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India bans prenatal gender-verification ads on search engines
Report dated Today @ 4:06 PM
The Supreme Court has ordered Internet giants Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to block advertisements for prenatal tests that reveal a child's gender.
Such ads are illegal in India because of the widespread underground practice of aborting female foetuses which has led to a skewed gender ratio in much of the country. The Court was responding to a petition that noted that gender-test ads are displayed on major search engines despite being illegal, but Google and Microsoft argued they were not advertising anything that violated Indian laws.
One tech expert said enforcing the ban would be difficult if not impossible as there are ways to get around filters, and most ads are automated and require manpower to vet them.
In India abortion is legal up to 12 weeks gestation. Gender can be determined by a scan from about 14 weeks. There are around 40,000 registered ultrasound clinics in the country and many more exist off the record.
PM Modi / President Obama jointly address nation on radio
Report dated 28/01/2015 @ 4:23 PM
In the first ever joint radio address by an Indian Prime Minister and an American President on a special edition of 'Maan ki Baat' the two leaders took questions from people across the country selected by PM Modi, who addressed the President as Barack throughout the programme.
Modi started the programme saying he searched for the meaning of the word Barack and found it means one who is blessed. Obama started the programme with a 'Namaste' and thanked Modi for his kind words and incredible hospitality, and said they were making history in a short time.
Obama went on to praise the largest democracy in the world and said people in the US are excited about the energy that Modi brings to his efforts to reduce poverty and uplift people, empower women and provide electricity, clean energy and invest in infrastructure and education. Obama said the US wants to be partners on these issues.
Obama said his daughters are fascinated by India and he may have to go to India again with his daughters, perhaps after his presidency.
Replying to a question on how he felt when he went to the White House, PM Modi said he was touched when Obama gifted him a book on Swami Vivekananda, in which Obama had flagged pages especially for him.
Many other personal exchanges were held between the two leaders who candidly admitted that they had never thought that they would become world leaders one day.
Delhi police officers framed Kashmir resident says NIA
Report dated 28/01/2015 @ 4:17 PM
The government has taken strong exception to investigative agency NIA report that spoke about the alleged involvement of five officials including one deputy commissioner of police, in fabricating charges against Kashmir resident Liyaqat Shah in 2013 when he was returning with his family from Nepal.
Sources at the home ministry said the government has noted the findings of the NIA and it may take action against the delinquent officers who were responsible for framing the fabricated terror charges against Shah.
The NIA filed a chargesheet and gave a clean chit to Shah and accused Sabir Khan Pathan an informer and follower of the Delhi Police Special Cell, charging him with planting weapons at the Haji Arafat guest house in Old Delhi. After Shah's arrest in March 2013, Delhi police claimed that he belonged to Hizbul Mujahideen who were in the capital to carry out terror strikes.
The arrest evoked angry reactions from the then chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, who demanded an investigation by the NIA.
Pink Cabs for women introduced in Delhi
Report dated 28/01/2015 @ 4:10 PM
One of India's largest taxi companies Meru Cab, announced a new service that will be a solution for women worried about their safety, after the recent alleged rape of a Delhi passenger by an Uber driver.
The new service called Meru Eve will consist of a fleet of taxis in Delhi that will be driven by women. The taxis will have pepper spray and panic buttons that will immediately notify Meru in case of trouble. The drivers will also wear pink vests and drive white-and-pink hatchbacks.
Meru Cab chief executive Siddhartha Pahwa said anxious passengers called Meru to ask for female taxi drivers so the service started in the capital recently, with some 20 vehicles and it may expand to other cities. Meru worked with the Delhi police to equip the cars and give their female drivers self-defence training.
Delhi's special police commissioner for administration said programs like this will build confidence in women to earn a living as they become role models. One new driver expects her income to rise as demand for female drivers rise.
Meru drivers typically earn between Rs.20,000 and 30,000 a month.
Legendary cartoonist R K Laxman has died
Report dated 27/01/2015 @ 2:11 PM
Legendary cartoonist R K Laxman has died in a private hospital in Pune after a brief illness. He was 94.
Laxman was admitted to hospital some ten days earlier for a urinary tract infection and lung problems. His condition deteriorated and he was put on a ventilator. He suffered multiple organ failure and responded well to treatment but a few days later he was taken off the ventilator and moved to the ICU.
Laxman, brother of late novelist RK Narayan is survived by his writer wife Kamala, retired journalist son Srinivas and daughter-in-law Usha. He was renowned for his iconic cartoon "Common Man' that ran for several decades in The Times of India.