Grasping at straws: Pathetic state of biofuels in India (Comment) (11:48)
By Ramya Natarajan
For the past several winters, Delhi has drawn global attention for its life-threatening smog levels. This is attributed, in part, to the open burning of biomass residues like paddy straw and stubble in the neighbouring states of Punjab and Haryana.

Polish writer wins Man Booker International Prize (Roundup) (16:18)IANS Photo Service
London, May 23 (IANS) Olga Tokarczuk, a 56-year-old bestselling author from Poland, has won the prestigious Man Booker International Prize for her novel "Flights," which deals with travels in the 21st century and human anatomy.

Macro lessons for Indian energy infrastructure (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (10:58)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
Higher oil prices, the consequent inflationary pressures and a weaker rupee have dominated recent news headlines. While short-term measures to deal with these macro-economic trends are essential, it is also necessary to look at the long-term structural changes required to bring about stability in the Indian economy and reduce exposure to the vagaries of macro-economic trends.

Lessons from Karnataka: Bank on social issues, leverage traditional and modern media platforms (Column: Active Voice) (13:10)
By Amit KapoorIANS Photo Service
The drama revolving around the Karnataka state elections refuses to fade away. The assembly election results were not able to provide a clear mandate to any party. The BJP emerged as the single largest party but popular rivals Congress and JD-S forged an alliance within hours of the announcement of the result after realising that the coalition will have the numbers to form the government.

25 years of conserving biodiversity in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (Comment) (12:34)
By Janita Gurung & Pradyumna J.B. Rana
This year marks a quarter century of the ratification of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) - an agreement among 196 countries to conserve the earth's biological diversity while ensuring it is used sustainably and that the benefits from using genetic resources are shared fairly.

Hunger has no religion: Azhar Maqsusi's mission is manna for Hyderabad homeless (IANS special series) (13:44)
By Mohammed ShafeeqIANS Photo Service
Hyderabad, May 20 (IANS) Homeless beggars, ragpickers and labourers sitting with plates on a mat are waiting under a flyover. As the clock strikes 12.30 pm, a slim man appears on the scene and starts serving hot rice and dal.

A Scottish adventurer and his colourful World War II career (Column: Bookends) (11:40)
By Vikas DattaIANS Photo Service
Across the Second World War's hundreds of thousands of armed clashes, big and small, across multiple theatres, there are few soldiers, below general rank, who may have influenced its strategic course, and in a way, shaped the future, despite their personal bravery. This distinction goes to a Scottish diplomat-turned-politician-turned-soldier, who was one of the many real-life inspirations for James Bond.

Modi's burden has become heavier after Karnataka setback (Column: Political Circus) (18:48)
By Amulya GanguliIANS Photo Service
The hopes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) adding Karnataka to the list of 19 states where it is in power has been dashed although it came close to fulfilling it. However, the eight seats which the BJP needed to cross the finishing line in the legislature eluded the party.

Bollywood marketing caught in a 70-year time warp (Comment) (13:44)
By Amit KhannaIANS Photo Service
It is well known that in spite of producing the largest number of films in the world the health of the industry is not very sound. With a success rate of a mere 10 per cent, there is no way the business can hope to thrive or even rise to its full potential.

Why Facebook is suddenly bullish on Indian smartphone consumers (Tech Trend) (10:48)
By Nishant AroraIANS Photo Service
Gurugram (Haryana), May 19 (IANS) When we talk about advertising potential on Facebook, the fact is that 2.2 billion global users -- almost a quarter of the world's population -- constitute the largest marketplace on Earth that can be explored better with intelligent communication and targeted, age-specific outreach.

The ultimate Dad Jokes list -- and the reason why fathers tell them (The Funny Side) (12:16)
By Nury Vittachi
Fathers, please note: Whenever your child says "I'm ready" it is a legal requirement that you say: "Hello, Ready, I'm Dad!"

Pulga: Of unmatched beauty and Israeli food up in the Himalayas (Travelogue) (12:12)
By Somrita GhoshIANS Photo Service
Pulga (Himachal Pradesh), May 18 (IANS) Picture this: Seated inside a dimly lit eatery in a remote village of Himachal Pradesh and gorging on falafel and shakshuka, traditional Israeli dishes. That's Pulga for you - a 24-hour bus ride from the national capital followed by a 40-minute hike.

My stories belong as much to my readers as they belong to me: Ruskin Bond (May 19 is Bond's 84 birthday) (12:12)
By Saket SumanIANS Photo Service
Landour (Uttarakhand, May 18 (IANS) Up above the hills, where a forest of nodding flowers and an endless valley of Himalayan mountains paint the sky, lives one of India's most-loved writers -- Ruskin Bond.

Policy clarity needed to allay fears over privatisation (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (12:26)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
Public opinion on privatisation ranges from proponents who say it increases efficiency to opponents to fear it will lead to higher charges. As we evaluate potential policies regarding privatisation in India, it would be useful to look at the specific asset and policy features that can help create an efficient privatisation process.

GEAC declines to give green light to GM mustard, seeks impact on bees (Comment: Special to IANS) (19:22)
By Vivian FernandesIANS Photo Service
New Delhi, May 15 (IANS) The regulator for genetically modified (GM) crops in its meeting on March 21 declined to reinforce its decision in May 2017 recommending approval for commercial cultivation of the GM mustard hybrid developed by a team of Delhi University scientists.

Oil prices: Government between a rock and a hard place (Column: Active Voice) (13:38)
By Amit KapoorIANS Photo Service
Just as the Indian economy was limping back to normalcy after an elongated period of subdued growth, oil prices have thrown a spanner in the works right on cue.

The Indian-American diaspora: A vital resource for India (13:14)
By Frank F. Islam
Over 31 million people of Indian birth or descent are part of the Indian diaspora spread around the world. Of them, 3.1 million, or 10 per cent, are Indian-Americans living in the US. The Indian-American diaspora has proven to be a vital resource contributing to the economic, political and social development of India.

Selected offerings to celebrate all things Bengali (12:56)
By Saket Suman
New Delhi, May 14 (IANS) Of all the states in India, West Bengal stands apart as a rich and vibrant land of people with shared customs and tastes. If history stands testimony to the everlasting sea of stories, music and art that have evolved in Bengal and made a mark not only in India but globally, the very streets of the state resonate with a shared love for its cultural heritage.

Does anyone care? A plethora of diseases near 'Mount Everest' of garbage (Environmental Feature) (13:04)
By Sandeep Manohar
New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) A stray dog ilies dead, its eyeballs popping out. Buzzing flies enter its open rib cage and vultures above a mountain of garbage fly away with bites of its rotten flesh. Welcome to an east Delhi neighbourhood where the perpetural acrid smell could make most visitors nauseous.

Cabbie who could not save sister builds hospital to treat the poor (IANS Special Series) (12:24)
By Milinda Ghosh RoyIANS Photo Service
Kolkata, May 13 (IANS) With no cutting-edge medical equipment, air-conditioning or critical care unit in place, the under-construction building in West Bengal's South 24 Parganas district hardly matches the popular notion of a modern medical care facility. Yet, the hospital has become a national landmark as it tells the story of a grieving brother turning his droplets of tears into an ocean of determination that helped establish it.

Banning lead shot: Good for birds & people (World Migratory Bird Day is May 12-13) (11:52)
By Dr. Jacques Trouvilliez
World Migratory Bird Day this year breaks new ground with the campaign being a joint exercise between UN Environment's Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) on the one hand, and Environment for the Americas (EFTA) on the other.

Danseuse Rekha Mehra spreads societal awareness through Kathak (Arts Feature) (11:44)
By Mamta AggarwalIANS Photo Service
New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) She's a trained Kathak dancer who has performed around the world, runs an institute that's training 300 underprivileged children in the arts and passionately believes the dance form is a powerful tool to raise societal awareness about burning issues of the day.

Phrasebooks and the travails and traumas of translations (Column: Bookends) (11:04)
By Vikas Datta
An essential attribute of humanity, languages serve the purpose of communication, but given their sheer multiplicity and variations, they are more liable to create barriers to understanding, than paving the way towards it. Though human ingenuity evolved translation to bridge the gap, this didn't entirely solve the problem, given the differences in syntax, idiom and connotation. How does literature deal with this linguistic phenomenon?

Rise of regional leaders in Congress (Column: Political Circus) (11:06)
By Amulya GanguliIANS Photo Service
Irrespective of the outcome of the Karnataka elections and notwithstanding Chief Minister Siddaramaiah's desire to retire after the polls, a feature of the contest in the southern state is his emergence as a major state-level leader.

Let's put our money in the light combat aircraft (Comment) (12:16)
By Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd)IANS Photo Service
In its pursuit of global maritime dominance, China has decided to create a force of three aircraft-carriers -- one for each of its fleets.

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