Nation
Uproar in Rajya Sabha over Ramdev's infertility medicine
The Rajya Sabha witnessed an uproar on Thursday when members raised yoga guru Baba Ramdev's infertility medicine 'Divya Putrajeevak Seed'.
 
A statement from Ramdev's aide S.K. Tijarawala, however, said "'Putrajivak' is classical name and deals with infertility issue not gender selection".
 
The issue was raised soon after the house met by Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader K.C. Tyagi, who demanded a probe.
 
Tyagi showed a product of 'Divya Pharmacy' from Haryana and said: "PM gave a call for 'Beti Bachao Beti Padhao', I have bought this I have a receipt. No one can say it is old."
 
Divya Pharmacies sells Ramdev's medicines. Tyagi did not name Ramdev but said: "He is the brand ambassador of a state."
 
"Does government of India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi approve all these things?," he asked. Amid protests from treasury benches, Samajwadi Party member Jaya Bachchan took the packet and gave it to Health Minister J.P. Nadda, who was present in the house.
 
"We need not fight over this... If there is an attempt...with regard to selection of sex through a medicine, or pre-natal sex determination, they are all against the law. If this is being encouraged by any state government, it is against the constitution. But chair cannot do anything," Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien said.
 
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: "This is not an issue to argue on. We will tell minister to probe it whether it is in accordance with law."
 
Nadda also intervened and said: "This is related to department of Ayush. Government is serious about the matter. We will look into it and action will be taken."
 
Jaya Bachchan said the government should assure it will take out the product from market and take action against those who make the medicine. 
 
Nadda again said the prime minister is personally monitoring the 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' scheme.
 
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said that many spurious medicines are being sold and the health minister should inquire into it. 
 
The website of Divya Pharmacy prices the product at $10.99 and the description says it is a "unique herbal product of putrajeevak which is aphrodisiac, controls habitual abortion and helps in sterility".

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'Gabbar Is Back' - Akshay redefines superhero

We have bribe-happy district collectors and other law enforcers hanging limp on trees and hoardings

 

Film: "Gabbar Is Back"; Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sunil Grover, Shruti Haasan, Suman Talwar and Jaideep Ahlawat; Director: Krish; Rating: ****
 
'Let's give the drivel' its due. Films about heroes who harangue and punish the corrupt go back to the time when Guru Dutt turned his back on a hopeless humanity in "Pyaasa". Since then, corruption has grown epidemic. And so have films on the theme.
 
What sets "Gabbar is Back" apart in the genre is its unabashedly massy tone. Here is a film about a man who decides to take charge of a social order on the brink of anarchy when all the formal faculties fail. He doesn't believe in reprimanding the corrupt. He believes in punishing them with death.
 
So, we have bribe-happy district collectors and other law enforcers hanging limp on trees and hoardings.
 
Ouch!
 
Yup, this Gabbar means business. And to the character's good fortune, he is played by the very watchable Akshay Kumar. For my money and time, Akshay is by far the most complete star-actor package among contemporary A-lister heroes in Bollywood. The way in which he delivers his lines on the rampancy of corruption, his demeanour and his wry detached disdain for the corrupt, are all brought to the surface with a forceful equilibrium constantly at play.
 
This is a star-actor at the pinnacle of his power. Akshay exudes the kind of understated confidence while delivering lines about a corrupt-free nation, that requires a lot of sang-froid, inner conviction and most important of all, an audience that would believe in the hero's convictions.
 
With due respect, none of the other A-lister superstars of Bollywood have the power to sway the masses with idealistic rhetoric. It's in his eyes. Akshay makes you sit up and listen without raising his voice. To his good fortune, in "Gabbar...", he gets lines about a Swachh Bharat that are compelling rather than corny. The lines flow with furious passion without getting swamped in a bombast. That's a near-miraculous achievement in a film which is designed as a high-octane melodrama with every sequence punctuated by elaborate background acoustics (Sandeep Chowta).
 
Rajat Arora's dialogues are Akshay Kumar's biggest support system here. Director Krish, known down south for fashioning flamboyant fables, here exercises unexpected restraint when one least expects it. This is where this film about a self-appointed anti-corruption vigilante scores. It taps Akshay Kumar's spiritual energy and harnesses it at key points of the narrative to underscore rather than over-punctuate the theme of corruption.
 
By the time Akshay's Man Of The Masses gets to the climax on top of a car to deliver a rousing speech on youth power, the narrative is perfectly attuned to its leading man's monkish equilibrium and how it can be projected outwards to convey the angst of a wounded ravaged civilisation. Even when the arch-villain, an unscrupulous builder played with operatic gusto by Suman Talwar is busy hamming it up to the hilt, Akshay maintains his attitude of detached contempt.
 
Baatein kam, 'calm' zyadaa!
 
Thank God for Akshay Kumar. The screenplay would otherwise have been more of scream-play. The characters and the twists and turns in the lot constantly scream for attention. The exception besides Akshay is Sunil Grover. Known as the drag queen Gutthi on Kapil Sharma's comedy show, Sunil playing a low-rank police constable in a police station filled with officers who are more bothered with the chutney for their plates of samosa than the collapse of the law and order and situation, epitomises India's smothered voice of the conscience.
 
It's such sudden spurts of sensitivity that redeem what would otherwise have been just another loud, boorish and garish film about corruption in high-rise places. Builders are the baddies here, you see.
 
Jaideep Ahlawat, usually so riveting on screen, here seems uncomfortable in his suited avatar as a CBI officer. His belated entry should have done to the narrative what Nawazuddin Siddiqui did to "Kahaani".
 
No such luck. The villains are all clumsy cardboard cut-outs conveying the corrupt element with as much subtlety as an uncovered sewage.
 
The women are sketchily portrayed. Shruti Haasan bustles in and out playing a lawyer who is busy delivering homilies and babies on the streets rather than fighting cases. Chitrangda pops up to do an awful item song, best left edited out. And Kareena Kapoor Khan, looking like a zillion bucks (so what's new), sings a romantic song with Akshay and perishes in a clumsily staged building collapse.
 
Luckily, the film survives to tell a tale that's as relevant today as it was when Kamal Haasan, all dressed up in wizened prosthetics blew the lid off governmental corruption in "Hindustani".
 
"Gabbar Is Back" knocks the bottom off the action genre with a breathless ode to Swachh Bharat. The film may appear louder-than-life to the dainty-hearted. But the tone is unapologetic massy. You can't change the disintegrating social order by being subtle.
 
Miraculously, Akshay Kumar does exactly that.
 
Don't ask how. Just go for his bearded, brooding leadership qualities. Swachh Bharat needs such a hero.

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Strong quake overdue in India, but not any time soon
Indian scientists pointed out that no two strong earthquakes have come in the Himalayas immediately after one another
 
Amid reports that a massive earthquake is overdue in some parts of the Himalayas, a section of Indian scientists say no unusual seismic activity or abnormal increase in changes in the earth's surface have been detected in India's northeast.
 
In addition, they pointed out that no two strong earthquakes have come in the Himalayas immediately after one another.
 
Saturday's strong earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter Scale has killed thousands and caused widespread destruction in Nepal. The tremors also caused deaths and damages in India besides Tibet.
 
The 2,500-km-long Himalayan arc extending from Kashmir in the northwest to Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast is seismically "very active", experts from the Gandhinagar-based Institute of Seismological Research (ISR) said.
 
The movement of tectonic plates generates stress over time and rocks at the surface break in response. When the strain accumulates, every 150-200 km stretch of the 2,500-km-long Himalayas can be hit by a high magnitude earthquake in 150-200 years.
 
Based on historical data, they say a strong quake was overdue in Uttarakhand or Assam but other indicators have not shown any abnormal spikes.
 
"Statistics and historical earthquake list say that an earthquake of magnitude 8 or above is overdue in Uttarakhand or Assam. It is, however, not possible to say that it may happen today or 50 years from now as we neither know where the accumulation of stress has reached the elastic limit nor when," A.P. Singh, scientist, ISR, told IANS.
 
He said: "It is to be mentioned that there is no unusual increase in seismicity and the GPS (Global Positioning System) network spread all over northeast India has not shown any abnormal increase in crustal deformation in recent years. Hence no sign of large earthquake coming is observed."
 
According to the US Geological Survey, crustal deformation refers to the changing earth's surface caused by tectonic forces that are accumulated in the crust and then cause earthquakes.
 
So understanding the details of deformation and its effects on faults is important to figure out which faults are most likely to produce the next earthquake. But Singh said current technology can't help predict when the quakes will strike.
 
"It has been observed in the past that aftershocks are lower in intensity compared to the original shock. Secondly, in Himalaya no two strong earthquakes had come immediately after one another. So, the report that a bigger earthquake may come soon is not scientifically founded," clarified Pallabee Choudhury, another scientist at ISR.
 
There are three thrust belts in the Himalayas and all are seismic in nature.
 
The Nepal quake emerged from the main boundary thrust, said senior scientist Sankar Kumar Nath at the IIT Kharagpur, adding all Himalayan earthquakes are severe.
 
"If you look at the Himalayas, we have had large earthquakes and greatest of the great earthquakes are still possible. Whenever there is an earthquake, it generates a slip of about several meters. This is due to a large magnitude (around 8). The Himalayas has the potential to generate a 9 magnitude earthquake," Nath said.

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