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GSLV MK III Launch: Our big leap upward



To paraphrase a famous quote, it may have been one small step in launching rockets, but a giant leap for a country’s space ambitions. The debut experimental flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III) on Thursday must have dispelled whatever doubts that lingered in the minds of India’s space scientists about their flagship launcher’s capabilities. For, India’s most powerful rocket was yet to prove its reliability, having failed in four of its previous seven flights.
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The denial of cultural heritage



Informed people the world over know about Bhagvad Gita, its context and also its basic philosophy. A Turkish Prime Minister comes to India and unhesitatingly proclaims that whenever confronted with apparently formidable problems, he finds both solace and solution, in the Gita! In India, whenever someone speaks respectfully and adoringly about Bhagvad Gita, an ideologically-constrained group immediately grabs the opportunity and in its familiar style, proclaims that ‘secularism is in danger’.
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ISI asserts total control on Pakistan’s policymaking



In modern memory, December 16 was the darkest day for Pakistani children. A group of Taliban suicide bombers entered a military-run school in Peshawar and slaughtered 132 children and nine adults. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the massacre and were rightly blamed, yet the ideology of this carnage is authored by the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services intelligence (ISI). Among the analysts of Pakistan affairs, there is consensus that the ISI has created, nurtured and shepherded jihadist groups in order to use them against...
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Terror — a creation of Pak politicians



In our public discourse on terrorism from territory under Pakistan’s control, there is a tendency to hold the military establishment solely responsible for the rise of terrorist outfits -- as though that country’s political establishment and parties have nothing to do with the radical Islamic militant groups there. It is no secret that the Deobandi oriented Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) headed by Maulana Fazlur Rehman has backed the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen in Jammu and Kashmir...
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Will the world wake up after Peshawar?



Proximity to tragic events tends to magnify the cruelty inflicted on innocent people. So it is that we are horrified by the ghastly slaughter (there can be no other word for what the barbarians did) of 141 people, among them 132 children, at Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday, December 16. Most of the students felled by the bloodthirsty jihadis were aged 10 to 13. The heart-rending wail of a father captures the sorrow of the parents who lost their children, “My son went to school in his uniform, he has returned home in a coffin.
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By the states, for the states



One of the first decisions of the new government has been the decision to scrap the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission, set up in 1950, has increasingly become an anachronistic behemoth, although it did play a crucial role in the initial years when public investment was an overwhelmingly large part of overall investment in the economy. Those were the days when centralised planning, and hence the Planning Commission, had an important role.
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New wars on the Cold War relic



Revisiting the Indian Ocean zone of peace concept, which has led to long debates since 1971, may prove hazardous in the present context, because the rivalry that is taking shape in the region is between the U.S. and its allies, and China. The National Security Adviser, Ajit Doval, has sought to revisit the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 2832 (XXVI) declaring the Indian Ocean as a zone of peace, and which has called upon the great powers not to allow an escalation and an expansion of military presence in the Indian Ocean.
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Lead Story
Opinion/Commentary
Politics/Nation
Good governance plank gives BJP the edge - Anuja, Mint
Story behind MHA's 50-day suspense on anti-Sikh riots compensation - ET
Didi cops block media at ED, CBI offices - Saugar Sengupta, Pioneer
Jaitley accuses Opposition of indulging in ‘politics of disruption’ - Hindustan Times
Kerala leaders seem united as scams hit people - Pioneer
Modi to wow Obama with ‘Make in India’ tableau - Shruti Srivastava, Indian Express
No party untouchable: CM Mamata in Delhi - Abantika Ghosh, Indian Express
How did panel clear Vadra-DLF land deal? Official notes are missing, says Haryana govt - Varinder Bhatia, Indian Express
130 TMC MLAs ready to switch: BJP - Arshad Ali, Indian Express
BJP is popular choice in Delhi - India Today
Mayawati again in elephantine mess - Harish V Nair, Mail Today
BJP pins hopes on Shah, but poor groundwork may hurt - Jayaraj Sivan, Times of India
I’m a soldier, I have no regrets, says ISIS Twitter handler Mehdi Masroor Biswas - Rajiv Kalkod, Times of India
With Afzal Guru suicide squads, JeM attempts revival in Kashmir - Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
BJP looks to history to arm itself - Liz Mathew, Indian Express
Saradha ghost continues to haunt Didi - Saugar Sengupta, Pioneer
Solar scam: Judicial panel to examine CM - VR Jayaraj, Pioneer
India takes first step towards manned space mission - Hindu
Expedite illegal migrants deportation from Assam: Supreme Court - ET
No need to be defensive, government has done no wrong: Modi to ministers - ET
DRI unearths Rs 29,000 cr coal import scam - C Unnikrishnan, Times of India
Amit Shah eyes southern territory - Indian Express
Rs 9,300cr black money changes hands in medical seat sale every year - Rema Nagarajan, Times of India
ISI threat triggers intelligence revamp along Nepal, Bhutan border - Times of India
Narendra Modi visits Vajpayee, Advani - Nistula Hebbar, Indian Express
Business/Economy
The Neighbourhood/World
 
Interviews/Profiles
Turbulence in the sky , Kalanithi Maran  - Business Standard

I told Congress MPs the insurance Bill was theirs , Chandan Mitra, Senior BJP leader  - Mint

PM Modi a man on a mission with a clear vision , Tulsi Gabbard  - Economic Times

‘The nerd culture is changing’ , Michael S Malone  - Business Line


Defence backlog needs immediate attention , Manohar Parrikar, Defence Minister  - Sunday Guardian



‘We don’t intend to go witch-hunting’ , Manohar Lal Khattar  - Indian Express

Man who rescued Supreme Court from supreme shame , Justice V R Krishna Iyer  - Times of India

The Mahatma I saw , Mahatma Gandhi  - Deccan Chronicle

'Our cooperation can go far' , French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian  - Pioneer

Teflon Man , N Srinivasan  - Mail Today

The nation needs to know , Vinod Rai, Former CAG  - Hindu

Modi's ambassador at large , Ram Madhav  - Business Standard

 

Verbatim

Much of Mamata Banerjee’s anxiety about Trinamool leaders on the CBI radar stems from the rise of the BJP in West Bengal. The leap in the BJP vote share in the state and fears that it is weaning significant sections of Left and Trinamool supporters lie behind Banerjee’s haste in spotting a BJP-Modi conspiracy in the Saradha probe. But the political challenge posed by the BJP’s rise in Bengal must be fought politically. Being seen as a patron of politicians accused of corruption is unlikely to help Banerjee in the battle against the BJP.
Editorial, IndianExpress Read more...
 

Lens Blogs

Modi's victory: One man who achieved the impossible -AS THE NATION awaits the prime minister-designate Narendra Modi to take over the reins of office at the Centre, it is instructive to understand the meaning of the 2014 verdict... more ››
 

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Coal mines Bill: BJP may call for joint session of Parliament - Gyan Varma, Elizabeth Roche & Pretika Khanna, Mint
Missionaries 'convert' 27 UP villagers - Piyush Srivastava, Mail Today
BJP eyes Dalit vote bank, confident of victory in UP , Pioneer
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Soft News

Song of forgetting

The soul of music is the same the world over and hence, I am taking the liberty to connect Bob Dylan to the city of Chennai, where the annual season of music and dance is on. The singer, who asked us to start swimming, lest we sink like a stone when the times are changing, also desired us to “take care of all our memories, as we can’t relive them”. It is disheartening to witness the stone-like sinking of certain memories in Chennai.
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As archie nears 75, riverdale gets a youthful infusion

After nearly 75 years of chasing girls through the halls of Riverdale High and hanging out at Pop Tate’s soda shop, the teenage Everyman Archie Andrews is headed for a makeover. Plans for the redheaded Romeo include a new look and an edgier tone, which will be introduced in 2015 when the Archie comic book is reset at No. 1 with a new creative team.
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City of aroma

There is quiet optimism at Kannauj, the oldest centre for attars, the traditional fragrance capital of India dating back to the 7th century, on the revival of the sandalwood culture of the pre-Veerappan days. The decimation of the sandalwood forest of Karnataka by the sandalwood smuggler had led to a ban on the use of sandalwood in the country, crippling the attar industry which had its base...
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Raj and Simran, a subversive story

In revisiting Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (DDLJ), which just completed a record 1000-week run in Mumbai’s Maratha Mandir, several commentators have criticised it as a regressive cultural text. A key argument is that it encouraged middle-class youth to avoid active rebellion against the family as an institution and helped entrench patriarchy. Why didn’t Simran and Raj...
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