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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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Kerry to be in Delhi, Parrikar in Washington next week
India and the U.S started the annual strategic dialogue in 2009 and the commercial track was added last year. The coming week will witness some intense diplomatic activities between India and the U.S, as Secretary of State John Kerry and Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker travel to New Delhi for the second Strategic and Commercial (S&C) dialogue and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar arrives in Washington. Senior officials from 12 different U.S. agencies will be part of the S&C dialogue that will be co-chaired by the U.S Secretaries and their Indian counterparts External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. The signing of the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is likely to top the agenda of Mr. Parrikar in the U.S capital. While the U.S is keen to have the LEMOA signed, India is pushing for forward movement on high technology trade. With the induction into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) earlier this year, India is now eligible for higher technology purchases. Ratification of the Paris climate treaty by India and its admission into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) will be on the agenda for the S&C dialogue. India and the U.S started the annual strategic dialogue in 2009 and the commercial track was added last year, recognising that both aspects are often intertwined.

“The two governments are also likely to continue discussing strategic topics ranging from climate change cooperation, national security and counter-terrorism, priorities in the Indian Ocean region as well as top economic priorities such as positioning U.S. companies for success at the sub-national level. In particular, the commercial track of the dialogue will continue to see heightened focus on ease of doing business, the U.S.-India partnership on tourism, developing a digital infrastructure, and roundtables on infrastructure and clean energy,” said Mukesh Aghi, president, USIBC (US India Business Council). There is an increasing sense among the U.S policy makers that while the Modi government is open to investment, it is as reticent as previous governments on trade. “I think on the investment climate, there would be more positive views than negative. The Modi government has lifted FDI caps at a record pace, personally courted investors, and the FDI inflows are among the highest of any country. But on the trade side, there is disappointment. We'll likely end the Obama tenure without any progress on neither a Bilateral Investment Treaty nor a common vision or approach to key issues at the World Trade Organization,’ said Richard M. Rossow, Wadhwani Chair in the U.S. India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Both countries may finalise and announce a framework for cooperation on cyber security, said Mr. Rossow. “Setting the rules of coordination in this space is critical, and will mark real progress. Otherwise, this will be mostly about wrapping up smaller issues and setting plans for engagement in the next U.S. administration,” he said. During Mr. Parrikar’s visit, India’s request for unmanned aircraft Predator for maritime domain awareness will be on the agenda. Membership of the MTCR makes India eligible for purchasing them from the private sector manufacturer General Atomics and the proposal is under the active consideration of the U.S government. Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, US and International Strategic Development at General Atomics — a former NASA scientist and Boeing official who has steered major defence deals between the two countries — declined to comment. “It is a government to government discussion. General Atomics will be opening an office in India this year.” The U.S State Department's assessment of global investment climates recently was critical of India, but “overall, U.S. industry continues to be very bullish on the economic opportunities in India,” said Mr. Aghi. “…while industry is often anxious to see reforms passed quickly, industry also recognizes and respects the fact that India is a robust democracy where any reform most be a consensus-driven process. American industry is buoyed by the passage of the GST, a bankruptcy and arbitration code, and the real estate bill. Issues that were earlier insurmountable are now back on the table and being tackled through consistent dialogues,” Mr. Aghi said.
With China In Mind, India's $1 Billion Order For New Spy Planes: Report
NEW DELHI: India signed a contract on Wednesday to buy four maritime spy planes from Boeing Co for about $1 billion, defence and industry sources told news agency Reuters. India is aiming to bolster its navy as it tries to check China's presence in the Indian Ocean. Eight of these long-range P-8I aircraft have already been deployed to track submarine movements in the Indian Ocean and on Wednesday exercised an option for four more, two defence ministry officials and an industry source told Reuters. "It's a follow-on order, it was signed today," a defence ministry official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity as he is not authorised to make announcements on procurements. A second defence official confirmed the value of the contract at about $1 billion and said the aircraft were expected to enter service over the next three years. Amrita Dhindsa, a spokeswoman for Boeing defence, space, and security in India, said she was not in a position to say anything on the contract and referred all questions to the defence ministry. But she said the P81 was an aircraft used not only for long-range patrol, but was also equipped with Harpoon missiles for anti-submarine warfare. India has been building up its naval surveillance capabilities since China's navy expanded its reach and sent submarines, including one that's nuclear-powered which docked in Sri Lanka. The deal, signed during a visit by the US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition Frank Kendall, marks a further tightening of India's ties with the United States, which has emerged as a top arms supplier in recent years for India's largely Soviet-equipped military. A US embassy spokesman was not immediately available for comment. Boeing last year completed the delivery of the last of the aircraft under the previous order worth $2.1 billion, an industry source said. The Indian navy has deployed some of its P8-I aircraft to the Andaman and Nicobar islands near the Malacca Straits and two other routes into the Indian Ocean for military and commercial shipping.
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Avakai Pickle

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
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