Evening digest: India, Pakistan NSA-level talks on August 23

GN Bureau | August 13, 2015



Pakistan's National Security Advisor (NSA) Sartaj Aziz on Thursday said he would visit India on August 23 for talks with his counterpart. The decision to hold NSA-level talks was taken when the Prime Ministers of the two countries met in Ufa, Russia last month on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit. The talks between NSAs of the two countries come in the backdrop of simmering tensions following terror attacks in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. There have been 19 ceasefire violations along the border in July in which four persons, including three Indian soldiers, were killed.

Bombay HC lifts ban on Maggi, orders fresh tests
the Bombay High Court on Thursday lifted the ban on Maggi noodles and ordered fresh tests as it was " still concerned about public interest and public health. A Division Bench of Justices VM Kanade and BP Colabawalla deemed the orders of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) "arbitrary, unjust and violation of Article 14 of the Constitution." The Court directed re-testing of Maagi samples within six weeks in three accredited labs in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jaipur.The bench held that labs in which the samples were earlier tested, were not authorised to test for lead and the mandatory testing procedures were not followed. Maggi products were deemed unsafe due to major violations, such as misleading labelling on MSG (monosodium glutamate), presence of lead in excess and launching of oats tastemaker without assessment.

Incentives up to Rs 1.5 lakh on surrendering over 10-year old vehicles
Government will soon come out with a policy offering financial incentives of up to Rs 1.5 lakh on surrender of vehicles that are over 10 years old to check pollution and ease traffic, road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said today.A proposal in this regard is being formulated and the finance ministry's nod will be sought on it, he said. "We are bringing such a scheme that if you sell your old vehicle you will get a certificate which on being produced at the time of new purchase will get you a discount of up to Rs 50,000. For small vehicles like cars it will be up to Rs 30,000. Besides, there will be exemptions in taxes and total benefits for big vehicles like trucks will be up to Rs 1.5 lakh," Gadkari said

Delhi government proposes free WiFi upto 1GB for a month
Delhi government has proposed to provide free WiFi usage upto 1GB for a month. Ashish Khetan, vice-chairman of Delhi Dialogue Commission, said that the government will provide free WiFi in all government and private colleges within one year, as part of the first phase. "We hope to make Delhi a hub of trade and business, particularly small and medium scale enterprises. We also want Delhi to become a tourism hub. We are confident that when public WiFi will be available in Delhi in full force, it will increase tourism," he said.

48,000 Indians register for PM Narendra Modi's UAE reception
Nearly 48,000 Indians in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have so far registered for the public reception of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to visit the country on August 16-17, a media report here said. The reception will be held at the Dubai International Stadium on August 17. Registration for the event  was on the official website of the event, www.namoindubai.ae.

Sweden drops three cases against WikiLeaks Assange
Swedish prosecutors on Thursday said they had dropped investigations into allegations of sexual assault against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Assange, who escaped a Swedish arrest warrant by taking refuge in the Ecuadorean embassy in London in 2012, is wanted on two allegations of sexual molestation and one of unlawful coercion which expire by August 18 unless he is formally charged. A fourth allegation of rape is valid until 2020.

Industrial output grows by 3.8 per cent in June
In what should cheer consumers and investors alike, consumer price index (CPI) inflation slowed to 3.8 per cent in July from 5.4 per cent in June while factory data showed an uptick in July. The CPI inflation figure was lower than the 4.5 per cent predicted by analysts, and food inflation was also lower in July than the previous month — while it was 5.5 per cent in June, it slowed to 2.15 per cent in July.

Uttar Pradesh CM launches mobile app to stay connected with party
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday announced the launch of 'Samajwadi Akhilesh' mobile application, a channel through which users will stay connected with Samajwadi Party. The bilingual (English and Hindi) application users will now be able to receive notification messages directly from the CM and learn more about his initiatives for the state. The Samajwadi Party state president, Yadav, introduced the mobile application with a tweet.

Currency notes carry micro-organisms that spread diseases
A government study has reportedly found traces of DNA footprints of at least 78-disease causing micro-organisms on Rs 10, Rs 20 and Rs 100 notes. The study conducted by scientists from Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research collected currency notes as samples for their study from street vendors, grocery shops and local market places of South Delhi.

Sensex ends 37 points up, Nifty holds 8,350
Snapping its four day losing streak, the S&P Sensex rose 37.27 points, or 0.14 per cent, to settle at 27,549.53 amid volatile trades today.The broader 50-share Nifty index gained 6.40 points, or 0.08 per cent, to finish the day at 8,355.85. The market was lifted by healthy economic data including CPI inflation and factory output numbers, released post market hours on Wednesday. The positive eonomic readings brought a cheer amid gloom over parliament logjam and yuan devaluation worries. Inflation based on the consumer price index (CPI) fell sharply in July to its lowest in the current series, strengthening the case for an interest rate cut soon, while the index of industrial production (IIP) climbed to a four-month high,  adding to the evidence that growth is gathering pace.

Kochi set to become first airport operating on solar power
Cochin International airport limited (CIAL) is all set to become the first airport in the country which would be operating on solar power, CIAL official said today.Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate CIAL's green initiative--a 12MWp solar power project set up on the premises of the airport on August 18.

Rahul Gandhi's 'cheat sheet' for parliament speech caught on camera
Congress party may have been pleased when they saw an aggressive Rahul Gandhi speak in Lok Sabha yesterday. But eh social media was not interested in his speech, rather on his hand written notes. Rahul Gandhi's notes for his speech were caught on camera by Prem Singh, from The Telegraph. The photojournalist captured Rahul's 'cheat sheet' — and the talking points for his Hindi speech were all written in Roman alphabets. "Log PM Modi ko sunna chahte hai, woh unki rai janna chahte hai, Modigate par, Vyapam par (People want to hear Prime Minister Modi, they want to know his opinion, on Modigate, on Vyapam)," reads the first point. The "3 monkeys of Gandhi ji" are also listed in his notes. Both points featured in his speech in the House later. And the Twitterati lapped up the 'picture of the sheet.

NASA calls public to design smartwatch app for astronauts
The US space agency is seeking designs from freelancers across the world for a smartwatch app that can be used by the astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) in space research. NASA's Centre of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) has partnered with Australia-based Freelancer.com - one of the world's largest freelancing and crowdsourcing marketplaces - to help design the general user interface for the smart watch application. The "Astronaut Smartwatch App" will first be used by the robotic crew member "Robonaut 2" currently helping the astronauts on the orbiting laboratory, Freelancer.com said in a statement.

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