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Showing posts from December 10, 2016

Russia acted to aid Trump, U.S. intelligence says(the hindu)

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald Trump, senior administration officials said.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organisations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks. In the months before the election, it was largely documents from Democratic Party systems that were leaked to the public.

Intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russians gave the Democrats’ documents to WikiLeaks. Republicans have a different explanation for why no documents from their networks were ever released. — The New York Times News Service

Towards making police control room staff better communicators(the hindu)

Kannada, English, Hindi, or Telugu? It is never easy for the police control room staff to predict what language the next caller will speak in. This is why they are now being trained to deal with the needs of a cosmopolitan city.

Over 100 personnel manning the city police control room and the social monitoring cell are being trained in soft skills and etiquette for communicating with callers and handling different situations verbally. The control room and the newly set up social monitoring cell at the Commissioner’s office receive over 15,000 calls per day and a majority of the callers speak in English.

Though the control room staff are qualified, their communication skills need to be upgraded, Nagendra Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Command Centre, told The Hindu . “If the staff are trained to communicate in formal English, half the problem could be resolved on the spot,” he said.

Bengaluru-based communication expert Prakurthi N. Banwasi, who is conducting the three-week crash cou…

No CET for medical, dental aspirants from next year(the hindu )

Aspirants vying for government or government-quota seats in medical and dental colleges in the State will have to pin their hopes on the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) from the 2017-18 academic year.

The Karnataka Examinations Authority (KEA) on Saturday announced on its website that it would not conduct entrance examination for admission to medical and dental colleges from the coming year.

Centre’s ordinance

Although NEET was conducted in 2016-17 after the Supreme Court stated that the test should be conducted for admissions to MBBS and BDS seats, several States, including Karnataka, had filled the government and government-quota seats using ranks obtained in the State entrance tests.

This was done after the Union government brought in an ordinance as many State governments had already conducted their entrance exams.

However, KEA maintained that the State’s Common Entrance Test (CET) will be conducted as usual for engineering, farm sciences, Indian System of Medicine and H…

Vardah to make landfall between Chennai and Ongole tomorrow(the hindu)

Cyclone Vardah is expected to cross Andhra Pradesh coast between Chennai and Ongole on December 12 evening. This may bring good rainfall over north coastal districts, including Chennai, on Monday.

Following the change in course of the cyclonic storm, heavy rainfall is expected in northern parts of the State. Earlier, the system was expected to make a landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam.

According to Meteorological Department, the weather system has now intensified into very severe cyclonic storm and is located 710 km east southeast of Nellore and 660 km east of Chennai. It is likely to cross the Andhra Pradesh coast between Chennai and Ongole on Monday evening.

“The system has become stronger and is moving at a speed of 18 km per hour. It may further pick up pace or become slow and may even make a landfall tomorrow. We are monitoring the system. But, it will weaken before making the landfall,” an official said.

Rain in Chennai

While northern Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will receive sc…

Cut-off Manipur has bigger worries than demonetisation (the hindu)

Under siege since November 1 following a clampdown by the United Naga Council over the creation of new districts, State suffers from an acute shortage of essential goods

Manipur, which has been struggling to cope with an indefinite ‘economic blockade’ since November 1, now faces a siege-like situation following a wildcat ‘total shutdown’ imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) and other Naga organisations since November 25.

The latest shutdown follows the arrest of UNC president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Lamkang, who have been remanded in custody till December 22.

Faced with demands for their release for a lifting of the blockade, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, however, told The Hindu , “The law will take its own course.”

The blockade has emptied the State’s markets of essential supplies. With nothing to buy, demonetisation has, ironically, left the people indifferent.

Since November 1, there has been no normal movement of trucks on National Highways 2 and 37 — lif…

‘Vardah’ intensifies into a severe cyclonic storm; heavy rain likely(the hindu)

Heavy rain likely in coastal AP from today

The cyclonic storm ‘Vardah’ over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west north-westwards and intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and lay centred over southeast Bay of Bengal about 750 km east-southeast of Nellore and 700 km east-southeast of Machilipatnam on Saturday.

The system is very likely to move in a west-northwesterly direction and likely to maintain its peak intensity up to December 11 evening, and thereafter it is likely to weaken gradually while moving towards the Andhra Pradesh coast. It is likely to cross between Nellore and Machilipatnam around afternoon/evening of December 12, according to the Cyclone Warning Centre (CWC) here.

Under the influence of this system, rainfall is very likely to occur at many places over coastal Andhra Pradesh with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts on Sunday.

Rainfall is very likely to occur at most places over coastal Andh…

Disabled children miss out due to lack of support services: Report (thehindu )

About 45 per cent of all persons with disabilities (PWD) in India are illiterate, according to the India Social Development Report (SDR) 2016, whose theme this year is ‘Disabilities Rights Perspectives’.

While 38 per cent of all male PWDs were illiterate, the illiteracy rate was 55 per cent for female PWDs. Interestingly, even in Kerala, a State long associated with near-total literacy, 33.1 per cent of the PWDs were illiterate. India’s literacy rate is 74 per cent.

The report also found for that “each category of disability, a greater proportion of women in that category are illiterate than men, with 76 per cent of women with multiple disabilities being illiterate.” It estimated that of the 75 million children of primary school age who are out of school, “one-third are children with disabilities.” It called upon the State governments to ensure availability of minimum support such as accommodation, assistive devices and transport for the disabled children to complete their schooling.


Nobel prize a ‘tremendous push’ for Colombia peace, says Santos (the hindu )

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday said the Nobel Peace Prize was a “gift from heaven” and gave a “tremendous push” to reach a new agreement with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) rebels.

Speaking at a news conference in Oslo on the eve of the prize ceremony, Mr. Santos said the prestigious award “came like a gift from heaven because it gave us a tremendous push” to achieve a new peace deal with FARC after Colombian voters narrowly rejected an initial agreement in an October referendum.

“People in Colombia interpreted it as a mandate from the international community to persevere, to continue striving to achieve a peace agreement,” Mr. Santos said.

The accord, signed with pens made from bullet casings on September 26 after nearly four years of talks, was supposed to be ratified in an October 2 referendum. But voters rejected it, leaving Colombia teetering between war and peace.

Five days later, Santos was announced as the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

His govern…

Katju seeks early hearing of contempt case in SC (the hindu)

The former Supreme Court judge, Justice Markandey Katju, on Friday moved the apex court seeking early hearing of a contempt case against him for allegedly using “intemperate” language and “scandalising” the judiciary.

A Bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi agreed to look into the submission made by senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, on behalf of Justice Katju, who mentioned the matter for early hearing, saying it should be listed before the winter vacation.

To this, the Bench said “You file a proper application and we will look into it.” Mr. Dhavan said that he has already file the application.

On November 11, the apex court issued contempt notice to Justice Katju after taking note of Justice Katju’s statement in a blog and said that it constituted a serious assault on judges and not on the judgement.

Facebook post

Justice Katju had appeared in the court following its October 17 direction asking him to be present and debate his Facebook post criticising an SC verdict by which the convict in So…

Let’s work together, India tells China (the hindu )

Speaking to delegates at a conference to mark the launch of India-China think tanks forum, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said India and China must work towards convergences to dispel the idea that they were competing with each other.

The think tanks forum between the two countries is the latest initiative to create understanding across differences that have in recent months defined India’s ties with China.

Elaborating on the issue of India’s quest for nuclear energy, Mr. Jaishankar said, “In India’s case, predictable access to civilian nuclear energy technology is key. The broadbasing of the nuclear technology control group is also helpful to a more representative international order. Keeping in mind this solidarity of major developing states, “it is important that China view it [NSG] as a developmental aspiration and not give it a political colouring,” the Foreign Secretary said.

Earlier, inaugurating the think tanks forum, Minister of State for External Affairs M.J. Akbar said India …

Was there any application of mind, asks SC( thehidu)

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to find ways to resolve the cash crunch issue without prejudice to the larger goals of demonetisation and report back to the court on December 14.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing a clutch of public interest litigation (PIL) pleas challenging the demonetisation scheme.

At one point during the hearing, the Supreme Court asked Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for the Centre, whether demonetisation was a planned move or done on an “impulse.”

“Was there any application of mind as to how much money will come in and how much you need to print?” Chief Justice Thakur asked.

“Of course there was a plan. Our expectation was for Rs. 10 to 11 lakh crore to come into the system... now it has been reduced to a trickle. We cannot reach our objectives to weed out black money, counterfeit currency and fight terror without demonetisation. There has to be some inconveniences,”…

HC restores publishers’ copyright suit (thehindu)

Allows Delhi University’s photocopying centre to prepare course packs for now

The Delhi High Court on Friday restored for trial the dispute whether photocopying study material was a violation of copyright while allowing Delhi University’s Rameshwari Photocopy Service to continue with preparing course packs for the time being.

A bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna, while setting aside a part of the single judge order in September dismissing the petition of publishers that the shop was violating copyright, said the shop must file a record of the course packs every six months.

The bench held that there were “triable issues” in the matter while the single judge had dismissed the petition of the publishers saying there was no copyright violation.

“The suit is restored for trial on the issue of fact and for which parties would be permitted to lead expert witness testimony,” the bench said.

According to the single judge, the issue whether preparation of the course packs by Rames…