India closing in on Westinghouse deal to build 6 nuclear reactors

India expects to fix a convention with Westinghouse Electric Co LLC to build six nuclear reactors in the first half of 2016, a senior government official said. The proposed power plant in Gujarat will speed up India’s strategy to manufacture roughly 60 reactors, making India world’s second-biggest nuclear energy market followed by China.

India wants to amplify its nuclear capacity to 63,000 megawatts (MW) by 2032, from 5,780 MW.  This strategy would mean a broader push to move away from fossil fuels, slash greenhouse gas emissions and avoid the hazardous effect of climate change.

USA has signed a pact with India in 2008, making the path for nuclear commerce that had earlier been obstructed due to New Delhi’s nuclear weapons programme and declining of the global Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

In a statement, Westinghouse said it anticipated India would shift towards a structure that satisfies the CSC and channels accident liability exclusively to the operator. Before slipping back, shares of Westinghouse’s parent, Toshiba Corp, jumped as much as 3.3% after the news.

A contract with Westinghouse could also put demands on General Electric Co, whose nuclear energy venture with Hitachi was offered a site six years ago to manufacture reactors.

According to Indian and Russian officials, India is expected to offer Russia a site in Andhra Pradesh to build six reactors, on top of the six it is already expected to build in Tamil Nadu.

Negotiators from Westinghouse and Indian operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCL) have held several rounds of meeting on the nuclear plant in Mithi Virdi, said a government official.


Source: The Times of India

Lawmakers likely to get massive salary hike

The Parliamentary Affairs Ministry on Thursday proposed that the salary of lawmakers be doubled, despite their performance record in the recent Parliament sessions.

According to the sources of NDTV, the hike could happen during the budget session in February 2016. The Ministry recommended that the monthly salary of  MPs be doubled from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh and office and constituency allowances from Rs 45,000 to Rs 90,000.

If the finance ministry accepts these proposals, members of both the houses will earn Rs 2.8 lakh per month. The Ministry is also said to be formulating another proposal that links the salary of MPs to the Pay Commission that decides the salaries of government employees.

The last time salaries of MPs were revised was in 2010. Even though no serious work was carried out during the winter session, the government believes they deserve it. The loss of hours in Rajya Sabha has cost nearly Rs 10 crore to the exchequer.

Source: NDTV

CSIR proposes mid-week reprieve to combat pollution in Delhi

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on Thursday proposed a solution to combat the alarming levels of pollution in the National Capital- a mid-week work-from-home policy.

CSIR, India’s largest chain of publicly funded research labs claim that this proposal is far more effective than the controversial odd-even scheme formulated by the Delhi Government.

According to the proposal, there should be a mid-week reprieve-such as on a Wednesday wherein, employees and students could work or study from home rather than commuting to workplace and school. The logic behind this proposal is that because, the vehicular pollution tends to accumulate through the week, a mid-week break could help stop the build-up and improve the air quality.

CSIR- National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies (NISTADS) said that the proposal was a result of the in-house research which was led by a broader directive from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Sujit Bhattacharya, a senior professor at the institute said, ” This idea that we’ve proposed is the first of related ideas that we’re working on.”

A statement from NISTADS said that they propose a 2+1+2 working week in which Wednesday, will be a Virtual Attendance at Work and School (VAWS) day, with two regular working days before and after. In addition to reducing pollution levels, VAWS will have several other benefits like energy saving at school/work, higher efficiency, reduced travel related stress, improved quality of life etc. Also, VAWS can be easily monitored and implemented through an organised system.

The proposal comes at a time when the Delhi Government is gearing up for the implementation of the Odd-even formula from January 1st.

Sources: The Hindu


On Friday, two Myanmar men were convicted by a Thailand Court for the murder of two British hikers on the island of Koh Tao which occurred in September 2014. The Court, led by three judges sentenced the two on the basis of DNA evidence that connected them to the killings.

The backpackers, Hannah Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk, and David Miller, 24, from Jersey, were found dead on the rocks of the Sairee Beach. After detailed investigations in a nearby island the Myanmar men, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo were found guilty of raping and killing Hannah and also for the murder of David.

This verdict was likely to happen in October but was postponed to give the defense more time after the proof was given by the witness.

David’s brother, Michael miller said “We believe that the result today represents justice for David and Hannah. Ultimately, Zaw Lin and Wai Phyo obtained the best possible representation in court by a team of seven lawyers”.

The Police told that the convicts committed the crime out of sexual jealousy after watching the two hikers in the beach. The Myanmar men however, refused the acquisition later, and told that they had been tortured and compelled to sign the confession.

The director of the death penalty team at international human rights charity Reprieve, responding to the Court’s decision told, there had been credible evidences proving the men faced unfair trial practices and that they had been tortured. The director also expressed her disregard saying that it was hard to accept that a faulty trial like this one  was providing assurance that justice had been done.


Source: The Guardian

Istanbul Blast Kills one

Istanbul: Earlier today, an explosion of unknown origin occurred at Istanbul’s international airport. As a result, one life was lost and aviation property was damaged. The incident, allegedly took place at a location where planes are halted for the embarking and disembarking of passengers.

The victim Zehra Yamac , 30, was also a cleaner on the tarmac at Sabiha Gokcen airport. She was hospitalised but died of her wounds despite the efforts of medical staff.

On further investigation, it was confirmed that no passengers were in the area at the time of the airport blast. The Executive Director of Sabiha Gokcen, ,” Dato’ Azmi Murad told Business standard in a statement that “We are working very closely with the Turkish government and our counterparts to facilitate the investigation, and we await their official report on it.” He further added, “The Turkish government has increased massive security within the vicinity of the airport, which includes helicopter surveillance.”

Turkey has been on a continuous high alert since October 10 when 103 people were killed by two suicide bombers, when they ripped through a crowd of peace activists in the capital, Ankara.

News source: Business Standard

Greece legalises same-sex marriages

The Greek Parliament on Wednesday passed the legislation legalizing same-sex marriages. This comes two years after an European court condemned the country for discrimination.

The Greek lawmakers voted 193-56 in favour of the legislation. However, provisions regarding family law that could help with adoption applications were dropped before the Parliament voted.

Strongly opposing the law, the Conservative Bishops of Greece’s important Orthodox Church said that the new law undermined the institution of family.

The governing Syriza party lawmakers supported the bill, thus splitting the main opposition conservatives.

Thousands of pro-homosexuality protesters celebrated this historic day in front of the Parliament under a large banner that said “Love is the law”.

News source: The Hindu

ved the bill legalizing same-sex marriages.

Akali leader Shiv Lal Doda’s nephew arrested: Abohar Dalit murder case

In a murder case of Dalit, Bhim Sain, the nephew of Shiromani Akali Dal leader Shiv Lal Doda, Amit Doda has been taken in custody according to the reports of ANI. Along with Amit Doda, 13 other had also been arrested.

On Wednesday, Charanjit Singh Channi the CPL leader had urged lodging of a criminal case and arrest for the alleged connection of liquor mogul and Akali leader Shiv Lal Doda. Urging the Punjab government to take action, he further on threatened to ensue an agitation if done otherwise. Reports say that the the alleged murder of 27 year old Dalit, Bhim was by the liquor tycoon’s sidekicks, who mercilessly chopped off his limbs while injuring his associate. Today Channi visited the victim, while a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh was announced by the centre for Bhim’s family.

Channi told the family, “I myself was born in a poor family and fully understand your pain. I will fight till the last to get you justice”.