progress report: On January 6, the Supreme Court asked the Union government to file a status report by April 23 on the progress made in the project to interlink rivers. The task force on interlinking had filed a report saying that it had already identified 30 major links in the networking of rivers. Attorney-General Soli Sorabjee submitted that the feasibility report for the peninsular component would be ready by March this year. The interlinking project has two major components: Himalayan (with 14 links) and peninsular (with 16 links). The former requires an understanding with neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
capital move: With more than 30,000 dead in the Bam earthquake, Iran is reconsidering a warning by seismologists that a strong quake in Tehran could have disastrous effects. The capital lies on a major seismic fault. Bahram Akasheh, professor of geophysics at Tehran University, has said a quake of similar magnitude near Tehran would kill over 700,000 people in the city of 12 million. He has written to President Mohammed Khatami to move the capital to Isfahan, which was the country's capital in the late 16th century under Shah Abbas the Great. In 1991, a similar plan was proposed to the Supreme National Security Council. This time, the council will consider it seriously.
transcription dose: The Union ministry of health has decided to transcript all Unani medicine formulations in English, German, Spanish, French and Japanese. The ministry's department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have undertaken a project worth Rs 3.5 crore for this. It would involve about 75,000 transcripts in the first phase. A CSIR official said the translations would be done in a patent applicable format.
no coercion: The Delhi High Court issued directions to the Union government not to take coercive steps against bottled water manufacturers who are not able to meet the new norms for packaged drinking water by January 1, 2004. However, the court refused to put a stay on the notification. In its July 18 notification, the government had announced the new norms which limit the pesticide residues at 0.0001 milligramme per litre (mg/l) for individual pesticides and 0.0005 mg/l for total residues.