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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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Modi says defence public sector companies have to perform better

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday that it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.

 
Modi inaugurates Aero India-2015, says India reforming defence policies
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said it would no longer be enough for India to buy defence equipment from abroad and simply assemble them in the country and made it clear that the public sector needed to improve its performance in this sector.
 
"We have been doing this in the past, without absorbing any technology or developing our own capabilities. In some areas, we are where we were three decades ago," he said in his inaugural address at the 10th edition of Aero India, the international air show here.
 
"Frankly, our public sector needs to do much better than they are doing now. We have to exploit their huge assets and a vast potential. At the same time, we have to make them accountable," he said.
 
Mr Modi said his government was focusing on developing the defence industry with a sense of mission in view of the impact it could have on the creation of jobs directly and in the related sectors and of the possible spin-off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies.
 
"This is why it is at the heart of our Make in India programme," he said.
 
"We are reforming our defence procurement policies and procedures. There would be a clear preference for equipment manufactured in India. Our procurement procedures will ensure simplicity, accountability and speedy decision making," he said.
 
Mr Modi said the government had raised the permitted level of foreign direct investment (FDI) to 49%. This could go higher, if the project brought state-of-the art technology, he said.
 
He also said the government had permitted investments upto 24% by foreign institutional investors (FIIs) and there was no longer a need to have a single Indian investor with at least a 51% stake. 
 
"Industrial licensing requirements have been eliminated for a number of items. Where it is needed, the process has been simplified. We are expanding the role of private sector, even for major platforms. Our goal is to provide a level playing field for all. We speak in terms of national capacity, not public sector or private sector," he said.
 
More than 250 Indian companies and more than 300 foreign firms are participating in Aero India. Defence ministers, senior officials and hundreds of business leaders from around the world are attending the event.
 
"This is the largest ever Aero India. This reflects a new level of confidence within our country and global interest in India. To many of you, India is a major business opportunity. 
 
"We have the reputation as the largest importer of defence equipment in the world. That may be music to the ears of some of you here. But, this is one area where we would not like to be Number One!" Mr Modi said.
 
"Our security challenges are well known. Our international responsibilities are evident. We do need to increase our defence preparedness. We do have to modernize our defence forces. 
 
"We have to equip ourselves for the needs of the future, where technology will play a major role. As a nation of one billion people, we also have huge requirements for managing internal security. We are increasingly integrating technology and systems into it.  These opportunities make Aero India an important international event," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said Aero India was not just a trade fair for defence equipment but a mega meeting of one of the largest global supply chains, with the most advanced technology and complex equipment  
 
He said it was a platform to launch India's defence manufacturing sector, stressing that a nation with a strong defence industry would not only be more secure but also reap rich economic benefits. 
 
"It can boost investment, expand manufacturing, support enterprise, raise the technology level and increase economic growth in the country," he said.
 
He said that, in India, the defence industry in the government sector alone employed nearly 200,000 workers and thousands of engineers and scientists. They produce an output of nearly 7 billion dollars annually. It also supports a very large pool of small and medium enterprises. 
 
He said the country's defence industry in private sector wass still small but it already employs thousands of people.
 
"This is despite the fact that nearly 60% of our defence equipment continues to be imported. And, we are spending tens of billions of dollars on acquisitions from abroad. There are studies that show that even a 20 to 25% reduction in imports could directly create an additional 100,000 to 120,000 highly skilled jobs in India. 
 
"If we could raise the percentage of domestic procurement from 40% to 70% in the next five years, we would double the output in our defence industry. Imagine the impact in terms of jobs created directly and in the related manufacturing and services sector! Think of the spin off benefits on other sectors in terms of advanced materials and technologies!" he said.
 
Mr Modi said the offsets system was a crucial instrument to develop and upgrade our defence industry. 
 
"We have introduced significant reforms in our offsets policy. I am acutely aware that it still needs a lot of improvements. We will pursue them in consultation with domestic industry and our foreign partners. I want our offsets policy not as a means to export low-end products, but to acquire state-of-the art technology and skills in core areas of priority," he said.
 
He pointed out that government's support for research and development was essential for defence sector. And, it should also be accompanied by a degree of assurance on purchase. 
 
"We are introducing a scheme to provide up to 80% of funding from the government for development of a prototype in India. And, we are also launching a Technology Development Fund. 
 
"For too long, our research and development has been confined to government laboratories. We must involve our scientists, soldiers, academia, industry and independent experts more closely in research and development," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, while it had made its export policies clearer, simpler and predictable, the government would also abide by the highest standards of export controls and international responsibility. 
 
"We will expand our exports, but we will ensure that our equipment and technology do not fall into the wrong hands. India's record in this area has been impeccable and it will remain so," he said.
 
The Prime Minister said he was pleased with the positive impact of the government's policies and noted that the Indian private corporations had responded with enthusiasm.
 
"There is new excitement in our small and medium scale sector. Many of the biggest global firms are forming strategic partnerships in India. Some of them have already begun using India as part of their global supply chains or engineering services." he said.
 
He also expressed happiness that the first set of parts from the joint venture set up in September last year by Dynamatic Technologies and its collaborator Boeing, to manufacture critical parts for a Boeing helicopter that is sold globally, was ready for shipment today.
 
"But, we still need to do more. We have to further reform our acquisition and approval processes. We must indicate a clear roadmap of our future needs. 
This must take into account not only new technology trends, but also the nature of future challenges," he said.
 
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Mr Modi said there was need to pay attention to developing supply chains, with emphasis on innovation and bridge the gap between prototype development and quality of production. 
 
"We must develop a financing system suited to the special needs of this industry. It is a market where buyers are mainly governments, the capital investments are large and the risks are high. We must ensure that our tax system does not discriminate against domestic manufacture in comparison to imports," he said.
 
Mr Modi said that, more broadly, the defence industry would succeed more if the manufacturing sector were transformed in India.
 
"We need great infrastructure, sound business climate, clear investment policies, ease of doing business, stable and predictable tax regime, and easy access to inputs. We need a national industry that produces advanced materials, the most sophisticated electronics and the best engineering products. Over the last eight months, we have worked hard to create that environment for you. 
 
"Above all, we need a vast pool of highly skilled and qualified human resources for the defence industry. Our aerospace industry alone would need about 200,000 people in another ten years," he said.
 
He said the government would set up special universities and skill development centres to cater to the defence industry, just as it had done in atomic energy and space. "I have especially invited the State Governments to come here with package of facilities to attract investments in defence manufacturing," he said.
 
"We want to develop an industry is dynamic. It should constantly stay at the cutting edge of the global industry. I am confident that India will emerge as a major global centre for defence industry. We have the basic building blocks for it in India; and, a large nation requirement. We will build an industry that will have room for everyone – public sector, private sector and foreign firms. 
From sellers, foreign firms must turn into strategic partners," he said.
 
"We need their technology, skills, systems integration and manufacturing strength. The nature of industry is such that imports will always be there. In turn, they can use India as part of their global supply chain," he said.
 
He said defence budgets around the world were becoming tighter and India's frugal but sophisticated manufacturing and engineering services sectors could help reduce costs. 
 
"India can also be a base for export to third countries, especially because of India's growing defence partnerships in Asia and beyond. 
 
"A strong Indian defence industry will not only make India more secure. It will also make India more prosperous. 
 
"Aero India can be a catalyst in realizing our goals. That is why I am here today. So, as we look at these wonderful aircraft and enjoy the amazing fly pasts, I also hope we can get some business done. And, sow the seeds of successful new ventures and partnerships – to give our people new opportunities, to make our nations safer, and the world more stable and peaceful," he added.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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1 dead, 14 hurt in twin blasts on Bangalore-Guwahati Express at Chennai station

A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station on Thursday morning.

 
Chennai train blasts: 14 injured passengers stable
A 24-year-old woman was killed and 14 others suffered injuries in twin blasts which occurred in two coaches of the 12509 Bangalore-Guwahati tri-weekly express train minutes after it pulled into the Chennai Central station here this morning.
 
Southern Railway sources said two of the injured had suffered serious grievous injuries while the others had received minor injuries.
 
Southern Railway General Manager Rakesh Mishra told reporters at the scene that the "minor intensity" blasts occurred in sleeper coaches S4 and S5 at about 7.15 am, some ten minutes after the train arrived on platform number 9.
 
Three coaches of the train -- S3, S4 and S5 -- were affected by the two explosions, the sources said.
 
The deceased passenger was identified as Ms Swati who was travelling from Bangalore to Vijayawada on her way to her home town of Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, he said. Media reports said she was an employee of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
 
Sources said the blasts appeared to have been caused by some devices placed under seat 70 of coach S4 and seat 30 of coach S5.
 
Mr Mishra said the train was running slightly late and had arrived at the station at 7.05 am instead of its scheduled time of 5.45 am.
 
The injured were rushed immediately to the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital near the station.
 
Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge has sanctioned an ex-gratia payment of Rs 1 lakh for the next-of-kin of the deceased passenger, Rs 25,000 for each of those with grievous injuries and Rs 5,000 for each of those with minor injuries.
 
Police officials, accompanied by dog squads and bomb disposal squads, rushed to the scene of the blasts immediately and platform number 9 was cordoned off.
 
The entire train was checked by the police and it later resumed its journey to Guwahati, Assam after the affected coaches were detached and replaced with new coaches.
 
Mr Mishra said the entire train was being checked and it would resume its journey to Guwahati, Assam an hour later after the two affected coaches are detached.
 
The Railways have set up a helpline at Chennai on telephone number 044-25357398 to provide information to relatives of the passengers of the affected train.
 
Operations on other platforms as well as on the nearby suburban section continued to remain normal, Mr Mishra added.
 
A team from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from Hyderabad will reach Chennai later today to probe the incident.
 
Security was intensified at Chennai Central railway station after the incidents.
 
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Among the seriously injured passengers, one was identified as Sumantho Devnath (37, Male), while the other was an unidentified male.
 
Those with minor injuries were identified as follows:
 
1. Shaiful Haque – 27 years Male
2. Anjanedu– 29 years Male
3. Vimal Kumar Das – 43 years Male
4. Shagun Kumar Rai– 23 years Male
5. Altaf Khan – 17 years Male
6. Uma – 35 years Female
7. Jitendra Mohanto Deka – 58 years Male
8. Sari – 21 years Male
9. Murali – 27 years Male
10. Bijoy Kumar – 14 years Male
11. Sudanchand Debnath – 64 years Male
12. Surendra Varma– 31 years Male
 
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Business commerce platform Tradeshift announces partnership with Infosys BPO

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Tradeshift, the world’s largest business commerce platform, today announced a partnership with Infosys BPO, the Business Process Outsourcing subsidiary of IT services major Infosys Limited.
 
Tradeshift’s cloud-based platform, coupled with Infosys’ business process management expertise across the Finance, Accounting and Procurement domains, will further enable clients to digitize their source-to-pay and other supply chain processes, a press release from Infosys said.
 
According to the release, the benefits of the partnership for customers include further reduced costs, improved agility, and process efficiency.
 
Customers will be able to take advantage of early payment discounts, remove manual paper-based processes, build custom applications, and help meet their transactional digital transformation objectives, it said.
 
Infosys will deploy these capabilities across clients first in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and China, the release said.
 
“We look forward to this exciting journey of combining Infosys’ deep domain and process expertise with our B2B commerce platform,” said John Sibley, Vice President, Global Alliances and Channels, Tradeshift. “This partnership will provide greater transparency and agility, along with a compelling value proposition to suppliers and buyers alike, on various touch points in the source to pay lifecycle.”
 
“In today’s disruptive environment, platform-based ‘Business Process As-a-Service’ models have become integral to the Business Process Management (BPM) industry,” said Anantha Radhakrishnan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Infosys BPO. “This partnership with Tradeshift will further amplify Infosys BPO’s leadership position through the combination of ‘software + services’ in Procurement and Finance and Accounting. This collaboration will help augment our experience and expertise in transformative Business Process Management and enable us to further deliver tremendous business outcome benefits to our clients.”
 
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Infosys appoints Salil S. Parekh as CEO and Managing Director

Salil S. Parekh
Salil S. Parekh
IT services major Infosys announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Salil S. Parekh as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of the company effective January 2, 2018.
 
Mr. Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of the Board said, “We are delighted to have Salil joining as the CEO & MD of Infosys. He has nearly three decades of global experience in the IT services industry. He has a strong track record of executing business turnarounds and managing very successful acquisitions. The Board believes that he is the right person to lead Infosys at this transformative time in our industry. The Board is also grateful to Pravin for his leadership during this period of transition.”
 
Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Chairperson of the Nomination & Remuneration Committee, stated, “After a comprehensive global search effort, we are pleased to appoint Salil as the CEO & MD. He was the top choice from a pool of highly qualified candidates. With his strong track record and extensive experience, we believe, we have the right person to lead Infosys.”
 
Mr. Parekh joins Infosys from Capgemini where he was a member of the Group Executive Board. He has Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, and a Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
 
A press release from the company said Mr. U B Pravin Rao would step down as the interim CEO and Managing Director effective January 2, 2018 and will continue as Chief Operating Officer and a whole-time Director of the Company.
 
Mr. Pravin Rao had been appointed as interim CEO and Managing Director of the company on August 18, 2017 after the resignation from the position of Dr. Vishal Sikka.
 
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Infosys to open Design and Innovation Hub in Rhode Island

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IT services Infosys today announced a multi-year partnership with the State of Rhode Island in the United States to establish an Infosys Design and Innovation Hub. 
 
Infosys will also hire 500 American workers in Rhode Island over the next five years, a press release from the company said.
 
“We are excited to welcome Infosys to Rhode Island,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Because of our investments in higher education and job training at CCRI and other institutions across the state, Rhode Islanders are well-equipped and well-prepared to compete for these good paying jobs. Infosys joins a growing local market of innovative, advanced industry companies that have chosen to plant a flag in Rhode Island.”
 
“Today’s partnership with Rhode Island marks another important step forward for Infosys in the United States. The state’s educational institutions, design-rich environment, and economic development tools, positioned Rhode Island competitively for this type of specialist partnership,” said Ravi Kumar, President, Infosys. “This will enhance our ability to provide design-driven, digital technologies across the country and enable breakthrough innovations at the intersection of industry and design for our clients.”
 
Earlier this year, Infosys committed to hiring 10,000 American workers over the next two years. The company has been making rapid progress and is on target to hire towards that commitment, and is investing in Technology and Innovation Hubs in Indianapolis, Indiana and Raleigh, North Carolina, the release said.
 
"Today’s announcement is a continuation of Infosys’ campaign to boost innovation in the United States. These new hires in Rhode Island will include experienced designers, design architects, specialists in information design and technical experts to accelerate the digital transformation of Infosys’ clients in Rhode Island and beyond. This partnership also offers a unique platform to nurture specialist design talent at scale to serve the growing demand for design-driven digital skills across industries," the release said.
 
The Design and Innovation Hub, which intends to apply for Qualified Jobs and Rebuild Rhode Island incentives, will help close the gap for design and human-centric skills in technology fields. The Hub will offer early-career designers and design graduates unique training opportunities with in-demand digital skills including exposure to systems, platforms, strategy and organization domains to make them more employable in today’s digital world. 
 
"By studying everything from user-experience to how people interact with systems, these design-focused hires will be equipped to create fully realized, 360-degree solutions to business challenges. Built on a model of interdisciplinary collaboration, the Hub will facilitate interactions between early-career designers and working professionals and technical experts in such fields as architecture, engineering, data science and business consulting. Infosys’ clients and industry partners will likewise benefit from increased access to top-tier designers and subject matter experts," it said.
 
Infosys’ ongoing commitment to training and upskilling a new generation of American technology professionals extends to the work of its charitable foundation, Infosys Foundation USA. More than 4.7 million students, over 13,000 teachers, and 21,000 schools across America have benefited from computer science training and equipment funded through the foundation. The Foundation has provided multiple grants to teachers and schools across Rhode Island — to date, grants made by the foundation have reached 930 students, 20 teachers and 18 schools across the state, the release added.
 
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Weight gain during pregnancy may help shorter women have healthier babies

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A new study has shown that a little weight gain during pregnancy may help shorter women have healthier babies. Shorter women are normally thought to be more likely to deliver low birth weight babies.
 
Gaining about 490 grams of weight every week during pregnancy reduces the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby in short-statured women by almost 63%, the study says.
 
Short statured women generally have a higher chance of delivering a low birth weight baby, which is a leading cause of death and illness in neonates. In addition, low birth weight babies are at higher risk of developing diabetes, hypertension and metabolic syndrome when they become adults.
 
UNICEF estimates that 20 million babies are born with low weight every year in the world and that India accounts for nearly 8 million or one third of this global burden.
 
For the purposes of this study, doctors enrolled 1,254 pregnant women in the age range of 17 to 40 years from amongst those visiting the antenatal clinic at the St John’s Medical College in Bangalore for routine checkup. After recording their height, they were categorized into two groups. Those below a height of 152cm were classified as `short-statured’ and those above as `non-short’. During the course of their pregnancy, their weight was recorded every week using a well-calibrated digital balance. When they delivered, the doctors noted the height and weight of their baby.
 
This data was analyzed and it was found that improving weight during pregnancy in short statured women may be beneficial for the birth weight of the offspring. The researchers found that putting on weight in the third trimester, between 6 to 9 months of pregnancy, in particular, had a significant impact. The number of low birth weight deliveries dropped from 22% to 10% in the short statured group as against from 11% to 6% in the non-short group.
 
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Short statured women are thought to be more likely to deliver weak babies due to insufficient nutrition reserves that reduce their availability to the growing fetus. Also, they are thought to be prone to deliver small sized babies as they have a short pelvic and uterine volume.
 
“Poor nutrition of the mother is thought to be an important reason for having a low birth weight baby. But, we do not know how effective nutritional supplementation during pregnancy would improve birth weight. In this backdrop, this study is important,” Ramesh Agarwal, Professor in Department of Pediatrics of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, who is not connected to the study, told India Science Wire.
 
The study is a collaborative effort of St John’s Medical College in Bangalore, and the Harvard School of Public Health and Boston Children’s Hospital. The research team included Nirupama Shivakumar, Pratibha Dwarkanath, Ronald Bosch, Christopher Duggan, Anura V Kurpad, and Tinku Thomas. They did the study over 12 years. The study has been published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Infosys partners with Udacity to offer self-driving car engineer nanodegree program

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IT services major Infosys today said it had entered into a partnership with global online learning company Udacity to train Infosys employees in its Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program.
 
The program, known as Udacity Connect, a combined in-person and online training offering, will give Infosys employees the skills needed as the company continues to focus on autonomous technology across a range of industries, including automotive, manufacturing and mining, a press release from Infosys said.
 
The 20-week curriculum will train Infosys employees on engineering technologies for self-driving vehicles, including advanced courses in deep learning and machine learning. Program participants will also engage in six-week apprenticeships working on solutions for Infosys clients’ most-pressing challenges. The apprenticeships will help quickly scale participants’ skills and translate into practical new industry solutions, the release said.
 
According to it, the goal of the program is to train 500 engineers by the end of 2018. In addition, Infosys will hold a hackathon/competition in November that is designed to identify the brightest of Infosys’ global talent to select the first 100 participants for the program.
 
“Infosys is committed to re-skilling and training its employees in groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous technologies,” said Ravi Kumar S., President and Deputy COO, Infosys. “We are proud to expand our partnership with Udacity with the launch of the in-person and online Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree program as we accelerate the pace of skill adoption and ensure our clients continue to be at the forefront of innovation.”
 
“Udacity is focused on lifelong learning for all people at any stage in life. We are excited to expand our partnership with Infosys in providing their employees with the skills necessary to thrive in the fast-growing autonomous vehicle space,” said Vish Makhijani, CEO of Udacity.
 
"Infosys is investing in developing deep expertise in autonomous technology that will allow our clients to embrace these technologies at scale in their own contextualized environment," the release added.
 
Udacity's nanodegree program, a credential that consists of a series of online courses and projects in key areas such as self-driving car, AI, robotics, machine learning, data science and web/mobile development, is recognized by top employers such as Google, AT&T, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Nvidia, Facebook and others.
 
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Kovind to present standards to 223 Squadron, 117 Helicopter Unit of IAF on Thursday

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President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Punjab tomorrow when he will present Standards to the 223 Squadron and the 117 Helicopter Unit of the Indian Air Force at the Air Force Station, Adampur.
 
Later in the day, Mr. Kovind will visit Amritsar to pay his tributes at Jallianwala Bagh.
 
He will also visit Harmandir Sahib and the Durgiana Temple in Amritsar before returning to Delhi, an official press release said.
 
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Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Ananya Kabir among six winners of Infosys Prize 2017

Sanghamitra BandyopadhyayAnanya Jahanara KabirLawrence Liang
Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay; Ananya Jahanara Kabir; Lawrence Liang
Prof. Sanghamitra Bandyopadhyay, Director, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Kolkata and Prof. Ananya Jahanara Kabir, Professor of English Literature, King’s College London, are among the six winners of the prestigious Infosys Prize 2017 announced here today.
 
The other winners of the prize this year are Prof. Upinder Singh Bhalla, Professor, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru; Prof. Ritabrata Munshi, Professor, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Mumbai and ISI, Kolkata; Prof. Yamuna Krishnan, Professor, Department of Chemistry, University of Chicago; and Prof. Lawrence Liang, Professor, School of Law, Ambedkar University Delhi.
 
The prestigious annual prize is given by the Infosys Science Foundation across six fields: Engineering and Computer Science, Humanities, Life Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Physical Sciences and Social Sciences. 
 
Now in its ninth year, the prize honours and recognizes some of the best researchers and scientists of our time.
 
Among the winners are a neuroscientist using computers to map the human brain, a computer scientist studying biological systems and a chemist trying to make DNA machines to study living cells. 
 
The prize for each category consists of a purse of Rs. 65 lakh, a 22-karat gold medallion and a citation certificate.
 
The winners were shortlisted from over 236 nominations by a scholarly jury panel, comprising renowned scientists and professors. 
 
The jury chairs of the six categories are: Prof. Pradeep K. Khosla (University of California, San Diego) for Engineering and Computer Science; Prof. Amartya Sen (Harvard University) for Humanities; Dr. Inder Verma (Salk Institute of Biological Sciences) for Life Sciences; Prof. Srinivasa S. R. Varadhan (New York University) for Mathematical Sciences; Prof. Shrinivas Kulkarni (California Institute of Technology) for Physical Sciences; and Prof. Kaushik Basu (Cornell University and former SVP, World Bank) for Social Sciences.
 
The six winners were informed of their selection shortly before the announcement via a phone call from the trustees and the respective jury chairs, a press release from the Infosys Science Foundation said.
 
Prof. Bandyopadhyay was chosen for the award in the Engineering and Computer Science category for a scholarly record in algorithmic optimization and for its significant impact on biological data analysis. Her discoveries include a genetic marker for breast cancer, determination of co-occurrence of HIV and cancers, and the role of white cells in Alzheimer’s disease.
 
In Humanities, Prof. Kabir was chosen for the award for her highly original explorations of the long-standing historical elements – conceptual, social and cultural – in colonial modernity, and for her subtle and insightful ethnography of cultural and political life in Kashmir.
 
Yamuna Krishnan
Ritabrata MunshiUpinder S. Bhalla
Yamuna Krishnan; Ritabrata Munshi; Upinder S. Bhalla
Prof. Bhalla was chosen for the award in the Life Sciences category for his pioneering contributions to the understanding of the brain’s computational machinery. His investigations have revealed essential neuronal computations that underlie the ability to acquire, integrate and store complex sensory information, and to utilize that information for decision and action.
 
Prof. Munshi was chosen for the award in Mathematic Sciences for his outstanding contributions to analytic aspects of number theory. Besides ingenious contributions to the Diophantine problem, he has established important estimates known as sub-convexity bounds for a large class of L-functions with methods that are powerful and original.
 
In the Physical Sciences category, Prof. Krishnan was given the award for her ground-breaking work in the emerging field of DNA architecture. By successfully manipulating DNA – the building blocks of life – to create biocompatible nanomachines, she has created novel ways of  interrogating living systems, increasing our knowledge of cell function and getting one step closer to answering unresolved biomedical questions.
 
Prof. Liang was chosen for the award in the Social Sciences category in recognition of his creative scholarship on law and society. His prodigious output in the fields of copyright law, digital technologies and media, and popular culture raises probing questions about the nature of freedom, rights, and social development. His provocative answers link historical context and ethical practice in unexpected and illuminating ways.
 
Speaking during the event, Mr. K. Dinesh, President – Board of Trustees, Infosys Science Foundation, said, “The winners of Infosys Prize 2017 were selected from several nominations received from across universities and institutes and we are grateful to our distinguished jury members to have taken the time to evaluate and award the most deserving. By shining light on science, we hope to gradually stimulate the minds of future talent, and open up a new world of possibilities for all of us.”
 
“This award aligns with our core principle of promoting science and inspiring young researchers in the country. We are pleased to note that the Infosys Prize is increasingly gaining recognition and has become one of the most coveted prize awards in the field of science and research in the country," he said.
 
The awards will be presented at a ceremony here on January 10, 2018. The winners will be felicitated by Prof. Kip S. Thorne, Professor Emeritus at California Institute of Technology. Prof. Thorne is a theoretical physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2017 for his contributions to the observation of gravitational waves in 2015, posited by Albert Einstein a hundred years ago.
 
The Infosys Science Foundation is a not-for- profit set up in 2009 by the board of directors of IT services major Infosys at the time and some senior management. The mission of the Foundation is to encourage an interest in science and research. The Foundation’s flagship initiative is the Infosys Prize. It also engages in a host of related activities to further its mission.
 
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Neelmani Raju becomes first woman to head Karnataka Police

Neelmani Raju
Neelmani Raju
Ms. Neelmani Raju has  become the first woman to be appointed as the Director General of Police (DGP) of Karnataka Police.
 
Ms. Raju, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1983 batch (Karnataka cadre), has succeeded Mr. R. K. Dutta, who retired from service yesterday.
 
She was the second woman IPS officer to join the Karnataka cadre. After serving in various positions in the state, she had gone on deputation to the Intelligence Bureau in 1993. She returned to the cadre last year in the rank of DGP. She later served as DGP of Internal Security Division and Fire and Emergency Services.
 
"Congratulations to Karnataka's first woman DG-IGP Neelamani N Raju on her appointment. Wish her a successful tenure in the post," State Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on microblogging site Twitter.
 
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13 dead, 50 injured as mini-truck crashes into tree in Karnataka

 
13 dead, 50 injured as mini-truck rams into tree in Mandya district
At least 13 people died and about 50 others suffered injuries when an overcrowded mini-truck they were travelling in crashed into a tree near Machanayakanahalli in Maddur taluk of Mandya district in Karnataka late last night, police sources said.
 
The sources said the mishap occurred around 8.30 pm yesterday on the Maddur-Kunigal highway, about 100 km from here, when the driver of the speeding vehicle, an Eicher Canter, lost control over the wheel while negotiating a curve dashed into a tree on the left of the road.
 
Two of the victims died on the spot while 11 others succumbed to their injuries in hospitals in Mandya and Mysuru, they said.
 
Some of the serious injured persons were shifted to NIMHANS in Bengaluru, they said.
 
Those who died in the accident included two men, 10 women and a child, police said.
 
The victims were members of a wedding party travelling to Maddur  when the mishap occurred. They belonged to the bride's side and were going to attend the reception at Maddur, the sources added.
 
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Modi dedicates new Bidar-Kalaburagi railway line in Karnataka to nation

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today dedicated the new Bidar-Kalaburagi railway line in Karnataka to the nation by  unveiling a plaque at Bidar railway station.
 
Mr. Modi, who was on a day's visit to Karnataka, also flagged off the DEMU service between Bidar and Kalaburagi. 
 
Earlier, Mr. Modi Dashamah Soundarya Lahari Parayanotsava Mahasamarpane at Bengaluru. 
 
The Soundarya Lahari is a set of shlokas composed by Adi Shankaracharya. At the event, there was mass chanting of Soundarya Lahari. 
 
Speaking on the occasion, the Prime Minister said he felt a special energy in the environment from this mass chanting. He recalled his visit to Kedarnath a few days ago, and said he was filled with awe at the work done by Adi Shankara, in that remote location, as well as at other places across India, in his relatively short life-span. He said Adi Shankara had united India, through the Vedas and Upanishads. 
 
Mr. Modi said the common man could relate to Adi Shankara's composition - Soundarya Lahari. He said Adi Shankaracharya removed evils from the society, and prevented them from reaching future generations. He said Adi Shankara had imbibed the best of practices from different ideologies and thought. He said Adi Shankaracharya's penance still exists in the present form of Indian culture - a culture that accepts all, and moves forward together. This culture is the foundation of New India - and follows the mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, he said.
 
He said that, in a way, India's cultural heritage held the answers to all global problems. He said that in India, the stress has always been on preventing the exploitation of nature. 
 
The Prime Minister said that LED bulbs which earlier cost more than 350 rupees, are now available for 40 to 45 rupees under the Ujala scheme. He said more than 27 crore LED bulbs have been distributed so far. This has resulted in savings in the electricity bill as well, he added. 
 
He mentioned that over 3 crore LPG connections have been distributed through the Ujjwala Yojana. This has not only made a positive difference in the lives of rural women, but also contributed to a cleaner environment, he said. 
 
He said that the need of the hour is that efforts be made to free India from evils such as illiteracy, ignorance, malnutrition, black money and corruption. 
 
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Mr. Modi also offered prayers at Shri Manjunatha Swamy Temple at Dharmasthala.
 
At a public meeting at Ujire, he distributed RuPay cards to Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana account holders. He unveiled a logo to mark the launch of "Preserve Mother Earth, and Transfer to Next Generation" programme. 
 
Addressing the gathering, he expressed happiness at the opportunity to pray to Lord Manjunatha. 
 
He said that the current century is about skill development. India is a youthful nation, and hence, we must harness our demographic dividend, he added. 
 
"Our saints and seers created as well as nurtured institutions which have helped society for centuries," he said.
 
Speaking about the opportunity to hand over RuPay cards to women Self Help Groups, the Prime Minister said that he was happy to see enthusiasm towards digital transactions. 
 
He urged people to use the Bhim App and embrace cashless transactions. This is the era of honesty and integrity; there is no place for those who cheat the system, he said.
 
The Prime Minister said that every rupee, and every resource from the Government of India is devoted for the welfare of Indians. "We are ensuring that the fruits of development reach the intended beneficiaries without any scope of corruption," he added. 
 
Mr. Modi said that conservation of water is a major challenge in this day and age. "We also need to give importance towards living in harmony with nature and not think about short term gains," he said.
 
He called upon the farmers of Karnataka to embrace methods like drip irrigation that help conserve water. 
 
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Modi condemns Chidambaram's remarks on Kashmir, says they are insult to soldiers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sundaymounted a scathing attack on the Congress, condemning its leader P. Chidambaram's comments on Jammu and Kashmir and saying that they amounted to an insult to the brave soldiers who had laid down their lives to protect the unity and integrity of the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a welcome gathering at the Bengaluru airport on October 29, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing a welcome gathering at the Bengaluru airport on October 29, 2017
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today mounted a scathing attack on the Congress, condemning its leader P. Chidambaram's comments on Jammu and Kashmir and saying that they amounted to an insult to the brave soldiers who had laid down their lives to protect the unity and integrity of the country.
 
Mr. Modi's remarks, made at a welcome gathering of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and others at Bengaluru airport, came in response to the former Union Home Minister's statement yesterday that most people who call for "azaadi" in Jammu and Kashmir actually want autonomy for the state.
 
"My interactions in Jammu and Kashmir led me to the conclusion that when they ask for 'azaadi', most people mean autonomy," Mr. Chidambaram had said yesterday.
 
"Yesterday's statement of a Congress leader on Kashmir clearly shows how the party feels on surgical strikes and the bravery of our army. Congress will have to answer for the recent statement of their leaders on Kashmir. The statement was unacceptable," Mr. Modi said.
 
"Why are Congress leaders lending their voice to those who want Azadi in Kashmir. This is an insult to our brave soldiers," he said.
 
"Do you remember the lies Congress was spreading on Doklam. People of India trusted them so much but this is their conduct," he said.
 
Mr. Modi said the Congress was disconnected with the aspirations of the country and the people had no expectations from the party.
 
Stating that those who were in power until the other day were now suddenly taking a U-turn and shamelessly speaking the language of the separatists in Kashmir and their masters in Pakistan, he said those who play politics over the lives of martyrs could not be expected to lead India on the path of development.
 
He said soldiers from every part of India had laid down their lives in Kashmir to protect the unity and integrity of the country and the people of the country would demand answers from the Congress on its stand.
 
"Mothers who have sacrificed their sons, sisters who sacrificed their brothers, children who sacrificed their fathers will seek answers from the Congress," he said.
 
"This is Sardar Patel's land. We will not make or allow any compromise with the unity and integrity of the country," he said.
 
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Mr. Modi said he could now understand why the Congress could not "digest" the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian troops against terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
 
He said when the whole world had appreciated India's strong stand on the Doklam issue, the Congress was spreading misinformation in the matter.
 
"Those who ruled the country for so long, whom people trusted so much, have turned out to be like this," he remarked.
 
Mr. Modi said he thought the Congress would learn from its repeated losses in elections. "But we are seeing irresponsible behaviour and statements from them. It seems they are determined not to mend their ways. Normally people learn from their mistakes and correct themselves. But they are arrogant," he said.
 
The Prime Minister began by expressing happiness that so many people had turned out to hear him with great enthusiasm. "It looks like the people of Karnataka cannot wait for long for the elections," he said, referring to the state assembly elections due next year.
 
"Like other states, Karnataka also wants to join the journey of development. After the coming elections, I am confident that Karnataka will join the mainstream of development," he said.
 
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Legislators are public servants as well as nation builders, says Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind today described legislators as both public servants as well as nation builders as is the case with anybody who performs his or her duties with honesty and dedication.
 
Addressing a joint session of Karnataka Legislature on the ‘Vajramahothsava’, the 60th anniversary of the Vidhana Soudha, Mr Kovind said the occasions is also the diamond jubilee of the debates and discussions in the two Houses, of legislations that have been passed and policies that have been shaped for the betterment of the lives of the people of Karnataka.
 
“Both Houses of the Legislature jointly and collectively represent the will and aspirations of the people of Karnataka. Not just that, the two Houses also represent the ideals and optimism and the energy and dynamism of the Kannadiga people. This building is a monument to the history of public service in Karnataka. A galaxy of political stalwarts has participated in the proceedings of the two Houses that meet here. They have spoken in many memorable debates,” he said.
 
The President said Karnataka’s dreams are not for the State alone. They are dreams for all of India. Karnataka is an engine of the Indian economy. It is a mini-India that draws – without losing its cultural and linguistic distinctiveness – youth from all over the country. They come here for knowledge and for jobs, and they give their labour and intellect. Everybody gains.
 
“Legislators are both public servants as well as nation builders. Indeed, anybody who performs his or her duties with honesty and dedication is a nation builder. Those who maintain this building are nation builders. Those who provide it security are nation builders. It is by the efforts of ordinary citizens, who diligently carry out everyday tasks, that nations are built. As legislators sit and work in this Vidhan Soudha, he was confident they will never forget this and will continue to draw inspiration from it,” he added.
 
“We are aware of the three D’s of the legislature, that it is a place to debate, dissent and finally decide. And if we add the fourth D, decency, then the fifth D, namely democracy, becomes a reality. The legislature is an embodiment of the will, aspirations and hopes of the people of Karnataka, irrespective of political belief, caste and religion, gender or language. It needs the collective wisdom of both Houses of the Legislature to fulfil the dreams of our people,” Mr Kovind said.
 
The President said it is for the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council to function as sacred temples of democracy, and contribute to raising the level of political and policy discourse. As representatives of the people of Karnataka, the members of the two Houses here have a special responsibility. He called upon legislators to make the diamond jubilee not just the celebration of a proud past – but a commitment to an even greater future.
 
“This is a land with ancient Jain and Buddhist traditions. Adi Shankaracharya founded the math in Sringeri in this very state. Gulbarga is a centre of Sufi culture. The reformist Lingayat movement under spiritual leaders such as Basavacharyawas also located in Karnataka. In their own way, each of these currents has contributed to nation building,” he said.
 
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Karnataka is a land of formidable soldiers. Krishnadeva Raya was the greatest ruler of the Vijayanagara Empire, and remains an inspiration for all Indians. Kempe Gowda was the founder of Bengaluru. Rani Chennamma of Kittur and Rani Abbakka led among the earliest battles against colonial powers, he added.
 
“Tipu Sultan died a heroic death fighting the British. He was also a pioneer in the development and use of Mysore rockets in warfare. This technology was later adopted by the Europeans. More recently, two of our finest army chiefs – Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa and General K.S. Thimayya – were sons of Karnataka,” Mr Kovind said.
 
“This is also the seat of education, technology and science. The engineer-statesman M. Visvesvaraya was a builder of modern Karnataka and of modern India. He was responsible for major irrigation projects that continue to help farmers to this day. The Indian Institution of Science and the Indian Space Research Organisation are among so many of our crown jewel institutions that are based in Bengaluru. The dynamism of its entrepreneurs has made Bengaluru India’s IT capital. It is known the world over as the Silicon City,” he added.
 
The President noted that today’s event will also honour the families of the first three chief ministers of Karnataka – K.C. Reddy, Kengal Hanumanthaiah and Kadidal Manjappa. “There are so many other names we must recall and cherish –S. Nijalingappa, DevrajUrs, B.D. Jatti, who later became Vice-President of India, Ramakrishna Hegde, S.R. Bommai, Veerendra Patil, S.M. Krishna and of course our former Prime Minister and my friend, H. D. Deve Gowda,” he added.
 
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Scientists develop new compound for controlled delivery of aspirin

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Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, have developed a new chemical compound that could be used to deliver aspirin in a controlled manner. The compound can be injected and can carry a large amount of aspirin.
 
In commonly used pills or patches, aspirin is trapped inside a capsule or a mesh. In the new compound, aspirin is built into backbone of a long polymer chain based on a sugar molecule called Xylitol, which occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables and is used as a sweetener. When delivered into the body, enzymes would break the bond between Xylitol molecule and the drug, resulting in gradual release of the drug into bloodstream.
 
Aspirin is used for reducing fever and pain. It is also used to lower the risk of heart attack or stroke by preventing clots from forming in blood vessels. However, it has certain side effects.
 
Studies have shown that a gradual release of the drug instead of a rapid single burst can stave them off. Further, if a single chemical compound can keep circulating in the body and release a specified amount of the drug periodically, it would help avoid administering multiple pills at different times.
 
An advantage of the new compound is that it is totally biodegradable. All the precursors used to make the polymer are endogenous or native to the body. So, there is no accumulation. Besides, Xylitol is relatively unreactive and unlikely to interfere with aspirin’s action.
 
The new compound represents an important technological development as the scientists have for the first time been able to ensure that Xylitol molecules formed a long straight polymer chain that could be easily dissolved into a gel and thus made injectable.
 
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Over the years, research teams in different parts of the world had been attempting to create such Xylitol based polymers for delivering drugs in a controlled manner. But, they could only get complex mesh like structures. These were difficult to dissolve and to be made injectable. Consequently, they needed to be implanted into the body surgically. The IISc researchers have solved this problem by using a new technique which involved modifying the reaction conditions.
 
Speaking to India Science Wire, Kaushik Chatterjee, a member of the research team, said the timing and dose of the drug delivery can be adjusted by merely tweaking the type of chemical bonds and number of free sites the compound has. “For instance, if someone wanted low doses of aspirin over sustained periods, say weeks, then you may want to have more such bonds that would not degrade so easily’’.
 
He noted that the polymer can be used for incorporating other drugs also. “The chemistry used for incorporating the Aspirin is by reacting the carboxylate group of the drug with the hydroxyl group of Xylitol to form the ester bond. This strategy can be used to include other drugs also in the backbone like ibuprofen’’.
 
The study has been published in International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Knowledge, discovery and innovation will take country forward, says Kovind

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President Ram Nath Kovind has described knowledge, discovery and innovation, coupled with the society, are the wheels that would take the country forward.
 
Addressing a gathering during his visit to the laboratory and the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering (CeNSE) at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), here yesterday, Mr Kovind said, however, each of these wheels must move in coordination at the right pace and direction.
 
“The slightest misstep by one will take us in the wrong direction or stall us. Scientists have an immense responsibility. They are directly in charge of three wheels. But unless they connect every day with the fourth, society, we have no future,” he added.
 
Mr Kovind pointed out that India was facing enormous challenges in having to lift the people out of poverty, ensuring their health and well-being as well as food and energy security. Society rightly demands solutions to these problems. On the other hand, scientists must not compromise their quest for knowledge – from atoms to galaxies. And these two endeavours are not contradictory.
 
“We have seen how ISRO has succeeded through the efforts of the late Dr Satish Dhawan in combining cutting-edge science with helping farmers. And in linking ISRO’s research, applications and innovation with the academic capacities of IISc. The challenge is to replicate that partnership and that synergy, across institutions and across disciplines,” he added.
 
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The President said, today, the scientists have the opportunity to pioneer a revolution where all the scientific institutes in Bengaluru could work together. “They can share their strengths and show by example how science and technology can take us to new heights. The spark from their efforts in Bengaluru can light the flame of knowledge all over the country. It can help take the culture of innovation further and deeper – from lab to shop floor, right down to school classrooms,” he added.
 
Leading scientists presented a flavour of their plans for a paradigm shift in the way their efforts have become more collaborative and thereby more effective. In addition to IISc, scientists from JNCASR, inStem, NCBS, the Raman Institute and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics were present.
 
The speakers pointed out that India has shown leadership in astronomy and mega- physics as well as materials research. In biotechnology too, research is at global levels. They said that there is a sense of shared purpose and collaboration to take on new challenges and help achieve the goals of New India 2022.
 
Those present at the roundtable discussion included Dr R. Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India; Professor Anurag Kumar Director, IISc; Dr K. Vijay Raghavan, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology; Dr Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology; Mr K.K. Sharma, Secretary, Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mr A. S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman, ISRO; and Dr S. Christopher, Chairman, DRDO.
 
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Kovind to visit Karnataka on October 24-25

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President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Karnataka on October 24 and 25 -- his first trip to the state after assuming the august office.
 
Tomorrow, Mr. Kovind will commence his engagements by paying tributes to the founder of Bengaluru, Kempe Gowda. Later, he will visit the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and attend a round-table discussion with scientists.
 
On October 25, the President will grace the Vajramahothsava – Diamond Jubilee Celebrations on completion of 60 years of Vidhana Soudha, and address members of both Houses of the Karnataka Legislature.
 
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Fiive dead, five others injured as three-storeyed building collapses in Bengaluru

 
5 dead in building collapse in Bengaluru
At least five persons died and five others suffered injuries when a portion of a three-storeyed residential building collapsed in the Ejipura area of the city this morning, official sources said.
 
According to some sources, the building collapsed after a cooking gas cylinder burst suddenly, but Bengaluru Development and Town Planning Minister K. J. George told reporters at the scene that this had to be confirmed.
 
Mr. George also announced ex-gratia payments of Rs 5 lakh for the  next-of-kin of those killed and Rs. 50,000 to those who were injured.
 
He said that the State Government would take care of the complete expenses, including education, of a young girl, who had survived with injuries but had lost her parents in the incident.
 
The Minister said there were ten tenants living in the building in all. Many of them were still sleeping when the tragedy struck at around 6.30 am.
 
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India signs € 300 million finance contract with EIB for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II

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The Government of India and the European Investment Bank (EIB) today signed the Finance Contract for lending of € 300 million for Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II Line R6. 
 
The agreement was signed by Mr. S. Selvakumar, Joint Secretary (BC), Department of Economic Affairs (DEA), Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Andrew McDowell, Vice-President, EIB, on behalf of the EIB.
 
Bangalore Metro Rail Project Phase II is to be jointly financed by the European Investment Bank (€500 million) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (€300 million). The first tranche of Euro 300 million was signed today. 
 
An official press release said the project envisages extension of East-West and North-South lines for Bangalore Metro Rail which includes a total length of 72.095 km (13.79 km underground) and 61 stations with 12 underground stations. The implementation period is five years from date of commencement of the project.
 
"The objective of the project is to bring in a quantum improvement in the transportation sector in the city in tandem with the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and other modes of urban transport. The project aims to ensure modern transport facility for the commuters. The spinoffs of the project would include employment opportunities, benefits to the economy, reduction of number of vehicles on road, less fuel consumption, reduction in air pollution, reduction in passenger travel time and also improvement in the aesthetic value of the city," the release added.
 
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IndiGo adds 18 frequencies, launches first flight from Amritsar to Bengaluru

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Low-cost carrier IndiGo today said it would introduce the first direct daily flight between Amritsar and Bengaluru and add 18 new flights and additional frequencies in all in its winter schedule effective October 29.
 
The additional flight frequencies will be on sectors such  as Mumbai-Mangalore, Bengaluru-Dehradun, Delhi-Dubai, and Mumbai-Lucknow, amongst other routes.  
 
"With over 900 daily flights connecting 46 destinations, these new flights will enable both corporate and leisure travellers to experience IndiGo’s unmatchable on-time performance and hassle-free service," a press release from the airline said.
 
Mr. Aditya Ghosh, President and Whole-time Director, IndiGo said, “In line with our endeavor to meet the requirements of both business and leisure travellers, we have introduced 18 additional flights as part of the winter schedule. With the increased flow of tourists and business traffic across these sectors, IndiGo is pleased to provide additional frequencies and a direct daily flight between Amritsar and Bengaluru."
 
"We are looking at providing affordable fares on these new routes for 6E travelers. It is our constant endeavor to provide more flexibility of choice for our customers as IndiGo continues to offer them on time, hassle free and always affordable flying experience," he added.
 
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Naidu inaugurates 'Swachhta Hi Seva' and 'A Crusade for Toilets' in Karnataka

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Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said yesterday that the first step towards a developed India is to create a clean and hygienic and therefore healthy country.
 
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating “Swachhta Hi Seva” and “Shouchalayakkagi Samara” (A Crusade For Toilets) Programmes in Konnur village in Gadag district of Karnataka, Mr Naidu said every Indian should become part of this “Jan Andolan” with a missionary zeal so that the goal of a “Clean India” is achieved by October 2, 2019 - the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 
The dream of the Father of the Nation could be realized through ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ if everybody from celebrities to common man selflessly participate and take ownership of the programme, he added.
 
Karnataka Governor Vajubha Vala, Minister of State for Drinking Water & Sanitation Ramesh Chandappa Jigajinagi and Minister of Rural Development & Panchayat Raj, Karnataka H.K. Patil were also present on the occasion.
 
The Vice-President said good sanitation can save Rs. 50, 000 per year per family, as stated by UNICEF, and over 1,00,000 children die every year in India due to diarrhoea. Lack of sanitation also contributes to physical and cognitive stunting in children. Besides, women and girls face a serious threat to their safety when they resort to open defecation, he added.
 
He said the number of Indians defecating in the open in rural and urban areas is estimated to have reduced to 30 crore, from about 60 crore in 2014. He expressed confidence that ‘Swachhta Hi Seva’ campaign will give a big thrust to the momentum of ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’.
 
Mr Naidu said that this campaign aims to mobilise people from across the country, especially government functionaries across all levels, local leaders, youth groups, women, school children, defence personnel, corporate, celebrities, faith organizations and citizens at large to offer shramdaan to construct twin-pit toilets and clean public places like railway stations, bus stands, parks, markets, hospitals, schools, and so on.
 
"Recognizing the need to preserve the sanctity and cleanliness of our natural endowments and places of cultural heritage like places of worship, heritage sites, and beaches, they are likely to be given a facelift. We should collectively search for innovative solutions that will make a tangible difference to the lives of the people," he added.
 
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Infosys Foundation signs MoU with Indian Institute of Science for Rs. 5 crore grant

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Infosys Foundation, the philanthropic arm of IT services major Infosys, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore, for a Rs. 5 crore grant to the institution.
 
The grant will help enhance infrastructure and broaden research activities at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research (CIDR) at the institute, a press release from Infosys Foundation said.
 
The release said the amount would be used towards research, training and creating awareness about infectious diseases, benefiting 25 faculty members and 250 students at IISc.
           
IISc is a public university for research and higher education in all science and engineering disciplines.
 
"This association will facilitate an interdisciplinary approach, with a focus on research about infectious diseases, leading to the development of new drug targets, drug delivery systems and novel diagnostic tools," the release said.
 
Mrs. Sudha Murty, Chairperson of Infosys Foundation, said, “With this MoU, Infosys Foundation aims to set milestones in the area of research of infectious diseases. We will focus on motivating researchers to perform cutting-edge research, as well as train them to raise awareness about infectious diseases.”
 
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