Growing India-Vietnam strategic ties will mean a more stable Indo-Pacific (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:46)
By Major General P.K. Chakravorty (retd)
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Vietnam on September 2-3, 2016. The visit was the first by an Indian Prime Minister after 15 years. Twelve agreements were signed during the visit which included cooperation in outer space, UN peacekeeping, avoidance of double-taxation, cyber security, information technology, information on white shipping and contract for procurement of offshore patrol vessels.

SP-Congress will give BJP a run for its money in UP (Column: Political Circus) (11:12)
By Amulya Ganguli
Any satisfaction which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) felt over the internal strife in the Samajwadi Party (SP) must have been diluted to a considerable extent by the truce, albeit an uneasy one, among the family members of its main political rival in UP.

BIMARU states: Little progress in 2 years, learning crisis for millions of children (Special to IANS) (14:00)
By Prachi Salve and Alison Saldanha
In 2016, some learning outcomes for 111 million school-age students between ages six and 15 remained mostly unchanged in BIMARU states (Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh), when compared to 2014, after declining for four years, according to the 2016 Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) released in January 2017.

Making a case for Jallikattu (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:20)
By Salim David
The tradition of Jallikattu is many thousands of years old in Tamil Nadu. The recent ban on this festive event has the entire state up in arms.

ID cards being issued to cows, camels, trees (The Funny Side) (10:56)
By Nury Vittachi
They say the easiest way to bring people together is to unite them against a common enemy; so I would like to propose that scientists declare Neptune a Hostile Planet.

Bountiful and 'snowful', winter reclaims its glory in Kashmir (11:58)
By Sheikh Qayoom
Srinagar, Jan 19 (IANS) Heaps of snow, razor-sharp icicles, the cackle of low-flying geese and the warmth of families huddled together to ward off the cold -- all these are markers of a great winter in Kashmir.

Afghanistan's snowy hilltops now draw skiiing youngsters (14:48)
Bamyan (Afghanistan), Jan 18 (IANS) When the Gunbadak hilltops are snow-capped, covering their usual mud and dust, dozens of children flock to the peak which lies 30 minutes away from Bamyan city, the capital of central Bamyan province, to enjoy skiing, a fun-filled pursuit not often associated with the conflict-ridden country.

Stem cell treatment could be a proven therapy for diabetes, autism (Comment: Special to IANS) (12:06)
By Chirayu Padhiar
Stem cell therapy has turned out to be a ray of hope for most patients who are trying to find a cure for incurable diseases. Researchers and experts believe India has been at the top in the development of stem cell treatment followed by several other countries like China and Japan. However, due to lack of awareness, most people don't think of stem cell therapy as an option for treating most of the incurable diseases.

If IITs had more Dalit professors, would Aniket Ambhore be alive? (Special to IANS) (15:12)
By Charu Bahri
In March 2012, Sanjay and Sunita Ambhore, parents of Aniket Ambhore, 19, a first-year electrical engineering student at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B), received a letter informing them that their son -- admitted in the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota -- had failed two courses.

'I'm with Zaira': Support pours in for Kashmiri 'Dangal' starlet (14:32)
New Delhi, Jan 17 (IANS) "I am with Zaira,", one of the top trending hashtags, took the virtual world by storm on Tuesday after Dangal starlet Zaira Waseem, a 16-year-old Kashmiri, was trolled by a few for meeting Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti following the record breaking success of the Aamir Khan starrer.

Trump shadow on India-US-Australia trilateral relations? (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:54)
By Rekha Bhattacharjee
With Donald Trump set to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States on January 20, will his presidency alter India-US-Australia trilateral relations?

Creativity will drive India's prosperity: Is anyone listening? (Column: Active Voice) (11:08)
By Amit Kapoor
A special "Nobel Series" session was a notable addition at the latest Vibrant Gujarat Summit (January 9-12).

#Notebandi frontlines: Small stores struggle to survive, but many support Modi (Special to IANS) (16:00)
By Alison Saldanha
Mumbai: There are about 12 million to 14 million kirana shops -- family-run corner-shops/mom-and-pop or convenience stores selling groceries and other products -- across India (according to a 2015 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consultancy, with India Retail Forum), and they are vulnerable to losses from ‘notebandi -- as demonetisation is called colloquially. A population, roughly speaking, equivalent to that of France or Thailand, depends on these stores for a living.

Coming Trump world order: Western intelligence at sixes and sevens (Comment: Special to IANS) (11:14)
By Saeed Naqvi
Pardon my naiveté, but I cannot for the life of me comprehend why the entire US establishment, with the intelligence community in the vanguard, is in convulsions about the alleged Russian efforts to hack into the US elections which brought Donald Trump to power. The CIA must be lazy if it doesn't hack into Moscow, Beijing, everywhere.

Punjab polls: Will 'Rahu kaal' end for Congress? (10:46)
By Amulya Ganguli
Although two opinion polls have given different findings about which party will be the winner in Punjab, conventional wisdom is that the ruling Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) combine will have a hard time overcoming the anti-incumbency factor.

After #Notebandi, banks flush with money, but companies in no shape to borrow (Special to IANS) (15:02)
By Prathamesh Mulye
"Demonetisation has made banks flush with funds, and they will lend it to productive sectors." - Power Minister Piyush Goyal, November 26, 2016.

Don't rush to judgement, these four true tales teach us (The Funny Side) (11:04)
By Nury Vittachi
A couple of years ago, a friend accused me of being really slow on the uptake, so I called him last night. "Yep," I said.

270 days after Bihar liquor ban, major crimes up 13% (Special to IANS) (14:16)
By Devanik Saha
During a recent visit to Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his alcohol ban policy. He said: "I greet Nitish Kumar from the core of my heart for launching a campaign against liquor. But, this work (prohibition) would not be a grand success only by efforts of Nitish Kumar or one party. All the political parties, social organisations and citizens have to participate in it to make it a ‘jan-jan ka andolan‘ (peoples movement)."

Alarming drop in reading skills in Madhya Pradesh (13:44)
By Khushboo Balani
Reading and some math skills of Madhya Pradesh students are among India's lowest, the transition rate to higher classes is lower than the national average, a majority of classrooms are shared by students of different grades, and government elementary schools are 17.6 per cent short of school teachers, according an analysis of various government data.

Drop in temperature may increase cardio-vascular disease risk (11:38)
Kolkata, Jan 10 (IANS) Several factors such as a drop in body temperature, decreased level of vitamin D in the body and an increase of blood viscosity may heighten the risk of cardio-vascular diseases during the winter season, an expert said on Tuesday.

India needs to guard against technological disruption in manufacturing (Column: Active Voice) (11:04)
By Amit Kapoor
The most recent Purchasing Manager's Index (PMI) reflects a contraction in the manufacturing activity in India in December.

3 die every 10 minutes in road accidents; up 9% in 4 Years (14:04)
By Swagata Yadavar
There were nine road accidents that killed three people every 10 minutes in 2015, according to new national data, an increase of nine per cent over four years.

India reduces baby deaths but still hasn't met 2012 targets (13:22)
By Rhea Colaco
First, the good news: 37 babies died for every 1,000 that were born in 2015, two better than the government's projections of an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 39 for that year, according to new data released last week. That's a drop of 53 per cent over 25 years.

It's comfort food all the way at Taj Palace's Capital Kitchen (Foodie Trail-Delhi) (11:32)
By Mudita Girotra
New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) In a city known as a gastronomical heaven with so many multi-cuisine outlets, it is difficult to find delightful fine diners hinging on the concept of comfort foods. There are a couple of them that now offer such heartening fare, and adding to the lot is the newly-launched Capital Kitchen that has replaced Kafe Fontana at the poolside of the Taj Palace Hotel.

A poetic colossus and his stylish, striking and sonorous works (Column: Bookends)  (10:32)
By Vikas Datta
Among the shortcomings of our education system is that literature, especially poetry, is mostly presented to impressionable minds as an exam subject, that too in a dry, formulaic rote with any attempt at personal interpretation unwelcome. Thus most of us never know its role in showcasing mankind's aspirations and experiences, of language's capabilities, and vivid accounts of the human and natural conditions. Like by this Victorian-era poet whose work still endures and inspires.

2016 in Retrospect
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