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Visakhapatnam

Cyclone 'Phethai' hits Andhra coast, triggers heavy rains

 
Cyclone Phethai makes landfall in Andhra Pradesh
Cyclonic storm ‘Phethai crossed the Andhra Pradesh coast in East Godavari district on Monday, causing widespread rains, uprooting trees, paralyzing transport and damaging crops.
 
‘Phethai' made the landfall near Katrinekonda in East Godavari district with a wind speed of 80 kmph and re-emerged into the Bay of Bengal before crossing the coast between Kakinada and Yanam, an enclave of Puducherry in the same district. 
 
Authorities heaved a sigh of relief as no loss of life was reported till Monday evening. The coastal region was also spared of major losses, barring damages to standing crops over hundreds of acres.
 
According to officials at the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, the severe cyclonic storm weakened due to unfavourable environmental conditions and crossed the coast as cyclonic storm. After crossing the coast, it moved towards Odisha.
 
The incessant rains accompanied by gusty winds lashing the coastal district since Sunday inundated low-lying areas, disrupted electricity and drinking water supply throwing normal life out of gear. The cyclone also paralysed road, rail and air traffic in the region.
 
East Godavari District Collector Kartikeya Mishra said electricity supply was disrupted to 99 villages and it would be restored soon.
 
Over 5,000 people from some coastal and low-lying villages were shifted to relief camps opened by the East Godavari district administration.
 
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Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu monitored the situation from Real Time Governance Society (RTGS) control room in Amaravati. 
 
Home Minister N. Chinna Rajappa, who monitored the situation at the Collector's office in Kakinada, said all measures were taken to tackle the situation. He said efforts were on to restore normalcy in the affected areas.
 
RTGS officials said the measures taken by the authorities and the precaution by people ensured that there was no loss of life and also minimised the property damage.
 
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and naval helicopters were on standby along with 10,000 government employees as part of disaster preparedness.
 
Rescue workers were busy removing fallen trees, electric poles and debris from roads to restore vehicular traffic.
 
Turbulent weather conditions forced the authorities to cancel 14 flights to the port city of Visakhapatnam and divert many others to Hyderabad. Over 700 passengers were stranded at Visakhapatnam airport due to cancellation of flights.
 
A holiday was declared for all educational institutions in the coastal region. Authorities also suspended long-distance bus services and cancelled over 50 trains as a precaution.
 
The cyclone, the second to hit Andhra coast this year, had its impact on seven out of nine coastal districts. The rains inundated roads and low-lying areas in Vijayawada, bringing vehicular traffic to a halt.
 
‘Phethai' also had impact on neighbouring Telangana state with heavy rains lashing many districts. Paddy, cotton and other agriculture produce brought by farmers to the markets for sale were damaged. 
 
The weather in Greater Hyderabad was cloudy and chilled. Parts of the city experienced showers. 
 
IANS
 

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Heavy rains lash coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh

 
Cyclone Phethai: Storm to hit AP coast
Heavy rains accompanied by squally winds were lashing parts of coastal Andhra Pradesh on Monday as the severe cyclonic storm 'Phethai' is set to hit the coast near Kakinada later in the day, officials said.
 
Incessant rains were lashing East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Guntur districts since Sunday night under the impact of Phethai in Bay of Bengal. Squally winds have uprooted trees and electricity poles in some places.
 
Electricity supply to Kakinada town and several other parts of East Godavari district was snapped. The meteorologists have asked people to remain indoors during the landfall of the storm.
 
Authorities have sounded red alert in seven out of nine coastal districts and opened over 300 relief camps to provide shelter to people evacuated from coastal villages and low-lying areas.
 
A holiday was declared for all educational institutions in the coastal districts. Authorities have also suspended long-distance bus services and cancelled several trains as a precautionary measure.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation with district collectors through vide-conference from Amaravati. He directed them to treat this as an emergency situation and gear up the district administration to prevent loss of life.
 
Naidu asked officials to keep helicopters on standby for rescue and relief operations. 
 
Teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) were already deployed in the districts likely to be impacted by the cyclone.
 
According to the Met Department, Phethai lay centred at 160 km southeast of Machilipatnam and 190 km south of Kakinada early Monday. 
 
"It is very likely to move northwards and cross Andhra Pradesh coast around Kakinada during 17th December afternoon. However, due to unfavourable environmental conditions, it is likely to weaken before landfall and cross coast as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 70-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph," it said.
 
The IMD has forecast rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and extremely heavy falls at isolated places over north coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam district of Puducherry, which is an enclave in East Godavari district.
 
The Met office warned that storm surge of height of about 0.5 to 1.0 metres above the astronomical tides may inundate the low lying areas of East Godavari, West Godavari, Vishakhapatnam and Krishna districts and Yanam district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea and those already out in deep sea were advised to return to the coast.
 
IANS

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National Medical Devices Promotion Council to be set up under DIPP

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A National Medical Devices Promotion Council will be set up under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu announced here on Friday. 
 
Addressing a programme on the occasion of 4th WHO Global Forum on Medical Devices, at Andhra Pradesh Medtech Zone here, Mr Prabhu said it would give a fillip to the medical device sector, a sunrise sector.
 
The Medical Devices Industry (MDI) plays a critical role in the healthcare ecosystem and is indispensable to achieve the goal of health for all citizens of the country. The manufacturing and trade in MDI are growing steadily which includes a wide range of products, an official press release said.
 
Although the industry has been growing in double digits, it is predominantly import-driven with imports accounting for over 65% of the domestic market, an official press release said.
 
As Indian manufacturing companies and startups move towards creating innovative products, the setting-up of the Council will spur domestic manufacturing in this sector, it said.
 
The Council will be headed by Secretary, DIPP. Apart from the concerned departments of the Union Government, it will also have representatives from the healthcare industry and quality control institutions. Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone, Visakhapatnam, will provide technical support to the Council.
 
It will act as a facilitating and promotion & developmental body for the Indian MDI. The council will hold periodic seminars, workshops and all related networking activities to garner views of the industry and understand best global practices in the sector and deliberate on various parameters for inclusion in the industrial and trade policies in medical devices.
 
It will identify redundant processes and render technical assistance to the agencies and departments concerned to simplify the approval processes involved in medical device industry promotion & development.
 
The council will enable entry of emerging interventions and support certifications for manufacturers to reach levels of global trade norms and lead India to an export-driven market in the sector.
 
It will support dissemination and documentation of international norms and standards for medical devices, by capturing the best practices in the global market and facilitate domestic manufacturers to rise to the international level of understanding of regulatory and non-regulatory needs of the industry.
 
The council will adopt a robust and dynamic Preferential Market Access (PMA) policy, by identifying the strengths of the Indian manufacturers and discouraging unfair trade practices in imports while ensuring pro-active monitoring of public procurement notices across India to ensure compliance with PMA guidelines of DIPP and DoP.
 
It will undertake validation of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) and other such entities within the MDI sector, which add value to the industry strength in manufacturing to gain a foothold for new entrants.
 
Make recommendations to government based on industry feedback and global practices on policy and process interventions to strengthen the medical technology sector, including trade interventions for related markets.
 
NNN

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Azharuddin appointed Telangana Congress working president

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Congress President Rahul Gandhi today appointed former India cricket captain Mohammad Azharuddin as the working president of the party's Telangana unit.
 
Azharuddin is a former Member of Parliament, having been elected to the Lok Sabha in 2009 from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh. He, however, lost the 2014 elections from Tonk-Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan.
 
A press release from the Congress said Mr. Gandhi had also approved the appointment of B. M. Vinod Kumar and Jaffer Javed as Vice-Presidents of the state unit.
 
S. Jagadeeshwara Rao, Nagesh Mudiraj, T. Narsa Reddy, Manavatha Roy, Faheem, Kailash, Laxa Reddy and Krishank have been appointed General Secretaries. Durgam Bhaskar, Daruvu Ellanna, Vijay Kumar and Bala Laxmi have been named as Secretaries.
 
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ED summons TDP MP after raids at residence, offices

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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials on Saturday conducted searches at the residence and offices of former Union Minister and TDP MP Y. S. Chowdary here for alleged financial irregularities and asked him to appear before the agency on November 27.
 
According to ED, searches conducted at seven locations in Hyderabad and one in Delhi revealed that the banks have been defrauded by companies owned by Chowdary to the tune of over Rs 5,700 crore.
 
The ED seized six luxury cars including Ferrari, Range Rover, and Benz from Chowdary's residence. These vehicles, registered in the name of dummy companies, have been seized under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
 
Documents recovered revealed that various FEMA/DRI/CBI cases were existing against the group companies. Similarly documents related to forex transactions were also seized, the ED said in a statement.
 
"Documents recovered indicate that they are controlling over 120 companies and most of them are non-operating or companies on paper only without any genuine business activities," it said.
 
Preliminary investigations indicate that certain loans to group companies were sanctioned against the personal guarantee of Chowdary.
 
Chowdary, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is a close aide of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
 
Chowdary was Minister of Science and Technology in the Narendra Modi Cabinet till March when the TDP pulled out of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
 
The raids were conducted in connection with three FIRs registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on complaints from three banks stating that the consortium of banks were cheated to the tune of Rs 364 crore by Best & Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd, Chennai (BCEPL), which had obtained loans by falsification of accounts and submission of false statements.
 
Meanwhile, Sujana Group said in a statement that the ED team from Chennai had come to gather some information with regard to a 10-year-old case and the same was provided to it. The group denied that lookout notices were issued for some directors.
 
Saturday's raids came just days after the Andhra Pradesh government withdrew the "general consent" it had earlier given to the CBI to operate within its territory.
 
The CBI now requires the permission of the Andhra Pradesh government to conduct raids in the state.
 
The move had come following a series of raids by the Income Tax authorities against TDP leaders including Naidu's close aide and MP C.M. Ramesh.
 
The party leaders alleged that the Modi government was misusing central agencies to target them.
 
IANS
 

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Jagan injured in attack at Vizag airport, TDP smells conspiracy

Jaganmohan Reddy
Jaganmohan Reddy
 
YSR Congress Party President Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy suffered a minor injury at the Visakhapatam airport in a knife attack by a young man and was on Thursday admitted to a hospital in Hyderabad even as Andhra Pradesh's ruling TDP voiced doubts that the attack could be a political conspiracy.
 
Soon after landing in Hyderabad, the Andhra Pradesh's Leader of Opposition was admitted to a hospital. Doctors said his condition was stable.
 
The injury on his left arm was 3 to 4 inch deep and it required nine stitches, the doctors said. With doubts being expressed by YSRCP leaders that the knife could have been laced with poison, the doctors sent his blood samples for examination.
 
Jagan suffered the injury on his left arm when he was stabbed by a youth who sneaked up to him with a request to take a selfie, police said.
 
The attacker, identified as Jaripalli Srinivas, works as a waiter at a restaurant at the airport.
 
A commandant of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) overpowered the attacker, who was handed over to police. Jagan continued his journey to Hyderabad after getting first aid from the airport staff.
 
Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police R. P. Thakur said they were questioning the accused.
 
The police chief said Srinivas claimed to be a fan of Jagan. "Prima facie it appears that he resorted to the attack for publicity," he said.
 
The officer said the police had no role in the security measures inside the airport. He said it was for CISF to find out how the attacker managed to carry a knife into the airport.
 
A case has been registered by the police on a complaint by CISF.
 
The YSRCP chief, who is on a state-wide 'padyatra' for nearly a year, visits Hyderabad every Friday to attend the court in the disproportionate assets case.
 
Jagan tweeted after landing in Hyderabad that he was safe. "To everyone worried about my safety - I'd like to inform you that I am safe. God's grace and the love, concern & blessings of the people of Andhra Pradesh will protect me," he tweeted.
 
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"Such cowardly acts will not dissuade me but only strengthen my resolve to work for the people of my state," he added.
 
The YSRCP took strong objection to the DGP's "premeditated and preconceived notions" even as the state government was trying to shift the blame for lax security on CISF.
 
YSRCP spokesman Ambati Rambabu alleged that the accused was working at a restaurant owned by a TDP leader.
 
Andhra Pradesh ministers including Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu's son Nara Lokesh condemned the attack on Jagan but they voiced their doubts about the incident.
 
Four Ministers addressed a joint news conference in Vijayawada on Thursday evening to say that their may be a political conspiracy behind the incident.
 
The TDP leaders said they had doubts because Jagan took medical treatment four hours after the attack and that too after reaching Hyderabad. 
 
Atchan Naidu, one of the Ministers, said the incident could be a conspiracy against the TDP government and besides the BJP and Jagan, Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao could be involved in it.
 
Meanwhile, Telangana Chief Minister spoke to Jagan over phone and enquired about his health. The TRS chief wished Jagan speedy recovery.
 
Leaders cutting across party line in both the Telugu states condemned the attack on Jagan.
 
IANS
 

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YSR Congress chief Jaganmohan Reddy injured in attack at Vizag airport

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YSR Congress Party President Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy suffered a minor injury in a knife attack by a youth at Visakhapatnam airport on Thursday, police said.
 
The Leader of Opposition, who received an injury on his shoulder, continued his journey to Hyderabad after he was provided first aid by the airport staff.
 
A commandant of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) overpowered the attacker, who was handed over to police.
 
The attacker was identified as Jaripalli Srinivas, who works at a restaurant at the airport. He came close to Reddy with a request to take a selfie but suddenly took out a small knife from his pocket and stabbed him.
 
The incident triggered tension at the airport as scores of YSRCP activists gathered outside shouting slogans against Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and the TDP government.
 
IANS
 

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2nd ODI: Hope-Hetmyer guide Windies to tie in last ball thriller

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
India skipper Virat Kohli's 37th ODI ton went in vain as the West Indies pulled off a heart-stopping chase to hold the hosts to a tie in the nail-biting second One-Day International at the Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
This is interestingly the second tied match between the two sides, with the other one, way back in December 1991.
 
Chasing a mammoth 322, powered by Kohli's unbeaten 157 off 129 balls and Ambati Rayudu's 80-ball 73, the West Indies rode on an undefeated century from Shai Hope (123 off 134; 4X10, 6X3) and Shimron Hetmyer's 64-ball 94 to get tantalisingly close to a win.
 
Needing 14 off the dramatic final over from Umesh Yadav, Hope got a single off the first ball before the second ball went for four leg byes. Ashley Nurse managed to get a single off the third before being rnn out off the fourth. 
 
With two deliveries left and Windies requiring 7 runs, Hope drove the penultimate delivery for a couple before slicing the final ball for a boundary, to which the Indian players gathered around and appreciated the effort of the right-hander as the match ended in a thrilling tie.
 
The West Indian chase centred around an excellent 143-run fourth wicket stand between Hope and Hetmyer, after the loss of the openers -- Kieran Powell (18) and Chandrapaul Hemraj (32) -- with the scoreboard ticking 64 on the board. 
 
India managed to pack back veteran Marlon Samuels (13) cheaply before the left-right combo of Hetmyer and Hope dashed their hopes for a major part of the middle overs.
 
With the dew making batting relatively easier in the second innings, the Windies duo used it to good effect as Hetmyer looked set to become the second fastest West Indian after Brian Lara to bring up a century, had Yuzvendra Chahal not dismissed him caught by Kohli.
 
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But the fall of Hetmyer did not deter Hope, who went on punishing the Indian bowlers at will, despite losing Rovman Powell (18) and skipper Jason Holder (12) in quick succession.
 
For India, chinaman Kuldeep Yadav (3/67) turned out to be the star with the ball, even as the dew made life difficult for the other bowlers.
 
Earlier, opting to bat, Kohli came up with yet another authoritative century to anchor the hosts to a comfortable position after the early dismissal of the openers. 
 
In the process, the 29-year-old skipper also reached a personal milestone of becoming the fastest batsman to reach 10,000 ODI runs.
 
Coming into the match 81 shy of the 10,000-run mark, Kohli got to the landmark in style, before racing to his sixth century of 2018 in a mere 106 balls. With the knock, Kohli also completed 1000 ODI runs in the calendar year.
 
Kohli was more importantly engaged in a 139-run fourth wicket stand with Rayudu (73 off 80 balls; 4X8) that dug the hosts out of a tricky start.
 
India lead the five-match rubber 1-0.
 
Brief scores: India 321/6 (Virat Kohli 157 not out, Ambati Rayudu 73, Shikhar Dhawan 29; Ashley Nurse 2/46, Obed McCoy 2/71) tie with West Indies 321/7 (Shai Hope 123 not out, Shimron Hetmyer 94, Chandrapaul Hemraj 32; Kuldeep Yadav 3/67).
 
IANS
 

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Kohli ton powers India to 321/6 vs Windies in 2nd ODI

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
India rode on skipper Virat Kohli's second successive century and a brilliant half century from new No. 4 Ambati Rayudu to post a staggering 321/6 against the West Indies in the second One-day International at the Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Opting to bat first on a placid track, Kohli came up with yet another authoritative century, his 37th in ODIs, to anchor the hosts to a comfortable position after the early dismissal of the openers.
 
In the process, the 29-year-old skipper also reached a personal milestone by becoming the fastest batsman to reach 10,000 ODI runs.
 
Coming into the match 81 runs shy of the 10,000-run mark, Kohli got to the landmark in style, before racing to his sixth century of 2018 in a mere 106 balls. With the knock, Kohli also completed 1000 ODI runs in the calendar year.
 
Immediately after smashing the century, the Delhi batsman changed gears by depositing debutant Obed McCoy for two massive sixes before dispatching Kemar Roach for a six and two boundaries, to single-handedly take India past the 300-run mark. Kohli eventually ended on an unbeaten 157 off 129 deliveries, laced with 13 fours and four sixes.
 
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Earlier, after the early departure of openers Rohit Sharma (4) and Shikhar Dhawan (29), Kohli and Rayudu (73 off 80 balls; 4X8) dug the hosts out of trouble with a 139-run fourth wicket stand.
 
The 33-year-old Rayudu, who was recently anointed India's No. 4, grabbed the opportunity with both hands, matching his skipper shot for shot before reaching his ninth ODI fifty with a boundary off McCoy.
 
With the hosts going great guns at 179/1, off-spinner Ashley Nurse managed to break the partnership with the wicket of Rayudu before former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (20 off 25; 6X1) joined Kohli for a brief 43-run fifth wicket stand.
 
Promoted up the order, Dhoni managed to show glimpses of his vintage self before being castled by McCoy. Thereafter, Rishabh Pant (17 off 13; 4X2) and Ravindra Jadeja (13 off 14) gave company to a rampaging Kohli, who blew away the West Indian attack from one end to help India to the massive score.
 
Brief scores: India 321/6 (Virat Kohli 157 not out, Ambati Rayudu 73, Shikhar Dhawan 29; Ashley Nurse 2/46, Obed McCoy 2/71) vs West Indies.
 
IANS
 

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Kohli pips Tendulkar to become fastest to 10,000 ODI runs

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
India skipper Virat Kohli on Wednesday surpassed batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar to become the fastest batsman to amass 10,000 runs in One-day Internationals (ODI).
 
Kohli reached the milestone in his 205th ODI innings, 54 innings quicker than Tendulkar. The 29-year-old is the fifth Indian batsman and 13th overall to achieve the landmark.
 
Besides Kohli and Tendulkar (18,426), the other Indian batters to achieve the feat are former skippers Sourav Ganguly (11,363), Rahul Dravid (10,889) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who reached the milestone not very long ago.
 
The rest are one player each from Pakistan, Australia, the West Indies, and South Africa.
 
Bangladesh, England, New Zealand and Zimbabwe are yet to have a player reach the 10,000-run mark in this format.
 
IANS
 

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2nd ODI: India win toss, decide to bat

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India captain Virat Kohli won the toss and decided to bat in the second One-Day International (ODI) against at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium here on Wednesday.
 
Both teams have made one change each from the last match. India have brought in left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav in place of rookie pacer Khalil Ahmed.
 
The visitors have replaced Oshane Thomas with debutant Obed McCoy.
 
India lead the five-match series 1-0 after winning the opening match by eight wickets.
 
Teams:
 
India: Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Virat Kohli (c), Ambati Rayudu, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (w), Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Yuzvendra Chahal.
 
West Indies: Kieran Powell, Chandrapaul Hemraj, Shai Hope (w), Marlon Samuels, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, Jason Holder (c), Ashley Nurse, Devendra Bishoo, Kemar Roach, Obed McCoy.
 
IANS
 

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Dominant India look to extend winning streak against hapless Windies

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli (Photo: IANS)
Their batting in red hot form, hosts India will look to extend their dominance and take a 2-0 lead against the West Indies when the two sides lock horns in the second One-day International (ODI) here on Wednesday.
 
In the five-match series, Virat Kohli and Co. have won the first ODI in Guwahati with ridiculous ease despite the Windies managing to post a mammoth total of 322/8 thanks to Shimron Hetmyer's swashbuckling century.
 
Rohit Sharma (151 not out) and Virat Kohli (140) helped the hosts gun down the target with 47 balls to spare, smashing a few records in the process.
 
If captain Kohli adds another 81 runs to his already peerless tally, he will become the fastest batsman to 10,000 runs in this format, surpassing batting legend Sachin Tendulkar.
 
Tendulkar took 259 innings to reach the landmark while Kohli has so far batted 204 times.
 
On a flat deck, Indian bowlers did not fare well but the top order took the game away from their rivals in style.
 
Under fire Mahendra Singh Dhoni will look to get some runs in the second ODI but against this toothless Windies attack, it is unlikely whether the veteran stumper, who is not in the best of form, will get an opportunity to bat.
 
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India could draft in chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav, who did not play in the opening game, to replace Khaleel Ahmed, who looked out of sorts against Hetmyer.
 
For the visitors, the seasoned Marlon Samuels is part of the squad but he perished quickly in the first match. 
 
He would look to make up for his failure, just like India's Shikhar Dhawan.
 
Pace spearhead Kemar Roach is back after missing the Test series due to bereavement in the family, but he could not inspire the team first up.
 
Roach will get another opportunity on Wednesday, and so will the likes of Devendra Bishoo, and skipper Jason Holder himself.
 
Squads:
 
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shikhar Dhawan, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rishabh Pant, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Khaleel Ahmed, Umesh Yadav, Lokesh Rahul.
 
West Indies: Jason Holder (captain), Fabian Allen, Sunil Ambris, Devendra Bishoo, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Shimron Hetmyer, Shai Hope, Alzarri Joseph, Evin Lewis, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Rovman Powell, Kemar Roach, Marlon Samuels, Oshane Thomas.
 
IANS

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Cyclone Titli claims eight lives in Andhra

 
Cyclone Titli makes landfall in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh
Eight people were killed in the very severe cyclonic storm Titli which wreaked havoc in north coastal Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, officials said.
 
The cyclone, which made landfall between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha early on Thursday, uprooted trees, electricity poles and communication towers and also damaged crops.
 
Srikakulam and Vijayanagaram districts were affected by the cyclone, which hit the coast near Palasa close to the border with Odisha. Srikakulam district bore the brunt as the strong winds uprooted a large number of coconut trees.
 
Officials said five deaths were reported from Srikakulam district while three persons were killed in neighbouring Vijayanagaram district. Six fishermen were among the dead.
 
Parts of the two districts received heavy rainfall triggered by the cyclone.
 
Uprooted trees fell on the roads, disrupting the vehicular traffic. The state-owned road transport corporation suspended all bus services on the Andhra-Odisha border area.
 
Several trains were cancelled or diverted due to cyclone. 
 
According to East Coast Railway, railway stations were damaged at several places. The station at Palasa suffered massive damage. Teams of railway officials were studying the impact of cyclone between Palasa and Brahmpur.
 
According to the Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning Centre, Titli crossed between North Andhra and South Odisha coast near Palasa with wind speed of 140-150 km per hour.
 
Local cautionary signal number three kept hoisted at Kalingapatnam port but the warning was withdrawn from Bheemunipatnam, Visakhapatnam, Gangavaram and other ports.
 
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the cyclone situation at a meeting with top officials in Vijayawada. He directed officials to launch relief operations and closely monitor the situation.
 
IANS

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Cdr Abhilash Tomy reaches Visakhapatnam safely

Commander Abhilash Tomy
Commander Abhilash Tomy
Commander Abhilash Tomy, who was rescued from his sailing vessel ‘Thuriya’ on September 24 after having suffered a serious injury during the Golden Globe Race, was brought to Visakhapatnam on board the INS Satpura on Saturday.
 
Vice Adm Karambir Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief (FOC-in-C), Eastern Naval Command (ENC), briefly interacted with Cdr Tomy and enquired about his health condition and the rescue operation. 
 
Cdr Tomy has now been shifted to INHS Kalyani, the naval hospital of ENC for observation and medical assistance as required.
 
The Commander-in-Chief also interacted with Capt Alok Ananda, the Commanding Officer of INS Satpura who lost his father while the ship was on operational deployment and diverted for the Search and Rescue operation.
 
Cdr Tomy was participating in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR) representing India in the round-the-world race without modern navigation aids.  On September 21,  his sailing vessel ‘Thuriya’ was demasted on being caught in a violent storm in the South Indian Ocean, approximately 1900 nautical miles West of Perth, Australia. 
 
Cdr Tomy suffered a severe back injury and dropped out of the race. The Australian Rescue Coordination Centre at Canberra coordinated the rescue mission in conjunction with many agencies including the Australian Defence Department and the Indian Navy. 
 
Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Raksham’  to rescue the injured officer by immediately deploying the Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I in the area staging through Mauritius for providing close support and monitoring the rescue operations and diverted IN Ships Satpura and Jyoti to undertake Search and Rescue Operations.  
 
On   September 24, French Fishing Vessel (FV) Osiris reached in the vicinity of ‘Thuriya’  and carried out a successful rescue operation and later shifted Cdr Tomy to Ile Amsterdam for shelter. 
 
INS Satpura after fuelling from INS Jyoti arrived off the Ile Amsterdam and safely evacuated Cdr Tomy using the ship’s helicopter on September 28.  He was thereafter provided with the requisite medical treatment onboard during the passage to Visakhapatnam. 
 
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Woman Maoist led attack on Andhra legislator

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A woman Maoist is suspected to have led the team of rebels which gunned down a ruling TDP MLA and a former legislator in the tribal area of Visakhapatnam district in Andhra Pradesh on Sunday.
 
The police on Monday released the names and pictures of three Maoists including two women who took part in the attack near Lipittuputtu village, about 15 km from the Odisha border.
 
Sarveswara Rao, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA from Araku (Reserved-Scheduled Tribe), and his party colleague and former MLA Siveri Soma were gunned down when they were visiting a village to attend a party programme.
 
Based on the information gathered from witnesses, the police identified three guerillas who took part in the attack. They include Aruna alias Venkataravi Chaitanya, a Special Zonal Committee Member (SZCM) of the Communist Party of India-Maoist.
 
Aruna, who heads Nandapur Area Committee on Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB), is suspected to have led a group of 50-60 Maoists who allegedly crossed over to Andhra Pradesh from Odisha.
 
According to witnesses, a woman Maoist aged about 40 years was heard pulling up the MLA for amassing wealth through mining in agency areas, affecting the interests of tribals.
 
Aruna, a native of Visakhapatnam district, is wife of Pratapreddy Ramachandra Reddy alias Chalapati, who heads AOB Special Zonal Committee Military Commission.
 
Swarupa alias Kameshwari and Julumuri Srinibabu alias Sunil also took part in the attack.
 
Police said they were trying to identify the other Maoists involved. Special police teams have launched a hunt for the guerrillas involved in the attack.
 
Meanwhile, the slain TDP leaders were cremated on Monday with state honours.
 
IANS
 

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Massive anti-Maoist operations launched on Andhra-Odisha border

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A day after Maoists gunned down a sitting MLA and a former legislator, personnel of the elite Greyhounds anti-Maoist force and the CRPF launched a massive combing operation in the tribal areas of Visakhapatnam district on Monday.
 
The Andhra Pradesh Police Greyhounds and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) troopers combed the tribal belt along the inter-state border with Odisha to flush out the insurgents.
 
About 50-60 Maoists, including women had participated in Sunday's attack near Lipittuputtu village, about 15 km from the Odisha border. 
 
They gunned down K. Sarveswara Rao, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA from Araku (Reserved-Scheduled Tribe) and his party colleague and former MLA Siveri Soma.
 
The armed guerillas intercepted the TDP leaders' vehicles and shot them dead after snatching weapons from their security guards.
 
As the first major attack on legislators in more than a decade shocked the state administration, top police officers rushed to the region to redraw their strategy to counter Maoists.
 
Director General of Police R. P. Thakur was monitoring the situation. A team headed by Visakhapatnam Deputy Commissioner of Police K. Fakeerappa, probing Sunday's incident, on Monday visited the scene along with Visakhapatnam Rural Superintendent of Police, Rahul Dev Sharma. 
 
The team spoke to the eye-witnesses and the villagers.
 
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In a related development, the DGP has ordered the suspension of Amman Rao, Sub-Inspector of Dumbriguda police station for dereliction of duty. The action came amid allegations by the supporters of the slain leaders that the police failed to protect them.
 
The villagers on Sunday staged violent protests against the alleged police negligence. They ransacked Dumbriguda and Araku police stations and attacked police personnel.
 
An autopsy on the bodies of Rao and Soma were conducted at the government-run hospital in Araku late on Sunday. The body of the MLA was shifted to Paderu and that of Soma to his native Battivalasa. Their last rites would be performed with state honours later in the day.
 
The tribal region remained tense with huge deployment of police force and a two-day shutdown called by the supporters of the slain leaders. 
 
The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended bus services while shops and business establishments remained closed.
 
Araku Valley, the tourist hotspot about 100 km from the coastal city, wore a deserted look on Monday with transport and tourism operators suspending their services.
 
As some state ministers and TDP leaders were scheduled to take part in the MLA's funeral, the security agencies were making arrangements to ferry them in a helicopter from Visakhapatnam to Paderu in view of the prevailing condition in the area.
 
IANS
 

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TDP MLA, ex-legislator shot dead by Maoists in Andhra

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A ruling TDP MLA and a former legislator of his party were on Sunday gunned down by Maoists in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district, police said.
 
In what is believed to be the first major attack on public representatives in a decade, K. Sarveswara Rao, 45, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLA from Araku (Reserved-Scheduled Tribe) and his party colleague and former MLA Siveri Soma, 52, were shot dead near Thutangi village, about 125 km from the coastal city of Visakhapatnam, while they were returning from a programme at a village in Araku, a tribal area.
 
Their car was intercepted by a group of 40-50 Maoists, including women. After snatching weapons from three security guards, they tied them along with the driver to trees. They threatened them with dire consequences if they tried to escape or resist.
 
Swamy, one of the security guards, later told the media that the Maoists spoke to both the leaders for nearly an hour about their involvement in mining in agency area which is reportedly threatening the livelihood of tribals.
 
The TDP leaders suggested that the matter could be resolved peacefully. However, an argument ensued and the Maoists opened fire on them from point-blank range, killing them on the spot. Both were shot in the head and chest.
 
Deputy Inspector General of Police Ch. Srikanth said that the crime occurred between noon and 1 p.m. about 15 km from the Odisha border.
 
Both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past. The public representatives in the region were alerted by the police to be cautious while moving in interior villages in view of the formation week celebrations of the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist till September 27.
 
Rao was elected from Araku on a YSR Congress Party ticket in the 2014 elections by defeating Soma of the TDP. In 2016, Rao switched loyalties to the TDP.
 
In July this year, tribals had protested against the MLA for allegedly obtaining mining lease in the name of his brother-in-law. They had alleged that quarrying of black stones was damaging the houses of tribals at Guda village.
 
Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa said that a probe will be conducted to ascertain as to how Maoists managed to attack the two leaders despite the fact that their activities were under control for the last 4-5 years.
 
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The CPI-Maoist was believed to have considerably weakened in its former stronghold on the Andhra-Odisha border in recent years following intensive police operations by both the states.
 
Following the killings, police went on high alert in Andhra-Odisha border area and public representatives were advised not to visit interior villages.
 
Senior police officials reviewed the situation. Additional forces including personnel of anti-Maoist force Greyhounds were rushed to the region for combing operations.
 
Tension prevailed in Araku constituency as relatives and supporters of slain leaders attacked two police stations.
 
Accusing the police of "failing" to protect the public representatives, the protestors ransacked Araku and Dumbriguda police stations and set afire to the furniture and other articles.
 
When police tried to disperse the protestors at Dumbriguda, they vent their ire on policemen, injuring one constable. Other policemen ran away to escape from the mob fury.
 
Some people again staged a protest at the police station with the bodies of Rao and Soma. They claimed that the police had not reached the scene even four hours after the crime.
 
Senior officials rushed to the spot and pacified the protestors.
 
Chief Minister and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu expressed shock over the killings. Naidu, who is currently visiting the United States, in a message condemned the killings and conveyed his condolences to the bereaved families.
 
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said that such attacks and killings are a "scar on humanity".
 
The Chief Minister directed senior Cabinet colleague Kala Venkatrao to rush to the district.
 
IANS
 

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Andhra MLA, ex-leader shot dead by Maoists

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Maoists on Sunday shot dead a ruling TDP MLA and a former party leader in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam district, police said.
 
The incident occurred near Thutangi village, about 125 km from coastal city of Visakhapatnam.
 
K. Sarveswara Rao, belonging to Telugu Desam Party (TDP), was representing Araku constituency in the Andhra Pradesh state Assembly.
 
The Maoists attacked Rao and former MLA Siveri Soma when they were attending a programme in Araku.
 
They were shot from point blank range. A large number of Maoists allegedly participated in the attack.
 
Rao was elected from Araku, a constituency reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, on YSR Congress Party ticket in the 2014 elections, defeating Soma of the TDP. 
 
In 2016, Rao switched loyalties to TDP. 
 
According to the police, both Rao and Soma had received threats from Maoists in the past.
 
IANS
 

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BNS Somudra Joy at Visakhapatnam on a goodwill visit

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Bangladesh Naval Ship (BNS) Somudra Joy arrived on a four-day visit to the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) here on Tuesday.
 
The ship was accorded a warm welcome by officials from ENC and the Eastern Fleet with Naval Band in attendance on arrival. Capt M Moniruzzaman, Commanding Officer BNS Somudra Joy called-on Vice Adm Karambir Singh.
 
During the ship’s stay in Vizag, a variety of activities including professional interactions, cross deck visits, sports fixtures and social interactions between IN and BN personnel have been scheduled,  Defence Ministry release said. 
 
Commissioned on December 23, 2013, BNS Somudra Joy, a Hamilton Class frigate is one of the largest ships of the Bangladesh Navy. The ship earlier visited Visakhapatnam in February 2016 and participated in the International Fleet Review hosted by the Indian Navy.
 
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World Cup: Switzerland beat Serbia in Group E clash

A late goal by Xherdan Shaqiri earned Switzerland a 2-1 win over Serbia in a Group E clash of the FIFA World Cup at the Kaliningrad Stadium here.
 
Aleksandar Mitrovic handed Serbia the lead in the fifth minute during the match on Friday.
 
Switzerland equalised in the second half, thanks to a superb long range strike by Granit Xhaka (52nd).
 
Shaqiri (90th) found the winning goal in the final minute of regulation time.
 
Switzerland thus became the first team at this World Cup to clinch a come-from-behind victory after conceding first.
 
They now have four points from two matches, having held title contenders Brazil to a draw in their campaign opener.
 
They are at the same number of points as Brazil, but sit at the second place behind the South Americans due to an inferior goal difference.
 
Serbia are on three points from two games. They are currently third in the group.
 
Serbia enjoyed a promising start when Dusan Tadic won the ball near the corn er flag and sent in a cross which was headed in by Mitrovic.
 
The setback galvanised the Swiss who dominated possession for the rest of the game.
 
But despite being under considerable pressure, the Serbian defence prevented the Swiss from creating too many clear chances in the first half.
 
Switzerland finally made their domination count when Shaqiri's shot was bloc ked by the Serbian defence.
 
Xhaka pounced on the loose ball and unleashed a first time attempt from outside the penalty box which beat Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic with its pace and vicious swing before bulging the net.
 
Xhaka is the third Swiss player to score in more than one World Cup tournament.
 
He follows in the footsteps of former stars Jacques Fatton and Andre Abegglen.
 
Abegglen scored in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups while Fatton scored at the 1950 and 1954 editions.
 
Shaqiri hit the post soon after with a curling attempt from the right edge of the Serbia box.
 
Serbia did have their chances in the second half, not least a square pass across the face of goal by Aleksandar Kolarov which missed the extended leg of a Serbian player at the far post by mere inches.
 
Shaqiri found the winner in the closing stages off the counter.
 
He latched on to a pass out of defence, made a solo run from the half line with the Serbian defence caught off guard, before scoring with a calm finish.
 
IANS
 
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Lightning kills 9 in Telangana, Andhra

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Nine people including three farmers died of lightning in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday, officials said.
 
The three farmers died of lightning in Telangana's Mancherial district early in the day while six deaths were reported from Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra.
 
The farmers were killed in their field in Arepalli village. According to police, the farmers had gone to their fields to protect the paddy from rains. The deceased have been identified as R. Rajaiah, K. Bapu and J. Ramesh.
 
The farmers were trying to place covers on the paddy kept in the field after cutting but did not succeed due to strong winds and rains. In the meantime, they were struck by lightning.
 
When they did not return home, their family members went to the field and found their bodies.
 
Meanwhile, six persons died of lightning in separate incidents in Andhra Pradesh's Srikakulam district. Heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds have been lashing Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts since early Sunday.
 
Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have been experiencing thunderstorm and unseasonal rains for more than a week.
 
The Met office has forecast thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds at isolated places in various districts of Telangana and coastal Andhra on Sunday and Monday. Some parts of the two states are likely to record maximum temperature between 42 and 44 degrees Celsius.
 
IANS
 
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10 killed as heavy rains lash Telangana, Andhra

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Ten people were killed as heavy rains lashed Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, officials said.
 
While five people were killed in various rain-related incidents in Telangana, an equal number of deaths were reported from Andhra Pradesh.
 
Heavy rains accompanied by hailstorm and gusty winds wrecked havoc in several parts of both the Telugu states, uprooting trees and electricity poles and inundating low-lying areas, affecting vehicular traffic and electricity supply.
 
The unseasonal rains provided relief to people from scorching heat but affected the normal life and caused widespread damage to crops.
 
Heavy downpour with hailstorm and strong gales lashed many parts of Hyderabad and the outskirts, throwing the normal life out of gear. A seven-year-old boy died when he was struck by lightning while playing under a tree at Karmanghat on the city outskirts.
 
The strong winds uprooted trees in several areas in the city, damaging few vehicles bringing the traffic to a halt. Near darkness enveloped the city in the afternoon and the heavy rains significantly brought down the temperature.
 
Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) pressed emergency teams into service to remove the trees from roads and also hoardings which were hanging precariously.
 
Telangana Excise Minister T. Padma Rao, who visited some areas in Hyderabad, told reporters that GHMC received reports of tree falling at 45 places in the city. There were also complaints of water logging at 25 places.
 
Several districts of both the Telugu states were receiving rains since morning. Lightning claimed four lives in Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy districts.
 
Telangana Energy Minister Jagdish Reddy said they received reports of 1,250 electricity poles being damaged due to strong winds. The authorities have opened two control rooms in Hyderabad and Warangal and were making efforts to restore electricity supply in the affected areas.
 
Heavy rains battered Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts in north coastal Andhra early Thursday. Many parts of south coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions also recorded heavy rainfall.
 
Three persons died of lightning strike in Guntur and Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh. In Guntur town, a man died when a hoarding fell on him. In Kurnool district, one person was crushed to death under a tree which uprooted due to strong gale.
 
The heavy rains damaged mango, paddy, maize and other crops. Several cattle perished due to lightning. The unseasonal rains also disrupted electricity supply in towns and villages.
 
According to the met office, the rains were triggered by cyclonic circulation over north Odisa and neighbourhood and another cyclonic circulation over West Vidarbha and neighbourhood. It has forecast thunderstorm accompanied with squall/hail at isolated places in all the districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Friday.
 
IANS
 
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New technique developed to monitor coastal landforms

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Indian scientists have developed a remote sensing technique that uses satellite data to delineate between various coastal landforms like beaches, mangroves and marshes. This method can help monitor and understand impacts of natural disasters as well as human activities on coastal ecosystem.
 
Coastal ecosystems that comprise mangroves and other landforms protect the shores from natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes etc., prevent soil erosion and are hotspots of biodiversity. Over the years, excessive exploitation of coastal resources for fisheries and other commercial benefits has led to an ecological imbalance. Better surveillance systems are needed to keep a check on anthropogenic activities in such regions.
 
Although images from satellite data are commonly used to study various landforms on earth, distinguishing different landforms in coastal region remains a challenge due to their low lying nature, and absence of clear-cut boundaries between various landforms.
 
Scientists from the National Remote Sensing Centre, Andhra University College of Engineering and Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya utilized an image analysis technique - Object-Based Image Analysis - to demarcate various landforms such as ridges, marshes, mangroves etc. surrounding the Krishna delta present on East coast of India. 
 
The new technique deploys parameters like tone, texture, shape, context, proximity to the sea and height derived from satellite images for classification of landforms. Combining the values of these parameters, a total of 11 landforms such as beach, beach ridge, swale, tidal creek, marsh, spit, barrier bar, mangrove, natural levee, channel island and channel bar were given their peculiar characteristics and were differentiated.
 
The reduced inflow of water from Krishna river to the delta due to construction of dams and reservoirs together with overexploitation of mangroves surrounding Krishna delta for agriculture, aquaculture and industrial is disturbing the ecosystem of this region. In such a scenario, a method that helps to keep a better check on this region could help environmental organizations.
 
“The work is useful for identification of vulnerable zones so that mitigation measures can be planned. However, some more advanced remote sensing data and machine learning techniques can be additionally used for obtaining better results,” commented Dr. Prafful Singh from Amity Institute of Geoinformatics and Remote Sensing, who is not connected with the study, while talking to India Science Wire.
 
The results of the study have been published in journal Current Science. The research team included Tapas R. Martha and K. Vinod Kumar from National Remote Sensing Centre, Hyderabad; A. Mohan Vamsee from Andhra University College of Engineering, Vishakhapatnam;  and Vikas Tripathi from Mahatma Gandhi Chitrakoot Gramodaya Vishwavidyalaya, Madhya Pradesh.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Second lead-up conference to 3rd Annual Meeting of AIIB begins in Visakhapatnam

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India has a huge potential and entrepreneurship for development of ports infrastructure, according to Dr Vishwapati Trivedi, former Secretary in the Ministry of Shipping.
 
Delivering the keynote address at the two-day lead-up conference to build up the momentum to the 3rd Annual Meeting of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) here yesterday, Dr Trivedi said the present Government has taken several steps including the launching of Sagarmala project to develop maritime trade and infrastructure.
 
The theme of the conference is “Enhancing Port and Coastal Infrastructure: A Primer on Potential Areas".  The AIIB’s two-day Regional Conference is being organized by the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with AIIB, CII and Research and Infrastructure System (RIS) for Developing Countries.
 
Around 150 delegates representing different colour industry, academic and research institutions are participating in the conference to deliberate upon the major bottlenecks in the quest for developing the blue economy in order to achieve higher and inclusive economic growth.
 
Dr Trivedi said during the last 10-15 years, the rising middle class in the country has seen large amounts of imports in the form of crude and oil, simultaneously registering growth in exports of various products including automobiles.
 
The national waterways development render safe transportation of cargo which is also cost-effective and less cumbersome if port connectivity is networked properly. The Union Government has taken several initiatives to develop waterways for hassle-free transportation across the country, he said.
 
India has identified 107 waterways under Sagarmala Project in order to lessen the logistic stress on road/rail freight transport in the country.  He observed that for investments to flow in, maritime-related regulations need to be relaxed, while ease of doing business should be promoted to facilitate the investors especially foreign investors to come with huge investments.  
 
Speaking on the PPP projects in the ports sector, he said the Central government has initiated 70 to 80 projects under PPP mode for Coastal Infrastructure Development. In Andhra Pradesh, Gangavaram and Krishnapatnam are being developed under PPP mode.
 
Most of the ports have huge land resources which can be utilized for the development initiatives. Visakhapatnam Port is one of the few in the country with the highest net-worth in terms of development, he added.
 
Mr Trivedi pointed out that India was focusing on ship repair as one of the major businesses. Bunkering and Transportation were other key areas where there was a huge potential for the development of shipping sector in the country.
 
Professor Amitabh Kundu, Distinguished Fellow, RIS who chaired the inaugural session of the two-day conference, observed that coastal infrastructure development plays a major role in the development of the shipping sector.
 
Attracting larger traders as partakers in the shipping sector was a big challenge. The initiatives should be sustainable for development along the coastal areas of the country.  Such initiatives must also take along people of various economic backgrounds so that no one is left behind.
 
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Mr Shakil Alam, Director, Multilateral Institutions Division, Department of Economic Affairs said that AIIB is one of the sourcing handles for India’s investment needs next only to China. Five new AIIB funded projects were underway in India with investments worth US$ 1.1 billion, he added.
 
Director General, Investment Operations, AIIB, Yee Ean Pang said the bank was established in 2016 with 57 founding shareholders. AIIB wanted to change the landscape of infrastructure funding across its partner countries, laying emphasis on cross-country and cross-sectoral investments in the shipping sector.
 
It also focuses on mobilizing the private sector for its major participation in infrastructure development of Port and coastal areas. In the shipping sector, there is a need for the private companies to step in. About 40-45% stake in the partnership was being offered to the private players.
 
The AIIB is co-financing with World Bank and ADB in the spread of infrastructure development activities in underdeveloped and developing countries of the Asian region.  Since its launch in 2016, the AIIB has been associated with 24 projects across the world including five approved for India even though there is no project related to Blue Economy.
 
The panel also discussed various port and coastal infrastructure related issues including facilitation of trade, port infrastructure and maritime regulations among others for implementation of the Sagarmala project in a time-bound manner.
 
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Premium tag for coffee grown in Araku Valley

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The Coffee Board has applied for registration of Araku coffee under Geographical Indications to protect the unique identity of the coffee grown by the tribal communities of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.
 
In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha today, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C. R. Chaudhary said the Central Government, through the Coffee Board, was promoting production of coffee in Araku Valley by implementing the “Integrated Coffee Development Project”. 
 
The scheme includes extending financial support for replanting and expansion, creation of water harvesting and irrigation infrastructures and mechanisation of coffee estate operations. In the non-traditional areas, financial support is extended for consolidation of existing coffee plantations through gap filling and application of compost. Technical assistance is also provided by organising capacity building programs and field demonstrations. 
 
The Coffee Board is facilitating collective marketing of Araku Coffee by providing incentives at Rs. 10 per kg for Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and grower collectives.
 
Arabica coffee from the Araku Valley area has gained popularity as a high quality speciality coffee internationally. The Coffee Board has developed exclusive logos for coffee grown in the country based on their geographical distinctiveness, he said.
 
Coffee Board encourages the coffee growers to participate in the “Flavour of India-The Fine Cup Award” competition organised by Coffee Board every year, he added.
 
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