“Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi: A Double Portrait in the Interior of the Age”- Russian documentary which captures correspondence between the two spiritual teachers of humanity”

The two great spiritual teachers of the humanity, Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi have never met personally. But during the last year of Tolstoy’s life, there was a correspondence between them. It covered philosophical, religious and political issues. This correspondence has become the basis for this film, which is devoted to the crucial issues the humanity faced in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The two great thinkers were achingly trying to find their own ways of non-resistance to evil by force. They brought their philosophies throughout all wars, revolutions, national liberation movements, against all cruelty, racism and in tolerance.

One year of correspondence between these two personalities influenced the whole world, and even today the teachings live in the hearts of the people. Mahatma Gandhi believed that he was a tree and the teachings of Leo Tolstoy were the fruits for the world to consume. Russia and India don’t have the common land or sea border. But the entire ways of life of both these teachers prove that this border in the spiritual sphere, and it doesn’t separate but brings to great nations together

India will be late by 50 years in achieving education goals: UNESCO

UNESCO’s new Global Education Monitoring (GEM) report says that based on current trends universal primary education in Southern Asia will be achieved in 2051, lower secondary in 2062, and upper secondary in 2087.

India is expected to achieve universal primary education in 2050, universal lower secondary education in 2060 and universal upper secondary education in 2085, it said.

Majuli named world’s largest riverine island:-

Majuli Island on the Brahmaputra in Assam was recently declared the largest riverine island in the world, toppling Marajo in Brazil, by Guinness World Records.

According to Guinness World Records, the island lost around one-third of its area in the last 30-40 years due to frequent flooding of the river.

GM mustard is “safe”, says technical body

For Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH11) the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) had consulted with plant biologists, ecologists and environmentalists before tasking a sub-committee with compiling all evidence and addressing key questions.

In 2010, the GEAC had cleared Bt brinjal but it’s decision was over-ruled by the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.

DMH-11 has been developed by a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice-chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-funded project.

In essence, it uses a system of genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard — generally a self pollinating plant — better suited to hybridisation than current methods.

A similar sequence of genes has been used in imported canola oil also used in India. The technology used in DMH-11 allows local crop developers to easily develop different varieties of hybrid mustard, like in say GM cotton, and confer traits like pest resistance and potentially improving yield.

Green tribunal nod for Vizhinjam seaport project

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has cleared way for the Kerala government’s Vizhinjam International Seaport project being undertaken by Gujarat-based Adani Group.The order was passed on a petition filed before the Tribunal, seeking cancellation of green clearance to the port.

The Vizhinjam International Transhipment Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport is an ambitious project designed primarily to cater container transhipment besides multi-purpose and break bulk cargo.

Sabarimala spiritual circuit

The centre has approved the Sabarimala spiritual circuit. The approval was given by the Union Ministry of Tourism.

  • Enhanced facilities for Ayyappa devotees, setting up of solid waste management and sewage treatment systems, and CCTV surveillance are the thrust areas in the Rs. 99.98-crore Sabarimala-Erumeli- Pampa-Sannidhanam Spiritual Circuit.
  • The administrative and financial nod for the circuit have been sanctioned under the Union Tourism Ministry’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
  • The circuit has to be executed by Kerala Tourism in 36 months of commencement of work and the State has to provide land free of charge.
  • Barrier-free access for the disabled is mandatory.

Viewing pirated films online not an offence: Bombay HC

The Bombay high court has said it is inaccurate to suggest that merely viewing an illicit copy of a film is a punishable offence under the Copyright Act.

“The offence is not in viewing, but in making a prejudicial distribution, a public exhibition or letting for sale or hire without appropriate permission copyright-protected material,” Justice Gautam Patel said.

He asked Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to drop the line “‘viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating’ a particular film is a penal offence” from the ‘error message’ and directed them to display a more generic message on URLS to be blocked for infringement of copyright.

The court directed the ISPs to add a generic “error message” to these blocked URLs to state that the site was blocked pursuant to an order of the court and that anyone with a grievance could contact the nodal officer of the ISP.

The judge said the ISP must appoint a nodal officer with a dedicated email address and respond to complaints within two working days.

ICHR plans encyclopedia of village folklore from across India

The Indian Council of Historical Research has set the ball rolling to document stories and legends relating to villages and towns across India into an encyclopedia in a bid to “connect” people better with the oral and folk traditions.

This would be among the key initiatives of the ICHR in the coming year, the others being a study of the princely States of modern India and studies to “fill the gaps” between the Harappan civilisation (the first Indian urbanisation) and the 6 century BC (the second urbanisation).

Trinamool Congress is now 7th ‘national party’ in India

Now, India has seven recognised national parties – Congress, BJP, BSP, CPI, CPI-M, NCP and All India Trinamool Congress.

Recognition as a national or a state party ensures that the election symbol of that party is not used by any other political entity in polls across India. Other registered but unrecognised political parties have to choose from a pool of “free symbols” announced by the commission from time to time.

Besides, these parties get land or buildings from the government to set up their party offices. They can have up to 40 ‘star campaigners’ during electioneering. Others can have up to 20 ‘star campaigners’.

A political party becomes eligible to be recognised as a national party if it has won 2 per cent of seats in Lok Sabha from at least three different states in the latest general election; or in a Lok Sabha or Assembly election it has polled 6 per cent of the total valid votes in at least four states, in addition to winning four Lok Sabha seats; or it has been recognised as a state party in at least four states.

The poll panel had on August 22 amended a rule whereby it will now review the national and state party status of political parties every 10 years instead of the five.

Had the rule not been amended, Trinamool Congress would not have been recognised as a national party as it had not performed well in the Arunachal Pradesh Assembly polls and would have lost the state party status there.

The amendment in the rule had also come as a major reprieve for BSP, NCP and CPI as they were facing the prospect of losing their national party status after their dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The EC had served them notices in 2014 on the issue.



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