New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday said that the entrance test for admission to MBBS and BDS courses for the academic year 2016-17 will be held as per the schedule through the single common entrance test National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET) on May 1 and July 24. The court said it will go into the issue of modification in due course after the parties file their applications in this regard. Justice A R Dave, before whom the matter was mentioned by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said, “We are not having the bench. Let the exam go on. Let them file the applications.” PTI
Chandigarh: A twitter account ‘SGPC4Sikhs’, apparently created on Friday, witnessed a heavy traffic in the evening with the SAD president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Union Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia and the DSGMC General Secretary Manjinder Sirsa also tweeting on it.
Notably, every tweet was about the latest amendment to the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925 revoking voting rights to the Sehajdharis in the general election to the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. The page was abuzz with people from all walks of life responding to the subject with pouring out their minds on the sensitive issue. “Sikhs stand united on Sikh Gurdwara Amendment Bill. Anti-Sikh forces should stop playing politics on our sensitive matter,” tweeted Sukhbir. “Shiromani Akali Dal succeeded in correcting a historical wrong,” reads one of the tweets by Harsimrat. DP
Chandigarh: Punjab government Friday gave approval for allotment of land for setting up of five new police stations in Mohali district. The proposed police stations will come up at Sector 89, Aero City, IT City in Sector 66, Medi City in New Chandigarh (Mullanpur) and Sector 77 at Mohali, a government spokesperson said here.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, who is also the chairman of Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA), approved the proposal for allotment of one acre land in Sector 89, 0.92 acre in Aero City, two acres in IT City, Sector 66 Beta, one acre in Medi City, New Chandigarh, and 0.50 acre for women police station in Sector 77 at Mohali, the official said. These sites have been allotted to the police department free of cost as per the policy of GMADA, the spokesperson added. PTI
Ludhiana The idea of beautifying the roads and bridges with colourful graffiti would now be replicated in other cities of the Punjab as well and first of all cities like Amritsar, Jalandhar and Mohali would take lessons from Ludhiana. The designated teams formed by the Deputy Commissioners of these three cities would visit the industrial town for collecting the information about this beautification technique which has been adopted by Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.
The teams from holy city Amritsar, sports hub Jalandhar and Mohali are likely to visit city shortly because they have to start replication by the mid of May and it has to be completed by the end of June. The graffiti art would be implemented in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Zirakpur and some parts of Mohali. Municipal Corporation Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said, “It’s a matter of pride for Ludhiana that now other cities would be following our idea of graffiti and we would continue adopting new and advanced techniques for creating the best environment for the residents of this industrial town.”
It is pertinent to mention here that Ludhiana could achieve the tag of graffiti capital because volunteers join the department. They are not professionals but just hobbyists and enthusiasts. The artists like Shivam Pahwa, Sukhvinder, Sukhjit, Sneha, Chitrit, Sanjana, Sakshi, Jyoti, Aryan, Akshit, Japjeet and Deepreet joined hands and helped in making the city beautiful.
Shimla: In a landmark judgement, Himachal High Court has directed Chief Secretary to constitute a committee to carry out inspection of all the private educational institutions, including schools, colleges, coaching centres, extension centres, universities etc. in the state and submit report regarding compliance of the HP Private Educational Institutions (Regulation) Act, 1997 within three months. Rejecting the plea of Business Institute of Management Studies, Shimla against the orders of HP Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Commission to refund the fee and challenging the jurisdiction of the Commission, a single bench of High Court consisting of Justice Tarlok Singh Chauhan said that special emphasis and care shall be taken to indicate in the report as to whether the private institutions have the requisite infrastructure, parents teacher associations, qualified staff. And whether these institutions are maintaining the accounts in terms of Rule 6 and are regularly submitting all the information in the forms prescribed under the Rules and are further charging the ‘fee’ as approved by the government.
“The Committee shall further report regarding violations being carried out by the educational institutions with respect to the guidelines issued by the UGC from time to time as have otherwise been taken note of in this judgment and shall be free to report violation of any Act, Rule, statutory provisions, guidelines etc., irrespective of the fact that the same have been issued by the Central or the state governments. And also keep in mind the provisions of the UGC Act, UGC (Establishment and Maintenance of Standards in Private Universities) Regulations, 2003, and instructions issued by the UGC from time to time.” The Judge said, “I not only find no merit in these petitions but am of the firm view that the same are absolutely frivolous and, therefore, deserve to be dismissed with costs. The petitions are accordingly dismissed with costs of Rs 10,000 each to be paid by the petitioner to the H.P. State Legal Services Authority “, the order said. Strongly observing that the “private institutions cannot be permitted to operate like money minting institutions; rather it has to be ensured that they comply with all the rules, regulations and norms before they are granted permission to operate within the state of Himachal”, the bench said that “the innocent people of this state cannot be allowed to be duped any further”.
‘Fee charged in the name building fund is unethical’
The order said that the Private Education Institutions including schools do not have the requisite infrastructure, nor do they maintain the accounts and have further failed to constitute the parent teacher associations and as if that was not enough, would charge exorbitant fees. “It is shocking that the private institutions have been raising their assets after illegally collecting funds like building fund, development fund, infrastructure fund etc and it is high time these practices are stopped forthwith and there is a crack down on all these institutions.” Every educational institution is accountable and it cannot under the garb of building fund etc. illegally generate funds for their “business expansion” and create “business empires”, the bench said. It added that it is the responsibility of the institution imparting education to set up proper infrastructure for the students and, therefore, the fee charged towards building fund is both unfair as well as unethical.
Chandigarh: Haryana Cabinet which met under the Chairmanship of Chief Minister, Manohar Lal Khattar here on Friday approved the proposal to amend Haryana Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993 (Pollution) to establish more pollution checking centres and revise the fee to be charged for issuing Pollution Under Control Certificate. As per the amendment, the Pollution Under Control Certificate shall be issued by Transport Department of a pollution checking centre authorised by the Transport Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him.
No premises shall be used as a pollution checking centre unless valid authorisation has been obtained from the Transport Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him for use of the premises as such. An application for grant of authorisation for a pollution checking centre shall be made to the Transport Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him along with a fee of Rs 500. The Transport Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him, may attach any terms and conditions while granting the authorisation. The authorisation shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue and would be reviewed on payment of a fee of Rs 500. Any officer of the Transport Department would check working of any pollution checking centre falling in his jurisdiction.
Transport Commissioner or any other officer authorised by him shall charge a penalty of Rs 2,000 in case of violation of any of the terms and conditions of the grant of authorisation after hearing the holder of authorisation and after making such enquiry as he deems just and proper. He may suspend or cancel the authorisation granted for pollution checking centre. The revised rates of issuing Pollution Under Control Certificates in respect of various vehicles shall be on the pattern of Delhi. Two Wheelers of Petrol, CNG, LPG shall pay a fee of Rs 50. Three and Four Wheelers of Petrol, CNG or LPG shall pay Rs 80 and Diesel Vehicles would pay a fee of Rs 100 to get Pollution Under Control Certificate.
Washington: Riding on advertisement growth, social media giant Facebook on Wednesday reported a stellar $1.5 billion first-quarter profit or 52 cents per share in 2016 -- nearly triple of last year's profits of $512 million in the same period. Better than expected results led to Facebook shares jump more than 9 percent in after-hours trading. In a crucial development, Facebook also announced that its board will soon create a new class of non-voting stock or Class C capital stock. "If the proposal is approved, we intend to issue two shares of Class C capital stock as a one-time stock dividend in respect of each outstanding share of our Class A and Class B common stock," the company said in a statement on Wednesday.
The proposal is designed to create a capital structure that will, among other things, allow the company to remain focused on founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's long-term vision and encourage him to remain in an active leadership role at Facebook. The adoption of the proposal is subjected to the approval of Facebook's stockholders at the annual meeting on June 20. "We had a great start to the year. We are focused on our 10-year roadmap to give everyone in the world the power to share anything they want with anyone," said Zuckerberg in a statement. The company also announced an increase of 52 percent in revenues in the first three months of 2016 to $5.38 billion and said that 1.65 billion people use Facebook at least once a month, up 15 percent, EFE news reported. Overall, Facebook recorded 1.09 billion daily active users (DAUs) in March, an increase of 16 percent compared to the same month in 2015. Mobile DAUs were 989 million on average for March 2016, an increase of 24 percent year-over-year while Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.65 billion as of March 31 - an increase of 15 percent year-over-year.
Most new Facebook users in the last two years are from Asia, Africa and South America, and two-thirds are outside the US, Canada and Europe. According to www.thestreet.com, Facebook will focus on investing in its ecosystems in the near term, Zuckerberg said during the call with investors. He added that Facebook is happy with the way its photo-sharing platform Instagram has been growing and that around 60 billion messages are sent via Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp every day. "Ultimately, humans have such a deep desire to express themselves and want to connect with people around them," Zuckerberg noted. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, the company has been capitalising on a shift to mobile as well as the growing number of marketers using mobile products.
At the recently-concluded F8 conference in California, Zuckerburg had said that Facebook will focus on connectivity, artificial intelligence and augmented reality over the next 10 years. The social networking giant also launched AI bots right into its popular messaging app Messenger to allow users to interact with businesses and get updates from them. The company also unveiled its own 360-degree stereoscopic 3D video camera. According to Facebook, there have been more than 50 million businesses on Messenger, which boasts of 900 million monthly active users. The company said it is aiming to provide great valuable experiences for users and added value for businesses. --IANS
Kolkata: Nearly 20 percent of the electorate cast their votes braving the soaring mercury and amid tight security in the first two hours of polling for 53 constituencies in the fifth and penultimate phase of West Bengal`s assembly polls on Saturday. Voting began at 7.00 a.m. for 31 constituencies in South 24 Parganas and 18 in Hooghly districts besides four in South Kolkata. "Poll percentage till 9.00 a.m. was 19.64 overall. In Hooghly it was A20.10 percent , in Kolkata South 15.64 percent and in South 24 Parganas 20.04 percent," an Election Commission official said.
Nearly 1.24 crore (1,23,97,832) voters across 14,642 polling stations, including 77 auxiliary booths, are eligible to decide the fate of 349 candidates -- 43 of them female. While the Election Commission said polling was peaceful in the first two hours, the CPI-M and Congress accused the ruling Trinamool Congress of intimidating voters and election agents. There were reports of entry of outsiders in Kasba from Bhangar in South 24-Parganas while in Haripal in Hooghly district, the CPI-M claimed its agent was "prevented" from entering by the Trinamool Congress. In Khanakul in Hooghly as well as in South 24-Parganas' Canning East assembly seat, the CPI-M accused the Trinamool of threatening its agents. At a booth in Satgachia of South 24-Parganas, Deputy Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly (WBLA) and Trinamool Congress MLA Sonali Guha was seen questioning a central force personnel with pointed fingers as he stopped her from getting close to the electronic voting machine (EVM).
Clashes between the Trinamool and CPI-M were reported in Arambag of Hooghly. Independent candidate Ambikesh Mahapatra, supported by the Left Front-Congress, said voters were being prevented from entering some booths under police station of his Behala East constituency and alleged the officer in charge was inactive and did nothing. He also alleged the family members of one of his agents were assaulted and threatened by the Trinamool. The Election Commission is using 16,838 EVMs and 1,024 Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT). The Trinamool and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are contesting in all the seats in this phase. The Left Front, which has tied up with the Indian National Congress, is in the fray in 37 seats - CPI-M (31), All India Forward Bloc (three), Revolutionary Socialist Party (two) and Communist Party of India (one). The Congress has nominated 14 candidates.
The combine has lent support to the Nationalist Congress Party in one seat, and is backing an independent in another. In the 2011 assembly polls, theTrinamool had captured 46 seats. The LF had won only six - CPI-M (four), and the RSP and the AIFB (one each). The Socialist Unity Cetre of India-Communist had bagged one. All eyes are on south Kolkata's Bhabanipur, where Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee -- seeking re-election -- is facing a challenge from Left Front-backed Congress nominee Deepa Dasmunshi and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose of the BJP. Also seeking re-election are state ministers and Trinamool heavyweights Firhad Hakim, Subrata Mukherjee, city mayor Sovon Chatterjee and Iqbal Ahmed - who were among the leaders allegedly shown taking money in the Narada News sting operation videos in return for doling out favours to a fictitious company.
Another star candidate is Abdur Rezzak Mollah, a high-profile minister during the Left Front regime, who is contesting on a Trinamool ticket from Bhangore in South 24 Parganas. Celebrated actress and legislator Debasree Roy is taking on CPI-M heavyweight and former state minister Kanti Ganguly at Raidighi in South 24 Parganas. As many as 680 companies of central forces have been deployed, besides thousands of city and state police personnel to ensure free, fair and peaceful polls. Ahead of Saturday's polls, elections have been held in 216 of the 294 constituencies in the state. The remaining 25 will vote in the sixth and final phase on May 5. --IANS
New Delhi / Jalandhar: Former cricketer and BJP leader Navjot Singh Sidhu took oath as MP in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.Belongs to Amritsar in Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu having different style.His wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu who is also a BJP MLA in Punjab,already made her impact by stinging an officer.
Sidhu's journey of becoming Cricketer to a Political Leader seems very interesting. Sidhu's daughter Rubia wants to be a fashion designer and she also passionate for modelling.Karan, his son wants to become an advocate and sometime may be seen with his mother in her constituency.Now before assembly elections 2017, Navjot Singh Sidhu appionted as MP in Rajya Sabha.
New Delhi: Professional Management Group(PMG), India’s first sports marketing company chaired by legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar has signed Indian cricket’s youth icon Shikhar Dhawan for a three year period. As part of this long term association, PMG will now exclusively be looking after Shikhar's brand endorsements and associations, corporate profile, patents and digital rights, with a special focus on image building and reputation management. PMG will provide a focused team working on Shikhar with special emphasis on enhancing his dynamic personality and his connect with youth.
Commenting on the signing, Sam Balsara, Director, PMG & Chairman, Madison World said,"We are excited to sign up with Shikhar, one of the few batsman to play across all formats for India. He is one of India's most gifted cricketers with right aggression, competitiveness & consistency. "He has made a place for himself with his solid and powerful batting skills. Being an instant crowd favourite, brands would love to associate with such a strong personality in order to project high spiritedness and exuberance amongst their target audience." PMG signing youngsters like Sarfaraz Khan, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw, the signing of Shikhar now shows PMG’s intent of being serious player in the Player Management vertical. PTI
New York: Get ready to say good morning to Twitter in classroom soon as the micro-blogging can help teachers engage students in a more efficient way and better prepare them to take on New-Age challenges, researchers reveal. Twitter, if used properly, can produce better outcomes among middle school students and enhance the way children learn in the 21st century. "Our work adds a critical lens to the role of open social networking tools such as Twitter in the context of adolescents' learning and raises new questions about the potential for social media as a lever for increasing the personalisation of education," explained Penny Bishop, professor and director of the Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education at University of Vermont.
Lead researcher Ryan Becker used his middle school science classes to conduct the research in conjunction with co-author Bishop. Becker found that 95 percent of his students agreed or strongly agreed that Twitter enabled them to follow real science in real time as it develops around the world. Particularly motivating was the ability to interact via Twitter with leading organisations like the US space agency NASA and science-related programmes. The findings highlight the potential of Twitter as a means to personalise learning and to expand secondary students' encounters with science professionals and organisations. The study revealed that 93 percent of students surveyed think Twitter enabled them to interact and share perspectives with a global audience outside the classroom. "When I have something important to share about science that I like, as many as 52 people (Twitter followers) can see what I tweet instantly," said one student.
Another student said they use Twitter for academic support by tweeting with other students about concepts, assignments and projects. Ninety-one percent said Twitter helped them make connections between science and their own lives and interests. "Twitter has made me think about things that I like and had me think about the science related to them," added another student. Others said Twitter helped them learn about science in new ways that related to their everyday lives. Additionally, 81 percent of students agreed that Twitter helped them think creatively about new ways to communicate science. Twitter is also an extremely powerful assessment tool, according to Becker, who recommends displaying tweets on an electronic "smart" board so students and teachers can assess and discuss them together.
Teachers can also ask students to tweet examples of specific scientific concepts like the students in Becker's class who tweeted personal examples of Newton's First Law. Teachers can also have students respond to scientific poll questions and share instant results with their class. Students continued to tweet outside of class making certain topics a constant conversation. The 140-character limit also forces students to distill down major concepts like "what is chemistry," Becker noted in a paper forthcoming in Middle School Journal. --IANS
London: Fancy eating chocolates every day? You may soon have the recommendation of doctors to indulge a little as researchers have found that a dark chocolate bar daily could reduces the risk of developing diabetes and heart diseases. For the study, the researchers analysed data of 1,153 people aged 18-69 years old who were part of the Observation of Cardiovascular Risk in Luxembourg study.
It was found that those who ate 100 g of chocolate a day -- equivalent to a bar -- had reduced insulin resistance and improved liver enzymes. Insulin sensitivity is a well-established risk factor to cardiovascular disease.The findings were published in the British Journal of Nutrition. The analysis took into account lifestyle and dietary factors, including the simultaneous consumption of tea and coffee.This is because both drinks can be high in polyphenol, the substance which may provide chocolate with its beneficial cardiometabolic effects. "Given the growing body of evidence, including our own study, cocoa-based products may represent an additional dietary recommendation to improve cardio-metabolic health; however, observational results need to be supported by robust trial evidence," said Saverio Stranges, visiting academic at the University of Warwick Medical School in England.
"Potential applications of this knowledge include recommendations by healthcare professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts," Stranges said. However, it is important to differentiate between the natural product cocoa and the processed product chocolate, which is an energy-dense food. Therefore, physical activity, diet and other lifestyle factors must be carefully balanced to avoid detrimental weight gain over time, the researchers warned. --IANS
London: Everything you eat or drink affects your intestinal bacteria, and is likely to have an impact on your health, a new study has found. Researchers from University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) in Netherlands collected stool samples from more than 1100 people. The samples were used to analyse the DNA of the bacteria and other organisms that live in the gut. In addition to stools, the study collected information on the participants' diet, medicine-use and health, researchers said. The study is unique in that it focused on a group of normal people whereas previous research was frequently focused on patients with a specific illness, they said.
Further, the study covered an exceptionally large group of people and studied their gut DNA in detail. "Normally researchers only investigate one particular region of DNA in which different groups of bacteria can be distinguished," said Cisca Wijmenga from UMCG. "We have mapped all the bacterial DNA to gain much more detailed information about bacteria types," said Wijmenga. This DNA analysis made it possible to examine which factors impact the diversity of the microbiome (the intestinal bacterial community unique to each of us). And that appears to be many, Wijmenga said. "You see, for example, the effect of diet in the gut," she said. People who regularly consume yogurt or buttermilk have a greater diversity of gut bacteria.
Coffee and wine can increase the diversity as well, while whole milk or a high-calorie diet can decrease it, researchers said. "In total we found 60 dietary factors that influence the diversity. But there is a good correlation between diversity and health - greater diversity is better," said Alexandra Zhernakova from UMCG. Beyond diet, at least 19 different kinds of medicine - some of which are widely used - have an impact on microbiome diversity, researchers said. An earlier study showed that antacids decrease this diversity, while antibiotics and the diabetes drug metformin also have an effect, they said. "Disease often occurs as the result of many factors. Most of these factors, like your genes or your age, are not things you can change," said Wijmenga. "But you can change the diversity of your microbiome through adapting your diet or medication. When we understand how this works, it will open up new possibilities," she said. The findings were published in the journal Science. PTI
Bogota: Colombia's top court has legalised same-sex marriages, making the country the fourth in Latin America to do so. Gay couples were already allowed to form civil partnerships, but Thursday's ruling extends them the same marriage rights as heterosexual couples, BBC reported.
Earlier this month, the constitutional court dismissed a judge's petition against equal marriage rights for heterosexual and homosexual couples. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have previously legalised same-sex marriage. Argentina was the first Latin American country to take the step in July 2010. --IANS
New Delhi: Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu has said he was confident that each state would be able to set up its regulator for the real estate sector within a year as envisaged in the Bill passed by Parliament.The ministry is working on the rules which need to framed for the Real Estate Bill within three months and then it will be circulated to the states. “My department is now internally discussing the rules which need to be framed within three months. Then it has to communicated to the states and then each state has to set up a regulator.
“I am confident about achieving the time-frame given in the Bill itself or even before the time-frame. I am actively pursuing it. It will be before one year,” he said during an interaction with journalists at Indian Women’s Press Corps. The Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2015, seeking to regulate the real estate sector, bring transparency and help protect consumer interests was passed last month in Parliament in the first leg of the Budget session.
It will help establish state-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) to regulate transactions related to both residential and commercial projects and ensure their timely completion and handover, Naidu had said in Parliament. He said today that the government had recently released a set of building by-laws which empower urban local bodies to grant building permissions. “Things are moving fast. Recently urban building bye-laws were released. Somebody told me it’s revolutionary since for 105sq.m area, you need not get the land approved by anybody and don’t have to wait for permission to start construction,” he said.PTI
Pathankot: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday visited the strategically important IAF base here and reviewed the situation.