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7 Must Reads: Narendra Modi government engages students in policymaking; World oil prices sink and more

Saturday, 2 August 2014 - 9:04am IST

#1 In a first, Narendra Modi government engages students in policymaking
In a first of its kind initiative, the central government has decided to engage students (undergrad, postgrad in science, engineering, humanities, social sciences, management, law) in policymaking. The HRD ministry rolled out a special internship programme early this week that seeks the involvement of young talent to get a fresh perspective on formulation of policies, implementation of projects and various initiatives in the education sector. Read more 

#2 Oil prices sink as supply worries ease
World oil prices slipped today as recent worries over potential disruptions from conflicts in the Middle East and Ukraine continued to ebb. In New York, the US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery slid 29 cents to USD 97.88 a barrel. Brent crude for September was down USD 1.18 cents at USD 104.81 in London trade. Prices were nearly 10 per cent off their highs of late June, and back to where they stood at the beginning of May. "The last couple of days showed that we continue to shed some of the speculation in the market that was built into what pushed us to nine month highs," said Gene McGillian of Tradition Energy. Read more

#3 Raghuram Rajan may not give rate relief as rains stay patchy
Bankers do not expect any change in Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) key repo rate of 8% in its bi-monthly monetary policy review on August 5 as inflation continues to remain sticky on account of food scarcity following sub-optimal monsoon. With wholesale and consumer price indices showing signs of easing at 5.43% and 7.31%, respectively in June from 6.01% and 8.28% in the previous month, there is some ground for a downward move in interest rates but not before the trend is confirmed, say bankers. Read more

#4 Will the Uttarakhand bypoll win raises Harish Rawat's stock in Congress?
Congress' recent 3-0 win over BJP in Uttarakhand assembly bypoll have done a world of good to Chief Minister Harish Rawat whose stock within the party has risen considerably with prominent leaders including AICC chief Sonia Gandhi praising the party for what it has done in the hill state under his leadership. The bypoll verdict which went overwhelmingly in favour of the Congress which retained one seat and wrested two from BJP, has definitely come as a silver lining for the party struggling hard to overcome the ignominy of losing all five Lok Sabha seats to the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, political observers here feel. The ruling Congress recorded a big win in the bypoll to three assembly seats in Uttarakhand on July 25 retaining Dharchula seat which went to Chief Minister Harish Rawat who won by over 20,000 votes and wresting Doiwala and Someshwar seats from the BJP. Read more 

#5 I lost 20 of my relatives in a flash, says Pune landslide survivor
Like some desperate seeker for miracles, 65-year-old Narmada Zanjara goes around the flattened Malin village. Often looking to the heavens for succour, sometimes incredulously at the slushy mud that swallowed the village. Narmada like hundreds of others have little to get from the heavens actually. All they had have been buried under the earth. The miracle seekers of Malin now keep looking to the earth. Narmada Zanjare, a widow, lost 20 of her relatives — her 3 brothers and their families. Her two daughters escaped miraculously. She has been coming to Malin for three days since the landslide from Vishrantwadi, near Pune, to find if she can put together the threads of her life again. Read more 

#6 Kannada-speaking kids being forced to study in Marathi medium schools
The Karnataka government on Friday moved the Supreme Court, seeking to restrain Maharashtra from establishing schools in certain villages, over which both the states claim their control, on the ground that majority of the people there speak Kannada and are being forced to send their children to Marathi medium schools. A bench headed by Chief Justice of India R M Lodha sought a response from Maharashtra within five weeks. Read more 

#7 Latest on Israel-Hamas conflict: Israeli shelling kills about 70 Palestinians; truce collapses
Massive shelling by Israel killed about 70 people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza following the collapse of a 72-hour truce shortly after it began on Friday, while two of its soldiers died and another was believed to have been abducted by the Palestinian militant group. The humanitarian ceasefire - brokered by the US and the UN to end more than three weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip - collapsed just two hours after it began this morning. Read more

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