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The first district in India where every family owns land !
Report dated 02/11/2013 @ 3:06 PM
Kannur in Kerala has been declared India's first 'landless-free district, - the first district in the country where every family owns a piece of land.
Rural development minister Jairam Ramesh called it a historic step and urged all states to emulate the example of Kerala in distribution of land that requires political will and hard decisions. The beneficiaries have already been identified under the programme and the Centre will extent all support to the state government to enable them to construct houses under 'Indira Awaas Yojana' scheme.
The minister also said Kerala is a place where land is in short supply and very expensive, so finding land for the 2 lakh families is going to be a challenge.
12% of India's spice exports to US are contaminated !
Report dated 01/11/2013 @ 1:55 PM
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, the federal authorities found that around 12 percent of spices brought to the United States from India are contaminated with insects parts, whole insects, rodent hairs and other undesirables.
Authorities also found that nearly 7 percent of spice imports examined by federal inspectors were contaminated with salmonella, a toxic bacteria that can cause serious illness in humans.
Imported spices were twice as contaminated as other types of imported food products from India.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s statue to be the tallest in the world
Report dated 01/11/2013 @ 1:51 PM
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for the 600 ft tall statue of Saradar Vallabhbhai Patel, said to be the world's tallest statue at twice the size of the Statue of Liberty and four times higher than Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro.
The memorial honours the independence hero from Gujarat who spent his life in the Congress party, the main rival of the BJP which has declared Modi as its candidate for Prime Minister. Patel was a close friend of Mahatma Gandhi with whom he shared a prison cell. He became the leader of the Congress Party in 1934.
The foundation was laid in Kevadia near Ahmedabad and is estimated to cost Rs.2500 crores ($300 million) which will be funded with public funds and private donations. The statue is scheduled to be completed in four years. It is being built by Turner Construction, the company behind the world's tallest building, the Dubai Burj Khalifa.
Indian researcher develops device to keep heart disease at bay
Report dated 01/11/2013 @ 1:47 PM
A researcher at IIT-Madras has developed an automated device to reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases which non-invasively measures the stiffness of blood vessels.
Called ARTSENS (Arterial Stiffness Evaluation for Non-invasive Screening), the device uses an ultrasound probe to send high frequency sound waves into the body. The echoes are picked up and analysed by a system that automatically identifies the artery anatomy and measures the elasticity of the blood vessel walls.
Leader of the project team at the Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre of IIT-M, Dr Jayaraj Joseph, said early intervention using the device can prevent premature vascular events.
ARTSENS has an edge over existing equipment as it is cheaper and quick and easy to use. The device will enable detection of arterial stiffness at an early stage thus preventing premature vascular problems that could cause mortality in the productive years of a person's life. It will be most handy for those in the public health sector where mass screenings are undertaken.
A prototype has been tested at the MediScan Systems, Thambiran Heart and Vascular Institute, and the Sri Ramachandra University, over the past 6 months, and over the next year the developers plan to validate it in multiple centres across India before making it commercial.
Holy smoke from religious sites melting Himalayan glaciers
Report dated 31/10/2013 @ 3:01 PM
According to a new study by researchers from Nevada's Desert Research Institute and the Pandit Ravi Shankar Shukla University in Chattisgarh, holy smoke from funeral pyres, cemeteries and temples are responsible for almost a quarter of the greenhouse gases blamed for global warming on the Indian subcontinent and the melting of Himalayan glaciers.
The researchers say the impact is huge - 23 percent of particles from human burnt fossil fuels in the atmosphere and a major source of carcinogenic volatile organic compounds. Between 2011 and 2012 they measured emissions from various ceremonies, incense sticks in temples and graveyards and found mango bark, cow dung, camphor, leaves, vermilion and cow urine being burned. They identified 14 deadly volatile organic compounds including formaldehyde, benzene, styrene and butadiene. They discovered that funeral pyres emitted large amounts of brown carbon aerosol gases, the second largest contributor to global warming, which absorb sunlight and give out heat.
Much of the pollution is overlooked because it is shrouded in human loss and religious worship and identity, but the research team has warned that the scale of its environmental damage demands further study.