Major News and Events of 30 January 2013
What Happened on 30 January 2013
Rushdie Kolkata visit cancelled
Defence, oil ministries asked to resolve issues
Game is more important than association and players: Leander
Kamal Haasan warns to move to 'secular state abroad'
India's most expensive Android phone by HTC
India pledged to donate $2.5 million as humanitarian assistance for over two million Syrians who have been rendered homeless by the ongoing conflict in the country. This was announced by Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed at an international conference of donors on Syria,which was inaugurated by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The conference was a crucial step of the UN to support the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people. The Indian assistance will include life saving drugs, food and other essential items. Minister Ahamed also made India's opposition to foreign military intervention in Syria apparent. He also stated that India wanted Syria's people to decide on their future. Around 60,000 people have been killed in the conflict between the government of Bashar al-Assad and US-backed opposition groups which began nearly two years ago.
Salman Rushdie had to cancel his Kolkata visit on Wednesday, he was coming here for the promotion of Deepa Mehta's film "Midnight's Children", based on his homonymous novel. This was confirmed by PVR Pictures, the Indian distributors of the movie. The Booker Prize winning author was supposed to have a press meet about the film and also attend an autograph session. Rushdie had cancelled his visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival last January after the Muslim groups protested and he also received death threats. In Kolkata, Muslim groups under the banner of Milli Ittehad Parishad protested on Wednesday morning near the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. Rushdie would have also visited the Kolkata Book Fair and would have attended a session of the Kolkata Literary Meet which is held as part of the book fair.
The Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) has asked both the oil and defence ministries to resolve their differences within a month on the 39 oil blocks where exploration projects are on hold. The petroleum ministry has asked for a directive from CCI for waiver of the stringent clauses connected to defence ministry clearances for 32 blocks. The defence ministry has categorized the areas of another 14 blocks as no-go for exploration activities. 27 out of a total of 78 blocks were earlier cleared. State explorers like ONGC and private-sector companies including Reliance Industries and Essar had committed to exploration programmes after obtaining various government clearances. The oil ministry specified that non-clearance of the blocks may result in contractual disputes and even waning of foreign investment. CCI was set up by the government for fast-tracking clearances for projects which are more than Rs.10 billion.
Leander Paes for the first time spoke on the revolt against the All India Tennis Association (AITA) by eight players, led by Somdev Devvarman. He said that the game was bigger than individuals. He had not participated in the players' revolt and according to him rebellion is not that important but communication was. He stated that the essence of the game should not be lost in all this. Somdev and seven top players, including Mahesh Bhupathi, Rohan Bopanna and Yuki Bhambri, have stated they would not participate for the Group I Asia/Oceania tie, which begins on Friday, until their demands are met by the AITA. Leander also had a discussion with Somdev during the Australian Open and few other players about what is good for their career.
Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan on Wednesday stated that he may have to look for a secular state overseas and change his passport if the verdict on his film "Vishwaroopam" was not in his favor. He was addressing a press conference where he said that if there was no secular state in India, he may go overseas. And the only change will be his passport otherwise he will be very much an Indian. He said he has lost his house because of the delay in release. He said he had invested lifetime's savings and all his assets in the movie. He also added,"If by becoming a secular man like M.F. Husain, I can peacefully continue making films, then so be it." He also asked his fans to stay calm. He in fact had made cuts in the movie which some Muslim groups found objectionable. He has said he will appeal in the Supreme Court over the ban on Rs 95 crore espionage thriller.
Science and Technology
HTC has launched India’s costliest smartphone, Butterfly. It comes at Rs 45,900, though its official price is Rs 49,990 and thus it is much above Apple iPhone 5's base model and Nokia Lumia 920 in terms of pricing, and way ahead Samsung Galaxy S III which is now available at Rs 32000. HTC Butterfly, known as Droid DNA has a 5-inch Super LCD3 screen with a pixel density of 441ppi, it supports full HD videos (shot at 1920x1080p resolution). The device runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean), layered with HTC Sense UI, out-of-the-box and can be upgraded to Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean). Features include a 1.5GHz quad-core processor with 2GB RAM, 16GB onboard memory and microSD card expansion up to 32GB, 2G, 3G, Wi-Fi, NFC connectivity, Bluetooth 4.0 and microUSB. It has 8MP autofocus camera with LED flash on the back and 2.1MP camera in the front.