Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

Cloud computing works on a client-server basis, using web browser protocols. The cloud provides server-based applications and all data services to the user, with output displayed on the client device. If the user wishes to create a document using a word processor, for example, the cloud provides a suitable application running on the server which displays work done by the user on the client web browser display. Memory allocated to the client system's web browser is used to make the application data appear on the client system display, but all computations and changes are recorded by the server, and final results including files created or altered are permanently stored on the cloud servers. Performance of the cloud application is dependent upon the network access, speed and reliability as well as the processing speed of the client device.

Cloud service puts movies, music and software on a cloud server. Having these offerings on a cloud server gives the provider some real benefits. This means they could possibly charge less for their products, like Tablets or Smart-phones. This also means they wouldn’t need to have the capability to store as much locally since customers will be able to access their items via the cloud server.

Asia’s largest solar energy park to be hosted by Gujarat

Gujarat would house the largest solar energy park in Asia in two years, with a power production capacity of 500 Mw. This would be set up with an investment of around Rs 8,000 crore flowing from companies such as GMR and Lanco, which have been assigned generation capacities under the Gujarat Solar Mission.

Gujarat had announced a solar power policy in January 2009, with a target of installing 1,000 Mw capacity by 2012 and 3,000 Mw by 2014. The State has already signed power purchase agreements for 934 Mw.

The park, on the lines of an industrial estate, is being developed by Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GCPL), as the sectoral nodal agency, on around 2,000 hectares of wasteland bordering the Rann of Kutch, in Patan district. When commissioned, the project would provide 800 million units of power.

In the first phase, 15 solar power generation companies would produce 176 Mw and Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation would set up a power pooling station. The overall project cost in phase-I would be Rs 1,287 crore.

The Planning Commission has already approved a one-time additional central assistance of Rs 210 crore for the development of the solar park. The Asian Development Bank has approved a soft loan of $ 100 million for the project. This includes development of a ‘smart grid’ for evacuation of power.

An agreement has also been signed with the Clinton Climate Initiative, which would be the technical consultant.

Rashtriya Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram

Rashtriya Janani-Shishu Suraksha Karyakaram is a scheme to provide all required healthcare facilities to pregnant women and infants free of cost. The scheme has been adopted for the entire country under the National Rural Health Mission.

conference on mango

A global conference on mango was held in Lucknow in June 2011. The main topic was the challenges facing the crop and its growers in backdrop of changing climatic conditions.

India gets first e-waste management rules

Putting the onus of re-cycling of electronic wastes (e-waste) on the producers, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has for the first time notified e-waste management rules.

The e-waste (management and handling) Rules, 2011 would recognise the producers’ liability for recycling and reducing e-waste in the country. The rules will come into effect from May 1, 2012.

Personal Computer manufacturers, mobile handset makers and white goods makers will be required to come up with e-waste collection centres or introduce ‘take back’ systems.

India, at present, generates about 400,000 tonnes of e-wastes annually of which only 19,000 tonnes are getting recycled. Around 40 per cent of the unused and obsolete electronic products sit idle at homes and warehouses as one does not know what to do with it or there is no systematic mechanism to dispose it.

E-wastes are considered dangerous, as certain electronic components contain substances such as lead, cadmium, lead oxide (in cathode ray tubes), toxic gases, toxic metals, biologically active materials, acids, plastics and plastic additives. These substances are considered hazardous depending on their condition and density.

Under the new rules, producers will have to make consumers aware about the hazardous components present in the product. They will also have to give information booklets to prevent e-waste from being dropped in garbage bins.

However, according to the rules, bulk consumers such as enterprises and government will be responsible for recycling of the e-wastes generated by them. The bulk users have to ensure that the e-waste generated by them is channelized to authorised collection centres or is taken back by the producers. They also have to maintain records of e-wastes generated by them and make such records available with State Pollution Control Boards or the Pollution Control Committees.

Rajiv Awas Yojana to begin in 250 Cities

A one day conference on Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) with the State Ministers of Housing, Urban Development, Municipal Administration and Local Self Government was organised by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) at New Delhi. The conference was inaugurated by Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Minister of Culture.

‘Super 30’ founder to address leadership symposium

‘Super 30’ founder and mathematician Anand Kumar has been selected from around the world to speak at the University Scholars’ Leadership Symposium, to be held in Thailand from August 1.
Other speakers at the symposium are Afghanistan’s peace activist Dr. Hakim, Sri Lanka’s Safe Bottle Lamp Founder Dr. Wijaya, founder of Thailand’s Development and Education Programme for Daughters (DEPD) Sompop Jantraka and Australia’s Geraldine Cox, who is working for homeless children in Cambodia, ‘Super 30’ sources said.
With ‘Super 30’ emerging as an innovative school for helping talented students from underprivileged families crack the IIT-JEE, in the last few years organizers from different parts of the world have been inviting its founder to listen to the inspiring story of his struggling days and the success of the institute that he runs for the poor.
Students and scholars from over 500 universities of the world will also participate in the symposium.
Having missed the opportunity to go to Cambridge in 1994 due to acute financial constraint, Mr. Anand set up the Ramanujan School of Mathematics for teaching mathematics to poor children in 1992. In 2002, he set up the ‘Super 30’, where he provides free education, food and accommodation to 30 talented students from underprivileged sections of the society for the IIT-JEE.
In the last nine years, 236 students have qualified from the institute.

India plans to launch National Monsoon Mission

The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has mooted a proposal to take up a National Mission on Monsoon to develop most representative and advanced dynamic model framework for India for forecasting monsoon rainfall and its variability in various space and time scales. A National level consultation meeting was organised with experts working in the atmospheric and oceanic modeling alongside the MoES units, viz. India Meteorological Department (IMD), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad etc., on 16th January, 2010 for finalizing the scope, identification and short-listing of suite of models, activity schedule, roles of various participating groups, time frame etc. for the preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR). National level implementation mechanism is being worked out. A steering committee shall be constituted for overseeing the Mission implementation.

Currently, IMD uses statistical models for the prediction of seasonal monsoon rainfall over India. However, the National Mission on Monsoon envisages developing India specific dynamical model framework that would outperform the existing suite of models available today.

This information was given by the Shri Prithviraj Chavan ,Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister of State in the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions and Minister of State in the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs in a written reply to a question by Shri R C Singh in Rajya Sabha

Global sanitation programme launched in Assam

The Global Sanitation Fund (GSF) programme to promote total sanitation and hygiene was launched in Assam.
The programme  will support sanitation and hygiene promotion in eight districts of Jorhat, Nalbari, Kamrup, Cachar, Hailakandi, Goalpara, Sonitpur and Nagaon districts, covering 5,000 villages using a combination of Community-led Total Sanitation  and sanitation marketing approaches.
The GSF aims to collaborate closely with the centre’s Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC) to raise the level of sanitation awareness for up to eight million people in the States of Assam and Jharkhand.
The two states of Assam and Jharkhand have been selected as the focus States under the Global Sanitation Fund in India based on the criteria developed and agreed upon with the major national sector across and the government.
The US $5 million fund aims to achieve sustainable open defecation-free communities and tangible health benefits, GFS programme officer Oliver Jones said. He said that the programme is being implemented in 10 countries including India.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Saturn's water mystery finally solved

Planetary scientists claim they have finally solved a 14-year mystery by discovering the source of the water in Saturn's upper atmosphere.

A team, led by Paul Hartogh of Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, says that the Herschel space observatory has found that giant jets of vapour from the planet's moon Enceladus are responsible for Saturn's water.
The latest discovery around Saturn has revealed that the planet's sixth-largest moon Enceladus is covered with ice and is providing water to Saturn, creating a rain-showering halo, the 'International Business Times' reported.
The water vapours are visible as tiger-like stripes of gas and ice that escape at the southern pole of the moon and become a main water-source vapour for Saturn's upper atmosphere, say the planetary scientists.
In fact, the ring is 10 times greater than Saturn's radius, and Enceladus continues to feed the ring of water vapours during its orbit.
The findings also show that Saturn's moon is the only one which carries influence in regard to the chemical composition toward its parent planet, says the team.
"There is no analogy to this behaviour on Earth. No significant quantities of water enter our atmosphere from space. This is unique to Saturn," said team leader Paul Hartogh, a project scientist from the Max Planck Institute.
In fact, Enceladus consists of icy geysers that release water into space, forming a donut-shaped region. Only a small percentage of water from Enceladus actually reaches Saturn while the rest freezes or falls onto nearby moons. Due to the incremental amount of water entering Saturn's lower levels, clouds are not observable after it condenses. The result of water landing on Saturn produces carbon dioxide, say the scientists.

National Communal Harmony Awards Presented

National Communal Harmony Awards for 2009 and 2010 were presented by the Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari at a function.
Dr. Mohd. Hanif Khan Shastri received the award in the individual category for the year 2009. Dr Shastri is a Sanskrit scholar and has authored several books including Geeta Aur Quran men Samanjasya, Ved aur Quran se Mahamantra, and Gayatri aur Surah Fatiha. Dr. Shastri has dedicatedly worked to promote communal harmony through his books and talks.
Acharya Lokesh Munni received the award in the individual category for the year 2010. Acharya Lokesh Muni is a social worker and orator who has contributed towards communal harmony through his oratory and writings.  He is the chief functionary of Ahimsa Vishwa Bharati, a Delhi-based voluntary organisation which aims at promoting non-violence, peace and communal harmony. Acharya Lokesh Muni has been working to deescalate communal tension. He participated in a 1500 km walk from Haryana to Gujarat to promote communal harmony.
The Centre for Human Rights & Social Welfare received the award in the organisation category for the year 2009. The General Secretary of the organisation, Smt. Saroj Khan took the award. The Centre, registered in 1976, is working for communal harmony, human rights and rehabilitation of needy and deprived persons. Its activities include organising inter-faith dialogue, programmes of Milan on the occasions of Eid, Holi, Diwali and Christmas, communal harmony rallies, kavi sammelans, mushairas, etc. to promote communal harmony and national integration. The Centre has campaigned against terrorism and has been organising programmes to sensitize people on the rights of the homeless persons. The organisation actively participated in the rehabilitation work of the victims of bomb blasts that occurred in Jaipur in May 2008.
In his remarks, the Vice President said, the State has no choice but to intervene in instances of communal disharmony. He said that such interventions can either be preventive or corrective in nature. The general focus has remained on corrective steps. While this is necessary, it is not sufficient. We need a pervasive preventive approach to communal disharmony and a conscious programme of fostering communal harmony. Today’s function is an important link in the efforts of the government in this regard, he added.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh and the Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram in their speeches, stressed the need to maintain amity and harmony among various communities for inclusive development of the country. They expressed the hope that good work done by the awardees would inspire citizens to proactively work for the cause of social harmony.

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony was set up in 1992 as an autonomous organization to promote communal harmony and national integration by undertaking and encouraging activities which promote belief in the principles of non-violence and strengthen the bonds of unity and affinity amongst different groups and communities.  In order to honour persons/organizations who have made outstanding contributions in the field, the Foundation has instituted two national awards to be conferred annually, one for an individual and another for an organization. In addition to a citation, the award carries a cash award of Rs 5.00 lakh and Rs. 2.00 lakh for the organization and individual categories respectively.
Ministers of State for Home, Shri Mullappally Ramchandran and Shri Jitendra Singh were present at today’s function. Shri L.K. Advani was also among those who attended.

Admiral Nirmal Verma takes over as Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma took over as the Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) July 29. He received the baton of Chairman, COSC from outgoing Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal PV Naik in a brief ceremonial function at South Block. Chief of Army Staff, Gen VK Singh was also present along with other senior officers from the services.

Commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1970, Admiral Nirmal Verma, a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare, has four decades of experience spanning across various afloat and ashore appointments. His sea tenures include commands of INS Ranvir, a Kashin Class Destroyer and the Aircraft Carrier, INS Viraat. He is an alumnus of the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich, UK and the US Naval War College, Rhode Island. In the Flag Rank, he has been the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra Naval Area, Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Policy & Plans), the Chief of Personnel, Vice Chief of Naval Staff and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command

20% increase in tiger population

India registered a 20 per cent increase in tiger population last year, says a report, ‘Status of tigers, co-predators and prey in India-2010,' released here on Thursday by Jagdish Kishwan, Additional Director-General (Wildlife), Ministry of Environment and Forests.
“The estimated population of 1, 706 individual tigers represents a 20 per cent increase from the last survey in 2006, which estimated a number of 1,411 tigers. The increase is based on the survey of additional areas as well as an increase in the number of tigers within high-density populations,'' the report said.
The assessment of tigers, co-predators and prey included 17 States with tiger population and involved 4, 77, 000 work-days by forest staff and 37, 000 work-days by professional biologists, making it the largest exercise of its kind in the world. It is done once every four years and is a collaborative initiative between the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the Wildlife Institute of India, tiger States and outside expertise.
“The increase in the numbers is due to the fact that tiger populations in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in their density.
The inclusion of Sunderbans, some portions of the North-East and parts of Maharashtra have also contributed to the increase and the methodology consisted of a double sampling approach,” noted Mr. Kishwan.
But despite the good news, the report warns that tigers are still in danger due to an overall 12.6 per cent loss of habitat, which means that more tigers are being squeezed into smaller areas, which could lead to a lack of dispersal and consequent loss of genetic exchange between populations, and an increase in human-tiger conflict.
“Human wildlife conflict has been one of the major issues that we need to work around to ensure that not just tigers but other endangered species have a chance of flourishing.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests is also looking at amending and bringing in harsher penalties for those caught under the Wildlife Act. We will also bring in the eco tourism guidelines very soon.”
Lead author of the report, Dr. Y. V. Jhala, said: “The loss of corridors does not bode well for the tiger. Poaching can wipe out individual tiger populations, but these can be re-established by reintroductions as has been done in the Sariska and Panna reserves.
However, once habitats are lost, it is almost impossible to claim them back for restoration. We found that tigers require good forests and prey, along with undisturbed breeding areas, for long-term term survival.”

2011 declared as World Veterinary Year to celebrate History of Veterinary Profession

FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine together with other national and international veterinary groups declared 2011 as the World Veterinary Year. 2011 marks the 250th anniversary of the founding of the world’s first veterinary school in Lyon, France. World Veterinary Year, or Vet2011 is to celebrate the rich history of the veterinary profession and the veterinarians around the world who continue to protect human and animal health.

The world’s first veterinary school was founded in Lyon, France, in 1761. The Alfort veterinary school was next to come up near Paris in 1764. Both the schools were founded at the initiative of French veterinarian Claude Bourgelat. Thus the year 2011 marks the 250th world anniversary of veterinary education. By setting up the world’s first veterinary training institutions, Bourgelat also created the veterinary profession itself. Thus, 2011 also marks the 250th world anniversary of the veterinary profession.

Bourgelat was also the first scientist who dared to suggest that studying animal biology and pathology would help to improve understanding of human biology and pathology. 2011 also marks the 250th anniversary of the concept of comparative biopathology.

India and Mongolia Signed Three Agreements Including Pact on Defence

India and Mongolia on 28 July 2011 signed three agreements which includes defence cooperation, media exchanges and cooperation between their planning commissions during the visit of Indian President Prtibha Patil to Mongolia. India also announced that it would extend a 20 million US dollars line of credit for setting up an India - Mongolia Joint Information Technology, Education and Outsourcing Centre in Ulaanbaatar. Besides, India will also upgrade and modernize the Rajiv Gandhi Art and Production School and the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Centre of Excellence in Information and Communication Technology.
This is the first Indian Presidential visit after a gap of 23 years; the last was by President R. Venkataraman.

Mongolia is a land locked central Asian country. It is also described as land of the blue skies. India still awaits the women’s reservation bill while Mongolia has 25 percent reservation for women in its Parliament.

First Trojan asteroid circling sun in Earth's orbit discovered

NASA’s Wide—field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission has discovered a long—hidden companion of the Earth — the first Trojan asteroid circling the sun in the Earth’s orbit.

Trojans are asteroids that share an orbit with a planet, locked in stable orbits by a gravitational balancing act between a planet and the Sun. Neptune, Mars and Jupiter are known to have Trojans.

Two of Saturn’s moons share orbits with Trojans. Scientists had predicted Earth should also have Trojans, but they have been difficult to find because they are relatively small and appear near the sun from Earth’s point of view.

"These asteroids dwell mostly in the daylight, making them very hard to see,” said lead author Martin Connors of Athabasca University in Canada. "But we finally found one, because the object has an unusual orbit that takes it farther away from the sun than what is typical for Trojans. WISE was a game—changer, giving us a point of view difficult to have at Earth’s surface,” he added.

Connors and his team began their search for an Earth Trojan using data from NEOWISE, an addition to the WISE mission that focused in part on near—Earth objects, or NEOs, such as asteroids and comets. The NEOWISE project observed more than 155,000 asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and more than 500 NEOs, discovering 132 that were previously unknown.

The team identified a small asteroid named ‘2010 TK7’ as an Earth Trojan after follow—up observations with the Canada—France—Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The asteroid is roughly 1,000 feet (300 meters) in diameter. It has an unusual orbit that traces a complex motion near a stable point in the plane of Earth’s orbit, although the asteroid also moves above and below the plane. The object is about 50 million miles (80 million kilometers) from Earth.

The asteroid’s orbit is well—defined and for at least the next 100 years, it will not come closer to Earth than 15 million miles (24 million kilometers).

"It’s as though Earth is playing follow the leader. Earth always is chasing this asteroid around,” said Amy Mainzer, the principal investigator of NEOWISE at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

The discovery is published in the July 28 issue of the journal Nature.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2011

Magsaysay award winners Nileema Mishra and Harish Hande had “helped to harness technologies to empower their countrymen and created waves of progressive change across Asia,” Award foundation president Carmencita T. Abella, said. 

The other winners of the award for 2011 are: Filipino charity group Alternative Indigenous Development Foundation Inc. (AIDFI); Hasanain Juaini, who set up an Islamic school for girls in Indonesia; his fellow countrywoman, Tri Mumpuni, who promoted micro hydropower technology; and Koul Panah, working to restore democracy in Cambodia.
The awardees will receive a certificate, a medallion and a cash prize here on August 31. The award is named after famous Philippine President, who died in a plane crash in 1957.
Dr. Hande, a U.S.-trained Indian engineer, was recognised for bringing solar lights to a country where half of the households have no power, the foundation said.
The 44-year-old runs his own solar electric light company that has lit up over 1,20,000 households, to emerge as India's leading solar technology firm.
“His passionate and pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor ... has encouraged the poor to become asset creators,” the foundation said.
Ms. Mishra, a lender to the poorest in Maharashtra, was recognised for “her purpose-driven zeal to work tirelessly with villagers in address both their aspirations and their adversities through collective action and heightened confidence.” 

Among other notable Indians who have been honoured with the award include Acharya Vinoba Bhave, Jayaprakash Narayan and Mother Teresa.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Solar-powered boat visits Philippines

The world’s largest solar-powered boat on July 27 visited the Philippines, the first stop in Asia in its 50,000-kilometre expedition around the world to promote the use of renewable energy resources.
The German-built MS Turanor PlanetSolar was welcomed in Manila by Vice President Jejomar Binay, who hailed the voyage for raising awareness about the benefits of renewable energy and the need for more investment and research into the sector.
“The MS Turanor PlanetSolar shows us that current technology aimed at improving energy efficiency is reliable and effective,” he told the ceremony to welcome the 31-metre catamaran at the Philippine Navy’s headquarters.
But Mr. Binay urged alternative energy companies to make the technology less expensive and affordable for many to use.
The Turanor began its around-the-globe campaign on September 27, 2010, sailing from Monaco and travelling 37,000 kilometres so far using only energy generated from the sun. The Philippines was its 15th stop.
The 95-ton vessel is covered by 530 square metres of solar panels that provide up to 95 kilowatts. It is exclusively powered by 38,000 solar cells produced in the Philippines at the factories of SunPower Corporation, a U.S.-based solar energy company.
Raphael Domjan, PlanetSolar’s founder and co-skipper of Turanor, said his vision was to show the world that technology could help solve such problems as climate change and rising energy costs.
Mr. Domjan said he was confident that the cost of renewable energy would eventually go down.
“One day, the cost of having solar power plants at your home will be cheaper than buying electricity from nuclear or oil-powered plants,” he said.
The Turanor’s future stops would include Hong Kong, Singapore, the Maldives, Mumbai and Abu Dhabi before returning to Monaco. It is scheduled to complete the expedition by late April or early May 2012.

Rohinton Fali Nariman Appointed as Solicitor General of India

The Government has appointed  Rohinton Fali Nariman, Senior Advocate as Solicitor General of India. The appointment is for three years w.e.f. 27th July, 2011. Born on 13th August, 1956,  Rohinton Fali Nariman, studied at Shri Ram College of Commerce and at Faculty of Law in Delhi University as well as at the Harvard Law School. An expert in Comparative Constitutional Law and Civil Law, has practiced law for last 30 years with 500 Reported Supreme Court Judgements to his credit.

New Delhi, Islamabad finalise set of CBMs

The Foreign Secretaries of India and Pakistan on July 27 finalised a set of confidence building measures (CBMs) and resolved to continue with wide-ranging dialogue on different subjects to set the stage for the ministerial engagement between S.M. Krishna and Hina Rabbani Khar on July27.
The Ministry of External Affairs described the interaction between Foreign Secretaries Nirupama Rao and Salman Bashir as cordial and positive. On the sidelines, the two sides, in a synchronised gesture, kept under wraps, released prisoners from the other country, most of them fishermen. The Foreign Secretaries will brief the Ministers about their discussions ahead of July 27 meeting at the Hyderabad House

Pele named ambassador for 2014 World Cup

Pele has been named as the honorary ambassador for the 2014 World Cup to be held in Brazil.
The football great accepted the invitation from Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff. Pele’s role will be rallying Brazilians around delayed efforts at getting ready for the tournament. He will also be promoting Brazil’s preparations abroad at football events.

Uruguay crushes Paraguay 3-0 to win Copa America

Uruguay won the Copa America for a record 15th time after beating Paraguay 3-0 on July 24 from two goals by Diego Forlan and another from Luis Suarez.
Suarez scored in the 12th minute while Forlan hit the target in the 42nd and final minute of the match. The victory gives Uruguay its first Copa America title since 1995. The small country of 3.5 million also reached the World Cup semifinals a year ago, surpassing the performance of continental powers Brazil and Argentina.
Argentina and Brazil were upset again in the quarterfinals of this tournament. Uruguay ousted Argentina on penalties and Paraguay eliminated Brazil, also in a shootout. Argentina has won the title 14 times, Brazil eight. Brazil had won four of the past five titles.
Uruguay was the clear favourite going into the final, wrapping up a tournament filled with surprises. Not only had Brazil and Argentina been sent home early, but Venezuela reached the third-place match on Saturday before losing 4-1 to Peru.
Uruguay’s squad featured 20 of the 23 players it took to the World Cup a year ago, showing teamwork and unselfish play with none of the vast star power of Argentina or Brazil.
Suarez gave Uruguay the lead in a match it dominated in the opening minutes. Receiving a pass in the area, the Liverpool forward beat defender Dario Veron to score from a deflected left-footed shot that went in off the far post behind ‘keeper Justo Villar.
Uruguay could have even have led in the second minute, when Villar stopped Diego Lugano’s point-blank header. Forlan made it 2-0 by lashing a left-footed shot from 12 metres that left Villar flat-footed. He was set up after teammate Egidio Arevalo Rios had stolen the ball from a Paraguay player near midfield.
Sebastian Eguren almost made it 3-0 in the 74th, foiled when Villar stuck out his left arm with the ball headed for the net. Forlan notched the final goal in the 90th, taking a pass from Suarez and scoring into the far corner.

Russia Built a Missile Defence Shield

Russia made an announcement on 22 July 2011 that it built a missile defence shield which covers two-thirds of the country. The new system is designed to provide protection against missile attacks on Moscow and central Russia. Most of the industry is located in this area. The missile defence system features S-300 and S-400 long-range anti-missiles. The system is likely to become operational by 1 December 2011.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

ICRISAT develops high yield hybrid red gram pulse

Agri research body ICRISAT has developed hybrids variety of pigeonpea, popularly known as red gram pulse, which claims 30 per cent more yield potential than other breeds.
Madhya Pradesh notified the hybrid as ‘RV ICPH 2671’ in December last year for commercial cultivation in the state.
Pigeonpea also popularly known as red gram, tuar or arhar is a primary source of protein for millions in India.
For over five decades, the productivity of pigeonpea has remained low (600—700 kg per hectare) and in order to meet the annual domestic needs of 3.5 million tonne, India imports about 5 lakh tonne of red gram from Myanmar and Africa every year.
After sustained efforts in collaboration with ICAR starting from 1974, the Hyderabad—based ICRISAT developed commercial hybrids in pigeonpea after over hundreds of on—farm trials, K B Saxena, Principal Scientist, ICRISAT said.
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi—Arid—Tropics (ICRISAT) was founded in 1972.
So far two hybrids of pigeonpea - ICPH 2671 and ICPH 2740 - have been found to be the most promising and these were selected for large—scale seed production, on—farm testing and test marketing.
Hybrid ‘ICPH 2671’ was evaluated in 35 multi—location trials for four years in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and recorded 42 per cent superiority over popular variety ‘Maruti’, Saxena said.
Similarly, another hybrid ‘ICPH 2740’ was evaluated in 33 multi—location trials for four years in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra and the hybrid recorded 38 per cent superiority over the best variety ‘Asha’, he added.
On cost of hybrid seed, he said at ICRISAT the researchers harvested a hybrid seed yields of 1500—1600 kg/hectare. A seed company on average harvested 1350 kg/ hectare hybrid yield during the last four years.
Estimate of the cost hybrid seed production were worked out at different locations and excluding land cost it was found to be about Rs 15—25 per kg. It has a crop maturity duration of 180 days.
Profitability of a hybrid exceeds that from other types.
An on—farm trial conducted in Amravati and Yavatmal districts of Maharashtra revealed that three farmers harvested a record yield of over 4000 kg/hectare of pigeonpea.
One of the farmers in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh harvested 3300 kg per hectare of grains that fetched a profit of over Rs 83,000 per hectare as compared to Rs 24,000 from local variety, Saxena added.
Trials have revealed that there was no difference in taste in hybrids vis—a—vis other breeds of red gram.

NASA plans most ambitious mission to the asteroids

NASA will have to accomplish its most ambitious mission — landing on an asteriod within 15 years, after a presidential directive.
The challenges are manifold, but NASA nerds are delirious at tackling the nitty gritty of such an inconceivably challenging project — though Hollywood has already done it in “Armadeddon” 13 years ago.
An asteroid is a gigantic rock orbiting the sun, like Earth. One of them, just 16 km across, devastated the earth and wiped out dinosaurs 60 million years ago. Another, a much smaller one, exploded over Siberia in 1908, wiping out vegetation over 108 square km.
But sending people to an asteriod won’t be that easy because of its zero gravity. Astronauts would just float away.
NASA is thinking about jetpacks, tethers, bungees, nets and spiderwebs to allow explorers to float just above the surface of it while attached to a smaller mini—spaceship.
Such a ship — something like a Star Trek shuttle craft melded with a deep sea explorer with pincer—like arms — is needed just to get within working distance of the asteroid.
That craft would have to be big enough for astronauts to live in for a week or two. They’d still need a larger habitat for the long term.
NASA has also announced details of plans to determine if Mars has or ever had the ingredients for life. A robotic science lab, being prepared for a Nov 25 launch, will land in August 2012 near a mountain in a crater on the planet most like Earth in the solar system.

RBI raises interest rate by 50 bps

The RBI on July 26 hiked short-term lending and borrowing rates sharply by 50 basis points for the third time in three months to tame high inflation, a move that would make all personal and corporate loans more expensive.
The RBI has also revised its fiscal-end inflation projection to 7 per cent from 6 per cent earlier.
With July 26 increase of 0.50 per cent, the short-term lending (repo) rate has been hiked to 8 per cent and the short-term borrowing (reverse repo) rate has also been increased by a similar margin to 7 per cent.
It, however, has retained the cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 6 per cent.
“Notwithstanding signs of moderation, inflationary pressures are clearly very strong... inflation continues to be the dominant macroeconomic concern. On the basis of this assessment, it has been decided to increase policy repo rate by 50 basis points from 7.5 to 8 per cent with immediate effect,” RBI Governor D. Subbarao said while announcing the quarterly review of the monetary policy

Eleventh time
This is the 11th time since March, 2010, that the RBI has raised the interest rate to check inflation, which is currently ruling at over 9 per cent.
The RBI’s unexpected decision led to a sharp decline of over 300 points in the BSE Sensex. The 30-share Sensex fell to 18,570 after announcement of the policy, although it had opened in positive terrain.
The RBI admitted that its cumulative decision of past actions to curb demand and anchor medium term inflationary expectations will curtail growth in the near term. 

Impact on interest rates
Bankers are of view that the increase in key policy rates by the RBI will definitely have an impact on interest rates, leading to loans becoming expensive.
“The hike is more than expected and it will push interest rate by up to 50 basis points,” said Oriental Bank of Commerce Executive Director S C Sinha.
In the annual policy on May 3, the apex bank had increased policy rates by 50 bps, which was followed by a 25 bps hike at its mid-quarter review in June.
While revising the inflation target upward, Dr. Subbarao reiterated the RBI’s view that the policy is guided by uncomfortable inflation, which hovers well above 9.4 per cent. 

On domestic and global growth
Sounding hawkish, the Governor said, “Going forward, the monetary policy stance will depend on the evolving inflation trajectory, which in turn will be determined by trends in the domestic growth and global commodity prices.
“A change in stance will be motivated by signs of a sustainable downturn in inflation,” Dr. Subbarao said.
Accordingly, the RBI, which has been at the receiving end for its repeatedly off-mark inflation projections, also revised its fiscal-end inflation forecast upward by 1 per cent to 7 per cent from its 6 per cent estimate made earlier in May.
Admitting that there has been a moderation in growth, the Governor maintained his previous estimate of 8 per cent GDP growth for the current fiscal and pointed out downside risks to growth as global commodity prices, the uncertain global macro economic environment and the Centre’s inability to meet the fiscal deficit target of 4.6 per cent on the back of a rising fuel subsidy bill.
“Overall, the current balance of global and domestic factors suggest that monetary policy needs to persist with a firm anti-inflationary stance,” the governor concluded.

Hockey in India to be managed by a Single Administrative Body

A deal was struck in a meeting between Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) president RK Shetty and Hockey India (HI) secretary Narinder Batra on 25 July 2011, according to which hockey will be managed by a single administrative body in India.

The deal struck is expected to This will help thwart an increasingly aggressive sports ministry from taking a decision on the sport’s future into its hands as well as streamlining the preparations for 2012 Olympics.

As per the new agreement signed, a Joint Executive Board (JEB) is to be put in place which will be responsible for India’s representation in all international and national events. The JEB will have 39 members (20 from HI and 19 from IHF) while a joint Working Committee of eight members (4 each) will be formed simultaneously, and include joint sub-committees, to look after other areas.
Both HI and IHF will continue to exist simultaneously in the country. However the joint working committee will govern hockey like selecting, training and fielding teams in international events and conduct national tournaments, including the national championships.

Salient points of the deal include:

•    IHF and HI to continue to be separate legal entities.
•    HI and IHF shall set up a Joint Executive Board (till 31-12-2012) consisting of the existing Executive Boards of HI and IHF for the purposes of holding annual national championship, selection of the national team in different categories, preparation of the national team and participation of the national team in FIH approved international tournaments.
•    The JEB will be responsible for all decisions pertaining to selection of the national team, selection of the coaching and other personnel and drawing up the teams’ calendar.
•    IHF will be equally represented on all committees for this purpose of selection. A Joint Working Committee consisting of the presidents of HI and IHF and three members each from HI and IHF will also be formed.
•    National Championships will be jointly held by IHF and HI after holding joint selection of state teams.
•    The name of HI would be changed.
•    JEB to be chaired by the HI president and co-chaired by IHF president.
•    No restrictions on participation of players in WSH contracted before 01.04.2011, subject to training schedule and duration for which players can be spared.
•    Provisional recognition to HI as National Sports Federation and status quo for recognition of IHF up to 31 December 2012, subject to setting up of the JEB and JWC within seven days of grant of recognition and the JWC initiating process of change of name of Hockey India.

Truong Tan Sang as Vietnam’s 9th President

Vietnam’s lawmaking National Assembly appointed Truong Tan Sang as the communist country’s new president on 25 July 2011 following Vietnam’s 13th National Assembly election. Sang, an arch rival of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung is the ninth president f the country, the first being revered founding father Ho Chi Minh. Sang succeeded Nguyen Minh Triet, who served one term.
Sang had been the ruling Communist Party's de facto number two since 2006. He had mounted an aggressive challenge for the prime minister's job before the party's January congress, which determined top leadership posts. Sang, a native of southern Vietnam and a student militant imprisoned by the then US-backed South Vietnam regime, Sang went on to become became mayor of Ho Chi Minh City. He had most recently served as the de facto No. 2 in charge of the Communist Party, running the day-to-day affairs.

Sang was imprisoned from 1971-73 by the U.S.-backed South Vietnamese government when he served as a communist fighter for the north during the Vietnam War. It ended in 1975 when the north seized control of the former southern capital, Saigon, reunifying the country.
The role of the president in Vietnam is mostly ceremonial, while the prime minister runs the country’s day-to-day operations.

The announcement was made amid challenges at home with the economy and abroad with China over disputed territory in the South China Sea. Sang’s appointment to the post of President was made after Vietnamese protesters demonstrated against China for the eighth straight week as tensions between the two countries continued to simmer over disputed territory claimed by both countries in the South China Sea.

China and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations had agreed in July 2011 to a preliminary plan to work together to resolve disputes in the potentially resource-rich South China Sea that’s home to vital shipping lanes.

Vietnam, one of Asia’s fastest-growing countries currently faces domestic pressure as it struggles with wide-ranging economic woes. It is battling huge trade and current account deficits, a weak currency and double-digit inflation that’s squeezing the country’s poor by driving up food prices.

Monday, July 25, 2011

India signs civil nuclear deal with South Korea

India on July 25 signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal with South Korea, allowing a framework for Korean companies to participate in atomic power plant projects in the country.
The agreement was signed after a meeting between President Pratibha Patil with her South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak.
South Korea has become the ninth country which had signed nuclear agreement with India after it got the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) in 2008.
The others are the U.S., France, Russia, Canada, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Argentina and Namibia, an official said.
South Korea operates 20 nuclear plants that generate some 35 per cent of its electricity needs, and is keen to export its technology to fast developing countries like India.
“The two countries have just concluded and signed a bilateral agreement on cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” said Sanjay Singh, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs.
“It is like other civil nuclear agreements signed between India and other countries. We look forward to Republic of Korea for becoming one more partner in the development of civil nuclear energy in India,” the official said without divulging further details on the agreement and its mandate but termed the deal as a “win-win” for both the nations.
Both India and South Korea decided to start talks on civil nuclear cooperation during a meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South Korean President Lee on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit in Hanoi in October last year.
The nuclear agreement was signed by Dr. Srikumar Banerjee, Secretary Department of Atomic Energy and Kim Sung Hwan, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
Earlier, Ms. Patil and her South Korean counterpart Lee held a 20-minute restrictive meeting followed by delegation level talks for over an hour at ‘Blue House’, official residence of Korean President.
Ms. Patil is on a week-long tour of Korea and Mongolia.
Besides the agreement on nuclear cooperation, the two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding on media exchanges and another agreement on administrative arrangements to provide social security to people working in India and Korea.
The MoU on media was signed by Mr. Singh and Mr. Choung Byoung-gug, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The third agreement for administrative arrangements for social security was signed by Skand Ranjan Tayal, Ambassador of India to South Korea and Chin Soo Hea, Minister of Health and Welfare.
Briefing the media on the deliberations between the two Presidents, Mr. Singh said both the countries also discussed the expansion of defence cooperation.
“Increased naval and coast guard cooperation was a possibility that was touched upon in the discussions. They deliberated on issues pertaining to co-production of defence equipment, transfer of technology and joint Research and Development,” the Secretary said.
“They also discussed the possibilities of cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. India looks forward to once again launching Korean satellites on Indian rockets,” Singh quoting Ms. Patil as saying to the President Lee, adding that “our facilities are of high quality and are available at competitive price.”

17-Nation Emergency Euro Zone Summit Held in Brussels

17-nation Euro Zone Summit was held on 21-22 July 2011 in Brussels, capital of Belgium with the objective of finalizing a second rescue package for debt plagued Greece and calm the financial markets of Europe. The participating nations agreed on Marshall Plan for Europe to revive the financial markets of Europe.
Besides, the nations agreed on the following measures: 

•    The summit agreed to pour another 159 billion euros into Greece to stop debt contagion across Europe. To ease Greece's debt repayments on its loans, the summit agreed to extend them from 7.5 years to between 15 and 30 years in some cases, and at a rate of 3.5 percent, down from 4.5 percent.
•    The Eurozone leaders welcomed the measures undertaken by the Greek government to stabilize public finances and reform the economy as well as the new package of measures including privatization recently adopted by the Greek Parliament.
•    The Eurozone leaders agreed to support a new programme for Greece. This programme will be designed notably through lower interest rates and extended maturities, to decisively improve the debt sustainability and refinancing profile of Greece.
•    It was decided to lengthen the maturity of future EFSF loans to Greece to the maximum extent possible from the current 7.5 years to a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years with a grace period of 10 years.
•    All euro area Member States will adhere strictly to the agreed fiscal targets, improve competitiveness and address macro-economic imbalances. Public deficits in all countries except those under a programme will be brought below 3 percent by 2013 at the latest.
•    The summit made a commitment to introduce by the end of 2012 national fiscal frameworks as foreseen in the fiscal frameworks directive.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Largest distant water reservoir in universe discovered

Astronomers have discovered what they claim is the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe.
Looking from a distance of 30 billion trillion miles away into a quasar, a team at California Institute of Technology has found a mass of water vapour that’s at least 140 trillion times that of all the water in the world’s oceans combined, and 100,000 times more massive than the sun.
Quasar is one of the brightest and most violent objects in the cosmos.
Because the quasar is so far away, its light has taken 12 billion years to reach Earth. The observations therefore reveal a time when the universe was just 1.6 billion years old, say the astronomers.
“The environment around this quasar is unique in that it’s producing this huge mass of water. It’s another demonstration that water is pervasive throughout the universe, even at very earliest times,” team leader Matt Bradford said.
In fact, the astronomers studied a particular quasar called APM 08279+5255, which harbours a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much energy as a thousand trillion suns.
Since astronomers expected water vapour to be present even in the early universe, the discovery of water is not itself a surprise, Bradford says.
There’s water vapour in the Milky Way, although the total amount is 4,000 times less massive than in the quasar, as most of the Milky Way’s water is frozen in the form of ice, says the team.
Nevertheless, water vapour is an important trace gas that reveals the nature of the quasar. In this particular quasar, the water vapour is distributed around the black hole in a gaseous region spanning hundreds of lightyears and its presence indicates that the gas is unusually warm and dense by astronomical standards.
The findings are to be published in an upcoming issue of the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2010 presented by Vice-President, Hamid Ansari

Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Akademi Awards for 2010 were presented by Vice-President of India, M. Hamid Ansari on 22 July 2011. Four eminent personalities were conferred the Akademi's Fellowships, while thirty-six artists and two scholars received the Akademi Awards for 2010.

The highest honour of Akademi Fellowship (Akademi Ratna Sadasyata) was conferred on eminent vocalist Girija Devi, renowned dance guru Nataraja Ramakrishna, Dhrupad maestro Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar, and Mridangam vidwan T. K. Murthy. The winners of the Akademy Fellowship received purse money of Rupees three lakh, besides an angavastram and a tamrapatra. The Fellowship of the Akademi is a rare honour, which is bestowed on a very limited number of artists and scholars at a given time.

The honour of Akademi Ratna (Akademi Fellow) is restricted to 30 living personalities at any given point of time. In the field of music, nine artists received the award. The awardees are as follows:

Chhanu Lal Mishra and Yashpaul for Hindustani Vocal Music, Budhaditya Mukherjee (Sitar) and Nityanand Haldipur (Flute) for Hindustani Instrumental Music, Suguna Purushothaman and Mysore Nagamani Srinath for Carnatic Vocal music, Nagai R Muralidharan (Violin) and Srimushnam V. Rajarao (Mridangam) for Carnatic Instrumental Music, and M. V. Simhachala Sastry (Harikatha) for Other Major Traditions of Music.

In the field of dance, nine practitioners received the award. The winners are:

Malabika Mitra (Kathak), Kalamandalam Kombil Gopala Vasudevan Nair (Kathakali), Phanjoubam Iboton Singh (Manipuri), Rathna Kumar (Kuchipudi), Aruna Mohanty (Odissi), Manik Borbayan (Sattriya), Uttara Asha Coorlawala (Creative & Experimental), Kalamandalam Raman Chakyar (Other Major Traditions of Dance & Dance Theatre - Kutiyattam), and S Rajeswari (Music for Dance – Bharatanatyam)

In the field of theatre also, eight persons were honoured. They winners include playwrights D Vizai Bhaskar (Telugu) and Atamjit Singh (Punjabi), directors Veenapani Chawla and Urmil Kumar Thapaliyal, and actors Dilip Phabhavalkar, Banwari Taneja, Maya Krishna Rao and Swatilekha Sengupta.

Harbhajan Singh Namdhari, Nazeer Ahmad Khan Warsi & Naseer Ahmad Khan Warsi, Dwijen Mukherjee, T. Somasundaram, Krishna Kumari, Chandatai Jagdish Tiwadi (Bharud folk theatre of Maharashtra), K. Chinna Anjanamma  were some of the artists to receive the award for their contribution to other Traditional/Folk/ Tribal Music/ Dance/ Theatre forms.

Ashok D. Ranade was honoured with the Award for his scholarship in music and Jaidev Taneja for his overall contribution to theatre.

The eminent representatives of music, dance and theatre honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for 2010 received purse money of Rupees one lakh, an angavastram and tamrapatra.

The Akademi Fellowship (Akademi Ratna Sadasyata) and Akademi Award (Akademi Puraskar) are the most coveted national honours conferred on performing artists, gurus and scholars of the performing arts. These honours are decided by the Akademi's General Council, the apex body consisting of eminent artists, scholars and nominees of the Government of India and of different States and Union Territories of India. The Sangeet Natak Akademi is the country’s apex cultural body for music, dance, theatre and the arts.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gagan Narang set to get Khel Ratna

Ace Indian shooter Gagan Narang, who notched up four gold medals at last year's Commonwealth Games, is all set to be conferred with the country's highest sporting honour – the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna – after being recommended for the honour by the awards selection committee on July 22. The 28-year-old rifle shooter, who was the first Indian marksman to qualify for next year's London Olympics with a bronze in the World Championships last year, had been disgruntled at being "ignored" for the award last year. 

Gagan becomes the fifth shooter to be nominated for the Khel Ratna award which is the highest honour given for achievement in sports.

He won two silver medals in the Asian Games in Guangzhou and is the first shooter from India to qualify for the London Olympics. 

The awards would get the final approval from the Ministry of Sports and it will be given on 29th August 2011 at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan which is also celebrated as National sports day.

List of Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Awardees

S.No. Year Name of the Sportsperson(s) Sport Discipline
01 1991-92 Viswanathan Anand Chess
02 1992-93 Geet Sethi Billiards
03 1993-94 Not Conferred* -
04 1994-95 Cdr. Homi D. Motivala (Joint) Yachting (Team Event)
04 1994-95 Lt. Cdr. P. K. Garg (Joint) Yachting (Team Event)
05 1995-96 Khusbu patel Weightlifting
06 1996-97 Nameirakpam Kunjarani (Joint) Weightlifting
06 1996-97 Leander Paes (Joint) Tennis
07 1997-98 Sachin Tendulkar Cricket
08 1998-99 Jyotirmoyee Sikdar Athletics
09 1999–2000 Dhanraj Pillay Hockey
10 2000-01 Pullela Gopichand Badminton
11 2001-02 Abhinav Bindra Shooting
12 2002-03 Anjali Ved Pathak Bhagwat(Joint) Shooting
12 2002-03 K. M. Beenamol (Joint) Athletics
13 2003-04 Anju Bobby George Athletics
14 2004-05 Lt. Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Shooting
15 2005-06 Pankaj Advani Billiards and Snooker
16 2006-07 Manavjit Singh Sandhu Shooting
17 2007-08 Mahendra Singh Dhoni Cricket
18 2008-09 Mary Kom (Joint) Boxing
18 2008-09 Vijender Singh (Joint) Boxing
18 2008-09 Sushil Kumar (Joint) Wrestling
19 2009-10 Saina Nehwal Badminton
  • The award was not conferred upon any sportsperson or team in the year 1993-94.

F & Qs About Nuclear Power

Can a Chernobyl type accident take place in Indian Nuclear Power Plants?
Nuclear power has a very good safety record for a period spanning more than three decades. The Three Mile Island (TMI) accident in March, 1979 and the Chernobyl accident in April, 1986, Have raised apprehensions in the minds of the public all over the world. In the case of TMI, no radiation injury had occured to any member of the Public. In fact all the safety systems had worked as designed and no radioactivity was released to the atmosphere. At chernobyl, 31 people died and they are all plant personnel. However, it must be recognised that the Chernobyl accident occured due to the negligence of operaters who violated the safety procedures. Besides, the Chernobyl reactor is a totally different type. It employed Graphite as a moderator. Graphite is a form of carbon and its combustible property contributed to explosion in the reactor core. Such a sequence of events in the Nuclear plants is not possible and explosion in the core is ruled out as it is cooled and moderated by heavy water. Adequate safety features in the plant are provided to ensure  its safe operation. Paramount importance is given in setting up of nuclear power installations, to the safety of operating staff, public and environment. Safety experts and regulatory personnel are associated at all --- missioning and operation of nuclear power plants. Thus Chernobyl type accident is ruled out in Indian Nuclear Power Plants.
What is India’s 3-Phase Nuclear Power Programme?

In view of the limited fossil fuel availability with the country, the relevance of Nuclear Power in meeting the short and long term needs of our energy was recognised right at the initial stage. From the very beginning, as a long term strategy, the Nuclear Power Programme formulated by Dr. Homi Bhabha embarked on the three stage nuclear power programme, linking the fuel cycle of Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) and Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) for Judicious utilisation  of our limited reserves of Uranium and vast Thorium reserves. The emphasis of the programme was self-reliance and thorium utilisation as a long term objective. The PHWR was chosen due to extensive research and development facilities covering diverse areas for supporting technology absorption.
The 3-stage of our Nuclear Power Programme are :
  • Stage-I : envisages, construction of Natural Uranium, Heavy Water Moderated and Cooled Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs). Spent fuel from these reactors is reprocessed to obtain Plutonium.
  • Stage-II : evisages, construction of Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs) fuelled by Plutonium produced in stage-I. These reactors would also breed U-233 from Thorium.
  • Stage-III : would comprise power reactors using U-233 / Thorium as fuel.
What are India’s available energy resources?
India's available energy resources are shown in the following table :
Identified Energy Reserves
billion tonnes
million tonnes
Crude Oil
million tonnes
Natural Gas
billion Cu-m
MW at 60 % PLF
Wind, Solar etc.

How is environment surrounding Nuclear Plant is monitored?
This is done by the Environmental Survey Laboratory (ESL) set up well before starting the operation of the plant. The ESL collects data on forest, flora and fauna, marine products, food and air etc., to set up base level data on their quality prior to commencement of the operation of the plant. Samples are drawn and regularly analysed to ascertain the status on a continuos basis. The ESL functions independent of plant authorities and the data collected is checked by the regulatory authorities for control purposes.

Home Minister to Attend SAARC Meeting in Thimphu

Union Home Minister, Shri P. Chidambaram will be reaching Thimphu  to attend the 4th Meeting of the SAARC Interior/Home Ministers. The meeting will consider the report of the 4th Meeting of Interior/Home Secretaries of the SAARC nations which is being held July 22. Among other issues, it will also consider matters relating to suppression of terrorism, maritime security, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, mutual assistance in criminal matters, trafficking in women and children and promotion of child welfare.

Union Home Secretary, Shri R.K. Singh is representing India at the 4th Meeting of the SAARC Interior/Home Secretaries.

Bangladesh's highest state honour for Indira Gandhi

Bangladesh will honour former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with its highest state award for her outstanding contribution to the country's 1971 'Liberation War'.

"The cabinet has decided to confer Mrs Indira Gandhi with our highest state honour, 'Bangladesh Swadhinata Sanmanona'. So far she would be the lone recipient of the honour," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told the news agency.

It decided to confer the highest state honour on the assassinated Indian prime minister for her "tremendous contribution" to the country's Liberation War.

"The daughter-in-law of Mrs Gandhi and Indian Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi will receive the award from President Zillur Rahman on July 25 at Bangabhaban presidential palace at a special ceremony," Azad said.

The Pakistan army conducted widespread atrocities against the civilian populations of East Pakistan, which later became Bangladesh.

The late Indian premier traveled across the world to mobilise support for the people of East Pakistan amid a massive crackdown on civilians by the Pakistan Army.

According to official figures, Pakistani troops, aided by local collaborators, killed an estimated 3 million people, raped about 200,000 women and forced millions more to leave their homes during the bloody nine-month guerrilla war.

India had to face a huge refugee crisis as an estimated one crore people fled their homes to evade atrocities by the Pakistani troops.

Earlier reports said that the government also plans to rechristen an important road in the memory of the former Indian prime minister.

A separate monument would also be built to honour Indian defence personnel martyred in the 1971 war.

Former Indian Foreign Minister Sardar Swaran Singh, who played a significant role, will be accorded special honour as well, according to sources.

Azad said the cabinet also decided to acknowledge the contribution of 47 other "foreign friends" and five international organisations to the countrys independence movement.

They would be conferred with awards under two categories, 'Muktijuddho Sanmanona' and 'Muktijuddho Maitree Sanmanona'.

Hasinas press secretary did not name the recipients of the awards in second and third categories.

But officials familiar with the process said the list had distinguished foreigners, includeing former heads of states and governments and organisations such as the International Red Cross.

They would be honoured on December 16, 2011, coinciding with the countrys 40th Victory Day.

Sonia will visit Dhaka on July 25 at the invitation of Hasina to open an international autistic conference.

"Sonia Gandhi wears many hats. She is a family member of Indira Gandhi who was our great friend during our war for freedom, the President of Congress and the Chairperson of UPA. We are very much looking forward to the visit of Sonia Gandhi," Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni told reporters earlier this month.

Earlier, a high-level national committee had been set up to prepare a list 500 foreign friends to be honoured.

It included 226 Indians and 40 Pakistanis.

However, the government subsequently shortlisted 47 of them and five organisations to be honoured in December.

Shahriar Kabir, the committee's member and Liberation War researcher, told the news agency that Bangladesh missions abroad would organise special functions in the near future to honour others on the list (of 500 people) in their home countries.

On March 26, 1971, Bangladesh - then East Pakistan -declared its independence from West Pakistan.

The Pakistan Army surrendered to the allied forces of the Indian army and the Mukti Bahini on 16 December 1971, which resulted in Bangladesh becoming an independent nation.