Aakash Air Defence system inducted into Army

News4u-News Desk-The indigenously built Aakash Air Defence system was today inducted into the Army with the Army Chief General Dalbir Singh receiving its symbolic key from the CMD of Bharat Dynamics Limited.

The Aakash Air defence system is a surface to air missile system which has been designed and developed by DRDO and assembled by public sector undertakings , primarily BDL along with several ordnance factories and private firms.


Aakash Air Defence system inducted into Army

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Few Brain booster Foods for you…

News4u-Features Desk-  It’s that time of the year again… exam period! Whether you’re a high school or university student, I’m sure we all know what it feels like to spend sleepless nights, trying to stuff more content into our over-worked brains.

But did you know that eating the right foods is not only beneficial for your physical health, but it can also boost brain function? Despite it’s size, the brain is an extremely active organ that consumes up to 20% of your caloric intake every day!

Therefore, it’s crucial to fuel it with essential nutrients that will not only enhance mental performance, but also increase productivity and help control those crazy mood swings. Next time you step into the kitchen for a study snack – put down the packet of crisps, and choose one of these brain-boosting options instead!

 

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate

 

Yes, you read that right. Believe it or not, dark chocolate is wonderful brain food to have in moderation. It contains natural stimulants which increase blood flow to the brain, helping you to focus and improve concentration. Not only that, it stimulates the production of endorphins to boost your mood and keep your spirits lifted! Look out for brands that contain 85% or more cacao – the greater the percentage, the more benefits you’ll get from each piece (or two)!

 

 

 

Berries

Berries are a quick, convenient snack packed full of health benefits to promote brain function. The antioxidants and phytonutrients they contain help improve blood flow to the brain to enhance mental performance. In particular, research has suggested that blueberries can improve or delay short-term memory loss. Another great benefit is that they may protect the brain from neurological damage and reduce the effects caused by age-related conditions… anti-ageing for the brain, anyone?

-Agencies


Berries

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Countdown begins for UK parliament polls slated for Thursday

News4u-News Desk-Britain opinion polls have predicted that the country is heading towards a hung parliament after Thursday’s national election, fuelling uncertainty about the country’s future in the European Union, its economic policy, and Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.

The Indian Diaspora in Britain is all set to play kingmaker in this upcoming election. Indians have emerged as the largest chunk with as many as 615,000 expected to cast their ballot on 7th of May.

With just three days to go before the United Kingdom goes to polls, political parties are working hard to rope in the British-Indian vote bank.

Opinion polls show Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party, led by Ed Miliband, neck and neck, with neither on track to win control of the House of Commons on their own.

Both leaders spent Monday campaigning vigorously against each other in a final attempt to win over voters.

David Cameron addressed an election rally in Bath while Labour leader Ed Miliband wooed his supporters in Brighton.

If Cameron is re-elected, he has promised to hold an in-out EU membership referendum in 2017, while the rise of Scottish nationalists who lost an independence referendum last year is generating continued uncertainty about Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom.

The uncertain outcome of Thursday’s election reflects the fact that Scottish nationalists threaten to overrun Labour in an area it once considered a stronghold and the rise of the anti-European Union UK Independence Party which risks splitting the Conservative vote in its English heartlands.

Going by opinion polls, Labour and the Conservatives are likely to win less than 300 seat each, short of a majority in the 650-seat parliament.

The Scottish National Party could take over 50, the Liberal Democrats between 20 and 30, and UKIP less than 10.


UK parliament polls slated for Thursday

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Indian shooters shine in Hannover

News4u-Sports Desk- India’s top rifle shooters win rich haul of three gold and two bronze medals at the International Shooting Competition of Hannover in Germany; Abhinav Bindra, Chain Singh, Gagan Narang, Apurvi Chandela will now take part in the ISSF Rifle/Pistol World Cup in the US.

India’s top rifle shooters, warmed up in style for the upcoming World Cup in Fort Benning, USA, by returning a rich haul of medals at the International Shooting Competition of Hannover.

The tournament, held at the National Shooting Center in the German city, featured more than 1000 shooters from around the world. Beijing Games gold medallist Bindra won both the individual and team gold in his pet 10m air rifle event.


Indian shooters shine in Hannover

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Saudi-led alliance mulls partial truces in Yemen

News4u-News Desk-Saudi-led Arab alliance conducting air strikes against Houthi fighters in Yemen is considering calling truces in specific areas in Yemen to allow humanitarian supplies to reach the country, the Saudi foreign minister said on Monday.

Adel al-Jubeir also said Saudi Arabia might host a center to coordinate delivery of humanitarian supplies.

The United Nations says the humanitarian situation in Yemen has grown desperate after weeks of air strikes.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is holding consultations with members of the alliance in defense of legitimacy in Yemen and all countries that support it, to create specific areas inside Yemen to deliver humanitarian supplies, where all aerial operations will stop at specific times to allow these supplies in, as stipulated by UN Security Council resolution 2216,” Jubeir said in a statement.

The resolution imposes an arms embargo on the Houthis and on their allies - army units loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh - and demands they disarm and leave captured cities, including the capital Sanaa that they seized in September.

Jubeir warned the rebels against exploiting the truces, saying air strikes would resume if the Shi’ite Muslim group did not abide by the truce.


Saudi-led alliance mulls partial truces in Yemen

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NDRF begins withdrawal of its rescue teams from Nepal

News4u-News Desk- India’s NDRF today began withdrawal of its men from quake-hit Nepal after the country asked foreign rescuers to end their humanitarian efforts.

This comes after Nepal asks foreign rescue teams to withdraw Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said the government has asked countries to withdraw their ‘first response’ teams as the focus now shifts to relief rather than rescue.

Meanwhile life in Nepal is settling down at a slow place.

Relief and rescue work carried out by Indian agencies in the quake-ravaged Nepal. But soon all foreign agencies including those from India will go back.

Nepal government has asked countries to remove their first response teams as the rescue effort is over and it feels that the relief work can be carried out by the its army and police.

The decision was taken at the meeting of the Central Natural Disaster Relief Committee.

Around 4,500 personnel from 34 nations including India are working in Nepal since the massive earthquake struck the Himalayan nation on 25th April.

Majority teams were deployed in Kathmandu valley, sindhupalchok, and Gorkha districts which were the worst-hit places… However, India has offered further help if Nepal asks for it.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Nepal tragedy has crossed 7300. Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal Prakash Man Singh said the country requires nearly 10 lakh temporary shelters for the affected people.

According to the Nepalese government, over 1,60,000 homes have been destroyed while more than 1,43,000 damaged due to the natural calamity.

Meanwhile, doctors are working without break at various hospitals to treat injured persons.

Miracle stories of Nepal quake survivors are emerging now. Several people were buried under Nepal’s Dharahara Tower which collapsed due to high-intensity tremors.

But rescuers have pulled a woman and her daughter from the ruins of the famous tourist destination… Both are now being treated at a nearby hospital.

Meanwhile, normalcy is returning to Nepal as markets and shops have now opened and people are going to their offices.

Though the life is returning to normal in Nepal nine days after the powerful earthquake, the stories of sorrow are still emerging the deep scars and wounds in the minds and hearts of millions of Nepalese will take long time to heal and so would the relief operations.


NDRF begins withdrawal of its rescue teams from Nepal

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Cabinet nod to boundary pact with Bangladesh

News4u-News Desk- The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved the constitutional amendment bill on Land Boundary agreement with Bangladesh.

The 119th constitutional amendment Bill will pave way for demarcation of boundaries and -transfer of land.

The Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) involves Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya in India.

Parliament has to pass the constitution amendment bill to implement LBA as it involves exchange of 161 adversely -held enclaves by India and Bangladesh and consequent redrawing of boundaries between West Bengal and Bangladesh.

There are an estimated 50,000 people living in these enclaves and they have been given the option to choose one of the two countries to throw their lot with.


Parliament of India

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Future expands retail footprint with Bharti deal

News4u-Business Desk- Future Retail Ltd (FURE.NS) has agreed to acquire most of local conglomerate Bharti Enterprises’ shares in its retail business to create one of India’s biggest retail chains with more than 570 stores across the country.

Under the all-stock deal valued at about 7.5 billion rupees ($118 million), the retail operations of Future Retail and Bharti Retail will be merged to create a new company.

Future Group, the parent of Future Retail, will hold 46-47 percent and Bharti Retail will own roughly 10 percent stake in each of the two firms, executives from the companies said at a news conference.

Loss-making Bharti Retail will also hold securities that can be converted into shares worth about 5 percent each of the two new companies, which would be listed on the domestic stock exchanges, the companies said.

Bharti Enterprises, also the parent of leading Indian mobile phone operator Bharti Airtel (BRTI.NS), lost a partner to build up its retail business when Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) broke with Bharti over their India joint venture in 2013.

“Future Group in particular may not have the financial resources to invest in the growth of the business. And Bharti may have the resources but may not have the desire to do so on their own,” said Arvind Singhal, chief of consultancy Technopak.

“Supermarkets and the hypermarkets space is a very very exciting space to be in…yet it is very frustrating because it needs a lot of investment.”

Future Retail shares ended 12 percent higher after the announcement, while the Nifty rose 1.8 percent.

The deal also comes against the backdrop of rising competition in the retail sector, with online retailers, who have raised billions of dollars from private investors, wooing shoppers with bargains and deals that brick-and-mortar rivals cannot match.

This has left some traditional retailers vulnerable to being overtaken by better-funded online rivals in a country where a rapidly expanding middle class is turning to the web.

“E-commerce could be a catalyst for people who are getting out of retail to say that: we are anyway under pressure now this e-commerce thing is also happening,” said Harminder Sahni, managing director at consultants Wazir Advisors.

“It’s probably going to get worse. So let’s get out of it and hand it over to some partner and let them run it.” Reuters


Future expands retail footprint with Bharti deal

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Climate change sparks tension in India’s tea gardens

News4u-News Desk- Usha Ghatowar smiles wryly when asked about the pay she earns picking leaves at a colonial-era tea garden in Assam.

“Do you think 3,000 rupees are enough when your monthly expenses can be double that?” she mumbles, as she puts on her “jaapi” hat of woven bamboo and palm leaves and takes a sip of tea from a steel mug.

As the women workers around Ghatowar nod in agreement the heavens open - it has started raining heavily in recent days after three largely dry months.

Unrest is brewing among Assam’s so-called Tea Tribes, whose forefathers were brought here by British planters from neighbouring Bihar and Odisha more than a century ago, as changing weather patterns upset the economics of the industry.

Scientists say climate change is to blame for uneven rainfall that is cutting yields and lifting costs for tea firms such as McLeod Russel (MCLE.NS), Tata Global Beverages (TAGL.NS) and Jay Shree Tea (JYST.NS).

While rainfall has declined and become concentrated, temperatures have risen - ideal conditions for pests like looper caterpillar and tea mosquito to infest the light green tea shoots just before they are ready to be plucked for processing.

Use of pesticides and fertilisers has nearly doubled as a result in Assam’s 800 big tea plantations, known as gardens, and the rising costs are making Indian tea less competitive.

As a result, firms in Assam are resisting calls from activists and student leaders to lift the daily wage of tea workers from about $2 agreed to recently, blaming weak prices and the doubling of crop expenses over the past 10 years.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, whose Congress party was routed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 general election, has sided with the workers ahead of state polls due early next year.

COURTING THE TEA VOTE

State elections have national significance in India - Modi needs to win most of the state assembly contests in the next four years if he is to take control of the upper house of the federal parliament and ease the passage of his reform agenda.

Tea tribe votes can swing results in about a quarter of the seats in Assam, the country’s main growing area, and the BJP has been making inroads.

In an interview to Reuters, Gogoi denied an opportunistic motive behind his call for the wage to be raised to about $3 a day.

“I had warned the tea planters about climate change but they did not take care for a long time,” Gogoi said. “They thought it would be easy money. I can’t allow injustice for tea labourers.”

Assam Tea Planters Association (ATPA) Chairman Raj Barooah said they would examine Gogoi’s demand but “there has to be a fair wage that can sustain the industry”.

The average temperature in Assam has risen by 1.4 degrees Celsius in the past century and rainfall is down by 200 mm (8 ins) a year, said R.M. Bhagat, chief scientist at the Tea Research Association in Assam’s tea hub of Jorhat.

“In the last 30 years we have seen that the magnitude of the effect of climate change is pretty high,” he said. “Rainfall has gone topsy-turvy. There is either too much or too little water, forcing planters to use sprinklers on what is a rain-fed crop.”

Several tea garden labourers and planters Reuters spoke with said tea factories in Assam now only run for about six months compared with round-the-year operations earlier.

Less rainfall resulted in an 8 percent fall in tea exports last year, according to the Indian Tea Association (ITA).

India is the world’s No.2 tea producer but is less export-oriented than other producers thanks to its big home market, and Sri Lanka has been extending its lead as the world’s third largest exporter behind China and Kenya.

LEARNING TO ADAPT

Labour accounts for 60 percent of the total costs for tea firms in Assam, whose prices last year were higher than those auctioned in Mombasa in Kenya, Chittagong in Bangladesh, Limbe in Malawi and Indonesian capital Jakarta.

Profit margins at Kolkata-based McLeod Russel, the world’s largest tea producer, are estimated to have fallen to their lowest in six years in the year ended March 31, according to Thomson Reuters data.

To cut labour costs, tea companies like Aideobarie Tea Estates, owned by ATPA’s Barooah, are exploring greater use of machines to harvest and spray nutrients or pesticides.

Barooah, whose company employs 48-year-old leaf plucker Ghatowar, her husband and now her eldest son, is also thinking of expanding into high-margin white tea made from tea buds.

Other tea gardens have moved to cultivating black pepper, turmeric, ginger, vegetables and fruit alongside tea, while Indian scientists are testing tea varieties that can adapt and survive in hotter and drier conditions.

But in the face of long-term climate change, that may not be enough.

“With rain so scarce, a day may come when Assam will not grow tea any more,” said tea scientist Subhash Chandra Barua. “Planting a crop is fine but economic cultivation may not be feasible”.Reuters


Climate change sparks tension in India’s tea gardens

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China says Prime Minister Modi to visit next week

News4u-News Desk- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit China next week, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday, his first trip to India’s northern neighbour since being elected last year.

Modi will be in China from May 14-16, the ministry said in a brief statement.

China and India have growing commercial links and deep historical ties, but their recent history has been overshadowed by suspicion and the two have yet to sort out a festering border dispute.

The nationalist Indian prime minister has been keen to resolve that spat, which has clouded a rapidly expanding business relationship.

However, there is no simple solution to a conflict that largely dates back to British colonial decisions about Tibet.

The disagreement over the 3,500-km (2,175-mile) border in the Himalayas led to a brief war in 1962 and involves large swaths of remote territory.

China claims more than 90,000 sq km (35,000 sq miles) disputed by New Delhi in the eastern sector of the Himalayas. Much of that forms the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls South Tibet.

India says China occupies 38,000 square km (14,600 sq miles) of its territory on the Aksai Chin plateau in the west.

In September, the two armies faced off in the Ladakh sector in the western Himalayas just as Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting India for the first summit talks with Modi.Reuters


Prime Minister Modi

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