When a Head Rolls
The beheading of an Indian lance corporal, allegedly by Pakistani soldiers on January 8, has provoked a furore across the country. What the fracas was all about:
The developments: India has accused Pakistani troops of crossing the line of control (LOC), the 734 km border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir, in the Mendhar sector of Poonch district, and ambushing an Indian army patrol team, in which two Indian soldiers were killed, their bodies mutilated and one of them beheaded. Pakistan has claimed the hostilities were begun by India, saying Indian troops fired across the border on January 6 in which a Pakistani soldier was killed. Repeated skirmishes between the two followed, which ended after the Director Generals of both countries agreed on January 16 to cease fighting and observe restraint.
The significance: This was the worst clash between the two since the last ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003. That was the denouement to a long military standoff between them which began after Pakistan-supported terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament in December 2001. India responded with Operation Parakram, amassing vast troops on the LOC and Pakistan responded in kind.
The fears: The two have fought four wars since they became independent in 1947. But both are now nuclear powers. A serious clash between them could be catastrophic.
The fallout: The agreement reached between the two countries in December 2012 by which senior citizens of either would get visas on arrival, has been put on hold. Pakistani players participating in the inaugural Hockey India League tournament have been sent back. Pakistani theatre groups were prevented from performing at the National School of Drama in Delhi.
Far from Pura
First mooted by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam when he was President, the Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA) scheme has yet to get going. Of the nine PURA (which in Hindi means complete) pilot projects launched, seven will be delayed, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh recently admitted. Only the two in Kerala are on track, the rest across several states remain in various stages of appraisal.
Lots in a Name
If an online domain name is easy to remember and describes its content succinctly, it can earn an awesome sum for the one who first registered it. The most expensive domain name of 2012 has proved to be investing.com, bought by global trading platform Forexpros. com for $2.45 billion. But this pales in comparison to prices paid in earlier years for insure. com ($16 billion in 2009) and sex.com ($14 billion in 2010).
Old and Fat
Age takes its toll on the best of us and the matchbox sized piece of platinum known as the International Prototype Kilogram is no exception. Scientists from Britain's Newcastle University have said that this standard kilo, created in 1875 and kept in Paris, actually weighs more than a kilo now. Only a teeny-weeny bit more, no doubt, but the charge has sent the scientific community into a tizzy.