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 IANS Photo Service
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 skiing 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.

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.

More ayurveda chairs to be created abroad: ICCR DG (IANS Interview) (13:18)
By Sahana Ghosh
Kolkata, Jan 11 (IANS) The ICCR, the organisation tasked with projecting the country's heritage and engaging culturally with friendly countries, aims to set up more ayurveda chairs abroad as part of its bid to harness India's soft power as a "potent tool".

It's comfort food all the way at Taj Palace's Capital Kitchen (Foodie Trail-Delhi) (With Images) (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.

Abuse of transgender Indians begins in early childhood (Special to IANS) (11:24)
By Sumit Chaturvedi
From her troubled teenage years to being a social activist working for the rights of the transgender community, Sharmila (name changed to protect identity), 44, has come a long way.

World weirdness quotient is rising fast (The Funny Side) (11:00)
By Nury Vittachi
If I were a woman I would draw one eyebrow way higher than the other and spend my whole life looking wildly sceptical about everything.

New Year resolutions doctors must stick to (Comment: Special to IANS) (10:46)
By Rajat Arora
It is easy to preach, hard to practise. Though, as a doctor, I pretty much practise what I preach, there are instances that knuckles me to the fact that I am still human!

Impromptu celebrations were the norm in Kathputli Colony (Part II of II - Societal Feature) (With Images) (13:10)
By Saket Suman
New Delhi, Jan 2 (IANS) India's largest artist ghetto, Kathputli Colony, is a curious chapter in Delhi's book of shanty clusters. While demolitions and displacements are a constant fear in most slums, the rich artistic heritage and the ethereal way of living with a sense of community and cultural ethos are what sets it apart from others of its kind.

Chandigarh school kids adding strength to 'Wall of Kindness' (12:04)
By Jaideep Sarin
Chandigarh, Jan 1 (IANS) It is an act of kindness and gratitude, but veiled in anonymity.

Cafes, culinary experiments and hashtags: Rulers of the gastronomical world (2016 In Retrospect) (With Images) (14:54)
By Somrita Ghosh
New Delhi, Dec 31 (IANS) Sipping a oreo chocolate shake accompanied by a thick chicken patty smashed between buns or experimenting with the flavours of Indian regional cuisine -- a culinary visit to any eat-out remained incomplete without the "foodporn" and "foodgasm" hashtags, making 2016 a tummy-blessed foodilicious year.

How to survive driving in Asia (The Funny Side) (10:14)
By Nury Vittachi
IMPORTANT NOTE TO MOTORISTS: If I turn on the windscreen wipers of a rental car, this indicates that I am turning right or left; please memorise.

Reviving Na Khowa, the festival of feasting in Assam (Societal Feature) (12:36)
By Aditya Baruah
Guwahati, Dec 23 (IANS) With the mercury dipping, people in Assam, particularly in the rural areas, are switching to celebration mode with the Na Khowa festival, an age-old ritual of community feasts organised to thank the gods for a good harvest.

Even criminals have a holiday at this time, say cops (The Funny Side) (10:36)
By Nury Vittachi
Some years ago, a senior police officer told me that (with some exceptions) criminals have the exactly same holidays as ordinary people. They dislike working on bank holidays or the Buddha's birthday or over Christmas and the like, so cops see a significant fall in the crime rate.

Demonetisation doubles trouble for Bengal's ailing Jatra (Societal Feature) (12:04)
By Milinda Ghosh Roy
Kolkata, Dec 22 (IANS) Jatra, the centuries-old Bengali folk theatre extremely popular in the villages, is in the throes of a fresh crisis post-demonetisation.

In world of medicine, three-parent baby brought smile that wiped out the trauma of Zika (2016 in Retrospect) (11:46)
By Gokul Bhagabati and Rachel V. Thomas
New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) The rapid rise of the Zika infections across many parts of the world had a large section of the population mightily worried till its "global emergency" tag was removed, but there was much cheer at the birth of a baby conceived through a "three person" fertility technique.

NE designers dipping into diverse attire of regional tribes (11:44)
By Bappaditya Chatterjee
Mechukha (Arunachal Pradesh), Dec 21 (IANS) Weavers and designers from India's northeast are now focusing on creating a greater variety of patterns by incorporating features from the distinctly diverse attire of the large number of tribes in the region to make a dent in the domestic and international fashion markets.

In Kerala, the year belonged to CM Pinarayi Vijayan (2016 In Retrospect) (12:34)
By Sanu George IANS Photo Service
Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 20 (IANS) In Kerala, the year 2016 belonged to 71-year-old Pinarayi Vijayan who breasted the tape ahead of popular party colleague and arch rival V.S. Achuthanandan in the race to be the Chief Minister -- without even a whimper of protest from any quarter.

Handloom, understated trendsetter connecting masses with classes (2016 in Retrospect) (With Images) (11:56)
By Nivedita
New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) From the country's apex fashion body giving prominence to handwoven fabrics at shows to the Ministry of Textiles collaborating with top-notch fashion brands and designers for collections promoting indigenous textile, and social media buzzing with hashtags like #IwearHandloom, 2016 saw a new wave of awareness of handlooms among both the classes and the masses.

A year of tax/legal/policy change challenges for auto industry (2016 In Retrospect) (13:06)
By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Dec 19 (IANS) It was a year of mixed fortunes for the Indian automobile industry that faced growth as well as tax, legal and government policy challenges, industry experts said.

A year in which government increased insurance awareness and penetration (2016 In Retrospect) (13:16)
By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, Dec 17 (IANS) The year 2016 would go down in the annals of the Indian insurance industry history as the one in which the central government was the driving force in increasing non-life insurance penetration and awareness with various schemes, experts said.

'Go digital' drive brought cyber security to the fore in India (2016 in Retrospect) (12:50)
By Nishant Arora
New Delhi, Dec 17 (IANS) With the country logging into the digital world to become a cashless economy, the threat of data breach loomed over both public and private enterprises, with several such cases being reported through the year -- forcing the government to wake up from its slumber and prepare for digital war.

Seven things that prove the world has gone officially insane (The Funny side) (11:10)
By Nury Vittachi
North Korea's government banned sarcastic comments against it (they actually did, this is not a joke); so I sent them an email: "Great idea, you bunch of geniuses." They're sure to thank me.

AI-powered IBM Watson to help Indian enterprises go digital (Tech Trend) (With Images) (12:34)
By Sourabh Kulesh
New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) The year 2017 is predicted to be that of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning -- redefining the way humans communicate with devices to not only improve daily life but also boost businesses, even in India.

2016 in Retrospect
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