Saturday, 15 April 2017
Nowadays, people travel in the plane to overseas destinations for various purposes. Sometimes the period of travel by air may extend up to a day. If you book a non-window seat, you might feel as well bored. On the other hand, the people who have opted for the window seat would be able to watch the natural wonders happening through the transparent windows. This is why primarily people opt for the window seat for a plane journey. In this article, we would be listing out 10 reasons why you should opt for a window seat while doing the air travel.
1. You might be able to see Kerala skyline reflected in Lake Vembanadu while traveling over Kollam district of that state in India.
2. While sitting on the window seat, you could see an approaching rainstorm from some distance and marvel at the beauty of transformation the system brings to the environment. You can even enjoy small sprays of water cooling the airplane when it passes through the rain-forming clouds.
3. At higher altitudes, the visuals of a solar eclipse are pretty cool as there is no turbulence of atmosphere. Hence, the full duration of the eclipse can easily be seen while traveling at higher altitude.
4. While traveling to the African continent, you can see the breathtaking view of the highest point in the continent through the window from the top.
5. When seated in the window seats of an airplane, you might see the spectacle of sunrise and the change it brings to the atmosphere. The color of rising sun seen through the clouds gives a totally different experience for the passenger.
6. An air traveler sitting on the window seat might be able to see even the sunsets coloring the horizon, courtesy cnn.com.
7. While passing by waterfalls, you can see it from the top in all its splendor. This aerial view might take your breath away. The rising drops of water scatter the light and give a milky white color to its top.
8. If you pass over the Australia or USA in the night during the summer, you could witness forest fires raging below through the plane window.
9. You can finally understand why everyone thinks Norway is so beautiful with its panoramic aerial view when you are traveling by plane seated on a window seat.
10. You could ride an endless sea of clouds and at times even pass through them with some jerks. The window seat lets the passenger enjoy the cloud shapes and the horizon.
Thursday, 13 April 2017
According to the latest news available in the public domain, the United States (US) forces have dropped what the defense analysts call as ‘Mother of All Bombs’ in Afghanistan. This was disclosed by the sources close to the ground forces operating in this war-torn country. The sources say that the said bomb was used to blast the ISIS tunnels in Nangarhar province in Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is expected to talk about this development in his upcoming brief. In this blog post, let us see what has prompted the US to drop this bulky bomb in Afghanistan.
Understanding ‘Mother of All Bombs’
The explosive device used this time in Afghanistan is the largest non-nuclear device in the US Air Force arsenal. This was reported by the reputed news gatherers in the globe, as quoted by the US ground forces operating in Afghanistan. This precision-guided device was developed in 2003 by US Air Force. It belongs to the GBU-43 class of bomb that uses the Global Positioning System (GPS) to precisely hit the target. This bulky explosive device was code named as MOAB, which stands for Massive Ordnance Air Blast. In the defense quarters, MOAB is fondly called as the ‘Mother of All Bombs’. The total weight of this explosive device is 21,000 pounds. It is for the first time the US Air Force is using this bulky ordnance. According to the defense analysts, this device is a ‘concussive weapon’ that does not penetrate the ground. Instead, MOAB destroys tunnels and a large surface area.
As told above, this bomb creates a huge shockwave, apart from a huge fireball, over a large surface area. Though the impact seen from above will be minimal at the surface, it completely pulverizes the underground tunnels and bunkers, thereby making them useless in the future. Hence, it is the most optimal arsenal to use against the terror groups. Due to its precision nature, the collateral damage would be minimal, the defense sources privy to this development claimed. The blast impact would cover a radius of 300 meters. The shock impact was felt even in the neighboring Pakistani province as well. This bombing is expected to impede the free movement of terrorists through this tunnel without getting noticed.
Reason for Afghan Bombing
It was dropped in Nangarhar province in this war-torn country, bordering the eastern region of Pakistan. The attack was launched in an area where the US ground forces had faced small arms firing when they were searching there to flush out the ISIS militants and destroy their targets. As a result of this Saturday firing, one US Green Beret was killed. This Afghan province has been in the limelight for all wrong reasons, as it has become the operational base of terrorist groups like al Qaeda, Haqqani Network and ISIS (Afghan branch). Even the Osama Bin Laden chose this region to hide from the public glare after the infamous 9/11 terror attacks.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
In a recent past, the US Court granted a divorce for a couple through Facebook as a last resort. While passing the judgment, the honorable court had said that a woman could divorce her husband through Facebook if she failed to go along with him. This ruling had come after the husband of a New York woman was not physically traceable even after repeated serving of notices to him.
The Judge of Manhattan Supreme Court Matthew Cooper had to pass this ruling in favor of the New York woman Ellanora Baidoo as her husband remained untraceable during the course of the trial at the family court. The court allowed the woman to send divorce summons to her missing husband Victor Sena Blood-Dzraku. The honorable court instructed her attorney to send him the petition on her behalf through the Facebook messaging system so that it could reach the man. The New York women' attorney Andrew Spinnell passed the news about this landmark judgment to the media. He told a media house in New York that his client wanted to become free. He further added that his client was very happy to hear the judgment as it had provided a mechanism for her to get the judgment of divorce from the legal authorities. The woman’s attorney would try to contact Blood-Dzraku once in a week for three weeks or until he acknowledges the receipt of the judgment. After the Facebook method of reaching the man fails, the woman would be granted the default divorce decree by the honorable court. The court had reasoned that the non-receipt of the court summons cannot become a premise for not giving divorce to a person who deserves to go out-of-wedlock.
In his judgment, the Justice Cooper opined that the social media platforms offer novel and non-traditional ways to communicate with people who cannot be contacted. This is because such people have no permanent house or permanent place of employment. He was referring to the case of the husband of the New York woman. He further added that summons could be served physically on those persons who present themselves readily before the court or whose whereabouts are known. If a person has no permanent place to live, the social media platforms help the authorities to pass on the softcopy of the judgment to him. He also noted that courts in the USA had passed the judgments through emails in similar cases in the past.
Sunday, 9 April 2017
Rural folks have been listening to community radio in Sanga Reddy district of Telangana everyday evening. They either just sit on an easy chair or cook in the kitchen listening to different programs from the community radio. This has become a daily routine for the people who come home tired from the field after a day’s hard work. This radio station is manned by the ladies who work in the fields by the day. These part-time employees painstakingly collect information from the ground and compile it into programs in interesting ways to woo the rural folks. In this blog post, we will be looking into this unique way of information dissemination practiced in our rural villages when the urban dwellers go Hi-Fi.
India’s First Community Radio
Our country’s first community radio was commissioned in 2008. It was realized after a decade-long wait. The rural institution of information Sangam Radio sharing was established with the purpose of disbursing the information in their own colloquial language and slang. It is located in a place called Pastapur in Zaheerabad district, and it caters to people from Jarasangam, Raikod, and Zaheerabad. It also partly covers Kohir and Nyalkal. It broadcasts a variety of programs from 7:00 PM and 9:00 PM every day. Each village that this radio station covers has a population of between 600 and 1200 people. In short, the radio station has a coverage diameter of 30 kilometers, whereas the All India Radio nearby covers a distance of 100 kilometers. If anyone visits the Sangam Radio, he or she would get surprised looking at the simple setup that has become the household name in the villages surrounding Zaheerabad. The broadcasting tower is placed on top of a tree near the building housing the studio complex.
Employees of Radio Station
The facilitator for this community radio is Deccan Development Society (DDS). This is a Nongovernmental Organization (NGO) working on the issues relating to farmers. All the employees of this community radio station are on the payrolls of this NGO. After getting the required license, DDS established FM radio station, a transmission tower and program recording facilities. These facilities are partly funded by UNESCO. The villagers work part-time as the station employees. They work in the field by the day and in the radio station by the night. It runs with eight persons – three men and five women. Meet Hyderabad Narasamma and Nalugandila Narasamma who have been regularly doing the regular transmission of programs that have been compiled by other staff members.
Variety of Programs
Villagers eagerly wait for the programs aired by this radio station every day. They relax listening to the variety of programs in the evening. They listen to songs or discussions or anything that is informative in their own dialect and colloquial language. The medium of communication is Telugu. Sangam Radio offers the opportunity for the villagers to share their views through discussions and interview.
- Songs: The song the community radio airs depends upon the seasons. Over the period of years, the station has collected over 2500 songs sung by the members of the community. Often those songs are recorded with the instrumental accompaniment.
- Discussions: This program talks about the issues and tips about plowing, plant seeds, plant care, water irrigation and harvest.
- Interactive Sessions: Every day, the last 30 minutes of the program is dedicated for listeners who would like to call the station to clear their doubts. In these call-in sessions, the people report about the missing cattle, new findings while working in the fields are shared or asked questions to the experts in the field of agriculture. The listeners even trace the missing cattle and pass the information to the radio station for information dissemination.
- Other Programs: They often feature farming practices, health tips, festivals, birthday wishes, etc.
Friday, 7 April 2017
We Indians are under the impression that the amount of heat we are exposed to is unparalleled in this world. Hence, we think that we can survive in any hot climate. This is the viewpoint of people living near the Indian desert. This belief falls flat just like a castle of cards when one goes through a road in Nevada in the United States of America. This state is home to a desert where the temperature soars to over 45 degree Celsius. This temperature is unbearable when there is little moisture to support it. This is what one would finally conclude when he visits that state in the US from the subcontinent. Only a few people knew that there are oases in this desert. In this blog post, we will learn about two such places where cool microclimate prevails when compared to the other places in that US state.
When one travels through Route 50 from Ocean City, Maryland on the Atlantic coast, different flavors of climate can be experienced. The travelers will experience the moderate shore climate to extremely hot conditions while traveling by this road. This 3000-mile road has a 300-mile stretch that passes through this desert state. This part of the road is called The Loneliest Road in North America. Passing through this desert state, this road ultimately touches Sacramento in neighboring California, which is just a stone throw away from the Pacific coast. From the main arterial road arise certain serpentine roads that grace past the mountains to some hidden gems in that desert state. Only very few visitors know about these hidden gems or microclimates that offer majestic views of nature in otherwise barren terrains of the desert in Nevada state. These hidden gems are Great Basin National Park and Lamoille Lake Park. These are microclimate systems that remain embedded in the Great Basin Mountain Range in the Nevada state of the US. Hence, they are nicely insulated from the sweltering hot climate that surrounds them.
1. Great Basin National Park: This microclimate has alpine forests and lakes ringed with glaciers that feed them. To the visitors, it would seem like enchanted forests that are just coming out from the pages of fairytale books. They can park their cars inside the National Park. This microclimate system is located at a height of 4569 feet from the sea level. They have to trek for another 1 hour to reach beautiful lakes that make the place famous. While standing near the lake, the visitors would experience an epoch of a totally different time zone. There are two big lakes that warrant our attention. They are Stella, situated at a height of 10,400 feet, and Teresa, situated at a height of 10,275 feet. The wild animals such as deer are present in this habitat. Though the visitors reached that place in the mid-summer, the atmosphere and air are cold. Hence, they would start shivering if they have not gone with proper precautions. The majestic mountain range in the backdrop makes the lake shores more beautiful. The travelers can take in cool and fresh air to rejuvenate both body and soul.
2. Lamoille Lake Park: This place is seen in the Ruby Mountain Range. It is part of a canyon named after this mountain range. This beautiful place is very near to a small town by the name Elko. It also has a microclimate that is different from the whole of Nevada. While traveling to the destination, the people will have to pass through Ruby Canyon that portrays a totally different scenery that can best be compared to that coming from a magical portal. The visitors have to park their vehicles at the Lamoille Lake Car Park, before embarking on a trekking trail, negotiating a steep gradient to reach the lake. After the four-hour trekking, the visitors are treated to a visual treat with the lakes at the foothills of the Ruby Mountains in the canyon. Most often, the visitors may have to walk across the snowdrifts and logs thrown across the streams that have layers of ice on them. In this microclimate system, the visitors can find Dollar Lake and Lamoille Lake. The photography enthusiasts will have plenty of opportunities to take snaps of nature in different colors.
Wednesday, 5 April 2017
For a trained eye, the body language speaks volumes about the mental transactions happening in a person. All the physical gestures we make during our interactions with others are subconsciously interpreted by the people. This can become boon or bane depending upon the kind of gestures we make during our interactions with others. For instance, defensive postures during an interview may show our under-confidence to the interviewing panel. Some other gestures exude the confidence we feel at the time of interaction. In this article, we would be listing out 10 body languages that we should avoid to impress upon the people we meet or come across in our lives.
In reality, most people do not know anything about their own body language. They just take things for granted and come to their own conclusions about things that happen around them. Hence, the task of disciplining their body to make right gestures is a quite daunting task for them. Most of the body languages that we make are reflexive. The truth of the matter is that they automatically say what our minds are thinking in any given movement. However, with some effort, we can condition our reflexes in such a way that we can sound confident before others even if we are little under confident. Of course, we should know the right kind of practices so that we can avoid making negative body languages before others. Making such avoidable negative body languages will make the people look down upon us.
- Holding objects in front of our body: This would make the people believe that we are trying to hide behind something.
- Checking the time of introspection of our fingernails: While looking at the fingernails, we are making others believe that we are not interested in the talks.
- Picking lint off of our clothes: This shows that we are nervous about the topic being discussed.
- Stroking our chin while looking at someone: This creates a bad impression about us.
- Narrowing our eyes: This also shows that we are either not interested in the topics or have the disagreement in many of them.
- Looking down before others: This shows that we are either under-confident or hiding something.
- Touching your face during a conversation: This shows that we are nervous about something or somebody.
- Faking a smile: We should sound straight in our behavior. Fake smiles give the impression that we cannot be trusted.
- Leaning away from someone we like: This act shows the disrespect to the people whom we like or adore.
- Resting hands behind the head or on hips: This shows the authoritarian attitude of the people. In reality, we might be meek and straightforward. Hence, never give such a posture to the people.
Monday, 3 April 2017
Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013 proposes to set up an anti-corruption ombudsman in the Indian states. Its main duty is to help people come out with the instances of corruption among the Politicians and Government Officials. It essentially implements the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. As a result of the interference of this ombudsman, many of those have been charged with corruption have begun facing the legal proceedings against them. This ombudsman organization works along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti-Corruption Bureau to publicize the corrupt people in the Government set-up. The act of 2013 establishes by the law Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for the member states. This act covers entire India, including Jammu and Kashmir which enjoys special powers under article 370. As per the statutes of the act, the “public servants” working within and outside India come under its scrutiny. According to this anti-corruption act, “public functionary” definition applies to both Politicians and Government Officials who depend on the taxpayers’ money for their sustenance.
In 1966, the Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) headed by Shri. Morarji Desai submitted an interim report on “Problems of Redressal of Citizen’s Grievances”. In this interim report, the ARC had recommended the setting up of two special authorities to deal with the grievances aired by the citizens. At that time, a Parliament member Laxmi Mall Singhvi coined the term Lokayukta. While participating in the debate on grievance mechanisms, he borrowed the Sanskrit words Lok (people) and Pala (protector) and stood for the setting up of an anti-corruption mechanism under this name. Thus the word Lokpal literally means “Caretaker of the People”. Accepting the word Lokpal, the ARC recommended for the creation of Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for the States of the Indian Union.
Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill
Implementing the interim report, the Union Government introduced the Lokpal Bill in 1968 for the first time. Due to several reasons, the tabled bill could not get the approval from both the houses of Parliament. Taking the cue from first Lokpal bill at the Centre, the western state of Maharashtra introduced the Maharashtra Lokayukta and Upa-Lokayukta Act in 1971 to create Lokayukta in the State. After that, many other states had established the anti-corruption ombudsmen in their states. At present, the States such as Andhra Pradesh, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Nagaland, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal and Tripura don’t have the institutions of Lokayukta in their respective States. The current form of Lokpal and Lokayukta Bill came as a draft for the scrutiny of the Parliament in 2010. The government tabled this bill in the Parliament after the noted Freedom Fighter Anna Hazare sat on the “hunger strike” demanding a law to tackle the growing menace of corruption in the country. His strike had found support from across the country, forcing the then United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre to suddenly draft an anti-corruption ombudsman bill. After a lot of deliberation, the bill was finally passed by both the houses of Parliament in 2013 in time to curb the unrest among the citizens.
Composition of Lokpal
As per the law, Lokpal is a statutory, multi-member body which has no constitutional backing. It consists of one Chairperson and a maximum of 8 members. The Members of Parliament, Members of State Legislative Assembly, Members of Panchayat and Municipality, persons convicted of any offence, politicians, people who are removed from the public services due to their inappropriate actions, persons holding any office of trust or business organization are not eligible to hold the coveted post of Chairperson in Lokpal.
1. Chairperson: A person becomes eligible for the appointment as Chairperson of Lokpal if he is a former Chief Justice of India, a former member of Supreme Court or an eminent person with impeccable integrity and outstanding ability. Additionally, he should have adequate knowledge and 25 years of experience in the matters of the anti-corruption policy, finance, vigilance, law and management, and public administration.
2. Members: Out of 8 permissible members, half will be coming from the judiciary. Rest 50% of members will be from OBC/SC/ST/women and minorities. Judicial members should either be a former Judge of Supreme Court or a former Chief Justice of a High Court. In the case of non-judicial members, they should be eminent persons with impeccable integrity and outstanding ability in their chosen professional areas. They should have at least of 25 years of experience in matters relating to anti-corruption policy, vigilance, public administration, vigilance, law, management, and finance.
There are three officials who work under the anti-corruption ombudsman. The Chairperson appoints them after consulting with other members. They are Secretary to Lokpal and Directors of Inquiry and Prosecution. The Chairperson appoints Secretary from a panel of names suggested by the Central Government. The Chairperson also appoints the Directors of Inquiry and Prosecution. These high-ranking officers cannot be below the rank of Additional Secretary to the Government of India.
According to the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act 2013, the anti-corruption ombudsman would constitute an inquiry wing under the Director of Enquiry. This wing would conduct the preliminary inquiry into an alleged offense committed by a public servant. If convicted, the person is punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. Similarly, the prosecution wing would be constituted under the leadership of the Director of Prosecution. This wing prosecutes the public servants who have been found to commit crime prima facie.
As per the law, all public servants come under the purview of the anti-corruption ombudsman. It does not matter whether the public servant was inside or outside the country at the time of the alleged crime. Even the Prime Minister of the country comes under the ambit of the law under certain conditions. Other people who come under the purview of the Lokpal include the Union Ministers, Members of Parliament, Officers coming under Groups A, B, C and D, and persons who are in charge of any society or organization set up by the Central Act or any other body financed or controlled by the Central Government. The persons who get involved in the act of abetting, giving or taking bribe also come under the ambit of the law automatically.
The anti-corruption law proposes to set up the Lokpal benches. The Chairperson constitutes these benches as per his discretion. Ideally, each Lokpal bench will have two or more members. About 50% of the members in each Lokpal Bench should be judicial members. If the bench has the Chairperson, he will oversee it. In cases of benches that don’t have the Chairperson, the judicial member will preside over them. The sitting of these benches may take place in New Delhi or any other place as decided by the Lokpal. Sometimes, the existing benches get re-constituted to get the required output. This would be done by the Chairperson himself if the situation warrants so.
Working of Lokpal
When citizens air their complaints, Lokpal receives them. Then, the anti-corruption ombudsman analyzes them to check their veracity. Once it decides to go ahead, Lokpal would order a preliminary inquiry. This would be done either by the inquiry wing or any other Central Government agency, such as Delhi Special Police Establishment, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), etc. The preliminary inquiry has to get completed within 90 days of receiving the complaint. However, the time of inquiry can be extended for further 90 days if the enquiring official requests in writing with sufficient reasons for it. This inquiry would find out whether there is any prima facie case to go ahead. Further recommendations on the case would be done on a case-to-case basis.
1. If the complaints are against officers of Group A to Group D services, the ombudsman would refer it to Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) for the follow-up action. CVC would enquire and report the development back to Lokpal directly in case of Group A and Group B officers.
2. CVC would probe and start action against the erring Group C and Group D officers as per the CVC Act of 2005.
Powers of Lokpal
Its inquiry wing has the power to search and seize objects – both movable and immovable objects – and make reports based on them. These reports would be taken up by the 3-member Lokpal benches for further scrutiny. The benches would give the opportunities for the allegedly corrupt officers to say in their defense. After this, the benches would undertake any of the following alternatives.
1. If the officers are found guilty, the benches would grant their sanction to the prosecution wing or CBI to file charge sheets against them. The benches can also direct the concerned government departments to start proceedings against them.
2. If the officers are found innocent, the benches would direct the filing of the closure of case reports before the Special Court. Now, the benches would proceed against the complainants for filing false complaints.