West Bengal Governor Narayanan resigns

News4u-News Desk- West Bengal Governor M K Narayanan resigned on Monday, becoming the fourth person occupying the gubernatorial post to put in his papers since the NDA government prodded some of the Governors appointed during UPA rule to quit.

Home Ministry sources said the Governor has tendered his resignation.

80-year-old Narayanan was recently questioned by the CBI as a “witness” in the AgustaWestland VVIP helicopter deal probe.

Nagaland Governor Ashwani Kumar, Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi and Chhattisgarh Governor Shekhar Dutt have put in their papers in the last few days.

Narayanan, a former IPS officer who had served as Director of the Intelligence Bureau and was also the National Security Advisor, was appointed as the Governor of the state in January 2010.

All the four Governors who have resigned so far are either former IPS or IAS officers.

Joshi and Kumar are former IPS officers while Dutt is a former IAS officer.

Sources said the government was considering appointing some BJP veterans as Governors in around ten states.


M K Narayanan

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Series of quakes strike off South Pacific islands: USGS

News4u-News Desk- A strong 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck off the South Pacific islands of Wallis and Futuna in the early hours Monday, following another powerful earthquake off Tonga.

The latest quake hit at 5:15 am local time and occurred 205 kilometres southeast of the Wallis and Futuna capital of Mata-Utu, the US Geological Survey said.

It came less than two hours after a 6.4-magnitude quake struck off Tonga.

Neither generated tsunami alerts and there were no immediate reports of damage.

The undersea quake off Tonga hit at 3:52 am and was 197 kilometres northwest of the town of Hihifo, USGS said.

The epicentre was also at a depth of 10 kilometres.

That tremor was followed less than three hours later by a 5.6-magnitude quake a few kilometres further west.

The region lies in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area of frequent seismic activity due to collisions between continental plates.


Series of quakes strike off South Pacific islands: USGS

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Ramzan begins today

News4u-News Desk- Ramzan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, will begin from Monday as the new moon could not be sighted anywhere in the country on Saturday.

Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed, President of Fatehpuri Royat Hilal Committee and Shahi Imam of Fatehpuri Mosque, announced that since the new moon was not sighted on Saturday, the month of Ramzan will start from Monday.

If the new moon would have been sighted on Saturday, Ramzan would have started on Sunday. But as that did not happen, Sunday will be the last day of Shaban month - eighth month of the Islamic calendar - and Monday, June 30 will be the first day of Ramzan.

Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, is observed as a fasting period by Muslims, who abstain from food and water from sunrise to sunset.

Muslims wake up early morning for the pre-dawn ‘sehri’ meal renouncing food and water during the day before breaking their fasts in the evening. The sumptuous evening meals are known as ‘iftaars’.

The month-long fasting will culminate in the Id-ul-Fitr celebrations next month.

As Islam follows a lunar calendar, the holy month begins every year about 11 days earlier and its commencement is traditionally determined by the appearance of the new moon.


Ramzan begins today

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India, China sign three key MoUs

News4u-News Desk- India and China on Monday signed three key MoUs, including one on industrial parks and flood data of Brahmaputra river, coinciding with the China visit of Vice President Hamid Ansari.

The agreements were signed in the presence of Ansari and his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao after their talks.

The MoU on industrial parks is aimed at attracting Chinese investments in India and provides an enabling framework for Chinese companies to invest in industrial parks and zones.

Under the MoU, the two countries have agreed to cooperate to increase mutual investment in each other’s economies and this cooperation will be in accordance with the relevant domestic laws and regulations of each party and on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

An Industrial Park Cooperation Working Group made up of equal number of representatives from both the countries will be set up to identify and agree upon the detailed modalities for implementing cooperation under this agreement and will periodically review the progress, an official statement said.

The MoU on flood data sharing will provide India with 15 days more of hydrological data of river Brahmaputra. The data helps India in flood forecasting.

India provides money for maintenance of three hydrological centres on the Chinese side. The data will be provided from May 15 to October 15 each year.

The third MoU will help the two countries establish a framework for regular interactions between administrative officials to share experiences and learn from each other’s best practices. Specific programmes of cooperation will be worked out subsequently.

The MoU will ensure cooperation between Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie and China Executive Leadership Academy, Pudong, Shanghai.

The MOU envisages exchange of officials, cooperation in developing training programmes, field visits to each others countries.


India, China Flags

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Global endorsement of India’s space capability: PM

News4u-News Desk- This is a “global endorsement of India’s space capability”, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the successful launch of PSLV C23 that carried five foreign satellites.

Modi said: “Congratulations to everybody.”

“I feel specially privileged to witness this event in person,” said Modi who clapped as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C23 (PSLV-C23) - standing around 44.4 metres tall and weighing around 230 ton - tore into the bright morning skies with orange flames fiercely burning at its tail.

The rocket’s main luggage is the 714 kg French earth observation satellite SPOT-7.

Piggybacking on the main luggage are the four small satellites viz: 14-kg AISAT of Germany; NLS7.1 (CAN-X4) and NLS7.2 (CAN-X5) from Canada each weighing 15 kg; and the 7-kg VELOX-1 of Singapore.

He described it as “global endorsement of India’s space capability”.

INDIAN ROCKET COSTS LESS THAN MOVIE ‘GRAVITY’: MODI

The cost of sending an Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested to make the Hollywood film “Gravity”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said.

“I have heard about the movie ‘Gravity’…the cost of sending the Indian rocket to space is less than the money invested to make the movie,” said Modi after the successful launch of a rocket that carried five foreign satellites to space.

“Gravity” is a 2013 British-American 3D epic science fiction thriller film. It was directed by Alfonso Cuarón, and stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts involved in the mid-orbit destruction of a space shuttle and their attempt to return to Earth.

The budget of the movie was $100 million.

MODI ASKS ISRO TO DEVELOP A SAARC SATELLITE

Proposing satellite diplomacy with a view to playing a key role in the development of the region, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked Indian space agency ISRO to develop a SAARC satellite which can be dedicated as a ‘gift’ to the neighbours.

“Today I ask you, the space community, to take up the challenge of developing a SAARC satellite that we can dedicate to our neighbourhood as a gift from India,” he said in his address after witnessing the successful launch of five foreign satellites from here on board ISRO’s PSLV C-23 rocket.

He asked the scientists to work on a satellite that would provide full range of applications and services to all of India’s neighbours. “Such a satellite will be helpful in SAARC nations’ fight against poverty and illiteracy, the challenge to progress in scientific field, and will open up avenues to provide opportunities to the youth of SAARC countries,” he said from ISRO’s Mission Control Room.

The ‘dream’ for such a satellite will be useful for the development of all SAARC nations with India playing a key role in that, Modi reasoned in a speech laced with anecdotes and delivered in a mix of English and Hindi.

Modi said the need for such a satellite arose because of India’s age-old ethos of ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’ (the world is a family) even as “India’s space programme is driven by service and not by desire of power”.

“For us, it (space programme) is an important instrument of human progress. We must, therefore, share the fruits of technological advancement with those who do not enjoy it. We already share disaster management data with over 30 countries. “We provide benefits of telemedicine to Afghanistan and African countries. But we must do more. ‘Yeh dil maange more’ (the heart desires for more),” Modi said repeating a famous tagline.

He also exhorted the scientific community to enlarge India’s footprints of satellite navigation system to cover all of South Asia.

Space programme was one area where India had “pushed beyond mediocrity” to achieve excellence despite “international hurdles” even as the country had come a long way from its humble beginnings of its first satellite Aryabhatta to engaging in commercial launches of satellites of even developed countries, he said.

Crediting former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee’s vision for India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan, Modi also referred to the Mars mission, adding, he followed the space-related developments closely.

Modi said that space technology was not confined to the elite and described this as ‘wrong perception’ even as he outlined the government’s commitment to change it. He said that the laboratory achievements of the scientists will be implemented for public good and noted that GIS-enabled watershed programmes, besides others, had borne fruits for the common man.

The Prime Minister asked the space scientists to work towards replicating such models in the area of land records and related issues, besides governance, and said if implemented, it could help the public at large.


Global endorsement of India’s space capability: PM

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3 AI planes on standby for evacuation of Indians in Iraq

News4u-News Desk- Air India on Sunday kept three planes on standby for evacuation of Indian nationals in strife-torn Iraq even as the Government reviewed the situation in the region at a high-level meeting after which it said the 39 abducted Indians were safe.

The government also said that it was in touch with the 46 Indian nurses stranded in the militant stronghold of Tikrit and that they were unharmed.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj chaired a meeting of Indian envoys to the Gulf countries to chalk out future strategy for safety and evacuation of nationals in Iraq. There are an estimated 10,000 Indian nationals in that country.

The Spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said there were around 150 Indians in the zone of conflict and about 50 of them have left.

“As of now in the zone of conflict, they are less than 100,” the spokesperson said. The Government also decided to transfer part of welfare funds in the Indian missions in Gulf countries to its embassy in Baghdad to be used for helping Indians to facilitate the departure of its nationals.

Official sources said three Air India planes are on standby and ready to leave for Iraq at short notice to bring back the nationals. The state-owned airline is fully geared for the evacuation drill, the sources added.

The family members of the kidnapped Indian nationals also met Swaraj who assured them that the government was taking all steps for the safety and evacuation of their kith and kin.

Asked about the safety of Indians abducted by the rebels in the region, the MEA spokesperson said, “I have no reports since last evening. The last evening report I have communicated to you..that they remain unharmed…they are in captivity…we have got some leads on them. …We are working on the lead that were provided yesterday.”

He said the Indian nurses in Tikrit “remain concerned because of noises and fighting are going on in surrounding area but as of now they remain safe”. “We are in contact with them,” he said.

“My understanding …as of now is that we have been in touch with the nurses just a few hours ago. Also they remain unhurt. Their hospital has not been intruded upon,” he added.

The spokesperson said the government was in touch with the Indian nationals in Iraq. “At this stage …we are working with them and their companies as well as those agents who have sent them come here to Iraq to bring them back by commercial flights. This initial phase will begin by tomorrow or latest by flight availability. This is a national endeavour,” the spokesperson added.


sushma swaraj

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Puri Ratha Yatra witnesses massive turnout

News4u-News Desk- More than seven lakh people on Sunday thronged the streets in Odisha’s temple town of Puri to witness the world famous Ratha Yatra, officials said.

Although some rituals were performed behind schedule, the ratha yatra passed off without any trouble, temple spokesman Laxmidhar Pujapanda said.

The ‘Mangala Aarti’ was performed at 8.20 a.m. after a three-hour delay. The ceremonial procession of the deities known as ‘Pahandi’ - carrying the deities on chariots out of the temple - started around 11 a.m., he said.

The pulling of chariots started around 3.40 p.m. More than 500,000 devotees were already in Puri, 55 km from Bhubaneswar by noon. The number swelled to over seven lakh by evening, Pujapanda said.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Governor S.C. Jamir, union ministers Jual Oram and Dhamendra Pradhan were among the important dignitaries who witnessed the festival.

Patnaik and Oram joined the devotees and pulled a chariot.

Puri Sankaracharya Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, who was unhappy with the state government over the handling of the festival - however stayed away and did not perform his customary rituals on the chariots.

The Puri Sankaracharya climbs the chariots along with his disciples and offers prayers as a customary practice every year.

Saraswati said the temple administration informed him that nobody could accompany him to the chariots.

Protesting the decision, the seer said he would not perform the rituals this year.

Union ministers Oram and Pradhan met Saraswati earlier during the day at his mutt in the temple town and attempted to resolve the crisis but it yielded no results.

A temple administration official said a letter was sent to the seer in accordance with the directives of the Odisha High Court, while the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the decision was unwarranted.

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), in separate statements, accused the government of insulting the seer and interfering in religious matters.

Demanding an apology from the government, both the organisations have threatened to launch agitations.

The ratha yatra marks the annual journey of the three deities - Lord Jagannath, his brother Bhalabhadra and sister Subhadra - from the 12th century Jagannath temple to the Gundicha temple, three km away.

The festival ends after nine days when the deities make their way back to the Jagannath temple.

“We bow to Lord Jagannath on this auspicious day. Today, once again, he sets out on his chariot, giving blessings to the people,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.


Puri Ratha Yatra witnesses massive turnout

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India, China release first encyclopedia of cultural contacts

News4u-News Desk- India and China on Monday released the first encyclopedia on their age-old cultural contacts, tracing back their history to over 2,000 years, starting from the visit of Chinese scholar Huen Tsang to India in the 7th century to bring Buddhist scriptures to China.

The two volumes of the encyclopedia jointly compiled by scholars of India and China was released by Vice President M H Ansari and his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao during their bilateral meeting in Beijing.

Ansari is on a five-day visit to China which ends Monday.

The idea of encyclopedia of India-China Cultural Contacts, which also covers the trade and diplomatic ties, was mooted during the visit of former Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao to India in December 2010.

The book traces back the centuries old civilisation links that started with the visit of Huen Tsang to India in the 7th century to bring Buddhist scriptures to China.

India-China relations have expanded significantly in both scope and intensity over the past decade, according to an official statement.

Both sides have attached great importance to cooperation on a wide range of issues with people-to-people exchanges forming an important aspect of our bilateral relations.

The two sides recognise the importance of expanding such contacts, thereby contributing towards enhanced mutual understanding.

With this shared understanding, during the visit of Wen to India in 2010, the leaders of India and China agreed on a project involving compilation of an encyclopedia of India-China cultural contacts, it said.

The work of compilation of the encyclopedia was undertaken by a joint compilation committee comprising of officials and scholars from both India and China.

The encyclopedia was released in both English and Chinese versions. It features over 700 entries, encapsulating the rich history of contacts and exchanges between the two countries in the trade, economic, literary, cultural and philosophical spheres.


India, China release first encyclopedia of cultural contacts

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India expects 400 million air passengers by 2020: Raju

News4u-Business Desk- India has witnessed a growth in number of air travellers due to liberal aviation policy and entry of small air carrier, and is likely to touch 400 million mark by 2020, Union Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju said on Sunday.

“With the entry of small carriers the number of middle class passengers and the aviation income enabled by liberal policy was increased. In 2013-14, the number of passengers recorded was 169 million, which showed six per cent growth in comparison to 2012-13,” the Minister said.

This growth is expected to rise above 400 million passengers by the year 2020, the Union Minister said.

“Today, India’s aviation was fastest growing market in the world, being the 10th largest,” he said, adding it would be expected to the second Indian domestic travel market in the world with an immense potential in maintenance, repair, ground handling and capacity building in aviation sector.

Raju said air connectivity to Bikaner was bound to increase tourism in the sandy desert part of the state.

On the suggestion of Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the Civil Aviation Minister agreed to form a joint committee of the state and central government’s aviation officers to formulate a policy to expand air connectivity in Rajasthan.

Speaking on the occasion, Raje said Rajasthan needed smaller aircraft with a capacity of 30 to 70 passengers so that the state could be connected by air from different parts of the state and also to adjoining states Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, and Haryana.

She said Bikaner would have soon air services from the new airport.

She proposed that Rajasthan could be a better place for pilot training schools.

Union Minister of State for Civil Aviation G M Siddeshwara and MoS for Chemical and Fertilizer Nihalchand were present on the occasion.


India expects 400 million air passengers by 2020

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GAIL to distribute ex-gratia compensation to blast victims today

News4u-News Desk-Gas Authority of India (GAIL) said it will distribute ex-gratia compensation on Monday to those killed and injured in the Nagaram gas pipeline blast.

An official release issued in Rajahmundry said that the compensation would be distributed in the presence of East Godavari District Collector and Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N Chinarajappa on Monday afternoon at 2 PM at Nagaram village in Mamidikudru mandal of East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister N Chinarajappa, District Collector Neetu Prasad and GAIL authorities would distribute a compensation of Rs 3.80 crore to 19 people who lost their lives in the gas pipeline blast incident on 27th June, Monday at 2 PM at Nagaram village, the release said.

“Rs 20 lakh each will be given to the family members of the 19 deceased, who lost their lives on that day and the total amount of compensation will come to Rs 3.80 crore,” it said, adding that Rs 50,000 each would be paid to 18 people who received severe burn injuries in the blast and are undergoing treatment at Amalapuram, Rajahmundry and Kakinada hospitals.

“The total amount of compensation for injured people will be Rs 9 lakhs. All payments will made in the form of Demand Drafts (DD) as directed by the district collector,”it said. Meanwhile, GAIL authorities on Sunday met the district collector, who instructed them bring the amount in the form of DDs for distribution.

She clarifed that there is no truth in rumours claiming that a gas pipeline had leaked at Nagaram village where the incident occurred on 27th June.

“There has been no leakage of gas from any part of the village. All valves are closed. Experts are keenly observing and all preventive steps have been taken. People are requested not believe such rumours.

There is no threat to the village or people. ONGC, GAIL and revenue officials visited the village and verified all gas pipelines,” she said.


Fire in GAIL pipeline

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