DD/AIR News

  • World Bank report says, India is one country which is undertaking structural reforms.India jumps 30 ranks in World Bank's Ease of Doing business Report, takes a leap to 100 from 130 in doing business ranking. Arun Jaitley said India has done well this year in areas like resolving insolvency, reforms in taxation and providing electricity. He said the country is still lagging behind in areas like building construction permits. He further said he will request states to expedite municipal permits.

  • World Bank report says, India is one country which is undertaking structural reforms.India jumps 30 ranks in World Bank's Ease of Doing business Report, takes a leap to 100 from 130 in doing business ranking. Arun Jaitley said India has done well this year in areas like resolving insolvency, reforms in taxation and providing electricity. He said the country is still lagging behind in areas like building construction permits. He further said he will request states to expedite municipal permits.

  • In Nepal, the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has released its election manifesto for the upcoming parliament and provincial assembly elections.The party has given main thrust on social welfare, economic development and security. NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and other senior leaders unveiled the manifesto at party headquarters in Kathmandu today. Party promises to introduce an integrated Social Security Program that guarantees a universal health insurance, 100 percent enrollment of children up to high school, unemployment allowances and contribution-based pension schemes for formal and informal sector workers. It has also promised reforms in agriculture, industrial and tourism sector and development of infrastructure.On international relations document says that Nepal has gained prominence with the rise of two big neighbouring countries India and China. The manifesto further says that friendly relations based on mutual respect and trust with neighbouring India and China will be top priority of Nepal's foreign policy.The party also accused Communist Party of Nepal (UML) as the main obstacle to national unity and prosperity.

  • He added that the work on these bridges is likely to be completed by January 31. Twenty-three people were killed in a stampede on the Elphinstone Road station foot overbridge last month. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis made this announcement on Tuesday morning as he visited Elphinstone Road station with Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

  • Poll fever pitches up in the state. The announcement was made by party President Amit Shah during his rally in Himachal Pradesh today. Former Chief Minister Dhumal will contest election from Sujanpur.

  • It has appointed the former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi administrator of the federation and ordered that fresh elections be held within five months. In recent years, Patel has been nominated to vital positions in both the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as well as the world governing body, FIFA. He was nominated as the south Asian vice-presidential representative to AFC in 2015, and elevated to the position of a senior vice-president the following year.

  • It has appointed the former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi administrator of the federation and ordered that fresh elections be held within five months. In recent years, Patel has been nominated to vital positions in both the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as well as the world governing body, FIFA. He was nominated as the south Asian vice-presidential representative to AFC in 2015, and elevated to the position of a senior vice-president the following year.

  • Sidhu shot a combined score of 626.2 (386+240.8) to claim the top honours.This was Sidhu's second successive international gold after she, along with Jitu Rai, claimed the top position in the 10m air pistol mixed team event in the ISSF World Cup Finals in Delhi earlier this month.Among other Indians in fray, Deepak Kumar won a bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event. London Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang finished fourth in the same event, while Ravikumar ended fifth. Narang shot 626.2 in the qualification to create Commonwealth record. Heena Sidhu clinched the 10m air pistol gold medal to give India a perfect start at the Commonwealth Shooting Championships today.Sidhu shot a combined score of 626.2 (386+240.8) to claim the top honours. This was Sidhu's second successive international gold after she, along with Jitu Rai, claimed the top position in the 10m air pistol mixed team event in the ISSF World Cup Finals in Delhi earlier this month.Among other Indians in fray here, Deepak Kumar won a bronze medal in the 10m air rifle event. London Olympic bronze-medallist Gagan Narang finished fourth in the same event, while Ravikumar ended fifth.Narang shot 626.2 in the qualification to create Commonwealth record.

  • In a series of tweets , the Foreign Minister of Bahrain criticized Qatar for refusing to comply with a list of 13 demands, including shutting down Al Jazeera TV and cutting ties with Iran. He also hinted that they may not attend the upcoming GCC meeting if Qatar is present. Sheikh Khalifa said that Qatar has not respected the Charter of the GCC. “Qatar’s failure to respond positively to our just demand to stop conspiring against our countries proves that it does not respect the GCC,” Al Khalifa said on Twitter. “The right step to protect the GCC is to freeze Qatar’s membership until it comes to its senses,” Bahrain’s foreign minister noted. The next GCC meeting is expected to take place in December in Kuwait . Kuwait has been leading the effort to resolve the ongoing regional crisis.Saudi Arabia , UAE , Bahrain , Kuwait , Oman and Qatar are the members of GCC alliance . Kuwait and Oman have largely stayed out of the dispute. Kuwait has been making efforts to negotiate the dispute but has not been successful so far.

  • At a distance of 105 million light years away from us, it can even be seen through medium-sized amateur telescopes under dark skies. This galaxy was discovered by the German astronomer Ernst Tempel in 1877. NGC 2336 has a highly developed and splendid spiral arm structure that emanates from a ring of stars surrounding a central bar. The spiral arms contain a number of star forming regions, or nebulae. These nebulae shine because of hot young stars that are bright in the ultraviolet.This was one of the first objects chosen to be imaged by the Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) on board AstroSat, in order to test its ability to resolve complex structure. The Near-UV (200-300 nm) and Far-UV (130-180 nm) images obtained were spectacular, showing details finer than in the image from the GALEX ultraviolet telescope. Astronomers found that the resolution of UVIT was 1.2 arc-seconds in the Near-UV and 1.5 arc-seconds in the Far-UV, which was much better than the initial goal of 1.8 arc-seconds. This superior resolving power, along with its large field of view, make UVIT an excellent instrument for investigating star formation in large galaxies like NGC 2336. “AstroSat Picture of the Month” is an initiative of the Public Outreach and Education Committee of the Astronomical Society of India and the AstroSat Training and Outreach Team. All pictures are archived at http://astron-soc.in/outreach/apom/

  • “Michael's songs are very important to people,” says Mark Dippé, the program’s director. “We just wanted to sort of tell a story that was based around the world that Michael had created with his music, and his dancing, and his performances.” That level of continued interest is precisely why Jackson tops our Halloween-spooky list of the 13 highest-paid dead celebrities for the fifth year in a row--with earnings of $75 million. His postmortem empire is going strong, boosted by the Halloween special and new album Scream joining a list of ventures including a Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas and a stake in the EMI music publishing catalogue.

  • India’s second mission to moon Chandrayaan-2 to be launched in first quarter of 2018 Integration of the orbiter, rower and other tests pertaining to the project are being taken up at the ISRO Satellite Center. Integration of the whole module will be completed and Chandrayaan-2 will be in orbit soon. After the successful mission of Chandrayan - 1 mission ISRO is now all set to launch Chandrayan - 2 . The orbiter integration work is on currently. Few trials of the lander and rover are underway and will be tested in December. Addressing a press conferance in Bangalore on Monday ISRO chairman Kiran Kumar said chandrayan- 2, will navigate across the moon collecting various rock and soil samples that will be analysed . ISRO’s second moon mission comes nearly ten years after its highly successful maiden attempt at exploring the moon. Chandrayaan 1 was launched in 2008. The spacecraft had orbited around the moon for about a year, mapping the terrain and minerals. It sent back high resolution images and other data. But most crucially, Chandrayaan-1 gave the first direct evidence of the presence of water-ice on lunar surface to the world. Chandrayan - 2 will have more advanced role. It will help map specific parts of Lunar surface and study of the atmosphere.Chandrayan 2 will also land a robotic rover on the surface of the moon.Besides this ISRO will launch 28 commercial satellites for its customers, along with another satellite from the CartoSat-2 series satellites in the second half of December this year .

  • He is on a four-day visit to India beginning October 31. During the visit that will extend up to November 3, the King will meet President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu and other Union Ministers and senior officials will call on him. PM Modi will host a dinner in honour of the visiting dignitaries. The visit would also provide an opportunity to both the sides for reviewing the entire gamut of bilateral cooperation including plans for befitting celebrations of golden jubilee of establishment of diplomatic relations between two countries in 2018. It is worth mentioning here that PM Modi chose Bhutan as his first foreign destination after taking charge.

  • "I am excited to return to competitive golf at the Hero World Challenge," tournament host and 14-time major champion Woods said in a statement. "Albany is the perfect setting and it will be great to join this outstanding field." The 41-year-old American has only played six competitive rounds in the past two years while trying to recover from multiple back surgeries. Last year, Woods also made a comeback at the same event, ending nearly 16 months on the sidelines, and finished 15th in a final field of 17. He showed flashes of the brilliant golf that carried him to 14 major titles. However, he also delivered the inept, often finding sandy waste areas off the tee or with his approach shots. As his back issues continued, Woods returned to the PGA Tour in January. He missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open and shot an opening-round 77 a week later in Dubai before withdrawing. In April he announced that he had undergone a fourth back operation in three years.The winner of five tournaments in 2013, Woods has played just 19 events since.

  • It is believed to have occurred on 30 October 1207 BC. Using a combination of biblical text and an ancient Egyptian text, the researchers were then able to refine the dates of the Egyptian pharaohs, in particular the dates of the reign of Ramesses the Great. The results are published in the Royal Astronomical Society journal Astronomy & Geophysics. The biblical text in question comes from the Old Testament book of Joshua and has puzzled biblical scholars for centuries. It records that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan – a region of the ancient Near East that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine – he prayed: “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the Sun stood still, and the Moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.” “If these words are describing a real observation, then a major astronomical event was taking place - the question for us to figure out is what the text actually means,” said paper co-author Professor Sir Colin Humphreys from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science & Metallurgy. “Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and moon stopped moving,” said Humphreys, who is also a Fellow of Selwyn College. “But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.” Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the well-known Ramesses the Great. The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel. Earlier historians have used these two texts to try to date the possible eclipse, but were not successful as they were only looking at total eclipses, in which the disc of the sun appears to be completely covered by the moon as the moon passes directly between the earth and the sun. What the earlier historians failed to consider was that it was instead an annular eclipse, in which the moon passes directly in front of the sun, but is too far away to cover the disc completely, leading to the characteristic ‘ring of fire’ appearance. In the ancient world, the same word was used for both total and annular eclipses. The researchers developed a new eclipse code, which takes into account variations in the Earth’s rotation over time. From their calculations, they determined that the only annular eclipse visible from Canaan between 1500 and 1050 BC was on 30 October 1207 BC, in the afternoon. If their arguments are accepted, it would not only be the oldest solar eclipse yet recorded, it would also enable researchers to date the reigns of Ramesses the Great and his son Merneptah to within a year. “Solar eclipses are often used as a fixed point to date events in the ancient world,” said Humphreys. Using these new calculations, the reign of Merneptah began in 1210 or 1209 BC. As it is known from Egyptian texts how long he and his father reigned for, it would mean that Ramesses the Great reigned from 1276-1210 BC, with a precision of plus or minus one year, the most accurate dates available. The precise dates of the pharaohs have been subject to some uncertainty among Egyptologists, but this new calculation, if accepted, could lead to an adjustment in the dates of several of their reigns and enable us to date them precisely.

  • Researchers from Showa University in Yokohama in Japan developed the computer-aided diagnostic system that uses an endocytoscopic image – a 500-fold magnified view of a colorectal polyp – to analyse about 300 features of the polyp after applying narrow-band imaging (NBI) mode or staining with methylene blue. The system compares the features of each polyp against more than 30,000 endocytoscopic images that were used for machine learning, allowing it to predict the lesion pathology in less than a second. Researchers studied 250 men and women in whom colorectal polyps had been detected using endocytoscopy. The AI-assisted system was used to predict the pathology of each polyp and those predictions were compared with the pathological report obtained from the final resected specimens. The team assessed 306 polyps in real-time by using the AI-assisted system, providing a sensitivity of 94 per cent, specificity of 79 per cent, accuracy of 86 per cent, and positive and negative predictive values of 79 per cent and 93 per cent respectively, in identifying neoplastic changes. “We believe these results are acceptable for clinical application and our immediate goal is to obtain regulatory approval for the diagnostic system,” said Yuichi Mori from Showa University in Yokohama. The team is now undertaking a multi-centre study for this purpose and are also working on developing an automatic polyp detection system. “Precise on-site identification of adenomas during colonoscopy contributes to the complete resection of neoplastic lesions,” said Mori. “This is thought to decrease the risk of colorectal cancer and, ultimately, cancer-related death,” Mori added.

  • "Today's announcement has nothing to do with the president, has nothing to do with the president's campaign or campaign activity," Sarah Sanders told a news briefing. "We've been saying from day one there's no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion, and nothing in the indictment today changes that at all," she added. Paul Manafort, a former campaign manager for President Donald Trump, was charged on Monday with money laundering and another onetime aide pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, in a sharp escalation of a federal probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Manafort, 68, a longtime Republican operative, and associate Rick Gates were arraigned at a federal courthouse in Washington. Both men pleaded not guilty to a series of charges in a 12-count indictment, ranging from money laundering to acting as unregistered agents of Ukraine's former pro-Russian government. Neither Trump nor his campaign were mentioned in the indictment against the pair. Many of the charges, some of which go back more than a decade, have to do with Manafort's work for Ukraine rather than the Trump campaign.

  • While Kenyatta's backers celebrated his re-election, angry supporters of his rival, Raila Odinga, skirmished with police in Nairobi slums and burned tires in Kisumu, one of the opposition strongholds in western Kenya. Kenya's election commission said the turnout of registered voters in the October 26 election was about 40 per cent, compared with roughly twice that in August balloting that was nullified by the Supreme Court because of what it called "irregularities and illegalities." The re-run was marred by deadly clashes between police and Odinga supporters in the days that followed. Kenyatta said he expected Odinga followers to mount new legal challenges, indicating the long saga that has left many Kenyans weary of conflict and has hurt business in East Africa's economic hub is not over. "My victory today was just part of a process that is likely to once again be subjected to a constitutional test through our courts," Kenyatta said at the election commission headquarters after results were announced that gave him a second term. "I will submit to this constitutional path." Kenyatta said he would consider dialogue with the opposition after the outcome of any court proceedings. He also described his victory as a validation of his win in August, saying the 7.5 million votes that he received this time amounted to 90 per cent of what he got earlier. Odinga, who dismissed the repeat election as a sham and told his supporters not to participate, remained on the ballot and still got 73,000 votes, or just under 1 per cent. In August, he received 45 per cent to Kenyatta's 54 per cent. At least nine people have died in violence since the rerun election. Mobs have also looted shops and burned property in some areas. Late Monday, crowds in the Nairobi slums of Kibera, Mathare and Kawangware areas where Odinga has strong support confronted police, set fires and blocked roads. Security forces used tear gas. Tires were set ablaze in the western town of Kisumu. "It was not an election that involved everyone," said Peter Musundi, a Kawangware resident. He called the vote as a "nomination exercise" for the ruling Jubilee party. Some Kenyatta backers celebrated his victory with song and dance. "We wait for Kenya to move forward," said supporter Ann Njoki, speaking near the election commission headquarters. Voting did not take place in two dozen of Kenya's 290 constituencies due to opposition protests, although the election commission cited an election law that says final results can be announced if the outcome is not affected by the tally in areas that didn't vote. Wafula Chebukati, chairman of the election commission, said before the October 26 vote that he could not guarantee its credibility. Before announcing the results, however, he said he was confident it was a "free, fair and credible election." Odinga has said he will form a "resistance" movement to oppose the government, which has in turn accused opposition leaders of fomenting violence with incendiary rhetoric. He also said he wants another election to be held. Odinga, who is from the Luo ethnic group, and Kenyatta, who is a Kikuyu, also faced off in a 2013 election similarly marred by allegations of vote-rigging. The opposition leader also ran unsuccessfully in 2007, and ethnic-fueled animosity after that vote killed more than 1,000 people and forced 6,00,000 from their homes. Most of Kenya has been peaceful during the political standoff that has transfixed the nation since the August election; human rights groups say dozens of people were killed by police in unrest following the earlier vote. U.S. Ambassador Robert F. Godec said Washington is deeply concerned by the recent violence and urged Kenyans to engage in dialogue "to resolve the deep divisions that the electoral process has exacerbated." In his victory speech, Kenyatta appealed for unity. Standing at a podium, he drew laughter with a reference to his speech after his August election win. "I've been here before," he said. "Hopefully, this is for the last time."

  • A tightening siege by government forces has pushed people to the verge of famine in the eastern suburbs, residents and aid workers said last week, bringing desperation to the only major rebel enclave near the Syrian capital. The convoy carried food, nutrition and health items for 40,000 people in need, U.N. under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs Mark Lowcock said. Food, fuel and medicine once traveled across frontlines into the suburbs through a network of underground tunnels. But early this year, an army offensive nearby cut smuggling routes that provided a lifeline for around 3,00,000 people in the enclave east of the capital. United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian affairs and Emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock said, "Since the start of the year, 1,10,000 people have received food assistance out of an estimated population of nearly 4,00,000. Today, the U.N. and partners delivered food, nutrition and health assistance to 40,000 people. An alarming number of child malnutrition cases have been recorded there and more than 400 people with health problems require medical evacuation. "A long-term durable solution to the plight of these people has to be found. Meanwhile immediate access to enable lifesaving assistance for the civilian population is critical. Clearly the best approach is to find a solution from within Syria. We are straining every sinew to do that. But whatever happens, it is our collective duty to avoid yet another humanitarian catastrophe in Syria," he added.

  • It was an unscheduled conversation between Lt Gen A K Bhatt and Pakistani DGMO Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza. Lt Gen Bhatt said retaliatory firing by Indian troops has only been carried out in response to "unabated support" provided by the Pakistan Army to armed terrorists, who infiltrate across the border and target Indian Army posts with heavy calibre weapons, the Army said in a statement. The telephonic conversation was requested by the Pakistani side. The Indian DGMO told his Pakistani counterpart that while the Indian Army will continue its efforts to ensure peace and tranquillity on the borders, the support provided to the terrorists by the Pakistan Army was the prime reason for any "collateral damage". He reiterated that this support to terrorism by the Pakistan Army is unacceptable and the Indian Army will continue to take all retaliatory measures as well as retain the right to punitively respond to such provocative acts of aggression from the Pakistani side. The Army statement said Lt Gen Bhatt also clarified that the Indian Army always maintains impeccable standards of professionalism and does not target civilians. "Pakistan Army has employed civilians at the forward posts and accorded permission for permanent locations of civilians in the vicinity of Pakistan Army posts," the Army said. It said that these civilians have repeatedly been used for gaining information of locations of Indian troops and providing guides to the terrorists while crossing the LoC. The LoC in Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a spurt in ceasefire violations by the Pakistani troops and the Indian Army has been retaliating effectively to Pakistani actions.

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