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Showing posts from January 5, 2014

Centre rejects Shah Commission recommendation to cap iron ore production in Odisha

Mining ministry opposes cap on iron ore production; environment ministry disregards recommendation to cancel licence of firms encroaching forestland
The Commission headed by Justice M B Shah has recommended a cap on the production of iron ore, saying it is absolutely necessary so that future generations would not have to import ore (Photo: Sayantan Bera)
The Central government has rejected a key recommendation of justice M B Shah Commission, that of putting a cap on iron ore production in Odisha. The commission has been probing illegal mining across the country. In its first report released recently, it had pegged the loss to the Odisha

U.S.-China tug-of-war over Koreas

North Korea is one of the most mysterious, isolated countries in the world, suffering a self-inflicted locked-in syndrome. But along the Yalu River, the natural border with China, this benighted country is just one more sight for Chinese tourists. Boatloads of them gawp at the forbidden shore. Mao said North Korea and China should be as close as lips and teeth, but now they are pulled into a grimace. I’ve come here to make a documentary for the BBC on the relationship between the United States and China, and there is no doubt North Korea is one of the places that test my title: “Harmony and Hostility.”

GlaxoSmithKline seeks FIPB nod to hike stake in Indian arm

U.K.-based pharmaceuticals major GlaxoSmithKline has approached the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to hike stake in its domestic arm by buying 24.33 per cent for an estimated Rs.6,400 crore. The proposal will come up before the meeting of the FIPB, headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Arvind Mayaram, on January 10. According to sources, the Singapore subsidiary of the U.K- based pharma firm will be buying 24.33 per cent stake or 2.06 crore equity shares in GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Ltd through an open offer.

‘Bitcoins per se are not illegal in India’

In some situations, dealing in them can be illegal, says law expert With regulatory and enforcement agencies clamping down on Bitcoin operators in India, leading international legal and taxation expert Nishith Desai has given this cryptographic digital product a clean chit stating that Bitcoins per se are not illegal in India but how one deals with these may be matter of legality.
“Our Bitcoins Practice Group examined the issue from techno-legal perspective, and we have found that Bitcoins per se are not illegal in India. This is in consonance with international approach,” said Nishith Desai, Founder & Managing Partner of Nishith Desai Associates.

Ministry’s new norms may kill rivers

The relaxed norms for river sand-mining may kill the rivers of Kerala, besides reducing the availability of drinking water. The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has done away with the norm of environment clearance for river sand-mining for sites below the extent of five hectares. Sites with a mining lease area between five hectares and 25 hectares would be appraised on the basis of a pre-feasibility report and an application in the prescribed format, it said. The decision will have far-reaching consequences in Kerala, where rivers have been exploited to the hilt. As all sand-mining areas in Kerala are below five hectares, the new order would impact States such as Kerala most, according to those in the sector. Mining plan

CEC says electoral reforms will strengthen democracy

EC for legislative framework to deal with the issues such as paid news Chief Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath delivering the Jhabarmal Sharma memorial lecture, in Jaipur on Saturday.— Photo: Rohit Jain Paras Chief Election Commissioner V. S. Sampath on Saturday said the electoral reforms recommended by the Election Commission would strengthen democracy and bring about radical changes by ensuring transparency in the functioning of political parties, keeping a check on expenditures and setting in motion decriminalisation of politics.

All eyes on today’s launch of refurbished GSLV-D5

Pressure on ISRO to produce winner, after 2 failures in 2010
The flight of the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-D5) — at 4.18 p.m. on Sunday — from Sriharikota will be an acid test for India as it seeks to prove the design, realisation and sustained firing of its indigenously built cryogenic engine. There is pressure on the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to produce a winner because of two back-to-back failures of the GSLV flights in 2010 — the first, with an indigenous cryogenic engine, on April 15 and the next, with a Russian cryogenic engine, on December 25.

Ministry keen to restore AICTE regulatory powers

Though there is very little time left for the end of the Lok Sabha term, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry is going ahead with its plans to move an amendment to reverse the Supreme Court judgment curtailing the All India Council for Technical Education’s powers to approve MBA and MCA courses. The draft Bill has already been cleared by the Law Ministry, according to Higher Education Secretary Ashok Thakur. It seeks to restore the AICTE’s regulatory powers. The court had said the “role of AICTE vis-à-vis universities is only advisory, recommendatory and one of providing guidance and it has no authority empowering it to issue or enforce any sanctions by itself.”

Kerala seeks review of Ghats order, LPG norms

Kerala has submitted a 12-point memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging the Centre to exclude plantations, agricultural settlements, and human settlements with population density higher than 100 persons a square kilometre from areas to be categorised as ecologically sensitive.
In the memorandum submitted on Saturday, the State also sought six months to complete transit to the Direct Benefit Transfer for LPG Consumers (DBTL) scheme, early commissioning of the Palakkad coach factory, grant of exemption to the upcoming Vizhinjam Seaport from cabotage law and approval for the Thiruvananthapuam-Chengannur suburban railway project. The memorandum