Fears for tribes, forests as India eyes Andaman island expansion

News4u-News Desk- Bollywood music blares from a line of food stalls serving tourists outside the entrance to a thickly-forested tribal reserve on India’s far-flung Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Beyond the barrier patrolled by police, a few hundreds members of the Jarawa tribe hunt the lush rainforest for turtles and pigs and shoot fish with bows and arrows, largely unseen and untouched by the outside world.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seeks to accelerate development on the islands to promote its military, trade and tourism, preserving the pristine environment and handful of unique tribes is likely to get harder.

“The islands are fragile, they are in a seismically active zone not far from Indonesia’s Aceh coast,” said Pankaj Sekhsaria of Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh.

“Above all, they are home to indigenous tribes. This is their land, their history. There are serious concerns about the impact of tourists … If history is any indication, interaction between our world and their world has proved damaging for them.”

Tourism is only part of New Delhi’s vision for the Indian Ocean islands. Lying on a busy shipping route between mainland India and southeast Asia, they are seen as ideal for extending India’s economic and military reach.

With that in mind, Modi’s government is determined to push harder than previous administrations to develop the islands, while at the same time protecting tribes and landscapes.

“The support we have got from the central government over the last year has been phenomenal. They want things to happen,” A.K. Singh, lieutenant governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and India’s top official there, told Reuters.

“We want comprehensive development of the islands and its people while protecting the interests of the tribes as well as the environment. Ours is a transparent, deliberate policy. There is nothing to hide.”

TO INTEGRATE OR ISOLATE?

The dark-skinned Jarawas, numbering around 400 and one of six tribes believed to have lived on the islands for up to 55,000 years, refused until recently to have any contact with the outside world.

“There are two schools of thought. One is to protect and preserve their cultural identity and avoid inter-mingling with the outside world,” said D.M. Shukla, the islands’ tribal welfare secretary.

“The other is to mainstream them into the outside world so that they enjoy the fruits of the development.”

The latter argument is gaining momentum, with government officials saying economic development must not be held back.

Boosting tourism and other industries is not easy in a territory where over 90 percent of land is off-limits forest.

But already the military is lengthening runways at airfields in the north and south of an archipelago that generals believe is a key but long-neglected outpost to counter the Chinese navy’s thrust into the Indian Ocean.

The civilian administration, energised by Modi’s push to boost development, plans direct air links to Southeast Asia, an undersea cable to improve communications and a free port area.

State carrier Air India will begin flights this year between the Andaman capital Port Blair and Thailand’s Phuket, which gets more tourists than all of India put together, according to island officials.

“If we get even a fraction of that traffic to our beaches, it would transform the islands,” said the islands’ chief secretary Anand Prakash.

A more ambitious plan to build a port in Great Nicobar island near the mouth of the Strait of Malacca, through which some 60,000 ships pass annually, is on hold because it would need vast amounts of land in an ecologically sensitive belt, Prakash added.

“DOLE-BASED ECONOMY”

Vivek Rae, former chief secretary of the Andaman and Nicobar islands, said it was unrealistic to reserve 1,000 square km of forest for 400-odd Jarawas.

“While it is nobody’s case that the entire land mass should be denuded of forest cover and the tribes relegated to the dustbin of history, there is surely a compelling case for clearing up some of the land for exploiting the economic and strategic potential of these islands,” he wrote in India Today.

Some business leaders on the archipelago agree.

“Ours is a dole-based economy. Everything is subsidised, from our food to our travel to the mainland. How sustainable is that?” said Mohammad Jadwet, of the Jadwet Trading Company, one of the islands’ oldest enterprises.

Proposed measures will put Delhi on a collision course with environmentalists and human rights groups who have long argued that the archipelago of 556 islands, 37 of which are inhabited, should be left undisturbed.

The dark green islands dotting an azure sea boast bird, reptile and butterfly species found nowhere else, as well as some of the finest corals in the world, Sekhsaria said.

At Jirkatang, tourists travel in convoy with police cars at the front and back, and no photography or contact with tribes is allowed in order to protect them.

But occasionally images are captured and food thrown to tribe members, and Survival International has called for the main road through the Jarawa reserve to be closed to tourists. It calls their activity there “human safaris.” Reuters

Runway made by Indian Army at Andman island

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Aisa Yeh Jahaan (Movie Review)

News4u-Entertainment Desk- A young Assamese couple - Rajib (Dr Palash Sen) and Ananya (Ira Dubey) revive their love and seek to rectify their fast-growing detachment from family, their cultural roots and nature.

Managing to find warmth in the fast-paced life of Mumbai is often a cumbersome feat. But, Aisa Yeh Jahaan presents you with the story of a young Assamese couple who overcome the perils of Mumbai’s metropolitan culture and revives love, familial bond and companionship that was fast eroding from their lives. As the story shifts between its central characters Rajib and Ananya, they are depicted as young parents who are reeling under the staple pressures of raising a child in a big city and paying multiple loans to in order to support themselves too. Rajib has on his platter the pressing needs of his overambitious wife, whose materialistic demands are difficult for him to fulfill.

Director Biswajeet Bora’s characters are largely uni-dimensional, restricting themselves to just being black and white. The film’s narrative is inclined towards the beauty of India’s villages and small towns, but takes up a cliched method of slamming big cities like Mumbai to establish this dichotomy. Thus, Bora’s judgment of the small-town-versus-big-city view lacks balance and that comes through in the film.

The movie has its heartfelt peaks but suffers from inconsistent writing. It toys with too many ideas - there is the impact of modernization on families, the monetary compulsions on city parents, bias towards people from North-East India, parents pushing their young kids into glamour for big bucks and mostly the pivotal idea of loving nature. Despite so much heart in it, it’s the lack of coherence that makes the film feel half-baked.

Both Palash and Ira play their characters to the tee, with utmost earnestness. The child artistes Prisha Dabas and Kymsleen Kholie play their parts wonderfully too. However, Bora’s plot is weakly brewed, often sloppily written and mostly lacks impact. The film will touch you surely, but the overall effect doesn’t suffice as anything much to write home about.Courtesy toi…

Aisa Yeh Jahaan

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Pak’s Sindh braces for ‘urban flooding’ after Met Office sounds alarm

News4u-News Desk- Sindh’s provincial government in Pakistan has reportedly issued a rain alert, prodding the relief commissioner, deputy commissioners and health-related facilities and agencies to be prepared to meet any eventuality as the Met Office warned of the possibility of ‘ urban flooding’ because of monsoon rains.

A senior official in the provincial government said that they had received a warning from the Met Office about possible flooding in Karachi and other large cities of Sindh in the coming weeks, reported the Dawn.

He said that the authorities were working on all options, yet they could face problems in dealing with the situation “due to the inactive political leadership”. The absence of a full-time Karachi administrator and recent changes in the portfolios of cabinet ministers has left the local government in the lurch and could affect its ability to respond to the calamity.

The alert comes after flash floods, triggered by torrential rain, killed a dozen people in north Pakistan. (ANI)

Pakistan

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

SEBI bans firms for tax evasion

News4u-News Desk- Bullish on a vibrant startup ecosystem in India, regulator SEBI has said many new-age companies have initiated plans to get listed and the final rules for their listing would be notified within 7-10 days.

Promising an easier set of compliance requirements and other regulations for startups to get listed on a new platform, SEBI Chairman U K Sinha said such companies might lack a profitability track-record, but many of them have huge potential to become highly profitable.

The relaxations would include removal of caps on the money spent by such companies on publicity and advertisements as they need to spend much more for such purposes.

Suspecting tax evasion of at least Rs 5,000-6,000 crore, regulator Sebi has clamped down on a large number of organised syndicates who had set up ‘shops’ to convert black money into legitimate-looking funds through the stock market platform.

While more than 900 entities have been banned from capital markets by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi), it has also referred these cases to the Income Tax Department for further investigations.

SEBI

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Yakub Memon files fresh mercy petition

News4u-News Desk- Hours after the Supreme Court dismissed a curative petition by Yakub Memon on Tuesday, the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict filed a mercy plea before Maharashtra Governor Chenna-maneni Vidyasagar Rao.

This is his last-ditch bid to prevent execution of his death sentence on the 30th of July.

Memon, the only convict on death row in the case, handed over his mercy petition to Nagpur Central Jail authorities where he’s currently lodged.

The Apex Court had earlier on Tuesday rejected Memon’s curative petition, saying the grounds raised by him do not fall within the principles laid down by the apex court in 2002.

Yakub Memon

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Indigenous high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine ground tested

News4u-News Desk- India’s first indigenously designed and developed high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine generating a nominal thrust of 19 tonnes has been successfully endurance hot-tested for 800 seconds, ISRO said.

This duration is approximately 25 percent more than the engine burn duration in flight, Bengaluru-headquartered Indian Space Research Organisation said on Monday, announcing the test at ISRO Propulsion Complex at Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu on 16th July.

The engine will be used for powering the Cryogenic stage (C25), the upper stage of the next generation GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle of ISRO, capable of launching four-tonne class satellites.

ISRO said the cryogenic engine of C25 Stage operates on Gas Generator Cycle using extremely low temperature propellants Liquid Hydrogen (LH2) at 20 Kelvin (-253 deg C) and Liquid Oxygen (LOX) at 80K (-193 deg C).

The high performance cryogenic engine was conceived, configured and realised by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), the lead centre of ISRO, responsible for developing liquid propulsion systems for the Indian Space Programme.

The engine design was totally an in-house effort with experts from different fields like fluid dynamics, combustion, thermal, structural, metallurgy, fabrication, rotor dynamics and control components working together, ISRO said.

The fabrication of major subsystems of the engine was carried out through Indian industries, it said, adding, assembly and integration of the engine and testing were carried out in ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), a unit of ISRO.

LPSC has also developed a cryogenic upper stage of 12.5 tonne propellant loading and successfully flight tested it in GSLV Mk-II vehicle on 5th January 2014.

Compared to this stage, ISRO said, the C25 stage has a higher propellant loading (27 tonnes versus 12.5 tonnes) and higher engine thrust (19 tonne versus 7.5 tonne).

The recent successful endurance hot test of the first high-thrust cryogenic engine is the tenth test in a series of tests planned and executed as part of the development of the engine employing complex cryogenic technology.

The performance of the engine closely matches with the pre-test prediction made using the in-house developed cryogenic engine mathematical modelling and simulation software, ISRO said.

As part of the C25 Stage development, further tests are planned in high altitude conditions and in Stage configuration, prior to the flight stage realisation.

Mastering this complex, high-performance cryogenic propulsion technology will go a long way in building self-reliance for the Indian Space programme, ISRO said.

Indigenous high-thrust cryogenic rocket engine ground tested

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Rudeness is ‘contagious’ at workplace

News4u-News Desk- A new study has claimed that rudeness at workplace is not only unpleasant, it is also ‘contagious’.

According to UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration, facing rude behavior at work makes people more likely to grasp rudeness in later intercommunications.

Trevor Foulk, a doctoral student has said that when they experience rudeness, it makes rudeness more noticeable and they will experience more rudeness if it’s not there.

Foulk said that, part of the problem is that they are generally tolerant of these behaviors, but they’re actually really harmful.

The study followed 90 graduate students practicing negotiation with classmates. Those who rated their initial negotiation partner as rude were more likely to be rated as rude by a subsequent partner, showing that they passed along the first partner’s rudeness. Rudeness directed at others can also prime our brains to detect discourtesy.

Just like those who experience rudeness firsthand, people who witness it were more likely to be rude to others. It means rudeness will flavor the way you interpret ambiguous cues. Rudeness also has a negative effect on performance.

The study is published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. (ANI)

Rudeness is ‘contagious’ at workplace

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Uproarious start to Monsoon Session

News4u-News Desk-Disruptions marred the proceedings in Rajya Sabha on the first day of the Monsoon session Tuesday, with Opposition Congress adamant on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s resignation over Lalit Modi controversy and BJP accusing it of running away from a debate on it.

Leading the opposition protests, Congress members forced three adjournaments in the pre-lunch session making both Question Hour and Zero Hour a casualty, even as Leader of the House Arun Jaitley offered an immediate discussion and said Swaraj could make a statement on the issue.

“Please start a discussion immediately. You don’t want a discussion…. You don’t have to press your case for a discussion. I am making an offer and would suggest … if they want to start a discussion, then start it immediately. If they want a statement from the External Affairs Minister, we are ready for it. Sushma Swaraj will make a statement within five minutes,” Jaitley said.

However, his pleadings went unheeded and Congress members continued to create an uproar, as Chairman Hamid Ansari urged the members to allow the Question Hour to function. Amid the uproar, Ansari was forced to adjourn the House till 2 PM.

As soon as the House assembled in the morning, Congress members were on their feet targetting the government on the matter.

Before the session began, Lok Sabha Spekaer Sumitra Mahajan hoped that the Parliament will function smoothly.

The house paid tribute to the departed members of Parliament including sitting member Dileep Singh Bhuria and 13 former members of Parliament.

With the important legislations like the Land Bill, the GST bill and the real estate bill pending before Parliament, the government is seeking the support of all parties in their early passage.

Land Acquisition Bill continues to be the main issue of confrontation between the government and the opposition.

The Monsoon Session that is likely to end on 13th August is expected to be a stormy affair with Congress and other parties giving indications to that effect.

Parliament

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

Cuba, US renew diplomatic ties

News4u-News Desk-Cuba and the United States formally renew diplomatic ties, as embassies reopen in their respective capitals after 54 years, a powerful move toward burying decades of enmity between the Cold War foes.

A foreign policy legacy for President Barack Obama, the historic turnaround between two bitter foes has come about at breakneck pace, in just a matter of months since the two sides agreed to bury the hatchet and work together as equals.

The shift came after Washington acknowledged that its policy of trying to affect change in tightly controlled communist Cuba through isolation and trade restrictions had failed, and that engaging Havana directly was a better way to nudge it towards democracy and prosperity.

For the first time since 1961, the Cuban flag will fly over Havana’s newly upgraded embassy in Washington, just a stone’s throw from the White House.

But both nations have cautioned that this is only a beginning, warning that overcoming decades of bad blood is not easy.

According to some analyst, Cuba needs the United States as an economic engine for its troubled economy and hopes to attract new foreign investment and human capital to update its socialist model, but without undergoing political reform.

Harmony between cuba and US is considered beneficial for India because it maintains good relations with both the nations. Cuba and the United States formally renew diplomatic ties, as embassies reopen in their respective capitals after 54 years, a powerful move toward burying decades of enmity between the Cold War foes.

A foreign policy legacy for President Barack Obama, the historic turnaround between two bitter foes has come about at breakneck pace, in just a matter of months since the two sides agreed to bury the hatchet and work together as equals.

The shift came after Washington acknowledged that its policy of trying to affect change in tightly controlled communist Cuba through isolation and trade restrictions had failed, and that engaging Havana directly was a better way to nudge it towards democracy and prosperity.

Cuba, US renew diplomatic ties

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter

NASA probe reveals ice mountains on Pluto

News4u-News Desk-Images from NASA’s ‘New Horizons’ probe has revealed that Pluto has mountains made of ice which are as high as those in the Rockies.

The pictures also show signs of geological activity on Pluto. On Wednesday, scientists presented the first pictures acquired by the ‘New Horizons’ probe during its historic flyby of the dwarf planet.

The team has also named the prominent heart-shaped region on Pluto after the world’s discoverer Clyde Tombaugh.

The spacecraft sped past the dwarf planet on Tuesday, getting as close as 12,500 km and grabbing a huge volume of data.

The first close-up image of Pluto’s surface showed a terrain that had been resurfaced by some geological process - such as volcanism - within the last 100 million years.

NASA probe reveals ice mountains on Pluto

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Share this:
Share this page via Email Share this page via Stumble Upon Share this page via Digg this Share this page via Facebook Share this page via Twitter