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Showing posts from May 18, 2017

Rain may have shaped Mars surface (hindu)

Heavy rain on Mars may have reshaped the Red planet’s impact craters and carved out river-like channels on its surface billions of years ago, a new study has found.

Changes in the Martian atmosphere made it rain harder and harder, which had a similar effect on the planet’s surface as seen on Earth, scientists said.

The fourth planet from the Sun, Mars has geological features like the Earth and the Moon, such as craters and valleys, many of which were formed through rainfall. Although there is a growing body of evidence that there was once water on Mars, it does not rain there today.

In the new study, Robert Craddock and Ralph Lorenz from Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. show that there was rainfall in the past — and that it was heavy enough to change the planet’s surface.

Valley networks on Mars show evidence for surface run-off driven by rainfall.

“Many people have analysed the nature of rainfall on the Earth, but no one had thought to apply the physics to understanding the earl…

We want India to help in upcoming peace efforts, says Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas (Hindu)

Palestinian President calls for international involvement in peace-making.

In an interview to The Hindu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says Israel is working against the two-state solution, and strong international backing is required to implement it.

What are your hopes from this visit to India, your first since 2012?

This is my fifth visit to India since 2005. India and its people are very close friends to Palestine, and know very well the meaning of struggling for your independence, for justice and against colonialism. So first of all I’m coming to say thank you to the Indian people that has stood tall for the universal rights of freedom, justice and peace. I’m also coming to thank President [Pranab] Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for their generous economic support and will discuss the current situation in Palestine and the region, and how we can strengthen our relations with a country that has an important international weight and that we have a lot to learn fr…

Enabling Social Accountability: The Community Health Worker Programmes of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand (Hindu)

The Mitanin and Sahiyya community health worker programmes of Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand were initiated by civil society and state actors in the early 2000s. Employing mainly women, they were precursors to the Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) programme, launched across rural India in 2005.
Over the years, efforts were made by civil society participants to bring about a wider rights-based focus to the Mitanin and Sahiyya programmes. In the case of Chhattisgarh, Mitanin women have engaged in rights-based action concerning a range of health and social issues, including nutrition, sanitation, education, pensions, forest rights, land acquisition, legal justice, gender-based violence, and caste discrimination. Thousands of Mitanin women have also become Panchayat representatives in Chhattisgarh. In contrast, the entry of Sahiyyas into Panchayat leadership positions in Jharkhand has been less frequent, while rights-based activities led by Sahiyyas are relatively rare.
This Policy Re…

Return to frontpage A great wall of paranoia (hindu )

As China pushes ahead with B&RI, India must reconcile geopolitical interests with wider developmental goals

In a consequential development over the past week, India decided to stake out a clear position of defiance against the Belt & Road Initiative (B&RI), an ambitious Chinese idea that seeks to reshape the Eurasian geo-economic space. India’s absence in Beijing’s high-profile summit with representatives from over 100 countries, including 29 heads of state, has evoked surprise and debate. What is the calculus driving India’s China policy? Does India risk isolation as Eurasia moves towards a new chapter of connectivity and interdependence?

Delhi’s position can be clearly gauged from the Ministry of External Affairs’ May 13 statement. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a flagship project of the B&RI, is seen as a blatant disregard for India’s position on Jammu and Kashmir because it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. But Delhi’s protest goes beyond the “core …

Ending India's nuclear dependency (hindu )

The government’s go-ahead to 10 indigenous reactors is a timely step towards nuclear energy self-sufficiency

India now has 22 nuclear power units. The first pair, located in Tarapur, Maharashtra, uses enriched uranium and incorporates U.S. nuclear technology. These two reactors have operated safely and reliably for the past 47 years and supply the lowest cost non-hydro power. The second pair, located in Rajasthan, uses natural uranium and is based on Canadian technology.

The first unit of this pair has been out of service for some years due to deficiencies in some key equipment; the second unit has been operating satisfactorily. Commencing from 1983 and over a span of two and a half decades, India built 16 nuclear power units using its own technology, materials and equipment. These reactors use natural uranium as fuel. Fourteen of them have a size of 220 MW and two are of 540 MW.

Nuclear push in the 2000s


During the period 2000-2010, India designed a nuclear power unit of 700 MW capa…

Where the jobs are: on the unemployment rate (hindu)

Public spending and economic policy need to be more attuned to employment creation

News reports over the last few weeks suggest that the Central government may finally be starting to think seriously about jobs. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam recently pointed to the need to achieve higher economic growth, in the range of 8% to 10%, to solve the problem of jobless growth. In particular, he flagged the underperformance of the information technology, construction and agricultural sectors, which earlier served as huge job-creators for the economy. It is worth noting that India added just 1.35 lakh jobs in eight labour-intensive sectors in 2015, compared to the 9.3 lakh jobs that were created in 2011, according to Labour Bureau figures. The rate of unemployment grew steadily from 3.8% in 2011-12 to 5% in 2015-16. Union Labour and Employment Minister Bandaru Dattatreya has downplayed the gloomy job situation as being a temporary one. His focus instead is on the new National Emplo…