December 2, 2019
Pre-paid mobile charges hit the roof
To recover the continuing operational losses, and be able to pay the humongous monetary demands made on them by the government after the recent Supreme Court judgment in respect of accumulated AGR charges, all the three major telephone companies – Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, and Vodafone-Idea — have hiked their pre-paid charges by about 40%. This effectively means the days of cheap data and calls are over.
Indian engineer spots Vikram Lander’s remains on lunar surface
A freelance Indian engineer by the name Shanmuga Subramanian has been able to locate the remains of ISRO’s ill-fated Vikram Lander by painstakingly examining the photos of the crash site made available by NASA. The Chennai-based engineer is a space mission enthusiast, who compared the photos of the lunar surface before and after the Lander’s crash. The presence of some fresh spots in the second photo almost conclusively pointed to the fact that the debris strewn over the surface were pieces of the mangled Vikram lander. NASA has been prompt to acknowledge Subraminan’s efforts.
Good words used … Remains, Ill-fared, Painstaking, Mangled, Strewn
Nation-wide anger against Hyderabad rape case shakes India
Agitated men and women swarmed on to protest venues spontaneously to vent their frustration and angst over the heinous killing of a young career woman. With increasing number of girls going to schools and colleges to join work force later in their lives, the need for ensuring their safety has become stark and urgent. The protestors felt that the government, and the guardians of law have paid only lip service to this cause, and tried to evade responsibility.
Good words and phrases used .. Pay lip service to, Swarm as verb, Angst
Paddy to replace oil palm in Kottayam
The hills, forest lands, and river banks had increasingly been swamped by Palm oil plantations, losing their lush greenery, and pristine beauty. Now plans are afoot to reverse this trend, and re-convert the Palm tree plantaion land as paddy field. The wet lands will be ideally suitable for paddy cultivation that requires huge amounts of water. The interlinking project, Meenanchil-Meenanthara-Kodoor rivers has begun uprooting Palm trees from a 40-acre plot to sow paddy there. It will resuscitate the sprawling lush green fields that once the area once took pride of.
Good words used .. Swamp as verb, Afoot, Resuscitate, Sprawling
Affordable meals win hungry bellies and hearts in Kerala
At just Rs.20 a plate, meals provided under an initiative of the Kerala Civil Supplies Department has proved to be very popular with the people. The first such restaurant named ‘Subhiksha’ has drawn crowds who have lavished praise on it for this venture. For those without a penny, but with hungry bellies, Subhiksha never shuts its doors. Free meals are served to them.
Revenue from Taj Mahal increases
Tourists have come in much greater numbers this year to feast their eyes in the beauty and splendor of the iconic Taj Mahal. The earnings have touched Rs.86.48 crores, up from Rs.70.90 crores last year. The Taj is a Unesco Heritage site.
Operation ‘Green Art’ will curb smuggling in mongoose hair
Paint brushes that enable artists to produce master pieces on canvass own their origin to a sinful trade of illegal catching and killing of mongoose whose hair is then used to make the brushes. The existence of organized gangs who catch the mongoose, and the factories that process the hair of the dead animals as raw materials for their brushes was long known, but the authorities. In an operation named ‘Gren Art’ hundreds of police men, activists swooped down on these factories to sieze large stocks of the hair. The factories flourished in U.P, Rajastan, Maharashtra, and Keraa. The Wildlife Control Bureau (WLCB, New Delhi conducted the search and seizure operation.
GST collection crosses Rs.1 lakh crore
Much to the relief of the Finance Minister, some buoyancy has returned to GST collection figures. After a lean period in August, September and October, the November collection has touched Rs.1.03 lakh crores, but it is well short of the projected figure of Rs.1.2 lakh crores. A yawning fiscal deficit now looms large over the country’s economy that shows no signs of revival.
Good words and phrases used .. Yawning, Loom large on
AAI wants six more airports privatized
The Airport Authority of India has suggested to the government to privatise six more airports in the country. In this list for privatization are the airports at Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Varanasi, Raipur, and Indore. Ai, coming under the Civil Aviation ministry operates more than 100 airports around the country.
Passenger trains will run faster in the coming yeas
The railways have drawn up plans to increase the speed of passenger trains to 160 km per hour. Necessary upgradation of the track, rolling stock and signaling system is being undertaken.
India and Sweden to collaborate Polar Science research
India and Sweden are to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This will be done during the coming visit of the Swedish Royal couple to New Delhi.
Hong Kong rally disrupted by police
Police rained tear gas cells on the protesting people that made them scurry for cover. The protesters have, so far, managed to defy police action with doggedness and remarkable tenacity. The protesters were marching to the U.S. Consulate to than Trump for siding with their cause.
Six European nations join hands to circumvent American sanctions on Iran
To bypass the banking route to make payments, the six countries will trade with Iran on barter basis. Iran will offer them its crude oil and gas, and receive essential items in exchange. The nitty-gritty of the system have been finalized under a system to be called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX).
Good words used .. Circumvent, Nitty-gritty
Comprehension exercise ..
Read the passage below and answer the questions.
A century ago, Nancy Astor made the train journey from her constituency in Plymouth, a city on the coast of southwest England, to London. There, on Dec. 1, 1919, she took her seat in Parliament — the first woman in British history to do so.
When she was elected as a Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) in the U.K. in 1919, women, and only some women (those over the age of 30 who met a property qualification) had been entitled to vote for just over a year. Astor was not the first woman to be elected to Parliament — in 1918, Constance Markievicz won an election in Dublin, Ireland, but she abstained from taking her seat due to her political party Sinn Féin’s policy. This meant Astor was the first woman to break that barrier. In doing so, she defied centuries of sexism entrenched in British society and, with her debut in Parliament, entered a then-totally male dominated world.
In many respects, Astor’s legacy is a complex one. She was later re-elected seven times before retiring in 1945, having lost the support of her party. Historians and biographers have pointed out that her views in the 1930s included reported sympathies with Nazism and fascist movements; she is also reported to have made anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic statements.
Comprehension questions ..
- What was Nancy Astor’s contribution to British politics?
- Why did Constance Markievicz not take her seat in the parliament?
- What was there in Ms. Astor’s political philosophy that her peers didn’t approve of?