FALLING TOURIST FOOTFALL A WORRY FOR TAJ MAHAL?
Is the monument of love losing its significance? A drop of nearly 50,000 foreign visitors to the Taj Mahal last year has prompted UP tourism officials to go into a huddle to try and figure out if it’s a reflection of a lingering feeling of insecurity that had set in after the 2012 Delhi gang rape. Tourism minister Om Prakash admitted the drop in numbers in reply to a question in the Assembly yesterday. He said there had been a “sharp drop in the number of foreign tourists” to the Taj in 2013 compared with the figure for 2012.
According to the statistics “In 2012, 7,90,606 foreign tourists had visited the Taj; in 2013, the figure came down to 7,40,910.” The number of domestic Taj tourists has dropped too — from 52 lakh to 50 lakh. “In 2012, 52,34,200 domestic tourists visited the Taj; in 2013, the figure was 50,54,432. The number of night stays in Agra by foreign visitors has also come down, from 4.5 lakh in 2012 to 4.03 in 2013. UP tourism minister has admitted that 2014 has already seen a dip of more than 15% till date.
PAK FIGHTING PROXY WAR AGAINST INDIA: PENTAGON
The Pentagon has informed the United States Congress that Pakistan is using militant groups as proxies to counter India's superior military. Pentagon claims in its latest six-monthly report on the current situation in Afghanistan that Pakistan is using such proxies to counter Indian army as well as to hedge against the loss of power in Afghanistan..
The Pentagon also mentioned an attack on the Indian consulate in Herat that took place three days ahead of the swearing in ceremony of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Pentagon said, “Afghan-and Indian-focused militants continue to operate from Pakistan territory to the detriment of Afghan and regional stability. Pakistan uses these proxy forces to hedge against the loss of influence in Afghanistan and to counter India’s superior military.”
AIR FRESHENERS LIKELY TO POISON INDOOR AIR: STUDY
A new study has warned that the air fresheners, which provide a pleasant smell to your house, may also spike indoor aerosol levels and hamper the quality of air. Researchers said, "Some of the same chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere as a result of smog and ozone are actually taking place in your house while you are cleaning."
In an alarming research it has been discovered that cleaning products and air fresheners are forming secondary organic aerosols (SOAs) in our homes, especially those with less or no ventilation. SOAs are microscopic particles, which are created when ozone reacts with volatile organic gases such as limonene – the chemical name for the smell of oranges – or its cousin I-pinene, which is part of the smell of pine trees.
AIRTEL LIKELY TO HIKE POST-PAID RENTALS BY ABOUT 12 % FROM DEC
Telecom giant Airtel has announced an increase in its post-paid monthly charges by about 12 % in select plans, effective from December. Airtel said in a message to its customers, "Eff. (effective) 3-Dec 2014, bill plan rental for your airtel mobile will be revised from Rs 199 per month to Rs 224 per month."
According to sources, Airtel has increased rates across low rental plans. Queries send to Airtel did not elicit any immediate reply. Airtel has a mobile subscriber base of over 20 crore customers, which include both pre-paid and post-paid users. Last week, Bharti Airtel had reported nearly three-fold jump in consolidated net profit at Rs 1,383 crore for the September quarter on growth in mobile data revenues.
MEGHALAYA’S MAWLYNNONG VILLAGE IS ASIA'S CLEANEST VILLAGE
A small village in Meghalaya, Mawlynnong, is the cleanest village of Asia. The village has a toilet in every house. There are bamboo waste baskets on each road to ensure that there is no littering. Children as young as four learn at school to keep their surroundings clean.
By 2007, the village had eradicated the practice of open defecation, with toilets built for each of its 91 households under the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan. Cleanliness as a way of life came to Mawlynnong, a village of 503, long before PM Narendra Modi announced his Swachh Bharat or clean India campaign.
F1 LEGEND SCHUMACHER'S HOPE OF RECOVERY FADES
Formula 1 legend Michael Schumacher, who suffered a serious head injury after a ski accident in the French Alps in December last year, is being treated at his Swiss home by a team of 15 specialists. Schumaker's chances of recovery from coma have started to fade.
Dr Gary Hartstein, a former Formula 1 doctor who has known Schumacher for years said, "As time goes on it becomes less and less likely that Michael will emerge to any significant extent." Schumaker had shown some signs of awekening and moments of conciousness, which showed hopes of his quick recovery. Despite the best of treatment offered to Schumaker, at a cost of over Euro 100k a week, the former Formula One champion has shown little improvement since the accident last December.