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Telangana

Modi invites entrepreneurs from across world to be part of India's growth story

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday invited entrepreneurs from across the globe to invest in India and become a part of the country's growth story, assuring them of the government's whole-hearted support.

 
Modi, Ivanka Trump attend GES 2017 in Hyderabad
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today invited entrepreneurs from across the globe to invest in India and become a part of the country's growth story, assuring them of the government's whole-hearted support.
 
"To my young entrepreneur friends from India, I would like to say: each of you has something valuable to contribute towards creating a New India by 2022. You are vehicles of change and instruments of India’s transformation," he said in his inaugural address at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, 2017 here, an event hosted by the Government of India in partnership with the Government of the United States of America.
 
The Summit is being held in South Asia for the first time. It brings together leading investors, entrepreneurs, academicians, think-tanks and other stakeholders to propel the global entrepreneurship ecosystem.
 
Ms. Ivanka Trump, Advisor to US President Donald Trump and also his daughter, is leading the US contingent to the three-day event.
 
"This event not only connects the Silicon Valley with Hyderabad but also showcases the close ties between the United States of America and India. It underlines our shared commitment towards encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation," Mr. Modi said.
 
He noted that the topics picked for this year’s summit include healthcare and life sciences; digital economy and financial technology; energy and infrastructure; and media and entertainment, which are important issues, relevant to the well-being and prosperity of mankind. 
 
"The theme 'Women First, Prosperity for All' makes this edition of GES stand out... We believe women empowerment is vital to our development," he said.
 
"Indian women continue to lead in different walks of life. Our space programmes, including the Mars Orbiter Mission, have had immense contribution from our women scientists. Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams, both of Indian origin, have been part of US space missions. Three out of four oldest High Courts in India are now headed by women judges. Our sportswomen have done the country proud. This very city of Hyderabad is home to Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, and Sania Mirza, who have brought laurels to India.
 
"In India, we have provided for not less than one third of women representation in rural and urban local bodies, ensuring women’s participation in grass-root level decision-making. More than sixty percent of workers in our agriculture and allied sectors are women. Our milk co-operatives in Gujarat and the Shri Mahila Griha Udyog Lijjat Papad, are examples of highly successful and globally acclaimed women-led co-operative movements.
 
"Here at the GES, more than 50 percent of the delegates are women. Over the next two days, you will meet many women who have dared to be different, in their own walks of life. They now inspire a new generation of women entrepreneurs. I hope the deliberations in the summit would focus on how women entrepreneurship can be further supported," he said.
 
"The power to think differently and ahead of the times for the betterment of mankind is what sets entrepreneurs apart. I see that power in India's young generation today. I see 800 million potential entrepreneurs who can work towards making the world a better place," Mr. Modi said.
 
He said the number of smartphone users in India is projected to grow to over 500 million by 2018. This offers immense potential for the growth of any venture, in terms of outreach and job creation, he felt.
 
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He said the Government's Start-Up India programme is a comprehensive action plan to foster entrepreneurship and promote innovation. It aims to minimize the regulatory burden and provide support to startups. Over 1200 redundant laws have been scrapped, 87 rules for FDI have been eased in 21 sectors, and several government processes have been taken online, he said.
 
He said the Government had taken several steps to improve the business environment. "The jump in India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report, from 142 to 100, in three years, is a result of this. We have improved on indicators like dealing with construction permits, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency," he said.
 
"The process is not yet complete. This is an area where we are not satisfied with 100th rank. We would strive towards 50th rank.  
 
"We have launched the MUDRA scheme to provide easy finance of upto one million rupees to entrepreneurs. Since its launch in 2015, over 90 million loans worth 4.28 trillion rupees have been sanctioned.  Of these, more than 70 million loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs," he said.
 
The Prime Minister also mentioned the Atal Innovation Mission and the opening of Tinkering Labs in more than 900 schools to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among children. 
 
"Our Mentor India initiative engages leaders to guide and mentor students through these tinkering labs. In addition, 19 incubation centers have been created in various universities and research institutions. These will nurture innovative start-up businesses to become scalable and sustainable," he said.
 
He also mentioned Aadhaar, the world’s largest biometric based digital database. This currently covers over 1.15 billion people and digitally authenticates over 40 million transactions daily. He said the Government now digitally provides monetary benefits of various government schemes to the beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer using Aadhaar.
 
"Almost 300 million bank accounts with deposits of over 685 billion rupees, or over 10 billion dollars, have been opened through the Jan Dhan Yojana. These bring previously un-banked sections of society into the formal financial system. Of these, 53 per cent accounts are of women.
 
"We are steadily working towards a less cash economy and have launched a Unified Payment Interface App called BHIM. In less than a year, this platform is processing almost 280 thousand transactions daily.
 
"Having almost completed our programme to connect all villages with electricity, we have launched the Saubhagya scheme. This will provide electricity connections to all families by December 2018.
 
"We have launched a programme to provide high-speed broad-band internet to all rural areas by March 2019," he said.
 
The Prime Minister also mentioned initiatives in areas such as renewable energy, the national gas grid, the national gas policy, the Swachh Bharat Mission to improve sanitation and cleanliness, the rural and urban housing missions, and infrastructure and connectivity programmes like Sagarmala and Bharatmala, and said they offered entrepreneurs many business opportunities for investment.
 
"Our recent World Food India initiative helped us engage with entrepreneurs in the food processing industry and agricultural waste sectors.
 
"My government understands that an environment of transparent policies and a rule of law providing a level-playing field are necessary for entrepreneurship to flourish. A historic overhaul of the taxation system has been recently undertaken, bringing in the Goods and Services Tax across the country. Our Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code introduced in 2016 is a step towards ensuring timely resolution for stressed ventures. We have recently improved this further, preventing wilful defaulters from bidding for stressed assets.
 
"Tough measures have been adopted to tackle the parallel economy, check tax evasion and control black money. Our efforts have been recognized by Moody’s recent upgrade of India’s government bond ratings. This upgrade comes after a gap of almost 14 years.
 
"India has improved its rank from 54 in 2014 to 35 in 2016 on the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index. This signifies the relative ease and efficiency with which products can be moved into and from a country," he said.
 
Stating that an investment-friendly environment needs to be stable from the macro-economic perspective, he said the Government had succeeded in containing the fiscal and current account deficits, and curbing inflation. 
 
"Our foreign exchange reserves have crossed 400 billion dollars, and we continue to attract large foreign capital flows," he said.
 
"I am informed that President Trump has declared November 2017 as National Entrepreneurship Month. America has also observed National Entrepreneurs’ Day on November 21st. This summit will certainly resonate with those themes. Let me conclude by wishing you fruitful, engaging and rewarding deliberations at this summit," he added.
 
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BJP MP Bandaru Dattatreya's son dies of heart attack

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Former Union Minister and BJP parliamentarian Bandaru Dattatreya's only son Bandaru Vaishnav, 21, died of a massive heart attack on Wednesday, family sources said.
 
Vaishnav, a third year medical student, collapsed while having dinner with his family at their Ramnagar residence in Hyderabad on Tuesday.
 
The youth was rushed to a private hospital in Musheerabad. He was declared dead around 12.30 a.m.
 
Dattatreya, a member of the Lok Sabha from Secunderabad constituency, was inconsolable over the loss.
 
Condolences poured in from leaders across the political spectrum. Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu telephoned Dattatreya to convey his heartfelt condolences.
 
Telangana state BJP chief K. Lakshman, Hyderabad Mayor B. Rammoahn and leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party and Telangana Rashtra Samithi called on Dattatreya to express their condolences.
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and his Andhra Pradesh counterpart N. Chandrababu Naidu also consoled the death of Bandaru Vaishnav.
 
IANS
 
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Congress, JD-S MLAs leave for Bengaluru

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After camping here for the entire day, Karnataka MLAs belonging to the Congress and the Janata Dal-United (JD-S) left for Bengaluru late on Friday.
 
With the Supreme Court on Friday directing the new Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly on Saturday, the legislators of the two parties left for Bengaluru by road.
 
Over 115 MLAs of the two parties, along with their leaders, left in five luxury buses, accompanied by a large number of vehicles of Congress leaders of Telangana. Amid tight security, the long convoy left the two hotels after 10.30 p.m.
 
The MLAs arrived here early in the day after the night-long journey and checked in into the two hotels. They were shifted to Hyderabad to protect them from poaching by the BJP.
 
Hours after their arrival here, the Supreme Court directed Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa to take the floor test at 4 p.m on Saturday.
 
On a day of fast-paced developments, former Karnataka Chief Ministers H.D. Kumaraswamy and Siddaramaiah flew to Hyderabad to hold crucial meetings to discuss the strategy to be adopted in the state Assembly on Saturday when the BJP government seeks a trust vote.
 
JD-S leader Kumaraswamy, Congress' Siddaramaiah and top leaders of the two parties attended the meeting at the Taj Krishna hotel, where Congress MLAs were camping. They also discussed the appointment of BJP legislator K.G. Bopaiah as pro-tem Speaker by the Governor.
 
Kumaraswamy joined the meeting a couple of hours after Siddaramaiah held a meeting with all 76 MLAs of the Congress party. The meeting of Congress legislature party unanimously elected Siddaramaiah as its leader.
 
Kumaraswamy, who has already staked claim to form the government with the support of the Congress, later drove to Novotel, where 36 MLAs of his party were camping.
 
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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Former Indian Air Force chief Idris Hassan Latif passes away

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Former chief of the Indian Air Force (IAF), Air Chief Marshal Idris Hassan Latif, died here on Monday. He was 94.
 
He breathed his last at a private hospital, where he was admitted last week with pneumonia, family sources said.
 
He is survived by three children. His wife Bilkees Latif, a noted social activist and writer, died in October last year.
 
Latif headed the IAF from September 1978 to August 1981 and after his retirement, served as the Governor of Maharashtra and India's Ambassador to France.
 
He will be buried at a burial ground in the old city of Hyderabad on Tuesday.
 
Born on June 9, 1923 at Hyderabad, Latif joined the Royal Indian Air Force in 1941 at the age of 18 and was commissioned in 1942.
 
During 1943-44, he was one of the few Indian pilots to be seconded to the Royal Air Force in the UK, where he underwent training on more contemporary aircraft like the Hurricane and Spitfire.
 
He returned to India in 1944 and took part in the Burma campaign.
 
At the time of partition, he chose IAF and during the 1971 War with Pakistan, he was Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Plans).
 
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and Maharashtra Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao have condoled the death of Latif.
 
The Chief Minister, in his message, said that Latif had served the nation in various capacities and was pride of the nation. 
 
"He was a product of Nizam College, Hyderabad and served in various capacities in the Air Force and rose to become the Air Chief Marshal," he said. 
 
The Chief Minister noted that Latif was also recipient of Param Visisht Seva Medal.
 
Maharashtra Governor Vidyasagar Rao also expressed his condolences. "Latif created a distinct mark of his work as Air Force Chief and later as Governor of Maharashtra. During his tenure as Governor, Latif took keen interest in the development of the state," he said.
 
"As chancellor of universities in Maharashtra, Latif made serious efforts to enhance the quality of higher education in the State. With his impartial and dignified conduct, Latif enhanced the stature of the post of governor," added the Governor.
 
IANS
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Telangana CM to meet DMK leaders on Sunday

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Stepping up his efforts to form a Federal Front, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will meet DMK leaders M. Karunanidhi and M.K. Stalin in Chennai on Sunday.
 
This was announced by the chief minister's office in a statement on Saturday night.
 
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief along with some other leaders of the party will leave for Chennai by a special aircraft. He will call on former Tamil Nadu chief minister Karunnanidhi and his son Stalin, who is also the working president of DMK.
 
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, will discuss with DMK leaders the formation of the Federal Front proposed by him as an alternative to both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress to bring a qualitative change in national politics.
 
At the TRS plenary here on Friday, a resolution was passed to this effect. The TRS chief declared that he will intensify the efforts to form the front and as part of this will meet Stalin and Samajwadi Party President Akhlesh Yadav in coming days.
 
Stating that both BJP and Congress miserably failed to address people's problems during the last 70 years, KCR said the front would trigger a tremor in the national politics with its agenda for speedy development and for addressing the real issues of people.
 
On April 13, the TRS chief had met Janata Dal (S) President and former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda and his son H.D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru to discuss the proposed front.
 
KCR had last month flown to Kolkata to meet West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee.
 
Former Jharkhand Chief Minister and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Hemant Soren and well-known actor Prakash Raj had also called on KCR to discuss the formation of the front.
 
IANS
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DRI busts diesel smuggling racket, arrests four persons, seizes 14 containers

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The Directorate Revenue of Intelligence (DRI) has busted a major racket involving the smuggling of diesel into the country in the guise of mineral spirit and arrested four persons, including the alleged mastermind and a hawala operator, and seized 14 containers of diesel valued at more than Rs. 1 crore.
 
An official press release said that, on the basis of inputs provided by the Andhra Pradesh (AP) State intelligence Department, the DRI, Hyderabad developed intelligence indicating that diesel is being smuggled into India in guise of mineral spirit by certain operators based in Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh and Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
 
The diesel was being brought from Dubai in huge quantities on regular basis through containers at Chennai Port for further illegal sale in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it said.
 
Simultaneous search operations were carried out by the officers of the DRI, Hyderabad and Chennai with the active support of Andhra Pradesh State intelligence at various places across Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu  from April 17 onwards, it said.
 
The release said the searches conducted at two Container Freight Stations (CFS) in Chennai revealed that 14 containers imported at Chennai Port in the names of SAF Petroleum and Aditya Marine landed at Sanco CFS, Chennai and Gateway CFS, Chennai, where the goods were declared as mineral spirit. 
 
These containers were found to be actually carrying 263.78 MT (3 lakh litres approximately) of diesel. On being questioned, this was admitted by the operators and also confirmed during chemical examination. 
 
Simultaneous searches were conducted across Kakinada and Chennai covering 12 places belonging to operators, importers clearing agents, transportation broker, supervisor, hawala operators and so on, the release said.
 
Diesel is a restricted commodity for import as per the Foreign Trade Policy and allowed to be imported only by the public sector Indian Oil Corproation (IOC) and other oil marketing companies which meet the requirement of Ministry of Petroleum Resolution No. P-23015/1/2001-Mkt and not allowed to be imported by others. 
 
To circumvent this restriction, the operators of diesel smuggling based at Kakinada hatched a plan and started smuggling the fuel in the guise of mineral spirt.
 
They not only imported the restricted item but also declared a much lower value, around 40% of the actual value, thereby evading customs duty on the consignments, it said.
 
The operators had offices in Kakinada, storage yard at Maraimalai Nagar, Chennai and an office front at Guindy, Chennai to facilitate the smuggling and distribution. A relative of one of the operators from Kakinada was looking after the logistics, moving the diesel into the grey markets in Chennai, Kakinada, Ongole and parts of Telangana. 
 
Dummy companies were opened in Dubai to purchase diesel and import it Chennai by creating false documents and invoices. The price difference was being adjusted by payments through hawala channels. 
 
"It is found that in the past these operators have smuggled around 5366 MT (63 lakh litres approx) of diesel valued at around Rs. 17.7 crores, which comes to around 285 containers," it said.
 
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All five accused in Mecca Masjid blast acquitted, judge quits

A decade after a bomb blast killed nine worshippers at the historic Mecca Masjid here, an NIA court on Monday acquitted all five Hindu activists accused. Within hours, the judge who ordered the acquittals resigned, citing "personal reasons".

 
Mecca Masjid blast case: All five accused acquitted
 
 
A decade after a bomb blast killed nine worshippers at the historic Mecca Masjid here, an NIA court on Monday acquitted all five Hindu activists accused. Within hours, the judge who ordered the acquittals resigned, citing "personal reasons".
 
While Congress and Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) criticised the acquittals, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the verdict exposed the appeasement politics of Congress.
 
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) court held that none of the charges framed against the accused, including Swami Aseemanand, had been proved, a lawyer for one of the accused told reporters outside the court complex.
 
Right-wing Hindu activists Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swami Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajender Chowdhary, against whom the charges were framed, were all acquitted.
 
Hours later, special NIA court judge K. Ravinder Reddy tendered his resignation, surprising legal and political circles. His letter was sent to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court.
 
There was no information if his decision was linked to the verdict or some other issue.
 
Swamy Aseemanand, a resident of Gujarat and head of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, was earlier acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case and is currently on bail in Samjhauta Express blast case of 2014. Devendra Gupta is the RSS pracharak from Bihar while Lokesh Sharma is a RSS activist from Madhya Pradesh.
 
The powerful explosion also injured more than 50 during the Friday prayers at the 17th century mosque near the iconic Charminar on May 18, 2007. Later, five more people were killed in subsequent police firing on the crowd outside the mosque.
 
There were a total of 10 accused in the case and five of them were chargesheeted by the NIA. One, Sunil Joshi, a RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation. Three accused, Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, both RSS activists, and Amit Chowhan, are absconding while Tejram Parmar is on bail.
 
A total of three chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the NIA in the sensational case. Over 200 witnesses were examined and 400 documents were submitted to the court.
 
The city police, which initially took up investigations, blamed Bangaldeshi terror outfit Harkatul Jihad Islami and rounded up about 100 Muslim youth. All those arrested and jailed were acquitted in 2008 and the subsequent investigations by the CBI in 2010 revealed that the blast was the handiwork of Hindu rightwing group Abhinav Bharat. The case was handed over to NIA on April 4, 2011.
 
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According to the chargesheet, the accused were "angered by terrorist attacks committed on Hindus and their temples" and conspired to "avenge" such acts with attacks on Muslim places of worship and places densely populated by Muslims.
 
The chargesheet also mentioned that Aseemanand made a confessional statement before a metropolitan magistrate in Delhi. He had allegedly disclosed the conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in different places, including Mecca. Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later.
 
Aseemanand was first arrested by CBI in 2010 but was granted conditional bail in 2017 in the case.
 
Reacting to the acquittal, MIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said justice had not been done and that the ruling will weaken the fight against terrorism. He said it was a biased investigation and NIA was not allowed to pursue the case by its political masters.
 
In a series of tweets, Owaisi said the NIA and Modi-led government did not even appeal against the bail given to the accused within 90 days.
 
The Hyderabad MP urged Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to use his good offices to put pressure on the central government to challenge the judgement in a higher court.
 
Defence lawyer and BJP's member of Telangana legislative council N. Ramchandra Rao hailed the judgement. He said there was no evidence against the accused and alleged that the then UPA government had implicated them in a false case to malign the Sangh Parivar.
 
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said people were losing faith in NIA. He told television channels that accused in several cases were acquitted since the BJP-led government was formed at the Centre four years ago.
 
The BJP said it had exposed the Congress' appeasement politics and proved that there is "no such thing as saffron terror".
 
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra accused the Congress of defaming Hindu religion by coining the term and demanded an apology from Congress President Rahul Gandhi.
 
IANS
 
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Mecca Masjid case judge resigns after verdict

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Hours after acquitting all five right-wing Hindu activists accused in the 2007 Mecca Masjid bomb blast case, special NIA court judge K. Ravinder Reddy on Monday tendered his resignation.
 
Reddy, who is the fourth Metropolitan Sessions Judge, cited "personal reasons" in his resignation letter sent to the Chief Justice of the Hyderabad High Court, said informed sources.
 
His move surprised legal and political circles as it came a few hours after he acquitted Swamy Aseemanand and four others in the sensational case for lack of evidence.
 
There was no information if his decision was linked to the verdict or some other issue.
 
Ravinder Reddy, who is President of the Telangana Judges Association, and some other judges were suspended by the High Court in 2016 for protesting over the allocation of judges between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh and the demand for setting up a separate high court for Telangana.
 
Nine people were killed and 58 others were injured when a blast ripped through the historic mosque during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
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All five accused in 2007 Mecca Masjid blast case in Hyderabad acquitted

Nearly 11 years after a bomb blast killed nine worshippers at the historic Mecca Masjid here, a special NIA court on Monday acquitted all five Hindu activist accused, inviting strong criticism from Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.

 
Mecca Masjid blast case: All five accused acquitted
 
 
Nearly 11 years after a bomb blast killed nine worshippers at the historic Mecca Masjid here, a special NIA court on Monday acquitted all five Hindu activist accused, inviting strong criticism from Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi.
 
The National Investigation Agency (NIA)  court held that none of the charges framed against the accused, including Swamy Aseemanand, had been proved, a lawyer for one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex.
 
Right-wing Hindu activists Nabakumar Sarkar alias Swamy Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharat Mohanlal Rateshwar alias Bharat Bhai and Rajender Chowdhary, against whom the charges were framed, were all acquitted.
 
Swamy Aseemanand, a resident of Gujarat and head of Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, was earlier acquitted in the Ajmer Dargah blast case and is currently on bail in the Samjhauta Express blast case of 2014. 
 
Devendra Gupta is the RSS parcharak from Bihar while Lokesh Sharma is an RSS activist from Madhya Pradesh.
 
The powerful explosion had killed nine people and injured more than 50 during the Friday prayers at the 17th century mosque near the iconic Charminar on May 18, 2007.
 
Two live IEDs were also recovered by police and defused. Later, five more people were killed in subsequent police firing on the crowd outside the mosque.
 
There were a total of 10 accused in the case and five of them were chargesheeted by the NIA. One, Sunil Joshi, a RSS pracharak, was murdered during the course of investigation. Three accused, Sandeep V Dange and Ramchandra Kalsangra, both RSS activists, and Amit Chowhan, are absconding while Tejram Parmar is on bail.
 
A total of three chargesheets were filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the NIA in the sensational case. Over 200 witnesses were examined and 400 documents were submitted to the court.
 
The city police, which initially took up investigations, blamed Bangaldeshi terror outfit Harkatul Jihad Islami Aand rounded up about 100 Muslim youth. All those arrested and jailed were acquitted in 2008 and the subsequent investigations by the CBI in 2010 revealed that the blast was the handiwork of Hindu rightwing group Abhinav Bharat. The case was handed over to NIA on April 4, 2011.
 
The site of explosion that took place during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007 near the iconic Charminar of Hyderabad killing nine people and injuring over 50 others. The explosion ripped through the Mecca Masjid. Eleven years after the blast a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Hyderabad acquitted all five accused in the case on April 16, 2018. (File Photo: IANS)
The site of explosion that took place during Friday prayers on May 18, 2007 near the iconic Charminar of Hyderabad killing nine people and injuring over 50 others. The explosion ripped through the Mecca Masjid. Eleven years after the blast a special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in Hyderabad acquitted all five accused in the case on April 16, 2018. (File Photo: IANS)
According to the chargesheet, the accused were "angered by terrorist attacks committed on Hindus and their temples" and conspired to "avenge" such acts with attacks on Muslim places of worship and places densely populated by Muslims.
 
The chargesheet also mentioned that Aseemanand made a confessional statement before a metropolitan magistrate in Delhi. He had allegedly disclosed the conspiracy behind the bomb blasts in different places, including the Mecca Majid. Aseemanand allegedly retracted the statement later.
 
Aseemanand was first arrested by CBI in 2010 but was granted conditional bail in 2017 in the case.
 
Police sounded an alert in Hyderabad following the court verdict. No untoward incident was reported till evening.
 
Reacting to the acquittal, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi said justice had not been done and that the ruling will weaken the fight against terrorism. He said it was a biased investigation and NIA was not allowed to pursue the case by its political masters.
 
In a series of tweets, Owaisi said the NIA and Modi-led government did not even appeal against the bail given to the accused within 90 days.
 
"Witnesses turned hostile after June 2014. They could not give proper statements, so everything was done to fail the victims," he said.
 
Defence lawyer and BJP's member of Telangana legislative council N. Ramchandra Rao hailed the judgement. He said there was no evidence against the accused and alleged that the then UPA government had implicated them in a false case to malign the Sangh Parivar.
 
IANS
 
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All five accused in Makkah Masjid blast case acquitted

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A special National Investigation Agency (NIA) court here on Monday acquitted all five accused in the 2007 Makkah Masjid bomb blast case.
 
Eleven years after the powerful explosion killed nine people and injured more than 50 during the Friday prayers near the iconic Charminar here, the court held that none of the charges framed against the accused was proved.
 
A lawyer of one of the accused told reporters outside the Nampally criminal court complex here that the court held that the prosecution failed to prove the charges.
 
Hindu right-wing members Aseemanand, Devender Gupta, Lokesh Sharma, Bharatbhai and Rajender Chowdhary, who were charged by the NIA, were all acquitted.
 
The explosion ripped through the mosque on May 18, 2007. Two live IEDs were also recovered by police and defused. Later, five more people were killed in subsequent police firing on the crowd outside the mosque.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Kathua, Unnao....Time for India to wake up

 
I saw her face in the photographs. If I had not seen her face, this probably would have been yet another incident or story that we are now getting used to hearing, until somebody we know or probably we ourselves are living the situation.
 
However, the piercing look of innocence in her eyes haunt me every moment. I am unable to work, sleep or walk without being reminded that it is our silence that led to her situation. Our habit is of forgetting an incident after all the hue and cry is over or until the next incident is doing its rounds in the media. It keeps us momentarily busy, doesn't it?
 
The picture of her lying face down in a dress similar to the one she wore in the picture when she was alive. I could hear her voice calling out to her mother and father or anybody else for help. Someone who would rescue her from the ordeal and trauma she was put through. A child of that age would never think about death even in her worst condition but of getting back to her parents' embrace.
 
The ruthlessness the brutes showed by raping her for the last time before smashing her head with a stone. A man who came all the way from Meerut to satisfy his lust after receiving a phone call from his friend. A 60-year-old conspiring and planning?
 
On December 16, 2012, it was another of India's daughters, the spark for "The Nirbhaya Act". Let's go back in time. Have we taken time post that incident, to think about it. India’s daughter was a girl who had aspirations, a family, a dream but did not get the right help when she needed it the most, neither did she live to see justice for herself. Yes, she is no doubt instrumental in the "Nirbhaya Act" taking shape as our lawmakers and government felt the pressure of common people reacting. Have you ever thought of what if we, the general public and media, did not raise our voice? Would there be a decision made? Fast Track courts, very good, we are in 2018, Nirbhaya’s rapists, the criminals are still behind bars, awaiting their death sentence. I feel it’s like a return gift a child gets after a party, it makes you feel nice, but you wonder what is its use.
 
Did it instil fear in the rapists? Post 2012 Nirbhaya incident, we have had the Shakti Mills gang-rape, Badaun gang-rape, rape of a 6-year old in Vibgyor High, Sivagangai minor rape case, 14-year-old raping a 3-year-old, 50-year-old mutilating the body of a 10-year-old, neighbour raping an 11-year-old, 15-year-old raping an 8-month-old. Now Unnao, Kathua, and several more reported cases, not to forget those that are not even reported. The father of the Unnao victim been beaten and thrashed to death. India is getting creative in rape and ways to delay justice to a rape victim and her family.
 
With each case, changes are made to the law. Our laws are still undergoing the process of evolution which is highly impacted by the demons of politics, influence, religion and the social stigma faced by the woman who, most of the time, is forced to give up and withdraw the case with fears of the never ending trauma she is subjected to.
 
They are all India’s daughters. Aren’t they? So let’s redefine the meaning of India’s daughter. Being an Indian female makes her eligible to be raped by the Indian man who could turn rapist as she is irresistible to him, to be shamed by fanatics, politicians and by those who feel she was responsible for what she was subjected to, a girl who eventually would be named "Nirbhaya" and for whom justice takes its own pace. 
 
The name "Nirbhaya". Seriously? Who are we trying to fool? Do you think that she for once did not feel the fear, pain and helplessness? The women and girl children in India are not Nirbhayas. We fear not, these cowards who we may have to face. However, we hate and fear the hypocrisy of our so called leaders who claim to lead us to a developed India while actually going centuries back in its attitude towards respect for women.
 
Nirbhaya meant a girl or woman who feared, was subjected through pain and whose cries were not heard when needed. A girl who didn’t get the justice or was not protected in her country or a girl who gave enough material to keep politicians, media and law makers busy until the next Nirbhaya was named. 
 
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We have more Nirbhays - fearless rapists who know the law will take its own course and with the right connect, its pace will be slow enough to not affect their daily life. 
 
To the politicians who blame the other parties for conspiracy -- Grow up. Understand politics is not a game to be played but a responsibility to lead.
 
The cries of the eight-year-old in Kathua will echo through our country and her eyes will continue to pierce each of us. The innocent eyes which now probably would have the look of maturity, realising what she was subjected to. The tear filled eyes that say, Crime is a crime irrespective of gender, religion, politics, influence, status, power, whatever.
 
We are too trivial in life to give the chirpy deer, full of life, back to her parents. The least we could do is to give them justice. Give them the security from the religious fanatics and politicians who use religion as their mask and shield to cover their demonic acts.
 
We have heard the famous line, ‘No means NO’ and that’s just it. Nobody has the right to touch another person by force or without consent. 
 
India was known for her secularism and democracy. Not a country known for dictating what you eat, wear, speak or asking you your religion. Let’s not make the two words history.  Unite sensibly, not religiously.
 
Let India’s daughter be defined as a girl or woman who is living, safe and respected for her capabilities and for who she is. Let her be ‘Nirbhaya’. Living with no fear of being raped. 
 
Wake up! India.
 
 
Anita Peter
Anita Peter

Anita Peter works at Persona Script, an organisational development company. A motivational speaker and facilitator, she supports, promotes and conducts motivational women centric programs . She won the Kerala state level competition for artistic and figure roller skating. She is a Mohiniattam performer and the founder of Lasya Drutha. She has acted in two Malayalam films, several Malayalam and Tamil television serials and in plays. She has compered shows and programmes and modelled for several print ads and television commercials for popular brands. She was among the top 10 finalists of the Haier Gladrags Mrs India 2011.

 
 
 
 
 
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BHEL bags R&M order for ESP Package at Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station

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The public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) today said it had secured an order for the renovation and modernisation (R&M) of electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) at the Ramagundam Super Thermal Power Station (STPS) in Telangana.
 
Valued at Rs. 137 crore, the turnkey order envisages carrying out R&M of ESPs of three units of 200 MW each at Ramagundam STPS, Stage-I (3x200 MW) of NTPC Limited. These ESPs have been in operation for more than 25 years, a press release from BHEL said.
 
"Renovation and modernisation of these ESPs will not only facilitate the operation of these units for many more years, but will also enable these units to meet the revised emission norms for suspended particulate matter (SPM), notified by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEF & CC) in December, 2015," it said.
 
BHEL’s scope of work in the contract includes design, engineering, manufacture, supply, dismantling, erection, testing and commissioning of the ESPs to bring down the SPM emission within the stipulated levels, the release said.
 
Major equipment for the project will be supplied by BHEL’s units located at Ranipet and Bhopal. The  execution of the contract on site will also be undertaken by the company’s Ranipet unit, the release added.
 
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SpiceJet to add Hubli as its fifth UDAN destination

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Low-cost carrier SpiceJet has said that it would commence operations with effect from May 14 from Hubli in Karnataka, its fifth destination under UDAN, the government's regional connectivity scheme.
 
SpiceJet was awarded Hubli under the second round of UDAN, a press release from the airline said.
 
With the addition of Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad routes, SpiceJet will operate six daily UDAN flights.
 
The airline had launched services on the Mumbai-Porbandar, Mumbai-Kandla, Jaipur-Jaisalmer and Hyderabad-Puducherry routes under the UDAN scheme last year.
 
SpiceJet will be the first airline to connect Hubli-Chennai and Hubli-Hyderabad with direct flights. The airline will also connect Hubli with key metro cities of Bengaluru and Mumbai, both of which are non-RCS sectors, the release said.
 
Hubli, the second largest city in Karnataka, houses the largest number of government offices in the state. Earmarked for the smart city project, it is also a major trading centre for commodities like cotton and iron.
 
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Calligraphy is worship for this Indian on a mission to revive the art

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Arabic calligraphy is worship for Muqtar Ahmed, an Indian calligrapher who has made a mark for himself at the international level. Hailing from a remote village in Telangana and currently based in Bengaluru, Muqtar is on a mission to revive this dying art in India.
 
As beautiful as pearls, his works attract attention even if one is not familiar with the Arabic language.
 
According to him, the aesthetics and refinement are the specialities of Islamic art.
 
"Writing the Quranic verses and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammad) is worship. These works are sawab-e-jaria (continuous reward)," the calligrapher, who believes that there is no script more beautiful in the world, told IANS.
 
Muqtar believes his efforts have started yielding results as his disciples are carving a niche for themselves at the global level.
 
The only Indian to obtain an "Ijazah" (Master's diploma) from the Istanbul-based Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Muqtar is grooming young talent at the Institute of Indo-Islamic Art and Culture (IIIAC) in Bengaluru.
 
He has so far trained 500 youngsters, including students, professionals and others coming from varied backgrounds at the institute. A Japanese girl is among the three foreigners who learnt Arabic calligraphy under him.
 
Muqtar, whose calligraphic works adorn mosques and even private jets abroad, is happy that the institute is getting global recognition for the high standards set by it in Arabic calligraphy.
 
Three of those trained under Muqtar bagged the top prizes at a national-level calligraphy competition organised in New Delhi last year by Yayasan Restu, a Malaysian organisation. Ameerul Islam and Abdul Sattar of Hyderabad won the top honours. They were selected for an 18-month training programme in Malaysia.
 
About 400 people from calligraphy institutes across the country participated in the competition. "For the first time, people in India saw what real Arabic calligraphy is," said Muqtar, who has participated in many exhibitions in different parts of the world.
 
According to him, the art in India has been in continuous decline after the end of Mughal rule. He pointed out that the calligraphy work in India was never recognised globally as it was nowhere near the international standard.
 
Ameerul Islam and Abdul Sattar are now teaching calligraphy at the institute's Hyderabad branch, which was opened recently. The talented youth, who have participated in competitions in various countries, are training more than 20 students.
 
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Muqtar, who plans to open another branch of the institute in Lucknow, believes that with more youngsters evincing interest in Arabic calligraphy, the art has bright future in the country.
 
The "ijazah" obtained by Muqtar in 2013 may have fetched him a good job in the Arab world, where Islamic art is greatly valued. But he stayed back to revive the art in India, where it once enjoyed royal patronage.
 
Syed Mohammed Beary, chairman, Bearys Group of Companies, came forward to help him in his mission by setting up IIIAC.
 
One of the works of 50-year-old Muqtar, settled in Bengaluru for nearly three decades, was purchased by the then governor of Madina in 2011 when he participated in the international exhibition in the holy city in Saudi Arabia.
 
Interested in calligraphy from his school days, Muqtar migrated from his village in Medak district to Hyderabad to learn the art. He them moved to Bengaluru where he started working for a Urdu daily.
 
Rendered jobless after the newspaper replaced calligraphy with computers in the early 1990s, Muqtar started writing wedding cards to make a living. "It was not my goal. I wanted to go deep into the art," recalled the artist who improved his art under renowned international calligraphers Mamoun Luthfi Sakkal and Mohammed Zakariya of the US, and refined it further under the guidance of Turkey's Hassan Chalabi and Dawood Biktash.
 
Muqtar, who uses special, hand-made pens for his writings, said he achieved precision with perseverance. "Even a small piece of calligraphy takes several hours. You have to write a letter hundreds of times to achieve accuracy," he said.
 
IANS
 
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Medlife, Xiaomi, Truecaller partner with GrabOn Cricket Fantasy in IPL season

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Online coupons and deals platform GrabOn has launched Cricket Fantasy League, its popular gaming event, once again to coincide with the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
The latest edition of GrabOn Cricket Fantasy will see sponsorship from returning partner Medlife with new partners coming on board in the form of smart phone and TV brand Xiaomi and gaming site Rummy Passion.
 
GrabOn Cricket Fantasy gives cricket fans an opportunity to create their fantasy league and win attractive prizes, a press release from the Hyderabad-based company said.
 
“The previous season had an upward of 65,000 players participating in the contest and this year we expect to draw in over 1 lakh participants. We have planned events which are more competitive, with higher stakes and prizes worth up to Rs. 15 lakh up for grabs,” said Ashok Reddy, founder of GrabOn.
 
The Fantasy Cricket League requires users to build a team from the players participating and score points depending on the chosen player’s performance. The more points scored means the higher you can reach on the leaderboard. Players can also participate in engaging match and tournament predictor contests, to win easy points by answering simple questions and predicting the outcome of the matches.
 
Partnering with caller-identity pioneer Truecaller and major radio station 92.7 BIG FM, GrabOn Cricket Fantasy looks to target the youth. The prizes to be won include high-end Mivi headphones, vacation packages inclusive of flights by Klook, and gift vouchers from Xoxoday, among others. In addition, GrabOn has partnered with popular hangout spot Café Heart Cup Coffee, Hyderabad to offer a good time to cricket fans during the cricketing season. The offer is available at its outlets only to GrabOn Cricket Fantasy participants.
 
Apart from these regular events, GrabOn is also introducing a new fun game this year. It is guaranteed to help participants earn more points, top the leaderboard and win gifts every day. Players can earn additional bonus points by following certain procedures like logging in with Truecaller, referring friends to the game, and more. 
 
"This summer, GrabOn is giving you a chance to pocket big prizes off the field while records are being smashed on it," the release added.
 
Users can participate in the GrabOn Cricket Fantasy by visiting this link.
 
following link: 
 
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Telugu news anchor commits suicide in Hyderabad

 
Hyderabad TV anchor allegedly commits suicide
A Telugu news anchor committed suicide by jumping off the fifth floor of her apartment building here, police said on Monday.
 
V. Radhika Reddy, 36, who was associated with the V6 News channel, killed herself at Srivila Apartment in Moosapet on Sunday night.
 
A suicide note written in Telugu was found from her handbag. She wrote that her brain was her enemy and that nobody was responsible for her death.
 
Radhika was a divorcee with a 14-year-old son, who is mentally disabled. The police suspect she took the extreme step due to depression.
 
She was divorced six years and was since living with her son and her father.
 
The police said that witnesses saw her returning from work on Sunday night. Some saw her walking briskly towards the stairs. Instead of going to her flat, she went up to the top floor and jumped off.
 
Assistant Commissioner of Police Bhujanga Rao said a probe into the suicide was ongoing.
 
IANS
 
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CSIR scientists working on new vaccine for malaria

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Despite efforts over the decades by scientists across the world, malaria continues to be a major vector borne disease, particularly in Asia, Africa and South America. The World Health Organisation’s malaria report for 2016 estimated that globally there were 216 million cases with 445,000 deaths.
 
Malaria parasite, though a tiny single-celled organism, has a highly complex life cycle. It has 15 different stages and they occur in different cellular environments. 
 
The protein make up of the parasite also substantially differs from stage to stage and several organelles in the cells keep varying. Many organelles, particularly those required for the parasite to enter host cells, are produced and disposed of as and when required. Additionally, the parasite not only breaks down host cellular contents to obtain nutrients but also enslaves many host proteins for its benefit.
 
Scientists have been trying to come up with strategies to defeat the parasite. Researchers at the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) are working towards developing a whole parasite vaccine that can be conditionally attenuated when given to humans.
 
Speaking to India Science Wire, Dr. Puran Singh Sijwali, principal scientist at CCMB, who heads the team working on the vaccine, said “we have been developing conditionally attenuated parasite lines and testing them in mouse models. One of the lines is showing promising results. We now have to develop a parasite line for human use.”
 
Dr. Sijwali conceded that the task ahead was not a cake walk. “The basic problem is that malaria parasite species that infect human and mouse are different. We can adopt the concept that we have validated using mouse malaria species for developing a vaccine for human malaria parasite also. Importantly, the target used for conditional attenuation is also present in human malaria parasite. But we cannot be sure how effective it would be. Culture tests can give indication for attenuation. However, one has to do clinical trials with human volunteers to test whether the attenuated parasites will function as vaccines.”
 
The whole process could take several years. If successful, it would be a great advance. Despite number of efforts, a malaria vaccine is still awaited. A candidate malaria vaccine developed by GSK in collaboration with Walter Reed Army Institute of Research is set to be tested in Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
 
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The pilot project, which will begin later this year, is expected to provide initial insights on programmatic feasibility of delivering a candidate vaccine. A large scale Phase 3 efficacy and safety trial of the candidate vaccine, which concluded in January 2014, had showed that it could help in reducing burden of malaria when used alongside currently available interventions like bed nets and insecticides.
 
Dr. Sijwali and his team are also investigating two important pathways in malaria parasite - ubiquitin proteasome and lysosomal pathways, which likely regulate parasite development and disease pathogenesis, and could be a treasure of potential targets for vaccine and drug development. He said, “we combine gene knock-out/gene knock-in/gene knock-down approaches with biochemical and cell biology methods in our studies on both P. falciparum and in the vivo models of malaria”.
 
The team is also working to understand the virulence of P. falciparum that causes cerebral malaria and pregnancy related malaria. Five species of plasmodium cause malaria in humans: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. knowlesi.
 
Most infections are caused by P. falciparum and P. vivax, but P. falciparum is the most dangerous: it accounts for almost 90% of total malaria toll. P. falciparum malaria is particularly fatal in children under five and pregnant women.
 
Dr. Sijwali made a presentation on his work at a recent international conference on cell biology. It was the first of its kind meeting, where three organisations came together: International Federation for Cell Biology (IFCB), Asian Pacific Organization for Cell Biology (APOCB) and Indian Society of Cell Biology (ISCB).
 
During the five-day programme, organised by CCMB at Hyderabad, cell biologists from across the world presented and discussed their work. The meeting also commemorated the 30th anniversary of the APOCB.
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Aircraft suffers tyre burst while landing at Hyderabad Airport

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Over 70 passengers on board an Indigo aircraft from Tirupati had a narrow escape while one of its tyres burst while landing at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday night, the airline said.
 
"The 72 passengers plus 1 infant and 4 crew are safe. All passengers of flight 6E 7117 have disembarked and taken with luggage to arrival hall," said a statement by IndiGo.
 
"ATR 72 is currently in a process to be removed to the parking bay," it added.
 
As the tyre burst led to sparks, alert personnel of fire fighting team rushed to the aircraft to prevent any disaster, airport sources said.
 
The incident occurred around 10.30 p.m when the aircraft was landing on the runway. It caused panic among passengers.
 
YSR Congress Party legislator Roja was among the passengers. The former actress sent few visuals from the aircraft to some television channels. In the video clippings, some passengers were seen having heated argument with crew over the delay in opening the doors.
 
The pilot was heard advising passengers to be calm and remain seated. He assured them that there is nothing serious.
 
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‘Wings India 2018’ gets underway with ‘India-Global Aviation Hub’ as theme

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The four-day biennial event ‘Wings India 2018’ began here yesterday with ‘India-Global Aviation Hub’ as the theme.
 
Jointly organized by Ministry of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India and FICCI, Wings India 2018 is a platform for interactions, forging alliances, investments and air connectivity between the States and the global aviation players & stakeholders, an official press release said.
 
The event was attended by senior ministers of Telangana Government and senior officials of Ministry of Civil Aviation, DGCA, AAI and representatives from FICCI.
 
Speaking at the inauguration, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey said the Government was committed to connecting the cities and towns to increase regional connectivity. The oil prices needed to remain soft, below $80 a barrel, for the sector to grow at a CAGR of 15% for the next 20 years, he said.
 
The event will witness the presence of 125 exhibitors and 35 CEOs. It will also see representation from 10 countries. Besides the conference and exhibition, Roundtables on Tourism, Cargo and Logistics and Skills and G2B and B2B meetings are scheduled.
 
More than 300 B2B meetings are scheduled during the event. The conference will focus on fostering partnership to transform Indian aviation and the role of a conducive regulatory framework to facilitate the growth of civil aviation market.
 
Coinciding with the event, FICCI is set to launch its maiden edition of ‘Wings India Awards’ for Excellence in the aviation sector. The awards will be conferred upon the aviation-related companies, institutions and organizations in 14 categories.
 
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10 Maoists, one commando killed in gunbattle on Telangana-Chhattisgarh border

 
10 Maoists killed in encounter with security forces in Pujari Kanker
At least ten suspected Maoists were killed in a gunbattle between them and the police in Pujari Kander on the border between Telangana and Chhattisgarh early this morning.
 
The Maoists killed in the incident included six women, official source said.
 
A constable of the Greyhounds commando force of the Telangana Police was also killed in the incident. His body was recovered from the scene and flown to Bhadrachalam, they said. Three other police personnel suffered injuries and were airlifted to a hospital.
 
The sources said the encounter took place when a joint team of the Telangana and the Chhattisgarh Police began a combing operation in the area following a tip-off that Maoists were present there.
 
They surrounded the Maoists and asked them to surrender but were greeted, instead, with gunfire, after which the police retaliated, the sources said.
 
The incident has come about two and a half months after eight Maoists were killed in an encounter in the Mellamadugu forest in Tekulapalli mandal of Bhadradri Kothagudem district on December 14, 2017.
 
Additional police forces were rushed to the area and have launched combing operations.
 
Some automatic weapons and ammunition, a laptop computer, a scanner and about Rs. 40,000 in cash were recovered from the slain Maoists, the sources said.
 
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Nutrition may help overcome genetic risk of diabetes: Study

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For years, scientists have been engaged in finding human genes associated with lifestyle diseases like diabetes and heart disease to know if certain population groups are prone to these disorders. Now Indian scientists have found that good nutrition can actually modify the risk of diabetes posed by presence of certain faulty genes.
 
New research has revealed that good nutrition – in the form of B12 and folic acid supplements – has a beneficial impact on genes associated with Type 2 diabetes. The study has been led by scientists at the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), a laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
 
Vitamins B12 and folate plays an important role in DNA methylation – a process that regulates various function of genes without altering the sequence. In DNA methylation, basically methyl group is added to DNA which can result in change in its activity.
 
Researchers provided Vitamin B12 and folic acid to a group of children for one year and examined the DNA methylation status by analysing their blood samples. They found that only vitamin B12 and not folic acid influences regulation of several Type 2 Diabetes associated genes through methylation of a specific microRNA.
 
“This assumes significance in the light of our earlier observations that maternal homocysteine levels due to vitamin B12 deficiency are predictive of the future risk of cardio-metabolic risk in their children. Hence, this study provides a novel epigenetic explanation for the association between disordered one-carbon metabolism and risk of adiposity, insulin resistance and diabetes and has translational potential,” Dr. Giriraj R Chandak, who led the research, told India Science Wire.
 
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To understand the programming of complex diseases in more detail, the group is currently working a group of mothers who were given micronutrients, to see the effect of supplementation in their offspring. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr C S Yajnik at KEM Hospital and Research Centre (KEMHRC), Pune. In order to understand molecular mechanism of programming in more details, similar conditions have been generated in animal models and effects are being analyzed in their cells, tissues and organs.
 
“Finding of this study will enrich our understanding of the molecular mechanism of fetal programming, cause, and development of complex diseases. These studies will have potential public health significance and help in designing prevention policies,” added Dr. Chandak.
 
The research team also included Dilip Kumar Yadav and Smeeta Shrestha from –CCMB; Hong Pan and Joanna D Holbrook from Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences; Caroline HD Fall and Karen A Lillycrop from Southampton General Hospital, UK; Charu V Joglekar and C S Yajnik from KEM Health Research Centre, Pune. 
 
The study was funded by CSIR, Wellcome Trust and Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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India a hot-spot for digital innovation, growing market for tech innovation: Modi

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India is the hot-spot of digital innovation across all sectors, not only having a growing number of innovative entrepreneurs, but also a growing market for tech innovation.
 
“We were and we remain one of the most tech-friendly populations in the world, with over one lakh villages linked with optical fibre, 121 crore mobile phones, 120 crore Aadhaar and 50 crore internet users,” Mr Modi said in his inaugural address through video conference at the World Conference on Information Technology (IT) here.
 
Noting that the event is being held in India for the first time, he said it has been organized in partnership with NASSCOM, WITSA and Telangana state government.
 
“India is best placed to leverage the power of technology and leap-frog into the future while ensuring empowerment of every citizen. Digital India is a journey bringing about digital inclusion for digital empowerment aided by the digital infrastructure for digital delivery of services. Leveraging technology in such a holistic manner was unthinkable some years ago,” the Prime Minister said.
 
“We have successfully completed this life-cycle in the last three and a half years. This has been possible through a change in public behaviour and processes. Digital India has not remained merely a Government initiative, but has become a way of life,” he said.
 
Mr Modi said while most Government initiatives depend on a Government push, Digital India is succeeding because of the people’s pull.
 
The JAM trinity combining 320 million Jan Dhan bank accounts of the poor with Aadhaar and Mobile with direct benefits of welfare measures has saved Rs 57,000 crore, he said.
 
Around 22 million digital hospital transactions across 172 hospitals in India are bringing comfort in the lives of patients. The National Scholarship Portal for easy scholarships today has 14 million students registered for it, he added.
 
eNAM- an online agriculture market offering the best prices to the farmers has 6.6 million farmers registered and 470 agriculture markets connected. Digital payments through BHIM-UPI has registered transactions of Rs 15,000 crore in January 2018, he said.
 
The unique Umang app launched only three months back is already offering 185 Government services, he pointed out.
 
Mr. Modi said that, as of date, 2.8 lakh Common Services Centres in different parts of the country were providing several digital services. About 10 lakh people work in these centres, including thousands of women entrepreneurs.
 
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“In order to leverage the skills and talent of our youth, BPOs have started operating from places like Kohima and Imphal in North East India to areas of Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 86 units across 27 states and Union Territories have already become operational and much more are likely to come up soon,” he added.
 
“To ensure digital literacy in every household, we have initiated a Pradhan Mantri Rural Digital Literacy Mission to make 60 million adults digitally literate in rural India. Under this scheme, 10 million people have already been trained.
 
“We have come a long way with the convergence of Make In India and Digital India. From only two mobile manufacturing units in India in 2014, today there are 118 units operating in the country, including some of the best global brands,” the Prime Minister said.
 
The Government e-Market-place has been developed as the National Procurement Portal of India. It enables small and medium enterprises to compete in meeting the procurement requirements of the Government. This simple IT framework has improved transparency in Government procurement. It has also speeded up procurement processes and empowered thousands of small and medium enterprises, he added.
 
“We stand today at the cusp of the fourth Industrial Revolution. Technology, if used well for public good, can deliver lasting prosperity to mankind and a sustainable future for our planet. It is in this context that I place the World Conference on Information Technology, in India today,” Mr Modi said.
 
 “The key themes at this conference reflect the opportunities that await us. Disruptive technologies such as Block-chain and the Internet of Things will have a deep impact in the way we live and work. They will require rapid adaptation in our workplaces.
 
“Skilling citizens for the workplace of the future is Important. In India, we have launched the National Skill Development Mission to prepare our children and youth for a bright future. We also need to ensure that our existing work-force is able to re-skill, as new technologies emerge,” the Prime Minister pointed out.
 
 "One of the invited speakers at this event, the robot Sophia shows the potential of new technologies. We need to reflect on the changing nature of jobs, in the emerging age of intelligent automation. I compliment NASSCOM for developing the “Skills of the Future” platform,” he said.
 
“I am told, NASSCOM has identified eight important technologies. They include Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Robotic Process Automation, Internet of Things, Big Data Analytics, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Social and Mobile. NASSCOM has also identified 55 job roles that are going to be in high demand globally,” he added.
 
The Prime Minister said the Government had launched the Start-up India initiative to prepare millions of small and medium businesses for this transformation in a short time.
 
“We believe our startups are the key to finding viable and economical solutions across sectors and verticals. Under the Atal Innovation Mission, we are building Atal Tinkering Labs in schools across India. The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds,” he added.
 
NNN
 
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CCMB working to make personalised medicine a reality

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One size does not fit all. This applies to medicine, as much as for garments. Some medicines might work on some but not on others. The key to unravel this secret lies in the uniqueness of the cells of each one of us. However, unlike garments, the consequences can be quite serious when we do not respond favorably to the drugs. Could we then have a test run of the drug on a body double and pick only the ones that work for ourselves?
 
Recent developments in life science research have led to a novel solution for this problem. Scientists can now convert ordinary cells extracted from a patient’s body into what are called pluripotent stem cells and use these to develop a variety of organoids – multiple miniaturized and simplified versions of body organs. These can then be used to screen a variety of drugs for the ailment a person is suffering from and identify those that are best suited for him or her.
 
The Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), a part of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is in the process of setting up a facility to take the benefit of this new technology to common people.
 
Noting that several other new technologies have also come up in recent years that could help make personalised medicine a reality, the Director of the institute, Dr. Rakesh K.Mishra, said steps were underway to put them, too. into use.
 
For instance, it is now possible to make cells produce bioactive products like insulin and deliver them to patients who do not produce enough of them in the form of patches. “The technologies are available. We just need to put them in place after obtaining appropriate approvals. Lots of activities are happening on this front”, he said.
 
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CCMB, he said, is looking to engage with clinicians and the industry in a big way, with them participating right from the beginning stages of research.
 
“We want them to invest and be a partner in developing technologies. This will help accelerate research in industrial context. We will also gain a lot from their expertise in marketing and production,’’ Dr Mishra said. In this regard, he recalled how Shanta Biotech, one of the first major biotechnology companies in India had begun its journey from CCMB.
 
The institute focuses both on contributing intellectually as well as in terms of developing industry ready manpower. “We interact with the industry, find out what kind of manpower they require so as to design appropriate short term courses of one, two and six month duration. In this programme, we focus on producing properly qualified technicians, technical officers and other manpower required by industries engaged in biology-related activities,” he said.
 
The research institute has recently started a programme to expose students in medical colleges in Telangana to various aspects of medical research. The aim of the programme is to foster collaborations between scientists and medical professionals in medical research. 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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