Assam’s curse — Its annual floods

August 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Floods ravage Assam, with no remorse

Almost the entire north and north-east of India reeled under heavy flood for weeks. Happily for the people, who bore the brunt of Nature’s fury, the floods have ebbed considerably. This has come about because the discharge from the melting of the glaciers at the areas of origin has slowed considerably due to a fall in temperature. People in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya will now heave a sigh of relief.
However, nearly 15 lakh people in 16 districts of Assam are still fighting flood waters because the Brahmaputra and its tributaries continue to be in spate. As many as 2.46 lakh people are in relief camps waiting for the waters to recede. Thanks to the massive relief and rehabilitation works undertaken by the government and other agencies, they have, so far, succeeded in staving off hunger and disease.

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Voabulary for effective writing

August 31, 2014 at 2:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing to win – the words that speak loud

When writing a high quality answer, substance matter as much as style. Style depends upon brevity of expression and articulation of thought. Both of these are facilitated through use of right words in right places. Here is a small list of such words that convey a lot of sense. To master them, read the sentences keeping a dictionary in front.

Mull .. a. President Obama is mulling over suggestions for mounting air strikes against the Islamic State (IS), who have occupied vast swathes of land in Iraq and Syria in a short time.
b. Much before the general elections, the BJP had mulled over the idea of removing a few of the Congress-appointed governors. After coming to power, it carried out the idea.
Mortify … a. Jainism prescribes penance and extreme righteousness as the path to salvation of the soul. The Jain Munis (saints) feel they can go to heaven by mortifying the flesh. (Meaning 1– Subdue (the body or its needs and desires) by self-denial or discipline)
b. The orthodox Muslim gentleman, living in London, was mortified to see his teen-aged daughter emerging from a pub in the company of a few rambunctious young men. (Meaning 2 — Cause (someone) to feel very embarrassed or ashamed)

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Scotland referendum rattles England

August 31, 2014 at 6:07 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scotland’s secession from England looms large over the United Kingdom – Facts to know

Some facts …

1. The United Kingdom consists of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Edinburgh is the provincial capital of Scotland. Mr. Alex Salmond is the Scottish First Minister. He is equivalent to the chief minister of an Indian state. Mr. David Cameron is the British Prime Minister. The capital of the United Kingdom is London.

2. The present row has erupted because of the Scottish desire to break away from England, thus effectively making the name ‘United Kingdom’ redundant.

3. The desire to secede from England has been simmering for long in Scotland. The Scottish National Party has been clamouring for this since 1934. The SNP won an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament in the last election. Since then, their demand for independence has become more strident.

4. As the first step towards achieving their goal, Scotland under Mr. Salmond’s SNP, is holding a referendum across Scotland. A resounding ‘yes’ vote will considerably strengthen his hand in forcing the union government in London to take the next step—devolution of power and division of assets.

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The Rise of the Islamic State (IS) — Ominous for India

August 27, 2014 at 4:42 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Barbarism in the name of religion

Preamble … Some misguided followers of Islam, in their zeal to safeguard the underlying values of this great faith, often distort it to very abominable extent. As a result, human values such as forgiveness, and compassion that form the bedrock of Islam gets smudged making people of other faiths think brutality is synonymous with Islam. Nothing can be farther from truth. The advent of the protagonists of the Islamic State, unfortunately, have besmirched their own faith by their violent acts in recent times. Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda disgraced Islam in trying to be its pure adherent. The Islamic State warriors are going down the same path.

The American journalist James Foley has been felled by the militants of the Islamic State while he was doing his journalistic duty as a freelance reporter. The whole world has been appalled by this dastardly act.
Foley was taken captive by the militant group a few months ago in Syria. To free him, his captors made some demands from time to time. One was a demand for ransom of $100 million. As a matter of policy the U.S. government does not heed such demands. In this case too, the abductors’ offer was turned down.
The U.S. military and Intelligence authorities made a vain attempt to free Foley. Sensing more such attempts, the Islamic State fighters executed him, and blamed American airstrikes over Iraq as their cause. The IS and its vengeful activities have been strongly condemned by the United Nations Security Council. The IS militants chose to ignore the UNSC views and went ahead with their plans to kill Foley. One more American journalist is still under their captivity. Quite daringly, the IS has threatened President Obama to retrace his steps in Syria and the Muslim world, failing which the second captive could be killed.

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Value Pack for Civil Service / CAT / GMAT

August 25, 2014 at 4:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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In our next Value Pack (2), you will get these.

a. Obituary of Richard Attenborough [The film maker who directed the film Gandhi]
b. Why Bank of America was fined a whopping $17 billion?
c. How a Briton, who got the Physics Nobel Prize later, spent his time in a German jail?
d. Sea-bed spews out methane in huge quantities. Does it aggravate global warming?
e. Précis writing exercise with answer.

Value Packs are priced. Ask for details.

Precis Writing 4 –with answer

August 25, 2014 at 10:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Précis Writing …

Passage …
A painter of eminence once resolved to finish a piece which should please the whole world. When, therefore, he had drawn a picture, in which his utmost skill was exhausted, it was exposed in the public market-place with directions for every visitor to mark with a brush, which lay nearby every limb and feature that appeared erroneous. The spectators came and, in general applauded; but each, willing to show that his talent at criticism, marked whatever he thought proper. At evening, when the painter came, he was mortified to find the whole picture one universal blot – not a single stroke that was not stigmatized with marks of disapprobation: not satisfied with this trial, the next day he was resolved to try them in a different manner, and exposing his picture as before, desired that every spectator would mark those beauties he approved or admired. The people complied; and the artist returning found his picture replete with marks of beauty: every stroke that had been yesterday condemned, now received the character of approbation. “Well,” cries the painter, “I now find that the best way to please one half of the world is not to mind what the other half says; since what are faults in the eyes of these, shall be by those regarded as beauties. [Total words … 215]
Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World

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WHO eases norms for new Ebola drug testing

August 25, 2014 at 6:02 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ebola drug testing – WHO sets the record straight

Parts of Africa have been gripped by fear and anxiety as rapidly increasing numbers of patients report being affected by the deadly Ebola virus. The four countries worst affected are Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. Figures available as on August 22, 2014 so far show that the number of people infected with the virus stands at 2,615, out of which 1,528 are confirmed cases. The number of people who have so far succumbed to the disease is 11,427.

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Tamil Nadu’s Goonda Act –High Court suggests caution

August 22, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Administrative overreach puts personal liberty in peril.

How does the law deal with a young man who
a. Molests a young lady in a over-crowded bus. He has done this offence for the first time in his life.
Or
b. Sends a lewd message to his heart throb, or sends a vulgar abuse to a politician, again for the first time in his life.
Or
c. Molests a child with sexual intent for the first time in his life
Or
d. Indulges in sex with a person of the same sex

There are penal provisions under the IPC for each of the above offences. Police is empowered to arrest the offender, investigate the crime, prosecute him, and ensure his conviction through a court of law. The laws have been progressively strengthened in recent times to ensure the offender does not get away on technical grounds. The gaps in the law pertaining to sexual attacks on women have been made tight by clearly describing what constitutes molestation, rape, voyeurism etc. With all the escape routes closed, the police and the courts can now dispense speedy punishment to the guilty, if they show due sensitivity to the victim and try to finish the trial speedily.

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INS Kolkata — India’s indigeneous destroyer

August 22, 2014 at 10:18 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The Indian  navy’s enhanced role in a surging economy

All naval assets are incredibly expensive, difficult to procure, and cumbersome to maintain. So, not all countries can fancy having ‘blue-water’ navies. India has already taken some important steps in this regard. The acquisition of the aircraft carrier and nuclear submarines is one of them. But, sustaining the tempo of building naval power needs massive investment. This is possible only if the country can afford to set aside the required funds for navy. The problem as another dimension. Read on ……

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Unshakling Prasar Bharati

August 21, 2014 at 10:10 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Letting Prasar Bharati fly free

Constituted by law in 1997 to provide healthy, un-biased and independent news and analyses to the viewers and listeners, Prasar Bharti has, sadly, not able to live up to its billing. A robust vibrant news organization can flourish if it is allowed to administer itself financially and editorially. The long shadow of government has mired its working and stifled the spirit of free and fearless journalism. No matter which party or coalition is in power, the government of the day has found it hard to take its hands off Prasar Bharti.
On paper, Prasar Bharti is autonomous, but for all practical purposes, it is just another department of the government operating under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. No wonder, its credibility and customer base have eroded progressively. It has been reduced to be the mouth piece of the government.

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