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Udaipur - the city of lakes April 01, 2015 12:31

The city of Udaipur is a lovely land around the Azure water lakes hemmed in by the lush hills of the Aravails. Udaipur also known as the City of Lakes is a city in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is located 403 kilometers (250 miles) southwest of the state capital, Jaipur and 250 kilometers (155 miles) northeast from Ahmedabad. Udaipur was the historic capital of the former kingdom of Mewar under Rajputana.Apart from Udaipur’s glorious history, culture and scenic locations, it is also known for its Rajput-era palaces. The Lake Palace, for instance, covers an entire island in the Pichola Lake. Udaipur is often called the "Venice of the East" and is also nicknamed the "Lake City". Lake Pichola, Fatah Sagar Lake, Udai Sagar and Swaroop Sagar are considered some of the most beautiful lakes in the state.Udaipur was founded in 1559 by Maharana Udai Singh II as the capital of the erstwhile Mewar kingdom, located to the southwest of Nagda, on the Banas River, the first capital of the Mewar kingdom. It is said that Maharana Udai Singh II met a hermit while hunting in the foothills of the Aravalli Range. The hermit blessed the king and asked him to build a palace on the spot, assuring him it would be well protected. Udai Singh II consequently established a residence on the site. In 1568 the Mughal emperor Akbar captured the fort of Chittor, and Udai Singh moved the capital to the site of his residence, which became the city of Udaipur. When the Mughal empire weakened, the Sisodia ranas, and later Maharanas (also called the Guhilots or Suryavansh), who had always tried to oppose Mughal dominance, reasserted their independence and recaptured most of Mewar except for Chittor. Udaipur remained the capital of the state, which became a princely state of British India in 1818. Maharana Fatah Singh of Udaipur was the only royalty who did not attend the Delhi Durbar for King George V in 1911. After India's independence in 1947, Maharana Bhupal Singh, the King of Udaipur, acceded to the Government of India and Mewar was integrated into India's Rajasthan state.City Palace City Palace which stands on the east bank of Lake Pichola is a massive series of palaces built at different times from 1559. The balconies of the palace provide great views of Jag Mandir on one side and the city of Udaipur on the other. Its main entrance is through the triple-arched gate - the Tripolia, built in 1725. The way leads to a series of courtyards, overlapping portions, terraces, corridors and gardens. There is a Suraj Gokhda, where the Maharanas of Mewar presented themselves in the times of trouble to the people to restore confidence. The Mor-chowk (Peacock courtyard), gets its name from the mosaics in glass decorating its walls. The Chini Chitrashala is noteworthy while a series of wall paintings of Krishna are on display in Bhim Vilas. There are other palaces such as Dilkhush Mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Moti Mahal and Krishna Vilas - in memory of a princess of striking beauty who poisoned herself to avert a bloody battle for her hand by rival princes. Now the palace contains many antique articles, paintings, decorative furniture and utensils. The former guesthouse of the city palace, Shiv Niwas Palace and the Fateh Prakash Palace has been converted into heritage hotels.Jagdish Mandir The Jagdish Temple is a large Hindu temple in the middle of Udaipur. It was built by Maharana Jagat Singh I in 1651 A.D. It is an example of Indo - Aryan architecture and this temple is having a great example of architecture and art. Gulab Bagh and Zoo A rose garden laid out by Maharaja Sajjan Singh is situated near the palace on the east side of Lake Pichola. Within the garden, there is a zoo with tigers, leopards, Chinkara gazelle, birds, and many other wild animals. Doodh Talai A rock and fountain garden and the sunset point from which one can enjoy the sunset view in Lake Pichola and a panoramic view of the old city. Also one can enjoy the Aerial tramway (rope way) which connects one of the Doodh Talai gardens to Karni Mata temple.Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal This is a museum of folk arts and traditional dances. It also hosts puppet shows and folk dances in its auditorium.Sukhadia Circle Sukhadia Circle (Square) is a large roundabout in the city's northern suburb of Panchwati, on the road to Ranakpur and Mt. Abu. The Circle is a popular recreational centre and meeting placeOther places of interest include Lake Palace, Jag Mandir, Monsoon Palace, Fateh Sagar Lake, Lake Pichola, Saheliyon-ki-Bari, Maharana Pratap Memorial or Moti Magri, Bohara Ganesh Ji, Nehru Garden, Bagore-ki-Haveli, Ahar Museum, Shilpgram, Neemach Mata Temple, Udaipur Solar Observatory, Ranka Palace By Premji

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Kannada will be a mandatory subject in Karnataka Schools April 01, 2015 12:16

Kannada language will be a mandatory subject in classes one to ten in schools affiliated to Karnataka board and a compulsory medium of instruction from classes one to five.This is envisaged in the Kannada Language Learning Bill, 2015 making Kannada a mandatory subject in classes one to ten and Right To Education Act Amendment Bill which were passed by a voice vote in the state Assembly on Tuesday.The second bill amended Section 29 (2) of the Right To Education Act to change the provision "medium of instruction shall, as far as practicable, be in mother's tongue" to "Kannada or mother tongue will be medium of instruction in primary schools" from classes to one to five.Kannada language will be a mandatory subject in classes one to ten in schools affiliated to Karnataka board and a compulsory medium of instruction from classes one to five.The amendment would help the government in its arguments before the Supreme Court when the curative petition related to its language policy is taken up.The Supreme Court had rejected a revision petition filed by the state government seeking review of its ruling which upheld a Karnataka High Court judgement striking down its government order issued in 1994 to impose Kannada or mother tongue as a medium of instruction in primary schools.   - Manohar

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Places to Visit Amritsar April 01, 2015 11:53

The Golden temple is located in the holy city of the Sikhs, Amritsar. The Golden temple is famous for its full golden dome,  it is one of the most sacred pilgrim spots for Sikhs. The Mandir is built on a 67-ft square of marble and is a two storied structure.  Maharaja Ranjit Singh had the upper half of the building built with approximately 400 kg of gold leaf. Amritsar, literally a Pool of Nectar, derives its name from Amrit Sarovar, the holy tank that surrounds the splendid Golden Temple. Guru Ramdas, the fourth Guru of the Sikh faith, founded Amritsar in 1579. He constructed a pool on land gifted by the Mughal Emperor Akbar and called it Amritsar. History: History of Amritsar is tarnished in number of episodes marked with bloodshed and carnage. The credit for establishment of this glorious city of Sikhs goes to 4th Sikh Guru Ramdas. After having learn about the presence of the pool containing healing power he incited his son and successor Guru Arjun Dev to erect the city around this pond. Travel: Road: Amritsar is connected by bus with: Agra 643 km Chandigarh 235 km Delhi 435 km Ferozpur 160 km Jalandhar 80 km Jammu 219 km Kolkata 1850 km Kullu 389 km Ludhiana 137 km Pathankot 111 km Srinagar 515 km Wagah Border 29 km Train: Amritsar is connected by rail with major cities in India. Plane: The Rajasansi airport, about 11 km from city centre, is connected by domestic flights to Delhi, Srinagar and Chandigarh. Places to Visit in Amritsar: There are several excellent tourist places to visit in Amritsar and all of them are equally important. One of the major attractions here in this city is India-Pakistan border called Wagah border. The next historically most important place is Jallianwala baug. Included among other tourist places in Amritsar, the places are Ber Baba Buddha, Rambagh gardens, Akal Takht and many others. 

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Kerala Excise Minister K. Babu accused Bar Hotelier Biju Ramesh of conspiracy April 01, 2015 11:52

Bar hotelier Biju Ramesh is trying to dethrone the UDF government by joining hands with the Opposition LDF, Kerala Excise Minister K. Babu said on Tuesday."Biju Ramesh is nothing but a tool in the hands of the Opposition," Babu said, reacting to the bar owner's allegations against him in connection with the bar bribe case."Some of the LDF leaders held talks with Biju Ramesh at the residence of a CPM MLA in Thiruvananthapuram on December 15. There the Left leaders promised Biju to open the closed bars if he helped them to dethrone the UDF government. The CPM leaders also asked him to level charges against UDF leaders other than K.M. Mani too," Babu told reporters here. He also made public an audio clip as evidence to his claims.“Biju took an anti-government stance at a meeting of the bar owners held on March 10 too. Biju is bent on revenge against the government ever since bar hotels were shut down in the state and he has been trying to frame evidence against UDF leaders,” Babu alleged.The Excise Minister asked why Biju didn’t name him earlier if he had demanded bribe from bar owners. "Biju alleges that I demanded Rs 10 crore as bribe. Now he should explain when and where I raised the demand," Babu said.   - Manohar

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WhatsApp Voice calling is finally available without any invitation April 01, 2015 10:42

WhatsApp voice calling feature has been recently released by the company. But due to its limitations some users have faced problems to use the service. Today, with the upgrade of the latest WhatsApp application, users need to no longer wait for the exclusive call from a friend or acquaintance to be able to talk free on WhatsApp. With this latest upgrade, the app is going to bring millions and millions of new users to WhatsApp. It is expected to have more success than social networking site Facebook which actually owns the WhatsApp service. With WhatsApp Calling feature, you can place calls to your WhatsApp contacts over the Internet for free. The feature doesn't use the cellular network but the Internet connection. But the users need to remember one thing that once you are on call through the app then network calls will not work. However it will be automatically enabled once you cut the Voice call on WhatsApp.The WhatsApp voice calling feature is available only for Android, and is expected to make its way to iOS users soon. AW: Lizitha

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Lufthansa knew about Co-pilot's severe depression well before April 01, 2015 10:08

The co-pilot who crashed Flight 9525 into a French mountainside last week had informed the German carrier Lufthansa in 2009 about a “previous episode of severe depression,” the airline said on Tuesday, raising fresh questions about the series of decisions that allowed Andreas Lubitz to stay in the skies.The admission that the company knew at least some of the history of Lubitz’s mental illness came after the company’s chief executive, Carsten Spohr, said publicly last week that Lufthansa - parent of the budget airline Germanwings for which Lubitz worked - had no previous knowledge of his medical history.In a statement Tuesday, however, the carrier said it wanted to issue a “swift and seamless clarification.” In 2009, Lubitz had taken several months off during his training to become a pilot. When he resumed the program, Lufthansa said, he provided the airline “medical documents” that noted his bout of severe depression.The company said it had forwarded those documents to prosecutors who are now handling the crash as a homicide case.Under European aviation law, pilots with active and untreated cases of depression are prevented from flying. But if deemed medically cured, there may have been no legal impediment for Lubitz to continue his training and obtain his license, experts say.@washingtonpost- Manohar

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Gujarat passed controversial anti-terror bill March 31, 2015 19:43

Gujarat's controversial anti-terror bill, which failed to get Presidential assent thrice, was passed by the state Assembly on Tuesday with the rechristened legislation retaining provisions like empowering police to tap telephonic conversations and submit them in court as evidence.The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime (GCTOC) Bill 2015, which also makes confessions made before police admissible in court and extends the period of probe from the stipulated 90 days to 180 days before the filing of chargesheet, was approved by a majority vote amid stiff resistance from oppposition Congress, which walked out of the House over its controversial provisions.After failing to get Presidential assent for its Anti-Terror Bill thrice since 2004 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister, the Gujarat government re-introduced the Gujarat Control of Organised Crime (GUJCOC) Bill by renaming it but has retained the controversial measures.The bill has several controversial provisions including admissibility of evidence collected through telephonic interception and confession made before police officer being considered as evidence in court. Congress leaders Shankarsinh Vaghela and Shaktisinh Gohil demanded that the measures be dropped as per the suggestions of past Presidents when they rejected the bill.The bill also came under attack from social activists like Medha Patkar who said it has "dangerous implications". "It is a very very dangerous situation for the rights of the people," she said. However, the government justified the provisions by saying that the existing legal frame work like the penal and procedural laws and adjudicatory system have been found to be rather inadequate to curb or control the menace of organised crime.It is therefore considered necessary to enact a special law with stringent and deterrent provisions, it said.Justifying the provision of telephonic interceptions, the 'Statement of Objects and Reasons' in the Bill states that this is necessary in these times where organised criminal syndicates make extensive use of wire and oral communication.It says that the interception of such communication to obtain evidence is inevitable and an indispensable aid for the law enforcement.Former President APJ Abdul Kalam had in 2004 objected to the particular section-14 (telephonic interception as evidence) and returned the bill to the Modi government asking it to remove the clause. The Bill was again introduced today in the House by Minister of State for Home Rajnikant Patel, after which a long debate took place on it, in which Opposition Congress demanded removal of controversial sections like telephonic interceptions, confessions made before some police officer as evidence and time limit of 180 days for filing of chargesheet. Rejecting the demand of the Congress, Patel said that the provisions of this Bill are in favour of the nation and people besides allowing authorities to take action against "traitors".   - Manohar

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An apple a day may also keep pharmacist away, study revealed March 31, 2015 19:36

According to the study the old proverb "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" was busted as the researchers have found that the daily apple eaters had just as many doctor visits as those who did not regularly eat the fruit. But the study revealed that apple eaters are less likely to use prescription medications strengthening the statement “An apple a day may also keep pharmacist away”. Matthew Davis of the University of Michigan School of Nursing in Ann Arbor along with his collegues satreted research to give simple answer to the old question. They compared daily apple eaters (those who consumed at least 1 small apple per day or 149 grams of raw apple) with non-apple eaters. Among 8000 participants only 753 (9 percent) were apple eaters and rest of 7,646 (91 percent) were non-apple eaters.The study has some limitations, the information in the investigation was self-reported and the number of doctor visits couldn’t be explicitly linked to munching on apples are two of the more serious ones, noted Dr. Sharonne N. Hayes, cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “The apple eaters were highly educated and less likely to smoke,” he added. “It could be that their visits to the doctor were for preventive reasons rather than illness”.“Apples probably won’t cure the woes of our health care system, but they certainly won’t hurt,” Hayes said. As they reduce risk from several forms of cancer, asthma and cardiovascular disease. Also, the fruit may have beneficial effects for diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, weight management and bone health. It is good to have an Apple a day for its therapeutic benefits at least strengthening the statement “An apple a day keeps pharmacist away”. AW: Lizitha

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Xiaomi Redmi 2 specifications review March 31, 2015 19:27

Contrary to earlier reports that the Chinese company will launch a new affordable handset on April 8, Xiaomi has come out and taken the wraps off of the device already at an event in China on March 31.Company CEO Lei Jun took center stage to unveil the company's all new budget offering: the Redmi 2A.Now we were expecting an ultra-affordable handset, for reports doing rounds were indicative of the same. However, as things stand it's not all that ultra-affordable after all. In hindsight, the company has simply toned down the recently launched Redmi 2 as is also reflected by its naming.So, instead of a CNY 499 price tag that we were expecting, the Xiaomi Redmi 2A has been priced at CNY 599. Now if you look closely, it's not a huge difference when you consider the Redmi 2's price. Just to break it down for you, while Redmi 2 retails at Rs 6,999 in India, the Redmi 2A has been priced at around Rs 6,044.There is also no information when the device will be hitting global shores, including India since CEO Lei Jun mentioned nothing at all in relation to this.Let's take a look at the Redmi 2A's specification sheet though. As mentioned earlier, it's simply a toned down Redmi 2. Therefore it retains a 4.7-inch HD display with a 1280x720 pixels resolution, 8GB internal memory, 2,200mAh battery, and 4G LTE support.So what has changed, you ask? Unlike the Redmi 2, the Redmi 2A is powered by a 1.5GHz quad-core Leadcore LC1860C CPU coupled with Mali T628MP2 GPU and 1GB of RAM. The Redmi 2 on the other hand comes with a 1.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 410 CPU with Adreno 306 GPU and 1GB of RAM.The Redmi 2 also has another variant that comes with 2GB RAM keeping rest of the specifics constant, but is more like a limited edition device.  - Manohar

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IT releases big tax defaulters March 31, 2015 18:52

The Income Tax department of India on Tuesday took to the strategy of 'naming and shaming' of some large tax defaulters as it published names of 18 entities who owe over Rs.500 crore tax to the exchequer."The step is aimed to publicise and put these names in public domain so that the common man can come forward to help the department in knowing the whereabouts of these. The step is to enhance public awareness against these entities who are acting against law. These names were put up on the department's website earlier," a senior I-T officer said.Newspapers on Tuesday carried the names of the tax defaulters and the data published was quoted to have been published by the Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (Administration) based in the national capital here.Adopting an aggressive approach, government had for the first time gone public with names of 18 tax defaulters, including Goldsukh Trade and Somani Cements which, according to I-T, have turned wilful defaulters.In a bid to force these entities to pay their dues, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had asked the I-T department to post on its website, few days back, the names of 18 defaulters, of whom 11 are based in the western Indian state of Gujarat."Defaulters are advised to pay tax arrears immediately," said the notice."This is the first time the department has put in public domain a list of those wilful tax defaulters who have a tax liability of Rs.10 crore and above," a senior tax official had said, adding that in many cases the assessees were not "traceable"."The department, in the public notice, has provided the PAN number and the last known address of these defaulters for the public to know," the official added.The official said periodically the department has been proposing "naming and shaming" of wilful defaulters and the step has now been taken on the last day of the current financial year on Tuesday.The companies in the list include Somani Cement with tax arrears of Rs.27.47 crore, Blue Information Technology (Rs.75.11 cr), Appletech Solutions (Rs.27.07 cr), Jupiter Business (Rs.21.31 cr) and Hirak Biotech (Rs.18.54 cr).The other Gujarat-based companies which figured in the defaulters list include Icon Bio Pharma & Healthcare Ltd (Rs.17.69 cr), Banyan & Berry Alloys (Rs.17.48 cr), Laxminarayan T Thakkar (Rs.12.49 cr), Virag Dyeing & Printing (Rs.18.57 cr), Poonam Industries (Rs.15.84 cr), Kunvar Ajay Food Pvt Ltd (Rs.15 cr).Besides, names of Jaipur-based Goldsukh Trade India (Rs.75.47 cr), Kolkata-based Victor Credit & Construction (Rs.13.81 cr), Mumbai-based Noble Merchandise (Rs.11.93 cr) are also there in the list.   - Manohar

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