Friday, November 30, 2012

IK Gujral, Former Prime Minister of India Died

Former Prime Minister of India, Inder Kumar Gujral, the head of unsteady coalition government in 1990s, died at the age of 92 following brief illness on 30 November 2012.

I.K. Gujral last breathed in a private hospital at 3.27 P.M following multiple organ failure. After lung infection, he was admitted to hospital on 19 November 2012. Gujral had taken ill some days ago and was also on dialysis for more than a year. A few days ago, he suffered from critical lung infection as well.

I.K. Gujral will be cremated somewhere near Delhi on 1 December 2012. He is survived by two sons. One of his sons- Naresh Gujral is the Rajya Sabha MP as well as Akali Dal leader.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

India ranks 78th in Rule of Law Index 2012

India ranks 78th among 97 countries in guaranteeing access to all civil justice, a latest report released while its neighbouring country Sri Lanka leads the South Asian nations in most dimensions of the rule of law.
The ‘Rule of Law Index 2012’ report by World Justice Project provides country-by-country scores and rankings for eight areas of the rule of law.
India, the report said, has a robust system of checks and balances (ranked thirty-seventh worldwide and second among lower middle-income countries), an independent judiciary, strong protections for freedom of speech, and a relatively open government (ranking fiftieth globally and fourth among lower-middle income countries).
“Administrative agencies do not perform well (ranking 79th) and the civil court system ranks poorly (ranking 78) mainly because of deficiencies in the areas of court congestion, enforcement, and delays in processing cases,” the report said.
“Corruption is a significant problem (ranking 83rd), and police discrimination and abuses are not unusual. Order and security — including crime, civil conflict, and political violence — is a serious concern (ranked second lowest in the world),” the report observed.
According to the report, Sri Lanka outperforms its regional peers in all but two dimensions of the rule of law.
Pakistan shows weaknesses in most dimensions when compared to its regional and income group peers, the report said.

Miss Czech Republic crowned Miss Earth 2012

Tereza Fajksova of the Czech Republic was crowned Miss Earth 2012 on November 24 in the Philippines.
Miss Philippines Stephany Stefanowitz as Miss Earth Air , Miss Venezuela Osmariel Villalobos as Miss Earth Water and Miss Brazil Camila Brant as Miss Earth Fire. 

Around 91 contestants from around the globe participated in the pageant with a theme in line with that of United Nations' (UN) celebration of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for all.
There were many favourites including Miss Prachi Mishra who represented India and had bagged the Friendship subtitle at Miss Earth 2012. 

Miss Earth 2012, Tereza Fajksova was crowned by her predecessor- Miss Earth 2011-Olga Alava of Ecuador.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Maldives cabinet for termination of GMR contract

Maldives cabinet has recommended termination of a contract given to GMR Group for developing Male Airport, a project awarded to the Indian group during the previous regime of island nation.
The Maldives cabinet in a meeting today decided to terminate the contract and a notice to this effect was issued to GMR Group, Maldivian President's Press Secretary Masood Imad said in a statement.
The USD 500-million project was hanging in balance ever since the regime change in Maldives earlier this year. The GMR group had won the contract during the regime of former President Mohamed Nasheed.
Some coalition partners of the current regime headed by Mohamed Waheed had also held a rally against GMR on November 3.
The airport contract was awarded to GMR through a 10-month long global competitive bidding process run by the then Maldivian government headed by Nasheed.

Nearly eight months after the regime change in Maldives, some Indian companies present there, including GMR, are blaming political interference for creating "undue challenges" for them.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nitish Kumar in Foreign Policy's top 100 global thinkers

Credited worldwide for turning around the state of Bihar, Nitish Kumar has been listed by the prestigious Foreign Policy magazine among its top 100 global thinkers, a list that is topped by Aung Saan Sui Kyi and Thein Sein, and also features Salman Rushdie and Malala Yousufzai.

The third spot is shared jointly by the 'ultimate power couple' Bill and Hillary Clinton for being America's "most effective advocates for liberal internationalism".

Kumar figures at the 77th spot and finds the place for his achievement of "turning around India's poorest state" through an array of innovative programmes to address crime, corruption and lack of development.

The list of 100 also features India's chief economic advisor Raghuram Rajan at 80 and writer Pankaj Mishra at 86.

In an ironic but interesting feature, Myanmar's democracy icon Suu Kyi has been bracketed with her tormentor-turned-ally Thein Sein, the military ruler, as the two leaders together chart out a non-military future for their country.

The annual list of top 100 global thinkers of the world released by the prestigious Foreign Policy, published from the US, includes a record half-a-dozen Pakistani nationals including Malala and Husain Haqqani, the former Pakistani Ambassador to the US, who has been ranked at 61st spot along with his wife Farahnaz Ispahani.

Among other Indian and people of Indian origin to make it to the list include, economist Narayana Kocherlakota, who has been ranked 10th; Morgan Stanley managing director, Ruchir Sharma (67), World Bank Managing Director, Sri Mulyani Indrawati (72), Avaaz's Executive Editor, Ricken Patel (89), and immigration-expert Vivek Wadhwa (90)

Read more at:

Indian Origin Autar Kaw among recipients of U.S. Professor of the Year award

Autar Kaw, an Indian born professor of mechanical engineering at the University of South Florida, is among the four recipients of the 2012 US Professor of the Year award.
Kaw is known to tens of thousands of engineering students around the world as the "Numerical Methods Guy" via his Holistic Numerical Methods Institute website, his blog and YouTube video lectures.
The US Professor of the Year award is the highest honor in the nation for undergraduate teaching.

Alok Joshi appointed next RAW head

Alok Joshi has been appointed as chief of country's external intelligence gathering agency-- Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).According to an official order, Joshi(59), a 1976 batch officer of Haryana Cadre who is at present Special Secretary in RAW, will take over the reins of the key agency on December 30.

About the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW):
Research and Analysis Wing is India's external security agency. Working directly under the Prime Minister, the structure and operations of the Research & Analysis Wing are kept secret from Parliament. It was formed in September 1968 under the helmsman-ship of its first Director, R. N. Kao. Its creation was necessitated by the poor performance of the Intelligence Bureau (IB, which then handled both internal and external intelligence) in the wars against China (1962) and the Pakistan (1965) convinced the government that a specialized, independent agency was required for competent external intelligence gathering.
Numerous missions were assigned to RAW upon its creation. These included monitoring political and military developments in neighboring countries that affects Indian national security. Consequently, considerable attention is paid by RAW to Pakistan and China, countries that are traditional rivals of India.
In 1968, RAW had 250 agents and a budget of Rs. 2 crore. This has expanded to a 2000 total of an estimated eight to ten thousand agents and a budget that experts place at Rs. 1500 crore, alternately estimated at $145 million.
The primary objectives of RAW:
  • To monitor the political and military developments in adjoining countries, which have direct bearing on India's national security and in the formulation of its foreign policy.
  • To seek the control and limitation of the supply of military hardware to Pakistan, mostly from European countries, the USA and China.

New version of Internet addresses available in India

Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN) has started issuing next version of Internet addresses ‘IPv6’, which would make it easy for security agencies to identify each Internet user.
The Internet addresses under the present version IPv4 (Internet Protocol version 4), are limited and service providers often assign single IP address to many users, making it difficult to identify the end user.
“The number of IPv6 addresses available is enormous. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) can allocate an IP address to their users. People can be easily identified if they are using IPv6,” APNIC Director (Services and Operations) Sanjaya said at the roadshow for new version IPv6.
APNIC, which is one of the five authorised bodies for issuing Internet addresses, has recognised Indian Registry for Internet Names and Numbers (IRINN) for issuing IP addresses in India. IRINN has been set-up under the state-run NIXI.

World's largest aquarium opens in Singapore

The world's biggest aquarium which will house more than 100,000 marine animals of over 800 species in 45 million litres of water opened in Singapore. 

African Union considers international force in Congo

The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AUPSC) contemplated an “International Neutral Force” in the troubled Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and asked for a draft Concept of Operations for its deployment in collaboration with the existing United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MUNUSCO), one of the most expensive peacekeeping forces in the world.

2nd India-China Strategic economic Dialogue held in New Delhi

The 2nd India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in New Delhi on 26 November, 2012. During the 2nd meeting of the Dialogue, India and China discussed a wide range of topics including greater cooperation at the global level, strengthening communication on macro-economic policies, deepening and expanding trade and investment and promoting bilateral cooperation in the financial and infrastructure sectors. The proposals and recommendations made by the five Working Groups were considered during the 2nd Dialogue and directions given for their future activities.

What is India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue:
Established during the visit to India of Wen Jiabao, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China in December 2010, the India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue is aimed at improving macro-economic policy coordination, promoting exchanges on economic issues and enhancing India-China economic cooperation. The 1st Dialogue had been successfully held at Beijing in September 2011 where the two countries agreed to constitute five Working Groups on policy coordination, infrastructure, energy, environment protection and high-technology. A working level delegation from China visited New Delhi in March 2012 following which the five Working Groups met in Beijing in the months of August and September 2012. This preparatory work has contributed immensely to the successful deliberations in and outcomes of the 2nd Dialogue.

Working of Tsunami Warning System

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning Centre (ITEWC) is established after the deadly Tsunami on 26 December, 2004 at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Sciences (INCOIS - ESSO), autonomous body under Ministry of Earth Sciences, located at Hyderabad and is made fully functional to cover the entire Indian Ocean Region. 

The Indian Tsunami Early Warning System comprises a real-time seismic monitoring network of 17 broadband seismic stations to detect tsunamigenic earthquakes, a network of real-time sea-level sensors with 4 Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPR) in the open ocean and 25 tide gauge stations at different coastal locations monitor tsunamis and a 24 X 7 operational tsunami warning centre to provide timely advisories to vulnerable community. It also receives earthquake data from all other global networks to detect earthquakes of M>6.5. The state-of-the-art early warning centre at INCOIS - ESSO is operational since October 15, 2007 with all the necessary computational and communication infrastructure that enables reception of real-time data from seismic & sea-level sensors, analysis of the data, tsunami modeling, and dissemination of tsunami advisories guided by a comprehensive standard operating procedure (SOP). 

A host of all available communication technology options have been employed for timely dissemination of advisories to various designated authorities to deal with effective emergency response actions as appropriate. The centre is capable of detecting tsunamigenic earthquakes occurring in the whole of Indian Ocean region as well as in the Global Oceans within 10 minutes of their occurrence and disseminates the advisories to the concerned authorities within 20 minutes through various modes of communication like email, fax, SMS, GTS and website. Since its inception in October 2007 to till date, ITEWC has monitored 339 earthquakes of M > 6.5 out of which 63 are in the Indian Ocean region. 

ITEWC in its capacity as National Tsunami Warning Centre (NTWC) for India disseminates tsunami bulletins to various national contacts like the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) control room, Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), Battalions of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF), Coastal State disaster relief commissioners, Indian Navy, Administration of Nuclear Power plants in the coastal states, Disaster Management Administrators from Andaman & Nicobar Islands etc. ITEWC also acts as one of the Regional Tsunami advisory Service Provider (RTSP) along with Australia & Indonesia for the Indian Ocean region. 

The tsunamis generated by the under-sea earthquakes in the two known subduction zones of Andaman-Sumatra and Makran in Indian Ocean, can potentially affect entire Indian coastal states and Island regions. The tsunami wave arrival time to different coastal locations depends upon the location of the under-sea earthquake. In general the tsunami reaction time will be around 2 hours for the Indian mainland if the earthquake has occurred in the above mentioned subduction zones. While for the Andaman & Nicobar Islands there is an exception where the reaction time will be less than half an hour if the earthquake occurs off the A & N Islands region. 

National Mission on Monsoon

The aims and objectives of the National Monsoon Mission are 

i. To set up a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system for (a) improved prediction of monsoon rainfall on extended range to seasonal time scale (16 days to one season) and (b) improved prediction of temperature, rainfall and extreme weather events on short to medium range time scale (up to 15 days). 

ii. To build a working partnership between the academic and research organizations, both national and international and the operational agencies in the country to improve the skill of operational monsoon forecasts over the country. 

The proposed program after its implementation will lead to more accurate prediction of monsoon weather and climate in all time scales, short range to seasonal time scale at appropriate spatial scales. The forecasts based on this dynamical prediction system will cater to the needs of various sectors like agriculture, water resources management, power generation, disaster management, tourism, and transport. 

At present operational extended range to seasonal forecasts are prepared using statistical methods which have constraints and limitations. The monsoon mission will help us to implement a state-of-the-art dynamical prediction system with more accuracy and fidelity for extended range to seasonal forecasts in the country. 

Concerted effort is being made by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM - ESSO), Pune to improve the adopted coupled ocean-atmospheric Climate Forecast System (CFS) model in collaboration with USA towards improving extended range and seasonal scale monsoon forecasts. The National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF - ESSO), NOIDA is putting efforts to improve the adopted unified model in collaboration with UK for medium range scale monsoon rainfall forecasts including extreme weather phenomena. Identified national and international academic and R& D groups will be involved to address associated scientific issues in the overall pursuit. Government has approved the scheme with an allocation of Rs. 400.00crores.

National Bear Conservation and Welfare Action Plan

The Minister for Environment and Forests, Smt. Jayanthi Natarajan has released the National Bear Conservation and Welfare Action Plan. 

India is home to four of the eight species of bears found worldwide – making it one of the only two countries with this diversity, the other being China. 

The Indian bears include the sloth bear (Melursus ursinus), the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus), the Himalayan brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Sloth bears are endemic to the Indian sub-continent and have gone extinct fairly recently from Pakistan and Bangladesh, underscoring the threats to the species of habitat loss and increasing human interface. The black bears and brown bears inhabit the Himalayan and sub-Himalayan regions, while the sun bears are found in very small numbers along the northeast Indian border. The bears have an almost pan-India distribution, being found in 26 of the 28 Indian states. 

The national plan summarises the threats faced by bears in India, and outlines management actions to be undertaken by the bear range states for their conservation and welfare. It was an outcome of over a year of collaborative work by the MoEF, WII, state Forest Departments and NGOs including WTI, WSPA and IFAW. 

UN Climate Change Conference held In Doha, Qatar

Thousands of government representatives, international organizations and civil society members have gathered in the Qatari capital of Doha for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, on November 26th to December 7th.

The country will serve as host for the global climate conference to take place in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

The summit is officially referred to as the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol.

As the world is facing a grave climate change situation, the conference aims to carve an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to deal with global warming. It identifies the fact that carbon dioxide emissions, industrial emissions and other greenhouse gases affect the climate system.

Delegates meeting at Doha will aim at reviewing and framing a deal to slow down the process of climate change, such as floods, sandstorms, droughts, rise in sea levels and heat waves. The deal is meant to be reached by the end of 2015 and enter into force in 2020.

Key Issues:

Kyoto Protocol 2

The paramount issue that needs to be addressed this year is the Kyoto Protocol. The first commitment of Kyoto Protocol is set to expire by December-end of 2012, so, it is important to bring in effect a second Kyoto agreement commitment to abide by emission reductions that have been made by countries previously.

Deeper emission cuts

Another important issue is that the Doha climate summit must keep up with the momentum gained from the Durban Summit and the European Union (EU) and other countries must give more in order to keep up with their promise of limiting the global warming to 2 degrees as pledged earlier.

Climate fund

Although United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged the world leaders to contribute and aid in financing the UN multibillion-dollar fund in order to fight climate change, but the road seems to be tough due to current global economic crisis, especially the Eurozone crisis and the financial downturn prevailing in the US. It is also evident that developing countries will pressurise developed nations to aid financing and technology to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change.


No wonder the climate talks turned into such an alphabet soup when the first acronym they came up with had six letters, ending with three Cs. It stands for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Adopted in 1992 and ratified by 194 countries and the European Union, it provides the foundation of the global climate talks.

COP 18

Each meeting of the countries who have joined the convention is called a Conference of the Parties, or COP. This year's edition in Doha is the 18th such meeting, hence the name COP 18. Things got confusing at the 2009 meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, when the uninitiated assumed COP was an abbreviation of the host city.


Known to the climate crowd as the ``KP,'' it's the most important deal signed within the convention, establishing binding greenhouse emissions targets for 37 industrialized nations. (Keep reading to find out how to say emissions target in Kyoto-speak). The US was the only industrialized nation that didn't ratify the agreement. Adopted in the Japanese city of Kyoto in 1997, the KP expires at the end of 2012. A key issue in Doha is negotiating an extension, referred to as a second commitment period.


Since the KP focuses on emissions from industrialized nations, a second work flow was set up in 2007 to discuss other climate actions, including by developing countries and Kyoto-dropout US The formal name is the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action. Delegates just refer to it as the LCA. It's supposed to be closed at the end of this year, but some developing countries say its work isn't finished. That's another sticking point in Doha.


Last year in Durban, South Africa, countries agreed to craft a new global climate pact that would include both rich and poor nations. Negotiators gave themselves a 2015 deadline to adopt the agreement, which would enter into force in 2020. A new working group was formed called the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action. Most delegates call it the Durban Platform or the ADP.


It may have a more exotic ring to it than `emissions target' but it's essentially the same thing. A QELRO is the commitment that a country has made to cut its greenhouse emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. It stands for Quantified Emission Limitation and Reduction Obligation. Don't confuse QELROs with the NAMAs, or Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions, pledged by developing countries; or NAPAs, Nationally Adaptation Programs for Action, which are action plans submitted by the poorest countries on how to adapt to climate change.


Even those inside the climate bubble will be hard pressed to spell out what those initials stand for. The important thing to know is they are initiatives to reduce emissions from deforestation and agriculture.

U.N. panel calls for ban on female circumcision

Campaigners against female circumcision have scored a major victory with the approval by a key U.N. committee of a resolution calling for a global ban on female genital mutilation.
The resolution, adopted by consensus on November 26 by the U.N. General Assembly’s human rights committee, calls the practice harmful and a serious threat to the psychological, sexual and reproductive health of women and girls.
It calls on the U.N.’s 193 member states to condemn the widespread practice and launch education campaigns to eliminate it.
With 110 sponsors, the resolution is virtually certain to be approved by the full General Assembly in the second half of December.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Third International Agronomy Congress

The third International Agronomy Congress on Agriculture Diversification, Climate Change Management and Livelihoods (26-30 November) was inaugurated on November 26.
The Indian Society of Agronomy and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research jointly organizes the 3rd International Agronomy Congress . The primary objective is to take stock of technology capital available to address the issue of agriculture diversification, climate change management and livelihoods and draw future research strategies to address the emerging matrix of agriculture problems in holistic manner. Around 1000 delegates from 24 countries are participating in the Congress.

8th Meeting of the India-UK Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism

India and the UK shared their respective threat assessments and ways to enhance security cooperation during the 8th meeting of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Counter-Terrorism in New Delhi.

India and the UK upgraded their relationship to a Strategic Partnership in 2004. The discussions of the JWG were held in an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding. The two sides shared their respective threat assessments and informed each other of the measures taken by their governments to strengthen counter terrorism policies and structures. They also discussed the follow up on the Mumbai terror attacks of 26/11. The two sides also exchanged views on international developments, coordination in international fora and their bilateral cooperation in the area.

The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Asoke Kumar Mukerji, Special Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India and Mr. Robert Hannigan, Director General, Defence and Intelligence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK.
The next meeting of the JWG will be held in the UK in 2013 on mutually convenient dates.

Spices Park at Guntur

Government has approved establishment of a Spice park at Guntur, Andhra Pradesh at a cost of Rs 23 crores to empower the chilli farmers to have better price realization and wider markets for their produce. The Government of Andhra Pradesh had allocated 124.78 acres of land in Venkayalapadu and Maidavolu village, Edlapadu Mandal in Guntur district in favour of Spice Board, for setting up of this Spices Park. Currently the civil works and electrical works are almost completed. The installation of the plant & machinery for processing of Chilli is in progress and are as per schedule. 38 acres of land has been allotted to exporters for developing their own processing Units in the Park. So far an expenditure of Rs. 14.62 crores has been incurred on establishment of the Spice Park. Target for completion of the project is December, 2012.

FDI in Various Sectors

As per extant FDI policy, FDI, up to 26% is permitted, in the defence sector, with prior Government approval. Government has, further, interalia announced the following decisions:-

(i) Amendment of certain conditions relating to FDI, up to 100%, in single brand retail trading, vide Press Note No. 4(2012 Series) dated 20.9.2012

(ii) Permitting FDI, up to 51%, in multi-brand retail trading, subject to specified conditions, vide Press Note No. 5 (2012 Series) dated 20.9.2012

(iii) Permitting foreign airlines to invest, in the capital of Indian companies, operating scheduled and nonscheduled air transport services, up to the limit of 49% of their paid-up capital, vide Press Note No.6 (2012 Series) dated 20.9.2012

(iv) Permitting FDI, up to 49%, in power exchanges, vide Press Note No. 8 (2012 Series) dated 20.9.2012

The above mentioned decisions have been incorporated in the Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India) Regulations, 2000 vide Foreign Exchange Management (Transfer or Issue of Security by a Person Resident Outside India) (Sixth Amendment) Regulations, 2012 notified in the Gazette of India: Extraordinary vide G.S.R.795(E) dated 19.10.2012.

It is the Government’s assessment that implementation of the policy is likely to facilitate greater FDI inflows into front and back-end infrastructure; technologies and efficiencies to unlock the potential of the agricultural value chain; additional and quality employment; and global best practices. This, in turn, is expected to benefit consumers and farmers in the long run, in terms of quality and price. The 30% mandatory sourcing condition has been incorporated to encourage local value addition and manufacturing. The increased level of activity, in the front-end, as well as in the back-end, resulting from greater FDI inflows, is expected to create additional employment opportunities for rural and urban youth. It is, further, expected to encourage existing traders and retail outlets to upgrade and become more efficient, thereby providing better services to consumers and better remuneration to the producers from whom they source their products.

The consultations with key stakeholders regarding FDI in multi-brand retail trading brought out views both for and against FDI in multi brand retail trading. On balance, however, the discussions generally indicated support for the policy, subject to the introduction of adequate safeguards. The necessary safeguards have, accordingly, been incorporated in the policy and are expected to protect the interests of various stakeholders. Government has also decided to constitute a high-level group to make recommendations on internal trade reforms, with a view to ensuring distributional efficiencies and also that the benefits from trade are available to all sections of society.

Two proposals have been received for FDI up to 100% in single brand retail trading (from M/s Ingka Holding Overseas B.V, Netherlands and M/s Fossil India Private Limited). Further, seven proposals have been received, for single brand product retail trading, with foreign equity participation up to 51% (from M/s Fapa Company Ltd., Samoa; M/s Promod S.A.S, France; M/s Tommy Hillfiger B.V, The Netherlands; M/s NA Pali Europe SARL; M/s The Semex Alliance, Canada; M/s Le Cruset SAS France and M/s Sketchers South Asia Private Limited). No proposal has been received for FDI in multi-brand retail trading.

Tipu Sultan’s Era Cannon Discovered at Bangalore Metro Site

Workers digging the underground section of the Bangalore Metro rail were surprised to discover a 12 feet 18th century cannon as well as a 10 kg cannonball which is believed to be from the era of Tipu Sultan. The site of construction in Bangalore lies between the summer palace of Tipu Sultan and Bangalore Fort. This is the rarest discovery in the capital of Karnataka linked to that time period.

The iron cannon weighs over a ton while the cannonball weighs 10kg. Muzzle is approximately 3/4th the size of cannon. After the discovery, officials from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) rushed to the site immediately and secured it. The cannon has survived rough weather conditions as well because of being buried in ground for so many years.

Metro Rail workers were directed to dig in the site carefully because there was a possibility of more materials which are archeologically important. ASI has also assured to help Metro in this matter. After the discovery, details such as quantum of gun powder, muzzle molding, length of the fuse point as well as other details will be found out. The discoveries like these are collected as well as placed in museums. The cannon will first be cleaned chemically before being shifted to the museum.

2014 FIFA WC mascot named Fuleco

The 2014 World Cup mascot has been named Fuleco by the Brazilian public, the ruling football body FIFA said.
FIFA said that 48 per cent of Brazilians joining the popular vote chose Fuleco as the name for the armadillo, with Zuzeco getting 31 per cent and Amijubi 21 per cent.
Fuleco is a fusion of the words “futebol” and “ecologia,” and FIFA said the choice showed that Brazilians cared for the environment just as much as for football.
FIFA said that the mascot has a high recognition and acceptance rate in the World Cup host country, with 89 per cent of Brazilians saying they have seen the mascot and Fuleco getting a 7.3 average out of 10 for appeal.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

National Cancer Institute and a National Cardio Care Centre to be developed at Jhajjar

The Union Government of India on 24 November 2012 announced to set up a National Cancer Institute (NCI) and a National Cardio Care Centre (NCCC) at the second campus of All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Badhsa village of Jhajjar, Haryana during the inauguration of the Outreach OPD of the AIIMS-II campus spread over 300 acres. This outreach OPD is well equipped with all the facilities and has a capacity of 1000 beds and the first OPD in the nation to provide free medicines to the patients.

On this occasion, the Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad also declared that the AIIMS-II, with a total capacity of 2,100 beds, would be developed as a world-class institute. International bids in form of the Expression of Interest for drafting the master plan was already called on by the ministry. The Proposed National Cancer Institute would be the country’s largest cancer institute with a capacity of 600 beds and facilities of treating almost every form of cancer.

5 New Members Elected to United Nations Security Council

·        The UN General Assembly on October 18, 2012 elected the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Luxembourg to a two-year term in the UN Security Council (UNSC).

·        The two joined Argentina, Australia and Rwanda, which were elected earlier, to serve as new non-permanent members of the powerful UN body.

·        The ROK and Luxembourg won their Council seats after two rounds of secret ballot, garnering 149 and 131 votes from the 193 UN member states respectively.

·        According to Vuk Jeremic, the President of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly who presided over the voting.

·        Rwanda won 148 votes, Argentina 182 and Australia 140 in the first round.

New Intelligence Bureau chief from 31st December 2012

Senior IPS officer S Asif Ibrahim is tipped to be the new Intelligence Bureau chief, official sources informed. Asif, a 1977 batch IPS, made it to the top slot because of his wide range of experience in covering various departments of the organisation which mainly deal with intelligence pertaining to internal security, they said. He succeeds Nehchal Sandhu who retires on December 31.

China city plans Nehru museum, 50 years after war

Fifty years on after the end of the India-China war on November 21, 1962, a Chinese city has announced plans to open a museum to commemorate a much-forgotten visit by Jawaharlal Nehru to China in the autumn of 1939.
Chongqing, a municipality in southwest China that hosted Nehru when it was the wartime capital of Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist government under the Kuomintang (KMT), plans to mark his visit to the city by opening a museum at the site of the old Indian Embassy residence building, which is today a protected heritage site.
Nehru sailed up the Yangtze river and arrived in the city as a guest of the KMT leader in August 1939, according to city officials. An essay by scholar Lin Chengjie noted, drawing on press reports from the time, that Nehru was “honoured as the great leader of the Indian people” and as “an intimate friend of China” for showing solidarity during the war with Japan. Nehru also reached out to the Communists, who were then in their revolutionary base of Yan’an, and received an invitation from Mao Zedong to visit. The Second World War, however, forced Nehru to return early to India.
The India-China war in 1962 dramatically altered Chinese perception of Nehru, who was in subsequent years vilified by the State media — upon Mao Zedong’s direction — as a “bourgeois Imperialist.” More recently, however, Nehru’s role in promoting relations — even during the time of the KMT, a period usually portrayed by the Communist Party only in negative terms — has been given more prominent attention, as the Chongqing initiative suggests, with the 1962 war a fading memory in China today.
The sprawling old Indian Embassy residence building, where Nehru stayed sits on a remote hilltop in the Nanshan mountains. The foggy mountains were a popular site for government and Embassy residences in the 1930s, seen as providing shelter from Japanese air-raids. Today, the estate is the site of the Chongqing Nanshan Botanical Gardens — a popular tourist destination during the Cherry Blossoms season — and also houses old residences belonging to the Spanish, French and Russian Embassies.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

India to get record $70 b remittances in 2012: World Bank

India will receive a record $70 billion remittances in 2012, topping the list of developing countries which are expected to receive a total of $406 billion this year, the World Bank has said.
After India, China will stand second with $66 billion, followed by Mexico and the Philippines with $24 billion each, a latest report by the bank said.
In all, worldwide remittances — including those to high-income countries — will reach $534 billion in 2012, according to a newly updated World Bank brief on global migration and remittances.
Other large recipients are Nigeria ($21 billion), Egypt ($18 billion), $14 billion each for Pakistan and Bangladesh, followed by Vietnam ($9 billion) and Lebanon ($7 billion).
Officially recorded remittance flows to developing countries are estimated to grow by 6.5 per cent over $351 billion in 2011, with India again topping the chart with $58 billion, followed by China ($57 billion), Mexico ($24 billion) and the Philippines ($23 billion).
Worldwide remittances, including those to high-income countries, are projected to grow to $685 billion in 2015.
According to the World Bank, remittances to developing countries are expected to rise 8 per cent in 2013 and 10 per cent in 2014 to reach $534 billion in 2015.
In its report, the World Bank notes that the true size of remittance flows, including unrecorded flows through formal and informal channels, is believed to be significantly larger.

Kejriwal’s party named Aam Admi Party

Arvind Kejriwal’s party was  named ‘Aam Admi Party’ at a meeting of its founder members here during which the Constitution for the organisation was also adopted.
The meeting of around 300 founder members was held at Constitution Club here during which Kejriwal proposed the name of the party which was accepted by other members, sources said.
The Constitution of the party was also adopted at the meeting. It was proposed by Mayank Gandhi and seconded by Chandramohan, they said.
The formation of the party came after a bitter split with Anna Hazare over the question of the anti-corruption movement taking a political plunge as Kejriwal desired.
During the August fast, Hazare and Kejriwal ended the agitation saying they will work for providing a political alternative for the country to fight both Congress and BJP.
However, both Hazare and Kejriwal announced a parting of ways on September 19 following differences over forming a party with the former sticking to his position that the movement should remain apolitical.
On October 2, Kejriwal announced the formation of the party saying its official launch will be on November 26, the day the Constitution was adopted in 1949.

Australia approved the plan to save the Murray-Darling Basin

Australia on 22 November 2012 approved the plan to save the Murray-Darling Basin, an ailing river system. As per the plan, the sum total of five Sydney Harbour’s worth of water to the network every year.  Murray-Darling Basin river system is vital to the Australia’s food bowl. This river network is sprawling across five Australian states and covering the area of one million square kilometers. Two million tonnes of salt will also be flushed out each year under the plan.
The concerned river system affects the livelihood of millions of people, but due to overexploitation it is ailing now. It suffers from increased salt concentrations as well as depletion in its amount of water because of draught.

DRDO developing missile launch site in Machilipatnam

The Defence Research and Development Organisation is setting up a new missile launch site in Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh at an estimated investment of Rs 1,000 crore.
The defence organisation currently has launch facilities at the Chandipur and Wheeler Island locations in Balasore in Odisha, from where the long-range Agni series of missiles as well as the Prithvi and other shorter range missiles are test-fired. 
Machilipatnam facility would complement the test range in Balasore. It would help in longer range missile launches as well as in carrying out tests for the Ballistic Missile Defence Shied wherein multiple missiles need to be launched for trials.

Bolt named World Athlete of the Year

Usain Bolt has won the IAAF World Athlete of the Year award for the fourth time over United States hurdler Aries Merritt and Kenyan runner David Rudisha.
The Jamaican sprinter, who defended his 100 and 200 meter gold medals at this summer’s Olympic Games, had previously won the award in 2008, 2009, and 2011.
United States sprinter Allyson Felix won the women’s World Athlete of the Year award. The other finalists were Valerie Adams and Jessica Ennis.
The awards were announced on the final day of the IAAF’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Costal Chain of Static Sensors Positioned along the Coast of Andhra Pradesh

A coastal chain of static sensors positioned along the coast of Andhra Pradesh was inaugurated by Ministry of Defence in a ceremony held at Coast Guard District Headquarters in Visakhapatnam on 23 November 2012. The event signified the operationalisation of the network on the East coast.
A complete surveillance mechanism along the coast was needed post 26/11 incident. A chain of static sensors were planned to monitor the high sensitive traffic density areas along the coast of India. The coastal surveillance network will provide an integrated picture of all the vessels traversing along the coast. As part of this project, a chain of radar stations along the coast line of Andhra Pradesh were installed by the Ministry of Defence. The Chain of Static Sensors project being steered by the Indian Coast Guard, envisages fitment of high end surveillance gadgets on lighthouses and masts at various locations.

Friday, November 23, 2012

President Gives Away Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ Sahitya Ratna Samman

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee  23rd November, 2012 gave away Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ Sahitya Ratna Samman to 21 prominent writers and social workers at a function organized in Rashtrapati Bhavan. On the occasion, the President recalled the contribution of Shri Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’ in the freedom struggle and his service to Hindi literature. He also called upon the Indian writers to bring international laurels to the country through their writings.

Share of Small Farmers in Farm Loans Grows to 45%

The agriculture credit flow during the year 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12 was Rs. 3,84,514 crore, Rs.4,68,291 crore and Rs. 5,11,029 crore respectively. During this period credit flow to small and marginal farmers was Rs. 1,22,654 crore, Rs. 1,67,739 crore and Rs. 2,27,835 crore respectively which is 32%, 36% and 45% of the total loan disbursed to the farmers during these years.

The Government has taken several measures to improve credit flow to small and marginal farmers. These measures, inter alia, includes fixation of annual targets for improving agricultural credit flow, provision of crop loans upto Rs. 3.00 lakh @ 4% per annum to such farmers who repay their loan as per the repayment schedule fixed by the banks, extention of benefit of interest subvention scheme to small & marginal farmers having Kisan Credit Card for a further period upto six months for storing their produce in warehouses against negotiable warehouse receipts, collateral free loan upto Rs. 1.00 lakh, implementation of revival package for short term cooperative credit structure in the country etc.

MNRE Sanctions Funds to 41 Cities Under “Development of Solar Cities” Programme

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is implementing a Scheme on ’Development of Solar Cities’ which provides support for 60 cities to develop as Solar Cities in the country. The Ministry has given sanctions for 41 cities for developing as Solar Cities. Gandhinagar, Nagpur, Chandigarh and Mysore are being developed as Model Solar Cities. The Ministry has approved the Master Plants for the 28 Cities and the project installations have already started in few cities.

In pursuance of the programme, a one day ‘National Meet on Solar Cities’ was inaugurated by Shri Gireesh B Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy on 22nd November 2012, at India International Centre, New Delhi. The Secretary asked the Municipal Corporations to enhance the use of renewable energy in their area and save the fossil fuel based energy. They can amend the building bye-laws suitably to promote the solar water heaters, solar SPV rooftop systems, kitchen waste based plants in the various establishments of the city. Smt. Nisha Singh Joint Secretary, Ministry of Urban Development, emphasized the need for the concerned Ministries to work in coordination with each other.

About 150 persons actively participated in the one day event including the representatives of Municipal Corporations, Developers, Financial Institutions, International Agencies, Manufactures, Investors, Technology Providers and State Nodal Agencies, banks etc. The aim of this meet was to discuss the “Ways Forward” after Master Plan for execution of renewable energy/energy efficiency related projects in respective solar cities. The Municipal Commissioners of Thane, Mysore and Shimla actively participated in the event.

Interceptor missile scores a direct again

Signalling India’s readiness to deploy the home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) system in the near future, an advanced interceptor missile destroyed an incoming target missile in a direct hit at an altitude of 15 km over the Bay of Bengal on November 23.
In this mission, missile technologists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the first time tested the configuration for destroying an incoming actual missile and another electronically simulated missile.
According to top DRDO sources, the electronically simulated target which mimicked a missile coming from a distance of 1500 km, was electronically hit at an altitude of 120 km.
Within minutes of the launch of the real attacker missile, a modified surface-to-surface Prithvi from Chandipur, the actual interceptor , Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile took off from Wheeler Island and destroyed the ‘hostile’ missile at an altitude of 15 km in the endo-atmosphere at 12.52 p.m.
As soon as target missile was launched, the Long-Range Tracking Radars and the Multi-Functional Radars tracked it and passed on the data to the guidance computer to launch the AAD, which homed on to the target missile and pulverised it.
Scientific Advisor to Defence Minister V.K. Saraswat, Chief Controller, (Missiles and Strategic Systems), Avinash Chander, Associate Director, Research Centre Imarat, Sateesh Reddy and Programme Director, (AD Mission) Adalat Ali were present.
Celebrations broke out at Wheeler Island following the success of the mission, which was the eighth ballistic interceptor missile test. So far seven missions have been successful and one of them, the first one was conducted in exo-atmopshere at an altitude of 48 km in November 2006.

ISRO Designing GEO Imaging Satellite

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is designing a satellite – GEO Imaging Satellite (GISAT), which will be placed in geostationary orbit of 36,000 km. GISAT will provide near real time pictures of large areas of the country, under cloud free conditions, at frequent intervals. That is, selected sector-wise imaging every 5 minutes and entire Indian landmass every 30 minutes at 50m spatial resolution.

GISAT will carry a GEO Imager with multi-spectral (visible, near infra-red and thermal), multi-resolution (50m to 1.5 km) imaging instruments. It will provide pictures of the area of interest on near real time basis including border areas.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Outcomes of the 21st ASEAN Summit

The ASEAN Heads of State/Government and the Secretary-General of ASEAN gathered at the Peace Palace, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the 21st ASEAN Summit.

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Chairman of the 21st ASEAN Summit, presided over the Plenary Session.

The ASEAN Heads of State/Government discussed the Progress of the Implementation of the ASEAN Charter and Roadmap for an ASEAN Community, Follow-up to the 20th ASEAN Summit, the Progress Report on the Implementation of Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, signed Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of ASEAN Human Rights Declaration, Exchange of View on Regional and International Issues, and issued Leaders’ Statement on the Establishment of an ASEAN Regional Mine Action Center (ARMAC). 

ASEAN Leaders agreed to sign, adopt and note the following documents as the outcome documents: 

a) Phnom Penh Statement on the Adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration;

b) ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD); 

c) ASEAN Leaders’ Joint Statement on the Establishment of an ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC); 

d) Concept Paper on the Establishment of an ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre (ARMAC)

Showing their commitment to peace and stability in the region, the Summit also witnessed the launch of the ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR).

ASEAN achieved another landmark with the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration. The AHRD would include provisions on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as the right to development and the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups. Provisions would also be included to foster cooperation in promoting and protecting human rights.

The Leaders adopted the Bali Concord III Plan of Action 2013 – 2017, which is a manifestation of ASEAN’s global outreach to contribute further in a more coordinated, cohesive and coherent manner. It reflects ASEAN commitment to take an increasing role in addressing global challenges by enhancing collaboration to adopt common positions on issues of mutual interest in regional and international fora.

The leaders also approved the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Mine Action Centre in Cambodia. The move is timely and essential, as almost all ASEAN countries had to deal with the menace of land mines.

The ASEAN Summit is an annual meeting held by the member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in relation to economic, and cultural development of Southeast Asian countries.

The league of ASEAN is currently connected with other countries who aimed to participate on the missions and visions of the league. Apparently, the league is conducting an annual meeting with other countries in an organization collectively known as the ASEAN dialogue partners. ASEAN +3 adds China, Japan and South Korea.

India votes against UN resolution banning death penalty

India was among the 39 countries that voted against a UN General Assembly draft resolution which called for abolishing the death penalty, saying every nation had the "sovereign right" to determine its own legal system.

The non-binding resolution called for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty. It was adopted at the General Assembly's Third Committee, which deals with social and humanitarian issues, after 110 nations voted in favour of the resolution while 36 abstained.

The draft resolution expresses its "deep concern about the continued application of the death penalty and calls on states to establish a moratorium on executions, with a view to abolishing the practice".

It calls on nations to progressively restrict the death penalty's use and not impose capital punishment for offences committed by persons under age 18 or pregnant women.

States would also be called on to reduce the number of offences for which the death penalty might be imposed. Among the nations voting against the resolution were Bangladesh, China, Korea, Iran, Iraq, Japan, Kuwait, Libya, Pakistan and the US.

Ranjit Sinha Appointed Director, CBI

The competent authority has appointed Shri Ranjit Sinha  as Director, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a period of two years with effect from the date of assumption of charge. He will succeed Shri A.P. Singh on his retirement on 30th November 2012.

Establishment of Ghani Khan Ghoudhary Institute of Engineering and Technology(GKCIET), Malda

The Union Cabinet in its meeting held on 20th November, 2008 had approved establishment of Ghani Khan Ghoudhary Institute of Engineering and Technology(GKCIET), Malda, West Bengal. As per the decision of Cabinet, the State Government of West Bengal was to provide 150 to 200 acres of land, free of cost. However, the State Government has conveyed their inability to find suitable non-agricultural land for GKCIET, Malda.

Three Indian Writers Shortlisted for DSC South Asian Literature Prize 2013

Three Indian writers- Uday Prakash, Amitav Ghosh and Jeet Thayil were shortlisted for the US Dollar 50,000 DSC South Asian Literature Prize 2013. The names of shortlisted candidates were announced on 21 November 2012 in London. Others who were shortlisted for the prize include Pakistani novelists Jamil Ahmad and Mohammed Hanif as well as Tahmina Anam of Bangladesh. Only contender from beyond the boundaries of Indian Subcontinent is Jason Grunebaum who is the American Writer, academic and translator.

Amitav Ghosh has been chosen for River of Smoke, Jeet Thayil for the debut novel Narcopolis and Uday Prakash for The Walls of Delhi.

Well known litterateur K. Satchidanandan chairing the jury said that the list represented diversity of the South Asian fiction in terms of idiom and theme. These works, according to the jury member were stylistically innovative, thematically fresh and have a definitive contribution to the genre of novels.

Another member of Prize Steering Committee, Manhad Narula, described these novels as well balanced and excellent which represent finest writing of South Asian region.

The winner of the prize is scheduled to be announced on 25 January 2013 at DSC Jaipur Literature Festival.

About DSC Prize for South Asian Literature
The prize was introduced in 2010 and was described by sponsors as the first of its kind initiative for promotion of best works in English language fiction on South Asian theme.

Gavaskar conferred with Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award

Sunil Gavaskar, the Former Captain and legendary opener of Indian Cricket Team on 21 November 2012 was conferred with BCCI’s prestigious Col. CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award at the BCCI Annual Awards Function 2011-12. Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli and V.V.S. Laxman were also felicitated at the award ceremony.

The Lifetime Achievement Award given to Gavaskar carried a citation, trophy and a cheque for 25 lakh Rupees and he received this award from the BCCI president N. Srinivasan.

Sachin Tendulkar was honoured at the occasion with a gold-plated bat for scoring the century of centuries in international cricket. Kohli was chosen as the Best Indian International Player of the year at the award ceremony.

About Col. CK Nayudu and the Lifetime Achievement Award

Col. CK Nayudu or Cottari Kanakaiya Nayudu was the first captain of Indian Cricket Team in Test Matches, and he played the first class cricket for India till 1958. The ruler of Holkar in 1923 conferred him with the honour of Colonel in Holkar’s Army at Indore.  Nayudu was appointed as the first captain of Indian team for its first test tour of England in 1932 after the previously appointed captain and vice-captain of the team, Maharaja of Porbandar and Ghanshyamsinhji of Limbdi respectively were out of the series due to health problems.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ajmal Amir Kasab hanged at Yerwada Jail, Pune

Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the Pakistani National and the lone surviving terrorist of 26/11 Mumbai Terror Attacks, was hanged on 21 November 2012 at Pune’s Yerwada Jail at 7:30 am. The Maharashtra Government confirmed that Kasab was hanged. The President of India Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy plea of Kasab.  He was hanged five days before the fourth anniversary of the brutal terror attack on Mumbai that claimed 166 lives and sieged Mumbai for continuous three days.

7th East Asia Summit held in Phnom Penh (Cambodia)

The 7th East Asia Summit (EAS) opened at Phnom Penh (Cambodia) on November 20 with the presence of leaders from 10 ASEAN member states and eight dialogue partners as well as heads of some international financial institutions.

The forum, which comprises plenary session and retreat session, is expected to highlight six priority areas for cooperation, including energy and environment, education, finance, global health issues and communicable diseases, disaster management and ASEAN connectivity. A Chairman's Statement will be adopted as the outcome of the summit.

Negotiation on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will be officially launched at the end of the summit by leaders of both ASEAN nations and six key Asia Pacific powers, including China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

It is the second time the United States and Russia join the summit after the two were admitted to the regional forum in 2011.

Indian - American Astronaut Ms.Sunita Williams Landed Back on Earth with a New Record

The NASA -Astronuat  Ms. Sunita Willams is the daughter of an Indian-American father of Gujarath.
Ms.Sunita Williams is the  second woman of Indian origin to have been selected by NASA for a space mission after Ms. Kalpana  Chawla and the second astronaut of Slovenian heritage after Ronald M. Sega.
Ms. Sunita Williams  was the commander of 'Expedition 33'-the trio which had blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on 15th July 2012 to the International Space Station has  landed back on earth- northeast of  Arkalyk in the steppes of Kazakhstan at 8:56 p.m. on 18th November 2012 .

Ms.Sunita Williams has returned to earth  after 127 days in space with a new record  of the most spacewalking time by a female  at 50 hours and 40 minutes  over seven career excursions. Sunita Williams has logged 322 days during two space flights making her the second on the list of most  experienced US female astronauts.

Sunita Williams  also holds the record of the  longest spaceflight (195 days) for female space travellers.
The NASA -Astronuat  Ms. Sunita Willams is the daughter of
an Indian-American father of Gujarath.

Read more: Indian - American Astronaut Ms.Sunita Williams Landed Back on Earth with a New Record in Space
The NASA -Astronuat  Ms. Sunita Willams is the daughter of
an Indian-American father of Gujarath.

Read more: Indian - American Astronaut Ms.Sunita Williams Landed Back on Earth with a New Record in Space

President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf chosen for Indira Gandhi Peace Prize 2012

Liberian President and Nobel laureate Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on 19 November 2012 was chosen for 2012 Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for being an inspiration to women and ensuring return of peace and democracy in her country. The award is set up by Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust with an international jury chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The Indira Gandhi Prize is being awarded to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf for serving as an example and inspiration to women in Africa and beyond and for ensuring the return of peace, democracy, development, security and order in Liberia.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf who is the 24th President of Liberia was commended by the jury for her strong interest in the consolidation and improvement of Liberia's relations with India. She was risen to the Presidency becoming the first elected female head of state of the African continent. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf took over office as the President of Liberia in 2006 acquiring a legacy of distrust, disharmony and mismanagement. She had successfully restored financial health her country which was on the verge of fiscal breakdown.

About Indira Gandhi Peace Prize

The Indira Gandhi Peace Prize is the prominent award given annually by the Government of India to individuals or organizations in acknowledgment to resourceful efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order; ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom. The prize carries a cash award of 25 lakh Indian rupees and a citation. To be eligible for consideration it is mandatory to have a written work published.
The 2011 recipient of Indira Gandhi Peace Prize was Ela Bhatt the Founder of Sewa, Self-Employed Women's Association of India.

List of Recipients Indira Gandhi Peace Prize

Year     Name    
1986     Parliamentarians for Global Action    
1987    Mikhail Gorbachev    
1988    Gro Harlem Brundtland    
1989     UNICEF    
1990    Sam Nujoma    
1991    Rajiv Gandhi   
1992    Saburo Okita    
1993    Vaclav Havel    
1994    Trevor Huddleston    
1995    Olusegun Obasanjo    
1996    Medicins Sans Frontieres    
1997    Jimmy Carter    
1998    Muhammad Yunus    
1999    M S Swaminathan    
2000    Mary Robinson    
2001     Sadako Ogata    
2002    Shridath Ramphal    
2003    Kofi Annan    
2004    Maha Chakri Sirindhorn    
2005     Hamid Karzai    
2006    Wangari Maathai    
2007    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation    
2008     Mohamed ElBaradei    
2009    Sheikh Hasina    
2010    Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva   
2011     Ela Bhatt   
2012    Ellen Johnson Sirleaf  

Goa host 43rd International Film Festival of India

The stage is set for the 43rd International Film Festival of India (IFFI) beginning on November 20 amidst genial surroundings of Goa to promote some of the best cinemas of India and the world. The 10-day cinematic extravaganza which promises to be a showcase of the glorious hundred years of Indian cinema will look back at the magic of Indian cinema in a never seen before avatar. With the galaxy of stars like Akshay Kumar, Irrfan Khan, Tabu, Om Puri, Jackie Shroff, Vinay Pathak, the opening ceremony promises to be one of the greatest celebrations of the centenary year of Indian Cinema. While the opening festival will see popular Bollywood star Akshay Kumar as the Chief Guest, the cultural celebrations will bring together ace Bollywood Choreographer Saroj Khan, much appreciated Bollywood singer Kailash Kher, along with a bevy of stars on a singular podium. As a part of the international presence, the cine lovers will be treated to the company of renowned Polish Director Krzysztof Zanussi who will be conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award, Kim Ki-duk, Michael Winterbottom, Susanne Bier amongst others. 

Special Indian Cinema Centenary Award
Among the many firsts at the 43rd International Film Festival of India, a special award of Rs 10 lakh has been instituted as a celebration of the centenary of feature films in India. Briefing the media here, Shri Shankar Mohan, Festival Director, IFFI said, the special Indian Cinema Centenary Award will be bestowed to a film chosen from three nominations from the festival programme – International Competition, Cinema of the World and the Indian Panorama. A specially constituted jury which will have Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Goutam Ghose and Kishwar Desai, will adjudge the nominations, wherein the winner will be awarded a cash prize of Rs. 10 lakh, Silver Peacock and a Certificate. Shri Mohan informed that total cash award will cross one crore 10 lakh rupees in this festival.