Facebook introduces new Notifications tab for iOS, Android

Facebook introduces new Notifications tab for iOS, Android
Image: Reuters
Facebook, making a bigger push to deliver personalized information to its members, said Monday it was expanding its mobile alerts to include sports scores, weather updates and local news updates.

Until now, the huge social network’s alerts to smartphone users had been focused around postings by friends, birthdays and upcoming events.

Facebook’s expanded alerts will now also include community news and events, storm warnings and other weather information, and suggestions for television programs or nearby movies.

“We’ve heard feedback that people wanted to add important information that they can easily see, all in one place,” said Facebook product manager Keith Peiris.

Members will be able to personalize these messages for “things happening around your community, like local events and news that is popular in the city you live in,” Peiris added.

Facebook said the change will be rolling out gradually to users of Android and iOS devices but that the notifications will be opt-in.

“Your current notification settings will not change, and you can adjust those any time in your settings,” through “cards” on the social network, Peiris said.

“We’ll continue to listen to feedback about the information people find most useful and may periodically add more cards to choose from.”

280 dead as powerful 7.7 magnitude earthquake rocks Afghanistan, Pakistan and India

Kabul/Islamabad: A massive earthquake struck remote and impoverished regions of northern Afghanistan and Pakistan on Monday, killing at least 280 people as it shook buildings across South Asia and knocked out power and communications to already-isolated areas.

AfghanQuakeThe 7.5-magnitude quake was centered deep beneath the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan’s sparsely populated Badakhshan province, which borders Pakistan, Tajikistan and China, the US Geological Survey said.
In the Afghan capital of Kabul, buildings shook for up to 45 seconds, walls cracked and cars rolled in the streets as electricity went out. Frightened workers who had just returned from lunch also rushed from swaying buildings in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad and to the south in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

“I was praying when the massive earthquake rattled my home. I came out in a panic,” said Munir Anwar of Liaquat Pur in Pakistan’s eastern Punjab province.
At least 228 people were killed in Pakistan, with more than 1,000 injured, while Afghan officials reported 33 dead and more than 200 injured, and authorities in the Indian-controlled Kashmir region reported two deaths. Officials expected the casualty toll to rise as they reached the remote areas.
Authorities struggled to reach the hardest-hit areas in Afghanistan near the epicenter, located 73 kilometers (45 miles) south of Fayzabad, the capital of Badakhshan province.

Abdul Humayoon Dehqan, the head of the National Disaster Management Authority’s provincial office, said he knew of only 12 dead and 20 injured in the province, mostly in collapsed buildings, and that his teams would not reach affected areas until Tuesday morning to get a better count.

Despite vast mineral deposits, Badakhshan is one of Afghanistan’s poorest provinces. It is often hit by earthquakes, but casualty figures are usually low because it is so sparsely populated, with fewer than 1 million people spread across its vast mountains and valleys. It also suffers from floods, snowstorms and mudslides.

Taliban-led insurgents have used its remote valleys as cover recently to seize districts as they spread their footprint across the country. Dehqan said some districts remain under Taliban control “and we don’t know how we will be able to help people in those areas.”

In Takhar province, west of Badakhshan, 12 students at a girls’ school were killed in a stampede as they fled shaking buildings, said Sonatullah Taimor, the spokesman for the provincial governor. Another 42 girls were taken to a hospital in the provincial capital of Taluqan.

Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah convened an emergency meeting of disaster officials and urged them to ensure that people were prepared for aftershocks. That could mean many hundreds would be forced to sleep outdoors in nighttime temperatures dropping below freezing. He instructed doctors and hospitals to be prepared to receive casualties.

President Ashraf Ghani sent condolences to those who lost relatives and property and appointed an “assessment committee” to ensure emergency relief reached the needy as soon as possible, his office said.

The US said it has emergency shelters and relief supply kits stored in warehouses throughout Afghanistan that could be used.

White House spokesman Josh earnest says the U.S. government has been in touch with officials in Afghanistan and Pakistan and is ready to provide any additional support.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was completing a trip to the U.S., said in a televised comment from London that he planned to fly to the quake-affected region Tuesday. He called the quake a “tragedy,” saying most of the casualties and damage were reported in remote areas in the country’s northwest.

Pakistan’s army chief, Gen Raheel Sharif, ordered troops to the areas, the military said.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had contacted Sharif to offer help, Pakistani state-run media said. Pakistani TV said Sharif thanked Modi for the offer but provided no further details.

All set for AP capital Amaravati’s ground breaking

Vijayawada: The stage is set for the for the foundation stone laying ceremony of new Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravati on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone at at Uddandarayunipalem village in Guntur district on the occasion of Dussehra.

PM Modi to lay foundation stone of Amaravati tomorrow

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the gala event, which will be attended by ministers from Singapore and Japan, ambassadors from various countries, several central ministers, chief ministers and governors of various states, top politicians and business leaders.
AP capital Amaravati
Police have taken control of the venue, where more than two lakh people from different parts of the state are expected to gather. The prime minister along with other dignitaries will perform rituals at 12.35 p.m. to formally lay the foundation stone.
Soil and water brought from all 16,000 villages of Andhra Pradesh will be sprinkled all over Amaravati from helicopters. Water brought from holy places of all the religions will also be used for the foundation stone. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will be attending the ceremony. This will be his first visit to Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation of the state last year.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu personally met Rao in Hyderabad on Sunday and invited him for the ceremony. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Tamil Nadu Governor Rosaiah, Assam and Nagaland Governor Padmanabha Acharya will attend the event.
YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who is the leader of opposition in Andhra Pradesh, has decided to boycott the ceremony. He wrote an open letter to Naidu, asking him not to invite him. Jagan alleged that fertile lands were forcibly taken from farmers for the capital.
The government, however, claimed that farmers had voluntarily donated over 30,000 acres of land for the building the capital. Some of the farmers will be felicitated at the foundation stone laying ceremony. Naidu has promised that it will be a world-class and ‘people’s capital’. He had invited prime ministers of Singapore and Japan for the event but the ministers from the two countries are expected to attend.
While the government of Singapore has prepared masterplan for the capital, Naidu is seeking partnership of Japan in building the city. Naidu is also hoping that Narendra Modi will use the occasion to announce special status and a package for the state. He has been pressing for special category status to undone the ‘injustice’ done to the state with the bifurcation.
Naidu, whose Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is a partner in BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, is under fire from the opposition for failing to get the special status despite the promise made by Modi during poll campaign. The chief minister also wants the Centre to extend help in building the capital. “We need the handholding by the Centre till the state develops on par with other neighbouring states,” said Naidu ahead of Modi’s first visit to the state after bifurcation.

Missile Complex in Hyderabad named after Abdul Kalam

India’s prestigious Missile Complex here has been renamed as Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Missile Complex as a tribute to the late former president.
The Missile Complex comprises Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI).

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Thursday attended a renaming ceremony at RCI to mark the 84th birth anniversary of Kalam, the father of India’s missile programme.

Kalam had joined Missile Complex, DRDO in 1982 and was part of it for nearly two decades. ASI is considered is his brain child and as its founder director, he conceived and steered RCI as a generator of critical missile technologies.

Parrikar also inaugurated two advanced R&D facilities of RCI – Outdoor RCS Test Facility ‘ORANGE’, at Dundigal and Kautilya Advanced Research Centre at RCI.

Speaking on the occasion, he said renaming the institutions alone will not help but they should deliver to accomplish the vision of Kalam.

The defence minister said it was because of Kalam’s vision and the encouragement he gave to the students that many youngsters were taking up defence as a career.

Asserting that India should become 100 percent self reliant in missile technology, he called for filling the gaps in achieving the goal.

G. Satheesh Reddy, scientific advisor to the defence minister and director, RCI along with other scientists, lab directors, project directors and senior officials of Defence Research and Development Ogranisation (DRDO) attended the event.


For first time, Pakistan admits its mini-nukes only to deter conventional Indian attack

‘Pakistan has built low-yield nuclear weapons to counter Indian aggression’


WASHINGTON: Pakistan has made low-yield nuclear weapons in response to India’s actions under its cold-start doctrine, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhary told a news briefing here on Tuesday.

This is the first concrete explanation from a senior Pakistani official on how Islamabad plans to deal with India’s so called cold-start doctrine, now re-named the pro-active strategy.

It is also a rare explanation of Pakistan’s decision to make tactical nuclear weapons to deal with the possible threat of Indian aggression.

Briefing the Pakistani media on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Washington, Chaudhary also said that Pakistan would not sign any nuclear deal with the United States during the visit.

National interest a priority: PM
Earlier, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday reaffirmed that Pakistan’s national interests will be prioritised during his upcoming visit to the United States (US).

The premier was speaking to media personnel in London, en route the US.

“We will protect the national interests of Pakistan during my meetings with US leadership,” said the prime minister.

While responding to a question on recent reports in US media regarding Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, and plans to limit it, the premier said: “We should not forget who the prime minister was in 1999 when we became a nuclear power.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also stated that concrete evidence regarding India’s sponsoring of terrorism has been forwarded to relevant people and organisations, and expressed hope that Pakistan’s concerns would be addressed.

The premier added that the incumbent government would end the power crisis facing the country before the next general elections.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also expressed his disappointment at the attitude shown by the opposing Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and their repeated claims of rigging following the by-elections recently held in Punjab.

Yesterday, the Foreign Office had clarified that no “deal” is being discussed between Pakistan and the United States.

According to earlier media reports, US has been weighing options to sign a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan.

A report in The Washington Post had claimed that the US is exploring an option that could pave the way for a civil nuclear deal with Pakistan like the one concluded with India in 2005.

Change of number plates from AP to Telangana clashes with GO making security plates must

All the vehicles in Telangana which were registered with ‘AP code’ in Undivided AP, will now have to register afresh with ‘TS code’.


The Telangana government on Thursday issued a notification for reassignment of registration numbers of vehicles from AP to TS.

Only the State code from AP to TS and the district code (2-digit number) will change. After district code, the second series of two alphabets and the last set of four numerical will continue to remain the same. Four months time has been given for vehicle owners to make these changes.

Transport Department will soon come up with a online facility in which it will  host the old number and the new number on its website ‘www.telangana.transport.gov.in’. The number will have a new State code of TS and the district code which will be in numerals.

The vehicle owner can access the facility using the engine/chassis number as the password and take a printout, which will then be the proof of the changed number and get the new number plate.

However, if the owner wants to get a new smart registration  card, he would have to pay a nominal price. The transport department will soon issue guidelines on all these issues to give clarity for vehicle owners seeking registration change.

There are an estimated 82 lakh vehicle owners  in Telangana, including 16 lakh in Hyderabad, who have to change the registration plates from AP to TS.

Workplace stress can kill you, here’s how


Stressed at work? A new research has suggested that it can increase your risk of having a stroke Having a lot of job stress has been linked to heart disease, but studies on job stress and stroke have shown inconsistent results, said Dingli Xu from Southern Medical University in Guangzhou, China, adding that it’s possible that high stress jobs lead to more unhealthy behaviors, such as poor eating habits, smoking and a lack of exercise.

The analysis looked at all of the available research on job strain and stroke risk. The six studies analyzed involved a total of 138,782 participants who were followed for three to 17 years.

The analysis found that people with high stress jobs had a 22 percent higher risk of stroke than those with low stress jobs. Women with high stress jobs had a 33 percent higher risk of stroke than women with low stress jobs.

People with high stress jobs were 58 percent more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those with low stress jobs. Ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke, is caused by blockage of blood flow. People in passive and active jobs did not have any increased risk of stroke.

The researchers calculated that 4.4 percent of the stroke risk was due to the high stress jobs. For women, that number increased to 6.5 percent.

Based on this study, it is reasonable to consider testing interventions aimed at increasing job control, such as decentralization of decision-making and flexibility in job structure, such as telecommuting.

If effective, such workplace changes could have a major public health impact, said researcher Jennifer J. Majersik.

Xu said limitations of the research were that job stress was measured at only one point in time and that other factors, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, were not adequately adjusted for in the original studies.

The study is published in Neurology.

Maggi noodle sales may resume soon, HC ordered tests prove noodles safe

Maggi noodles may soon return to shelves, as the tests conducted at labs mandated by the Bombay High Court show that the instant food is safe for consumption.


Nestle India, the manufacturer of the banned Maggi noodle, said that it has obtained the sample test results from the three laboratories designated by the court to test the safety levels of noodles.

“All 90 samples, covering 6 variants, tested by these laboratories are clear with lead much below permissible limits,” said Nestle India in a press statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Following the announcement, Nestle India shares soared over 6% to Rs 6,599 on the BSE.

The company said that it has carried out more than 3,500 tests on 200 million packs of Maggi noodles at recognised labs located in India and abroad.

On 5 June, the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), the country’s food regulator, had ordered Nestle India to recall all available stocks of Maggi noodles after finding harmful levels of lead and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in tested samples.

Nestle India challenged the ban in the Bombay High Court, which subsequently overruled the FSSAI order. However, the court said that Nestle India can resume the sale of Maggi noodles only after the samples are tested safe for consumption by the government-approved laboratories.

Supreme Court scraps NJAC, declares 99th amendment void and unconstitutional


The Supreme Court on Friday declared the 99th amendment of the constitution as void and “unconstitutional” while striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) that sought to replace the 22-year-old collegium system for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

The apex court declared the constitutional 99th amendment, which was meant to pave way for the NJAC and the NJAC Act, 2014, unconstitutiona

Striking down the proposal to set up NJAC, the SC constitution Bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice J Chelameswar, Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel restored the old collegium system for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher Indian judiciary.

The court said the system of “appointment of judges to the SC, chief justices and judges of the high courts and the transfer of chief justices and judges of the high courts that existed prior to the amendment begins to be operative”.

The SC also sought for suggestions from the bar to improve the functioning of the collegium system and will hear the same on 3 November.

Here’s where you can pre-order the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in India

iphone-6-rose-gold-005Ahead of their launch in India on October 16, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are up for pre-order. A slew of online retailers, including Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Infibeam, and Paytm, are now accepting pre-orders for the phones, along with Vodafone. Here’s how much the new iPhones cost in India:

iPhone 6s:
16GB – ₹62,000 ($940)
64GB – ₹72,000 ($1,093)
128GB – ₹82,000 ($1,244)

iPhone 6s Plus:
16GB – ₹72,000 ($1,093)
64GB – ₹82,000 ($1,244)
128GB – ₹92,000 ($1,396)
Most stores are offering launch-day delivery for customers pre-ordering the handsets. Vodafone is offering 4,000 minutes, 3GB of 3G data and 1,500 text messages a month for 6 months to all customers purchasing a Vodafone Red plan along with the new handsets.

Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Amazon
Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Flipkart
Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Snapdeal
Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Infibeam
Pre-order iPhone 6s, 6s Plus at Vodafone

How many of you are looking to pre-order the iPhone 6s or the 6s Plus?

PM Modi Salutes Former President APJ Abdul Kalam on His 84th Birth Anniversary


Prime Minister Narendra Modi today paid tribute to late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on his 84th birth anniversary.

“Salutations to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on his birth anniversary”, Prime Minister Modi said in an official release.

PM Modi will also unveil a statue of the former President and inaugurate a photo exhibition in the capital as part of Kalam’s birth anniversary celebrations.

Bharat Ratna awardee Abdul Kalam, who passed away on July 27, was the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.

Before becoming the President, Abdul Kalam had spent four decades as a scientist and science administrator, mainly at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

He was involved in India’s civilian space programme and military missile development efforts, earning him the title of ‘Missile man’.

Ratan Tata to launch TS industrial hub

Telangana Industrial hub is all set to begin on November 5 and the government is making all the necessary preparations for the inaugural event. The inauguration will witness Tata Group chairman Ratan Tata as the Chief Guest.

The Telangana Industrial hub has already received 400 applications for the start-ups and two of those included from United States. Telangana government is planning to encourage major companies to provide employment opportunities for the youngsters in the state.

Modest Dhoni credits bowlers, calls it team effort

Mahendra Singh Dhoni might have paved the way for India’s victory with an unbeaten 92 in the second cricket ODI, but the skipper preferred to credit his bowlers for the series-levelling win against South Africa here tonight.msdhonireuters1

Going through the toughest phase of his international career, Dhoni produced a captain’s knock to guide India to a respectable 247 for nine and then showed good leadership acumen with smart bowling changes to bundle out South Africa for 225 in 43.4 overs.

“What was important for us was to get early breakthroughs and that was provided by the spinners. I felt the spinners bowled well on a wicket where there was less assistance for them. Later on the fast bowlers took wickets at crucial intervals. Overall, it was a complete team effort,” Dhoni told reporters at the post-match press conference.

“It is such a victory where the bowlers’ contribution is more than the batsmen. Some bowlers contributed by scoring runs as well. In a score like 250 if your bowlers contribute 40 odd runs it means a lot,” he said.

A wide range of strokes were on display as Dhoni answered his critics with an unbeaten knock that came off 86 balls.

‘Captain Cool’ batted with tail-enders with a calm head as India scored 82 runs off the last 10 overs to put on a board a decent total, which at one stage looked impossible having slumped to 165 for seven in 40 overs.

Apple Announces iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus and iWatch – Available September 19th

The iPhone 6 will launch later this year via Apple’s online and retail stores, in addition to all major carriers. And yes, it looks like the iPhone’s screen has grown once again.


The new iPhone–or iPhones, rather–will come in two new, bigger screen sizes. The iPhone 6 bumps up to the rumored 4.7 inches, while the Plus will have a walloping 5.5-inch screen. Additionally, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus will scale down to only 6.8mm and 7.1mm thin, respectively. The iPhone 5S, in comparison was 7.6mm.

In a lot of ways, the iPhone 6 Plus really is the bridge between Apple’s smartphones and the iPad tablet. For instance, the Plus will work with a horizontal home screen. And thanks to the increased screen real estate, there’s more room for little touches like user pictures on the Messages app.

The iPhone 6 line will also include a new Apple chipset, the A8. According to Apple, the A8 is 25 percent faster than the A7, with a 50 percent boost in graphics performance. But will the battery life improve? Based on what Apple presented this morning, it would appear the battery is more or less on par with the iPhone 5S. But hey, that’s still 24 hours of talk time on 3G (supposedly).

The LTE functionality of the iPhone 6 and Plus have received a considerable boost. The devices now support up to 20 LTE bands, which Apple claims is more than any other smartphone in the world. Wi-Fi has also moved to 802.11ac in the devices, so you can expect “up to 3 times faster” Wi-Fi signals on compatible networks.


The new, protruding camera is 8MP with “True Tone” flash and a f/2.2 aperture. According to Apple’s Phil Schiller, the camera’s new sensor allows for auto-focus that works twice as fast, thanks to “phase detection.” While the iPhone 6 will include digital image stabilization, the iPhone 6 Plus will utilize optical image stabilization, which should make those shaky action shots come out way better.

And more than just still photos, the iPhone 6 can now shoot 1080p video at either 30fps or 60fps, while Slo-Mo functionality moves to an impressive 240fps. The faster auto-focus for still photos–that faster “phase detection” tech–also transfers over to video on the iPhone 6. Perhaps most impressive, this could mean no more constant tapping of the screen to refocus during longer video shots.

Swamis in Scandals: What Keeps the Faith?

Twenty-seven-year-old Priya, a devotee of Paramahamsa Nityananda Swami, can’t believe a video footage where the Karnataka-based spiritual guru is allegedly shown in a compromising position with a Tamil actress.

“I still doubt whether it is swamiji or it is a graphic gimmick,” a shocked Priya told IANS.

Nityananda Swami’s is not the first reported case of a person in religious garb being caught in a scandal. Of late, a number of swamis have been in the news for the wrong reasons.

Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj was arrested for running a multi-crore rupee sex racket in Delhi involving former air hostesses. Kumar Sahai alias Swami Ji was arrested from Ghaziabad, on the outskirts of Delhi, for kidnapping a girl.

Guru Asaram Bapu is still under the police scanner for the deaths of two minor boys in his ashram-run gurukul in Ahmedabad, while several years ago Kancheepuram mutt head Jayendra Saraswathi was charged with the murder of a former employee.

Although many blame followers for not being discerning enough, more interestingly what has emerged is the unshakable faith that devotees, particularly women who seek solutions to personal problems, have in them.

Swami Shantatmananda, secretary of the Ramkrishna Mission, told IANS: “One should seek god through prayer and scriptures and not through fake godmen.”

“They thrive due to thoughtless followers who have not understood the true meaning of spirituality. Ignorant, miracle-and-fortune-seeking followers are the ones who help such fake swamis prosper in our society,” he said.

According to Swami H.H. Sukhabodhananda, founder of the Prasanna Trusta, “Like fake doctors and engineers, there are also fake godmen in society.”

Kamini Jaiswal, a senior Supreme Court lawyer, who has fought a case against Sathya Sai Baba, blames blind followers for such incidents. “It is shocking to see that well educated people are followers of such godmen,” she said.

Police say they can’t act against fake swamis until they get a complaint. “It’s a social issue, with proper evidence, police will do its duty and arrest fake godman. As for the public, it’s high time they recognised such fraudsters,” Rajan Bhagat, Delhi Police spokesman, told IANS.

Sudha Sundaram, general secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), says their should checks and balances.

“The government should come up with a state-level monitoring system to check the registration of an ashram and its source of income before providing monetary support,” he said.

But there are those who are angry with the names of gurus being dragged into scandals. One of them is yoga guru Ramdev, who said the recent arrests, were “a very big conspiracy”.

“Some politicians and communal forces are conspiring to malign the name of Indian saints by trapping them in cases related to fake currency, rape, murder, sex scandals and drugs,” he said.

Agreed Anitha Swaminathan, a member of the Theosophical Society in Chennai. “Our country has veteran sadhus and swamijis. Such fake godmen are just a bubble in the water,” she said.

The arrests have not altogether made much of a dent in the mindset of people or deterred them from following a guru who would show them the light in their day to day problems. But it has helped them understand the need for the right one.

Naunidhi Kaur, a follower of Radhaswami Satsung, said: “There are numerous ashrams and satsangs that stand out for their spiritual teachings and true selfless service to mankind. A follower just needs to be more knowledgeable about the faith and not just be a blind one.”

Summed up Balakrishnan, who follows the preachings of Jiddu Krishnamurti: “I am not a follower of any particular swamiji. But I have come across many sadhus who are true. With just one or two involved in such cheap incidents, we cannot condemn the whole community,” he added.

Cleaner petrol, diesel to cost more from April 1

NEW DELHI: Thirteen cities including Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad may witness oil price hike of 41 paise per litre on petrol and 26 paise per litre on diesel with the introduction of cleaner Euro IV grade fuel from April 1, Petroleum Secretary S Sundareshan said here on Wednesday.“The introduction of Euro IV is going to cost the oil marketing companies 41 paise per litre on petrol and 26 paise per litre on diesel. This is not on the basis of capital expenditure that they have incurred for making these upgradations but purely on the principle which we are following to bring domestic rates to international parity”, he said while speaking at the launch of Bharat Stage-IV fuels here.The 13 major cities which would switch over to Euro-IV from April 1 are Delhi and NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Surat, Ahmedabad, Kanpur, Agra, Solapur and Lucknow.The introduction of Euro-IV fuel would improve the quality of air and will help in reducing the air pollution as the dangerous Sulphur content in the fuels would be reduced to 50 parts per million (PPM). This would in turn result in the reduction of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and suspended particulate matter during fuel combustion that is emitted into the atmosphere.The Petroleum Secretary said that if the government did not take any hard decision, the under recoveries of oil marketing companies would slip from the current Rs 45, 000 crore to the order of Rs 70,000 crore by 2010-11.The Ministry of Petroleum is pushing for increasing auto fuel price so that the cost of supplying cleaner fuel does not add to the current Rs 6 per litre loss on selling petrol and Rs 4.06 per litre loss on diesel for the oil companies.The higher price for Euro-IV fuels is on the anvil to compensate the oil marketing companies for the investment that they have made in upgrading their refineries to Euro-IV standards.

Manila Earthquake | Earthquake Philippines

earthquake, earthquake manila, earthquake today,

Manila Earthquake:Earthquake Philippines Today March 25 2010 – Just moments ago a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck the west of Manila according to the Seismological Institute of the Philippines.
The first reports that are coming in,claimed that the buildings of the capital shook for about thirty seconds pushing several employees to run out of their offices into the nearby streets. It was not immediately clear if there were any damage or casualties.The director of the institute, Renato Solidum said the seisme occurred at about 10km under the sea.
That’s all we have for now on Manila Earthquake.

SC okays Muslim quota

New Delhi:The Andhra Pradesh government today received a major boost with the Supreme Court, in an interim order, upholding the validity of four per cent reservation provided to backward members of Muslim community in the state.

A bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices J M Panchal and B S Chauhan, however, referred the issue to a Constitution bench to examine the validity of the impugned Act since it involved important issues of the Constitution.

The bench passed the direction while dealing with a Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by the government against an order of Andhra Pradesh High Court which had earlier struck down the provision as being unconstitutional.

A seven-judge Constitution bench of the High Court had by a majority judgement of 5:2 held the Andhra Pradesh Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes of
Muslims Act, 2007 “unsustainable” and violative of Article 14 (equality before law) and other provisions pertaining to prohibition of discrimination by State on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.

The High Court, while setting aside the state Act, had also quashed a subsequent 2007 government order allocating four per cent reservation to Muslim groups in educational
institutions and jobs.

The state had moved a bill in the Assembly on the basis of a report submitted to it by Andhra Pradesh Commission for Backward Classes (APBC). The bill was later passed by the

The report had recommended that the socially and educationally backward should be adequately represented in the state.

The High Court held that the recommendation made by the APBC was unsustainable as it failed to evolve and spell out proper and relevant criteria for identification of social
and educational backwardness and inadequate representation in public employment among classes or persons belonging to Muslim community.

It said the data was not collected properly by the APBC for determining the social and educational backwardness of the Muslims in the state.

The High Court said the Commission relied on data collected and observations made by Anthropological Survey of India which was meant to make an anthropological profile of
Indian population and has no relevance to the affirmative action or reservation under Article 15(4) and 16 (4) of the Constitution which enables a state to make law on reservation.

Karnataka HC refuses to entertain Nityananda’s bail plea

Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court today refused to pass orders on an anticipatory bail application filed by self-styled godman Swami Nityananda, against whom police have registered cases for his alleged involvement in sleaze activities.

After hearing the counsel for Nityananda, Justice Arali Nagaraj termed as ‘unfounded’ the godman’s apprehension that he could be arrested, pending disposal of the case and directed him to to approach the proper forum to seek anticipatory bail.

The court also rejected his plea for staying of all the proceedings, including investigation. Nagaraj ordered CID SP Yogappa, investigating the case, to submit all documents after translating it from Tamil to English and Kannada, to the court before March 30.

Nityananda has already moved the jurisdictional sessions court in Ramanagar two days ago for bail. Nityananda is at the centre of a controversy after video footage of his alleged sleazy acts was telecast on TV channels in Tamil Nadu on March 2. The swami, whose
whereabouts are not known, has claimed that the images have been morphed and he had not done anything illegal or against the law.

NTPC pays highest dividend to government

New Delhi: The country’s largest power generator, the state-run NTPC Thursday said it had paid the highest interim dividend so far at Rs.2,090.21 crore to the government for the current fiscal.

The dividend payout has been kept at Rs.3 per equity share, which was 30 percent of the paid-up equity share capital of the company, and amounted to Rs.2,473.64 crore for 2009-10.

“Out of this, an amount of Rs.2,090.21 crore was paid to Government of India holding 84.5 percent of NTPC’s paid up equity,” said a statement from the company.

This is the 17th consecutive year that NTPC has declared dividend, the statement added.

NTPC is targetting to generate about 226,000 million units of electricity in the next fiscal.