Jitu Rai wins bronze medal in ISSF World Cup


Jitu Rai (sports rediscovered Image)

NEW DELHI: Ace pistol shooter Jitu Rai staged a remarkable comeback to clinch the bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event for India’s fourth podium finish in the ongoing ISSF World Cup on Tuesday.

The 29-year-old shot a total of 216.7 in the eight-man final to finish third on the podium.

The Asian Games and World Championships silver-medallist was languishing at the seventh position after the end of the first competition series that included an 8.8.

But he clawed his way back with two 10.6 and a 10 in the second competition series. At the end of that series, Rai was placed sixth with a total of 98.7.

He managed to maintain the status quo even as the final entered the elimination stage at the Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range. He shot two 10s in the following shots to continue his gradual ascent.

The Army man roared back to contention with a couple of 10.6 and ensured a bronze with a 9.9, finishing ahead of China’s Zhanyi Xu (197.9).

With a lead of 0.1 point over Vietnam’s Xuang Vinh Hoang, Rai was in the hunt for a silver but an 8.6 meant he had to be content with the bronze.

The gold went to Japan’s Tomoyuki Matsuda with a world record total of 240.1 points, while Vietnam’s Xuan Vinh Hoang claimed silver with 236.6 points.

The other Indian shooters in the fray in the air pistol event — Omkar Singh and Amanpreet Singh — failed to cross the qualification stage.

Source: Times Of India

Nepal earthquake: Is India prepared?

When life meets death in the horoscope of time, the “god willing” school of philosophy emerges quickly. In the first heart-stopping minutes that followed the 7.9-magnitude earthquake that ripped through Nepal on April 25, several believers threw up their hands-both in honour and in despair-in front of the Himalayan republic’s reigning deity, Lord Pashupatinath. But slowly, as the snow settles back on the Khumbu Icefall and the Indian tectonic plate resumes its ancient rhythm of subducting beneath the overriding Eurasian plate and the climbing death toll gives way to deep grief as well as deep anger, the old questions begin to loom large: how did we get here? And why weren’t we ready for this?


Some say it will take decades to rebuild Nepal, especially because the amount of aid needed to do so is larger than the GDP of that country. Others, notably the non-profit organisation Geo Hazards International whose mission is to reduce earthquake risk in developing countries, points out that “a person living in Kathmandu is nine times more likely to be killed than a person living in Islamabad and about 60 times more likely than a person living in Tokyo,” because of the rampant and indiscriminate construction taking place in Nepal since the last major earthquake struck the India-Nepal border in 1934. As for the “What if” question that rises, unbidden, to the throat of every Indian glued to the dance of death and destruction that plays non-stop on the TV near you, seismologists shudder as they grope for an answer.

“I cannot imagine the catastrophe if an earthquake of magnitude 6 hits Delhi,” says Harsh K. Gupta, president of the International Union of Geodesy & Geophysics, pointing out that the Indian capital is located in Zone 4 (the country is divided into five seismic zones). He adds, “The vast slums and unauthorised colonies, especially around the soft Yamuna floodplain, in which lakhs of people live, will be flattened like a house of cards. The Qutab Minar can probably survive an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.0, but beyond that I don’t think so.”

Vineet Gahalaut, seismologist at the Hyderabad-based National Geophysical Research Institute, emits a strangled laugh. “Have you seen the balconies in the houses in Old Delhi that almost touch each other as housewives exchange kitchen recipes? If a Nepal-type earthquake hits Delhi, the streets are so narrow, you won’t even be able to do search and rescue,” he says. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)-set up by a government fiat in the wake of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and the tsunami of 2004-conducted three mega drills in north India and the North-east from 2012-2014 in an effort to develop a contemporary intensity map as well as inform and educate people about the ravages of earthquakes.

Hypothetically simulating, in Chandigarh on February 13, 2013-in the middle of the night when most people are asleep-the 8.0 magnitude of the 1905 Kangra earthquake in which 20,000 people are believed to have been killed, across Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh, the NDMA found that 1 million people would have died at present. The scenario-building exercise was repeated in 2014 across all eight states of the North-east, this time simulating the 1897 Assam earthquake of 8.7 magnitude in which around 1,500 people were killed. The NDMA found that if the earthquake had struck at night in 2014, at least 800,000 people would have died.

NDMA member Lt-Gen N.C. Marwah says the three mega drills (the first took place in Delhi in 2012, see box) created a great sense of awareness among the population, but admits that the national disaster management plan is still awaiting approval from the Prime Minister’s Office. Asked about the vulnerability assessments of Delhi, or other towns falling in the highest-risk zones 4 and 5, Marwah says the NDMA doesn’t have the authority to carry out any of these studies, as it is the states that must implement them. “We can only issue guidelines on how to make India disaster-resilient, and yes, the NDMA is a toothless tiger”, he adds.

Rohit Jigyasu, head of the risk preparedness committee of the International Council on Monuments and Sites, believes the NDMA guidelines need to be simpler and allow greater use of indigenous technology and construction techniques, for instance in Kashmir, where buildings are commonly constructed from wood.

“The NDMA has no guidelines for cultural heritage. For example, there are absolutely no risk management plans for Qutab Minar, which will unlikely survive a Nepal-magnitude quake,” Jigyasu says. “In fact, NDMA and cultural organisations such as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have no contact at all. In case of a disaster, who does the ASI call?”

The NDMA passes the buck to the state governments, but no state has a comprehensive disaster management plan, says Ravi Sinha of IIT-Bombay, who helped write a risk report for Mumbai. The National Institute of Disaster Management restricts itself to policy planning and general awareness-type exercises, while the India Meteorological Division’s micro-zoning of Delhi and the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ (MoES) ongoing micro-zoning exercises of 30 cities is limited to topographical surveys. The incredible truth is that not one of these agencies has any information about the state of preparedness in any part of the country, both rural and urban.

And so it took a passionate professor from the department of earthquake engineering at IIT-Roorkee to blow the lid off the bureaucratic stranglehold at the MoES, which in September 2014 stopped funding a 10-year-long IIT project gathering data on structural responses to earthquakes from 293 strong ground motion instruments placed at key positions along the Himalayas.

Exactly a month before the Nepal quake, on March 26, Ashok Kumar of IIT-Roorkee wrote to MoES,complaining that the ministry had unilaterally shut down the sensor project because it wanted to give it to the ministry-controlled National Centre for Seismology.

Thakur added, presciently, “Our country will cut a very sorry face if a big earthquake event occurs, as in the present stage of instrumentation we may not get any strong motion record.”

So as scientists all over the country logged in after the quake to look at data, they found there was none. IIT-Roorkee had been told to shut down its project but the new ministry-controlled seismology centre had not taken over yet.

Defending his ministry’s decision, MoES Secretary Shailesh Naik told India Today that the IIT project had gone on for 10 years and it was high time it was integrated into a permanent network.  Naik said. “I am not a lawyer that I should check whether integration was done before or after.” Naik said he was sure that at least “one or two” stations would have still recorded the Nepal earthquake “as their battery life is one year.” He has now ordered a team to be sent to all stations to find out. In any case, he added, data from all 64 seismometers in the Himalayas (there are 82 all over the country) had already been released.

Meanwhile in Shimla, where bureaucratic apathy has combined with political greed to destroy a city once known as the Queen of the hills, a 2013 disaster management plan reveals that 98 per cent of the city will either collapse or suffer substantial damage if an earthquake of 7.5 magnitude occurs. According to NDMA consultant B.K. Khanna, at least 25 per cent of Shimla’s population of more than 8 lakh will be killed.

The National Building Code is a very good one and is constantly being revised,” says architect-planner AGK Menon, “but it is not mandatory. The truth is that 90 per cent of buildings in any city are built without permission.”

Experts rue the fact that India is totally unprepared. “We are building more high-rises on steep inclines even in the Himalayas,” says M.L. Sharma, HoD, Earthquake Engineering, IIT-Roorkee. Seismologist Gahalaut says, “Indians believe that earthquakes happen to other people.”

Certainly, the lack of resources accounts for a large part of India’s lack of preparedness. California’s advanced ShakeAlert system gave survivors a grace period of 5-10 seconds when the 2014 Napa Valley earthquake struck. Japan’s early warning systems (see box) meant that the P-waves from the 9 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sendai in 2011 gave Japan Railways about 12-22 seconds allowing the bullet trains, the Shinkansen, to grind to a halt. About 800 seismometers are operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency, while 3,600 seismic intensity meters are operated by local governments. All this information is fed into the Earthquake Phenomena Observation System in Tokyo and Osaka in real-time and disseminated. In contrast, India has placed 72 GPS instruments and 64 seismometers in the Himalayan belt.

Menon, who was involved in the redevelopment of Anjar town, flattened by the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, says, “In an effort to streamline the old town and broaden its streets, several people had been given land on the outskirts. But when I returned a few years later, I found that most people had left their new patches of land to return ‘home’.”
The most earthquake-prone city in India is Aizawl, the capital of Mizoram which falls in Zone 5, with Sikkim’s Gangtok a close second. A GeoHazards study notes how Aizawl clings to the hillside, some of its houses 10 storeys high. “If an earthquake comes to Aizawl,” says GeoHazards’ South Asia representative Hari Kumar, “just the landslides will bury thousands.”

The story of apathy compounded by bureaucratic indifference and political passivity is chillingly common across the national landscape. An engineer with the Delhi Development Authority recounted how, in 2005, the state government undertook a pilot project of retrofitting five key buildings in collaboration with the American donor agency USAID to make them earthquake-proof. These included the Delhi Secretariat in which the CM’s office is located, the police headquarters, the GTB hospital and Ludlow Castle school.

Some admirable work was performed-the school received a seismic belt, while the Delhi Secretariat received a full dose of seismic planning. Around 2007, after a few engineers had even been to the US for training, the work abruptly stopped. Turned out the 2010 Commonwealth Games were finally awarded to Delhi, and work had to be completed on a war footing. Delhi went to sleep until the Nepal earthquake, when Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced the city needed to get its act together.

And so the wheel of life continues to turn, god willing, even as the Indian tectonic plate in the Himalayas underthrusts beneath its Eurasian counterpart, each day confirming that the arrival of the Next Big One is a day closer. But if the rising death toll from the Nepal quake has one lesson for India it is that the country must finally shed its indifference that often passes off as fatalism and relearn the value of every life. Otherwise, there could be a far stiffer price to pay for that cynical shoulder shrug.

5 ways to become a morning person

According to nutrition specialist Khushboo Thadani, a mug of hot water and lemon should be your morning elixir. “After 8 hours of going without food, this blend reduces acidity and flushes out toxins in the body,” she explains.

news 24 in 7

In an alternate universe, you would wake up bright eyed and beaming, all set to kickstart your day with a morning run; then there is the actual reality of your snooze-loving, sunlight-hating self, whose mornings are rushed, fast and furious. How do you switch to the perfect world?

Vogue tells you 5 ways to become a morning person and love those early morning rays hitting your face.

1. Morning potion. According to nutrition specialist Khushboo Thadani, a mug of hot water and lemon should be your morning elixir. “After 8 hours of going without food, this blend reduces acidity and flushes out toxins in the body,” she explains.

2. Really wake up. Start your day with some kind of spiritual practise—it could be anything from 10-minute breathing exercises to a calming chant that soothes your soul.

3. Boost your energy to last you through the day without feeling tired. Thadani suggests breakfast that incorporates a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, fibre and a moderate amount of healthy fats. Try:

  • Greek yogurt topped with berries, raw oats and walnuts
  • Natural peanut butter on rye toast with an egg-white omelet
  • Whole-wheat toast topped with avocado and 2 poached eggs
  • Oatmeal sweetened with a banana and topped with toasted almond flakes
  • Vegan omelet made from chickpea flour (besan) and a level tablespoon of coconut chutney

4. Sleep right. A restful night’s sleep is as important as the necessary 8-hour snooze. Here are some ways to make it happen:

  • Avoid drinking caffeine the previous day after 4 pm.
  • Eat dinner at least 2 hours before you sleep for the sake of digestion.
  • Sip on a warm cup of herbal, caffeine-free tea at night like camomile or ginseng, which, according to Thadani, are known to relax the system and reduce stress and anxiety.
  • Switch off from technology at least an hour before bedtime—sounds impossible? All the more reason to follow this.

A hot shower at night will relax your muscles and get you ready for a good night’s sleep.

5. Love your alarm. How? Keep the tunes of your favourite violinist as your wake-me-up tone, or a forest bird’s melodious singing—whatever gets your soul alive and kicking!

– Sneha Mankani

Source: Yahoo

R.I.P. Google+?

Google’s Google+ social network, touted by some as a potential “Facebook killer” upon its 2011 release, could end up split into multiple parts.

“Just wanted to confirm that the rumors are true—I’m excited to be running Google’s Photos and Streams products!” Google Vice President Bradley Horowitz wrote on his Google+ page. “It’s important to me that these changes are properly understood to be positive improvements to both our products and how they reach users.”

While there’s no official word from Google on whether Google+ is headed for the digital chopping block, Horowitz’s posting suggests the service could undergo a significant rebranding in coming months. If so, “Photos” is a logical candidate for a standalone service. Over the past few years, Google+ has developed a reputation as a place where digital shutterbugs congregate to share images, so it seems logical that Google would double down on that aspect of things.

The second allusion in Horowitz’s posting, “Streams,” is much more ambiguous. It presumably refers to the activity/news streams that dominate the profiles of Google+ users, but it remains unclear how exactly Google will shift things around to emphasize this functionality.

At this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Google Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai also told the audience that Hangouts, the popular communications platform that currently exists as part of Google+, might end up as a standalone product of some sort. “And we’re going to put more energy into it,” he said, according to The Verge. “We’re seeing good traction there and so we’ll work hard to get to the next stage.”

At least one thing is clear: Google+ will likely end up looking very different in the months and years ahead—if it even continues to exist under that name.

Source: Techgig

Pakistan’s processes flawed, says daily after Lakhvi bail

news 24 in 7Islamabad: It will be difficult to tackle the militant menace when “our institutional processes are so flawed”, a Pakistani daily said on Friday, a day after Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a key mastermind of the 26/11 Mumbai attack, was granted bail.

The News International said in an editorial that India expressed its sorrow and observed silence to mark the tragedy in Peshawar where 132 children were killed in a Taliban attack on the Army Public School.

“But we may have spurned our chance to make further progress. The decision by an Anti-Terrorism Court to grant bail to Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the prime suspect in the Mumbai attacks, might be pounced on by the Indians as evidence that the Peshawar attacks haven’t changed anything,” the daily said.

“His release, pending a government appeal, only shows how difficult it will be to tackle the militant menace when our institutional processes are so flawed,” it added.

The editorial said that the fight against terror “will take years and require a revolution in our thinking and the way we operate”.

“The zeal we have now should not descend into bloodlust and neither should we believe that military action alone will solve the problem within a matter of months,” it added.

The government is now considering setting up military courts to swiftly try and sentence militants but in combating the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan “we should not lose our sense of justice”.

The daily went on to say that “our political class is on the same page” on the battle against terror.

“It shouldn’t have taken the killings of more than 130 children to reach a consensus but in our mourning we have to show resolve – and that is what our political parties are now doing.”

The editorial noted that “political unity alone won’t get the job done”.

“We need the help of our neighbours.”


Source: http://news24online.com/

Honda launches Mobilio MPV at a starting price of Rs 6.49 lakh

Honda Cars India launched its new MPV, the Mobilio at a starting price of Rs 6.49 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). The petrol car will cost Rs 6.49 lakh for the E variant, Rs 7.50 lakh for S variant and Rs 8.76 lakh for the V variant. The diesel Mobilio has been priced between Rs 7.89 lakh to Rs 10.86 lakh. Its direct competitor, the Ertiga petrol is priced between Rs. 5.8 lakh and Rs. 7.3 lakh while diesel starts at Rs. 7.22 lakh and goes up to Rs. 8.49 lakh.

Take a look at the comprehensive photo gallery of the Mobilio and also read our test drive report of Honda Mobilio.

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10 Reasons That You Should Appreciate India Rather Than Criticizing It All The Time

Utopia, the perfect community for humans to live in, a social construct which is so perfect that it is unable to even envisage, a world without crime, poverty and any thinkable social evil. Sounds too unreal? There is a reason why it is always going to be a hypothesis, because humans aren’t creatures of cosmos but chaos. Coming to India, a country of vast cultural difference and diversity, being a citizen of the country helps presumably gives us the right to defame and criticize it right? Or maybe, we aren’t even ready to consider the fact that we as citizens of the country make it a country and as each of the existing countries in the world we have our problems but that is not because we are Indians but because we are ‘humans’, I personally believe that any vice cannot be fenced to a region, so here are a few points that would actually make you appreciate the country that most of you “fucking hate”.

1. Arms laws here are stringent

Compared to the U.S. of A where any gun-toting child can walk into a school and can execute a massacre.


2. Internet policies are liberal

Consider yourself lucky if you’re being able to access websites like Google, Facebook, Youtube  and Twitter  here as China has a ban imposed on all of these websites you love so much.


3. You get a weekend here

Meanwhile in North Korea.


4. Freedom to practice your religion

Had you been in Saudi Arabia, you would have been penalized heavily for just carrying any religious paraphernalia not sanctioned by the Islamic law.


5. India has its own currency and it’s going strong

Ever heard about hyperinflation? Between 2003 and 2009 when hyperinflation struck the country of Zimbabwe the country’s currency rates fell so bad that they had to suspend it  resulting in a desperate situation for the country and widespread poverty and an 80% unemployment rate. Still think you’re the scum of the earth?


6. Our army is effing best in the world

It’s so true that I don’t even need a supporting statement to make it more convincing.


7. The economy of India is the 3rd largest in the world by PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) and 10th largest by nominal GDP

India has economic curve has grown exponentially since the 1970’s, comparing it to countries who won their independence hundreds of years earlier or are 1/16th the size seems a bit unfair.


8. We are racist but

Are we the only country in the world where racism is rampant? Not trying to endorse the statement but we are the 7th largest country in the world and doesn’t having a plethora of states, languages, religions and a culture so vast and diverse that it axiomatically makes us vulnerable to such atrocities but unity in diversity remember? We are all just people at the end of the day.


9. And many such others that would make us count our blessings and thank the almighty that we are Indians

The reason I decided to do this article was because I realized that I’m so caught up in discussing the problems we have that we aren’t doing anything about it, while  social platforms are rife with articles which criticized Indians for watching a certain genre of movies, would that mean that to be a better citizen of my country I need to watch movies and listen to music that is intellectually stimulating. Yes, every country has its own problems and everyone is trying to solve them but is such a pessimistic  and snooty take on our problems going to make things better, we can sit on the internet and argue about the validation and cogent justification of that argument or just do something about it.


10. Or we could just forget about it and assume that we could live without each of the aforementioned points.