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In a first, woman officer leads Indian Army contingent

Meet Lieutenant Colonel Sophia Qureshi, an officer from the Corps of Signals of the Indian Army, who is also the only woman leader of the contingent among the 17 participating countries in the Field Training Exercise taking place in Pune from March 2 to 8.

She is leading the 40-member Indian contingent which is slated to play a key role in training with other troops in Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) and Humanitarian Mine Action (HMA).

Lt Col Qureshi has served in United Nations Peacekeeping Operation in Congo in 2006 and has been also associated with the PKOs for the last six years. Her grandfather was in the Army and she is married to an Army officer from Mechanised Infantry.

Explaining the role of peacekeeping missions in conflict areas around the world, she says, “On these missions, we monitor the ceasefires in those countries and also aid in the humanitarian activities. The job is to ensure peace in the conflict affected areas.”

Source:The Indian Express

PMO assures assistance after minors write for help

Burdened by financial constraints after their father's prolonged illness, two brothers — Sushant Mishra and Tanmay Mishra from Naubasta region of Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur district — have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for help.

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) responded to the letter and ensured the treatment of their father Saroj Mishra at the district hospital. The PMO has directed the district magistrate and medical officer of Kanpur to take the cognizance of the issue and ensure the treatment of their father Saroj Mishra at the district hospital.

Mishra, a resident of Sanjay Gandhi Nagar locality, is suffering from acute asthma for the past two years and had not been able to take up his private job of tailoring for past six months.

Both children have stopped going to school as the family is unable to pay the fee while the rent of the house is also not paid for past several months.

Source:The Times of India

New frog species found in Biligiri

A small hill station in the Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple Tiger Reserve (BRTTR) now lends its name to a new species of bush frog that was discovered there by scientists recently.

The Honnametti bush frog (scientific name: Raorchestes honnametti ) was discovered by a team from Gubbi Labs and ATREE (Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment) when they were called to the tiger reserve to look for the rare Sholiga narrow-mouthed frog.

The species discovered is a cryptic bush frog — that is, it resembles another species of Seshachar’s bush frog ( Raorchestes charius ). The discovery, says Priti H. from ATREE, would make it the first such cryptic species to be found in the Western Ghats, one that can lead us to understanding the evolutionary history of such species.

DNA analysis and the call pattern of the bush frog eventually led to the clinching proof that it was indeed a hitherto unknown species.

The species was named after Honnametti, the hill station in the tiger reserve where a British couple set up their estate in 1923.

Source: The Hindu

UK company to introduce 'period policy'

A Bristol company is planning to create an official “period policy” designed to allow women to take time off without being stigmatised in the hope it will make its workplace more efficient and creative.

Bex Baxter, the director of Coexist, said the move was an attempt to synchronise work with the body’s natural cycles. “I have managed many female members of staff over the years and I have seen women at work who are bent over double because of the pain caused by their periods. Despite this, they feel they cannot go home because they do not class themselves as unwell."

“And this is unfair. At Coexist we are very understanding. If someone is in pain – no matter what kind – they are encouraged to go home. But, for us, we wanted a policy in place which recognises and allows women to take time for their body’s natural cycle without putting this under the label of illness,” Baxter said, adding 24 of the 31 staff at Coexist are women.

‘Visit Maharashtra’

Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has declared 2017 as ‘Visit Maharashtra’ year with a special focus on Aurangabad. With a good mix of scenic places, architectural monuments, wildlife sanctuaries and religious places, Maharashtra ranks among the top five States in domestic tourism.

The State saw 94.1 million domestic travellers in 2014, as per the Economic Survey of India 2015-2016. However, in terms of figures, it is way behind Tamil Nadu (327.6 million), Uttar Pradesh (182.8 million) and Karnataka (118.3 million).

While the monuments of Ajanta and Ellora in Aurangabad district continue to draw the largest number of domestic and foreign tourists, a number of places from Mumbai made it to the top ten destinations for domestic as well as foreign travellers, namely Gateway of India, Elephanta Caves, Mahalakshmi temple, Juhu Chowpatty, Marine Drive and Haji Ali. Destinations such as Shirdi, Ellora, Tadoba Tiger project, Mahalakshmi Temple in Kolhapur, the hill stations of Lonavala and Khandala were also popular among Indian travelers.

The Gateway of India attracted a total of 16 lakh domestic tourists in the peak seasons of October and November 2014 and May 2015. The State had as many as 1.57 lakh foreign tourists in October 2014 and May and June 2015, as per official data from the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.

US, UK, Australia and UAE were among the highest number of foreign tourists to Maharashtra.

Source: The Hindu

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