North Korea reopens cross-border hotline with South Korea after months of acrimony and fears of war
North Korea on 3 January 2018 reopened a key cross-border communication channel with South Korea for the first time in nearly two years, as the rivals explore the possibility of sitting down and talking after months of hostility and fears of war. The move signals a possible truce in relations between the two nations.
In his New Year's address on 1 January, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he was willing to send a delegation to next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea. But he also said he has a "nuclear button" on his desk and that all U.S. territory is within striking distance of his nuclear weapons. The US President Donald Trump retorted to the threat by saying that he had a bigger and more powerful nuclear button than the North Korean dictator.
Open defecation in Maharashtra to invite Rs 500 fine now
The state government of Maharashtra has announced a spot fine of 500 rupees for open defecation. In a Government Resolution (GR) issued by the urban development department recently, the state government has empowered various municipal corporations and councils to levy spot fines on people and institutions for littering, spitting and urinating in public places.
The spot fines to be levied on the violators will range from Rs 150 to Rs 180 for throwing waste material and garbage on roads and highways, Rs 100 to Rs 150 for those found spitting in public places and a fine of Rs 100 to Rs 200 for those found urinating in public.
The GR will be implemented under the provisions of the Solid Waste Management Act, 2016 with immediate effect. On 1 October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind had declared entire urban Maharashtra as open defecation-free.
Sathiyan becomes India's highest-ranked player in latest ITTF rankings
G Sathiyan has become India's highest- ranked player in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings. He surpassed his compatriot the legendary Sharath Kamal.
Sathiyan, who was nowhere near the top-100 bracket until a few months ago, is the top ranking Indian currently at world No. 49, pushing Kamal who is at 51 to the second spot. Both these players are followed by Soumyajit Ghosh at rank 58, Harmeet Desai at 60, Sanil Shetty at 68 and Anthony Amalraj at 87.
In the women’s rankings list, Manika Batra is the top-ranked Indian woman at rank 62, while Mouma Das is at rank 74 and Madhurika Patkar is at 81.
The ITTF rankings have undergone a change after the new system was approved in September 2017. The new simplified and comprehensive system provides for a more dynamic world ranking based on the player’s performance and results during the entire year.