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Rahul Gandhi to appear before Bengaluru court in defamation case

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Bengaluru, June 7 (IANS) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will appear before a special Bengaluru court on Friday in connection with a defamation case filed by Karnataka BJP MLC Keshav Prasad.

As per Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, Rahul Gandhi will appear before the Special MP/MLA court at 10.30 a.m. and both he and Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will also be present on the occasion. He appealed to party workers not to bring party flags, or raise slogans against the BJP in the court premises.

The defamation suit filed by Prasad alleges that Congress engaged in propaganda by publishing full-page advertisements accusing the previous BJP government in the state of charging a 40 per cent commission for providing government projects. He argued that during the Assembly elections, Siddaramaiah and Shivakumar had made false allegations to misguide the people of the state and should face action under Section 500 of the IPC.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and his deputy Shivakumar appeared before the court on June 1 and obtained bail. Rahul Gandhi, who is also a party to the case, remained absent despite giving an undertaking and counsel for the BJP leader sought that a non-bailable arrest warrant be issued against him.

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Later, Rahul Gandhi will also hold a discussion with the newly-elected Congress MPs from the state as well as defeated candidates here at the Bharat Jodo Bhavan.

–IANS

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IYD celebrations: Sopore student thrilled over doing Yoga with PM Modi in Srinagar

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir, will have the attention of global media on Friday, when he performs Yoga asanas on the banks of Srinagar’s Dal Lake on the occasion of International Yoga Day (June 21).

A large congregation of about 4,000 people is expected at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex (SKICC), the venue where PM Modi will take the lead in celebrating the Yoga Day.

A young Sopore boy named Faizan Bashir, who is set to participate in the Yoga event along with PM Modi is ecstatic and thrilled over the rare opportunity.

Faizan, a student of government high school Hardu Shiva in Sopore region of J&K’s Baramulla, shared his excitement on getting a chance to perform Yoga asanas along with the Prime Minister.

Expressing his joy over the opportunity, Faizan said that he was all prepared for a trip to Srinagar where he will join PM Modi for Yoga Day celebrations.

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He described this as the most special moment of his life and also thanked the government officials for making his dream a reality.

He also displayed his Yoga skills to the mediapersons and performed asanas like Dhanurasana, Trikonasana in front of them.

This is the tenth edition of International Day of Yoga (IDY) celebrations.

Since 2015, PM Modi has been leading the Yoga day celebrations at country’s different locations, including Delhi’s Kartavya Path, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Ranchi, Lucknow and Mysuru.

Last year, he led the programme at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

–IANS

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Researchers discover new oxygen producing algae in river of Eastern Ghats

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) Researchers have discovered a new genus of the Gomphonemoid diatom found in the clean water river of the Eastern Ghats.

The genus which has an interesting suite of features, distinguishing it from the other members of the group Gomphonemoid in terms of valve symmetry and other certain valve features, has been named Indiconema to value its restricted distribution in the country, the Ministry of Science and Technology announced on Thursday.

Diatoms are microscopic algae that play a crucial role in our everyday lives by producing 25 per cent of global oxygen, approximately every fourth breath of oxygen we inhale.

They serve as a basis of the aquatic food chain. Due to their sensitivity towards any water chemistry changes, they are excellent indicators of aquatic health.

The research underlines the importance of diatoms in shaping the biodiversity of India’s diverse landscapes.

Indiconema discovered by scientists of Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, differs in having a pore field at both the head and foot pole rather than having only at the foot pole.

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The evolution of monsoons structured the rainforest biome across the Indian Peninsula and the associated varying wetness, which has a direct role in shaping the diatom flora.

The research published in the journal Phycologia, reports one species of Indiconema from the Eastern Ghats and another from the Western Ghats.

A similar pattern of sharing endemic elements between two mountain systems has been observed for other endemic-rich groups, such as reptiles.

Additionally, based on the morphological features of this group, researchers have suggested that Indiconema is sister to Afrocymbella, a genus endemic to East Africa. Early studies noted that similarities between Gomphonema species from India and those from East Africa and Madagascar are supported by the current study association.

The discovery supported by the erstwhile SERB, now ANRF, underscores the importance of ongoing research in unravelling the mysteries of diatom biogeography and their role in shaping the biodiversity of India’s diverse landscapes.

Diatoms are the first recorded microorganisms in India, with Ehrenberg’s first report dating back to 1845 in his voluminous publication Mikrogeologie.

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Since then, several studies in India have recorded diatoms from freshwater and marine environments.

A rough estimate states that there are nearly 6,500 diatom taxa, of which 30 per cent are endemic (restricted to a particular region) to India, suggesting India’s unique biodiversity.

Further, diverse biogeographic zones support various species with habitat diversity ranging from freshwater to marine, sea level to high mountains, and alkaline lakes to acidic swamps.

Peninsular India includes the Eastern and Western Ghats and has distinct physiographic, edaphic, and climatic gradients that cherish a wide array of habitats with unique geographic positions and supporting unique sets of diatoms.

–IANS

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PM Modi arrives in Srinagar on 2-day visit

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Srinagar, June 20 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived here on a two-day visit during which he will lead the Yoga Day celebrations on Friday.

A special plane carrying PM Modi and his entourage landed at 5.20 p.m. at Srinagar airport.

This is PM Modi’s first visit to Jammu and Kashmir after taking charge of the Prime Minister’s Office for the third consecutive term.

J&K Chief Secretary, Atal Dulloo, GOC-n-C Northern Command, Lt Gen, M.V. Suchindra Kumar and DGP, R.R. Swain received PM Modi at the airport.

The Prime Minister then flew in a helicopter from the airport to Badami Bagh cantonment headquarters of the Army’s 15 Corps.

PM Modi later reached the Raj Bhawan in the Chashma Shahi area of Srinagar.

The Prime Minister is also scheduled to reach the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) along the banks of Dal Lake in the city.

Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha will receive PM Modi at the SKICC where he will take part in ‘Empowering Youth, Transforming J&K’ programme.

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An official said that the programme will benefit youth entrepreneurs, and also inspire the youth with whom the Prime Minister will interact during the programme.

–IANS

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India-US ties most consequential, visiting Congressional delegation tells PM Modi

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New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) A visiting US Congressional delegation that met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Thursday, described India-US relations as “most consequential” and also lauded the “scale, fairness and transparency” of the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections.

PM Modi also highlighted the significant role played by the consistent and bipartisan support of the US Congress in advancing India-US ties as the seven-member US Congressional delegation led by Rep. Michael McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called on him in New Delhi on Thursday.

“Had a very good exchange of views with friends from the US Congress in a delegation led by Rep McCaul, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Deeply value the strong bipartisan support in advancing India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership,” PM Modi posted on X after the meeting.

Asserting that the relationship between the two countries was based on shared democratic values, respect for rule of law and strong people-to-people ties, the Prime Minister reiterated commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations for global good.

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The delegation members, which also included Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Gregory Meeks, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, Rep. Amerish Babulal ‘Ami Bera’ and Rep. Jim McGovern, congratulated PM Modi on his election for the historic third-consecutive term.

“The delegation described India-US relations as the most consequential one and expressed their strong support for further deepening Comprehensive Strategic Global Partnership in all areas, including trade, new and emerging technology, Defence, people to people exchanges,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

“They expressed deep appreciation for the scale, fairness and transparency of the recently-concluded world’s largest democratic electoral exercise in India,” it added.

During the meeting, PM Modi also recalled his State Visit to the US in June last year during which he had an opportunity to address a Joint Session of the US Congress for a historic second time.

–IANS

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Himachal CM opens 32 MW solar power facility

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Shimla, June 20 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Thursday formally inaugurated the 32 MW Pekhubela solar power plant, developed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Limited (HPPCL), at Pekhubela in Una district.

The project spreads over 49 hectares and is completed at a cost of Rs 220 crore.

The foundation stone was laid by the Chief Minister on December 2, 2023, and within a span of four months, the power generation commenced on April 15.

The Chief Minister said the project is expected to produce 6.61 crore units of electricity each year. This would generate Rs 19.17 crore revenue at a rate of Rs 2.90 per unit.

The project features 82,656 solar modules with electricity being transmitted through the Rakkad-Tahliwal transmission line.

The project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 2,532 tonnes annually.

The government has set a target for HPPCL to install 500 MW of solar power capacity. He said to achieve this target, the corporation has currently allotted construction of three solar projects of 47 MW and one of these projects has been completed.

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To enhance the power generation capacity, the government has invited tenders for seven additional solar projects with a combined capacity of 72 MW through HPPCL, said the Chief Minister.

Detailed project reports (DPR) are being prepared for four solar power projects of 54 MW, whereas pre-feasibility reports for 10 solar power projects with a cumulative capacity of 77 MW are also in progress.

–IANS

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