All India Tiger Estimation

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All India Tiger Estimation ( 2010 )

India’s population of endangered tigers has increased by 225 animals since 2007, according to the results of the latest census released at the International Tiger Conservation Conference in New Delhi. The government estimated tiger numbers at 1,706, up from 1,411 during the last count in 2006. However, the 1,706 figure includes an additional tiger reserve in the count, the Sundarbans that contained 70 tigers. This area was not counted in 2006. So, when comparing the previous survey with the current one, the official estimate stands at 1,636, excluding the Sundarbans, or an increase of 225 animals. There is a considerable rise of tiger numbers in southern states, where Karnataka shows the highest figure of 320 estimated tigers. This worldwide plan to bring the species back from the brink of extinction by doubling the world tiger population by 2022 was forged last November at an international tiger conservation meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia hosted by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Wild tigers are now found in Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, China and Russia.

The 2010 National Tiger Assesment has several innovations over previous assesment.
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  • Partnership with civil society organisation such as Wildlife Trust of India, Aaranyak, World Wildlife Fund for Nature India. Additional technical expertise from centre for cellular and Molecular Biology.
  • Genetic analysis to estimate tiger population from faecal samples.
  • First estimation of tiger population in Sahyadri Tiger Reserve ( Maharashtra ).
  • Along with, tigers, co – predators, prey and habitat quality assessed.

This country level assessment is done once in every four years, and is a collaborative initiative between the National Tiger Conservation Authority ( NTCA ), Wildlife Institution of India ( WII ), and tiger States and outside expertise. There is a decline of 12.6% in tiger occupancy from connecting habitats. This has happened in peripheral and dispersal areas having low densities outside tiger reserves and tiger source populations.

The increase in tiger numbers is due to the fact that tiger populations in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in tiger density. The inclusion of Sunderbans, some portions of North East and parts of Maharashtra have also contributed to the increase. The methodology consisted of a double sampling approach – Phase I by Forest Departments generate indices of abundance, Phase II – Remotely sensed information on landscape characteristics in a Geographical Instruments System ( GIS ). Phase III – research biologists sample areas with remote cameras and modern technology to determine tiger abundance.

A total effort of 81,409 trap nights yielded photo – captures of 635 unique tiger from a total camera trapped area of 11,192 km2 over 29 sites.

Tiger occupied forests in India were classified into 6 landscape complexes : ( a ) Shivalik Hills and the Gangetic Plain , ( b ) Central India ( c ) Eastern Ghats , ( d ) Western Ghats, ( e ) North – Eastern Hills and Brahmaputra Plains, and ( f ) Suderbans. The report is not about tiger numbers alone and gives invaluable information on connectivity, corridors and habitats.

National Centre for Cold Chain Development Set Up

The Government has established the National Centre for Cold Chain Development ( NCCD ) as an autonomous body. It has been registered as a society in 2011 under Society Registration Act, 1860.

The mandate of NCCD is to prescribe technical standards for cold chain infrastructure for perishable food items, including fresh fruits and vegetables and undertaking their periodic revision, besides human resources development programs for meeting the needs of skilled manpower of the cold chain sector. The NCCD has constituted the following committees :

    1. Technical specification and Standards Committees.
    2. Project preparation, Appraisal and Project Certification Committee.
    3. Training and HRD Committee.
    4. R&D Committee.
    5. Test Laboratory and Product Certification Committee.
    6. Application of Non – conventional Energy Sources in Cold Chain Infrastructure.

( b ) The establishment of cold chain is being supported through programs of NHM, NHB, APEDA and Ministry of Food Processing Industries. ( c ) The Government has approved an amount of 725.00 crore as budgetary provision for XI Plan period towards creation of cold chain infrastructure as well as establishment of NCCD.

Second Green Revolution to Develop High Potential Eastern Region

A strategic initiative ‘Bringing Green Revolution in Eastern India’ to develop high potential Eastern Region of the country for food grains production has been launched since 2010 – 2011. The program is being implemented as a sub Scheme of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojaria ( RKVY ) in seven eastern States namely Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh ( Eastern ) and West Bengal. The program is intended to improve the crop productivity of the Region by addressing the underlying constraints.
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The State wise funds allocated during 2010 – 2011 and 2011 – 2012 are as under

Sl.No
Courses
Specializations
Eligibility
Age Limit
1.
BSc
Nautical SciencePass in HSC / ( 10 + 2 ) From a Recognized Board With 45%
Average in PCM ( Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics Subject ).
Maximum 25 Yrs
2.
BTech
Naval Architecture & Ship Building CoursePass in ( 10+2 ) with PCM SubjectsMaximum 25 Yrs
Marine EngineeringPass in HSC / ( 10+2 ) From a Recognized Board With 45%
Average in PCM ( Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics Subject ).
Maximum 25 Yrs
3.
DNS
Nautical SciencePass in HSC / ( 10+2 ) From a Recognized Board with 45%
Average in PCM ( Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics Subject ). (or)

B.Sc in Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics or Electronics with
Physics as individual subject in one of the years with an average of
not less than 55% marks in the Final Year. (or)

BE (or)

B.Tech Degree.
1. Up to 25 years For H.Sc / 10 +2 candidates
2. Up to 25 years For B.Sc., candidates
3. Up to 25 years For BE / B.Tech candidates

Green Revolution was launched in India in 1970s specially for Rice and Wheat crops. The North Western States of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh ( Western UP ) were the major beneficiary States of Green Revolution. These States have been producing food grains to meet the requirements of the country, which has resulted in over exploitation of the natural resources so much so that the production levels are now stagnating. To meet the growing demand, and sustain the agriculture operations in North Western States, there is need to develop other potential areas in the country to produce additional quantities of food grains. Programs like National Food Security Mission and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana were launched to develop the potential districts and revive agriculture sector all across the country.

India – Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( CEPA ) came into Force

India – Japan CEPA ( Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ) came into force on 1st August 2011. This is India’s 3rd Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( after Singapore and South Korea ) and India’s first with a developed country. The Agreement is most comprehensive of all the agreements concluded by India so far as it covers more than 90% of trade, a vast gamut of services, investment, IPR, customs and other trade – related issues. Under the India – Japan CEPA only 17.4% of the tariff – lines have been offered for immediate reduction of tariff to zero % by India. Tariffs will be brought to zero in 10 years on 66.32% of tariff lines to give sufficient time to industry to adjust to the trade liberalization. The Japanese side has put 87% of its tariff lines under immediate reduction of tariff to zero. A large number of these items are of India’s export interest e.g. seafood, agricultural products such as mangoes, citrus fruits, spices, instant tea, most spirits such as rum, whiskies, vodka etc, textile products such as woven fabrics, yarns, synthetic yarn, ready made garments, petro chemical &chemicals products, cement, jewellery, etc. The exclusion list of Japan ( where no tariff concessions are proposed ) mainly consists of items such as rice, wheat, oil, milk, sugar, leather and leather products. The trade volume of items in the Japanese exclusion list is only 2.93%.

India’s exclusion list contains 1538 ( 13.62% ) lines at the 8 digit level. Auto parts and agricultural and other sensitive items have been kept out of the liberalization schedule. Under India – Japan CEPA the Japanese government shall accord no less favorable treatment to the applications of Indian companies than that it accords, to the like applications of its own persons for drug registration. This will greatly help Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Under India – Japan CEPA, Indian professionals will be able to provide their services and contribute towards further development of Japan’s IT Sector. Japanese side has also agreed to conclude Social Security Agreement within a specified period ( 3 years ). Contractual Service Suppliers ( CSS ), Independent Professionals ( IPs ) such as Accounting, R& D Services, Tourist Guide, Market Research; and Management Consulting firms now can provide services in Japan. Under the India – Japan CEPA, India will be benefited by Japanese investments, technology and world – class management practices that come with it. Japan can take advantage of India’s huge and growing market and resources, especially its human resources. The Agreement which is comprehensive in nature will further strengthen India – Japan economic ties to the benefit of both countries immensely. CEPA provides a win – win situation for both the countries. The India Japan CEPA was signed on 16th February, 2011 in Tokyo. The current bilateral trade between India and Japan is a little over 12.6 billion US dollars and it is expected that it will touch 25 billion US dollars by 2014.
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India and South Korea Signed Agreement on the Peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy

The President of India Pratibha Devisingh Patil visited South Korea on 24 – 27th July, 2011 as a part of her two – nation tour which also includes Mongolia. The state visit of the Indian President was aimed at accelerating India’s cooperation with South Korea. During this visit, India and Korea signed the following agreements :

  1. Agreement between India and Korea for cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
  2. MoU signed between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Ministry of Culture, sports and tourism of Korea on Media exchanges.
  3. Administrative Arrangement for Social Security arrangement.

Besides these agreements, India and Korea discussed the possibilities of cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space. The two nations also discussed the expansion of defence cooperation between our countries In particular India and South Korea agreed to enhance cooperation and coordination in the East Asia Summit Process as also on issues pertaining to the Asia Pacific. Both nations also examined ways of working together in other international fora. The movement of people between the two countries had increased considerably and today apparently a 100,000 Koreans are visiting India every year, and about 50,000 Indians are visiting Korea every year. The Republic of Korea ( South Korea ) is an important partner of India in North East Asia.

India and Britain Confirmed Trade Deals Worth Billions of Pounds

India and Britain on 26th July, 2011 confirmed trade deals worth billions of pounds after the talks concluded between Union Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in London. The talks were a part of the Economic and Financial dialogue between the : two countries. The commercial ties are growing between UK and India. Around 3000 British firms were either investing in or planning ‘to invest in India. India and UK also issued a joint statement at the end of the Economic and Financial dialogue. The main features of the joint statement are as following :

  • Both countries are committed to the implantation of credible, medium – term fiscal consolidation plans as they meet their commitments through the G20 Framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth.
  • India and UK discussed the vital role that foreign banks play in both countries in driving innovation, furthering inclusion and bringing new technology into our markets. Both sides welcomed the Reserve Bank of India’s paper on foreign banks.

EndoBarrier to Cure Diabetes

British scientists developed an implanted sleeve which can cure diabetes. The implanted sleeve looks like a giant sausage skin. It’s two feet long device which can reverse diabetes. The sleeve is made from a thin plastic. The new device is called the EndoBarrier. It is designed to have the same effects as the surgery but far safer.

It is a plastic sleeve that lines the duodenum, meaning food can only be absorbed lower down the intestine. The sleeve is inserted through the mouth and passed into the digestive tract using a thin tube. The implant also I decreases cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

mchip

Scientists at the Columbia University developed a $1 plastic chip that can diagnose HIV and syphilis in 15 minutes. The chip named the “mChip”, a credit – card – sized piece of plastic that is made applying a plastic injection molding process Examines multiple diseases with just one pinprick of blood I Nothing moves inside the chip, and the microfluidics – based chip can be examined with assist from a cheap visual sensor. The chip detects 100% of cases when utilized to test HIV or syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus together, with a 4% to 6% false positive rate. That’s same to what is ascertained with common laboratory exams in the developed world. mChip’ can diagnose prostatic adenocarcinoma. It has already been authorized for use in Europe.

NATGRID

Government of India has formed National Intelligence Grid ( NATGRID ). The aim of this grid is for anti terrorism. The project which will facilitate robust information sharing among law enforcement agencies to combat terror threats at home and abroad. It will become operational from January 2013.

NATGRID was formed after the terror attacks on Mumbai, to design the system which will share the information. The project got clearance in May this year. Fund of ₹ 1200 / – crore is sanctioned by the Cabinet Committee on Security. This will help in creating the basic infrastructure over next 18 months. NATGRID is linking 21 data sources from 11 intelligence agencies to collect actual information, which .will support NATGRID to tight against terrorism. NATGRID is a tool for security agencies to find and capture information on suspects of terror. It uses the data from Telecom companies, Banks, and Immigration department. This will help a query on information. With information, investigative process will fetch responses in a timely and secure manner. Hopefully, the law enforcement and intelligence agencies will be able to reduce the number of terrorist incidents as they wilt be able to identify, capture and prosecute terrorists in a more efficient manner.

Banks was asked to give information of their customers to the NATGRID. But banks have denied to do so, saying it is the violation of privacy right of the customers and the possibility of miss use of the information. The banks will not pass any information about their customers to NATGRID, until any law is passed and the banks are forced to do so. Raghu Raman, CEO Mahindra Special Services Group, was deputed as CEO of the National Intelligence Grid ( Natgrid ).

India’s first Transshipment Hub being Created in Kochi

India’s first International Container Transshipment Terminal ( ICTT ) is being created in Kochi. It envisages development of facilities for handling mother container ships of 8000+ Twenty Feet Equivalent Units ( TEUs ) capacities. The facilities include 1800 metres berth and supporting handling equipments for annual throughput of 3 million – TEU along with supporting infrastructure.

In terms of the Licence Agreement between Cochin Port Trust and M / s India Gateway Terminal Private Ltd ( IGTPL ), the terminal is to be developed in phases. Phase – 1 of ICTT comprises of construction of 600 metres berth and development of stacking area and other allied facilities including supporting infrastructure of 172 KM four lane National Highway ( NH ) connectivity from Kalamassery to Vallarpadam, rail connectivity of 8.86 KM from Edapally to Vallarpadam and Capital Dredging for Deepening and Widening of the Approach Channel and Berth Basin of ICCTT to provide draught of 14.5 metres. The first phase of ICTT project along with the two lane NH connectivity, rail connectivity and Capital Dredging have been commissioned on 11th February, 2011.

With the implementation of this project, need for transshipment of Indian containers through ports of other countries will be reduced substantially thereby resulting in reduced transportation cost and time to the trade. Railways and National Highways for transportation between hinterland and port will be optimally utilized. The terminal will also facilitate in setting up of port based industries and their allied facilities such as Container Freight Station, Island Container Depots, port based Special Economic Zones, transportation of cargo through Inland Waterways, Logistics, Warehousing Centers etc in the State of Kerala which will generate additional employment : opportunities.

Illinois becomes 16th US state to abolish death penalty

Illinois on 9th March, 2011 became the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty, capping a decade of debate over the fairness of capital punishment in a justice system rife with wrongful convictions. Governor Pat Quinn who had long been a supporter of death penalty finally signed the bill into law on 10th March, 2011, The new law came into effect on 1st July, 2011. New Mexico had been the most recent state to repeat the death penalty doing so in 2009.

Shantanu Narayen appointed Member of Obama’s Management Advisory Board

US President Barack Obama on 11th March, 2011 appointed Shantanu Narayen, President and CEO of Adobe Systems, as a member of his Management Advisory. Board. Along with Narayen, Obama appointed nine other eminent individuals to President’s Management Advisory Board ( PMAB ). PMAB was established by an Executive Order in April 2010 to advice on how to implement best business practices on matters related to Federal Government management and operation focusing on productivity] the application of technology and customer service.

Carlos Slim is world’s richest person – Forbes

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu remained the richest person in the world with USD 74 billion in assets, while NRI steel magnate Lakshami Mittal ranked sixth and Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani is placed ninth in the US magazine Forbes annual list of world’s top billionaires released on 10th March, 2011. The Mexican billionaire is followed by Microsoft founder and now a full time philanthropist Bill Gates with a net worth of USD 56 billion and Investment guru Warren Buffet at the third spot with assets worth USD 50 billion. Total number of billionaires, this year, has increased to a record 1,210 from 1,011 last year. Though America has the 33 per cent of the mega – rich, Asia – Pacific region has surged forward and overtook Europe for the first time. As many as 50 Indians made it to the Forbes list of world billionaires for 2011.

Top among them are : Lakshmi Mittal of ArcelorMittal ( worth $31 bn ), Mukesh Ambani of R1L ( $27bn ), Azim Premji of Wipro ( 16.8 bn ), Shashi & Ravi Ruia of Essar ( $15.8 bn ), Savitri Jindal & family of Jindal Group ( $ 13.2 bn ), Gautam Adani of Adani Group ( $10 bn ), Kumar Mangalam Birla of AV Birla Group ( $9.2 bn ), Anil Ambani of ADAG ( $8.8 bn ), Sunil Mittal & family of Bharti Airtel Group ( $8.3 bn ) and Adi Godrej & family of Godrej Group ( $7.3 billion ).

Jaitapur protesters

Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is a new proposed 9900 MW power project of Nuclear Fbwer Corporation of India ( NPCIL ) at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra. It will be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net electrical power rating once completed. French nuclear engineering firm Areva S.A. and Indian state – owned nuclear operator Nuclear power Corporation of India signed this multi billion valued agreement of about $9.3 billion.

On 6th December, 2010 agreement was signed for the construction of first set of two third – generation European Pressurized Reactors / Evolutionary power Reactors ( EPR ) and the supply of nuclear fuel for 25 years in the presence of French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. As of 2010 India is on the sixth in rank of an elite club of nations, after USA, France, Japan, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Korea, to have twenty or more nuclear power reactors in operation

Minus points :

Since Jaitapur being seismically sensitive area, the danger of an accident has been foremost on the minds of people. According to the Earthquake hazard zoning of India, Jaitapur comes under Zone III. This zone is called the moderate Risk Zone and covers areas liable to MSK VIII.

The presence of two major creeks on the proposed site has been ignored while clearing the site. The environmental impact assessment and other associated studies of the Jaitapur project have been carried out in detail over the last few years by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute ( NEERI ), Nagpur in collaboration with several other reputed organizations specializing in specific environment studies.

Protestors and Organization :

  • Scores of protesters, were arrested at Madban, around 12 km from Jaitapur. Leaders of voluntary groups Konkan Bachao Andolan and Janahit Seva Samiti, which were spearheading the agitation.
  • The Konkan Vinashkari Prakalp Virodhi Samiti, the Konkan Bachao Samiti and a coalition of trade unions, anti – nuclear groups and democratic rights activists participated in the march Adwait Ftednekar of the Konkan Bachao Samiti and Pravin Gavankar of Janhit Seva Samiti.
  • Around 200 villagers from Madban, Mithgavane, Karel, Niveli and Ansure were arrested in the last three months after they participated in rallies against the acquisition of their farmlands for the plant.

Enquiry : The two judges – Justice AP Shah and Justice Sampat – held public hearings, in Mithgawane village on behalf of the Indian People’s Tribunal ( IPT ) on environment and human rights.

Indian People’s Tribunal

  • The Indian People’s Tribunal on Environment and Human Rights ( IPT ) was formed on 5th June, 1993 to conduct fair and credible, investigations focusing on issues concerning human rights and environmental justice.
  • IPT completed 10 years of work in June 2003. Through the hearings conducted so far it has gained acceptance and continues to advocate for a change in the attitudes of the judiciary and government officials in responding to the grievances of socio – economically disadvantaged communities through greater transparency and accountability.

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CERN associate membership

India has applied to the European Organization for Nuclear Research ( CERN ) at Geneva in Switzerland for associate membership. Currently, researchers of institutes that collaborate with the CERN can only be deputed there for short periods of time. It will also open the gates for the private sector to the international research organization. Under the scheme, associate membership is an essential pre – requisite for membership to the organization. Thus countries may apply for associate membership alone, or apply to become associate members on the route to becoming members of the organization.

About CERN

The European Organization for Nuclear Research ( Bench : Organization] Europeenne pour la Recherche Nucleaire ), known as CERN, is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, which is situated in the Northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco – Swiss border. The convention establishing CERN was ratified on 29th September, 1954 by 12 countries in Western Europe.

Scientific achievements
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Several important achievements in particle physics have been made during experiments at CERN. They include :

  • 1973 : The discovery of neutral currents in the Gargamelle bubble chamber.
  • 1983 : The discovery of W and Z bosons in the UA1 and UA2 experiments.
  • 1989 : The determination of the number of light neutrino families at the Large Electron – Positron Collider ( LEP ) operating on the Z boson peak.
  • 1995 : The first creation of antihydrogen atoms in the PS210 experiment.
  • 1999 : The discovery of direct CP – violation in the NA48 experiment.
  • 2010 : The isolation of 38 atoms of anti – hydrogen

The 1984 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer for the developments that led to the discoveries of the W and Z bosons. The 1992 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to CERN staff researcher Georges Charpak “for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber.”

Members

  • Slovakia joined in 1993 ( together with Czech Republic increasing the total members to 19 )
  • Bulgaria joined in 1999 ( 20 member states )
  • There are currently twenty ( 20 ) member countries, 18 of which are also European Union member states.
  • Romania became a candidate for accession to CERN in’ 2010 and will become the 21st member country in 2015
  • Serbia became a candidate for accession to CERN in December 2010. Accession talks are expected to last 3 years.

Six ( 6 ) additional countries have observer status :

Turkey – since 1961, Israel – since 1991, Russia – since 1993, Japan – since 1995, United States – since 1997, India – since 2002.

Study on quakes at Koyna

The seismic activity in Koyna region, which houses the state Ns largest dam that provides electricity to a major portion of Maharashtra, will now be the subject matter of an Indo – German international study for better understanding of Reservoir – Triggered Seismicity ( RTS ).Efforts are underway to build a new scientific initiative especially to understand the seismic activity of Koyna region in detail by drilling deep boreholes below the ground to place a network of seismic sensors. For this purpose, an MOU has been signed on 7th January, 2011 with the German Research Centre for Geosciences ( GFZ ) on behalf of the ICDP for an initial period of five years.

The occurrence of earthquakes is governed by factors like rate of loading, highest water levels reached, duration of retention of high water levels and whether the previous water maxima has been exceeded or not,” the note adds. The continuing seismicity at Koyna for the past 47 years, therefore, provides a unique opportunity to directly measure the physical and mechanical properties of rocks, pore fluid pressure, hydrology, temperature and other parameters of an intraplate, active, fault zone in the “near – field” of earthquakes – before, during and after their occurrence, in a restricted area and at depths of 6 – 7 km that can be accessed by drilling with the existing technological expertise. The project, costing anywhere between ₹ 200 crore and ₹ 400 crore, will be the first of its kind in the world and is being taken up at the Koyna region in Maharashtra. As part of the project, a 7 – km deep borehole drilling has been planned. Koyna is the best known example of reservoir – triggered earthquakes.

The project will be funded mainly by the Ministry of Earth Sciences and supported by other national and international organizations. It would provide a better understanding of the earthquake processes and also “what exactly is below the Deccan traps.” Another similar project to drill a deep bore hole in the ocean ( Arabian Sea ) was also being planned in collaboration with the United States. Earthquakes have been occurring since the impoundment of the reservoir in 1962, including the largest RTS event of M 6.3 on 10th December, 1967.
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Sonia seventh most powerful woman

Congress party president Sonia Gandhi figures as the seventh most powerful woman of the world in the Forbes list which is topped by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The 64 – year – old Sonia Gandhi, who is recouping from surgery in a US hospital, is ranked seventh, just ahead of US First Lady Michelle Obama in a list of 100 most powerful women of the world released by the Forbes magazine. Indian – American Indra Nooyi, the head of soft drink giant PepsiCo, has been ranked fourth, followed by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and Melinda Gates co – chair and co – founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Two Indian corporate executives Chandra Kochhar of the IC1C1 ( 43rd ) and Kiran Mazumdar – Shaw of Biocon ( 99th ) have figured in this list in which the third place is occupied by President Dilma Rousseff, who became Brazil’s first woman president.

“Gandhi is an avid scholar of the arts, and holds a degree in oil painting conservation. She recently underwent surgery in the US,” it added. “The managing director and CEO of India’s second – largest bank, Chanda Kochhar rules over assets of $118 billion and profits of $1.35 million.”

“India’s first biotech entrepreneur, Kiran Mazumdar – Shaw founded Biocon in 1978. Since then Biocon has become only the second Indian firm to list a USD 1 billion IPO on its first day of trading.”

German Chancellor Merkel is head of the one real global economy in Europe and is the “undisputed” leader of the EU. W

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton moved up to No 2 from last year’s No 5. In her second year on the job, the US Secretary of State continues to earn high marks for advancing US interests and policies overseas and pushing women’s issues, development and education to the top of the foreign policy agenda, Forbes said.
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NASA launches Mission Juno to Jupiter

NASA launched the $1.1 billion satellite Juno atop an Atlas V 551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, after almost a decade of building and testing the spacecraft. Mission Juno will offer an unprecedented look beneath the clouds of Jupiter and offer insight into how the solar system was formed. Once Juno separates from the rocket, its three solar arrays each the size of a tractor trailer will unfold and face the sun. The energy the panels absorb horn the sun will power the rocket throughout the mission

GRAIL

NASA’s discovery mission programme – GRAIL – launched 10th September, 2011 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory twin spacecraft are tasked for a nine – month mission to explore Earth’s nearest neighbour in unprecedented detail. They will determine the structure of the lunar interior from crust to core and advance our understanding of the thermal evolution of the moon, Xinhua reported.

The spacecraft twins, GRAIL A and B, will fly a circuitous route to lunar orbit taking 3.5 months and covering approximately 2.6 million miles ( 4.2. million km ) for GRAIL – A, and 2.7 million miles ( 4.3 million km ) for GRAIL – B. “GRAIL will unlock lunar mysteries and help us understand how the moon, Earth and other rocky planets evolved as well,” said Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. GRAIL’s launch period opens Sept 8 and extends through Oct 19.

Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel cells

A team of University of Southern California scientists has developed a robust, efficient method of using hydrogen as a fuel source. A possible solution is to store hydrogen in a safe chemical form. Earlier this year, Williams and his team figured out a way to release hydrogen from an innocuous chemical material – a nitrogen – boron complex, ammonia borane – that can be stored as a stable solid. Now the team has developed a catalyst system that releases enough hydrogen from its storage in ammonia borane to make it usable as a fuel source. Moreover, the system is air – stable and re – usable, unlike other systems for hydrogen storage on boron and metal r hydrides. Hydrogen makes a great fuel because of it can easily be converted to electricity in a fuel cell and because it is carbon free. The downside of hydrogen is that, because it is a gas, it can only be stored in high pressure or cryogenic tanks.

Pashchimbanga

The proposed change of name of the State of West Bengal to Pashchimbanga has roused mixed emotions. The new name was accepted unanimously at an all – party meeting on August 19, following the submission of the proposal of the two – member committee set up for the specific purpose of changing the name. The proposal to be sent to the centre for its approved after ratifying it by the state assembly. Ironically, in 1999, when there was. a move to change the State’s name during the chief ministership of the late Jyoti Basu, it was the Left that had suggested the name Pashchimbanga. The Congress rejected it in favour of “Bangla”. However, when an all – party delegation from the State went to meet the then Union Home Minister, L.K.Advani, the matter was not met with much enthusiasm. The term West Bengal first came into being in 1905 when Lord Curzon, the then Governor General, decided to partition Bengal into two halves on administrative grounds though many people believed that the move was meant to stamp out any republican sentiment that was on the rise.

East Bengal was created in October 1905, and along with Assam, this new province was placed under a Lieutenant Governor; West Bengal, along with Bihar and Orissa, was placed in charge of another Lieutenant Governor. This unleashed a massive political agitation, which forced the colonial rulers to review their decision. Finally, the two parts of Bengal were merged into one province under a Governor in 1911. Bengal was once again partitioned in 1947 when one half became East Pakistan, and the other once again became West Bengal, this time a State of the Union of India.

National Clean Energy Fund to fund for clean energy technologies

The constitution of ‘National Clean Energy Fund’ ( NCEF ) has been approved by CCEA in the public account of India along with the guidelines as well as modalities for approval of projects, to be funded from the Fund. The Finance Bill 2010 – 2011 provided for creation of a corpus called National Clean Energy Rind to invest in entrepreneurial ventures and research in the field of clean energy technologies. Subsequent to the budget announcement, the Central Board of Excise & Customs ( CBEC ) issued a notification dated 22nd June, 2010 to notify the Clean Energy Cess Rules, 2010.

An Inter Ministerial Group, IMG has been constituted to approve the projects / schemes eligible for financing under the National Clean Energy Fund ( NCEF ), consisting of following members :

  • Finance Secretary – Chairperson
  • Secretary ( Expenditure ) – Member
  • Secretary ( Revenue ) – Member

Representatives from Ministries of Power, Coed, Chemicals & Fertilizers, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy and Environment & Forests. The National Clean Energy Fund ( NCEF ) will be used for funding research and innovative projects in clean energy technologies. Any project or scheme for innovative methods to adopt to clean energy technology and research & development shall be eligible for funding under the NCEF. Government assistance under the NCEF shall in no case exceed 40% of the total project cost. A standard format for submission and evaluation of projects shall be designed by the IMG to receive proposals from various ministries of Government of India. Proposals for loan or viability gap funding by Individuals / consortiums are to be submitted to the concerned Ministry first, which, after due consideration, shall place them before the IMG. The IMG may seek the views of technical experts from related organizations and individuals of repute in the area of clean energy to review, evaluate and recommend projects. There will be a time frame specified under the scheme for processing of applications at each stage. The IMG will identify / appoint appropriate professional agencies to monitor progress of NCEF funded projects.
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