new arrival terminal will be operational first, Mr. Suresh said. 

Middle income housing to set incentives

A year after the finance minister announced in Tamil Nadu legislative assembly that the govt. would facilitate developers to build more low-income and middle-income group housing, norms have been framed to enable it. According to the guidelines, which are under the final stages of review, apartments with dwelling units of 700 sq.feet. would be classified as middle income group (MIG) housing. Developers who build apartment complexes dedicated to MIG housing would be permitted to build 30 per cent more than what is currently allowed. The permissible FSI – floor space index, a ratio that determines the maximum buildable area in a given plot is 1.5 in normal cases, but in apartments dedicated to MIG housing, it would be enhanced to 1.95.

Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace 2011

Ms. Ela Ramesh Bhatt of Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) is conferred the Indira Gandhi Pirze for Peace, Disarmament and Development for 2011.

Viswanathan Anand wins the title at the Grenke Chess Classic

Viswanathan Anand of India wins the title at the Grenke Chess Classic in Baden – Baden, Germany.

Pakistan’s biggest infrastructure project

Pakistan hands over the control of its strategically important Gwadar Deep Sea Port to China. The port is Pakistan’s biggest infrastructure project to date.

Major decision, the Court of Arbitration at The Hague

18 : In a major decision, Court of Arbitration at The Hague allows India to go ahead with the construction of the    3,600-crore Kishenganga hydroelectric project in North Kashmir, rejecting Pakistan’s plea that this is a violation of the 1960 Indus Water Treaty.

NLC projects to generate 8,500 MW more

The Neyveli Lignite Corporation a Navaratna Company, has proposed to generate additional 8,500 MW of electricity. Of this over 70 per cent 6,000 MW – would come from the projects in Tamil Nadu. The new projects in the pipeline in Tamil Nadu were the Tuticorin project – 1,000 MW, Neyveli New Thermal Power Station – 1,000 MW and the Sirkazhi ultra mega power project – 4000 MW. For the Sirkazhi project, the NLC has applied for allocation of Coal blocks.

Rafael Nadal wins title at the ATP Brazil Open

Spanish superstar Rafael Nadal wins the title at the ATP Brazil Open, beating Argentina’s David Nalbandian in the final in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Azarenka wins Qatar Total Open tennis championship

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus wins the title at the Qatar Total Open tennis championship beating Serena Williams of the US in the final in Doha, Qatar.

Australia wins ICC Women’s World Cup

Australia beat West Indies by 114 runs in the final in Mumbai to clinch the ICC Women’s World Cup.

Death sentences for war criminals

In a major move aimed at bringing to book the perperators of war crimes during the Bangladesh Liberation War, the country’s Parliament amends the war crimes law to allow the government to appeal against verdicts of war crimes tribunals. The recent letting off of a war criminal have brought people out to the Dhaka’s iconic Shahbagh Square, seeking death sentences for all war criminals.

Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee’s recommendation and PM 15 point programme

The UPA Government proposes constitution of a high-power committee to review and assess the implementation of Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee’s recommendations and Prime Minister’s 15-point programme. The recommendations and the Programme deal with bettering the lot of the minorities.

Serena Williams become sthe oldest woman tennis player to be ranked No.1

American tennis ace Serena Williams becomes the oldest woman tennis player to be ranked No. 1 in the world. She earns this feat by reaching the semi-finals of the Qatar Total Open in Doha, Qatar. It is the sixth time overall that Serena has been ranked on top. At 31 years, four months and 24 days, Serena surpasses the record of yesteryear’s American star Chris Evert, who was 30 years, 11 months and 3 days old when ranked World No. 1 in November 1985.

The second India-Bangladesh JCC meeting in Dhaka

The second India-Bangladesh joint Consultative Commission (JCC) meeting is held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The two neighbouring countries review the whole range of bilateral issues. At the talks, External Affairs Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid and his Bangladesh counterpart Ms. Dipu Moni lead their respective sides. The two sides also review the progress of cooperation in the fields  of business and trade, connectivity, power, water resources, security, border management, infrastructure, people to people contacts, culture, environment and education.

Cameras and lasers in Navigation, UK

Scientists at Oxford University, UK, reveal that they have created and tested a technology that enables a car to “drive itself”. The technology, which basically is a low-cost navigation system, has been adapted to electric cars. The navigation system can clearly identify its surroundings using small cameras and lasers built in the car’s body and linked to a computer in the boot.

Shock waves generated by the explotion

A meteor closely misses the Russian city of Chelyabinsk. Scientists say that the meteor is likely to go down in history as the second largest celestial body to have a date with the earth in the last 100 years. Shock waves generated by the explosion injure about 1,200 people in the city of 3.5 million.

Rare birds spotted in squirrel sancutary

Twenty species of rare, endamic and migrant birds have been recorded in the Grizzled Giant squirrel sanctuary in Srivilliputhur during a recently concluded bird survey. In the survey said the rare endemic species included Sri Lanka Fragmouth, Mountain and Rufous – bellied Hawk Eagles, Great Indian and Malabar Piad Hornbills, Mountain and green imperial pigeons. These species were found only in the high altitude of Western Ghats. Steppe Eagle, Eurasian Sparrowhawk and Bluecapped Rockthrush were some of the rare migrants recorded in the sanctuary.

Govt. to launch new VFX course

After talented film makers and movie technicians, the state will soon be able to produce quality visual-efforts experts. Work is on at the MGR Govt. Film and Television Institute to create laboratory facilities and frame a syllabus for a new course to be launched the coming academic year. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa sanctioned  9.5 crore for development of infrastructure at the Institute. Courses in animation and special affects are expensive at most private institutes. Such institutes charge lakhs for animation and allied courses but produce talent that does not know the language of film making. The course to be launched by the govt. will produce visual effects creative heads who will create a big impact in the film industry in a few years.

KMC gets new diagnostic devices

Govt. Kilpauk Medical College Hospital (KMC) now has MRI and CT scan machines. This is the third tertiary care govt. hospital in the city to offer the facility. The new equipment will bring down the patient load at the Rajiv Gandhi Govt. General Hospital (GH) and Govt. Stanley Hospital. Until now, doctors in KMC were forced to refer their patients to the other hospitals. The health minister V.S. Vijay and senior health department officials, launched a slew of facilities at KMC while the MRI has been installed at a cost of     5 crore, the CT scan cost  1.2 crore. The hospital also set up a post – aneasthetic intensive care unit and upgraded facilities at its pain clinic.

Iconic slab of history exposed to the elements

For many years, 53 year old S. Kodandapani tethered his cattle to a stone slab protruding at the corner of a mud road in Vikkanampundi Village, Tiruvallur.  Kodandapani had no idea that the slab was 600 year old, and had on it, inscriptions from the Vijayanagara  period. The slab rests just outside a 9th century Visaleswara temple nearly, which is protested by the State govt, but the slab itself, which has a record of king Harihara Raya II (1378 CE), has been neglected. The inscriptions on the stone record important historical information explained, K. Sridaran, retired deputy director of the State archaeology department. The inscriptions detail the donations made by king Harihara to local sepoys. Idangai Maha Senaiyar to maintain the temple. In fact, the temple was originally was known as Vijayalaya – Cholisvaram temple as per inscriptions found on the slab and inside the temple. But over the years, the name changed to Visaleswara temple.

Underneath Chennai

For most residents, the construction of underground stations for the city’s dream transport project – Metro Rail – is mostly a lot of noise, traffic diversion, and the occasional sight of massive machines. But behind the heavy iron barricades that dot money of Chennai’s arterial roads, tunnel boring machine (TBMs) have been relentlessly drilling through rocky surfaces to make way 19 underground stations that will be part of a complex 24 km. underground rail network.  And these gigantic devices are being handled by workers not just from India, but also China, South Africa, Russia, Germany and Nepal.

US slashing nuclear weapons

Russia pours cold water on US President Mr. Barack Obama’s pledge to effect new cuts in the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, saying that it will say no to Mr. Obama’s proposal for slashing nuclear weapons by 60 percent from the current goal of 1,550 deployed warheads, by 2018.

French President talks with PM Dr. Manmohan Singh

French President Mr. Francois Hollande wraps up his India visit. During the visit, he holds talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. At their talks, they decide to give the India-France economic ties a boost by building on earlier trade plans. The two leaders also announce the conclusion of negotiations for the $6-billion  Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile system.

Kattupalli Port will not compete with nearly facilities

The L & T Kattupalli port will play a supporting role and will compete with facilities in the neighbourhood, chief operating officer G. Gandhirajan said. A similar observation was made by the newly appointed Ennore Port Chairman – cum – Managing Director M.A. Bhaskarachar at a private function in Chennai. Chennai Port Trust Chairman Atulya Misra said that parts on the eastern coast had better prospects as trade towards the east would boan in coming years and this would not pore a major challenge for the existing facilities.

Formalities followed before nod obtained for conversion to hospital

The state govt. submitted before the National Green Tribunal (NGT), Santheru Bench, that the environment clearance was obtained for converting the new secretariat-cum-Assembly structure at the Omendurar Govt. Estate an Anna Salai into a multi speciality hospital only after following the required formalities and procedures and after caveful consideration.

Tibetan-Suicidal protest acts

A monk in Nepal becomes the 100th Tibetan to carry out self-immolation since 2009. The incident highlights China’s continuing restrictive policies in Tibet that have driven a big number of Tibetan people to carry out such suicidal protest acts.

India’s exports improved Jan. 2013

Figures released by the Commerce Ministry reveal that India’s exports, which had been contracting since May 2012, improved marginally in January 2013, recording a growth of 0.82 percent to $25.58 billion.

New Solicitor-General of India appointed

Mr. Mohan Parasaran is appointed the Solicitor-General of India. He succeeds Mr. Rohinton Nariman.

Vulture population stabilising in Mayor Valley

The population of vulture, a critically endangered species, is stability in the Mayor Valley in the Nilgiris North Forest Division in the state, thanks to the efforts of non-governmental organisations and the state Forest Department. Through systematic protection measures the number of the forest revengers’ nests had increased to 50 in Jan. this year. Similarly, the number of vultures sighted also had also gone up. The vultured nests were found in Semmanatham, Jallikadavu and Siriyur in the Nilgiris of North Forest Division. The area is habitat to four species of vultures – oriented white backed, Indian, Rad headed and white Scavenger vultures.

Faithful ponder post-Benedict era

The Catholic Community in Chennai expressed shock at the sudden decision of Pope Benedict XVI – formerly known as Cardinal Joseph Alaisug Ratzinger – to resign from the helm of the Catholic Church citing health and age. The Pope’s resignation is said to be the first such instance in 600 years. According to M.G. Devasahayam, convenor of Forum for Catholic Unity. Jseph Ratzinger had taken a wire decision. “He has acted fairly by deciding to pass on his position to another cardinals possibly a youngster person, who could take up the heavy work load of the church. He seems to be physically and mentally tired,” he added.

Wrestling remove the Sport from the Olympics from 2020 onwards

In a blow to wrestling, the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) votes to remove the sport from the Olympics from 2020 onwards.

North Korea successful underground nuclear test

North Korea announces that it has conducted a successful underground nuclear test. The move brings condemnation from its neighbours and threatens to heighten regional tensions.

Brisbery helicopter deal

The Defence Ministry orders a CBI inquiry into the allegations of bribery in the  3,600-crore VVIP helicopter deal with Italian defence firm Finmeccanica for the supply of 12 AgustaWestland choppers.

HC refuses to restrain cable operators from transmitting analyse signals

The Madras High Court has declined to grant interim injunction restraining local cable operators including Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable Television from transmitting the cable TV signals in analogue mode or operating analogue head end or importing cable TV signals from Non-DAS area or rolling out cable TV signals without DAS licence to the consumers within Chennai Metropolitan area Justice Vinod K. Sharma said, “It cannot be said that the applicant has prima facie case to seek injunction nor the balance of convenience is in favour of him is not likely to suffer any irreperable loss”; while dismissing an application filed by the T. Saikrishnan.

Aavin parlours in schools, colleges

The impart entrepreneurial and management training skill to students at young age, Tamil Nadu Cooperative Milk Poducers’ Federation (popularly known as Aavin) plans to set up parlours in schools and colleges across the State. All that the interested educational institutions have to do is to provide 100 sq. ft. of space with electricity connection and a shelter. Aavin will provide bottle coolers, deep freezers and milk boilers on a monthly rental basis. Parlours could be managed either by individuals or group of students or by the management.

Pope Benedict XVI resign

Pope Benedict XVI announces that he has decided to resign as the religious head of the Catholic world, becoming the first Pope to do so in 600 years. The 85-year-old was known as Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger before assuming the pontifical office in April 2005.

Indian stock market

India’s new stock exchange, MCX-SX, starts trading shares, foraying into the Indian stock market dominated by the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Oragadam to have wider road soon

As part of phase II of the Oragadam Industrial Corridor Project, work to widen a 12 km sretch of theSingaperumal Koil – Sriperumbudur Road is expected to commence in a few months. The road connecting Oragadam to the Chennai-Bangalore Highway (NH4) has traffic of around 30,000 passenger car units passing through every day. The four lane road is being made into a six-lane facility at a cost of   86.65 crore by the Tamil Nadu Road Infrastructure Development Corporation (TNRIDC). After the widening, the road would have two service lanes each on either side. The work is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

Jackal gives birth to six at Vandalur zoo

After a gap of eight years, a six year old jackel gave birth to six female pups at the Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Vandalur a few days ago. The pups each weighing about three kilograms, are being given special cure zoo yets making periodic checks on their health. The cubs are feeding on their mother’s milk. It will take a few months before they can be allowed for public viewing as they have to get acctimatised to the other adults in the pack in the common enclosure.

Permanent house for Geospatial Data centre

On Feb. 9th the foundation stone for a permanent structure for a Geospatial Data centre of the Survey of India in Chennai was laid in Velacherry near Perungudi MRTS Station. The geospatial data centre, which now functions from an office inside the Guindy Industrial estate, provides information on the mean sea level is a landmark for calculating the height for new projects such as dams, roads and bridges. It also provides latitude and longitude coordinates for sites. It has precise topography maps too.

Strong case for bicycle tracks on city footpaths

Chennai Metro Rail Ltd. has now started advocating bicycle-tracks on all roads near metro stations by democrating portions of widened footpaths for the purpose. A study of the feasibility of such integrated footpaths and bicycle tracks is likely to be initiated shortly. The govt. may take a decision on integrating bicycle tracks on footpaths after widening than near metro stations. The civic body has already decided to improve padestrian facilities on many roads. “It is a great idea. But the design standards in India require at least 5.5 metre wide stretch of land along one side of a road to create cycle tracks on footpath.”

Gandhi Mandapam all set to get a makeover

After a gap of several years, Gandhi Mandapam, one of the city’s important landmarks, will soon gain a facelift. The announcement regarding the project to beautify the memorial complex was mode nearly a year ago in the Assembly. But the   1161 crore project faced obstacles in implementation due to delay in tendering process. This came out of bidders quoting a higher price than that fixed by the govt. With the Public Work Department finalising the tender, work to spruce up complex on Sardar Patel Road is expected to start in two weeks. The new project aims to provide a major overhaul to the Mandapam comprising ten memorials. There is a plan to errect water fountains around the complex. Two small ponds would also be created.

Karnataka begins releasing water to Tamil Nadu

Complying with the Supreme Court’s order to provide 2.44 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu immediately, the Karnataka govt. began releasing water amid tight security. Irrigation Department officials, after getting a directive from the govt, released water from the Krishnaraya Sagar. Reservoir (KSR) near Srirangapatinam. The outlflow was 1,000 cusecs at 12.15 p.m. and it crossed 2,000 cusecs at 5.30 p.m. The officials said the quantum would cross 8,000 cusecs today.

NASA Mars rover Curiosity

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity makes history by drilling into its first Martian rock. The rover uses a drill, located at the end of its robotic arm, to bore into a flat rock on Mars and collect samples from its interior. NASA confirms it as the biggest milestone since the rover landed on the red planet.

55th Annual Grammy Awards

The 55th Annual Grammy Awards are presented in Los Angeles, USA. Sitar legend Ravi Shankar is posthumously awarded the best world music album trophy for The Living Room Sessions Part 1, a day after being given Lifetime Achievement award. Paul McCartney wins the Best traditional pop vocal album for his Kisses On The Bottom. Adele is presented with the Best Pop Solo performance Grammy for a live rendition of Set Fire To The Rain. Other prominent Award winners are – Record of the Year: Somebody That I Used to Know (Gotye featuring Kimbra); Song of the Year : We Are Young (Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess), etc. among others.

66th BAFTA awards

The 66th BAFTA awards are presented in London. The prominent Award winners are – Best Film : Argo,  Best Director : Ben Affleck (Argo); Best Actor in a Leading Role : Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln); Best Actress in a Leading Role : Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) ; Best Actor in a Supporting Role : Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained); Best Actress in a Supporting Role : Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), etc.

Skoda Art Prize 2012

Mr. L.N. Tallur, a Karnataka-born artist, wins the Skoda Art Prize 2012 for Indian contemporary art.

Hockey India League cup wins Ranchi Rhinos

The inaugural Hockey India League ends in Ranchi, Jharkhand. In the thrilling final match, the Ranchi Rhinos beat Delhi Wave Riders by a 2-1 margin to emerge champions. Uttar Pradesh Wizards round off the top three, defeating Jaypee Punjab Warriors 4-3 in the Bronze medal play-off match. Sardara Singh of Delhi Wave Riders is adjudged the Player of the Tournament Sandeep Singh of Mumbai Magicians finishes as the tournament’s highest scorer.

Nigeria wins Africa cup of Nations football championship

Nigeria win the title at the Africa Cup of Nations football championship, beating Burkina Faso by a 1-0 margin in the final in Soweto, South Africa.

Rest of India win the Irani Cup

The Rest of India win the Irani Cup cricket tournament for the eighth consecutive time, beating Mumbai in the final in Mumbai.

Govt. of Switzerland refuses to re-open graft cases against Pakistan President

The Government of Switzerland refuses to re-open graft cases against Pakistan President Mr. Asif Ali Zardari on the premise that it is time-barred under Swiss law.

India a close partner of Bangladesh

India, a close partner of Bangladesh in its 1971 Liberation War, officially backs the ongoing trial of the perpetrators of crimes against humanity during that period in that country.

Fall in input prices boost MRF profit

Tyre major MRF has reported 59.6 per cent rise in its net profit at   110.22 crore in the first quarter ended December 31, 2012 against   112.39 crore in the same period in the previous year. Total income from operations (net) rare by 5.2 per cent to   3,025.75 crore  from 2,875.49 crore.

CUB Q3 profit up 18%

City Union Bank has recorded good growth in all operational parameters in the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012 with the gross profit rising by 25.15 per cent to   131.33 crore from   104.93 crore in the same period in the previous year. The net profit after tax rose by 18 per cent to    85.22 crore. The total income rose by 27 per cent to    621.46 crore from   489.33 crore.

Directorate for Adi Dravidar Institutions likely

The state govt. would consider the request for creating separate educational directorate exclusively for the educational institutions functioning under the Adi Dravidar and Tribol Welfare Department. The schools run by the department officials failed to impart quality education and there was a need for a separate directorate. Republican Party of India (RPI) member C.K. Tamilarasan said 1,300 schools were functioning under the department. When we have separate directorate for every field of education, we should have one for the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department.

State proposes two streams of projects under MGNREGS

Aimed at allowing material component in the works of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme in a limited way, the state govt. has proposed to the unson govt. to create two streams of projects. While one stream would cover works having a material component. The proposal has assumed relevance as Tamil Nadu has been implementing only 100 per cent labour – intensive works since the inception of the scheme in 2006. This position is based on the premise that big contractors and middlemen  would make an indirect entry into the scheme if material component were to be permitted.