King Akbar was very fond of Birbal. This made a certain courtier very jealous. Now this courtier always wanted to be chief minister, but this was not possible as Birbal filled that position. One day Akbar praised Birbal in front of the courtier. This made the courtier very angry and he said that the king praised Birbal unjustly and if Birbal could answer three of his questions, he would accept the fact that Birbal was intelligent. Akbar always wanting to test Birbals wit readily agreed.
The three questions were
1. How many stars are there in the sky
2. Where is the centre of the Earth and
3. How many men and how many women are there in the world.
Immediately Akbar asked Birbal the three questions and informed him that if he could not answer them, he would have to resign as chief minister.
To answer the first question, Birbal brought a hairy sheep and said, “There are as many stars in the sky as there is hair on the sheep’s body. My friend the courtier is welcome to count them if he likes.”
To answer the second question, Birbal drew a couple of lines on the floor and bore an iron rod in it and said, “this is the center of the Earth, the courtier may measure it himself if he has any doubts.”
In answer to the third question, Birbal said, “Counting the exact number of men and women in the world would be a problem as there are some specimens like our courtier friend here who cannot easily be classified as either. Therefore if all people like him are killed, then and only then can one count the exact number.”
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India and U.S. fly ‘Red Flag’ high
The Air Forces of India and the U.S. concluded their four-week “Red Flag” aerial combat exercises at Alaska in the U.S. on Saturday. The two forces simulated realistic aerial combat scenarios in a networked environment.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) flew 10 aircraft: four Su-30MKIs, four Jaguars and two IL-78 aerial refuelling tankers. A team of over 170 personnel was part of the exercises held from April 28 to May 13.
“The objective of this inter-continental deployment was not only to showcase the IAF’s capability in undertaking integrated air ops but also to imbibe operational lessons from the exercise engagements, which will help us add more teeth to our overall war waging capabilities,” the team leader, Group Captain H. Assudani, said on the objective of the exercise.
The exercise is played under the multiple simulated scenario designed to provide realistic settings with a Red Force, defending their airspace and assets, and a Blue Force acting as the offensive side. The IAF officials said that the Red Force was largely constituted by U.S. F-16 fighters, while the IAF planes, along with other USAF aircraft such as F-15, F-16 and F-22 and the U.S. Navy F-18, constituted the Blue Force.
The teams had to endure sub-zero temperatures during most of the exercise, which posed a challenge to the maintenance team despite which they managed to maintain 100 per cent serviceability of all platforms. Col. William Culver from the U.S. side said, “This was one of the best ‘Red Flags’ I has seen. I compliment the exceptional standards displayed by the IAF and am amazed to see all the 10 aircraft IAF had brought maintaining 100 per cent serviceability for the entire four weeks and their aircraft flying on all days as per plan.”
However, the exercises are an expensive endeavour and hence, the IAF had decided to participate once in five years. This edition is believed to have cost over Rs. 100 crore.
The IAF fighters have always flown with their radars switched off during exercises with the U.S. so as not to reveal the radar signatures. The Indian side had received accolades during the last edition for their tactics and professionalism.
The contingent is likely to return to India in the last week of May. The Su-30s will additionally participate in the exercise “Desert Eagle II” with the UAE Air Force on their way back, officials said.
Four-month window to declare black money opens on June 1: Finance Ministry
The four-month window for declaring domestic black money will open on June 1 and those opting to come clean by paying 45 per cent tax and penalty, will not be subjected to scrutiny and enquiry by tax department.
The Income Declaration Scheme 2016 will remain in force till September 30 for filing of declarations and payments towards taxes, surcharge and penalty must be made latest by November 30, the Finance Ministry said in a release.
“No scrutiny and enquiry under the Income-tax Act or the Wealth tax Act (no abolished) shall be undertaken in respect of such declarations. Immunity from prosecution under the Income-tax Act and Wealth Tax Act is also provided along with immunity from the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 subject to transfer of asset to actual owner within the period specified in the Rules,” it said.
The scheme was announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget with an aim to fish out black money from the domestic economy. Earlier, the government had come out with similar scheme for Indian holding undisclosed income abroad.
The scheme will apply to undisclosed income whether in the form of investment in assets or otherwise, pertaining to Financial Year 2015-16 or earlier, the Ministry said. “Under the Scheme, income as declared by the eligible persons, would be taxed at the rate of 30 per cent plus a ‘Krishi Kalyan Cess’ of 25 per cent on the taxes payable and a penalty at the rate of 25 per cent of the taxes payable, thereby totaling to 45 per cent of the income declared under the scheme,” the Ministry said.
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3 raw mangoes
8 tsp red chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fenugreek powder
2 tsp mustard
Salt to taste
1 tsp asafoetida
3/4 sesame oil
4 tsp black channa
Choose solid,firm and good variety mangoes.Wash,pat dry and cut in to cubes as shown.
Take mustard in a blender and powder nicely.
Place cut mangoes in a clean vessel.Add red chilli powder,turmeric powder, fenugreek powder, asafoetida, mustard powder and salt.
Add sesame oil and black channa.
Mix well. Keep it covered in a clean jar and use after a week.
The peculiarity of this pickle is addition of black channa and it gives a good aroma to the pickle, so don't avoid it.
Adding red chilli powder is up to you, you may reduce it if you want.
Do mix the jar daily once and keep it in sun light with a cloth tied to the jar. This increases the shelf live of the pickle.
Contributed by Ravi