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Goa and Kerala - best states to be born !
Report dated 04/02/2012 @ 1:32 AM
According to the latest Union health ministry data, Goa and Kerala appear to be the best states to be born in, while Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha are the worst.
The data shows that Goa recorded the lowest infant mortality rate at 10 deaths per 1000 live births, followed by Kerala at 13. Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest rate of infant mortality at 62, followed by UP and Odisha both at 61.
The infant mortality rate (IMR) has dropped in rural areas from 55 to 51, while the urban rate stands unchanged at 34/1000.
The Union ministry's plans include ensuring that all district hospitals have a Sick and New Born Child Unit to handle critical neonatal cases over the next five years, that will cater mainly to children born at full term with low birth weight. It has also started a home-based newborn scheme to reduce the neonatal mortality rate where accredited Social Health Activists will vist the homes of new mothers regularly to encourage safe newborn care practices and for early detection and free referral of sick babies.
India chooses French fighter in $10 billion deal
Report dated 02/02/2012 @ 2:36 AM
France's Dassault Aviation has emerged as the preferred bidder in a $10 billion contract to supply jet fighters to India.
Dassault will now enter final talks before signing a deal that will supply India's air force with 126 Rafale aircraft.
This is one of the world's biggest defence deals and is a major setback for rival bidder, the Eurofighter Typhoon that is built by the German and Spanish branches of European aerospace giant EADS, Britain's BAE Systems and Italy's Finmeccanica.
A spokesman for Eurofighter Typhoon said they believe the decision was not final and negotiations are still in progress. Four other bidders had dropped out of the lengthy Indian selection process. French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Pierre Lellouche welcomed the deal, the first foreign order for the Rafale multi-role jet.
India is currently the biggest arms importer among emerging nations.
Government given four month deadline on corruption prosecutions
Report dated 02/02/2012 @ 2:35 AM
The Supreme Court ruled that India's government must decide within a four month time frame whether a public official can be prosecuted for corruption or else the prosecution will be deemed to have been granted.
The Court ruled that filing a complaint under the Prevention of Corruption Act was a constitutional right that required a response within a specified time frame.
Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy had complained of inordinate delays of over 16 months and sought the ruling in relation to the prosecution of former telecoms minister A. Raja, one of 14 charged over the alleged illegal sale of telecoms licences that cost the country around $40 billion.
Indian teacher first foreigner chosen for US space programme
Report dated 02/02/2012 @ 2:33 AM
Vandana Suryawanshi of Vidya Valley school, Maharashtra, a middle school educator, has been chosen for the US Space Foundation's 2012 Flight of Teacher Liaisons programme. She is the first foreigner to be chosen for the programme in its 10-year history.
Ms Suryawanshi has been teaching biology, earth science and general science for 29 years. She joins 19 other outstanding educators selected for their active promotion of space and science education. The teachers are selected by a panel of experienced Teacher Liaisons and representatives from the space industry and the military.
The new flight of Teacher Liaisons will serve as advocates for space-themed education across the curriculum and will use Space Foundation-provided training and resources to further integrate space principles into the classroom.
After the symposium Teacher Liasons can use specialised training at Space Foundation and NASA workshops with optional graduate-level credit, other continuing education credits and other space-oriented student programmes created just for them.
Weird Indian Wedding rituals
Report dated 01/02/2012 @ 2:15 AM
With the wedding season arriving in India, some obscure Indian wedding traditional rituals will be performed that are unique, sometimes odd but lovingly adhered to.
Consider the Bengali wedding, in which the mother of the bride is not supposed to see the wedding. Married women from the brides' family however rise at the break of dawn and arrange a plate of sweets, twigs and incense and go to the Ganges to invite it to the wedding of the girl as they believe the holy river blesses the girl in her future life.
Bihari weddings include the bride grappling with a huge earthen pot set on her head by her mother-in-law. Shortly after which a few more pots are added to the pile while she bows down and touches the feet of the family elders. Guests gather round the bride to see how many pots she can actually balance, which is ostensibly an indicator of her skills at striking a balance in the family.
A UP tribal wedding in Kanpur greets the baaratis not with flowers, but with tomatoes and potatoes that are hurled at them along with a round of choice abuses. The tradition takes root in the belief that a relationship that begins on a somewhat unhappy note always culminates in love.
At Malayalee weddings Nairs of Kerala consider the auspicious time begins when they set out from their homes to marry in a temple or the ancestral home of the bride.
Weddings of the Rabha tribes of Assam involve a simple exchange of garlands, or the newly wed on their first day together at the boy's family home are expected to help in cooking the afternoon meal and serve it only to the males and elders of the family. The rest are served food by helpers.
Tamil Brahmin weddings specify the groom steps into the mandapam for the ceremony then has a change of mind and chooses asceticism. The Brahmin tradition has the bride's father playing the role of a distressed father by reaching out to the groom and convincing him to take up family life with his daughter who would in turn support him in his spiritual pursuit.
Extraordinary rituals are not only the domain of Indians. Jewish, Finnish, Baltic and Greek weddings also involve some bizarre ceremonials.