Thursday, October 31, 2013

Arup Raha to be the next IAF chief

The Indian government on October 29, 2013, appointed Air Marshal Arup Raha as the next chief of the Indian Air Force. Commissioned into the IAF in December 1974 in the "Fighter Stream", Air Marshal Raha is currently posted as the IAF vice-chief. 
During a career spanning over 39 years, he has held various command, staff and instructional appointments in the force. He also has served as Air Attache at the Indian embassy in Ukraine and commanded the Central Air Command and the Western Air Command.  Mr. Raha takes over at a time when IAF is grappling with just 34 fighter squadrons when at least 44 are needed for "effective dissuasive deterrence" against China and Pakistan.  The current Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne retires on December 31, 2013. 

Sushmita Sen honoured with the Mother Teresa International Award

Former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen has been awarded the Mother Teresa International Award by the Harmony Foundation for her efforts towards achieving social justice on October 27, 2013. Sushmita is been associated with charitbale projects and NGOs.
The Harmony Foundation also honoured former Outlaw motorcycle club member Sam Childers for his efforts towards rescuing children from a war-zone in Sudan.

Kareena honoured in British House of Commons

Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor Khan was honoured at British House of Commons by Members of Parliament and Asian Sunday newspaper for her contribution to the global entertainment industry. N Keith Anthony S Vaz, MP and Chairman of Britain's Home Affairs Committee, has obliged the honours. Mr. Keith Vaz on behalf of the British Government has presented a framed golden coloured plaque to Kareena on October 29, 2013. Along with Kareena, Singer Kimberley Walsh and Magician Global Dynamo (Steven Frayne) also have received the honours by the Asian Sunday Dynamo paper. Born into the first Indian film family, “the Kapoor family”, Kareena married renowned actor Saif Ali khan, son of Cricketer Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Actress Sharmila Tagore. 

Srishti Rana crowned Miss Asia Pacific World 2013

Srishti Rana of India, on October 30, 2013, was crowned Miss Asia Pacific World 2013. The twenty-one-year old won the title outclassing 49 other contestants in the event held in Korea, marking a consecutive second year for an Indian to be with the title after Himangini Singh Yadu from India in 2012. She also won the Best National Costume Award and also the Best Personality Award. Srishti is from the city of Faridabad in Haryana state and hails from a Jat family.
Srishti participated in Femina Miss India 2013 and became a top 5 finalist. Later she applied for Indian Diva 2013 pageant and was crowned runner up to Manasi Moghe. Dia Mirza, Zeenat Aman and Tara Anna Fonseca were other Indian greats in the history who won the Miss Asia Pacific International title contesting for the country, which is the oldest pageant in the Asia since 1965.

Forbes lists Putin most powerful person, Sonia third powerful women

Forbes named the Russian President Vladimir Putin on top in its list of ‘the world’ most powerful persons’. American President Barack Obama, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel followed in the second, third, fourth and fifth spots, respectively.

The list revealed on October 30, 2013 has ranked the Indian political giant Sonia Gandhi at 21 and noted her to be the third most powerful woman in the world after German Chancellor Angela Merkel (No. 5) and Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (No. 20) in the first and second places respectively.

Forbes gave Putin an edge based on his role in getting Syria to surrender its chemical weapons and the diplomatic blow suffered by Obama when Russia offered asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Federal Reserve chair Ben Bernanke, Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, European Central Bank president Mario Draghi and Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke rounded out the top 10.

The magazine measured the power players based on the number of people they had authority to oversee, financial resources under their control, influence on multiple populations and how they used this total clout in the past year.

Scientists discovered a New Planet called Kepler 78b

Scientists discovered a new planet called Kepler 78b which has a similar mass and density to that of Earth. It orbits a star 400 light years away. Kepler78b is composed mostly of rock and iron, very similar to our own planet. It is extremely close to its host star which is a hundredth of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.
But the temperature on Kepler 78b ranges from 2000 C to 2800 C in daytime which is far too hot to support any form of life.
The newly discovered planet belongs to a new class of ultrashort period planets. These planets complete one circuit of their host star in less than 12 hours.

Kirit Parikh Panel Recommended Hike in Diesel, Kerosene, LPG Prices

Kirit Parikh Panel Recommendations

Kirit Parikh Panel on advising Pricing Methodology for Diesel, Domestic LPG and PDS Kerosene submitted report to the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry on 30 October 2013.
The panel in its report recommended a price increase of 5 Rupees per litre in diesel, 4 Rupees per litre in kerosene, and 250 Rupees in LPG cylinder with immediate effect.

Kirit Parikh Panel Recommendations:
 •The Panel recommended that the subsidised LPG cylinders be reduced from the present nine to six cylinders per annum to each household.
•Panel suggested capping the subsidy on diesel sales at 6 rupees a litre.
•Panel called for the elimination of subsidy on diesel within one year, which could save the exchequer 72000 crore Rupees in fuel subsidy.
•The panel has stated that the Government should take steps to pass on the impact of rise in price of diesel to consumers, and move rapidly towards making the price of diesel market-determined.
•The panel favoured continuation of existing pricing principles for controlled petroleum products.
Oil firms currently sell diesel at a discount of 10.52 Rupees per litre, kerosene at 38.32 Rupees and LPG at 532.86 rupees per cylinder.

India developed Surface-to-Surface Missile Pragati

India developed a new tactical surface-to-surface missile Pragati which has a range between 60-170 km. The missile is on offer to India’s friendly countries. The Pragati missile is based on the Prahaar missile and it has been developed by the DRDO for the Army. It was put on display at a defence exhibition at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defence Exhibition (ADEX 2013).
Besides 'Pragati' tactical missile, DRDO showcased, 'Akash' missile system and 'Tejas' LCA and its variants.
The LCA is a DRDO project which remains to be completed and the aircraft has not been inducted by the IAF so far. ADEX 2013 hosted more than 300 companies from 33 nations. DRDO's participation in ADX 2013 commemorates the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and South Korea.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Moscow hosted the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit

Moscow, the Capital of Russia hosted the 14th India-Russia Annual Summit on 21 October 2013. Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh and the President of Russia Vladimir Putin co-chaired the summit.
During the summit both nations discussed priority areas of bilateral cooperation on current international and regional issues. Both nations emphasised their continued commitment to promote and strengthen their special and privileged strategic partnership.
India and Russia signed many bilateral Documents including transfer of Sentenced Persons, in the Field of Energy Efficiency, in the field of Standardization and Conformity Assessment between Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) and Federal Agency on Technical Regulation and Metrology, in the Fields of Science and in the area of Biotechnology during the summit.

2nd Meeting of the India-Philippines Joint Commission held in Manila

The 2nd Meeting of the Philippines-India Joint Commission on Bilateral Cooperation was held on 21 October 2013, in Manila. The meeting was co-chaired by Albert F. Del Rosario, Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines and Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs of the Republic of India.
India and Philippines held comprehensive discussions on political, defense, security, economic and cultural cooperation, and reviewed the progress of the Joint Working Groups on Trade and Investment, Tourism, Agriculture, Health and Medicine, Joint Committee on Renewable Energy and of the Joint Defense Cooperation Committee. They emphasized that the opportunity to meet regularly at high level is important, to reflect their growing and dynamic bilateral partnership.
The Ministers agreed that the next meetings of the Policy Consultations and Strategic Dialogue will be held in Manila, in 2014.

‘Nobel Memorial Wall’ to mark centenary of Tagore’s Nobel

Commemorating the 100 years of the ‘Nobel Prize in literature - awarded to Rabindranath Tagore’, a “Nobel Memorial Wall”honouring Indian Nobel laureates will be fabricated in one of the city’s metro stations during the Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week 2013, said an official of the Swedish embassy.

To be inaugurated by Ambassador of Sweden Harald Sandberg on 25th October, the wall will be a permanent structure at the busiest metro station in Kolkata.

The wall would be plywood and steel structure depicting the Nobel laureates from the country, put in front of an existing wall at the Esplanade Metro station in Kolkata city. A Similar graffiti would be put up at the Rabindra Sarobar station.

The two-day celebrations being organised by the embassy will release Tagore in Sweden-1921 & 1926, a book on his two visits by Swedish scholar Dr. Olavi Hemmila. An English translation of the original statement of the 1913 Nobel Committee of the Swedish Academy nominating Tagore for the award will be brought to the city for the first time and displayed at different venues during the event.

Two temporary walls are also being fabricated at the Gitanjali Metro station and the one at Shyambazar for a week. These stations have been chosen, as “Gitanjali” — the name of the Tagore’s Nobel Prize winning work and Shyambazar is the closest to his home at Jorasanko.

The Sweden India Nobel Memorial Week 2013 will have the noted thespian Parnab Mukherjee for a special programme centred on Tagore’s Nobel acceptance speech.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Priti Rajagopalan wins Commonwealth Youth Award

Priti Rajagopalan, an Indian climate change activist who works with local communities and governments for environmental change, has been awarded the Commonwealth Youth Award.
At the age of 18, Rajagopalan started a waste management programme in India with some friends, training students across 200 schools and more than 40 universities in separating waste and composting. The compost was sold cheaply to farmers. The Indian government now funds the project in more than 40 cities.

Rajagopalan has also trained women and children in rural India to make and maintain their own solar powered goods and water purifiers, and to sterilize equipment for midwives. An engineer by training, Rajagopalan matches her grassroots sustainability projects with policy work for governments and international organizations, and helping researchers and colleges exchange ideas.

At the ceremony, Rajagopalan was joined by the regional winners for Africa and Europe, the Caribbean including Canada and the Pacific, who each won a 3,000 pounds grant: Ghanaian Gilbert Addah; Christaneisha Soleyn from Barbados and New Zealander Ariel Chuang.

The Commonwealth Youth Awards for excellence in development work recognize the contribution of young people in achieving development goals. Rajagopalan received the award for the pan-Commonwealth and Asia region.

Rasheed becomes the first MP to be disqualified from Rajya Sabha

Congress leader Rasheed Masood became the first MP to lose his seat after the Supreme Court struck down a provision that protects a convicted lawmaker from disqualification on the ground of pendency of appeal in higher courts.
Masood's conviction is the first case after the July 10th Supreme Court judgment that struck down sub-section 4 of Section 8 of Representation of the People Act, under which incumbent MPs, MLAs and MLCs can avoid disqualification till pendency of the appeal against conviction in a higher court. The appeal has to be made within three months of the conviction.
The 66-year-old Masood was held guilty in September of fraudulently nominating undeserving candidates to MBBS seats allotted to Tripura in medical colleges across the country from the central pool. His conviction was the first after the Supreme Court struck down a provision in the electoral law that provided immunity to MPs and MLAs from immediate disqualification.
In September, a special CBI court had held Rajya Sabha member Masood guilty in a case of corruption and other offences. Special CBI Judge JPS Malik held Masood guilty of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) and 468 (forgery).
Lok Sabha MPs Lalu Prasad and Jagdish Sharma, both convicted in the fodder scam, also are set to be formally disqualified as the Lok Sabha secretariat.

Representation of the People Act (RPA):
  • The Representation of People Act, 1951 (RPA) is an act of Parliament of India to provide for the conduct of elections of the Houses of Parliament and to the House or Houses of the Legislature of each State, the qualifications and disqualifications for membership of those Houses, the corrupt practices and other offences at or in connection with such elections and the decision of doubts and disputes arising out of or in connection with such elections.
  • The Act was enacted by the provisional parliament under Article 379 of Indian Constitution, before the first general election. The acts were amended several times, but one of the notable amendments is the Representation of the People (Amendment) Act, 1966 (47 of 1966), which abolished the election tribunals and transferred the election petitions to the high courts whose orders can be appealed to Supreme Court. However, election disputes regarding the election of President and Vice-President are directly heard by the Supreme Court.
  • In the Chief Election Commissioner Vs Jan Chowkidar case, in 2013, a two-judge bench of the Supreme court held that since any person confined in prison or in lawful custody of the police is not entitled to vote under Section 62 of The Representation of the People Act (RPA), 1951, the incarcerated person shall also not be entitled to contest elections to Parliament or state legislatures.
  • In the same year in the Lily Thomas Vs Union of India case, the same bench of the SC held that Section 8(4) of the RPA, which allows MPs and MLAs who are convicted while serving as members to continue in office till an appeal against such conviction is disposed of, is unconstitutional.

Bangalore topped the List of Best Business Destinations in India

Bangalore topped the list of best business destinations in India as per the study done by Global Initiative for Restructuring Environment and Management on 21 October 2013.  It was ranked on the basis of socio-economic and infrastructure factors. Chennai is at the second position, followed by Mumbai and Pune. Ahmedabad was placed at 8th position behind Indore (5th), Bhubaneshwar (6th) and Coimbatore (7th). Nagpur and Kochi are at ninth and tenth positions, respectively, while Hyderabad was ranked 12th. In the NCR region, Noida is at the 17th position while Gurgaon ranks 19th. Kolkata was placed at 18th position. Visakhapatanam is at 21st place.
The study ranked the cities based on factors such as human capital, energy, water, transport, housing, healthcare, climate, office space availability and city culture, amongst others. These include basic eco-socio-economic factors critical in determining the growth of the city. The ranking offers companies across industries and sectors with valuable for future investment opportunities.

First Unit of Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant Synchronised with Southern Power Grid

The first unit of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) was on 22 October 2013 synchronised with the southern regional electricity grid.  Earlier, the nuclear reactor achieved criticality on 13 July 2013. 

The power generation in the nuclear reactor will be increased in stages to attain full capacity of 1000 MW by end of 2014. As the nuclear plant is synchronized to the southern grid, the power generation will now be increased to 500 MW, 750 MW, 900 MW and then finally 1000 MW.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India is constructing two 1000 MW units at KNPP jointly with Russia at Kudankulam in Tiruneveli district, 650 km from Chennai. The Kudankulam nuclear power plant which was to be commissioned on December 2007 got inordinately delayed because of protests by locals.

Kudankulam is the first pressurized water reactor belonging to light water reactor category in the country.
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KKNPP) is an Indo‐Russian joint venture for establishig a nuclear power station with 2 units (KKNPP‐1&2) of 1000 MWe Pressurized Water Reactors of VVER design at Kudankulam in Tamilnadu.

Monday, October 21, 2013

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg won Inaugural Genesis Prize

The Government of Israel on 21 October 2013 selected New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the first ever recipient of the 1 million Dollar Genesis Prize- an award popularly dubbed the Jewish Nobel Prize.
The Genesis Prize Foundation stated Bloomberg was honoured as the first winner for his long record of public service and philanthropy. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present the prize to Bloomberg in May 2014 in Israel.

About Genesis Prize

The Government of Israel, the Jewish Agency for Israel and the Genesis Philanthropy Group launched the annual international Genesis Prize. The Genesis Prize is awarded to individuals who have achieved international recognition in their professional field, the worlds of science and the arts. 
The objective of the Genesis Prize is to emphasize across the Jewish community and the world at large the importance of Jewish values to the fulfillment of human potential and to the betterment of the world. This, in turn, is intended to strengthen the Jewish identity of the millions of young Jews across the world, who are rapidly assimilating and losing connection to the Jewish people and their rich heritage.
Each year, the Genesis Prize Laureate will be awarded 1million Dollars. Funded by Genesis Philanthropy Group, the Prize will be presented annually by the Prime Minister of Israel at a ceremony in Jerusalem.

Manmohan Singh Conferred Honorary Doctorate by Moscow State Institute of International Relations

Moscow State Institute of International Relations, the diplomatic school of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia conferred an Honorary Doctorate to Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India on 21 October 2013.
Honorary Doctorate conferred to Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India during the visit to Russia. He became the first Indian to receive an honorary doctorate from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
While accepting the Honorary Doctorate   the Indian Prime Minister lauded the special Indo-Russian friendship and told that Russia has stood by India at moments of great international challenge, when our own resources were limited and our friends were few. Following India’s independence and consistently since then, India and Russia have built a sound partnership.

United Nation’s Security Council Elected 5 New Non-Permanent Members

Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia elected to seats as non-permanent members by the United Nations Security Council in the 15-member Council on 17 October 2013.
These members have been elected for two-year term which would start from January 2014.
The New Council members will replace Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
Non-permanent members Argentina, Australia, Luxembourg, the Republic of Korea and Rwanda will remain on the Council until the end of 2014. India had served as a non-permanent member at the council in 2011-2012.
There are six principal organisations of UN which maintains peace and security of the world. The Organisations are-General Assembly, the Security Council, The Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the  International Court of Justice and the Secretariat.

Sixth India- Brazil Joint Commission Meeting Held

The Sixth India- Brazil Joint Commission Meeting was held in Brasilia on 14 -15 October 2013.The main issues discussed in the meeting were the entire gamut of India-Brazil Strategic Partnership including Political, Economic and Commercial, Agriculture, Science and Technology, Defence, Cultural, Hydrocarbon etc. 
The Sixth India- Brazil Joint Commission Meeting was co-chaired byLuiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Minister of External Relations of the Federative Republic of Brazil, and Salman Khurshid, External Affairs Minister of Republic of India.

Syndicate Bank launched new MSME related Products

Syndicate Bank has launched 5 products keeping in mind the needs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).These products will cater the credit needs of these industries. The products are-

These products would be tailor made schemes, to meet the credit requirements of transport operators,weavers,cashew industry etc.

On the commemoration of its 88th foundation day, the bank has also opened 88 branches in different states of the country taking the total number of its branches to 3,135.
The business of Syndicate Bank has touched Rs.3.46-lakh crore  at the end of the second quarter of this fiscal(2013-14).Sudhir Kumar Jain is the current Chairman and Managing Director of  the Syndicate Bank.

Four Indians Listed in Fortune Top 50 Women Business Leaders-2013

Four Indians, Chanda Kochhar, Chitra Ramkrishna, Shikha Sharma, Naina Lal Kidwai have made to 2013 Fortune magazine's global list of top-50 women business leaders. The list was released on 20 October 2013 by Fortune magazine, US.

ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar has been ranked 4th, followed by National Stock Exchange chief Chitra Ramkrishna at 17th, Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma at 32nd and HSBC's Naina Lal Kidwai at 42nd place among the Indians on the international list of most powerful women in business.
This list is topped by Brazilian energy giant Petrobras' CEO Maria Das Gracas Foster, followed by Turkish conglomerate Sabanci Holding's Guler Sabanci at the second place and Australian banking giant Westpac's CEO Gail Kelly at the third.
Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and CEO of India's largest private sector bank, has moved up one position from her fifth position on the 2012 list, while NSE chief Ramkrishna has made it to the list for the first time.
Shikha Sharma and Naina Lal Kidwai were ranked 37th and 40th, respectively, on Fortune's international list for most powerful business women 2012. 

Chitra Ramkrishna, a newcomer to the International Power 50 list, Fortune stated she has made history as the first woman to head an exchange in India. 

A separate list for most powerful business women in the USA, also complied by Fortune magazine, continues to be topped by technology giant IBM's Ginni Rometty, while PepsiCo's Indian-origin CEO Nooyi has retained her second position.  DuPont's Ellen Kullman is ranked third, followed by Lockheed Martin's Marillyn Hewson.

India, Russia to sign five vital pacts during PM’s ongoing visit

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who reached Russia on Sunday for attending the 14th India-Russian Annual Summit, is expected to sign five important agreements between the two countries along with his Russian counterpart. However, the much talked about Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) deal is unlikely to be signed as legal hitches appear to have cropped up over the liability law, five other crucial agreements are expected to be signed.

Programme of cooperation in the field of bio-technology, MoU between Bureau of Energy Efficiency of India and Russian Energy Agency, and another MoU in the field of standardization and conformity assessment between Bureau of Indian Standards and Russian Metrology agency will be signed during the summit.

The Agreements also include one on Transfer of Sentenced Persons that will facilitate the process of social rehabilitation of sentenced persons of the other country by providing the opportunity to serve their sentences in their country under certain conditions.

Scientists Developed the World's First Bionic Man

Scientists developed the world's first robot human (Bionic man) made entirely of prosthetic parts.  The bionic man can walk, talk and has a beating heart.
Bionic man was assembled from prosthetic body parts and artificial organs donated by laboratories around the world.
The bionic man also has a nearly complete set of artificial organs including an artificial heart, blood, lungs (and windpipe), pancreas, spleen, kidney and functional circulatory system. 
He also sports a cochlear implant, speech recognition and speech production systems. The engineers equipped the bionic man with a sophisticated chatbot  programme that can carry on a conversation.
It also has a pair of robotic ankles and feet from BiOM in Bedford, Massachusetts, designed and worn by bioengineer Hugh Herr of MIT's Media Lab, who lost his own legs after getting trapped in a blizzard as a teenager. 
To support his prosthetic legs, the bionic man wears a robotic exoskeleton dubbed Rex .It was made by REX Bionics in New Zealand. 
He lacks a few major organs including liver, stomach and intestines, which are too complex to replicate in a lab. His brain can mimic certain functions of the human brain and he has a retinal prosthesis. 
Roboticists Rich Walker and Matthew Godden of Shadow Robot Co in England developed the bionic man.
The robot was modeled in some physical aspects after Bertolt Meyer, a social psychologist at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, who wears one of the world's most advanced bionic hands. The total cost for development of the robot is around 1 million US Dollars.

Dipika Pallikal Won Macau Open Squash Title 2013

India's ace Squash player Dipika Pallikal on 20 October 2013 won the Macau Open title at Macau, China. In the title clash Dipika stunned former World Number One Rachel Grinham of Australia, 12-10, 5-11, 11-7, 11-9. This was Dipika Pallikal's seventh Women's Squash Association title. 
The Macau Open 2013 is a squash tournament held in Macau, China on 15 to 20 October 2013. It is part of the PSA World Tour and the WSA World Tour. The prize money for the Macau Open is 35000 Dollars.

NASA discovered First Known Tilted Planetary System

NASA’s Kepler space telescope on 18 October 2013 discovered a distant planetary system in the Space. The newly discovered planetary system features two inner planets orbiting at a severe tilt to their host star called Kepler-56.  It is first known tilted star system. That axis is tilted 45 degrees to the line of sight from Earth. These findings allow scientists to get a detailed picture of a distant system that provides a new and critical test of our understanding of the structure of these how these solar systems.
The team of Scientists studied regular changes in the brightness of the host star, Kepler-56, which is an old red giant star with two planets in close orbits and a massive third planet in a distant orbit.
Scientists measured those oscillation frequencies and they measured the star’s diameter and other properties using spectroscopy data about the star’s temperature and chemistry. Kepler-56 is more than four times the radius of our Sun. Its mass is also 30 per cent more than our Sun. It is about 3000 light years from Earth.

Renowned Musician Madhuri Chattopadhyay Died

Renowned musician Madhuri Chattopadhyay died on 19 October 2013. She breathed her last at her Kolkata residence after suffering for a prolonged period. She was 73. Apart from film songs she had innumerable records. She was from West Bengal. She contributed immensely in the field of Bangla music.
Madhuri sang a few songs for Salil Chowdhury, and each one of them was a masterpiece. Songs such as Nijere haraaye khunji and Oi je sabuj bono bithika were unforgettable. Madhuri had an unique voice with quite a range. Salil composed 'Oi je sabuj bono bithika' which spans two-and-half octaves and uses fairly tricky jumps from one note to the other. Madhuri hits the notes without any flaw.
Music lovers will immediately recognise a glimpse of Beethoven's 6th Symphony (Pastoral) in the interlude of oi je sobuj bono beethika. In fact, Madhuri has recently re-recorded some of her songs from that golden period.
Usha Mangeshkar had also done recording of 4 songs of Madhuri in the '80s for the Megaphone company.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Lata Mangeshkar was Presented the First National Yash Chopra Memorial Award

Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar was presented the first national Yash Chopra Memorial Award at a star studded function in Mumbai on 19 October 2013 by the Ministry for Information and Broadcasting. The award is a tribute to the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra on the eve of his first death anniversary.
The award carries a cheque of 1 million rupees and a citation. Yash Chopra the memorial award will be given annually to people in recognition of their outstanding contribution in the field of art and culture.
The Yash Chopra Memorial Award has been instituted by the TSR Foundation of T. Subbarami Reddy.  Yash Chopra was a victim of dengue in Mumbai on 21 October 2013.
Lata Mangeshkar was conferred several national and international honours, including Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, three national film awards and the One Time Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2008 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of India's Independence.
Lata, had started her singing career in 1942.She has continued singing for over seven decades, which includes over a thousand Hindi movies. Moreover, She has given her voice in 36 Indian and foreign languages.

MoEF constituted a committee to Study the impact of Hydel Projects in Uttarakhand

Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 15 October 2013 constituted an expert committee to study whether the environmental degradation caused by hydro-electric projects on Alaknanda and Bhagirathi rivers led to Uttarakhand floods.
The expert committee will be headed by Prof. Ravi Chopra, Director of People’s Science Institute, Dehradun. The committee consists 17 members.

The terms of reference of the Expert Committee are:
1.The committee will examine the extent to which the projects were responsible for the Uttarakhand floods.
2.Committee will also examine the impact of the proposed 24 hydropower projects on the biodiversity of the region and look into the degradation caused by functioning as well as on-going hydro-projects.
3.The committee will also suggest suitable environmental safeguard measures to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts in respect of ongoing projects for which Environment Clearance have been granted including tourism projects and also suggest changes in project parameters if they feel it necessary.
4.The committee will also draft a Himalayan Policy for Uttarakhand keeping in mind the unique ecological, social and cultural characteristics of the state and suggest environment friendly development activities.
5.The MoEF has given the committee a period of three months to study the impact and submit a final report by 14 January 2014.

Minnie Mathew takes charge as CAT member

Former Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew took charge as the Member (Administration) of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Hyderabad Bench at HACA Bhavan on Thursday.
The CAT has been established for adjudication of disputes with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. It has its principal bench located at Delhi, with benches at various locations across India and one of the benches is located at Hyderabad.

Quality of air is worst in Delhi and Kolkata

World Heath Organization's (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer declared that air pollution as a major cause of cancer in India. The Agency stated that Delhi, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Jharkhand have high concentration of life-threatening air pollutants.
According to Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Report 2010, Kolkata and Delhi are among the worst affected cities in terms of air pollution. Figures compiled by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for 2009-11 have vindicated WHO’s concerns and placed the air pollution in the same category as tobacco, UV radiation and plutonium, which cause lung cancer causing agents.
Quoting the ICMR data which showed that the highest number of lung cancer cases was reported during 2009-11 in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata, noted environmentalist and director general of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) Sunita Narain said, "It is a worrying development. We need to take urgent steps to find ways to deal with the menace of air pollution which directly affects our health."

Indias tallest ATC tower to boost Mumbai air traffic

Built at the cost of Rs 100 crore, the 83.8 metres air traffic control (ATC) tower at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai is the highest ATC tower in India. The location and the height of the tower will give air traffic controllers an unobstructed view of the entire operational area, helping in optimizing air traffic separation and increasing the traffic-handling capacity at the airport.
The new tower is equipped with the latest technology, including electronic flight strips that will soften the workload of the tower controller, enhance safety and the overall capacity of the airport.

This tower, coupled with airside upgradation (addition of new taxiways and rapid-exit taxiways), will help reduce runway occupancy time and enhance efficiency levels and increase air traffic movements per hour.

Built over an area of 2,800 sq m, the new ATC tower in Mumbai will take care of 750 landings and take-offs in addition to controlling 960 other flights, including international overflying air traffic.

The ATC tower draws inspiration from the architectural design of the international airport at Hong Kong and its construction began in 2011.

Senate confirms two Indian-American women at key positions

The US Senate has confirmed the appointment of two Indian-American women at key administrative positions. Nisha Desai Biswal is appointed as the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, making her the first person from the community to hold the top diplomatic position. Biswal, who is currently the Assistant Administrator for Asia at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), will replace incumbent Robert Blake to head the key bureau in the State Department.

From 2005 to 2010, Biswal was the Majority Clerk for the State Department and Foreign Operations Subcommittee on the Committee on Appropriations in the US House of Representatives. From 2002 to 2005, she served as the Policy and Advocacy Director at InterAction. Previously, she served on the professional staff of the US House of Representatives International Relations Committee from 1999 to 2002.

On the other hand, Indian-American dancer Ranee Ramaswamy is confirmed as a member of the prestigious National Council on the Arts. An exponent of Bharatanatayam, Renee founded the Ragamala Music and Dance Theatre in 1992 at Minneapolis, Minnesota and started popularising this classical Indian dance form in the US.

The National Council on the Arts advises the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, who also chairs the Council, on agency policies and programmes. It reviews and makes recommendations to the Chairman on applications for grants, funding guidelines, and leadership initiatives.

Renee has been a disciple of Alarmel Valli, one of India's greatest living masters since 1984. She has worked with celebrated artists such as poet Robert Bly, jazz musician Howard Levy and legendary composer L. Subramaniam, the Cudamani ensemble of Indonesia and Wadaiko Ensemble Tokara of Japan.

Ranee and co-Artistic Director Aparna Ramaswamy were named the 2011 "Artist of the Year" by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Renee has been confirmed for a term expiring 3rd September 2018.

Telugu literary giant Ravuri Bharadwaja passes away

Jnanpith awardee and a prominent writer in Telugu, Ravuri Bharadwaja passed away here in Hyderabad on Friday night. He was 86. He was undergoing treatment at Care Hospital, Banjara Hills, for the past five days for multi-organ failure.

Bharadwaja, who struggled in his initial years due to poverty and overcame many an obstacle to pursue his passion, is the only third writer of eminence from the State to achieve the rare feat of winning the prestigious Jnanpith Award for the year 2012.

Bharadwaja was educated up to Class VII only. However his books are used as course works in BA, MA and there have even been several PhD degrees awarded for research on his works. He got honorary doctorates from Andhra, Nagarjuna and Jawaharlal Nehru Technological Universities for his literary prowess. 

Bharadhwaja has been twice awarded the State Sahitya Academy Award for Literature and in 1983 was the winner of the Central Sahitya Academy Award. In 1968, he was the inaugural recipient of the Gopichand Literary Award. He was conferred the Rajalakshmi Award for Literature in 1987 and the Lok Nayak Foundation’s Literary Award in 2009. In 2013, he became the third Telugu author to be conferred the Jnanpith award for his novel ‘Paakudu Raallu’. Viswanatha Satyanarayana and C. Narayana Reddy were the earlier recipients.

He had 37 collections of short stories, 17 novels, four play-lets, and five radio plays to his credit. He also contributed profusely to children's literature.

Saudi Arabia rejects UN Security Council seat

Saudi Arabia has rejected a rotating non-permanent seat at the Security Council, as a mark of protest against the perceived inaction by the world body against Syria. Alongside its anger over inaction on Syria, Saudi Arabia also cited the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the failure to resolve the Palestinian crisis as reasons for declining its first ever seat on the Security Council.
The kingdom condemned what it called international double standards on the Middle East and demanded reforms in the Security Council, which has been at odds on ways to end the fighting in Syria.

Unlike in the past, when Riyadh's frustration was mostly directed at Russia and China, it is now also aimed at Washington, its oldest international ally, which has pursued policies since the Arab Spring that Saudi rulers have bitterly opposed.

Saudi Arabia’s decision follows the recent UNSC resolution backing a Moscow-brokered deal that commits Syria to destroying its entire stockpile of chemical weapons to avoid possible western military strikes. Saudi Arabia slammed the move, which has allowed weapons inspectors to move into Syria to tally and destroy the Assad government’s arsenal of chemical weapons. Riyadh is also widely perceived as a major supporter of armed fighters battling the Assad regime

Friday, October 18, 2013

India tops new Global Slavery Index

UNSC elects five new non permanent members

The UN General Assembly elected Chad, Chile, Lithuania, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to a two-year term in the UN Security Council (UNSC), the organisation's most powerful body. The new members will begin their two-year term on January 01, 2014, replacing Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo.
Nigeria garnered 186 votes, Chad won 184 votes, Saudi Arabia 176, Lithuania 187 and Chile 186, said John William Ashe, the president of the UN General Assembly. 
Chad, Saudi Arabia and Lithuania have never served on the most powerful UN body while Nigeria and Chile have both been on the council four times previously.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

India’s Fastest ODI Century Scorer Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli became fastest century scorer (in 52 balls) of India on 16 October 2013 in One day International (ODI) held at Jaipur. He was the seventh fastest century scorer in ODI in the world.
He made the fastest Century in ODI's against Australia in Jaipur on 16 October 2013.
Virender Sehwag was the second fastest century scorer (60 balls) in One day International (ODI) in India.

New Species of Giant Amazon Fish Discovered in Brazil

Scientists from the State University New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry discovered a new species of arapaima - a giant torpedo-shaped fish - in the central Amazon waters of Brazil. The discovery was reported in October 2013 scientific journal Copeia.

According to National Geographic it is the first new arapaima species to be discovered since 1847. Arapaimas are huge freshwater fish native to the Amazon River in Brazil and can reach lengths of more than 2 m and weigh up to 200 kg.

For the last two centuries, arapaimas are most important commercial fishes in freshwaters of the Amazon and it has high economic, cultural and scientific value, but their diversity has been overlooked.

Scientists stated that the discovery of Arapaima suggests there may be important new conservation issues to consider, particularly with regards to overfishing and the region's expanding fish farming industry.