Tuesday, August 1, 2017


The number of people with an immigrant background in Germany rose 8.5 percent to a record 18.6 million in 2016, largely due to an increase in refugees, the Federal Statistics Office said on Tuesday. Just over a fifth of the population – 22.5 percent – were first or second generation immigrants with at least one parent born without German citizenship. Around 2.3 million people in Germany have family links to the Middle East, a rise of almost 51 percent since 2011, and around 740,000 people have African origins, an increase of 46 percent since 2011, the figures showed
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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has formally announced plans to reshuffle the cabinet and leadership of the governing party on Thursday.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will shake up his cabinet 3rd August, the government’s top spokesman said Tuesday, as public support plummets after a series of scandals. Abe too faced claims he used influence to help a friend in a business deal, an accusation he denies, while the country’s defense minister resigned last week following a controversy over military documents. Abe told ministers he was planning a reshuffle on Thursday to “push ahead with various reforms under a new line-up,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters. Suga said the new cabinet’s top priority would be reviving the economy, adding it would also work to ensure national security, in an apparent reference to North Korea’s increasing missile threat.
Abe spoke during an executive meeting of the Liberal Democratic Party on Tuesday.
He said he aims to reinvigorate the lineup which comes exactly one year after the current cabinet was appointed on August 3.
Senior party members agreed to give Abe the freedom to select a new executive lineup.
After the meeting, LDP Secretary General Toshihiro Nikai told reporters that he approves of Abe’s decision to carry out a reshuffle.
Nikai added that the party needs to conduct itself with caution, because people have various opinions over its management.
The planned reshuffle comes as Abe’s cabinet has been hit by a series of scandals. A recent NHK poll has shown a sharp drop in the cabinet’s approval rating.
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Indian boxers packed quite a heavy punch at the 48th Grand Prix Usti Nad Labem, clinching five gold, two silver and one bronze medal at the event in the Czech Republic.
World Championships bronze-medallist Shiva Thapa in 60 kg, former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Manoj Kumar in 69 kg, Amit Phangal in 52 kg, Gaurav Bidhuri in 56 kg and Satish Kumar in +91 kg category claimed gold medals after winning their respective summit clashes last night.
Kavinder Bisht in 52 kg and Manish Panwar in 81 kg settled for silver medals. Earlier, Sumit Sangwan had claimed a bronze in 91 kg category after going down in the semifinals.
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Los Angeles formally announced its bid for the 2028 Summer Olympics today after agreeing on a deal that paves the way for Paris to host in 2024.
The Los Angeles Olympic and Paralympic bid committee in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), announced it yesterday. The LA bid committee said in a statement that Los Angeles will host the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games 2028.
Los Angeles had been in a race with Paris to host the 2024 Games, with the winner to be named by the IOC on September 13 in Lima.
Edit"Los Angeles agrees to host 2028 Olympic Games, Paris gets 2024"


The Tank Biathlon commenced with the opening ceremony of International Army Games at Alabino Ranges, Russia on 29 July 2017. Nineteen nations with three crews each are competing with each other in the Stage I individual races to qualify for the Stage II which will be a relay race. Top twelve teams will be selected for Stage II relay race out of which top four teams will qualify for the final stage relay race scheduled on 12 August 2017.
Presently, one crew each of all nations has participated in the first two days of the competition wherein the Indian crew’s race was conducted on the 30 July 2017. The individual race of balance two Indian crews is scheduled on 04 and 06 August 2017. The top twelve teams for stage II will be selected on the basis of least aggregate time of all three crews.
The Tank Biathlon competition is an international event conducted as part of the International Army Games held every year since 2013 at Alabino Ranges, Russia. International Army Games involve 28 events organised in five Countries i.e. Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and China. The Indian Army team has been participating in the competition for the past three years since 2014. The team stood 6th in the previous year out of the 17 countries which participated in the event in July 2016. This year, for the first time, the team would be participating with own T-90 tanks which have been shipped to Russia.
A total of 19 countries including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Israel & South Africa will showcase their prowess, skills and endurance on the tanks in this prestigious event this year. The competition involves firing on tanks on the move by conventional machine guns and anti tank projectiles at a range of two kilometres, whilst negotiating rugged obstacles. The competition simulates actual battle field conditions involving driving at high speed and entails switching from one mode of operation to another at a fast pace which requires mental mobility and exceptional level of physical fitness and training.
The team has been selected through a rigorous selection process on the basis of technical expertise, physical fitness, mental endurance and consistency in accuracy of firing the tank weapons while driving the tanks through a replica of the original circuit in Russia, at Babina Field Firing Ranges in Central India. The tanks were transported to Russia by Sea and the team moved to Russia on 20 July 2017 for participation in the competition from 29 July to 12 August 2017.
Col Aman Anand
Edit"Indian Army Team with T90 Tanks Participates in Tank Biathlon 2017 in Russia "


Indian eight core sectors grew 0(point)4 per cent in June this year. Growth in the eight infrastructure sectors had stood at 7 per cent in June last year, and 4.1 per cent in May this year.
According to official data, production of coal declined 6.7 per cent in June this year, petroleum refinery products output fell 0.2 per cent, fertilizer output shrank 3.6 per cent, and cement output dropped 5.8 per cent.
But crude oil output rose 0.6 per cent in June, natural gas output rose 6.4 per cent, steel production increased 5.8 percent, and power generation increased 0.7 per cent during the month under review.
Minister for Steel Chaudhary Birender Singh today said that first time India has become a net export country in Steel.
Replying during question hour in Lok Sabha today, Mr Singh said, the steel imports in the country has gone down by 39 per cent and exports has gone up by 102 per cent last year. He said, crude steel production has registered 3.5 per cent growth during April-June 2017-18.
Edit"India Core sector industries grow by 0.4% in June"


Germany coordinates  with France’s push to make operational a new multinational military force that will tackle Islamist militants in Africa’s Sahel region and urged other powers to contribute funds at an Autumn donor conference.
On a joint visit to Niger’s capital, Niamey, German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her French counterpart, Florence Parly, said yesterday that the Sahel force was West Africa’s best hope for defeating the militants.
Some observers see the G5 Sahel force — comprised of troops from Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad  forming the basis of an eventual exit strategy for around 4,000 French troops deployed in the volatile region.
France has said it has no plans to withdraw them  a stance reiterated by Parly in Niamey.
Parly and Von der Leyen’s trips are the latest show of tightening defense and security cooperation between Berlin and Paris since Emmanuel Macron became French president in May.
In mid-July Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled plans to develop a European fighter jet, burying past defense industry rivalries in a move designed to give fresh impetus to Franco-German relations. The ministers announced plans for a September donor conference in Berlin. French diplomats hope to bring Washington on board.
Parly met the presidents of Chad and Niger. She will travel today to a French military base in the northern city of Gao in Mali before heading to Bamako where she will meet up with Von der Leyen again.


The Supreme Court today imposed a ban on the use of five harmful metals including lead and mercury in firecrackers as they cause enormous air pollution.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur prohibited use of lithium, mercury, arsenic, antimony, lead metals which are used in the manufacturing of firecrackers.
The order came after the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Member Secretary told the top court that standards on air pollution caused by the bursting of firecrackers are yet to be laid down and the exercise would be completed by September 15.
It is the responsibility of the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO) to ensure compliance particularly in Sivakasi in Tamil Nadu.
The bench said that Member Secretary of the Central Pollution Control Board and Dy Chief Controller of Explosive, Sivakasi should remain present on August 23, the next date of hearing.
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New Mozilla backed research reveals that Indians prefer quality net content over online freebies

  • Mere reward points fail to nudge Indian users to choose online apps or content
  • Users evaluate potential hidden costs in using such rewards
  • Net savvy users refer apps to later convert monetary awards into data, talk time or e-commerce transactions

August 1, San Francisco/ New Delhi: New research backed by Mozilla, the makers of Firefox, and carried out by LIRNEasia, an Asia Pacific-based information and communication technology think tank, reveals that internet users in India are quite discerning and don’t always choose online services purely on the basis of freebies offered. Consequently, according to the report Cost-strained optimization: User perspectives on internet use in India by Gayani Hurulle and Helani Galpaya, merely the prospect of earning rewards does not appear to be attracting users in India towards certain applications or content. Moreover, when users don’t know the data allowance required to download such apps, they hypothesize as to whether the potential reward would exceed the cost.

In addition, technology savvy users are downloading the promoted apps and referring friends purely to earn monetary rewards, which they convert to talk time or data or e-commerce transactions. However, limitations may arise as users have to refer friends in order to earn rewards and most ‘pyramid-like’ reference systems have a limited shelf-life before eventually collapsing.

“We worried that rewarding people for the use of apps would have a ‘tunneling effect’, where users don’t explore the wider internet,” said Helani Galpaya, CEO of LIRNEasia. “But such fears are premature in India, where we see diverse content being accessed even by users of these apps.”

“While TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) has ruled that zero rating is too harmful to consumers and competition to be allowed, there’s still a need to find alternative ways of connecting the unconnected. From this research, it doesn’t look like earned reward applications will be the answer,” saidJochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager, Mozilla. “We believe users want and deserve equal rating solutions, which are free of discrimination, gatekeepers, and pay-to-play schemes.”

Respondents not using the internet cited unaffordability and the lack of digital skills amongst the reasons for not being online. Reliance Jio, which offered free 4G data during the period of fieldwork, served as a counterpoint to zero-rated offers, which subsidized specific content. Many of those who owned a Jio SIM were already online, and used it as a secondary SIM to enhance their user experience. Some were not able to capitalize on the availability of free data via Jio, due to difficulties in affording a 4G-compatible device.

This highlights the sequential nature of the challenge of affordability, whereby the problem of cost of data becomes relevant only once an individual is able to  purchase a device. Provision of free data alone, thus, may not be the magic bullet. Increased efforts to make devices affordable and impart digital skills may be needed to enhance internet use.
The research also reflected other studies that show a global shift away from Facebook-use among younger users.

As part of the research, elaborate and often insightful discussions were held in December, 2016 with people from diverse social backgrounds in five locations in and around New Delhi at Sriniwasipuri, Rajouri Garden, Chattarpur, Keshav Puram and Shakarpur for this research.

Earned reward apps require consumers to download applications or engage in an activity to gain rewards. They gained prominence after the Indian telecom regulator TRAI prevented service providers from “offering or charging discriminatory tariffs for data services on the basis of content.”

The Mozilla supported study was primarily conducted to understand how Indians use the internet when data is subsidized and when it is not.

In March this year, Mozilla had conferred the USD 125,000 (INR 82-lakh) ‘Equal Rating Innovation Challenge’ award on Mumbai-based Project Gram Marg for its unique affordable broadband initiative, as part of its own commitment to provide affordable internet to all.

Note to Editors:
For a copy of the report and more information, please visit:

In pursuance of our continued commitment to India, Mozilla will be delighted to share more information on the research and a copy of the report. Interviews with senior members of the research team comprising Gayani Hurulle, Research Manager, LIRNEasia and Jochai Ben-Avie, Senior Global Policy Manager, Mozilla, who can shed more light on this new study as well as the Equal Rating Innovation Challenge, can also be arranged on request.
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New Delhi: 01 August 2017

Ministry of Mines has amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 through the MMDR Amendment Act, 2015, one of the important provisions being the introduction of section 9(B); for the establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in districts affected by mining related operations. The object of DMFs is to work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations, the DMFs will be funded by statutory contributions from holders of mining lease and in this regard, rules specifying rates of contribution to DMFs has been notified on 17.09.2015, which prescribes the rate of contribution to DMF as follows:
(a) 10% of royalty in respect of mining leases granted on or after 12.1.2015; and
(b) 30% of royalty in respect of mining leases granted before 12.1.2015

Contribution will directly go to the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) of the respective district.
The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) has been conceived by the Central Government which will be implemented by the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) of the respective districts using the funds accruing to the DMFT. At least 60% of PMKKKY funds will be utilized for high priority areas like: (i) drinking water supply; (ii) environment preservation and pollution control measures; (iii) health care (iv) education;
(v) welfare of women and children; (vi) welfare of aged and disabled people; (vii) skill development; and (viii) sanitation.  The rest of the funds will be utilized for the following: (i) physical infrastructure; (ii) irrigation; (iii) energy and watershed development; and (iv) any other measures for enhancing environmental quality in mining district.

Directions have been issued under section 20A of MMDR Act on 16.09.2015 to all States to incorporate the PMKKKY into the rules framed by them for the District Mineral Foundations.

As per the information made available by Government of Maharashtra, total amount of Rs. 26.35 Crores has been collected by Pune District under DMF and Rs. 365.94 Crores has been collected by Government of Maharashtra under DMFs. As per Section 9(B)(2) of the MMDR Act, the manner in which the DMF shall work for the interest and benefit of persons and areas affected by mining related operations shall be prescribed by the State Governments through rules framed in this regard. The funds accrued to DMF will be utilized for the activities as per the PMKKKY. The details of the expenditure made in this regard are not maintained centrally by the Ministry of Mines.
This information was given by Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministries of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha.
Edit"Payment of Mineral Royalty to Districts"


Swaraj India’s one-day symbolic fast in solidarity & support of Narmada valley.
  • Swaraj India’s support for the displaced people of Narmada Valley and the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
  • Yogendra Yadav along with volunteers of Swaraj India held a symbolic one-day fast at Jantar Mantar in support of Medha Patkar’s anshan
  • In the petition filed against displacement without complete rehabilitation, the Supreme Court has fixed August 8th as the next date of hearing
  • As a mark of support for the people of Narmada Valley, volunteers of Swaraj India marked blue imprints of their palm on a 30 feet long basanti cloth. Blue symbolises the colour of Narmada and basanti symbolises Swaraj India’s commitment to cause.
Swaraj India today lent its support to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and demanded justice for the displaced people of Narmada Valley. Along with Party President Yogendra Yadav, various volunteers of Swaraj India observed a one-day symbolic fast at Jantar Mantar in support of the struggle of the displayed people of the Narmada Valley. The fast of Swaraj India’s leaders & volunteers was in the solidarity with the  activists who are observing an indefinite fast under the leadership of Medha Patkar. The day-long program was scheduled to be held till the evening and was supposed to culminate in a candle march, but due to heavy rains, the candle march had to be cancelled.
It is noteworthy that 1 city and 244 villages in Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra are under the danger of being submerged due to the planned increase in water levels of Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river. Along with these villages, 40,000 families with a population of over 2 lakhs, their cattle, their temples & mosques, and millions of trees are on the brink of being submerged. Such a huge massacre is being carried out only because the Narmada Control Authority has decided that the height of Sardar Sarovar dam should be increased from 122 meters to 138.62 meters.
In fact, the government kept changing the number of displaced people from time to time. And even if these figures are to be considered, applications of thousands of families that are eligible for compensation are still pending with the Narmada Valley Development Authority and Grievance Redressal Authority and despite these applications being pending, the Narmada Control Authority has ordered the closure of the gates of Sardar Sarovar Dam.
A writ petition has also been filed in this case in the Supreme Court where August 8 has been fixed as the next date of the hearing. Senior advocate and Swaraj Abhiyan President Prashant Bhushan is also arguing the case for Narmada Bachao Andolan
All set to submerge about 2.4 lakh people, the state and central governments are preparing to ‘celebrate the occasion’ with a ‘Narmada Aarti’ alongwith 2000 pandits on 12th of August.
Swaraj India’s Delhi State President, Anupam said that as a mark of solidarity & support for the people of Narmada Valley, volunteers of Swaraj India marked the imprints of their hands with blue colour on a 30 feet long basanti cloth. Blue symbolising the colour of Narmada and basanti symbolising Swaraj India’s commitment to the cause. The basanti cloth will then be presented to the representatives of the Narmada Bachao Andolan.
Yogendra Yadav, the National President of Swaraj India, said that the fight to save Narmada is the fight of every citizen of this country.
“I salute the spirit of the people who have been fighting this struggle for over 32 years now,” Yogendra Yadav said.
“This fight is not only for the displaced people of Narmada Valley but for the whole humanity. Swaraj India’s alternative politics is to stand firmly against all kinds of injustice without considering any profit/loss or vote-bank. While on one side the country’s political parties are busy practicing petty politics of power, with this occasion at Jantar Mantar, Swaraj India has introduced a politics of conviction for the masses & justice.
Dharmvira Gandhi (MP from Patiala), Ali Anwar (Rajya Sabha MP), Raju Shetty (Lok Sabha MP), Dr. Sunilam from Kisan Sangarsh Samiti, Vimal Bhai Gandhian associated wth Narmada Bachao Andolan, Madhuresh from Narmada Bachao Andolan, social scientist Soumya Dutta, Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Joe Athiyali, Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, Bhupendra Singh Rawat from National Alliance of People’s Movement, Elongwen from the All India Fishermen Association, Thomas Franco from All India Bank Officers’ Union, Priya Pillai from Greenpeace, Faisal Khan from Khudai Khidmatgar and many other political & social activists also addressed the gathering of Swaraj India volunteers on the struggle of Narmada Bachao Andolan.
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BEIJING: China loves peace but will never compromise on defending its sovereignty, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday while marking 90 years since the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
China has rattled nerves around Asia and globally with its increasingly assertive stance in territorial disputes in the East and South China Seas and an ambitious military modernization plan.
Relations with self-ruled Taiwan have also worsened since Tsai Ing-wen from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party won presidential elections there last year. China considers Taiwan a wayward province, to be brought under Beijing’s control by force if necessary.
Xi, speaking at the Great Hall of the People, made no direct reference to any particular territorial dispute, as he sought to assure that China’s intentions were peaceful, but also show that China would not be bullied.
“The Chinese people love peace. We will never seek aggression or expansion, but we have the confidence to defeat all invasions,” Xi said in comments carried live on state television.
“We will never allow any people, organization or political party to split any part of Chinese territory out of the country at any time, in any form,” he said. “No one should expect us to swallow the bitter fruit that is harmful to our sovereignty, security or development interests.”
The army has been a central target of Xi’s wide-ranging anti-corruption campaign, with several senior military officers, including Xu Caihou, Guo Boxiong and Gu Junshan, being felled for graft since Xi came to power.
Xi said that, after five years’ hard work, the PLA had successfully “remodelled” its organizational and power structure, as well as its public image.
A reshuffle of the military’s senior ranks at a key five-yearly Communist Party congress in the autumn is expected to further strengthen his grip, and Xi repeatedly reaffirmed the Party’s “absolute leadership” over the army.
“To build a strong military, [we] must unswervingly adhere to the Party’s absolute leadership over the armed forces, and make sure that the people’s army always follow the Party,” Xi said.
Quoting Chairman Mao Zedong, the founder of modern China, Xi said: “Our principle is that the party commands the guns, and the guns must never be allowed to command the party.”
China has not fought a war in decades and the government insists it has no hostile intent, but simply needs the ability to properly defend the world’s second-largest economy.
China’s armed forces, the world’s largest, are in the midst of an ambitious modernization program, which includes investment in technology and new equipment, such as stealth fighters and aircraft carriers, as well as cuts to troop numbers.
“The People’s Army must be brave enough to change and innovate, not at any time must it become rigid or stagnate,” Xi said.
Some of the military reforms have been controversial at home. Sources with ties to the military say Xi’s announcement at the 2015 parade to cut 300,000 troops has caused unease within the ranks.
On Sunday, Xi presided over a large military parade at the remote Zhurihe training base in China’s northern Inner Mongolia region, where he inspected troops from the back of a jeep.
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