December, 2013

Vivekananda Ratham comes to Chennai

A golden coloured chariot that passed by the busy Kamarajar Salai attracted a lot of attention. A large number of school and college students and degnitaries gathered near Gandhi statue, the Marina Beach, to pay tribute to the Swami vivekananda Ratham that entered the city. Visitors to the Marina Beach also joined in as the chariot that had visited places across the state entered Chennai. Organised jointly by Ramakrishna Mission Ashram, Gandhi peace foundation and Gandhi Integral Forum Trust, the event aimed to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Vivekananda and take his teachings to the people.

C.M. flags off 414 bus services

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa flagged off 414 bus services on 30th Dec. As part of the presentation of cheques for about 154 crores to 5,151 pensioners of the govt-run-transport corporations, towards terminal benefits, she honoured over cheque to from pensioners. She also declared open buildings of the Institute of Road and Transport Technology in Erode which were constructed at a cost of about 2.37 crore.

State Improves on cadaver donation

Tamil Nadu the acknowledged leader of cadaver transplant programme in the country, manages to find inspiration from patients  to mark new milestones every year. In 2013, the programme bettered its own post record substantially, establishing stronger networks and facilitating more cadaver transplant surgeries than ever before. In fact, there has been a 55 per cent increase in the number of deceased donors this year, compared to 2012. In 2012, there were 83 donors, while this year, the number climed to 129 donors, benefiting 385 patients.

Free CFLs for slum dwellers

Seven lakh slum dwellers are to get compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) free of cost in a few months. This will be in the initial phase of implementation of the scheme of free distribution of  CFLs. In the state, there are 14.62 lakh huts with power connections. The scheme has been designed to cover all the huts. Estimated to cost ` 8.77 crore, the measure envisages supply of a 9-watt CFL to each slum-dweller. About 40 megawatt (MW) of power would be saved.

Chennai city gets 10 new water supply projects

The Central Government has approved a proposal for 10 new water supply projects for Chennai City. The proposal includes water supply schemes for Pallikaranai, Chinnasekkadu, Puzhal, Sivapetu, Puthagaram, Kathirvedu, Vadaperum-bakkam, Theeyambakkam, Edyanchavadi, Sadayankuppam, Kadapakkam, Palavakkam, Mugalivakkam, Manali, Kathivakkam and Perungudi. The project have been sanctioned at an approved cost of ` 27,114 lakh and the centre will contribute 35 per cent towards the total cost.

Anna Arivalayam property tax to be reassessed

Chennai Corporation has reportedly identified underassement of property tax for the premises of Anna Arivalayam , the headquarters of DMK. As part of an initiative to reassess property tax for the buildings on the premises, revenue department officials carried out a field verification of the area of the main building, dispansary, studio and Kalaignar Arangam. The Corporation has also asked zonal assistant revenue officers to reassess property tax for similar buildings than measure more than 10,000 sq.ft. “At least 400 buildings in every zone are more than 10,000 sq.ft. Such buildings will be screened for reassessment”, said an official of the corporation.

Aadhaar enrolment drive extended by a month

The enrolment drive for Aadhaar numbers, scheduled to be completed today, has been extended by a month. This follows the request of the state govt. for extending the deadline, a senior official of the census operation says, adding that at the end of January, the position will be revivewed for any further extension.

Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honours List for the Year 2014

Fifteen Indian-origin persons, including educationist Ms. Asha Khemka, are named in Queen Elizabeth’s New Year’s Honours List for the Year 2014. Ms. Khemka has been named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for ther service to the deprived areas of the West Midlands.

First woman judge in Pakistan

Ms. Agha Rafiq Ahmed Khan is appointed as the first woman judge of a federal sharia court in Pakistan.

Arup Raha takes over as the 24th Chief of the IAF

Arup Raha, a veteran fighter pilot, takes over as the 24th Chief of the Indian Air Force, succeeding Air Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne.

Super-speciality hospital : 150 nurses to be recruited

Around 150 healthcare workers, including  nurses and paramedical staff from govt. hospitals for recruitment to the super speciality hospital that is coming up on Omandurar Estate. It is learnt that the state has created 262 posts for nurses and paramedical staff of which 16 are one consolidated pay while the rest will be recruited as regular staff. The Medical Recruitment Board has also called for applications for the post of senior and junior consulants, duty doctors and registrars. It is yet to advertise for the post of hospital administrator, who is expected to be a non-medical person.

Mahila Court in Chennai sets record

While the demand for more stringent punishment to offenders of crimes against women is increasing, the lone Mahila Court has handed out punishments to persons who stand as accused in 18 rape cases in this calendar year. The court officials claim it is record of sorts compared with other Mahila courts in the state. The special court, also called as Magalir Neethi-mandram, was constituted in 2002 for speedy trial and disposal of cases of offences committed against women and also cases under other social laws for the protection of women. This year, the court disposed of 90 cases relating to rape, kidnap, wrongful confinement and dowry harassment.

Solar lamps distributed to 75 schools

Students of single-teacher schools in and around Kancheepuram will soon have better lighting during the evening hours. The Swami Vivekananda Rural Development Society (SVRDS) distributed 75 solar lamps to 75 village schools at a function held at Sriperumbudur Single Teacher Schools Unit recently. K.K. Sai Sekhar, a member of single-teacher schools, said the solar powered lamps provided to the schools meant teachers could conduct classes without any interruption in the evening hours. He said the solar lamps were distributed to the schools at a cost of ` 3.75 lakh.

Shashi Tharoor is named PETA “Person of the Year”

The Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Mr. Shashi Tharoor, is name PETA “P4erson of the Year” for using the power and prestige of his office to advocate the protection of animals.

South Africa defeat India in second test

South Africa defeat India by 10 wickets in the second Test, In Durban, winning the series by 1-0. the five-day long Test also saw retirement of cricket legend Jacques Kallis from the Test cricket.

Russia hosting Winter Olympics

Ahead of Russia hosting Winter Olympics in Sochi in February 2014, Volgograd is targeted for the second time in which, fourteen people are killed in a bomb blast.

New IAF Chief Airmarshal

Army Chief General Bikram Singh takes over from IAF Chief Marshal N.A.K. Browne, as the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).

The world converges an Chennai again

Chennai, which played host to the recently – concluded world chess championship, will be witnessing another mega event, the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2014, which was inaugurated. The nearly-week long event will see 1,200 students, described by speakers as future leaders, from almost 60 countries, presenting their debating skills. It is for the first time that the debating tournament, conducted annually, is being held in India, which is considered a rare honour.

Short films on road safety to be launched soon

As part of its efforts to help prevent road accidents, the Automobile Association of south India (AASI) will release three short films to educate all sections of road-users. AASI president T.D. Sadasivam said of one lakh lives due to road accidents every year in the country, Tamil Nadu accounted for over 16,000 deaths. “These accidents can be prevented if road-users are properly sensitised. Responsible road behaviour and good practices can reduce incidents of road crash “ he said. Kandaswamy Bharatham, executive director, Kavithalayaa Productions, said a 30 minute documentary with the theme “Safety Begins with You” was for a general audience, while a musical targeted the youth and an animated film, “Ready Steady Slow’, was aimed at educating school students. The films will be formally released shortly at a function in the city. The AASI plans to distribute the animated film free of cost to all schools and the muscial to theatres and TV channels, said a release.

K.J. Yesudas honoured

Noted Carnatic Vocalist K.J. Yesudas was honoured at Tamil Isai Sangam. Speaking on the occasion, P.R. Gokulakrishnan president of the Sangam, said Mr. Yesudas started singing in the music festival of the sangam in 1979. Also, since 1989, he has been performing every year at the Tamil Isai Sangam an Dec. 28. This was the 25th year that Mr. Yesudas was rendering concert at the sangam, he said. On the occasion, Mr. Muthiah donated ` 1 crore to Tamil Music College run by Tamil Isai Sangam.

SO2 emission increased in India

A  NASA satellite finds that the Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission in India has increased by 60% between 2005 and 2012.

Hand-over OSR land : Mayor

Mayor Saidal duraisamy asked all property owners, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, to hand over OSR (Open Space Reservation) land of Chennai Corporation Mayor said the DMK Councillors should urge the party to hand over the OSR land near Anna Arivalayam to the Corporation. A total of 57 plots of OSR land have been handed over to the Chennai Corporation between 2006 and 2011. Last year, the council decided to initiate measures for retrieving OSR land from the headquarters of DMK. According to a report by the civic body, the GO issued in 1988 permitted the DMK trust to maintain 1,893 square metres of OSR land abutting Anna Salai under the provisions of Section 113 of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning Act, 1971. The approval for construction of the building was given in 1980.

Artistes honoured

The second session of Trinity Arts festival of India got underway with Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran conferring the carnatic music legend M.D. Ramanathan Memorial Award and the ‘Isai Perarasar’ title on Neyveli Santhagopalan. Mr. Parasaran said it was befitting that the arts festival was named ‘Trinity’ as it was held in the member of Makkal Kural founder – editor M. Shanmugavel, M.S. Subbulakshmi and Rukmini Devi Arundale. Conferring the title of ‘Isai Arasi’ on Ranjani Santhagopalan, Saaswathi Prabhu and Saindhavi Prakash, Mr. Parasaran described them as a ‘trinity’ and said they had a great future.

Ooty fete raises aroma of hope

The three day tea and tourism festival begins at Udhayagamandalam today. However, stakeholders wonder when it will contribute to any improvement in both the sectors. Some of the stake holders told that the objective of the festival launched with much fanfare at Coonoor about two decades ago, was to boost these sectors. But that was yet to happen. When the first edition of the festival was organised, it was then announced that the objective was to popularize the Nilgiri tea worldwide and also this vocation destinction among those in the hospitality and travel trades within the country and abroad.

T.N. Krishnan honoured

Violinist T.N. Krishnan was felicitated to mark 80 years of his musical journey by Sri Krishna Gnana Sabha. Speaking at the felicitation, mridangam exponent Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman said, “He will remain the same even when he grows as old as 90 or 100. This is because music has engulfed him and this dynamo of music has charged him”. Describing T.N. Krishnan’s music as pristive, he said it was only this kind of music that could reach people and touch their hearts. He is such a perfectionist that he can play Todi ragam for three minutes, three hours or even for three days and still capture the essence of the raga in all its beauty” he added.

China loosen family planning restriction

In major reforms undertaken by the new leadership China formally abolishes its controversial labour camps “re-education” system and loosens family planning restrictions.

World’s third largest economy by 2028

In major reforms undertaken by the new leadership, China formally abolishes its controversial labour camps “re-education” system and loosens family planning restrictions.

Mridangam maestro’s son honours maker of instrument

Late mridangam maestro Palghat T.S. Mani Iyar had a distinct definition for heaven playing a mridhangam made of sandlewood. He was also particular that the woodwork should be done by Somu Achari, an ace carpenter, and the other aspects should be left to Fernandes alias Parnandu, a master craftsman who made the mridangam for him”, said his son, Rajaram, conferring the S. Fernandes award on his son F. Selvam, Mani Iyer’s objective could not be fulfilled as finding a sandlewood trunk big enough to make a mridangam proved difficult. Mr. Selvam, who received the award, was also a mridangam – maker for Mani Iyer till he last his right hand in a road accident.

Clubs help schools get green energy

The Govt. Hobart Higher Secondary School for Muslim Girls, Royapettah, recently got 1.5 KV solar power plant. Students of classes VII, VIII and IX will benefit from the plant that can power 10 lights and seven ceiling fans. Imtiaz Fathima Wadood, president of the parent-teachers association of the school, said the supply from the plant could also be used to power the examination hall, which has a seating capacity of 100 students, when tests are conducted. We have to thank the Lions Club of Periamet for providing the facility worth ` 2.5 lakh to the school, which has 300 children from poor families from Triplicane and Royapettah studying”, she said. The club will maintain the facility for five years. Clubs belonging to Lions District 324A1 have also installed solar power plants at 35 schools  run by Chennai Corporation and the state govt.

Best international cricketer for 2012-13

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin is named India’s best international cricketer for 2012-13.

Wrestlers world championship

In the World championships in the Budapest, Indian wrestlers script the best-ever show, in which, Amit Kumar wins Silver in 55 kg division, freestyle grappler Bajrang secures a Bronze and Sandeep Yadav claims a Bronze in the 66 kg category of Greco Roman style.

End of civil war in South Sudan

Kenya and Ethiopia step up effort to broker an end to the civil war in South Sudan, which is undergoing clashes between the government forces and rebels.

New Commissioner for Commercial Taxes

The Department of Commercial Taxes has got a new Commissioner, K. Rajaram, who was holding three posts – Managing Director of Chennai Metro Rail and Principal Secretary in the Special Initiatives Department besides officiating as Member Secretary of the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu, had been made the New Principal Secretary / Commissioner of Commercial Taxes.

Commuters grumble over mismanaged ATVMs)

Southern Railway Officials and a section of train commuters seem to have very different views on whether Anytime Ticket Vending Machines (ATVMs), installed in several suburban stations, have been of any use in easing congestion at ticket counters. While many claimed the ATVMs did not contribute much to easing the congestion, S.R. officials said that the facilities were a major success. According to data provided by S.R. 39,24,300 tickets were sold from April this year compared to the 37,10,418 sold from April 2012 to March 2013. The Railways earned ` 4.75 crore this year.

Master plan made for Vandalur zoo

A master plan for Vandalur zoo has been created, focusing on development for the next decade. According to forest department authorities, the first section of the plan has details about the physiological and geolgical features of the zoo, as well as the infrastructure available. The second part of the plan focuses on how the zoo should progress over the next several years with regard to the collection of animals as well as development. The plan will be revised periodically in a scientific manner for those managing the zoo.

Expo to glitter with silk goods

Silk manufacturers and traders will view with each other to sell 100 per cent pure silk products at the sixth edition of Silk Mark Expo 2013 to be held at Valluvar Kottam from today. Silk Mark Organisation of India (SMOI) Chennai Chapter, is organising the weeklong expo. It will be inaugurated today. At the venue, more than 50 stalls will have various products on display including pure silk saries, silk garments, unstitched silk fabrics and a variety of silk dress materials, accessories, purses, hand bags, wall hangings and cocoon garlands. To date, more than 2,300 members are registered with SMOI as authorised users of Silk Mark and over ` 2 crore worth pure silk products with the label have been supplied in the market.

New Home Secretary

The State govt., in a shuffle of senior officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), transferred Home Secretary Niranjan Mardi and posted Apurva Varma as his successor. The 52 year old Varma, who is one year junior to Dr. Mardi in terms of batch, held the post of Principal Secretary for about one year. It was during his stint in higher education that Annamalai University in Chidambaram had to be restructured.

H7N9 avian influenza

Australian scientists discover a genetic marker that can accurately predict the severity of the H7N9 avian influenza, by using genetic markers to blood and lung samples, to allow experts to better manage the disease.

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement

Egypt’s military-backed interim government declares the Muslim Brotherhood movement, to which ousted president Mr. Mohammad Morsi belongs, a terrorist group.

ONGC all set to drill two exploratory wells near Chennai

It is the northern suburbs of Chennai that beckon Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), as the public sector giant gets ready to go deep down in its quest for hydrocarbon in the Polar Basin. In a move which, depending on the level of success, may fetch an entirely different identity and value to those suburbs, the ONGC plans to drill two exploratory wells in the Gummidipoondi block, including in Manali village ONGC sources said each well would entail an expenditure of ` 30 crore and take three months.

CM opens Vanchinathan memorial in Shencottah

The long-felt demand of people of the state, particularly those of southern districts, for a memorial dedicated to freedom fighter R. Vanchinathan (1886-1911) was fulfilled with Chief Minister declaring open the memorial in Shencottah, a place from which the freedom fighter hailed.

Over 10,000 houses inaugurated

More than 10,000 houses built by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board were commissioned by Chief Minister. Each unit is around 270 to 350 sq.ft. and the cost ranges from 2.64 lakhs to 7.23 lakh. The Board has built over 8,000 houses in Ezhil nagar, Okkiyam Thoraipakkam and Nochi Nagar in Chennai. Residential accommodation in Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Namakkal, Hosur and Salem were also commissioned. The buildings were constructed at a cost of ` 441.50 crore.

Proposed green road to Bangalore gathers pace

The Natioinal Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is in the process of getting clearance from the National Board of Wildlife, for 8 km. of the proposed Chennai-Bangalore Expressway. The green field project road will pass through 7 km. of the Royal Elephant Reserve in Andhra Pradesh, and about 300 mts. of the Mahimandalam forest in Vellore District. The six lane, access – controlled road will be 262 km. long and require around 2,600 hectares of land. The expressway, which has been proposed under the National highways Development Project, will pass through Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and take the Kolar, Chittoor route.

Roads near Metro Rail stations to be laid soon

The Chennai Corporation will soon begin road laying work in the vicinity of Metro Rail stations on the stretch between Koyambedu and St. Thomas Mount. The stations on this stretch are likely to be operational in a few months. The Chennai Metro Rail project has 36 stations on two corridors – Washermenpet to Airport and Chennai Central to St. Thomas Mount. The Civic body has invited bids for specially – designed bitumen roads near stations in Arumbakkam, Vadapalani, Alandur, St. Thomas Mount, SIDCO Nagar, Ashok Nagar, CMBT and Koyambedu at an estimated cost of ` 26 crore. The Corporation will also improve civic infrastructure in these neighbourhoods.

Kalai Arangam work begins

A sprawling convention complex, measuring about 1.95 lakh sq.ft. will soon come up on the Omandurar Govt. Estate, Chennai. Estimated to cost around ` 61 crore, the complex which has three floors about the ground floor, is expected to be ready in 18 months, according to an official. ‘Kalai Arangam’ would be built at the site that once housed the Kalaivanar Arangam’. On the first floor, the centre will have an auditorium with a seating capacity of 600, a VVID lobby, dining place and flood court besides four escalators. Another auditorium of the same capacity will be constructed on the second floor along with a convention hall with a seating capacity of 115, suites, rooms for entertainment, editing and dubbing and an information centre.

Presidential Early Career Awards

Dr. Karunesh Ganguly of San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Centre and Dr. Hardeep Singh of Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Centre, are named by the US President Mr. barack Obama, among 102 researchers, as the recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest US honour for young professionals in these fields.

Deepika Kumar creates national record

Deepika Kumari of Jharkhand creates national record at 346 points in women’s 50m round in the 34th Senior National Archery Championship in Jamshedpur.

Abhinav wins gold in air rifle

Abhinav Bindra wins the men’s air rifle Gold at the 57th National shooting championship, in New Delhi.

South Sudan regains Bor

South Sudan regains Bor, the capital of its largest and most populous Jonglei state.

The Myanmar seals International Border

The Myanmar government seals the international border, bringing the legalised bilateral trade with India, across the border, to stand-still.

Japanese royal’s visit puts focus back on Chennai

The Tamil Nadu is back on the radar of Japanese business after the visit of the Emperor and Empress of Japan to Chennai. An upbeat consul-General of Japan in South India, Masanari Nakano, said that while their visit was to promote goodwill and strengthen friendly relationship between the two countries, the fact that the royals chose to visit Chennai had brought the focus back on the city and Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is one of the most desired destinations for Japanese Companies” Mr. Nakano said. Last till October, as many as 344 companies has set up shop in Tamil Nadu.

Japanese funding sought for projects

In an effort to reduce congestion on the city’s roads and in its suburbs, the Highways department has proposed 13 new projects including seven grade-separators, one flyover, the widening of two major roads, a skywalk and foot overbridge. Proposals for a total of ` 2000 crore have been submitted to the Japan International co-operation Agency (JICA) for funding of these projects.

Nammeli desel plant generates at full capacity

The Nemmeli desalination plant has touched its full capacity generation of 100 million litres a day (MLD) in treating seawater. This has come at a time when the northeast monsoon is in deficit and storage in the city’s reservoirs is dwindling. For the past few days, areas in south Chennai including Velachery, Thiruvanmiyur and Pattipattu, have been receiving 100 MLD of water from this plant on East Coast Road. The desalination plants in Nemmeli and Minjur and the New Veeranam project contribute more than 60 per cent of the city’s supply, which is 575 MLD at present. The Nemmeli plant’s contribution to this has gave up from 80 to 100 MLD.

Diagnostic kit on cervical cancer

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry launches an indigenous device, AV magnivisualizer, a diagnostic kit to detect early cervical cancer.

Development of Tribel Population

The United Nations Economic and Social Council accords its citation, to Vaagdhara, a non-government organisation working in southern Rajasthan, for development of triabl population in Banswara and nearby districts.

Ranjan Sodhi wins Gold in double trap shoot

Ronjan Sodhi wins his maiden double trap Gold at the 57th National shooting championship, in New Delhi.

Designer of AK47, Mikhail passes away

Designer of fabled AK-47, Mikhail Kalashnikov dies at the age of 94.

Youngest Chief Minister of Delhi

Ending days of speculation, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), finally announces to form government. RTI activist and recipient of Raman Magsaysay Award, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal (45) is set to become the youngest Chief Minister of Delhi.

ICF bags energy conservation award

The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) Chennai, has bagged the National Energy conservation award for this year. Giving details about the award, ICF GM Ashok K. Agarwal said the organisation’s entire electrical energy requirements were from the renewable sources of energy. The award was presented by the President Pranab Mukherjee at a function in Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi recently. “ICF is the only organisation among all govt. production units to source its energy requirement from the wind energy”, he said.

Artistes honoured

Former Chief Justice of Jharkhan, M. Karpagavinayagam, conferred the Isai Perarignar title on noted Bharatanatyam guru Krishnakumari Narendran and the Pann Isai Perarignar title on renowned ‘Odhuvar’ S. Thirugnanasambandam, at the inauguration of Tamil Isai Sangam’s 71st annual Tamil Isai festival. The award carried a gold medallion, a citation and a silver plate with a chash purse of ` 10,000.

Ramanujan biography released in Tamil

Ananthathai Arinthavan’ the Tamil translation of Robert Kanigal’s biography of Srinivasa Ramanujan was released at The Institute of Mathematical Sciences. The book was authored by P. Vanchinathan, professor of Mathematics, Vellore Institute of Technology. Launching the book, N. Ram, Chairman of Kasturi and Sons Ltd., said, “Hardy can claim a lot of credit for recognising the genius of Ramanujan and the great importance of this work”. It is very hard to write a biography; I think it’s an art”, he said, adding, he found the biography, fascinating and insightful. Mr. Vanchinathan said Ramanujan was a very simple and unassuming person. ‘Hardy wanted to prove there was no God. He says, though Ramanujan followed same rituals, he was not quite religious. Kanigel, however, cites various instances from Ramanujan’s life that show he had faith in God”.

South Africa chasing world record fourth innings target

South Africa, chasing a world record fourth innings target of 458, finish just eight runs short and 450/7, at the end of first Test with India, which ends in draw.

Riot affected South Sudan

UN lauds role of Indian soldiers, part of peace-keeping force, in preventing many casualties in riot-affected South Sudan. Two Indian troops were martyred defending their base.

Malindo Air to start daily flights from Trichy

Malindo Air, a Malaysian-based hybrid airline will launch its commercial flight operations from Trichy, Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to Kuala Lumpur shortly. The joint Malaysia–Indonesia airline, which is a member of the P.T. Lion Group, will start daily flights from Trichy on Jan. 2. The flying time between Trichy and Kuala Lumpur will be three hourse and 45 mts. The airline will start daily flight from Delhi on Dec. 30. The airline will operate daily flights from Ahmedabad and Mumbai on Jan. 27 and Feb. 15 respectively.

Validity of family cards extended by a year

The validity of family cards has been extended by one more year-upto Dec. 31, 2014. The extention of the validity period has been atributed to the delay in completion of operations of the census Department, according to an official released said. The govt’s plan is to issue electronic family cards (also called smart cards) on the basis of National Population  Register (NPR) and enrolment of bio-metric data of the people. The release stated that as the cards would be issued only during 2014-15, the decision to extend the validity of the existing cards had been made.

IIT-M lab to study traffic, aid navigation

TThe transportation engineering division of IIT-Madras is conducting research to provide real-time information on traffic to the police. The experimental project known as advanced traveller information system (ATIS) funded by the Union Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, is being conducted by the transportion engineering division of the department of Civil Engineering. As part of the study, about 100 GPS devices have been fixed in MTC buses. Also 30 cameras and 15 antennas have been installed on Sardar Patel Road and Taramani Road.

HC forms gender committee

The Madras High Court has constituted a gender sensitisation and internal complaints committee for its principal seat in Chennai. It will be headed by a sitting judge as chairperson, and 10 members, including a sitting judge, A similar panel will be formed for the Madurai Bench soon. particular in this regard are being collected, according to an official. Directions have been issued to principal district judge in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to form committees in their districts immediately. The panel has been formed as per Regulation of “The Gender Sensitisation and Sexual Harassment of Women at the Madras High Court – Principal seat at Chennai and Madurai Bench (Pravention, Prohibition and Redressal) Regulations 2013.’

57th National Shooting championship

Samaresh Jung wins the standard pistol Gold in the 57th National shooting championship, in New Delhi.

New PM Abdalvi of Somalia

Mr. Abdalvi Sheikh Ahmad is appointed as the new Prime Minister of Somalia.

Net direct tax collections

Net direct tax collections from April to December 20, 2013, are up by 14% and revenue from corporate tax by 10%, according to the latest official data.

Police in the dock for conducting Yagam in station

Conducting religious rituals in police stations to bring the crime rate down may not sound a good idea. yet, the Mathur police in Pudukottai district thought performing a ‘Yagam’ in the station would “drive away the evil spirit, which was the main cause of increase in criminal activities” within its limits. The  ‘Yagam’ performed by priests on Nov.14, landed Inspector R. Marimuthu in trouble. The Inspector, who reportedly brought Sivachariars to conduct a ‘Ganapathi Hamam’ in the police station, presided over the rituals in which more than 15 policemen participated. The top police officer in the Tiruchi Range issued a show cause notice to Mr. Marimuthu seeking explanation.

Capturing ebb and flow of fisherfolk’s life

Korkai, an epic noval in Tamil by Joe D’Cruz that captures the transformation in the life and society of fishermen in the Gulf of Mannar region between 1900s and 2000, has won him the Sahitya Akademi Award for 2013. “I never expected it. But I am happy because the award will turn my people’s attention towards the noval, while it will also bring about a change in the opinion of people about fishermen,” said D’ Cruz, who started observing the life of fishermen as an alter boy in his native village of Uvari in Tirunelvali district. The novel, the author’s second, takes its title from Korkai, the ancient part of Pandiya kings in southern Tamil Nadu, which achieved prosperity through pearl fishing.

Remembering Lalgudi the incurable romantic

Lalguid G. Jayaraman was deeply inspired by the beauty he saw, in nature and his compositions reflected that, said speakers at “An incurable Romance” – a literature concert dedicated to the memory of the violin maestro and his wife Rajalakshmi. His son and violin artist, Lalgudi G.J.R. Krishnan, pianist Anil Srinivasan and Kanjira artists B.S. Purushothaman, along with author Lakshmi Deonath, who penned ‘An Incurable Romantic’, the authorised biography of Lalgudi, presented different facets of the musician – composer to a rapt audience at the packed Sri Krishna Gana Sabha hall.

Offbeat films earn laurels at CIFF

Filmmaker Ram’s “Thanga Meenkal” that explored the relationship between a man and his daughter was named the best Tamil film of the Chennai International Film Festival (CIFF) at the closing ceremony held in Chennai “The film is an illustrious narration of a father’s commitment to his daughter and the glory of education in govt. schools”, a note by the festivals team of jury was read out, as Mr. Ram and his team of assistant directors, received the award citation, cash prize and a memento from the chief guest of the evening acclaimed Hindi filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, at Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao concert Hall in the city. ‘Haridas’, another film centred on the relationship between a man and his artistic son, directed by G.N.R. Kumaravelan, was named the second best Tamil film in the competition category. Mr. Kumaravelan and producer V. Ramadoss’s wife received the award.

Parking lot for Metro station to come up under land

One of the six entry 1 exits of Chennai Central Metro Station the largest underground station of Metro Rail sprawling over 70,000 sq.m. will be located on the land on which the High Court passed orders on Dec. 19. The plot of land lies opposite the central railway station and will be required for urban intermodal integration linking the Metro rail to every other form of public transport – and for creating additional facilities.

Students of city school win debate at National level

A team from Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB), K.K. Nagar, were adjudged winners at ‘Debating’ Mothers India 2013’, organised by British Council and institute of Ideas, United Kingdom. According to a press release, Akshay Venkataraghavan and Arushi Nayar argued against the motion ‘capital punishment. India should abolish death penalty at the national finals held in New Delhi on Nov. 29 and 30. Twelve schools from each region completed at the regional finals and eight schools qualified to the national finals. The team will go along with their teacher to London in Oct. 2014, for the next level of the competition.

Kishenganga hydro-electric project

The Hague-based International Court of Arbitration permits India to go ahead with construction of the 330-MW Kishenganga hydro-electric project in North Kashmir, which was in dispute with Pakistan.

Develops an insulin pills

Indian scientist, Mr. Sanyog Jain, from National Institute of Pharmaceutical Educational and Research, develops an insulin pill that can save millions from the painful daily injection.

Tejas long-range missile

After 30 years in making, the indigenous light combat aircraft, Tejas, finally gets its initial operational clearance, with full integration of all weapons and refuelling probe. However, it will take at least another 18 months for the fighter, to become capable of firing long-range missiles and integral guns.

Private doctors to staff corporation clinics in evenings

Chennai Corporation is planning to use the services of private doctors to man its hospitals in the evening. This is part of an initiative to outsource medical services by the Corporation. According to the new proposal, private doctors in neighbour-hoods will be permitted to use the hospital buildings of the Chennai Corporation to offer free medical services in such evening clinics. Over 30 per cent of the doctors’ posts remain vacant. Now doctors are reluctant to join Chennai Corporation hospitals. So we will outsource it to private agencies who will manage doctors’ at the clinics” said the official.

Society rests on the Pillar of culture

Arts are now being marginalised in society said Bharatanatyam exponent Alarmal Valli who was conferred the ‘Natya Kalasikhamani’ while inaugurating the 81st South Indian Music Conference and Festival of the Indian Fine Arts Society. “We have to understand that society rests on the pillar of culture. (Importance to) science and technology alone is not enough” he said.

Over 70 artistes to perform at NRI fest.

The 19th edition of Hamadhivani’s NRI Music and Dance festival got under way at the Indira Nagar Youth Hostel on Dec.19. inaugurating the 16 day Sangita-natiya utsav, Jennifer McIntyre, consul General, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai said that art forms create a bond between people of different countries. She said the NRI festival provided an opportunity for Indians in the US to present their talents. The inaugural was followed by ‘Thirai isai paatum bharathamum G. Ramanathan to A.R. Rahman, a performance that blended film and classical dance to celebrate 100 years of celluloid, choreographed by Radhika Shurajit.

Helplines for autorickshaw complaints

The Chennai Traffic Police have launched two new helpline numbers, 9003130103 and 7418503430 for passengers who wish to make complaints about autorickshaw drivers. Passengers can either all or SMS about violations by auto drivers, such as refusal to ply, the demanding of excess fare and non-usage of meters. “We will track the vehicle and take action immediately” said senior traffic police officer. The drivers are supposed to charge 25 for the first 1.8 km. and 12 for every additional km.

Order of Friendship award

Russian President Mr. Vladimir Putin presents the Order of Merit to India’s missile-scientist Mr. A. Sivthanu Pillai, well known for his role in BrahMos cruise missile programme. Mr. Murali Manohar Joshi is also awarded ‘Order of Friendship’, which is the highest Russian award given to foreign nationals.

India is placed 154th rank in FIFA

In the year-end FIFA ranking, India is placed joint 154th, six spots below its previous position.

Central Africa Republic, more than 1000 people killed

In the communal clashes in Central African Republic, more than 1,000 people are reported to be killed in past two weeks.

Funds sanctioned for UAVs

A police proposal for purchasing three Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) from Anna University, a move essentially aimed a better surveilance, has received financial sanction of the state govt. An order from Home Department said, the Director-General of Police had sent off a proposal, for procuring three UAVs (at a cost of ` 95 lakh) from the University, for use by the police force. The Tamil Nadu Police too wanted to use the UAVs for maintaining low and order.

Shore Temple gets facelift with paper pulp treatment

The archaeological survey of India has taken up paper-pulp treatment exercise at the Shore Temple complex in Mamallapuram, to get rid of salt particles deposited on the world heritage monument. The exercise of cleaning the Pallava era monument began with chemical water washing to remove dust and other deposits, and fungus or blackmoss formation due to vagarious of nature. After cleaning, paper-pulp coating will be applied on the surface in order to extract salt particles that might have penetrated the stones through minute pores caused by the corroding action of sand-bearing winds from the sea.

Soon, SMS alerts for electricity bills

The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco) will soon launch an SMS facility to remind consumers about electricity bill details and payment from Jan. 2014. A Tangedco official said once the assessors upload the meter reading in the servers, an SMS would be automatically sent to consumers. The SMS would contain the service connection number, amount to be paid and due date of payment. For those consumers who have not paid the electricity bill a reminder SMS would be sent three days before the last date of payment to avoid penalty. Tangedco issued a circular to all the section offices to expedite collection of mobile numbers and create awareness of the facility.

Govt. to build over 2 lakh houses for slum dwellers

Proposing a massive housing scheme for slum dwellers in municipalities and town panchayats, the state govt. has planned to construct around 2.15 lakh dwelling units at a cost of about ` 13,455 crore. If the proposal were to fructify 25 per cent of urban slum families in these two catagories of urban local bodies would be covered. There are 126 municpalities and 528 town panchayats in the state.

C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement award

BCCI confers the Col. C.K. Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award for 2013 on Kapil Dev.

England announced Polymer currency

The Bank of England has announced to use polymer, a thin flexible plastic film, rather than a cotton paper which is in use, to print currency. The new notes are expected to last for six years, twice as long as paper and they are harder to fake.

Anna Hazare ends 9-day fast

Social activist, Mr. Anna Hazare ends 9-day fast, his fourth fast so far for the cause, after the much-debated Lokpal Bill is finally passed by Lok Sabha, paving a way for establishment of an ombudsman to fight corruption in public offices.

Steps on to shift pipeline operations in North Chennai

The Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas measures have been initiated for shifting entirely the pipeline operations of oil marketing companies in North Chennai. It also asked the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) to allot the land required by the OMC’s in Ennore for shifting their terminals. In its action plan, the Ministry had stated, ‘Measures for shifting pipeline operations from this heavily populated area have been initiated and a complete shifting of pipeline operations from the area can be accomplished in a period of three years after possession of land.

Suburbs clamour for small bus services

Demands are pouring in from, residents of North and West Chennai for small buses in more routes in their localities. As of now, the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) is operating 50 small buses in 20 routes mainly covering the Southern suburbs and some parts of the city. Residents of several areas that are poorly connected want the small buses to fill in the gaps. In the western suburbs mini buses are being operated from Murugappa Polytechnic to Ambattur OT. But residents of Vijayalakshmipuram, Oragadam, Pudur, Surapet and Redhills want the buses to be operated from Railway gate LC 06 at Ambattur Railway Station to Red Hills via Vijayalakshmipuram, Pudur and Surapet.

India launches Thalassemia and Sickle Cell diagnostic kit

India launches a low-cost indigenously manufactured Thalassemia and Sickle Cell diagnostic kit, which will simplify the identification of seven common beta-thalassemia mutations and two abnormal hemoglobin, common in India.

Ithihaas Ratna

Noted historian, Mr. Bipan Chandra is honoured with ‘Itihaas Ratna’ by the Asiatic Society Bihar.

Sahitya Akademi Award 2013

The Sahitya Akademi announces its Sahitya Akademi Awards 2013. Overall, eight books of poetry, four of essays, three of novels, two each of short stories and travelogues, one each of autobiography, memoirs and play, win the Sahitya Akademi Award this year.

Angela Merkel elected as German Chancellor elected

Heading a ‘Grand Coalition’ with the opposition SPD, Ms. Angela Merkel begins her third term as the German Chancellor. For the first time a woman, Ms. Ursula von der Leyen, is appointed Defence Minister.

Indian govt. hits back at US by withdrawing the privileges of US diplomats

In a rare display of aggression, Indian government hits back at US by withdrawing the privileges of US diplomats. This was in reaction to overzealous action of US, over-riding the diplomatic immunity and arresting  the Indian diplomat, Ms. Devyani Khobragade, on an alleged visa fraud charge and underpaying the maid.