Syrian city of Homs was subjected to a large bomb blast killing at least 14 people and leaving many wounded severely, today. The state media reported that the terrorist explosions that destructed the central city and also hit Al-Zahraa neighborhood has tolled up to 132 people wounded and 14 dead.

A suicide bomber wearing an explosive belt attacked al-Zahraa’s main square and the other explosion was caused by car bombs.

The citizens of Al-Zahraa region comprise of mostly Alwaites who are the minority bracket of the Syrian ruling clique.

On the other hand, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights observed 32 people to be dead as confirmed by their monitoring group. The ISIS has grasped considerably large parts of the Homs province including the ancient city of Palmyra. The attack came in after a short gap, where the ISIS had claimed responsibility for the explosions in the same vicinity killing 16 people.

Beginning in 2011, the Syrian War has claimed lives of more than 250,000 people accompanied by anti-government protests which has grown up to be a blood bath. The city of Homs is also said to be “the capital of revolution” which succumbed to full government control after a ceasefire with the opponents.

News source: NDTV

China passes new anti-terror law

Beijing, 28 Dec 2015 – China on Sunday passed a new counter-terrorism law that allows it to obtain decrypted data from technology firms, along with dispatching of its military to foreign territories in anti-terror missions.

The law addresses the growing threat of violence from terrorists and militants, especially in Xinjiang province, where several hundred Chinese citizens have lost their lives in the last few years.

A provision in the draft law included that tech firms to install security ‘backdoors’ to monitor user data and maintain servers within the country. However, the final law excludes such a provision and now requires tech companies to assist authorities by providing decrypted sensitive information when required.

U.S President Barrack Obama expressed concern over the new law with Chinese President Xi Jinping, stating possible violations in human rights along with the cyber provisions. In response, Li Shouwei, Deputy head of the parliament’s criminal law division under the legislative affairs committee, said that China was only mirroring what Western countries were already practicing, by seeking assistance from tech firms in combating terror threats. He added, these firms did not have to worry about breaching confidence by including backdoors or giving up on their intellectual property rights.

The new law also grants the People’s Liberation army to conduct anti-terror operations overseas, however experts suggest that the feasibility of such an operation is not practical.

News source: Reuters

Snapdeal to invest more in logistics and tech for faster delivery

Mumbai : Snapdeal’s co-founder, Rohit Bansal stated on Monday that the company, backed by finances and support from Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp and others will invest more in logistics and technology to better compete with the country’s leading online retailers- Flipkart and Amazon India.

With $500 million in funding received in August from Alibaba (China), SoftBank and Foxconn; co-founder Bansal told Reuters that the company would spend more on demand forecasting and better data

analytics for faster delivery times. He stated that the company was able to reduce delivery times by over 70 percent in the last year due several acquisitions and investments made in the field of technology/supply chain and payments.

Valued at $4.5 billion in Gross Merchandise Volumes, Snapdeal acquired FreeCharge- a mobile wallet company for around $400 million in April. Adding to that, it has spent nearly $35 million to buy 50 percent stake in the logistics firm GoJavas.

With the advent of cheaper smartphones, online shopping in India has grown to become popular among the masses. E-retailers have found it difficult to meet growing demand and compete with others in quicker delivery times. In a report by Bank of America Merill Lynch, the e-commerce market in India is estimated to raise to $220 million, in the value of goods sold by 2025.




Satya Nadella to sign MoU with Andhra Pradesh

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Monday morning, promising to initiate a partnership in the fields of education, agriculture and citizen services.

Nadella, who is in town on a personal visit, also visited T-Hub, the country’s largest startup incubator devised by the Telengana government. During his visit, Nadella stated that it is Microsoft’s goal to encourage local start-ups and empower them. He further added that Microsoft would like to work with T-Hub to build accelerators and develop start-ups.

He was shown around the facility, situated in International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT- H) by Telengana’s IT Minister K T Rama Rao.

This is Nadella’s second visit to his hometown after he took charge of the software giant. He earlier visited the city in September last year, when he addressed the company’s employees at its India Development Centre in the city. He had made no commitments during his last visit to either of the states regarding any investments.

Nadella was born in Hyderabad, although his family hails from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh.

Source: FirstPost

Nitish Kumar directs officials to set up emergency operation centers in all districts of Bihar

Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, directed his officials to set up a super emergency operation center with the latest equipment as well as resources in Bihar, on Sunday. Heading the review meeting for disaster management at his official residence, the CM also directed the officials to  start emergency operation centers in other districts of Bihar.

Mr. Kumar has also asked Disaster Management Department and Disaster Management Authority to present a proposal to the Bihar government regarding the necessities of the super emergency operation center.

He directed the officers to arrange customary operating procedures for cir

cumstances arising out of storm like one in place for flood, drought, earthquake, water crisis and fire and told that there should be District Disaster Management Plan apart from the to Disaster Management Plan in all government officials to manage natural calamities.

The Bihar Chief Minister mentioned several resources such as life jacket, , GPS set, inflatable emergency lighting system, tent, box, utensil, boat, net, inflatable motorboat, ambulances as the basic supplies required while for managing disasters. As food is the most important requirement after relief material during the times of disaster, the Chief Minister has declared that the ‘Shatabdi Ann Kalash Yojana’  will continue being functional.

He also told the officials to impart knowledge to the public to deal with disasters. Apart from this he has also asked the officials provide training to quick response teams and set rules for police officers and doctors, so that that disaster management system is not hindered in case of transfers.

A code of conduct will be set for the operation of the emergency center which is expected to be placed at the under-construction Police Bhawan.


Source: The Hindu

Anupam Kher’s solution for Kashmir: Revoke Article 370

Veteran actor Anupam Kher said that the solution of the Kashmir issue will come with the removal of Article 370 and if people from other states are allowed to settle there. The actor who has been clouded in controversy lately added that separate townships for the Kashmiri pandits needs to be built by the government.

While speaking to the reporters in Jammu, he said, “The day article 370 (giving special status to J&K) is removed, the Kashmir problem would be solved. The day people from Bengal, Punjab, Gujarat and other parts of the country are given permission to settle down in Kashmir, the problem would be solved, but that does not suit anyone”.

According to the 60-year-old-actor, for the community that was once hounded and forced out of their homes, it is impossible to return after 26 years and settle in those old dwellings which were either burnt or sold under the distress sale.

“I definitely support the idea of a separate homeland, regarding composite township is concerned, let the Kashmiri Pandit colonies be established in Kashmir and after that if (other) people want to settle let them do that,” he remarked.

 "The day article 370 (giving special status to J&K) is removed, the Kashmir problem would be solved." Image Source: Praahar
“The day article 370 (giving special status to J&K) is removed, the Kashmir problem would be solved.”
Image Source: Praahar

Source: Zee News

Official end to China’s one child policy, bill allowing a second child signed

On Sunday, China officially declared closure of its one child policy with the signing of the bill which allows married couples to have a second child. This comes as China’s attempt to cope up an ageing population and a shrinking workforce.

The Xinhua news agency reported that the alteration which was declared by the ruling Communist Party in October, will come to effect from January 1.

The legislation, however maintains limit on additional birth after the second child.

According to the “one child policy” which was instituted in the late 1970s, married couples were allowed to have only a single offspring. The policy for years has been backed by authorities, claiming and crediting it for China’s economic boon and population control by prevention of almost 400 births.

The policy being enforced by the national commission, was also accompanied by a system of fines and sometimes leading to forced abortions. This also led to targeting of girls by sex-selective abortions or infanticide, to conform to the age-old preference to boys creating a huge gender imbalance in China’s population.

Source: Hindustan Times