Morning briefing: Isro launches Astrosat, begins business with American companies

GN Bureau | September 28, 2015



Astrosat, the country's first astronomy observatory to study distant celestial objects was launched this morning (Monday) from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. India is the first country in the developing world to have its very own turbo-charged 'mini Hubble Telescope' in space. For the first time, an American satellites was also launched along with Astrosat. The American satellites are important as till recently, the US had kept ISRO under sanctions and technology was being denied on a regular basis so much so that under pressure from the US, India was denied the critical cryogenic engine technology which pushed back Indian foray into deep space by two decades. These four small LEMUR satellites are from a San Francisco-based company.

Govt forms expert panel on civil services exam reforms
An expert committee has been formed by the government to examine various issues related to age relaxation, eligibility, syllabus and pattern of civil services examination to select IAS and IPS officers. Based on the report of the committee, further changes in the civil services exam pattern will be contemplated with the primary objective of providing a level-playing field to aspirants from diverse streams of curriculum like mathematics, engineering, medicine or humanities.

Modi tells UN to clearly define terrorism
Describing terrorism and global warming as the two biggest threats to the world, the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has questioned why the UN had not yet arrived at a clear definition of terrorism. "If it has taken the UN 15 years to define terrorism, how many years will they take to fight it?" PM Modi said, addressing a large gathering of the Indian diaspora at the SAP Centre in San Jose. "They can't distinguish between good terrorism and bad terrorism in our world...but that is not true. Terrorism is terrorism," he said, in an apparent dig at Pakistan.

11 New Languages in Android Next Month, Including Gujarati: Sundar Pichai
Google will introduce 11 new languages in Android next month, including Gujarati, its chief Sundar Pichai announced today as Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited its headquarters in California's Mountain View as part of his Digital India push. "India was the first country where Chrome was the number one browser," Mr Pichai said in his introductory remarks before PM Modi's address. "I grew up in India and saw the transformation of technology."

People With Rs 4 Lakh Income on Tax Department's Radar
Those earning Rs 4 lakh per annum, besides people in tier-II and tier-III cities with taxable income but not paying taxes are on the radar of the Income Tax department which has launched an ambitious drive to net one crore new assesses this financial year. The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the top policy making body of the IT department, feels if more and more people pay their due taxes, the income tax burden of those already compliant could be gradually eased.

Broadband Internet Services Resume in Jammu and Kashmir
The internet services on broadband were restored tonight in Jammu and Kashmir, two days after the state government had ordered termination of data services fearing trouble during the Eid al-Adha. "The ban has been partially revoked and broadband services of BSNL are now working in the state," a police officer said.

Nepal imposes vehicle curbs amid fuel shortage due to blockade
Nepal on Sunday enforced an odd-even licence plate system for plying of vehicles on alternate days and asked international airlines to refuel planes abroad amid a fuel crisis due to the blockade of a key trade checkpoint with India by protesters opposing Nepal's new Constitution. Nepal government enforced the odd-even system for all kinds of vehicles plying in major cities from today in a bid to reduce the impact of the fuel crisis following unrest in Nepal's Terai plains that has led to the blockade of Birgunj trade checkpoint with India, cutting off vital supplies, including petroleum products.

Big hawala racket busted, underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's role suspected
The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has alerted the government about numerous bank accounts, which are involved in either hawala or fake lottery schemes running across the country, possibly being operated by underworld don and India’s most wanted fugitive Dawood Ibrahim, who runs his crime syndicate from Pakistan.

Dalai Lama in US clinic for health check
Tibet's exiled Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, on Sunday remained at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for evaluation following a medical visit his office said was a routine annual check-up. On Sunday, Mayo spokeswoman Ginger Plumbo confirmed he remained at the clinic for evaluation but said she could offer no further details about his stay. The Dalai Lama's India-based secretary, Tenzin Taklha, said in an email last week that the Dalai Lama was going to the Mayo for an annual medical checkup but was not ill.

Marriage of Regulators: FMC to merge with Sebi today
In the first ever merger of two regulators, over 60-year-old FMC (Forward Markets Commission) will merge today with the younger but much bigger capital markets watchdog Sebi to create a unified regulatory body. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) was set up in 1988 as a non-statutory body for regulating the securities markets, while it became an autonomous body in 1992 with fully independent powers.FMC, on the other hand, has been regulating commodities markets since 1953, but lack of powers has led to wild fluctuations and alleged irregularities remaining untamed in this market segment.

Sensex lacks punch and Nifty is okay
The S&P BSE Sensex started on a weak note on Monday and at 9.30 am the 30-share index traded at 25,906, up 43 points or 0.17 per cent. It touched a high of 25,936.89 and a low of 25,815.87 in morning trade. The 50-share Nifty index turned choppy but was still trading above its crucial psychological level of 7850, supported by gains in consumer durable, banking, and metal stocks. Most Asian market were mixed in trade after an uninspiring performance on Wall Street at the end of last week. Japan's Nikkei slipped 1.4 per cent while China's Shanghai Composite traded lower by 0.2 per cent. The Australian ASX 200 index was up by a per cent and Indonesian IDX Composite was lower by 1.6 per cent.

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