Is Trump Starting a Second Korean War, This Time with Nuclear Weapons?

THE US has been positioning its aircraft carrier strike force Carl Vinson and USS Michigan, an Ohio class nuclear submarine, off the coast of the Korean peninsula. Trump has threatened that if China does not intervene, the US will “solve the problem” of a nuclear Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) “all by itself”; presumably through military strikes.

March for Science

EARTH Day, commemorated on April 22 each year, has always seen marches and demonstrations  highlighting dangers to life on the planet and mobilising people for the defence of the environment from wanton exploitation and profiteering. Earth Day this year was different. It saw rallies in cities round the world, especially in the US, under the banner March for Science. This year Earth Day was not about saving the planet, but about saving science and the institutions that engage in studying and propagating it. Who would have thought such a thing would happen?

Generic Prescribing of Medicines: Diktats are Not a Substitute for Sound Public Policy

IN a recent public meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government would take steps to reduce costs incurred on purchase of medicines by making it mandatory for doctors to prescribe medicines in generic name. In itself such a step by the government would be welcome. Unfortunately past experience shows that such pronouncements are mere empty promises that have no relation to the situation on the ground.

With Westinghouse Bankruptcy, the Nuclear Energy Story Nearly Over

WITH Westinghouse announcing its bankruptcy, India's pledge to buy at least 10,000 MW as a part of the India US Nuclear Deal and reiterated by Modi last year, should be given a decent burial. Any agreement with Westinghouse now means that India would be bailing out Westinghouse and the US nuclear industry with Indian peoples' money.This also draws to a close all talk about a nuclear renaissance. The three major reactor manufacturers – Toshiba-Westinghouse, GE-Hitachi and Areva, France are all in major financial difficulties.

Hyperloop in India: Yet Another Pipedream?

THERE is a new buzz in the country at the prospect of an ultra-modern, even futuristic, transportation system making a debut in India, among the first few countries to host this much-touted system. If it becomes reality, it would be yet another instance of India leading the march of highly developed tech-led countries, the dream being actively promoted among the “aspirational classes” in this country, not satisfied with just a bullet train but looking to leapfrog to the next generation transport.

National Health Policy 2017: Assurance for Whom?

THE government has finally approved the National Health Policy-2017, bringing to an end a two year long process. A draft of the policy was available since mid-2015 but it is believed that the government, at the Niti Ayog’s behest had been unhappy with some specific parts of the earlier draft that was critical of the private sector.Experience with past National Health Policy documents (we have had two in the past – one in 1983 and one in 2002) have not been particularly positive.

Earth's Seven Sisters 40 Light-years Away

AN international team of scientists have discovered a set of seven, near earth-sized exoplanets circling a nearby star, named Trappist-1. They have reported this discovery recently in Nature. What is exciting about these exoplanets is that all of them may have water, with three falling in what is called the habitable zone. In the habitable zone, planets may have water in liquid form on their surface, and therefore the possibility of life.

ISRO’s Record Launch: Less Known Innovations

INDIA last week once again breathlessly celebrated another record-breaking feat by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in launching 104 satellites on a single flight of its Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-37 on February 16, 2017.  Print and electronic media in India went ga-ga with stories about how India had pulled off another “first,” beating by several times the earlier Russian record launch of 37 satellites in a single flight in 2014.

Nuclear Energy in India: From Self-Reliance To Import Dependence

India was an early entrant in the field of nuclear energy. It was Dr Homi J Bhabha who initiated nuclear science research in India by setting up the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in 1945 and later the Atomic Energy Establishment at Trombay (now known as Bhabha Atomic Research Centre or BARC) in 1954 to intensify effort to deploy nuclear technology for generating electricity.