Tuesday, 06 October 2015 11:02
While the earthwork that includes excavation and piling of earth has slowed down in the Kannur International Airport project site near Mattannur due to incessant rains, the construction of the airport terminal and control tower is progressing as scheduled.
Kannur International Airport Ltd. (KIAL) officials said that continuous downpour in the area has adversely affected the progress of the earthwork in the project site. They said that 65 per cent of the earthwork has already been completed. The estimated total earthwork in the project site envisaged cutting and filling of earth totaling 200 lakh cubic metres. The works are expected to resume in full-swing in a couple of days, they informed.
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 10:56
China has plans to accelerate the roll-out of electric vehicles as the vanguard of its innovation based ‘new normal’ economy to combat the slowdown in its low-tech manufacturing and drop in exports.
China’s State Council or Cabinet wants one million ‘green cars’ to hit the domestic market by 2020. Over the next five years after that, market share should jump to 80 per cent, when three million electric vehicles are produced, according to plans.
The ambitious shift away from conventional fuels follows the ‘Made in China 2025’ campaign. Unveiled in May this year, it aspires to transform the face of the Chinese economy, by moving in the direction of innovation based hi-end production and services, buttressed by a growing appetite for domestic consumption.
In pursuit of this domestically-driven economy, Beijing has already issued guidelines that would ensure rapid absorption of the new eco-friendly vehicles.
Local governments are being directed to ensure that more than 30 per cent of the vehicles in their order list are fired by new energy. Penalties for non-compliance are painful. Provincial governments, which deviate from the new norms, risk losing subsidies on fuel and operating expenses. Among the new purchases, the share of green-energy vehicles should rise to 30 per cent.
While encouraging usage of electric vehicles, authorities have a formidable task of providing battery-charging posts, which will make the shift from hydrocarbons unproblematic.
“It’s like with phone chargers, it’s a bit all over the place,” said Zheng Zhajie, Deputy Head of the National Energy Administration. “Everyone has a pile of different chargers and a pile of batteries. Now we’re trying to improve things, moving towards unifying and standardising,” he told the State-run Xinhua news agency.
Apart from electric and hybrid-vehicles, nine other core items feature on the futuristic “Made in China” list. High-speed railways are one among them. If everything goes according to plan, China should capture almost one-third of the global market by 2020 and 50 per cent by 2025. Hong Kong media is reporting that the Chinese are in talks with 30 countries for developing rapid rail systems.
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 10:46
The World Bank has revised the global poverty line, previously pegged at $1.25 a day to $1.90 a day (approximately Rs. 130). This has been arrived at based on an average of the national poverty lines of 15 poorest economies of the world. The poverty lines were converted from local currency into U.S. dollars using the new 2011 Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) data.
In its latest report ‘Ending Extreme Poverty, Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies’, authors Marcio Cruz, James Foster, Bryce Quillin, and Phillip Schellekkens, note that world-wide poverty has shown a decline under these new estimates.
The latest headline estimate for 2012 based on the new data suggests that close to 900 million people (12.8 per cent of the global population) lived in extreme poverty.
With the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in September, seeking to end all forms of poverty world over, the World Bank Group has set itself the target of bringing down the number of people living in extreme poverty to less than 3 per cent of the world population by 2030.
The report also notes that the global poverty line does not currently take the multiple dimensions of poverty into account. There are many non-monetary indicators — on education, health, sanitation, water, electricity, etc. — that are extremely important for understanding the many dimensions of poverty that people experience.
The 2015 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) counts 1.6 billion people as multi-dimensionally poor, with the largest global share in South Asia and the highest intensity in Sub-Saharan Africa.
These multiple indicators are an important complement to monetary measures of poverty and are crucial to effectively improving the lives of the poorest, the report notes. However, the recently-established Commission on Global Poverty is currently assessing how we measure and understand poverty and how to improve this going forward. According to a WB spokesperson, the CGP recommendations are expected in April 2016.
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 10:36
A week after the violence in Bishahra village in Dadri that resulted in the public lynching of Mohammmad Akhlaq, communal tension has spilled over to adjacent areas of Noida.
The ruse of using animal carcass to create Hindu-Muslim divide is extremely old, but it is being employed in western Uttar Pradesh with some success. Technology too comes in handy and it is being used to spread false information to fuel communal fire weeks ahead of the local body elections in the State.
The head of a slaughtered calf, pieces of meat and an animal carcass caused tension in two adjoining villages. The head of a calf was found in Chitehra village, about four kilometres from Bishahra, on Sunday night.
The meat was found in a jungle, on the outskirts of the village, which has several Muslim dominated villages in its vicinity. Several teams of PAC force were quickly deployed in the villages.
A crowd of several thousands gathered at the spot in Chitehra and the situation could have gone out of hand, said Virendar Pradhan a local leader. He believed it was an “act of mischief” aimed at creating trouble. The Hindu
The officials buried the animal parts which the villagers said looked “freshly slaughtered.” An FIR has been registered against unnamed people.
In another incident, a calf belonging to a farmer in Kudakhedi village had died of natural causes, but some people had apparently tried to vitiate atmosphere by spreading a rumour.
The farmer approached the police with a complaint against some individuals. The District magistrate of Gautam Buddha Nagar, N.P. Singh told the media that police was looking for them.
He said peace committees like ‘aman chaman’ (garden of peace) had been formed in 20 gram sabhas in the vicinity of Bishahra.
In Badalpur village, anti-social elements had tried to portray the death of a calf as a case of slaughter. “We have arrested the culprits,” said the DM.
Meanwhile, the State government has, perhaps for the first time, woken up to the misuse of social media in spreading rumours and hatred over a sensitive issue like cow slaughter.
The U.P. government has written to Twitter India asking them to block tweets that are offensive and baseless.
Uttar Pradesh government officials have admitted that there was “extensive planning to spread hate campaign.”
“Someone hacked into an unsecured WiFi to gain access and post tweets. Not just social networking sites, but Chinese whispers and rumour-mongering are at their peak,” said a senior district official.
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