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Etcetera

Print Edition: Sep 16, 2012

Mobile Hazards
The Union government has initiated steps to contain the radiation emitted from mobile phones and towers following growing public concern over health hazards. A quick recap of the story so far:

The concerns: Mobile phones emit electromagnetic radiation because they use radio frequency waves to make and receive calls. The doses are very small but experts have voiced concern that emissions might cause leukaemia and other diseases. The World Health Organisation warned that mobile phones may cause cancer.

The Indian context: There are more than 900 million mobile subscribers in India. After the report by WHO, the Centre constituted a panel to formulate a set of guidelines, on par with global standards. The report was submitted by the committee recently.

The new norms: The new regulations mandate all mobile phone manufacturers to comply with a specific absorption rate - a measure of the amount of radio frequency energy absorbed by the human body - to rule out the possibility of any health hazards. The Department of Telecommunications has also been asked, through an advisory by the environment ministry, to ensure that no new mobile towers are constructed within a radius of one kilometre of the existing ones. A mobile tower can have an adverse impact on the health of humans within a radius of 50 metres, say experts.

Bombshell
Coined in the late 1980s, the term "F-bomb" has finally found a place in the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary along with "aha moment", "man cave," "bucket list", "sexting" and "game changer". The word "F-bomb" is already listed by online dictionaries but has been put into print now. "Some of the new words this year provide colourful images," Merriam-Webster Editor at Large Peter Sokolowski said.

A Sip of Luxury
At a whopping $3.5 million, the "Diamond Sterling" is the most expensive tequila ever put on sale. The liquor is 100 per cent agave tequila, seven years old, and was distilled by Hacienda La Capilla. The price though has a lot to do with the reptilianlooking bottle. The five-pound platinum bottle is encrusted with 4,000 diamonds, adding up to 328 carats.

Tug of War
One of the most ambitious urban development plans, the JNNURM has been stonewalled because of a turf war between the Urban Development Ministry and the Planning Commission. Both the sides are squabbling over who will have the authority to clear the lucrative projects. Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath wants a say in the process, while the Commission wants cities to decide on it. The tussle has delayed the finalisation of the second phase, which was to be completed before March 2012.

Compiled by Basudha Das

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