India to Host World Environment Day This Year

In recognition of India''s progress in defense of the environment, this country will host the World Environment Day, to be celebrated every June 5, the government and the UN announced today.

During a news conference, the executive director of the the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Erik Solheim, and Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Harsh Vardhan, stressed this nation's works to protect nature.

Under the slogan 'Overcoming Ocean Plastic Pollution', the UN convenes this year to 'join to explore sustainable alternatives to urgently reduce the production and the excessive use' of that product.

This country has one of the world's highest recycling rates, the official said.

According to the UN, the world plastic production surpasses 300 million tons annually, eight millions of which ends in the oceans.

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Meet the 8-year-old girl raised by monkeys

Police in Northern India made a startling discovery in a remote nature preserve near the Nepal border: an 8-year-old girl living “comfortably” alongside a troop of monkeys, according to a report.

The child was so acclimated to her simian lifestyle at the Katarniaghat Wildlife Sanctuary, that when the cops tried to rescue the real life “Mowgli girl,” both the apes, and the child — screeched at them, the Times of India reported.

“She was terrified of us, she could not speak or hear properly. She was surrounded by three monkeys. She had wounds on her body specifically on her elbow and one on her leg. She was wearing clothes but not very dirty,” Inspector Ram Avtar told Cover Asia Press, adding that the girl appeared to be abandoned by her family.

“She looked weak and was very hungry. We gave her some food to eat. She looked miserable. If we hadn’t rescued her she could have been eaten by other animals.”

The girl has been in a district hospital for two months — and workers are still trying to teach her how to communicate and walk with two legs, CAP reported.

“When she was admitted here she was scared of us and she was always cowling like animals, like monkeys. She had wounds on her body and blood was oozing. We took care of her, bathed her, fed her and cleaned her. She was suffering from malnutrition. She might have eaten what animals did. She gets angry sometimes and we have to calm her down,” Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dinesh Singh told CAP.

Doctors said she acts violently sometimes and for some reason, she also refuses to eat from a plate and will only eat directly off her bedsheets.

Video posted by the Mirror UK shows her thrashing across a hospital bed as she screeches like a monkey.

She’ll eventually be sent to the government’s child protection office, doctors said.

Her “Mowgli” nickname comes from its similarities to “Jungle Book” — a story by Rudyard Kipling about a young boy with the same name who was raised by wolves.

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India Train Crash Death Toll Hits 142

The tragedy has renewed concern about poor safety on the state-run network.

Indian rescuers on Monday called off a search of the mangled carriages of a derailed train after pulling more bodies from the wreckage, taking to at least 142 the number of passengers killed in the disaster.

Sunday’s derailment in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh was India’s deadliest train tragedy since 2010 and has renewed concern about poor safety on the state-run network, a lifeline for millions that has suffered from chronic underinvestment.

Rescue teams worked through the night with cranes and cutters to disentangle the train before police halted the search of the 14 carriages that derailed in the early hours, while most passengers slept.

“The rescue operations are over. We don’t expect to find any more bodies,” said Zaki Ahmed, the police inspector general in the city of Kanpur, about 65 km (40 miles) from Pukhrayan, the crash site.

The crash came during India’s busy wedding season and media said blood-stained bags of saris and wedding cards carried by at least one wedding party on board were scattered beside the wreckage.

The derailment injured more than 200 people, at least 58 of them seriously, officials said, as relatives thronged hospitals in a search for survivors.

A railways spokesman said the train carried 1,000 people traveling on reservations, but 700 more were estimated to have squeezed into the unreserved carriages.

Aging Badly

The largely colonial-era railway system, the world’s fourth largest, carries about 23 million people daily, but is saturated and aging badly. Average speeds top just 50 kph (30 mph) and train accidents are common.

The crash is a stark reminder of the obstacles facing Prime Minister Narendra Modi in delivering on his promise to turn the railways into a more efficient, safer network befitting India’s economic power.

Modi this year pledged record levels of investment and has announced a new high-speed line funded by Japan, but the main network has made little progress on upgrading tracks or signaling equipment.

He has also shied away from raising highly subsidized fares that leave the railways with next to nothing for investment – by some analyst estimates, they need 20 trillion rupees ($293.34 billion) of investment by 2020.

Modi on Sunday held a political rally about 210 km (130 miles) from the crash site in Uttar Pradesh, which heads to the polls early next year in an election his Bharatiya Janata Party is vying to win.

Politician Mayawati, who uses only one name, and is one of Modi’s biggest rivals in the state, said the government should have “invested in mending tracks instead of spending billions and trillions of rupees on bullet trains,” media reported.

Authorities are looking into the possibility a fractured track caused the train to roll off the rails on its journey between the central Indian city of Indore and the eastern city of Patna.

Sunday’s crash is India’s worst rail tragedy since the collision of a passenger and a goods train in 2010, which the government blamed on sabotage by Maoist rebels.

In 2005, a train was crushed by a rock and another plunged into a river, each disaster killing more than 100 people. In what was probably India’s worst rail disaster, a train fell into a river in the eastern state of Bihar of 1981, killing an estimated 500 to 800 people.

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India To Emerge As Economic Superpower In 15-20 Years: Rajnath Singh

Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today exuded confidence that India will emerge as economic super power in 15 to 20 years following the steps being undertaken by the Centre to strengthen the economy.

"I cannot speak about a couple of years but on the basis of my limited understanding I can confidently say that no one can stop India from becoming an economic super power in 15 to 20 years if the economy continues to move in the direction it is being taken by the central government," Mr Singh said in Lucknow.

"We can proudly claim that India's economy is progressing the fastest in the world and its GDP growth rate has reached 7.9 per cent ... I have full confidence that it will be in double figures in a couple of years," he said.

Investors from world over are coming to India despite slowdown and the highest investment has taken place in India in 2015-2016, he said.

The country has emerged as a favourite investment destination, he added.

Citing various achievements of the Narendra Modi government on the economic front, Mr Singh said GST will come into force from April 2017 which will start a new taxation system.

The problems arising out of different taxation system in different states will come to an end and tax realisation will go up resulting in increase in government income and GDP growth will also go up by 1.5 to 2 per cent, he said.

Stressing that not a single minister in the Narendra Modi government is facing corruption charge, Mr Singh said that though he cannot claim that the entire administrative structure has been cleaned up but one thing is clear that there is no corruption at the top.

"When the Gangotri has been cleaned, the Ganga coming out from there will automatically be clean ...efforts were on to ensure maximum transparency", he said.

Speaking about foreign trade, Mr Singh said that it is facing slowdown which is being experienced by all the countries and India is no exception.

The Home Minister said that soon after coming to power it was decided that export has to be increased and India's share in world trade should be taken up to some 2.5 per cent from its present 1.6 per cent .

Claiming that ease of doing business will be achieved in a few years because of the steps to change the process and system of doing business, Mr Singh said there is an effort to bring transparency in economy.

Referring to the various schemes such as 'Make in India', 'Start ups and skill development' launched by the Modi government for the youth, he said that while coming to power, the Prime Minister had said that such schemes will help double the income of farmers by 2022.

Terming the contribution of construction sector as insufficient, Mr Singh said that it has to be taken to 25 per cent from the present 14 per cent.

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BRICS's Meeting in India Addresses Development Issues

The recent BRICS Development Partnership Administrators' Meeting in this capital provided a place to exchange ideas and seek consensus on inclusive and collective solutions, reported the Indian Foreign Ministry.

A statement from the External Affairs Ministry states that the meeting held on August 6-7 provided an opportunity to Member States to address key issues of global, national and sectoral significance in the field of development cooperation.

They also shared knowledge on their best practices and the challenges to be approached and mitigated through policy actions in this field, the text added.

This meeting is part of the resolutions adopted by Brics under the Chairmanship of Russia last year, it stresses.

The participants also interacted with members of the Forum for Indian Development Cooperation, a tripartite initiative of the Development Partnership Administration of India's Ministry of External Affairs, academia and civil society.

The 8th Brics Summit will be held in the Indian city of Goa on October 15-16.

Founded in 2008, the BRICS bloc is composed of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The Members States have 42 percent of the world population and 27 percent of global gross domestic product.

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Over 20 Missing After Bridge Collapse by Rains in India

At least 22 people are missing today after a British-era bridge collapsed on Savitri River in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, because of the heavy rains that hit much of the country.

Speaking to the press, Sheetal Ugale, Raigad district official, said that two buses with 11 passengers each, as well as several cars, fell into the river after the bridge collapsed at 01:00 (local time).

According to PTI news agency, two helicopters and at least 80 members of the National Disaster Response Force were sent to place.

There are many bridges in India, we need to check the safety of the oldest ones, tweeted Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis.

The current monsoon season so far caused over 250 deaths in the country, millions affected people and serious economic losses.

On Sunday nine people were killed, including four children and three women, in the city of Mumbai in Maharashtra, after the collapse of a building.

According to authorities, only in Odisha state 56 people died in the past four days and another 45 in Uttar Pradesh due to rays caused by thunderstorms.

In Assam 34 deaths and more than 1,6 million affected people were recorded in 21 districts of the territory, a situation that forced more than 1,4 million of them to move to 310 relief camps set up by the government.

In Bihar there were 26 deaths, while more than 2,7 million were affected by the weather in 12 districts.

Several rivers in the region are overflowed, forcing local authorities to use more than 1,000 boats to rescue people in the region and to distribute large quantities of food.

In West Bengal at least four people were killed due to bad weather, in Madhya Pradesh a total of 35, and 43 more in Uttarakhand.

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