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Science and Technology

May 11: National Technology Day


Every year, `National Technology Day is observed across India on May 11.
This day glorifies the importance of science in day-to-day life and motivates students to
adopt science as a career option.
National Technology Day is being commemorated to celebrate the anniversary of first of the
five tests of Operation Shakti (Pokhran-II) nuclear test which was held on 11 May 1998 in
Pokhran, Rajasthan.
Apart from Pokhran nuclear test, on this day first indigenous aircraft Hansa-3 was test flown
at Bangalore and India also conducted successful test firing of the Trishul missile on the
same day.

Huge Lava Lake Spotted on Jupiters Moon Io


Huge Lava Lake was spotted on Jupiters Moon Io by an extremely powerful telescope on
Earth named Large Binocular telescope Interferometer (LBTI).
LBTI located on Mount Graham in Arizona, United States had taken highest resolution
ground-based images of Io. This finding was published in the Astronomical Journal.
Images have revealed that the lava lake has thick lava crust which has solidified onto it. This
thick lave crust periodically sinks into the lake as it fills up with lava, and then it cools of
again.
The discovery provides clues to the interior structure and plumbing of the moon Io. It will
also help to pave the way for future NASA missions such as the Io Volcano Observer.

About Jupiters Moon Io


Io is one of the innermost of the four moons of Jupiter which was discovered by Italian
scientist and scholar Galileo (Galilei) in 1610.
It is named Loki after the Norse god who is often associated with fire and chaos. Its
volcanic feature is called a patera.
Loki is 200km in diameter and located at least 373 million miles from Earth.
It is one of the most geologically active body in our solar system and has hundreds of
volcanic areas dot on its surface, which is mostly covered with Sulphur and Sulphur dioxide.

NASAs 10-Engine Electric Plane named GL-10 Completes Flight Test


May 7, 2015
NASA successfully tested a 10-Engine Electric Plane named Greased Lightning-10 (GL-10)
that that can take of and land like a helicopter and fly efficiently like an aircraft.
During several test flights, remotely piloted GL-10 prototype successfully transitioned from
hover to wing-borne flight.

Key features of NASAs Greased Lightning-10 (GL-10)


GL-10 is remotely piloted plane similar as Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
It is designed and developed in such a way that it can take of like a helicopter and fly
like an airplane.
It is a battery-powered 10-engine and has a 3.05 meters wingspan. 8 electric motors
are mounted on the wings. 2 electric motors are mounted on the tail.
It weighs a maximum of 28.1 kilogrammes at take-of.
Due to its versatile vertical takeof and landing ability produces less noise.

Applications: Can be used as UAV for small package delivery or vertical take-of and
landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications.
Its modified scaled up version can be used as four person size personal air vehicle.

Microsoft launches Edu-Cloud with aim to Make Learning Fun


May 6, 2015
Information technology giant, Microsoft has launched a cloud computing-based ofering EduCloud with an aim to Make Learning Fun.
It seeks to enhance digital learning and teaching in schools and higher education institutions
in India through virtual learning platforms.
Edu-Cloud by with the help of cloud computing technology will create, deliver and manage
educational content from any device, anywhere, anytime in order to make learning easy and
fun.
It is expected, Edu-Cloud will benefit around 1 million teachers and 6 million students in over
1,500 institutes across India in next 18 months.
Initially the company will tie-up with the Hyderabad based Chaitanya group of educational
institutions which will adopt Edu-Cloud for its teachers and students in its 80 schools.
Teachers and students of these schools will use Microsofts Windows-powered tablets in
order to access rich, interactive and relevant content from cloud to make learning and
teaching more engaging and productive.
Tags: Business Education Microsoft Science & Technology

India home to 48 species of bumblebees


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May 5, 2015No comments

Recently released book Indian Bumblebees has revealed that India is home to 48 of the 250
known species of bumblebees.
The book is written by entomologist M.S. Saini and co-authors Rifat H. Raina and Harpeet
Singh Ghator.
These 48 known species of bumblebees native to India and are the only pollinators of
vegetation in high-altitude regions.

Key facts about Indian Bumblebees


Bumblebees are social insects and live in colonies and the size of it depends on the
species. They are similar to the honeybees.
Mostly characterised by yellow, black and reddish body hair and are often striped.

Generally found on altitudes of 2,000-15,000 feet along the entire Himalayas from
Jammu & Kashmir to Nagaland.
Life cycle: The founder of the Bumblebees colony is the queen. She hibernates
throughout winter and in spring finds a site for new nest. She then lays her eggs in autumn
which will result in the first batch of workers.
Importance: Bumblebees play an important role in the ecosystem and are crucial
for pollination at higher altitudes. Thus without them seed setting and fruiting will not take
place in many plants.
They pollinate fruit trees, vegetables, cash crops and even ornamental and medicinal
plants high in the Himalayas.
Tags: Agriculture Environment

Three super-Earths orbiting nearby star discovered


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April 30, 2015No comments

Scientists have discovered three planets orbiting a nearby star named HD 7924 that is only
54 light-years away.
These planets were discovered by Automated Planet Finder (APF) Telescope located at Lick
Observatory in California and W M Keck Observatory, Hawaii.
They were traced out using the Doppler technique and the APT made crucial measurements
of the brightness of HD 7924 to assure the validity of the planet discoveries.
Each of the discovered planets has mass 7 to 8 times that of Earth and complete their orbits
in just 5, 15, and 24 days around HD 7924.
The first evidence of planets orbiting HD 7924 was found by the Keck Observatory in 2009
using the HIRES instrument installed on the 10-meter Keck I telescope.
Two additional planets orbiting HD 7924 were later discovered by Keck Observatory after
additional observations and the campaign by the APF Telescope.

ISRO successfully tests indigenous cryogenic engine with four-tonne capacity


April 28, 2015
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 28 April 2015 successfully tested an
indigenous cryogenic engine.
The powerful version of the cryogenic engine was tested successfully at ISROs propulsion
complex at Mahendragiri in Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu. A team headed by Director D
Karthikesan had led the testing.

This engine will allow launch vehicles to carry satellites of up to capacity of four tonnes in
geostationary orbit. It will also give boost to Indias interplanetary probes and manned space
missions.

Facts about cryogenic engine


A cryogenic engine is more efficient as it provides more thrust for every kilogram of
propellant burnt.
Cryogenic fuels are extremely clean as they give out only water while burning. The
engine uses liquid oxygen at -2530C and liquid hydrogen at -1830C
It can develop the thrust needed in the final state of the rocket to put satellites,
weighing two tonnes or more, into a geosynchronous orbit.
It is essential to master this technology for any space power as launching heavier
satellites requires cryogenic engines even in the lower stages of the rocket.
It will also make India self-reliant in sending heavier satellites to the required orbits
and eliminate need of dependence on foreign launch vehicles.
It should be noted that India sixth spacefarer after US, Russia, the European Space Agency,
China and Japan to develop a cryogenic engine.
Earlier in January 2015, India had successfully launched GSLV-D5, the first successful launch
vehicle with an indigenous cryogenic engine. But it had capacity to launch satellites of up to
two tonnes.

NTPC flags off Mobile Science labs to revolutionize rural education


April 27, 2015
Indias largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) flagged of a
Mobile Science Lab (MSL) as part of its eforts to promote scientific learning.
MSL seeks to revolutionize rural education in India and make hands-on learning accessible to
underprivileged children.
Union Minister for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal flagged of
three Mobile Service Labs.
MSL is a vehicle fitted with LCD TV and is carrying working science models that give
emphasis to curiosity-based learning for children in rural India.
These three labs will be deployed at NTPCs ongoing projects at Darlipalli, Pakri Barwadih
and Kahalgaon through Agastya International Foundation.
Each of the MSL will cover a set of about 20 schools around NTPC project and generate
exposure to about 16000 students per year. While in next three years more than 1,40,000
student exposure will be generated in order to enhance the level of curiosity and creativity
among children. These mobile science labs will have the instructors from neighborhood
community of deployment.

Indian-Origin Scientist Sangeeta Bhatia wins Heinz Award 2015


April 27, 2015
Sangeeta Bhatia, an Indian-Origin scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) has won prestigious Heinz award for year 2015.
She had won this award for her work in tissue engineering and disease detection in the
Technology, the Economy, and Employment category of the award.

Ms Bhatias team has developed artificial human microlivers for drug testing. These artificial
microlivers are being used to test the toxicity of drug candidates by many biopharmaceutical
companies.
She is also using these microlivers to model malaria infection and test drugs that can
eradicate malaria parasites completely in the laboratory.
This model seeks to eradicate malaria parasites completely as the reservoirs of parasite
remains in the liver even after a patients symptoms subside.

About Heinz Award

Heinz Award is an annual award established in 1993 and given by the Heinz Family
Foundation.
Every year it hounours and recognize outstanding individuals for their innovative
contributions in five areas. They are Environment, Public Policy, Arts and Humanities, Human
Condition and the Economy, Technology and Employment.
The award carries a cash prize of US 2, 50, 000 dollars and a medallion.

25 April: World Malaria Day


April 25, 2015
Every year World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed on 25 April. The day is observed to
recognise the global eforts to control preventable disease malaria. The theme of this year
WMD-2015 is Invest in the Future and Defeat Malaria.
This day also seeks to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political
commitment for elimination and control of malaria.
WHO also had called on the global health community to urgently address significant gaps in
the treatment, prevention and diagnosis of malaria.

Background
World Malaria Day was instituted in 2007 by World Health Organization (WHO)
member nations during World Health Assembly.
This day is one of the eight official global public health campaigns currently marked
by the WHO.
Some facts
As per United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF) report more than 1200 children die
every day worldwide from Malaria. At least three quarters of malaria deaths occur in children
under 5.
According to the recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2000,
Malaria deaths worldwide have declined by 47 percent. In Africa alone, Malaria deaths during
the period declined by 54 percent.

NASA develops first 3-D printed copper rocket engine part


April 23, 2015
NASA engineers have developed the first full-scale three dimensional (3-D) printed copper
rocket engine part.
The part developed was a combustion chamber liner that operates at extreme temperatures
and pressures using additive manufacturing technique.
Combustion chamber was manufactured by using selective laser melting machine in the
Laboratory located in Marshall Space Flight Centres Materials and Processing.
The machine had fused 8,255 layers of copper powder to make the chamber in 10 days and
18 hours.

The raw material used was GRCo-84, a copper alloy created by scientists at NASAs Glenn
Research Centre in Ohio. This alloy has an extensive materials characterization which helped
engineers to validate the 3-D printing processing parameters and ensure build quality.
3-D printing or additive manufacturing technique has the potential to reduce the time and
cost of making rocket parts. It can help to manufacture engine parts 10 times faster and
reduce the cost by more than 50 per cent.

Railway Ministry launches mobile app for paperless unreserved tickets


April 23, 2015
The Railway Ministry has launched utsonmobile, a mobile application for paperless
unreserved tickets.
The application service was launched by Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi.
This application will allow its passenger to buy a ticket on the move and to board the train
with the ticket secured on his mobile phone in digital format, without any need for printing
the ticket.
Initially, it has been launched as a pilot project and cover 15 stations in Southern Railway.
Later on it will be extended to entire country in phases.

Key facts
The application has been developed by Centre for Railway Information Systems
(CRIS).
It aims to eliminate the need for printing of unreserved tickets.
The application provides necessary on-screen alerts to guide the passenger during
the booking process.
Payment for the ticket will be done through the Railway Wallet, a feature inbuilt in the
App.
Passenger will get ticket confirmation on their mobile screen after booking the ticket
which will contain limited information of the ticket.
This app can be downloaded from Windows Store and Google Play Store.
Background
This paperless ticketing service using mobile applications comes in line with
announcement made by Union Government in the Union Railway Budget of February 2015.
In this budget, Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had announced that the Indian
Railways is committed to Operation Five Minutes that is, purchase of an unreserved ticket
within five minutes and launching of paperless unreserved mobile ticket is the first step in
this area.

Information and Broadcasting Ministry receives ISO 9001:2008 certification


April 22, 2015
Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) on 22 April 2015 received an ISO
9001:2008 certification from the British Standards Institute (BSI).
The ISO certification was granted to Ministry in respect of various permissions and licences
issued by it for the broadcasting and print media and films.
These licences or permissions include for satellite Television channels, multi-system
operators, teleports, community radio stations and DTH services.
It also includes publication of Indian editions of technical and scientific and foreign
magazines of news and current afairs, facsimile editions of foreign newspapers and
permission for foreign film producers.

The Ministry has undertaken this initiative in order to bring in more transparency and
efficiency in the processes related in granting of various permissions and licenses to the
eligible applicants.
In this regard, the Ministry has put in place a well-defined procedure and measures in order
to ensure quality of services ofered to the customers on the basis of ISO 9001:2008. It will
also ensure delivery of services by the Ministry in a qualitative manner.

Japans Maglev train makes new world speed record


April 22, 2015
Japans state-of-the-art Magnetic levitation technology (Maglev) train has clocked a new
world speed record smashing through the 603 kilometre per hour mark in a test run near
Mount Fuji.
The new record has surpassed its previous record of 581 kilometre per hour which was set in
2003.
Central Japan Railway Company owns this fastest passenger train and is planning to have a
train in service in 2027 on the 286-km route between Tokyo and the central city of Nagoya.
Japan had launched its first bullet train named Shinkansen in 1964. Currently, Japan has the
Worlds most sophisticated rail network.
By successfully testing these new train technologies, Japan is seeking to sell its Shinkansen
Bullet and Maglev train systems to other countries.

How Maglev train works?

Maglev train hovers 10 centimetres above the tracks and is propelled by electrically
charged magnets which lift and moves train carriages above the rail tracks.
This train travels along a guideway using magnets to create both lift and propulsion.
This lift and propulsion reduces friction and allow it to attain higher speeds compared
to conventional wheeled trains.

ICICI Bank launches Tap-n-Pay, a near-field communications-enabled


payment service
April 21, 2015
Indias largest private sector lender Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India
(ICICI) Bank has launched a payment service Tap-n-Pay. It was launched by bank in
collaboration with Tech Mahindra.
This payment service is based on the near-field communications (NFC) technology which will
enable its customers make over-the-counter payments without using cash.

Key features of Tap n Pay

NFC technology will allow users to tap NFC enabled tag or mobile phone at the
merchants point-of-sale device to make payments.
It is a prepaid account which will be available to customers of any bank by simply
registering for it and transferring money online from any bank account.
ICICI Bank customers can also transfer money to the Tap-n-Pay account through an
SMS.
To start with this service bank has ofered it at large campuses of corporate offices.
ICICI Bank and Tech Mahindra also are planning to extend this service across the country.

New species of Geckos discovered at Hampi in Karnataka

April 21, 2015


A new species of a gecko was spotted at the ruins of the World Heritage Site of Hampi in
Karnataka. It was named as Cnemaspis adii after a young herpetology researcher Aditya
Srinivasulu from Hyderabad, Telangana.
It was spotted by the researchers from the Osmania University in Hyderabad.
Cnemaspis adii gecko is similar to a type of lizard usually found in warm climates. It belongs
to the family of day geckos which are characterized by round pupils unlike regular geckos
which have vertical pupils.
This discovery of the gecko in Hampi is significant because for the first time species of day
gecko was found in the central regions of the peninsular India.
The other species of day geckos are commonly found in Western Ghats and southern Eastern
Ghats of peninsular India.

India 5th biggest generator of e-waste in 2014: UN report


April 21, 2015
As per recently released Global E-Waste Monitor 2014 report by United Nations, India is the
fifth biggest producer of e-waste in the world.
The report was compiled by UN think tank United Nations University (UNU).

Key facts from report


Top 5 e-waste producing nations: US, China, Japan, Germany and India.
In case of wealthy nations top 5 e-waste producers are Norway, Switzerland, Iceland,
Denmark, and United Kingdom.
US and China have produced the most e-waste in 2014. Both nations account for 32
percent of total e-waste produced in the world in 2014.
India has discarded around 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) of e-waste in 2014.
In 2014, around 41.8 Mt of e-waste was produced all over world and it is expected to
rise by 21 percent to 50 million Mt in 2018.
In terms of continent wise, Asia has produced most e-waste per inhabitant in year
2014 by producing 16 Mt i.e. 3.7 kg per inhabitant.
Top three Asian e-waste producing nations are- China (6.0Mt), Japan (2.2Mt)
and India (1.7Mt).
While, Africa has generated lowest amount of e-waste per inhabitant by producing 9
Mt i.e. 1.7 kg per inhabitant.

Susanta Lahiri awarded Hevesy Medal Award 2015


April 16, 2015
Professor Susanta Lahiri was awarded prestigious the Hevesy Medal Award 2015.
The award was presented to him for his outstanding contributions in heavy ion induced
radioisotope production, converter targets, tracer packet technique and green chemistry.

About Professor Susanta Lahiri

He is a Professor at Chemical Sciences Division at Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in


Kolkata.
He is credited for co-creating super heavy chemical element Ununseptiumm which
has atomic number 117.
He is also a professor at Homi Bhabha National Institute, Mumbai.
Apart from Lahiri, Professor Kattesh V. Katti of the Centre for Radiological Research,
University of Missouri, Columia were also awarded this award.

About Hevesy Medal Award

It is an international award of excellence that honours scientist for their outstanding


achievements in nuclear and radio chemistry.
Established in 1968 by Editor-in-Chief and the publishers of the Journal of
Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry (JRNC).
Named after renowned chemical scientist George de Hevesy who was awarded Nobel
Prize for Chemistry in 1943.
At present the award is administrated by International Committee on Activation
Analysis of the Modern Trends in Activation Analysis Conferences (ICAA-MTAA).

Asteroid 316201 named after Malala Yousafzai


April 11, 2015
Asteroid 316201 was named as 316201 Malala after the youngest Nobel laureate and
girls education campaigner Malala Yousafzai.
The asteroid was named after her by Amy Mainzer, astronomer at NASAs Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in California, United States under the International Astronomical Union rules.
In 2010, Mainzer had discovered the asteroid which was known as 316201. As a discoverer
of the asteroid she had owned the rights to name it.
Asteroid 316201 Malala is located in the Main Belt between Mars and Jupiter. It orbits around
the Sun every 5.5 years and is more-than 2 mile wide.

About Malala Yousafzai

Malala was born on 12 July 1997 in Mingora city in Swat province of Pakistan.
At the age of 11 she had caught international attention as female education activist
after writing for the BBC about life under the Taliban in Pakistan under pseudonym Gul
Makai.
In 2012, Malala had survived an assassination attempt after she was shot in the head
Taliban gunmen.
Awards- In 2014, at the age of 17 she was awarded Nobel peace prize, becoming
youngest Nobel Laureate in the history of Nobel award. She had shared this prize with Indian
childrens rights activist Kailash Satyarthi
She is also conferred with National Youth Peace Prize (2011), Mother Teresa Awards
for Social Justice (2012), Simon de Beauvoir Prize (2013), Sakharov Prize for Freedom of
Thought (2013), Anna Politkovskaya Award (2013) and many more.
United Nations has declared November 10 as Malala Day in her honor.

Newly discovered Spider named after Telangana state


April 10, 2015
Newly discovered spiders of Thomisidae family have been named as Telangana crab spider
(Thomisus telanganensis) i.e. after Indian state of Telangana.
These spiders were discovered by G.B. Pravalikha and Chelmala Srinivasulu, wildlife and
taxonomy researchers from the Zoology Department of Osmania University at an expedition
at Nagnur in Karimnagar district of Telangana.

Key facts Telangana crab spiders

Morphologically they resemble crabs and are hence also called crab spiders.
Have tendency to walk sideways like crabs.
They lie on flowering plants and wait for prey so they are also known as flower
spiders.

Do not weave webs like traditional spiders.


They attack immobilise their prey with venom and prey all of a sudden.
Size is between 3 mm and 23 mm.
Colour varies from dull to bright and colourful.
Generally are bio-controlling agents and help to keep the insect population under
control. Thus are important to the ecosystem.

India successfully test-fired nuclear-capable Dhanush missile from ship


April 9, 2015
India on 9 April 2015 successfully test fired nuclear weapons-capable Dhanush missile from
a ship, of the Odisha coast.
Test- The ship-based missile was launched from an Ofshore Patrolling Vessel (OPV), deep
inside the Bay of Bengal to test its full range. It successfully hit the target point with high
degree of accuracy.

Facts about Dhanush Missile

Indigenously developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation


(DRDO).
The surface-to-surface missile is a naval variant of Prithvi missile.
Capable of carrying of 500 to 1000 kilogram conventional as well as nuclear payload.
It is a single-stage, liquid-propelled missile and has range of 350 km.
Capable to target both land-based and sea-based targets. It gives Indian Navy
capability to strike enemy targets with great precision.
It should be noted that Dhanush is one of the 5 missiles developed by the DRDO under the
Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).
The previous trial of the missile was successfully conducted in November 2014.

TRAI recommends 112 as single emergency number for India


April 8, 2015
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 7 April 2015 has proposed 112 as a single
emergency number that can be used all across the country including for police, fire and
ambulance departments.
This emergency number will be similar to the 911 an all-in-one emergency service in the
United States.
At present, for emergency disaster management diferent numbers for diferent emergencies
such as 100 for police, 101 for fire and 102 for ambulance are in existence.
TRAI has suggested that existing emergency numbers can be retained as secondary
numbers and the calls made to them be re-routed to 112. After time being, once a call to
the secondary numbers significantly reduces, they can be withdrawn gradually.
Callers seeking help in emergency can dial 112 from mobile or landline phones even when
outgoing facility has been debarred or the service temporarily suspended. TRAI also has
proposed SMS-based access for the emergency services.
The regulator also has recommended setting up of Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs)
a call centre through which all calls to 112 will be routed.
Depending upon type of emergency, PSAPs will send police, fire, medical and other
emergency response servieces.

April 7: World Health Day


April 7, 2015
World health Day was observed all over the world on April 7, 2015. Theme for year 2015
was food safety with the slogan from farm to plate, make food safe.

The theme highlights


Need to make food free from viruses, microbes and chemicals substances that are
responsible for more than 200 diseases. Indirectly unsafe food is linked to the annual deaths
of some 2 million people, mostly children.
Need to create awareness about food safety as it possesses challenges from the
changes in food production, distribution and consumption.
Changes in the environment and new emerging pathogens and antimicrobial
resistance are also challenge to food safety.
In this regard, WHO is also working with countries to strengthen eforts to detect, prevent
and respond to foodborne disease outbreaks in line with the Codex Alimentarius.

About World Health Day

Every year on April 7, World Health Day is celebrated under the sponsorship of the
World Health Organization (WHO).
Purpose: To focus on increasing the life expectancy by adding good health to the
lives of people and promoting healthier living habits.
This day marks the WHOs founding and is observed since 1950,
Since then April 7 every year is seen as an opportunity by the WHO to draw
worldwide attention to a subject of major importance to global health each year.
Tags: Events And Observances Food Safety Health Socio-Economic

Pratap Singh wins Institute of Physics Prize


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April 7, 2015
15-year-old Indian-origin student, Pratap Singh from United Kingdom (UK) has won
prestigious award Institute of Physics (IOP) Prize.
Singh, who is a student at The Perse School, Cambridge received the prize for his
experiment to verify an efect of Albert Einsteins special relativity theory.
The award comprises 500 cash prize and a trip to a national physics-related activity. His
research will be also published in international journal Physics Education.

Pratap Singhs experiment


Singh in his experiment used two Geiger-Muller tubes to detect cosmic-ray muons.
They are the high-energy particles created high above the Earth.
Using these tubes, he created a mathematical model for cosmic-ray muons arrival
rate with and without time dilation.
By statistical analysis and using a Raspberry Pi computer he showed that these
cosmic ray munons follow the model predicted by Einsteins 1905 theory of special relativity.

Minor planet named as 4538 Vishyanand after Indian Chess legend


Viswanathan Anand
April 3, 2015No comments
Minor planet was named after Indias chess legend and first grandmaster Vishwanathan
Anand by the Minor Planet Center.

His name was given to the minor planet which was previously identified as planet 4538. Now
the planet will be called as 4538 Vishyanand and is located somewhere between the Mars
and Jupiter.
Minor planet 4538 Vishyanand was discovered on 10 October 1988 by Japanese astronormer
Kenzo Suzuki. Initially, the planet was unnamed for almost 10 years.
With this, Vishwanathan Anand has joined the league of former world chess champions
Alexander Alekhine and Anatoly Karpov who also have minor planets named after them.

What is Minor planet?


A minor planet is a term used to describe an astronomical object that is neither a
dominant planet nor a comet and thus includes the dwarf planets that orbit around the Sun.
The orbital categories of these planets are the asteroids, Kuiper belt objects, trojans,
centaurs and other trans-Neptunian objects.
The first minor planet discovered was Ceres in 1801.
Naming of Minor Planets
Traditionally, the practice of naming a minor planet is left to its discoverer. If the discovered
minor planet remained unnamed for over 10 years, than International Astronomical Union
(IAU) names the planet.

Himachal Pradesh assembly launches Indias first E-Vidhan Mobile apps


March 31, 2015
Himachal Pradesh Government on 30 March 2015 launched part one of E-Vidhan Mobile
apps.
E-Vidhan Mobile apps will enable all 68 members of state assembly to get the entire House
business on their smartphones and tablets, laid in the House 45 minutes before the
beginning of the daily proceedings.
With this Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha became the first state assembly in the country to
launch this app to facilitate smart-working.

Key facts
The app will provide notifications of the Vidhan Sabhas press releases, bulletins,
budget speeches, documents and the bills tabled in the House to members.
The bills introduced or laid for discussion in assembly will be made available to the
members.
The reports laid in the house by the committees, information about government
notification, budget speech and salary and perks drawn by members will be viewed on the
apps.
The information provided on the apps could be corrected on line.
To access the apps, wi-fi service will be made available to the members in side
assembly complex during the session.
The hi-tech E-Vidhan system will help state government to save 8 crore rupees per annum
spent on the paper.
Next phase i.e. part two of E-Vidhan Mobile apps will be launched later. Part two of E-Vidhan
Mobile apps will facilitate MLAs in their constituency management works. It will also help to
attend grievances of the people online and also interact with officials of the constituency.

Union Government gives nod to AWACS project


March 29, 2015

Union Government on 27 Mach 2015 gave its approval to build crore strategic project of
next-generation Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS).
Decision in this regard was taken by Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Union
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.
DAC gave its nod for two AWACS, which includes buying two Airbus A330s, worth 5,113 crore
rupees. Airbus was the lone bidder for the programme.

About Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) Project


AWACS or eyes in the sky can detect incoming aerial threats like hostile fighters,
drones and cruise missiles from 400-km away.
It has capability to penetrate longer distances within enemy territory by way of
radars and electronic warfare systems without venturing into the region physically.
The project will involve mounting indigenous 360-degree coverage active
electronically scanned array (AESA) radars on Airbus A-330 wide-body jets.
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will develop the AWACSs.
Apart from this, DAC also cleared the purchase of mine ploughs for T-90 tanks at Rs 710
crore and 30 weapon locating radars at Rs 1,605 crore besides others.

Science and Technology


ISRO successfully launches fourth navigation satellite IRNSS 1D
March 28, 2015
Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 March 2015 successfully launched fourth
navigation satellite Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)-1D.
It was launched by Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-27 into the orbit from Satish
Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
The satellite is similar to, and follows the IRNSS 1A, 1B and 1C which were launched in April
2013, July 2014 and October 2014respectively.
IRNSS-1D will be launched into a sub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (sub GTO). It weighs
1,425 kg and carries a navigation payload and CDMA ranging payload in addition with a
laser retro-reflector.

About IRNSS series

IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its
boundaries.
It will provide accurate position information to users in India. Basically it will provide
two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services, which is available to all users, and an
encrypted service that is provided only to authorized users.
The complete IRNSS system will include three satellites in geostationary orbit and
four satellites in geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km above the Earth.
The deployment of all the satellites was expected to be completed by 2015 at a cost
of Rs. 1,420 cr.
IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation service providers like USAs GPS (Global
Positioning System), Russias Glonass, Europes Galileo, Japans Quasi Zenith and Chinas
Beidou.
Applications of IRNSS

Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.


Disaster Management.
Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
Integration with mobile phones.
Precise Timing.
Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers.
Visual and voice navigation for drivers.
Tags: Global Positioning System IRNSS ISRO PSLV Sriharikota

NASAs Curiosity rover discovers useful Nitrogen on Mars


March 27, 2015
NASAs Curiosity rover for first time has found evidence of nitrogen in the form of nitrate in
aeolian deposits and in two mudstone deposits on Mars.
It was detected by using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite mounted on
Curiosity rover by the team of Scientists.
Scientists believe that the detected nitrogen in the form of nitric oxide could be released
from the breakdown of nitrates during heating of sediments from Mars.
These nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form used by living
organisms. Thus this discovery adds evidence to the hypothesis that ancient Mars was
habitable for life.
However, there is no evidence suggesting that the discovered nitrogen molecules found by
the rover was created by life on the red planet. Scientists also believe that the discovered
molecules are ancient and might have been deposited from non-biological processes like
meteorite impacts and lightning on Mars in past.
It should be noted that Nitrogen is essential part for all known forms of life as it used in the
building basic blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA that encode the genetic
instructions for life. It is also essential in proteins that is used to build structures like hair and
nails in living organisms.

Ruth Porat appointed as Chief Financial Officer of Google


March 26, 2015
Ruth Porat has been appointed as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of worlds largest search
engine giant Google.
She will succeed Patrick Pichette who had announced his retirement on 10 March 2015 and
assume charge on 26 May 2015. As CFO of Google she will directly report to Larry Page, CEO
and Co-Founder of Google.
Prior to this appointment Ruth was working as CFO at Morgan Stanley. She joined Morgan
Stanley in 1987. Since then she had severed at various posts and had played several key
roles at the company. She has served as Global Head of the Financial Institutions Group, coHead of Technology Investment Banking and Vice Chairman of Investment Banking.
Porat also was the lead banker on numerous technology financing rounds, including for
Amazon, eBay, Netscape, Priceline and Verisign as well as for The Blackstone Group, General
Electric (GE) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

She is also Vice Chair of the Stanford University Board of Trustees and a member of the US
Treasurys Borrowing Advisory Committee. She also serves as a Board Director at The
Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Advisory Council of the Hutchins Center
on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution.

PM Narendra Modi launches PRAGATI platform for redressal of grievances


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 25 March 2015 launched Pro-Active Governance and
Timely Implementation (PRAGATI)platform.
PRAGATI is a multi-purpose and multi-modal platform aimed at addressing grievances of
common man. It also aims at simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important Union
government programmes and projects as well as projects flagged by State Governments.
It is an innovative project in e-governance and good governance and accountability with
real-time presence and information exchange among the key stakeholders.

Key features of PRAGATI


Designed in-house by the Prime Ministers Office (PMO) team with the help of
National Informatics Center (NIC).
Uniquely bundles three latest technologies including Digital data management, geospatial technology and video-conferencing.
Three-tier system that brings PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief
Secretaries of the States at one stage. Thus, ofers a unique combination in the direction of
cooperative federalism.
Prime Minister can directly discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State
officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation.
The system will work on strengthen and re-engineer the data bases of Centralized
Public Grievance Redress And Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) along with Project Monitoring
Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
On a monthly basis, Prime Minister will interact with bureaucrats i.e. on fourth Wednesday of
every month at 3.30 PM- called as PRAGATI Day.
Issues to be flagged before the PM will be picked up from the available database regarding
Public Grievances, pending Projects and on-going Programmes. These issues will uploaded
seven days prior to the PRAGATI day.
Tags: E-Governence PRAGATI Platform

Indias first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle operationalised in North


Antarctica
March 26, 2015
Indias first Polar Remotely Operated Vehicle (PROVe) was successfully operationalised for
research in North Antarctica by National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT).
PROVe was operationalised, after it had undergone series of trials in Antarctica in the past
two months since its deployment by the NIOT researchers.
It has been deployed in Priyadarshini Lake located on the Schirmacher Oasis which is a
major source of water for Maitri, Indias second base in the Antarctica.

Key facts of PROVe


Indigenously built by NIOT under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Capable of probing the sea bed under normal temperature and capable of exploring
up to 200 meters in inhospitable and tough regions like the ice clad Antarctica.

Operated remotely by scientists on board the ship and has inbuilt thrusters allowing it
for 360-degree movement.
Will help researchers to study and find out details about dissolved oxygen in sea
bottom, salinity and the quantity of sunlight hitting the bottom of the sea.
The results and outcomes will help researchers in understanding the biological
activities taking place inside the sea.
Implications of its operationalisation in Antartica
Its breakthrough is a great leap forward in forecasting with precision the ever elusive
Monsoon, a climatic phenomenon which determines Indias economy.
In case of forecasting Monsoon, PROVe will measure parameters like ocean currents,
temperature and salinity in the Arctic.
It will especially help scientist to move away from present Mathematical models for
forecasting the Monsoon which many times vary from initial forecasts.
Current operation will collect data for analysis in June 2015. This data will be used for
analyzing hypothesis about the link between Antarctic Ocean currents and Indian monsoon
system.

Union Government launches Twitter Samvad for direct communication


between Government and citizens
March 25, 2015
Union Government has launched a new digital platform Twitter Samvad in association
with social networking giant Twitter.
The digital platform was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 24
March 2015 during his meeting with Twitter Chief Executive Dick Costolo.

About Twitter Samvad

The service aims to boost the nations e-governance plans and facilitate direct
communication between leaders, government agencies and citizens.
Twitter Samvad is based on a digital platform provided by an Indian company ZipDial
which was recently acquired by Twitter.
Through this platform a set of curated Tweets from the Twitter handled accounts of
the government and the leaders will be delivered to mobile-phone users every day across
the country as text messages.
The service will also play important role during emergencies by helping government
agencies to share live updates, even time-sensitive information on law and order or rescue.
As of now, 16 government offices are participating in Twitter Samvad. It includes Prime
Ministers Office, Ministry of Railways, Bengaluru Police and the Chief Ministers of Andhra
Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Gujarat.

Union Government launches BIRAC AcE Fund to accelerate growth of


entrepreneurs in Biotechnology
March 19, 2015
Union Government on 19 March 2015 launched Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance
Council (BIRAC) AcE Fund to accelerate growth of entrepreneurs in Biotechnology.
It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) for Science and Technology (S&T) and Earth
Sciences Y.S. Chowdary on the occasion of the third foundation day of BIRAC in New Delhi.
The BIRAC AcE Fund aims to address the pressing needs of accelerating the growth of
entrepreneurs, in the field of Biotechnology.

This equity fund will be operated by BIRAC a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the aegis
Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
Apart from launching the fund, MoS for S&T and Earth Sciences also inaugurated a Two day
Panel discussions focused at making biotechnology as one of the drivers of the Make in
India Programme.

About Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC)

BIRAC operates as a PSU under the aegis of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT),
Union Ministry of Science & Technology.
Established: 2012.
Purpose: It is mandated to foster and promote innovation research in biotech
industries specially start-ups and SMEs.
The theme for this years foundation day of BIRAC was Accelerating Innovations: India the
Next Biotech Global Hub
Tags: Biotechnology Ministry Of Science And Technology Public Sector Undertakings

ISRO to collaborate with other space agencies for inter-planetary explorations


March 18, 2014
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is planning to collaborate with other space
agencies on inter-planetary explorations.
It was announced by Minister of State (MoS) in the Prime Ministers Office Jitendra Singh in
the Lok Sabha.
Presently ISRO is having talks with space agencies of the United States of America, Russia
and France to collaborate for inter-planetary explorations.
From this collaboration, India will acquire the knowledge to minimize the cost of launching
complex missions and enhance the technological capabilities in spacecraft design. While, the
expertise gained through such collaborations will help India improve its capabilities of earth
observation and satellite communication.

Indian researcher Minoti Apate named as woman of the year 2015 in New
South Wales
March 17, 2015
Indian researcher Minoti Apate has been named as New South Wales (NSW) Woman of the
year 2015.
Apate was named for the award for her contributions to the field of medical research, Indian
community and the tertiary education.

About Minoti Apate

At present she is Professor of Medicine at the South Western Sydney Clinical School of
the University of New South Wales.
Apate was the first researcher in the world to develop a method to isolate pancreatic
stellate cells, a technique which provided a research tool for studying the path that
pancreatic fibrosis (scarring of the pancreas) takes.
At present, Apate is director of the Pancreatic Research Group based Based at
Ingham Institute for Applied Medical Research, Australia.
She is leading pre-clinical studies that are primed to suggest new treatments for
pancreatic cancer.

She is also an acknowledged world-leader in alcohol-induced pancreatic injury and


pancreatic cancer.
Apate was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2014 for her services to
medical research, Indian community and the tertiary education.
Apart from scientific research work, she is also an active member of the Marathi
Association of Sydney, an organisation that serves Sydneys Indian population.

Facebook acquires shopping search engine TheFind.com


March 16, 2014
Facebook has acquired the shopping search engine TheFind. With the acquisition, the social
networking giant Facebook has signaled its future plans to move into the e-commerce.
The acquisition aims to improve Facebook ads experience and lift its digital advertising
business. The technology of TheFind will be integrated into Facebook in order to make ads
more relevant and better for consumers.
Since July 2014, the social networking giant was testing a buy button to let its users
purchase online goods directly. With the acquisition of TheFind, Facebook will be able to add
additional shopping tools to its service.

About TheFind
Founded in 2006.
It was co-founded by CEO Siva Kumar and CTO Shashikant Khandelwal both are
native Indians. Since its establishment, it had raised US 26 million dollars in three
investment rounds.

Endophytic alga species found in Indian Ocean


March 15, 2015
Researchers have found Endophytic alga belonging to Ulvella leptochaete species thriving in
the Indian Ocean.
This species of alga is originally inhabitant to the seas around the British Isles and the East
China Sea. It belongs to a type known as endophytic which means that they are microscopic
in size and generally found living inside macroscopic seaweeds.

How discovery took place?


Researchers had collected samples of green seaweeds, Cladophora glomerata from
Calicut, Kerala and red seaweeds, Laurentia obtusa from Mandapam, Tamil Nadu.
From these samples researchers extracted and sequenced a small genomic region
called Internal Transcribed Spacer, which is a routinely used as DNA barcode for aquatic
plant.
This sequence information was compared with the global DNA sequence database
from NCBI-GenBank which confirmed the identity of the endophytic alga.
The identity of this alga was also reconfirmed by researchers by reconstructing
molecular evolutionary legacy of it using computational phylogenetics.
Advantages of this discovery
Endophytic alga has ecological advantage to the host such as disease resistance.
It contains anticancer compounds such as Taxol and can be used for treatment of
many cancers including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

NASAs Hubble telescope spots ocean on Jupiters moon Ganymede


March 15, 2015
NASAs Hubble Space Telescope has spotted massive saltwater ocean under the icy crust of
Jupiters largest moon Ganymede.

Scientists believe that this finding could potentially support life. Hubble Space Telescopes
finding was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.
The finding was based on the results obtained after analyzing Ganymedes magnetic field
and aurorae created and controlled by it and its interaction with Jupiters magnetic field.

Scientists estimate that


This ocean is 100 kms thick.
10 times deeper than Earths oceans.
It is buried under a 150-kilometre crust of mostly ice.
In 1970s, for first time scientists had suggested that ocean is present inside Ganymede
based on its models. NASAs Galileo mission also had provided first evidence of ocean in
Ganymede after measuring its magnetic field in 2002.

About Ganymede
Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is also the only moon with its
own magnetic field.
The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas,
in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon.

Science and Technology


Pakistan tests 1st indigenous armed drone Burraq and laser guided missile
Barq
March 14, 2015
Pakistan successfully tested its first indigenously
named Burraq and a laser guided missile named Barq.

built

all-weather

armed

drone

By successfully testing of Burraq, Pakistan became the 9th country in the World to develop
an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) domestically.

About Burraq

Dveloped by a venture of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) and the National Engineering
and Scientific Commission (NESCOM).
It is named after the flying horse of Islamic tradition.
Burraq has ability to fly in all types of weather conditions.
It has capability to strike its targets with pinpoint accuracy.
With Barq laser-guided missile mounted on it, Burraq can hit moving targets as well
as stationary targets with pinpoint accuracy.
UCAV Burraq was first flight tested in May 2009.
At present, Pakistan has several types of unarmed surveillance drones in operation but
Burraq and Shahpar are its domestically developed UCAVs.
Tags: Air Force Missile Technology Pakistan

Dr. Alka Beotra nominated as member of WAADS executive board


March 14, 2015
Indias Dr. Alka Beotra has been nominated as a member of the World Association of AntiDoping Scientists (WAADS) executive board.
She is only Asian in the six-member executive board of WAADS and will have tenure of 3
years starting from March 2015.
At present, Dr. Alka Beotra is Scientific Director of National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).

About World Association of Anti-Doping Scientists (WAADS)

The WAADS is an international organisation that comprises anti-doping scientists


from all the WADA-accredited labs across the world.
Purpose- It provides assistance to combat the issue of doping in sport.
It also seeks to allow WADA-accredited laboratories to interact within their own group.

Solar Impulse 2- worlds first solar-powered aircraft on global journey lands in


Ahmedabad
March 10, 2015
Worlds first solar powered aircraft on global journey- Solar Impulse 2 successfully landed
in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The aircraft was piloted by Swiss pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg from its first
halt Muscat, Oman.

Key features of Solar Impulse 2 aircraft


It is a Swiss long-range solar-powered aircraft project and claimed to be first aircraft
to fly day and night without consuming conventional fuel.
Solely propelled by the solar energy and emits zero Carbon Dioxide (CO2).
Structure: Single-seater aircraft made of carbon fibre. It has a 72 metre wingspan
and weighs 2,300 kilo grams.
Solar cells: 17,248 solar cells inbuilt into its wings. These cells supply renewable
energy to propel the electric motors of aircraft.
These solar cells also recharge 4 lithium polymer batteries mounted on aircraft which
allows it fly at night.
The first test flight of the aircraft was conducted in the United States in 2013.

Solar Impulses maiden global journey


Solar impulse started its 35000 km long journey from Abu Dhabi (UAE). Its first halt
was in Muscat (Oman).
Flight route and Stops- It will stop in Ahmedabad and Varanasi in India, Mandalay
(Myanmar), Chongqing & Nanjing (China).
Then it will cross Pacific Ocean via Hawaii and fly across the US and take 3 stops at
Phoenix, the Midwest and New York City.
Then it will cross Atlantic Ocean and stop in Southern Europe or North Africa and end
its journey at Abu Dhabi.
It should be noted that the Solar Impulse 2 is flying from west to east on the selected route
as per the direction of tailwinds which is in same direction of aircraft to keep it afloat.

Union Government releases digital gender atlas for advancing girl education
March 9, 2015
Union Government has released Digital Gender Atlas for Advancing Girls Education a
web-based tool for advancing girls education.
It was unveiled by the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Union Ministry of
Human Resources Development (HRD) in New Delhi.

Key facts
The web based tool has been developed with the support of United Nations Childrens
Fund (UNICEF) to identify low performing geographical pockets for girls on specific gender
related education indicators.
These pockets particularly have been identified from marginalised groups such as
scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and Muslim minorities.

The gender atlas has been developed as hands on management tool that will enable
to take critical decisions and actions in order to fill the gaps in the low performing
geographical pockets.
The atlas has a geographical representation and time series data on various levels of
education related parameters in the country. The data from atlas will help states in policymaking and implementation.
It will also help in identifying and ensuring equitable education with a focus on
vulnerable girls. It includes girls with disabilities.
The atlas uses current available Government data such as Unified District Information
System for Education (2011-14), Census 2011 and District Level Health Survey 2007-08.

NASAs Dawn space probe completes its orbit around dwarf planet Ceres
March 7, 2015
NASAs Dawn space probe has completed its orbit around dwarf planet Ceres which is the
largest object in the Solar System between Mars and Jupiter.
With the completion of orbit, Dawn probe has become first spacecraft to visit dwarf planet.
Dawn has taken 7.5 years to reach the orbit of Ceres. Scientists are hoping to glean
information from the Ceres which can tell them about the Solar Systems beginnings after its
formation four and a half billion ago.
Earlier during its journey from 2011 to 2012, the spacecraft also had explored and surveyed
the giant asteroid Vesta. It had delivered new insights and thousands of images from the
asteroid.

About Dawn space probe

Launched In 2007 by NASA.


Objective- to study the two massive protoplanets of the asteroid belt: Vesta and the
dwarf planet Ceres.
The mission is managed by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Probes major components are contributed by NASAs European partners i.e. from
German Aerospace Center, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute.
Dawn space probe is the first NASA exploratory mission to use ion propulsion to enter
orbits.

NRDC, CCRAS inks MoA to commercialise ayurvedic medicines


March 6, 2015
National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and Council for Research in Ayurvedic
Sciences (CCRAS) have inked Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) to commercialise ayurvedic
medicines and technologies developed at CCRAS.
The MoA was signed by Director General of CCRAS Abhimanyu Kumar and Chairman &
Managing Director of NRDC H Purushotham.
The scope of MoA also includes providing Intellectual Property Rights services to CCRAS in
India and abroad.
NRDC already has played key role in transferring more than 10 technologies developed at
CCRAS to more than 50 entrepreneurs and industry. It had helped both the organisations to
earn a substantial amount of revenue.
CCRAS is an apex Body in India constituted for the formulation, development, co-ordination
and promotion of research in Ayurveda on scientific lines. It is an autonomous organisation
under the AYUSH Department of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

While, NDRC functions and operates under the ageis of Uinion Ministry of Science and
Technology.
At present, Ayurvedic Medicines commercialised by NRDC and developed by CCRAS are
available to the public for the treatment of diferent diseases at an afordable price.

Worlds first electric satellites successfully lifted off by SpaceX rocket


March 2, 2015
Worlds first electric satellites were successfully lifted of by a Space Exploration (SpaceX)
Technologies rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, United States.
The rocket was carrying two all-electric commercial satellites built by Boeing. The satellites
are owned by the French satellite provider Eutelsat and Asia Broadcast Satellite (ABS).
Eutelsats satellite is part of its 35-member commercial network. It will provide services like
mobile, internet, video and other communications services to expand its reach into the
Americas. While, ABS new satellite will serve its customers in Africa, Europe and the Middle
East.

Features of electric satellites

These satellites are fitted with lightweight, all-electric engines rather than
conventional chemical propulsion systems.
These electric engines allow satellites to produce electric propulsion in order to reach
and remain fixed in particular orbit.
Electric propulsion from these satellites consumes less fuel compared with satellite
having chemical propulsion. Thus making satellites lighter in weight and further reducing
cost of launch.

Oxford dictionary adds words ride-share, unboxing, bioprinting and vishing


related to Technology
March 1, 2015
Recently Oxford
dictionary has
added
words ride-share,
bioprinting and vishing related to Technology in the new list.

unboxing,

Oxford dictionary defined these words as


Ride-share- to participate in an arrangement in which a passenger travels in a
private vehicle driven by its owner, for free or for a fee, especially as arranged by means of
a website or app.
Bioprinting- The use of 3D printing technology with materials that incorporate
viable living cells. For e.g. to produce tissue for reconstructive surgery.
Unboxing- An act or instance of removing a newly purchased product from its
packaging and examining its features, typically when filmed and shared on a social media
site.
Vishing It is like phishing, but using phone calls or voice messages instead of
emails to trick people in revealing sensitive information.
Tags: Education

28 February observed as National Science Day


February 28, 2015
Every year February 28 is celebrated as the National Science Day i.e. Rashtriya Vigyan
Diwas ( ).

In 2015, the theme of the day is Science for Nation Building. This years theme has
been chosen for the purpose of raising public appreciation on scientific issues for the
development of nation.

Why National Science Day is celebrated?


This day marks the epoch-making discovery of Raman Efect by Indian physicist
Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman (CV Raman) on February 28, 1928.
In 1930, for this discovery he was awarded with the Nobel Prize in Physics.
In 1986, National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC)
demanded the Union Government to assign February 28 every year as the National Science
Day for India.
In 2000, the first National Science Day was celebrated on February 28, 2000.
In 2013, the American Chemical Society designated the Raman Efect as an
International Historic Chemical Landmark.
Theme for the National Science Day 2013 Genetically Modified Crops and Food
Security.
Theme for the National Science Day 2014 Fostering Scientific Temper and Energy
conservation.

Worlds first 3D-printed jet engine developed in Australia


February 26, 2015
Researchers from Australias Monash University have created worlds first 3 Dimensional
(3D) printed jet engine.
The first of kind 3D printed engine was developed by team of researchers from Monash
Centre for Additive Manufacturing in partnership with spin-out company Amaero
Engineering.

Process of Production
The jet engine was created using innovative additive manufacturing technique.
Firstly, the scanned computer models of engines were created by the researchers.
Then the 3D printing machine incorporated with high-powered laser fused the nickel,
titanium or aluminium into the shape of engine parts.
Significance of this development
It opens the door for engineers to make and test parts of jet engines in days instead
of months.
It will also help engineers to manufacture cheaper, lighter and more fuel-efficient jet
engines.

About 3D printing technology

3D printing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file
with extreme precision.
This technology is also termed additive manufacturing as the 3D printed object is
created us additive processes.
In an additive process an object is created by laying down successive layers of
manufacturing material on each other until the entire object is created.
This technology has limitless possibilities and can create almost anything with just
raw material and a computer generated model.

TRAI amends regulation to facilitate Pan-India Mobile Number Portability


February 25, 2015

Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on 25 February 2015 has amended regulation to
allow Pan-India Mobile Number Portability (MNP).
In this regard, TRAI has issued 6th amendment to theTelecommunication Mobile Number
Portability Regulation, 2009. It will come into efect from 3rd May 2015.

Key facts
MNP enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when
changing from one mobile network operator to another.
At present, MNP norms allow users to retain their numbers while changing their
operators within the same service area or telecom circle, which in most cases, is limited to a
particular State.
The new amended rule will allow mobile telephone users to retain their numbers by
changing their operators in diferent telecom circles which in this case is diferent states
across country i.e. Pan-India MNP.
Background
Earlier in November 2014, the Department of Telecom (DoT) had issued an amendments to
MNP licence agreement. In this amended agreement, DoT had stated that MNP should be
implemented Pan-India within a period of six months from the date of amendment of the
licences.
Tags: Telecommunications TRAI

27 Indian satellites currently operational: Union Government


February 25, 2015
Union Government has announced as many as 27 Indian satellites are currently operational.
It was announced by Minister of State for Prime Minister Office (PMO) & Department of
Space Jitendra Singh said during Question Hour of Lok Sabha.
Among the 27 operational satellites, 11 are communication satellites, 12 are earth
observation satellites, 3 are navigational satellites and 1 is Mars orbiter mission.

Union Government also announced


One more satellite will be launched in March 2015, while 3 more are in the pipeline.
India is also taking leading role in launching satellites for the SAARC nations.
Currently 95 Ku-band (a part of K band) transponders onboard indigenous
communication satellites are being utilised for various communication applications.
India also has perfected the science of weather forecasting. Thus accurately
predicting cyclone and other natural calamities in recent times.
With successful launch of five satellites in June 2015, India has entered the area of
commercial satellites. It also laid the foundation of future satellite programmes.

UK becomes 1st country to legalise creation babies using DNA three-person


February 25, 2015
United Kingdom has become the first country to legalise the creation of three-parent IVF
designer babies using Mitochondrial Donation Technique.
In this regard, House of Lords has voted in voted in favour of the Bill that amends the Human
Fertilisation and Embryology Act (HFEA), 1990. Earlier on 3 February 2015, House of
Commons had passed the bill.
Now UKs fertility regulator Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) will decide
how to license the procedure to prevent babies inheriting deadly genetic diseases. After

legalisation and final procedural nod from HFEA, the first baby may be born as early as
2016.

Implications
This law will help to prevent serious inherited diseases that are being passed on from
mother to child.
It will also help to remove the hereditary problems related to defective mitochondrial
diseases that has passed down through the generations.
Now in United Kingdom, women with hereditary mitochondrial diseases will be able to
give birth to healthy babies without transferring their hereditary diseases.
Advantages Mitochondrial Donation Technique
It does not allow passage of defective mitochondria from mother to babies.
Thus, preventing new born babies from dangerous diseases related brain damage,
muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness due to defective mitochondria.

TRAI removes interconnection usage charges (IUC)


February 24, 2015
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has removed the interconnection usage
charges (IUC). Earlier, IUC of 20 paise was charged for calls made from landline to landline or
landline to mobile.
TRAI also has reduced network IUC on calls made from mobile phones by about 30 percent
to 14 paise per call from 20 paise earlier.
The main aim to remove IUC is to boost fixed line phone connections in the country and
lower tarifs of calls for the customers.

What are interconnection usage charges (IUC)?


IUC are the charges that a landline or mobile service provider has to pay to the other
service providers for transmitting its customers phone calls.
Generally, an IUC gets added to the price of the call made by customer, which the
customer has to pay. Because of addition IUC, call tarifs were high.
Impacts of IUC
Due to high call tarifs, landline connections in the country had declined in past few
years. While, the mobile subscriber base had increased since the mobile incoming calls were
made free.
At the end 2014, mobile subscriber base in the country had reached all-time high at
94.39 crore. While, the landline connections had declined to 2.7 crore subscriber.
Implications of removing IUC
It will help to boost fixed line phone connections in the country and lower tarifs of
calls for the customers.
Thus in turn promote an investment and adoption of wireline networks which is much
needed for the delivery of high-speed Internet in the country to remove digital divide.

Drug-resistant malaria detected at Myanmar-India border


February 21, 2015
Scientists have detected drug-resistant malaria at the Myanmar-India border. It was revealed
in a Oxford University led study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
Tests have shown that this drug-resistant malaria is on the verge of entering India and now
poses an enormous threat to global health.

These detected drug-resistant malaria parasite have ability to shrug of the efects
ofartemisinin (normally given as part of combination therapy to fight malaria) has been
spreading since it emerged in South-east Asia.
Drug-resistant malaria has been detected in South Asian countries like Cambodia, Laos,
Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
In case Myanmar, 940 parasite samples were collected at 55 malaria treatment centres and
its border regions. Scientist have found that almost 40 percent of the samples had mutations
in their so-called kelch gene, K13 a known genetic signal of artemisinin drug resistance.
Earlier, drug-resistant malaria parasite to Chloroquine was discovered in 1957 around the
border between Cambodia and Thailand.
Deaths from malaria have nearly halved since 2000, and the infection now kills about
584,000 people each year. But drug-resistant malaria parasite may threat to global health in
future.

Union Government launches single window e-biz portal


February 19, 2015
Union Government has launched a single window government-to-business (G2B) portal- eBiz (www.ebiz.gov.in) for 11 Central government services to bring transparency and ease of
doing business in the country.
The portal was unveiled to public by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi.

Key facts
It is governments approach aimed at improving Indias ranking in Ease of doing
business index by leveraging technology to bring transparency, improve efficiency and
promote convenience.
It provides single platform for online submission and processing of forms including
online payment.
Government has identified 10 pilot states for its initial implementation and later to
expand it across the country.
The portal will provide in total 11 Union government services to meet its objective. Among
the 11 services,
4 services are from Ministry of Corporate Afairs (MCA) Services such as name
availability, Director Identification Number (DIN), certificate of incorporation and
commencement of business.
2 services of Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Provide Permanent Account
Number (PAN) and Tax-Deduction Account Number (TAN).
2 services of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to simplify the process such as foreign
collaboration through general permission route from RBI.
1 service of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) Know importer-exporter
code (IEC).
1 service of Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)- To complete employers
registration
1 service of Petroleum and explosives Safety Organization (PESO)- issue of explosive
licences.
Government is also planning to roll-out more than 200 services related to investors and
businesses in next few years.

India successfully test-fires N-capable Prithvi-II missile in Odisha


February 19, 2015

India successfully test-fired its nuclear capable Prithvi-II surface-to-surface missile from a
test range at Chandipur in Odisha.
Test- It was conducted by the Strategic Force Command (SFC) and monitored by the
scientists of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Missile was fired from a mobile launcher from launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range
(ITR) as part of a user trial by the army and met all mission objectives.

About Prithvi-II missile


Prithvi-II missile is the first missile indigenously developed by DRDO under Indias
prestigious Integrated Guided Missile Development Program (IGMDP). It was inducted into
Indias SFC in 2003.

Features
Surface to surface ballistic missile.
Variants: Prithvi-I for the Army; Prithvi-II for the Indian Air Force; and the Dhanush for
the Navy.
Single-stage, Liquid-propelled.
Advanced inertial navigation, control and guidance system. It uses advanced inertial
guidance system with manoeuvering trajectory.
Payload capacity: 500-1,000 kg.
Range: 350 km.
Tags: Ballistic Missile DRDO India's Missile Surface-To-Surface Missile

Ashish Agrawal appointed as Chief Technology Officer of Micromax


Informatics
February 13, 2015
Micromax Informatics has appointed Ashish Agrawal as its new Chief Technology Officer
(CTO).
As CTO of Micromax, he will be responsible for defining the vision and the direction of
companys software services and driving new initiatives to provide a strong impetus to its
brand and bring future technology disruptions into the market.
Prior to this appointment, he was working as the CTO for mobile and cloud services player
Sirqul. He had worked for the execution and adoption of Sirquls suite of mobile engagement
products and services.
Ashish Agrawal has rich corporate experience of 16 years in the field of mobile, e-commerce,
payments, web services and large scale distributed systems.
Of 16 years, he had spent 14 years with eCommerce giant Amazon in software & product
development including Amazon Anywhere (mobile), AWS and payments and also lead
development of m-commerce applications for Amazon.

Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh wins $500,000 National Science


Foundation CAREER award
An Indian-origin scientist Gurpreet Singh has won prestigious $500,000 National Science
Foundation CAREER award.
He has won this award for his research on Scalable liquid exfoliation processing of ultrathin
two-dimensional metal dichalcogenides nanosheets for energy storage devices.

This CAREER award will help him to study large-scale production of ultrathin sheets, a few
atoms thick and several micrometres wide using transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs).
At present no methods are available to produce thin TMDs in large quantities cost-efectively.
His research aims to make that possible.
The prestigious award will also help him to organize educational activities for high school
students and teachers.
About Gurpreet Singh
Currently, Gurpreet Singh is assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering at
Kansas State University.
Some of his other research had focused on using graphene oxide to improve sodium and
lithium ion flexible batteries and creating carbon nanotubes for better laser detectors and
rechargeable batteries.
About National Science Foundation CAREER award
National Science Foundation CAREER award is given by US National Science Foundation as
part of Faculty Early Career Development Programme.
It is awarded to persons for supporting early career faculty who efectively integrate
research and education within the context of their institutions mission.

Himachal Pradesh government launches Crime and Criminal Tracking


Network System Project
February 12, 2015
Himachal Pradesh government has launched Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System
(CCTNS) Project in the state.
This project will enable the State Police to raise the benchmark of professional efficiency
besides catching interstate criminals more quickly.
It was launched by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh from State Police Headquarters in Shimla.

About Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS) Project

CCTNS project is funded by the Union government with budget of Rs. 19 Crore.
Himachal Pradesh is the first state in India to launch this project prepared by the
Union Home Ministry after Mumbai attack of 26/11.
CCTNS project will connect 177 sites and 114 police stations in the state besides13
district headquarters, 26 sub-divisional police officers and three police ranges headed by IPG
rank officers with state crime records bureau.
It will also connect CID crime branch, 14 control rooms, finger print bureau, forensic
science laboratory, 16 CCTNS training centres including state data centre and data recovery
centre.
CCTNS project will also provide multiple channels to access citizen-centric services
and online access for registering petitions on real-time basis.

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Florida


February 12, 2015
Unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket has been successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air
Force Station, Florida on its third attempt.
It was carrying unmanned Deep Space Climate Observatorysatellite. This satellite will be
used by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to monitor the
Sun.

It will particularly monitor changes in solar wind and provide warnings on hazardous
outbursts from our star to warn forecasters. In turn it will help forecasters to predict changes
which afect satellites, power grids and communication systems.

About SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

Falcon 9 rocket is a two-stage rocket designed and manufactured by Space


Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX)- a private space transport services company.
It is basically used for the reliable and safe transport of satellites and the Dragon
spacecraft into orbit. It is powered by liquid oxygen (LOX) and rocket-grade kerosene (RP-1)
propellants.
In 2008, the Falcon 9 and Dragon capsule combination had won a Commercial
Resupply Services (CRS) contract from NASA to resupply the International Space Station
(ISS) under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

Four new fish species discovered in Kerala


February 12, 2015
Four new fish species named Puntius nelsoni, Puntius
chryseusand Systomus rufus have been discovered in Kerala.

nigronotus,

Systomus

They were discovered by Mathews Plamoottil, a zoology professor at Baby John Memorial
Government College in Kollam.

Facts about discovered species


Puntius nelson- Body and fins of this fish is yellowish in colour. Its head is deeper,
the snout shorter and the mouth wider. It was discovered at Kallumkal in Thiruvalla, at the
place where Pamba and Manimala rivers merge.
Puntius nigronotus- It has dorsal fin, black in colour and has more rays. Its lateral
line scales are greater than its closest relatives. It was discovered at Mananthavady in the
hilly Wayanad district.
Systomus chryseus- It is golden in colour and its pectoral fin is greatly elongated. It
was discovered from Keezhvaipur near Thiruvalla.
Systomus rufus- Its fins are red in colour. It was discovered from Venpala, near
Thiruvalla district.
All the four new species have received a Zoo bank register number from the International
Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (the worldwide scientific authority for naming new
animals). The new species of the genus Systomus was discovered after one-and-a-half
century.
Detailed articles describing these new species have been published in international
publications like Journal of Research in Biology and International Journal of Fauna and
Biological Studies.

First National Deworming Day observed on 10 February


February 11, 2015
First National Deworming Day was observed on 10 February.
On the eve of the National Deworming Day, Union Ministry for Health & Family Welfare
launched the National Deworming initiative.
It was launched by Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare Jagat Prakash Nadda in Jaipur,
Rajasthan.

National Deworming initiative

Aim: To protect more than 24 crore children in India between the age of 1 to 19 years
from intestinal worms. It also aims target intestinal parasitic worms among the children to
achieve status of being Worm-free.
It is one of the largest programmes in the world undertaken to deworm children.
In the first phase, about 14 crore children will be covered across eleven States/UT.
They are, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Karnataka,
Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.
Albendazole tablets will be given to all targeted children in first phase. Dosage of
half tablet to 1-2 years children and one full tablet for 2-19 years will be given.
While in second phase, nearly 10 crore children will be targeted between 11 February
and 14 February 2015.

Parasitic worms infestation


Worms interfere with nutrient uptake in small children causing parasitic infestation. It leads
to severe complications among the children resulting in anemia, malnutrition and improper
mental and physical development.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates, nearly 24 crore children in India in
the age group of 1-14 years are at risk of intestinal parasitic worm infestation.

ICICI Bank launches Indias first digital bank Pockets


February 11, 2015
The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank, has launched Indias
first digital Bank on mobile phones,Pockets.
This service will enable users to instantly send money to any e-mail id, mobile number,
friends on Facebook and bank account.

Key facts
Anyone, including those who are not customers of ICICI Bank, can download the ewallet from Google Playstore.
This digital banking service will be funded from customers any bank account in the
country.
Customers can also choose to add a zero balance Savings Account to this digital
wallet, which will allow them to earn interest on their idle money.
This wallet uses a virtual VISA card which enables the users to transact on any
website or mobile application in India.
Customers can also request for a physical card to use it at any retail outlet.
The users can pay bills, recharge mobiles, book movie tickets, order food, send
physical & e-gifts, split and share expenses with friends by using this e-wallet.

Facebook, Reliance Communication tie up to provide free access to Internet


February 11, 2015
Indias Reliance Communications Limited (RCOM) has partnered with social networking giant
Facebook to ofer free internet access.
Both companies have launched Internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to bring internet to
everyone in the world.

Key facts
Under this initiative both companies aim to bring the power of Internet to a billion
people in India in order to increase internet inclusion and encourage more Indians to go
online.

As part of this initiative, RCOM will ofer free data access to 33 popular websites for
all its customers under the umbrella of Internet.org.
Most of the services of 33 popular websites will be available in several Indian
languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Gujarati and Marathi.
All the subscriber of RCOM who have internet enabled hand set (mobile phones) will
get access to this free service.
Android based app of Internet.org on smartphones will be also provided for accessing
free internet. It should be noted that India will be the first country in Asia to get this app.
It is estimated that 70 per cent of RCOMs customers who have such phones will
benefit from this service that are now of line i.e. dont have internet connection.
In the first phase this service has gone live in RCOMs 7 circles which include Mumbai,
Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Chennai and Kerala. While in second
phase, this service will be launched in pan India by May 2015.
Both companies by launching this initiative are opening new socioeconomic opportunities to
users in fields like education, information and commerce. It will in turn create more jobs and
opportunities in India which is worlds second-biggest mobile market with Internet.

Worlds first humanoid robot staffed hotel set to open in Japan


February 10, 2015
Worlds first humanoid robot-stafed hotel is set to open in Nagasaki, Japan in July 2015.
The Henn-na Hotel which means Strange Hotel will be employing Robots as its staf and
other advanced technologies in order to significantly reduce operating costs.
The hotel will come up with a Huis Ten Bosch theme park which is named after a town of
Netherlands.

Some facts
The hotel has been developed by Japans Osaka University and its robots are
manufactured by the Japanese robotics company Kokoro.
This hotel will implement in two phases. In the first phase, the two-story of hotel with
72 rooms will begin its operation in July 2015. While, the second phase will be completed in
2016 with an additional 72 rooms.
Robot employees
The hotel will be stafed with actroid androids which are human-like robots.
These robots will function as humans to greet, carry luggage to rooms, make cups of
cofee and even smile like. These robots will speak Japanese, Chinese, Korean and English.
The hotel will have three robots that will act as receptionists, four service and porter
robots, and robots engaged in menial tasks such as cleaning.
Other advanced technologies
The hotel has facial-recognition technology to access the Guestroom doors of the
hotels. While, Guests will request items through a tablet when needed.
It will be not having air-conditioning, instead of it a radiation panel will be used. This
panel will detect body heat in rooms and adjust the temperature.
Advance solar power and other energy-saving features will be used in order to reduce
operating costs.

Dr. M.O. Garg takes charge as Director General of CSIR


February 7, 2015
Dr M.O. Garg has taken charge as Director General (DG) of the Council of Scientific &
Industrial Research (CSIR).

He will replace PS Ahuja who had held this post since May 2014.

About M.O. Garg


M.O. Garg is a gold medalist in Chemical Engineering from Nagpur University and has M.Tech
degree from IIT Kanpur. He also has completed PhD from University of Melbourne.
Prior to this appointment, he was Director of CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP),
Dehradun for the past 11 years.
As of now, Garg is the author for at least 245 papers published in high impact scientific
journals and also he has 33 national and international patents to his credit.
He has received two CSIR Technology Awards as well as a CSIR Shield for his
commercialization eforts.

About Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)


CSIR is governments autonomous research agency, established in 1942.
Presently, CSIR has over 4,500 scientists working across 38 laboratories and employs over
9000 scientific and technical personnel.
The research bodies under CSIR cover science and technology focus areas ranging from
aeronautics, instrumentation, mining, environmental engineering and to oceanography,
geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics and biotechnology.

Kolkata becomes Indias first Wi-Fi-enabled metro city


February 6, 2015
Kolkata has become Indias first Wi-Fi-enabled metro city as the service was launched from
Park Street in city.
This 4th Generation (4G) free Wi-fi service was launched by West Bengal Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee.
Free Wi-fi service will be will be rolled out in phased manner in all the wards under Kolkata
Municipal Corporation (KMC) as well as adjacent areas of Kolkata. The whole city is expected
to come under Wi-Fi coverage by mid-April in 2015.
Private telecom operator, Reliance Jio is providing the 4G enabled service Wi-fi s in the city.

Two beneficial algal species discovered off the west coast of India
February 5, 2015
Recently, two beneficial algal species Ulva paschima Bast andCladophora goensis
Bast were discovered of the west coast of India.
They were discovered by Dr. Felix Bast and two research students working with him. These
findings were published in the journals PLOS One and Indian Journal of Marine Sciences.

Key Characteristics of discovered algal species

Carbon capture properties- These species have excellent carbon capture


properties i.e. ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So it can be used as
bio-fuels and help reduce global warming.
Endemic- Both of them are endemic species to the western coast of India. So, their
cultivation is not going to cause any environmental harm and reduces the risk of bio
invasion in this region.
Bloom forming- Both species being bloom forming they have spontaneous growth.
So there is no need for any expensive cultivation systems such as photobioreactors or

extensive use of fertilizers/pesticides. They can grow sporadically at shorelines and can
sequester CO.
Medicinal values- Both species have similar characteristic like other algal species
which have Kahalalide-F , used in in clinical trials against prostate and breast cancers. So
they can be used in Pharmaceutical products.
It should be noted that, this discovery was the first molecular study on Indian algae, and first
algal species discoveed in past 40 years.

India ranked second last in GIPCs International Intellectual Property Index


February 5, 2015
The U.S. Chamber of Commerces Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) has released its
third annual international intellectual property (IP) index list.
In this list India is placed at 29th rank among the 30 countries. While, US has been placed at
the top in the list and Thailand at last position.

Key facts
In this edition of IP Index, India has scored a low 7.23 out of maximum 30 points.
While, US topped with score of 28.53 among the 30 countries surveyed, making it the global
leader in protecting IP.
It should be noted that in 2012 and 2014 GIPC Index, India was ranked last in the list,
due to deterioration of IP climate in country.
But in 2015 GIPC Index, India has moved up by 1 position to 29th rank because of
steps taken by the Union Government to address the concerns of international community
related to the IP rights.

About GIPCs Intellectual property (IP) index


It was started in 2012 and the first edition compared national IP environment in 11
economies. Now, this index is represented by 30 countries around the world which
represents 80 per cent of the worlds gross domestic product (GDP).
It is based upon 30 measurable criteria which includes patent, copyright and trademark
protections, enforcement, and engagement in international treaties.

Micromax overtakes Samsung in Indias smartphone market: Canalys Report


February 5, 2015
According to market research firm Canalys report, Indias Micromax Mobile has overtaken
Korean tech giant Samsung as the largest seller of smartphones in India for the first time.
As per Canalys report, Micromax accounted for 22% of Indias smartphone market share in
the October-December 2014 quarter (Q4, 2014). While, Samsungs market share has fallen
down to 20%. Micromaxs smartphone market share in India is 4.7% and Samsungs 4.4 in
Q4, 2014.
Micromax was able to overtake Samsung because of its cheap smartphone segment that
catered Indias local smartphone market preference.
Micromax and Samsung were followed by two other Indian budget smartphone brands,
Karbonn and Lava.
It should be noted that, India is the worlds third-largest smartphone market after China and
United States.

About Micromax

Micromax is consumer Electronics Company with the business of manufacturing of


Mobile phones, Smartphones, Tablet Computers and LED Televisions. It is headquartered in
Gurgaon, Haryana, India
It was started in 2000 as an IT software company and worked on embedded
platforms. Later it started manufacturing low cost mobile and featured smartphones.
Micromax is the tenth largest handset seller in the world as of Q3 2014.

MPs in UK vote to legalise three-person babies using Mitochondrial Donation


Technique
February 4, 2015
Members of Parliament (MPs) in United Kingdom (UK) have voted to legalise law for creation
of three-parent IVF designer babies using Mitochondrial Donation Technique.
In this regard, MPs in House of Commons during free vote, voted in favour of amendment bill
to amend Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, 1990 by 382 to 128 votes.
With this historic move, UK is now set to become the first country to introduce law to allow
the creation of babies from three people. Now this amendment bill needs to be passed
in House of Lords.

What is Mitochondrial Donation Technique?

It uses a modified version of In vitro fertilisation (IVF) to combine the DNA of the two
parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman. This technique was first pioneered
by scientists at Newcastle University, UK.
This technique involves addition of healthy mitochondria from donor women to an
egg from other women with defective mitochondria. Then it is fertilized with mans sperm.
In this process, healthy mitochondria is passed to a child from the mother.
Advantage: It does not allow passage of defective mitochondria from mother to
babies. Thus, preventing new born babies from brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure
and blindness due to defective mitochondria.
Mitochondria: It is a tiny compartment inside cell within the body that converts food in
usable energy. It is also called as the powerhouse of the cell.

NASA launches SMAP satellite to observe soil moisture


February 2, 2015
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched Soil Moisture Active
Passive (SMAP) satellite to observe soil moisture.
It was launched from the Delta 2 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) satellite


SMAP satellite is three-year mission which will measure the amount of moisture in
soil.
The satellite is built to measure moisture in the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of soil. It
can measure the moisture content of the soil from its spot in orbit about 426 miles (685
kilometers) above Earths surface.
SMAP satellite will produce high-resolution global maps from space and data collected
from it will help scientists to monitor droughts and improve flood forecasts.
NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory located in Pasadena, California is responsible for
SMAP satellite project management, system engineering, mission operations and the ground
data system.
SMAP is going to take real-time measurements that will be incorporated into forecasts
and replace current drought mapping and flash flood guidance mechanism as it issued
based on computer modeling.

Applications: It will help to monitor drought, predict floods, assist crop productivity,
weather forecasting and linking water, Energy and Carbon Cycles.

IIT Bombay launches Mass Open Online Courses (MOOC)


January 30, 2015
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay has launched Mass Open Online Courses
(MOOC) in three subjects, computer programming, thermodynamics, and signals and
systems.
It aims to provide mass online education programme that will provide free online courses by
giving access to high quality, IIT-style education to Indian students in Indian language.

Key features of Mass Open Online Courses (MOOC)


It is launched as part of institutes IITBombayX platform developed in collaboration
with edX, a not-for-profit initiative by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and
Harvard University.
It will provide 16-week Computer Programming course in two parts aimed at
computer programming students.
The course on Thermodynamics is designed for mechanical engineering students and
will last 12 weeks.
Signals and Systems will be a 16-week course in two parts designed for electrical
engineering students.
The students will get an honour certificate of achievement certifying successful
completion of the course after they have qualified in the tests.
It will also ofer training workshops for invited teachers on efective teaching for each
of these three subjects under the Train 10,000 Teachers or T10KT programme of the
institute.

US tech giant Apple reports largest quarterly profit in history


January 29, 2015
US technology giant Apple, has reported the biggest quarterly profit of 18 billion US dollar.
It is the biggest quarterly profit ever made by any public company in World and broke the
previous record of ExxonMobil which had earlier topped by making $15.9 billion profit in
2012.
Apples revenue had grown to $74.6 billion in 2014 from $57.6 billion in 2013 i.e. reporting
30% increase in profit.
The main reason for Apples profit is record sale of iPhones. The company has sold 74.5
million iPhones in quarter ending December 2014 with 39.9% profit per product.
Apples impressive profit comes after it shifted towards the massive untapped potential of
Chinese market and partnering with China Mobile Limited the largest global mobile carrier.
Company sales in China had hit $16 billion in 2014- a 70% increase from 2013 and almost
equalling the $17 billion in sales the company recorded in Europe 2013.
Tags: Apple ExxonMobil IPhones

Hike Messenger introduces free voice calling service to its users


January 29, 2015
Hike Messenger, a home-grown chat application has introduced free voice-calling feature
called Hike Calls to its users.
This feature will allow its users to call each other for free, over 2G, 3G and Wi-Fi and across
the globe in over 200 countries.

Hike Messenger has introduced this service, after it had acquired free calling application
company Zip Phone earlier in January 2015.
This feature has been launched in beta on Android operating system, which contributes to
over 90 percent of Hikes user base. While, the iOS and Windows versions will be released
later.

About Hike Messenger


It was launched on 12th December 2012 and is a joint venture between Bharti
Enterprises and Softbank.
User base: In August 2014, Hike had hit 35 million users.

Ancient star with five Earth size planets discovered by astronomers


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January 28, 2015
Astronomers have discovered a star that is 11.2 billion years old and has at least five Earthsize planets.
It was discovered by team of astronomers after analyzing data from NASAs planet-hunting
Kepler spacecraft for over four years.

Key findings
This star is named as Kepler-444. It is 25 percent smaller than our Sun and is 117
light years from Earth.
It belongs to the first generation of stars and considered as part of one of the oldest
systems in the galaxy.
This star has five known planets which have sizes that fall between Mercury and
Venus.
These 5 planets are so close to their star that they complete their orbits in fewer than
10 days.
This discovery is going to help astronomers learn more about the history of our solar
system- Milky Way.

Gujarat Technological University launches e-Raksha centre to fight cybercrime


January 28, 2015
Gujarat Technological University (GTU) has launched e-Raksha Research Centre to curb
rising menace of cybercrimes.
This research Centre will provide solution for issues related to cyber security by encouraging
research and enhance capability in this field.

Key facts e-Raksha Research Centre


This centre is established by GTU in collaboration with Cyber Peace Foundation (CPF).
Its goal is to establish a peaceful and harmonious cyber space through research in
this area.
Various activities like research on latest techniques of cybercrime and capacity
building on this issue to the faculties, students and government officers will be undertaken
by this centre.
It will also support Union governments Make in India campaign by manufacturing
routers, switches, firewalls, UTMs (Unified Threat Management) and other network
appliances.
This centre will also train students in areas of cyber security and enhance their
capability to provide solution for issues related to it.

It will support government in protecting critical infrastructure and mission critical


services including research on malwares such as botnet by setting up malware analysis test
bed.
Gujarat Technological University (GTU): It is headed by the state government and came
into existence on the 16th of May, 2007.

TRAI issues draft rules for full mobile number portability


January 25, 2015
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued draft regulations to facilitate full
mobile number portability (MNP).
In this regard, TRAI has issued draft amendment to the Telecommunication Mobile Number
Portability Regulation, 2009. It will enable mobile subscribers to retain their numbers when
they shift to other states or telecom service areas.
TRAI has sought public comments on the subject by 6 February 2015.

Key highlights of draft amendment


It insets a clause in current rules in order to safeguard interest of post-paid mobile
service users. It was necessary as these users were facing disconnection in new network
even after clearing all their dues of their old telecom service provider.
It also fixed a time line for both the old or donor service providers and new or
recipient service provider. This time line will clarify dues regarding the any with their
subscribers to ensure continuity of service.

What is Mobile Number Portability?


Mobile Number Portability (MNP) enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile
telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.
Currently, MNP norms allow users to retain their numbers while changing their operators
within the same service area. It should be noted that India has 22 telecom circles or service areas.

India, US inks pact to cooperate in ICTE to facilitate Digital India programme


January 23, 2015
India and United States have agreed to cooperate in the field of Information and
Communications Technology and Electronics (ICTE) to facilitate Union governments
ambitious Digital India programme(DIP).
In this regard, Joint Declaration of Intent for cooperation was signed by Secretary in the
Department of Electronics and IT- RS Sharma and US Ambassador to India- Richard Rahul
Verma.

Key highlights of Joint Declaration


It will facilitate Union governments flagship DIP, including electronic manufacturing
and cyber security and several other such related fields between the two countries.
Within period of next five years, it will help in strengthening industrial, technological,
research and innovation and economic cooperation between India and the US.
Under the umbrella of the ongoing India-US ICT Dialogue, it will also provide platform
to US companies for exploring opportunities to collaborate in DIP, electronics manufacturing
and human resource development
Tags: Digital India Programme(DIP) India-US Information And Communications Technology And Electronics
(ICTE) Richard Rahul Verma

US scientists make safe GMO


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January 23, 2015


US scientists have taken the first step towards making safe genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) by using synthetic biology so they cannot spread in the wild.
Using synthetic biology, scientists have re-written the genetic code of bacteria by using
synthetic chemicals to grow them. In this case, scientists have engineered organisms so that
they require synthetic amino acids for survival or for life.
Key characteristic of these GM bacteria is that they die if escaped into nature as they fed
synthetic amino acids for survival.

Implication of this research


Currently, genetically engineered micro-organisms are used in Europe, the US and
China to produce drugs or fuels under contained industrial conditions.
With this GMOs scientist can build safety measures so that their spread could be
controlled and can be used in the outside world.
Now the future challenge is to re-engineer the code of other lifeforms.

Microsoft unveils virtual assistant Cortana for Windows handsets


January 22, 2015
Technology giant Microsoft has unveiled virtual assistant-Cortana for Windows Phone
handsets.
Cortana is female voice-controlled application. It uses Microsofts search engine Bing and
data stored on the handsets to make personalised recommendations and carry out tasks.
It is named after AI system in the firms Halo video game franchise.
Initially, it will be made available in US, then in UK and China and finally other markets as
part of a wider Windows Phone 8.1 system software update.
It should be noted that Apple and Google already ofer comparable facilities on their iOS and
Android platforms.

Union Government launches monitoring system for skill development scheme


January 21, 2015
Union Government has launched Management Information System (MIS) to check
progress and implementation of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana (DAY) scheme in diferent
states.
MIS aims to check real time progress on skill development and enhancing livelihood
opportunities for urban poor under DAY scheme.
It was launched by Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) Minister M Venkaiah Naidu.

Key facts about Management Information System (MIS)


This system is developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC) at a cost of Rs 2.24
crore.
It enables real time and regular monitoring of the progress of DAY scheme and its
seven components which include employment through skill training and placement, selfemployment groups, shelters for urban homeless and support to urban vendors.
It will help to remove the deficiencies in the present manual submission of monthly
progress reports which are submitted by states.

Union Cabinet gives nod to FM Phase 3 auction


January 17, 2015

Union Cabinet has given its nod for conducting FM Phase-III auction and renewal of Private
FM Radio licenses from Phase-II to Phase-III in 69 existing cities for 135 channels.
It was decided in Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Key facts of FM Phase-III auction


The Phase III will e-auction around 839 FM channels in 294 cities. It is expected to
commence before the end of the present fiscal year. However, it will continue over the next
three years.
It will be done according to recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of
India (TRAI) on payment of migration fee.
Union Government already had appointed an e-auctioneer to monitor the e-auction.
Successful auctions of all proposed channels in Phase-III seeks to add an estimated
revenue of over 550 crore to the National Exchequer.
Background
Earlier, the decision relating to Phase-III was taken by then Union Cabinet of UPA
Government on 7 July 2011.
But it was delayed as channel auction was proposed on e-auction basis.
In March 2014, the Empowered Committee had decided to charge a fee for migration
to existing operators who wanted to move to Phase-III.
In India, as of now two phases of Private FM Radio have been implemented. They are Phase-I
(1999-2000) and Phase-II (2005-06). While, there are 243 private FM channels operating in
86 cities of the country, spanning 26 States and three Union Territories.
Thus, cabinets decision for auction is critical for the private radio industry since some of the
licenses of the channels are expiring on 31 March, 2015.

Missing Mars probe Beagle 2 found on Mars after 11 years


January 17, 2015
A British-built space probe Beagle 2 has been found on the surface of Mars, 11 years after it
was thought that it was lost on Mars.
It was discovered in the high-resolution images taken by HiRISE camera mounted on NASAs
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
Thus, its discovery has ended the decade long mystery of what happened to the mission
since 2003.
After the discovery, the Royal Society has announced an award in commemoration of Prof
Colin Pillinger (died in 2014) who was Principal Investigator of Beagle2 probe.

About Beagle2
Beagle2 was released to its landing trajectory from its mother craft- European Space
Agencys Mars Express (MEx) orbiter on 19 December 2003.
After its release, it was due to land six days later on Mars surface using parachutes
and airbags.
But nothing was heard from probes radio contact after its scheduled touchdown.
It was assumed by many scientists that it had been destroyed in a high-velocity
impact during landing.

Science and Technology


ISRO Mars Orbiter Mission team wins 2015 Space Pioneer Award
January 14, 2015

The team of ISROs Mars Mission has been awarded 2015Space Pioneer Award in the
Science and Engineering category by National Space Society (NSS).
They are being conferred with this award for achieving the rare feat of entering Mars orbit in
maiden attempt.
Mars Orbiter Programme Team will receive the award during NSS 34 th International Space
Development Conference which will be held in Toronto from 20 May 2015.

ISROs Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM)


It was launched on 5 November, 2013. It made history on 24 September 2014 after it
entered Mars orbit in maiden attempt.
It achieved two significant missions. First, entering into orbit around Mars and
secondly, taking full-disk colour imagery of Mars with its onboard high resolution camera.
It should be noted that, the Mars Orbiter programme team is located in Bengaluru,
Karnataka. It is headed by eminent ISRO scientist Mylswamy Annadurai.
About Space Pioneer Award
It recognizes those individuals and teams whose accomplishments have helped to open the
space frontier. It was instituted in 1988.
This prestigious award is be given by the National Space Society (NSS), an American
educational and scientific organization.
Award memento consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast. It is casted by the Baker Art
Foundry in Placerville, California. Originally, this sculpture was created by Don Davis, the
well-known space and astronomical artist.
Tags: 2015 Space Pioneer Award Mars Orbiter Mission National Space Society (NSS)

Idukki district of Kerala becomes Indias first district with rural broadband
network
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January 13, 20151 Comment
Idukki district of Kerala has become first district in India to have high speed Rural
Broadband Network i.e. National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) Internet connectivity.
Union Minister of Information Technology and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad
commissioned this Hi-speed rural broadband network under the governments flagship Digital
India programme.
In Idukki, 8 block offices and 52 village panchayats out of 53 will benefit from this project.

Facts about National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

NOFN is the largest rural connectivity project of its kind in the world.
It aims to transform the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge
economy.
It seeks to link each of the 2.5 lakh village panchayats in the country spread over
6600 blocks and 631 districts through broadband optical fibre network in order to provide a
minimum bandwidth of 100 Mbps.
On its completion, NOFN is expected to facilitate Broadband connectivity to over 600
million rural citizens of the country.
NOFN, is being funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF), Department
of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT.
It will ofer people with friendly services like e-governance, e-health, e-education, ebanking, public internet access etc. It will also enable delivery of various government

services such as local planning, management, monitoring and payments of Government


schemes at panchayat level.
Thus it will help to provide non-discriminatory telecom infrastructure, in order to bridge the
gap of digital divide in rural internet access.
Tags: Government Schemes Idukki District Kerala National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

DRDO successfully tests advance EW suite in Tejas-PV1 Aircraft


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January 11, 2015No comments
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully tested an
advanced electronic warfare (EW) suite.
It was tested onboard of the countrys Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas-PV1.

Key facts about Electronic Warfare (EW) suite


It is developed by Defence Avionics Research Establishment (DARE) of DRDO.
EW suite consists of Radar Warner and Jammer.
This suit gives pilot an additional capability of nullifying the efect of detected radar
threat by appropriate mode of jamming.
It will replace existing EW systems, which are fitted on various combat aircraft as
they consist of basic equipment Radar Warner Receiver. It only has capability to provide
warning to the aircraft pilot in case of detection of a radar threat.

Union Government unblocks 32 websites


January 11, 2015
Union Government has unblocked 32 websites which were blocked earlier in November
2014.
These websites were unblocked after they had promised to cooperate with the authorities
and remove objectionable content.
They were blocked for carrying anti-India views and spreading banned terrorist outfit Islamic
State of Iraq and Syrias (ISIS) propaganda.
Background
Earlier in November 2014, these websites were blocked following complaint of Maharashtra
Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).
They were blocked by Department of Telecom (DoT) under Section 69 of the Information
Technology Act, 2000 and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for
Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

These rules give powers to government to block access to information on websites if it


threatens the interest of
Sovereignty and integrity of the country.
Defence of India.
Security of the state.
Friendly relations with foreign states or public order.
For preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable ofence.

NASAs Kepler Telescope achieves big milestone with 1,000th exoplanet


discovery
January 9, 2015

NASAs Kepler Space Telescope has achieved a big milestone after it had discovered
1000 exoplanet.
In order to achieve this milestone, planet hunting telescope had continuously monitored
more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system.
It has ofered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further
study and recently, 1,000 exoplanet was verified among these monitored stars.

Key facts
Using Keplers data, scientists have reached this millenary milestone after validating
8 more planet candidates that were spotted by the telescope.
Kepler team also has added another 554 candidates to the roll of potential planets.
Among them 6 are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of stars similar to our Sun.
As per Kepler team, 3 of the newly-validated planets are located in their distant suns
habitable zone. They are in the range of distances from the host star where liquid water
might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet.
Of the three planets, two are likely made of rock like Earth. They were named
asKepler-438b and Kepler-442b.
Both Kepler-438b and Kepler-442b orbit stars smaller and cooler than our Sun. Thus
making the habitable zone closer to their parent star, in the direction of the constellation
Lyra.
Exoplanet: It is is a planet that does not orbit the Sun and instead orbits a diferent star,
stellar remnant, or brown dwarf. It is also termed as extrasolar planet.

ICICI Bank launches Indias first contactless credit and debit cards
January 8, 2015
Indias largest private sector bank Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation
of India (ICICI) Bank has launched countrys first contactless debit and credit cards.
These cards will provide its customers to make electronic payments by waving the cards
near the merchant terminal instead of dipping or swiping.

Facts about ICICI Banks contactless cards


These cards are based on the Near Field Communication (NFC) technology and
powered by MasterCard contactless and Visa payWave technologies.
It provide customers with the improved convenience of speed as these cards require
significantly less time than traditional cards to complete a transaction.
It also enhances security features for the customer.
Presently, bank has introduced these cards in cities like Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
ICICI Bank also has provided with over 1200 Electronic Data Capture (EDC) machines that
are capable of accepting contactless payments in these cities.

Government gives nod to Neutrino project in Tamil Nadu


January 7, 2015
Union cabinet meeting has approved setting up of India-based Neutrino Observatory
(INO) project in Bodi West Hills, Tamil Nadu. This cabinet meeting was headed by Prime
Minister Narendra Modi.

Key facts about India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) project

It is an underground project, jointly supported by the Department of Atomic Energy


(DAE) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

It will comprise a complex of caverns the main cavern, which will house detector
which is 130 metres long, 26 metres wide and 30 metre high.
Along with main cavern, there will be two smaller caverns that will be used for setting
up experiments for neutrino double detector and dark matters.
This underground complex will be approached by a 2-kms long tunnel.
It will host experiments such as the neutrino-less double beta decay and the search
for dark matter.
It also involves Inter-Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) and Iron
Calorimeter Detector (ICAL).
Along with project, government has also approved the construction of a 50,000 tonne
magnetised iron calorimeter detector (ICAL). It will study the properties of the neutrino, in
particular the mass hierarchy among diferent types of neutrino.

Neutrino
It is an electrically neutral, weakly interacting elementary subatomic particle with halfinteger spin. It belongs to the lepton family.
There are three types of neutrinos: electron neutrinos, muon neutrinos and tau neutrinos.

ICICI Bank Launches Digital Village Project in Akodara Village of Gujarat


January 5, 2015
Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) Bank has launched its
own version of Digital Village Project by adopting entire Akodara Village in Sabarkantha
district of Gujarat.
It was launched presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ICICI Bank MD and CEO
Chanda Kochar to mark 60-year-celebration of the ICICI groups existence.

Key facts about ICICI Banks Digital Village Project

It is launched in lines with Governments flagship programme of Digital India.


It seeks to provide entire village with services ranging from cashless banking to
digitised school teaching.
As part of this project, banking platform at rural part will be digitized by covering all
aspects of banking like opening an account to sale of goods to purchase of products
including milk from the vendors or local kirana stores.
In case of school teaching, it will digitized all school records alongwith the Gujarat
syllabus and even teaching methods and tools.
It will also provide necessary infrastructure needed for digisiting entire village in
order to provide villager with the access required to data and information in a digital format.
Besides basic banking facilities like ATMs and other digital banking services, other
services like e-health, e-milk producer group, Wi-Fi connectivity and schools with digital
black boards in the village, along with a host of other digital facilities will be provided under
this project.
About ICICI Bank
It was established in 1955 as ICICI Ltd.
Originally it was set up as an Indian financial institution as the initiative of the World Bank,
the Government of India and representatives of Indian industry to provide project financing
to Indian businesses.
Later in 1994, it got merged to form ICICI Bank.

PM inaugurates 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015 at Mumbai University

January 3, 2015
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Indian Science Congress 2015 at the
Mumbai University. It is the 102nd edition of this congress and Mumbai is hosting it again
after the gap of 45 years.
The theme of 102nd Congress is Science and Technology for Human Development.
The Congress sessions aims to bring together eminent scientists, research scholars to
popularize science and foster a scientific temperament.

Key facts
It is 5 day event and will witness deliberations and presentation of papers by the
scientific fraternity from across the globe. More than 12 thousand delegates are going to
participate in the session.
In this congress several symposia on relevant themes such as Womens Science
Congress, Children Science Congress and Science Exhibition etc will be also organized.
This edition will cover a wide variety of topics like: Agriculture and forestry,
veterinary science, earth science, environment, engineering, information & communication,
computer sciences, mathematics, medicine, biology, physics and plant sciences among
others.
Other themes of interest include science & technology in SAARC countries,
biodiversity conservation, space application, GM crops and the use of modern biotechnology
in agriculture, clean energy systems for the future.

Delhi Police launches women safety mobile app Himmat


January 1, 2015
Delhi police has launched women safety mobile application Himmat. It was launched by
the Union home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.
It is an android based mobile app, which aims to cater employed women who have
smartphones and travel alone late in the night.
This application will allow women to send a distress call to Police Control Room (PCR) and
their relatives in case of any emergency.
Key facts of women safety mobile app Himmat

In case to use this app, user has to download this app on their smartphone.
After downloading the app, new user has to register them with the Delhi Police
website by sharing their name, mobile number and that of a minimum of two
relatives/friends.
In case of emergency, user can send an alert by shaking her phone or by pressing the
power button/soft button.
As soon as the distress button is pressed, it will trigger a 30-second audio and video
recording on the phone which will be relayed to the PCR. The victim will get a call back from
the PCR.
After distress button is pressed, SMS alert consisting of all the details of the victim,
including her location, time will be forwarded to the PCR. Then from PCR, SMS alert it will be

forwarded to the police patrol cars in the area and the local station house officer (SHO)
through the Delhi Police cyber highway.
In case of emergency, SMS alert will also be sent to minimum of 5 friends and
relatives of the user. It will also post a status on the victims Facebook and Twitter accounts.
In order to tackle false SOS alerts/ alarms the app is provided with inbuilt feature
which cancels the registration after 3 such (False SOS alerts) incidents. But, the user can reregister to re-activate the facility.

Union government blocks 32 websites for spreading anti-India views and ISIS
propaganda
January 1, 2015
Union government has blocked access to 32 websites for carrying anti-India views and
spreading banned terrorist outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Syrias (ISIS) propaganda. These
websites were blocked after following an advisory given by an anti-terrorism team.
The blocked uniform resource locators(URLs) include files, videos and source code-sharing
websites.
They were blocked by Department of Telecom(DoT) under Section 69 of the Information
Technology Act, 2000 and under Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for
Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
These rules give powers to the central government to block access to information on
websites if it threatens the interest of the sovereignty and integrity of the country, defence
of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for
preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable ofence.

Microsoft sues Indian firm C-Cubed Solutions for technical support scam
January 1, 2015
Microsoft has sued an Indian company C-Cubed Solutions along with other entities for
misusing its name and registered trademarks by providing fraudulent technical support
services to unsuspecting consumers.
In this regard, Microsofts Digital Crimes Unit has filed a civil lawsuit in federal court located
in the Central District of California against C-Cubed Solutions for unfair and deceptive
business practices and trademark infringement.
As per the lawsuit, C-Cubed Solutions along with other entities had used the Microsoft
trademarks to enhance their credentials and confuse customers without any authorisation
from them. Microsoft is demanding a jury trial against these entities.

Microsoft is also seeking from jury a permanent injunction to restrain and enjoin these
entities for the infringement of their registered trademarks and directly or indirectly
engaging in false advertising regarding the quality or security of Microsoft software.
It should be noted that, law suit has mentioned C-Cubed as a private company associated
under Indian law. Its directors include Marc Haberman, Rachel Eilat Haberman and Jay
Wurzberger. It is a subsidiary of California-based Customer Focus Services (CFS) and
operates the mail server by which CFS.
Microsoft has chosen to sue these entities after they had received more 65,000 customer
complaints regarding fraudulent tech support scams since May 2014.

Science and Technology


ICRISAT launches Green PHABLET to empower small farmers
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December 31, 2014No comments

International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) has
launched a customised low-cost combination of phone and tablet computer called
GreenPHABLET powered by the GreenSIM.
This device aims to empower small farmers who own small plots of land by providing them
with precise information related to agriculture and help them purchase inputs at lower
prices, get a better price for their produce and link them to markets.

Key facts of ICRISATs GreenPHABLET


It has been developed by the ICRISAT Centre of Excellence in ICT Innovations for
Agriculture in collaboration with NUNC Systems, a company based in Hyderabad.
This device acts like a mobile village knowledge centre/common service centre,
enabling farmers to benefit from contemporary information and communication technologies
by penetrating Internet connectivity in remote rural region
It will provide farmers with free messages about the weather and pest problems while
sharing the most competitive agricultural input and crop prices.
It should be noted that GreenSIM was created under a unique partnership between ICRISAT,
mobile phone service provider Airtel, and the IFFCO (Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative)
Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL).

The GreenSIM had received the prestigious Flame Award 2013 from the Rural Marketing
Association of India (RMAI). It was also cited for showcasing innovative use of technology of
the decade.
About International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT)
ICRISAT is a non-profit agricultural research organization headquartered in Patancheru in
Hyderabad, Telangana.
It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organizations convened by the Ford and the
Rockefeller Foundations. Its charter was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization
(FAO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
It has several regional centres around globe- Niamey (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and research
stations Bamako (Mali), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).
Since its inception, India has granted special status to ICRISAT as a UN Organization
operating in the Indian Territory making it eligible for special immunities and tax privileges.
Tags: GreenPHABLET Powered By The GreenSIM International Crops Research Institute For The Semi-Arid
Tropics (ICRISAT)

China launches Yaogan-26 remote sensing satellite


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December 28, 2014
China has launched Yaogan-26 a remote sensing satellite into the preset orbit from Taiyuan
Satellite Launch Centre in north Chinas Shanxi Province.
The satellite was carried by a Long March-4B rocket, marking the 202th mission for the
rocket family.
Yaogan-26 satellite will mainly be used for scientific experiments, land surveys, crop yield
estimates and disaster prevention.

Facts about Yaogan Satellite series


In 2006, China launched Yaogan-1, first satellite in the Yaogan series.
In total, China has planned to launch about 70 remote sensing satellites to detect the
near-Earth space environment and predict extreme events.
As part of Yaogan Satellite series, China is also launching about 20 communication
satellites to meet communication demand in national security and public services.
Besides, China is launching about 30 navigation satellites to provide accurate and
reliable global positioning and navigation services.

Telangana government starts Prati Inta e-Sakshatha programme under


NDLM to e-literate 30,000 persons
December 22, 2014
Telangana government has started pilot project of National Digital Literacy Mission
(NDLM) in a mandal each in four districts. This national mission in state is being named as
Prati Inta e-Sakshatha programme.
This pilot project initiative aims to make one person in every household e-literate and
seeking to cover 30 thousand persons under it.

Four mandals along with each four districts for pilot project are:
Gajwel mandal in Medak district.
Suryapet mandal in Nalgonda district.
Sircilla mandal in Karimnagar district.

Achampet mandal in Mahabubnagar district.


Key facts of the Prati Inta e-Sakshatha programme
It is an initiative of Information Technology, Electronics and Communications
Department of Telangana state.
Objective: To make at least one person in the 14- 60 age group in every household
e-literate in order to ensure that he/she can operate computer and mobile phone, send and
receive emails besides surfing the Internet.
Under this pilot programme, 4 mandals will get NDLM learning centres, where
training and assessments will be conducted, at locations easily accessible to the
beneficiaries.
Two courses will be ofered, one for 20 hours and another spread over 40 hours
In the first phase, a total of 30,000 people mostly with rural background will be
trained by March 2015.

National Mathematics Day being celebrated on Srinivasa Ramanujans birth


anniversary
December 22, 2014
Every year 22nd December is observed as National Mathematics Day to celebrate birth
anniversary of great Indian Mathematician autodidact Srinivasa Ramanujan.
This year, it will be the 127th birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
About Srinivasa Ramanujan
He was born on 22nd December, 1887 in Erode district of Tamil Nadu.
He was considered as doyen of number theory, infinite series, mathematical analysis, and
making formulas and equations without any formal training in pure mathematics.

Key contributions:
As a mathematical genius, he had compiled more than 3900 mathematical results
and equations.
His Ramanujan Prime and Ramanujan theta discoveries had inspired further research
on this mathematical subject.
Along with British Mathematician Hardy, Ramanujan had discovered the smallest
number represented as sum of two cubes 1729 which is known as Hardy-Ramanujan
number.
Background
In 2011, Union Government had declared 22nd December as National Mathematics Day to
celebrate his 125th birth anniversary. Government also had declared, 2012 as National
Mathematics Year.

ISROs GSLV Mark III rocket launched successfully


December 18, 2014
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISROs) first sub-orbital flight and Indias latest
generation launch vehicle- GSLV Mark-III X was successfully lifted of from Satish Dhawan
Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle-Mark III (GSLV Mk-III) was carrying payload Crew
module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE) weighing 3775 kg.
Mission: It was a suborbital experimental flight mission which aimed to test the vehicles
performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and thus carried a passive
(non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.

Objective:
To test the rockets atmospheric flight stability with CARE payload and to the
intended height of 126 km.
To study the re-entry characteristics of the crew module- CARE and its aero braking
and validation of its end-to-end parachute system.
Successful experimental flight
The flight mission began with the successful launch of GSLV Mk-III from the Second
Launch Pad at Sriharikota.
After the launch, GSLV Mk-III carried its payload CARE to the intended height of 126
km.
Following this, CARE separated from the upper stage of GSLV Mk-III and re-entered
the atmosphere and safely landed over Bay of Bengal with the help of its parachutes after
successful lift-of of launch vehicle.
Thus, this successful launch will help India in perfecting the cryogenic engine technology
and help to become self-reliant in launching communication satellites.
About GSLV-Mark III
The GSLV-Mark III is a three stage/engine launch vehicle.
Its first stage comprises two identical S-200 large solid boosters with 200 tonne solid
propellant that are strapped on to the second stage, the L110 re-startable liquid stage.
The third stage/engine is the cryogenic which is more efficient as it provides more thrust for
every kilogram of propellant burnt.

Microbes discovered living beneath earth by deepest marine drill


December 16, 2014
The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has discovered microbes living
2,400m beneath the seabed of Japan. It was presented at the America Geophysical Union
Fall Meeting after the samples were analyzed, which were taken from 2,446m of rock under
the seafloor by Chikyu ship.
Key discovery
It was revealed life exists deep beneath the seabed in the form of tiny, single celled
organisms/microbes despite having no light, no oxygen, barely any water and very limited
nutrients, thrived in such depth beneath the earth.
They survive in this harsh environment mainly on a low calorie diet of hydrocarbon
compounds and have a very slow metabolism.

About IODP Expedition


The IODP Expedition 337 took place in 2012 of the coast of Japans Shimokita Peninsula
in the northwestern Pacific.
In this expedition Japans Chikyu ship having a monster drill penetrated a record-breaking
2,446 m of rock under the seafloor and samples were collected. These samples were taken
from the ancient coal bed system that lies at this depth, and later were analyzed. It should
be also noted that this Japans Chikyu ship has the ability to drill deep into the Earths
crust.

Science and Technology

India successfully launches communication satellite GSAT-16


December 7, 2014
Indias multi-band communication satellite GSAT-16 was successfully put on a
Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) by the European launcher Ariane 5 VA221, from the
Kourou space port in French Guiana.
Earlier, due to bad weather, the launch of GSAT-16 was delayed by two days.

Key facts
It is indigenously developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and has
lift-of mass of 3,181 kg.
GSAT-16 is carrying C-band and Ku-band transponders in order to further augment
communication services across VSAT (very small aperture terminal) services, TV services
and emergency communications in India.
It is configured to carry a total of 48 communication transponders, the largest
number of transponders carried by a communication satellite developed by ISRO the so far.
GSAT-16 with a designated on orbit operational life of 12 years will be the 18th
satellite to be launched by Arianespace for ISRO.
It will replace INSAT-3E, which was decommissioned a little prematurely in April,
2014.
Launch facts
After it was successfully placed in GTO, ISROs Master Control Facility (MCF) at Hassan,
Karnataka has taken control of GSAT-16 satellite.
Now, MCF will performs the initial orbit raising manoeuvres using the satellites on-board
Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) and finally placing it in the vicinity of circular Geostationary
Orbit.
After this, the deployment of appendages such as the solar panels, antennas and three axis
stabilisation of the satellite will be performed. It will be positioned at 55 degree East
longitude in the geostationary orbit and co-located with GSAT-8, IRNSS-1A and IRNSS-1B
satellites.
Implications: GSAT-16 satellite will help to boost public and private TV and radio services,
large-scale Internet and telephone operations. It will help to reduce ISROs capacity crunch
of transponders as it has leased 95 transponders on foreign satellites mainly for the use of
private TV broadcasters.

NASAs Orion capsule blasts off for test flight to Mars


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December 6, 2014
NASAs Orion capsule blasted of on its first journey into orbit, from Kennedy Space Centre
of Florida coast. United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket was carrying this unmanned
spacecraft. This mission is a key test flight before carrying people to deep space destinations
like Mars in the coming years.
Flight test: This Orion capsule flight test aims to test crucial systems like the heat shield
and parachute splashdown. After the liftof, the spacecraft entered the first of two loops
around the Earth smoothly, orbiting about as high as the International Space Station (ISS),
which circles at an altitude of about 430 kms.

Mission Analysis: An analysis of sophisticated sensors on this capsule will help NASA to
know if the temperature inside remained survivable for a potential crew, even as the
spacecrafts exterior heated to 2,200 Celsius during its re-entry to Earths atmosphere at a
velocity of 20,000 miles per hour.
Thus it help for the future missions for Orion, which can fit four people at a time, include a
trip to lasso an asteroid and a journey to Mars by the 2030s.

China launches new Yaogan-23 remote sensing satellite


November 16, 2014
China has launched remote sensing satellite Yaogan-23 from Taiyuan Satellite Launch
Centre. It was carried by a Long March-2C rocket, marking the 198th mission for the Long
March rocket family.
It was also the 49th successful orbital launch from the Taiyuan Satellite launch Center, the
4th launch from this space center in 2014 and the 10th orbital launch for China this year.
Yaogan-23 satellite will mainly be used for scientific experiments, natural resource surveys,
crop yield estimates and disaster relief.

Yaogan Satellite series

In 2006, China launched the first satellite in the Yaogan series that is Yaogan-1.
In future, China planned to launch about 70 remote sensing satellites to detect the
near-Earth space environment and predict extreme events.
China will also launch about 20 communication satellites to meet communication
demand in national security and public services.
Besides, China will launch about 30 navigation satellites to provide accurate and
reliable global positioning and navigation services.

Rosetta missions Philae probe landed on Comet 67P


November 13, 2014
Rosetta mission of European Space Agency (ESA) has landed its Philae probe on the surface
of Comet 67P/ ChuryumovGerasimenko. Philae probe landing on Comet 67P made a Space
history, as for the first time probe has landed on a comet.
The landing site of Philae probe has been named as Agilkia and is located on the head of the
bizarre double-lobed object of Comet. Name Agilkia was chosen by ESA in honour of Agilkia
Island, in a public contest.

Philaes mission:
Philaes mission is to transmit data about composition of the comet after landing on its
surface. It will provide elemental, isotopic, molecular and mineralogical composition of the
cometary material.
The lander is named after Philae Island in the Nile River, Egypt where an obelisk (a tall, foursided, narrow tapering monument) was found and used, along with the Rosetta stone, to
decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics.

About Spacecraft Rosetta and Comet 67P


67P was first discovered in 1969 by Soviet astronomers Ivanovych Churyumov and Svetlana
Ivanova Gerasimenko. It is also known as Comet ChuryumovGerasimenko.

The spacecraft has been named after the Rosetta Stone, the discovery of which in 1799
provided the key to translating Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and Demotic script into Ancient
Greek (and thus any other language).

Mission
The 1 billion pound (1.58 billion US dollars) Rosetta mission blasted of from Europes
spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in March 2004, for a long journey involving loops around
the Sun as it aimed to get onto the same orbit as 67P.
Rosetta has traversed over 6 billion n km, passing by Earth three times, Mars once, and flew
by two asteroids, using the gravitational pull of those bodies to change velocity and catch up
with 67P.It had travelled through the Solar System before reaching at orbit of Comet 67P on
6th August 2014. The mission aims to know mysteries of comets made from ancient material
that predates the origin of the solar system.

Newton-Bhabha Fund announced by UK and India


November 12, 2014
India and United Kingdom (UK) have announced a Newton-Bhabha Fund programme to
scale up their bilateral research & innovation relationship to a greater level. This new
initiative was announced during a meeting between Union Minister for Science and
Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan and the UK Minister for Universities, Science and Cities Greg
Clark, who co-chaired the 4 th UK-India Science and Innovation Council (SIC) held at new
Delhi.
The Newton-Bhabha Fund is a programme which aims to build up strong interdisciplinary
dimension that will further strategise the science, research and innovation cooperation
between the UK and India. For this programme UK will provide 50 million pounds over 5
years period and India will provide similar matched eforts.

Key Features: Newton-Bhabha programme

Joint PhD student mobility programme: It aims to pave the way for the next
generation of researchers in the UK and India to interact with each other and build long-term
R&D linkages and collaborations. This mobility programme will be administered by British
Council India and the Department of Science and Technology. It will start from March 2015 to
sponsor UK and Indian PhD students to spend a period of their study (3 to 6 months) in
Premier Indian and UK higher education institutions.
New research projects in Mental Health and Substance Abuse: These new
projects will be joint initiative of Medical Research Council (MRC) of UK and Indian Council of
Medical Research (ICMR). ICMR will fund the Indian component for this project while UK will
provide up to 2 million pounds.
Setting up Centres for research in Renewable Energy: These centres will be
jointly co-funded by RCUK Energy programme and Department of Science and Technology
(DST) of India. UK and the Department of Science & Technology of India will provide support
to business-led research and development aimed at tackling societal challenges.
Centre Partnerships in Cancer Biology, Translational Regenerative
Medicines in Neuroscience and Antimicrobial Resistance: It will be funded jointly up
to 7 million pounds by Medical Research Council (MRC) of UK and Department of
Biotechnology (DBT), India.

DRDO develops herbal drug Lukosin for Leucoderma


November 10, 2014

Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed herbal drug Lukosin, for
treatment of leucoderma (white patches on skin). This drug is developed from medicinal
plants. The scientists of Defence Bio-Energy Research (DIBER), Haldwani in Uttarakhand, a
laboratory of DRDO of the Defence Ministry, have developed this drug. DIBER has
transferred the technology of the drug to AIMIL Pharmaceuticals India for its commercial
production and sale.
Leucoderma is generally considered an incurable disease, but Lukosin has been extremely
efective against it.
During the clinical trials, it has been proved that there are no side-efects to persons
consuming Lukoskin with dietary advice like avoiding acidic foods, citrus fruits, nonvegetarian and fast foods, beverages like cold drinks, detergents and soaps etc.
While success rate among women under the age of 40 years during clinical trial was 81.25
per cent within 90 to 250 days of medication, it was 60 per cent among women above 40
years of age. Maximum recovery was found among women below 40 years.
About Leucoderma
Leukoderma is a cutaneous condition. It is an acquired condition with localized loss of
pigmentation of the skin that may occur after any number of inflammatory skin conditions,
burns, intralesional steroid injections, postdermabrasion, etc.
It is largely a cosmetic problem, and is neither infectious nor contagious.

ISRO to Launch GSLV MK III in December


November 1, 2014
On 30th October 2014, ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan announced that the experimental
mission of Geo-synchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV-MK III) will take
place in the first half of December.

Date of the launch is not yet fixed because of the three reasons:
Preparedness of the vehicle.
Certain analysis and reconfirmation is yet to be done for the new vehicle.
Weather: from October middle to first week of December the weather conditions are
not good because of the cyclonic storms are so frequent.

About Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mark-III)

ISRO has developed the geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle (GSLV-Mark I-III)
with indigenous cryogenic engine
The main function of GSLV Mark-III is for Mid-Heavy Lift Launch System.
Objective: To launch heavy satellites weighing more than two tonnes into
geostationary orbit 36,000 km above Earth.
It will allow India to become less dependent on foreign rockets for heavy lifting.
GSLV Mark-III comprises of three stage vehicle with a first stage consisting of two
identical large solid boosters strapped onto the second liquid stage. The third stage is a
cryogenic stage.

ISROs flight development plans

First development flight (GSLV MK III D1) with an operational cryogenic stage is
planned in between 2016 to 2017.
Second development flight (GSLV Mk-III D2) is planned after one year of GSLV Mk-III
D1 flight in 2017 to 2018.

Successful flight development will help in Indias manned mission to space.


The 630-tonne GSLV-MK III will carry a crew module of 3.65-tonne. ISRO plans to send
astronauts into space eventually.
Tags: GSLV ISRO

SpaceX Dragon spacecraft returns safely


October 28, 2014
SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft has concluded its mission to the ISS (International Space
Station) and returned to Earth. The spacecraft was launched in September in SpaceXs
Falcon 9 launch vehicle. This was Dragons fifth visit to the ISS.

Cargo
Dragon carried cargo of almost 5,000 pounds of supplies and experiments to the
International Space Station during a month long stay. The Dragon delivered a multitude of
food, clothing, equipment, experiments and supplies for the ISS and her crew including a 3D
printer.

Mice
Dragon also carried 20 mice who will now stay at the ISS. The mice were taken into space in
a new hardware system designed to carry rodents safely from Earth to the ISS and provide
long-term accommodation aboard the ISS. It is being done to help researchers study the
long-term efects of microgravity on mammalian physiology.

SpaceX

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation, orSpaceX, is a space transport services


company that is headquartered in Hawthorne, California, USA
It was founded in 2002 by formerPayPal entrepreneur and Tesla Motors CEO Elon
Musk.
The goal behind the setting up of SpaceX was to reduce space transportation costs
and enable thecolonization of Mars
SpaceX has developed two reusable launch vehicles: the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9, apart
from a spacecraft called Dragon
SpaceX is a holder of the following records:It was responsible for the first privately funded, liquid-fueled rocket to reach orbit
It is the first privately funded company to successfully launch orbit and recover a
spacecraft
It is the first private company to send a spacecraft to the ISS
Is the first private company to send a satellite intogeosynchronous orbit

Dragon

Dragon is a free flying spacecraft that was designed by SpaceX


It was designed to deliver cargo and also people to orbiting destinations in space
In 2012, it became the first commercial spacecraft in history to delivery cargo to the
ISS and also return cargo safely back to Earth
SpaceX is currently developing a new version of Dragon under an agreement with
NASA, whereby it will be able to carry crew-members. Dragons first manned test flight is
expected to occur in a couple of years

Government substantially increases fellowship amount to research scholars


October 22, 2014

The Central Government has substantially increased the amount it pays to over 70,000
research scholars.

Details of changes in benefits

The new fellowships will be efective retrospectively from October 1.


Science students undertaking PhD and post-doctoral studies will not only receive
better stipend but also other facilities like house rent allowance and medical benefits from
the government.
Junior research fellowship has been enhanced to Rs 25,000 from Rs 16,000
Senior research fellowship has been increased to Rs 28,000 from Rs 18,000
Fellowship for post doctoral studies has been increased from Rs 22,000 to Rs 36,000
(for research associate-1), from Rs 23,000 to Rs 38,000 (research associate-2) and from Rs
24,000 to Rs 40,000 (research associate-3). [Research associate 1 and 2 are generally for
one year, while research associate-3 can continue to work till they get a position in a
research institute]

Financial outgo
The additional financial outgo for the Centre on account of the changes will be Rs 750 crore
annually and has been approved by the Finance Ministry. Currently, the Centre spends Rs
1,663 cr annually on the fellowships

Protests and Demonstrations


Several protests and demonstrations by students and researchers were held in academic
institutes across India, asking the government to raise the fellowship amounts and show its
support to the study of the sciences. While most of the demands of the protestors have been
met with, one of their demands for an inflation-linked annual increase has not been met
with.
The last pay revision for research scholars was in 2010.

India successfully launches IRNSS 1C


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October 17, 2014
IRNSS 1C, the next satellite in Indias IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System)
series, was launched successfully on October 16 by ISRO. IRNSS 1C was launched on a PSLV
C26 from Sriharikota. The satellite is similar to, and follows the IRNSS 1A and 1B which were
launched in April 2013 and July 2014 respectively.

Details of launch
The rocket lifted of at 1.32 am. The satellite weighed 1, 425.4 kg and was successfully
placed into a sub geosynchronous transfer orbit just 20 minutes after the launch. This was
the 7th time that ISRO used an XL version of the PSLV rocket for its mission. The life of the
satellite is estimated at 10 years.

IRNSS series
IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its
boundaries. It will provide accurate position information to users in India and will also be
used for terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, fleet management and for
vehicle tracking. Basically it will provide two kinds of services, Standard Positioning Services,
which is available to all users, and an encrypted service that is provided only to authorized

users. However, to be able to use the IRNSS satellites, ISRO will have to launch at least four
of the seven planned IRNSS satellites. The complete IRNSS system will include three
satellites in geostationary orbit and four satellites in geosynchronous orbit at an altitude of
36,000 km above the Earth. The deployment of all the satellites was expected to be
completed by 2015 at a cost of Rs. 1,420 cr.
IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation service providers like USAs GPS (Global
Positioning System), Russias Glonass, Europes Galileo, Japans Quasi Zenith and Chinas
Beidou.

Applications of IRNSS

Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation


Disaster Management
Vehicle tracking and fleet management
Integration with mobile phones
Precise Timing
Mapping and Geodetic data capture
Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
Visual and voice navigation for drivers
Tags: IRNSS ISRO

Government to complete Phase-III of Cable TV Digitization by 2015


October 10, 2014
The Government has modified the timeline for Cable TV Digitisation. As per the new
timeline, Phase III will be over by end of 2015 and Phase IV, a year later, by end of 2016. In
Phase III and IV, cable TV digitization will spread to the rural areas. Phase I was digitization
of metro cities, and Phase II was digitization of cities with a population of more than 1 million
people, Phase III covers all urban areas and Phase IV covers the rest of India.

Task Force for Cable Digitization for Phases three and four
This task force was set up by the government to steer Phases III and IV. The task force was
set up to look into indigenous production of set top boxes (STBs), interoperability between
STB service providers and take eforts to provide tax incentives to boost domestic
manufacturing of STBs and enable them to compete with foreign manufacturers. The Task
Force will also consult with representatives of all stakeholders, including the service
providers and consumers.

ISRO to launch M3M satellite of Canada


October 6, 2014
Canadas M3M (Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite) is set to be launched by
Indias PSLV rocket. The agreement for the same was signed by Indias Antriux Corp. and
Canadas COM DEV Intl. The satellite is due to be launched in July 2015. The satellite was
built for the Canadian Department of National Defence, and is a communications satellite.
The satellite was built at a cost of $21 mn by COM DEV Intl.
Initially, the satellite was to have been launched on a Soyuz rocket in Russia. However, in
light of the international restrictions on trade with Russia due to the Crimea and Ukraine
crisis, Canada decided not to go ahead with the arrangement.

ISRO gets ready for the launch of IRNSS 1C

September 29, 2014


IRNSS 1C, the next satellite in Indias IRNSS (Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System)
series, is set to be launched on October 9 by ISRO. IRNSS 1C will be launched on a PSLV C26
from Sriharikota. The satellite is similar to, and follows the IRNSS 1A and 1B which were
launched in April 2013 and July 2014 respectively.
IRNSS is a navigation system that will cover India, and also extend 1,500 kms from its
boundaries. It will provide accurate position information to users in India and will also be
used for terrestrial and marine navigation, disaster management, fleet management and for
vehicle tracking. However, to be able to use the IRNSS satellites, ISRO will have to launch at
least four of the seven planned IRNSS satellites. IRNSS is similar to other satellite navigation
service providers like USAs GPS (Global Positioning System), Russias Glonass, Europes
Galileo, Japans Quasi Zenith and Chinas Beidou.

List of 2014 Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award Winners


September 27, 2014
The winners of the 2014 edition of the annual Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Award were
announced by CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) at its 72 ndFoundation Day
celebrations on 26 September 2014. The 10 awardees have been chosen from various
prestigious research institutions in India. The list of awardees of this years prize are as
follows:

Biological Sciences
Roop Mallik Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Mumbai

Chemical Sciences
Kavirayani Ramakrishna Prasad Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru.
Souvik Maiti Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) New Delhi.

Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences


Sachchida Nand Tripathi Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.

Engineering Sciences
S Venkata Mohan Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (CSIR-IICT) Hyderabad.
Soumen Chakrabarti Indian Institute of Technology Mumbai.

Mathematical Sciences
Kaushal Kumar Verma Indian Institute of Science Bengaluru.

Medical Sciences
Anurag Agrawal Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) New Delhi.

Physical Sciences
Pratap Raychaudhuri Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Mumbai.
Sadiqali Abbas Rangwala Raman Research Institute Bengaluru.
This award is given in the memory of Sir Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar, who was Founder
-Director of CSIR and first Chairman of the University Grants Commission (UGC). He is known
as Father of Indian Research Laboratories, remembered for having established various
chemical labs in the country. The award is conferred on individuals for their pathbreaking
contributions to the world of science and technology. The award consists of a cash prize of
Rs. 5 lakh, a citation and a plaque. Read more about him here.

Government Working on New National E-Mail Service

September 25, 2014


The DeitY (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) is working on creating a
user friendly Indian email service on the lines of popular email service providers like Gmail
and Yahoo. The serGovernment Working on New National E-Mail Servicevice will first be
made available to the Central government, then the State government, and then to the
citizens for communicating with the government.
Importance is placed on this project to ensure national security by ascertaining that the
communication systems and data transfers are efective and not hackable. The service is
also expected to be fast because of enhanced bandwith and servers that will be located in
India. It is expected to be ready by November.
This project is a part of PM Modis Digital India programme.

Mom Inserted Into Mars Orbit


September 24, 2014
The Mars Orbiter Mission(MOM), or Mangalyaan was successfully inserted into Mars orbit on
the 24th of September 2014 with the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
This gives India the distinction of not only being the first nation to send a satellite into Mars
orbit in its first attempt, but also the first Asian nation to successfully send a satellite to
Mars. This combined with the fact that MOM cost India only a tenth of what NASA incurred to
insert its satellite into Mars orbit, makes this achievement a source of great pride to the
nation.
Indias first interplanetary mission was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre,
Sriharikota on a PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) on the 5 th of November 2013. The
satellite, weighing around 1,350 kg was on an elliptical orbit around the Earth for a month
before it set of towards Mars.
The objectives of the MOM are to study Mars surface features, mineral compositions and
atmospheric conditions using indigenously developed instruments. The mission also serves
to showcase Indias capabilities in indigenously developing, planning and launching an
interplanetary mission. Apart from being a feat in itself, this latest milestone could help open
up the highly lucrative space technology market to India.

Grapheme-based flexible screen developed; paves way for foldable electronic


devices in future
September 17, 2014
Researchers at the Cavendish Laboratory of the Cambridge University for the very first time
have developed a grapheme-based flexible screen. The advancement is important because
it will lead to the development of next-generation high-tech wearable and foldable electronic
devices in future. Professor Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and
Plastic Logic demonstrated a flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels electronics.
Graphene-based flexible screen
The novel prototype is an efective matrix electrophoretic display, comparable to the screens
used in todays e-readers, excluding the fact that it is made of flexible plastic as an
alternative of glass. The pixel electronics, or backplane of this display comprises a solutionprocessed graphene electrode, in contrast to conventional displays. It will substitute the

sputtered metal electrode layer within Plastic Logics conventional devices, which will bring
about the product and method benefits.
The newfangled 150 pixel per inch backplane was prepared at low temperatures (less than
100 degrees Celsius) by means of the Plastic Logics Organic Thin Film Transistor
(OTFT) technology. The prototype will quicken the commercial development of grapheme
and is being considered as the first step in the direction of broader application of graphene
and graphene-like materials into flexible electronics. The ultra-flexible graphene layer will
permit a extensive range of products, involving foldable electronics.
About Graphene
Graphene is a 2D (two-dimensional) material comprising of sheets of carbon atoms. It is
amongst the strongest, most lightweight and flexible materials identified, and has the
capacity to revolutionize industries from healthcare to electronics. Graphene is more elastic
than usual ceramic substitutes like Indium-Tin oxide (ITO) and more transparent than metal
films. Graphene can be processed from solution bringing characteristic benefits of using
more efective printed and roll-to-roll manufacturing methods. Andre Geim and Konstantin
Novoselov of Russia won the Nobel Prize 2010 for research on graphene.

Integration of BSF with BISAG at Bhuj in Gujarat


September 14, 2014
Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh launched the integration of Border Security Force
(BSF) with Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geo Informatics
(BISAG) project of Gujarat Government at BSF Camp in Bhuj, Gujarat, in order to provide
for devoted, encrypted channel for the Para Military Forces.
BISAG a State level nodal agency of Gujarat will assist the usage of spatial and geo-spatial
technologies for planning and developmental activities to agriculture, land and water
resource management, wasteland/watershed development, forestry, disaster management,
infrastructure and education. The Institute was opened in April 1997 and was formerly
known as Remote Sensing and Communication Centre (RESECO) but was later renamed after the great Indian Mathematician of the 12th century, Bhaskaracharya, in
December 2003.

Ozone layer on road to recovery


September 13, 2014
Approximately 30 years after the protections of the Montreal Protocol were put into action,
theres more proof that the international contract to safeguard Earths ozone layer is
efective, as per a fresh by 300 scientists. The large quantity of most ozone-depleting
matters in the atmosphere have fallen since the earlier assessment, in 2010, and Earths
shielding ozone layer is displaying signs of recovery, as per theAssessment for DecisionMakers,part of a larger report to be released early next year.
The report is the most recent in a sequence delivered every four years by the international
scientific community, headed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and co-sponsored by NOAA, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Commission. The Decisionmakers trust on these logical updates and have used them to increase protection of the
ozone layer, banning or restricting the use of ozone-depleting substances, for example.

The stratospheric ozone layer, a fragile shield of gas, safeguards the Earth from dangerous
ultraviolet rays of the sun. Maximum ozone is located in the stratosphere, far above Earth.
The ozone layer acts as a safeguard, absorbing Ultra-Violet (UV) radiation from the Sun and
safeguarding Earths surface from dangerous volumes of UV radiation. In the 1970s, NOAA
researchers started to identify that particular chemicals, including chemicals called ChloroFluoro-Carbons (CFCs) and Halons, used extensively in cooling and firefighting, could
reach the stratosphere and activate reactions that damages ozone. In 1985, scientists
noticed that a seasonal Ozone Hole was establishing in the Antarctic spring, NOAA
researchers performed a key role in showing that those same chemicals were triggering the
hole.
Because of the Montreal Protocol, several ozone-damaging chemicals have been
substituted by substances that dont destroy ozone. Nonetheless, certain new chemicals,
including the CFC-substitute Hydro-Fluoro-Carbons (HFCs), are powerful greenhouse gases
and could substantially lead to climate change in the upcoming periods. Researchers from
NOAAs Earth System Research Laboratory play a significant part in this subject, testing
ofered new materials to understand if they are harmless for the ozone layer, climate and
the environment.

Key findings:
Measures taken under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete
the Ozone Layer are assisting the restore of the ozone layer to yardstick 1980
levels.
The climate benefits of the Montreal Protocol could be considerably offset
by projected emissions of HFCs (Hydro-Fluoro-Carbons) utilized to substitute
ozone depleting materials.
The yearly Antarctic ozone hole has triggered substantial changes in
Southern Hemisphere surface climate in the summer. Ozone reduction has
contributed to cooling of the lower stratosphere and this is very probable the main reason of
noticed changes in Southern Hemisphere summertime circulation over of late decades, with
linked efects on surface temperature, precipitation, and the oceans.
In the Northern Hemisphere, where the ozone depletion is lesser, there is
no convincing link between stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric
climate.
CO2, Nitrous Oxide and Methane will have an growing influence on the
ozone layer.What happens to the ozone layer in the second half of the 21st century will
mostly be determined by the concentrations of CO2, methane and nitrous oxide the 3 key
long-lived greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In general, CO2 and methane lead to
increase global ozone levels. By contrast, nitrous oxide, a by-product of food production, is
both a strong greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting gas, and is expected to become more
significant in future ozone depletion.
Tags: IBPS

Union Ministry of Science & Technology announces KIRAN scheme for


Women Scientists
September 11, 2014
The Union Ministry of Science & Technology also announced KIRAN (Knowledge,
Involvement, Research, Advancement through Nurturing) for women scientists A
unique advertising scheme to bring about, as far as possible, gender equality in the field of
science and technology.

Objectives:To increase the number of women researchers in India.


Provide Research grants particularly to those female researchers and technologists
who had to take a break in career owing to household reasons.
Bring about, as far as achievable, gender parity in the field of science and technology.
The scholarships will be provided under three categoriesFor those women linked in research work in basic or applied sciences with any central
or state level organization or university
For those women scientists involved in research and application of innovative
solutions for several social problems
For those researchers who are self-employed.
Under the scheme, the Union Ministry of Science & Technology will build leadership positions
for women. Such a scheme would be beneficial for women who face unavoidable
interruptions in their careers owing to numerous reasons.

Union Government makes it compulsory for scientists to take on lectures in


Public schools & colleges
September 11, 2014
Over 5,000 highly accomplished scientists employed with numerous departments under
the Science and Technology Ministry will dedicate time to teach students of many schools
and colleges in the country. It would be mandatory for the scientists various departments
to essentially, formally, take lecture classes in schools and colleges.
Scientists working in diferent central organizations including the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) will assume 12 hours of lecture classes in an academic year in
public-funded schools and colleges throughout the country. This will be executed in
synchronization with the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development. This is a kind of
arrangement of free of any honorarium and it will be part of the duty the scientists.

ICICI Bank presents Cardless Cash Withdrawal Withdraw cash from ATM
without a card
September 11, 2014
ICICI Bank has initiated Cardless Cash Withdrawal, a facility that permits its customers
to transfer money from their account to anybody in India with a mobile number. The
recipient can withdraw money anytime without using a debit card from ATMs of ICICI Bank all
over India. The receiver can do this even without having a bank account of any bank.
Currently, electronic remittances are probable for only those with a bank account.
Beneficiaries who dont have a bank account can receive cash only via money order which is
an expensive and time consuming course for remittances.

The Cardless Cash Withdrawal service can be started by any ICICI Bank savings account
customer (sender):
ICICI Bank savings account customer (sender) logs into the Internet banking.
Register the recipients name, mobile number and address.
The sender receives a 4-digit verification code
The recipient receives a 6-digit reference code, over SMS on his mobile.
The recipient can now go and withdraw cash from any ICICI Bank ATM by entering the
mobile number, cash amount along with the verification and reference code, within 2 days of
the transaction.

This service can also be used by the ICICI Banks account holders to withdraw cash from
their own accounts without using a debit card.
Tags: IBPS ICICI Bank

Fresh choice of smugglers: R22-Ozone-depleting fridge gas


September 8, 2014
The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has warned its offices at ports about
smuggling of ozone-depleting materials as there has been a fresh surge in eforts to
unlawfully ship R-22 gas, which is used in refrigerants and air-conditioners (ACs). The
department of revenue intelligence has recognized fresh ways of smuggling these items into
the country viz. R-22 gas cylinders were found to be hidden in shipments where the importer
had stated shipments of furniture, kitchen cabinets, photocopiers,fruits, etc.
R-22 gas (Chloro-di-fluoro-methane) is permitted to be imported in India but is licensed.
Given the rising market for fridges and air-conditioners, the demand is greater than licensed
supply.
In some nations, use of the R22 will will be banned by 2015, while manufacturers were
banded from using it in products launched after 2004. R-22 has been predominantly phased
out in new equipment in the US under the Montreal Protocol, and has been substituted by
other refrigerants with lower ozone depletion ability such as Propane (R-290),
Pentafluoroethane, R-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane), and blended mixtures of HFCs such
as R-409A, R-410A, R-438A, and R-507A.
R22 (HCFC-22 or Chloro-di-fluoro-methane or di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane)

Better known as HCFC-22, or R-22


Other names: Di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane, Mono-chloro-di-fluoro-methane, HCFC22, R-22, Genetron 22, Freon 22, Arcton 4, Arcton 22
A Hydro-Chloro-Fluoro-Carbon (HCFC)
Colorless gas
Mostly used as a propellant and refrigerant
Has Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and High Global Warming Potential
(GWP) a powerful greenhouse gas with a GWP of 1810 (i.e. 1810 times as powerful
as carbon dioxide).
Despite ODP and GWP, the worldwide use of R-22 continues to rise for its high demand in
developing nations.

Huge extinct volcano discovered underneath the Pacific Ocean


September 8, 2014No comments
Scientists at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) have found a gigantic 100 million-yearold ancient extinct volcano at a depth of 4 km underwater in one of the minimum explored
areas of the Pacific Ocean. It was discovered on a seafloor mapping mission, aimed at
helping delineate the outer limits of the US continental shelf, near the Johnson Atoll in the

Pacific. The peak of the seamount emerges 1,100 meters from the 5,100-metre-deep ocean
floor.
Mr. Gardner and his team used multi-beam echo-sounder technology to create detailed
images of the seafloor. The team was able to map the conical seamount in its entirety. As
only low-resolution satellite data exists for most of the Earths seafloor, several sea-mounts
of this size are not determined in the satellite data but advanced multi-beam echo-sounder
missions like this one can determine their existence.
A seamount is usually made from extinct volcanoes that rise suddenly and are
generally found rising from the seafloor.

Unit 5 of RAPS becomes worlds 2nd longest running reactor


September 7, 2014
Indias nuclear power programme reached a fresh milestone after Unit 5 of the Rajasthan
Atomic Power Station (RAPS), become the 2nd longest running reactor in the
world by being in operation for 765 days nonstop.
The Unit 5 of the RAPS, a 220 MW Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR), in
Rawatbhata has been in uninterrupted operation since August 2, 2012 and it has been
operating at full power with a capacity factor of 105% and has since then generated around
4,258 million units of electricity.
Unit 7 of Canadas Pickering nuclear plant holds the world record of running the largest
operating plant that ran continuously for 894 days.

Email invented by Indian-American V A Shiva Ayyadurai turns 32


August 30, 2014
On August 30, 2014, email turned 32 years. The method of message transfer was invented
by Indian American V.A.Shiva Ayyadurai when he was just 14 years. V A Shiva Ayyadurai
was born to a Tamil Family in Bombay in 1963.
In 1978, Shiva Ayyadurai invented a computer programme, which he called email, that
simulated all the functions of the interoffice mail system: Inbox, Outbox, Folders, Memo,
Attachments, Address Book, etc. These features are now well-known parts of every email
arrangement.
On August 30, 1982, the US government formally recognized Shiva Ayyadurai as the
inventor of email by awarding him the first US Copyright for Email for his 1978 invention. At
that time copyright was the only way to safeguard software inventions.
The Email wasnt invented, with a huge research budget, in big institutions like the
ARPANET, MIT, etc. Rather these organizations had believed it impossible to build such a
system, considering it far too complex.
At the age of 14, Shiva Ayyadurai worked at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New
Jersey (UMDNJ) as a research fellow, where Dr Leslie Michelson, then Director of the
Laboratory Computer Network (LCN) at UMDNJ gave him a challenge: to transform the old
system of paper-based mail communications used at UMDNJ to an electronic one.
Shiva Ayyadurai created a computer programme of over 50,000 lines of code, which
electronically simulated all the qualities of the interoffice mail system.

Digital cloud for every Indian on anvil


August 30, 2014

PM Narendra Modis next giant drive to free up service delivery from the hold of the lower
bureaucracy will be in the form of a digital cloud for every Indian.
Now, Certificates issued by the Govt.: Education, residential, medical records, birth
certificates, etc. will be saved in separate digital lockers and a communication protocol
will be established for Govt Departments to access them without actually having to see the
hard copy.
The idea is very clear, it is not desired that copies of certificates issued by the government
itself to be carried everywhere by people to government offices for several services, e.g. if a
student is applying for a government college and has studied in a government-aided school,
his birth certificate, identity details and educational certificates, school-leaving details, et al
should be available to Govt. institutes where he is applying. Likewise his medical records,
etc.

Government approves continuation of urea production from Naptha


August 29, 2014
The Union Government has given nod to continuation of production of urea from three plants
using Naptha as raw material for duration of three months ending on September 30,
2014. This decision will enable these units to continue urea production for the next 3 months
and help cater to the requirement of urea for Indian farmers in the ongoing kharif season.
In line with the modified New Pricing Scheme (NPS)-III, the 3 naphtha based units- MFLManali, MCFL-Mangalore and SPIC-Tuticorin were permitted to produce urea from
naphtha as feedstock till June 30, 2014. The Centre had directed these units to switch to
natural gas otherwise subsidy would not be provided. However, these fertilizer firms could
not to shift to gas from naphtha, as there were protests from farmers in Tamil Nadu who
were against the laying of gas pipeline. Also, gas was not available.
The total cost of production of urea or (concession price) is calculated on the basis of NPS-III.
The selling price of urea is fixed at Rs 5,360 per tonne. Of the three firms, the MFL is state
owned, while other two MCFL and SPIC are private companies.

Dot Bharat (.) domain lauched by Govt.


August 27, 2014
Union Government launched a new domain Dot Bharat (.) in Devanagari script .
Originally the domain will cover 8 languages like Hindi, Bodo, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili,
Marathi, Nepali and Sindhi.
These 8 languages are from the list of 22 languages that has been contained in the
Schedule-8 of the Constitution of India.

Objective of . domain:
To connect individuals with social media and deliver content in regional languages,
particularly to those who are not acquainted with English.
To deliver information to persons in their own regional languages which will help in
advancement of e-governance.
The domain was developed by the joint eforts of National Internet Exchange of
Indiaand CDAC (Centre for Development of Advanced Computing). Dot Bharat (.)
would substitute the normally used top domains like .com, .in, .net, etc.

NASA to launch SMAP satellite in November 2014


August 26, 2014

American space agency NASA has planned to launch Soil Moisture Active Passive
(SMAP) satellite in November 2014. It is part of the first tier of missions recommended for
NASA by the Earth Science Decadal Survey.
Utility of SMAP
The satellite will gather the local data of agricultural and water managers that are needed
worldwide. SMAP uses two microwave instruments to monitor the top 2 inches of soil on
Earths surface. In sync, these instruments will generate soil moisture estimates with a
resolution of about 9 kilometers, mapping the entire globe every 2-3 days.

SMAP surface measurements will be combined with hydrologic models to conclude soil
moisture situations in the root zone. These measurements will allow science applications
users to:
Comprehend processes that link the terrestrial water, energy, and carbon cycles.
Evaluate global water and energy fluxes at the land rface.
Compute net carbon flux in boreal landscapes.
Improve weather and climate forecast skill.
Develop improved flood prediction and drought monitoring competence

The Green Bus project: Indias first ethanol-run public bus launched in
Nagpur

August 26, 2014

India launched The Green Bus project in Nagpur with the launch of its
first ethanol-run, environment-friendly public bus. The bus will emit carbon dioxide
as low as 15% to 90% and its emissions will be monitored by the Union government,
Maharashtra state government and Nagpur Municipal Corporation.

The buses are manufactured by Swedish company Scania Commercial Vehicle


India Ltd. Scania has additionally introduced an engine in consonance with Bharat
Stage 5 Norms, a step toward further reducing the emissions.

Tags: IBPS India-Sweden Maharashtra Sweden

President inaugurates Indias first IIEST

August 25, 2014

President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the first Indian Institute of Engineering


Science and Technology (IIEST) of the country in Shibpur located in the city
of Howrah,West Bengal.

IIEST are a group of academic institutions in India for research and education in
engineering. The Government of India had first proposed these institutes in 2007 to
cater to the growing demand for technological and scientific workforce in the

industrial and service sectors of India as well as the increasing requirement for
qualified personnel in research and development. Admissions to IIEST Shibpur will be
done through the JEE advanced from the year 2015.

Indian scientist awarded prestigious grant under Obama initiative

August 20, 2014

Partha

Mitra,

an

Indian

researcher

in

the

US

has

been

awarded

prestigious research grant under President Barack Obamas initiative to map the
human brain.

The grant will support Mitras endeavors to develop a virtual neuroanatomist,


an artificial-intelligence system that can identify cell types and neural structures in
microscopic images of brain slices.

Apart from Mitra, Florin Albeanu is the other scientist at the National Science
Foundation who has been awarded Early Concept Grants for Exploratory
Research (EAGER) under President Barack Obamas multi-year Brain Initiative.

The award will provide $300,000 over two years for the development of innovative
conceptual and physical tools to move forward neuroscience. The awards are
intended to fund short-term, proof-of-concept projects with the prospect of
high-returns.

IBM Simon: Worlds first smartphone turns 20


August 17, 2014
Worlds first smartphone to come into existence a $900 klutzyIBM Simon mobile phone
turned 20. The phone was developed by IBM and the American cellular company BelSelf and
hit the market in 1994.
IBM Simon
It was around 23 cm long and weighed half a kg. Though looked gawky, Simon could do
almost anything you wanted. It had touch screen technology with its green LCD screen. Its
software allowed users to write notes, draw, update their calendar and contacts and send
and receive faxes as well as calls.

PM Modi commissions INS Kolkata into Indian Navy


August 16, 2014
Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, commissioned INS Kolkata into the Indian Navy at
a scintillating ceremony held at the Naval Dockyard, Mumbai.

Key points about INS Kolkata:


Largest indigenously-built warship
Constructed by the Mazagon Dockyards Limited and designed by Navys design
bureau.

The 6,800 tonne warship is a technology demonstrator and will mark Indias giant
leap in shipbuilding technology.
To be a part of the Kolkata Class destroyers of the Indian Navy which will include
follow-on ships by the name of INS Kochi and INS Chennai respectively.
The Project 15A Kolkata class destroyers are follow-on of the legendary Project 15
Delhi class destroyers which entered service in the late 1990s.
Length: 164 m, Width: 18 m, Full load displacement: 7400 tonnes.
It derives her name from the cultural capital city of India and state capital of Bengal
Kolkata `The City of Joy`.
INS Kolkata is Equipped with:
Combined Gas and Gas (COGAG) propulsion system.
Most sophisticated state-of-the-art weapons and sensors including the vertically
launched Long Range Surface to Air Missiles (LRSAM).
MF-STAR multi-function active phased array radar, which is fitted for the first time on
an Indian Naval ship.
Advanced supersonic and long range BrahMos Surface to Surface Missiles a joint
Indo-Russian venture.
76 mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM) and AK 630 CIWS, both manufactured
indigenously, can take on air and surface targets.
Anti-submarine weapon and sensor suite fitted onboard, consisting of Indigenous
Rocket Launchers (IRL), Indigenous Twin-tube Torpedo Launchers (ITTL) and a bow-mounted
New Generation HUMSA Sonar are a fine example of our indigenous eforts in the field of
underwater warfare.
A state-of-the-art Combat Management System (CMS-15A) integrated with the
onboard weapons and sensors.
A Network of Networks

The ship can be truly classified as a Network of Networks as it is equipped with


sophisticated digital networks, such as:
ATM based Integrated Ship Data Network (AISDN): It is the Information
highway on which data from all the sensors and weapons ride.
Auxiliary Control System (ACS): It is used for Remote control and monitoring of
machinery.
Automatic Power Management System (APMS): It is used for Intricate power
supply management.
Combat Management System (CMS): Used to integrate information from own
data sources and collate information from other platforms using indigenous data-link
system, to provide maritime domain awareness.
Unique feature of INS Kolkata

High level of indigenisation achieved with most of the systems onboard sourced from
within the India which has generated a sound vendor base for future ships. Major indigenised
equipment/ systems onboard INS Kolkata include:
Combat Management System (CMS), Auxiliary Control System (ACS)
Automatic Power Management System (APMS)
Foldable Hangar Doors
Helo Traversing System and bow mounted HUMSA NG system

PM Modi emphasizes on Digital India


August 15, 2014No comments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his maiden Independence Day speech from the Red
Fort shared his dream of a Digital India. He wondered what a quality education the
children in villages will get, if all the villages of India are connected with Broadband
Connectivity and if we are able to give long distance education to the schools in every
remote corner of the villages. If we establish a network of telemedicine in the places where
there is a deficit of doctors, we can set a clear guideline of the way in which health facilities
have to be provided to the poor people living in those areas.
He called upon the countrymen to move towards the direction of mobile governance. A
direction where every poor person is able to operate his bank account from his mobile, is
able to ask for various things from the government, can submit applications, can perform all
his business, while on the move, through mobile governance. He said that all this can be
done by moving towards creation a Digital India.
His idea of Digital India is not limited to just connectivity but also includes
domesticallymanufacturing electronic goods like televisions, mobile phones, i-pads etc.
which we import in large amount. If we move ahead with the dream of digital India to
manufacture electronic goods and become self reliant at least there, it would be of great
relief for the treasury. He said that the idea of digital India should also be driven by egovernance which he called easy governance, effective governance and also
economic governance. E-governance paves the way for good governance. He said that IT
that has the potential to connect each and every citizen of the country and we can realize
the motto of unity with the help of Digital India.

Science and Technology


Study detects toxic pesticides major Tea brands in India
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August 14, 2014No comments
As per a study conducted by Greenpeace India, pesticides have been detected in
leading brands of tea sold in India, both national and international. These include
pesticides that the WHO has categorized as both highly and moderately hazardous.
The NGO examined a sample of 49 branded packages of tea from eight of the 11 major tea
producing companies in India and which also export tea. The samples were taken from
Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore, and sent to a certified laboratory in Europe for
testing.
It was found that DDT (Di-chloro Di-phenyl Tri-chloro ethane) was present in almost
67% of the tea samples, even though it is no longer registered for use in
agriculture.
The tests also detected in several samples the presence of Monocrotophosa pesticide
that took the lives of 23 students in a Bihar school; it was present in their meal. The Food
and Agriculture Organization urged developing nations todiscontinue its use after the
incident.
Hazards of Pesticides:
The pesticides can cause both acute and chronic toxicity. Acute toxicity occurs due to direct
contact with the pesticides, and is seen in farmers and tea cultivators who experience body
ache, respiratory and skin problems. Chronic toxicity occurs with exposure to low doses over

a longperiod of time. Pesticides consumed in this manner can be potentially carcinogenic,


afect hormones as well as the reproductive system.
Tags: Health IBPS

Ministry of Railways Launches New Improved e-Ticketing System


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August 14, 20141 Comment
Now booking rail tickets through the IRCTC website will be faster and smoother than
before with the new e-ticketing system developed by Centre for Railway Information
Systems (CRIS). IRCTC has developed and introduced following e-systems:1) New e-Ticketing system: This would enable booking of 7200 tickets per minute against
2000 tickets through the current system. Developed at a cost of Rs 180 crore, is capable of
accommodating 1.2 lakh concurrent users with booking of e-tickets simultaneously against
the earlier capacity of 40,000 concurrent users at a time. The next generation e-ticketing
software will eliminate the problems of non-availability of website like user sessions getting
terminated.
The new system will enable passengers to easily get information relating to arrivals and
departure timings of trains and other information on their mobile phones as CRIS has
launched mobile app and desktop app for Windows 8 platform. The app is available free of
cost for window 8 phones and the railways is expected launch for android very soon.
2) Spot Your Train: The spot your train which provides information such as current
position, expected time of arrival and departure at a particular station is the most striking
feature of this app. Other key features are train schedule, train between stations,
information on cancelled, rescheduled and diverted trains and live station.
3) Live Station query: Passengers would get the list of trains expected to arrive at or
depart from any station in next 2 or 4 hours through Live Station query.
4) Go-India smart card: Railways also started an array of IT-enabled initiatives for rail
users including Go-India smart card. The card would cut down the transaction time at
booking counters as there will not be cash dealing during issuance of tickets.
5) Online Systems e-Demand and e-Diversion: The railways has also introduced online
system like e-Demand and e-Diversion for freight service for online booking of wagons and
making payment without going to counters.
Tags: IBPS Indian Railways IT Ministry Of Railways Railways

WHO approves use of experimental drug ZMapp against Ebola Virus


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August 13, 2014No comments
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved the use of drug ZMapp to combat
Ebola spread as the death count surged.
The WHO decision comes after a US firm Mapp Biopharmaceutical supplied ZMapp to
treat two US health workers who contracted the Ebola virus while treating Ebola afected
patients in Liberia. The drug has shown some positive efects in saving the lives of Ebolainfected people.

The WHO has decided that the experimental drugs should be used with all transparency
including aspects of care, freedom of choice, confidentiality, respect for the person and
preservation of dignity. Doctors would not administer ZMapp without consent of the patients.
ZMapp
The current outbreak of Ebola is seen as the most terrible since the discovery of Ebola Virus.
At present, there is no cure for Ebola. Recently, Mapp Biopharmaceutical ofered the
drug ZMapp to two US doctors who got afected with the Ebola disease.
The drug uses a novel method of passive immunization to treat Ebola disease by inserting
genetically altered Ebola protein into tobacco leaves. However, it has been tested only on
monkeys so far and it was to be tested on human volunteers in 2015. The abrupt outbreak of
Ebola hastened the development.

Science and Technology


CBI registers enquiry against Google for showing classified sites on its Maps
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August 9, 2014No comments
The Central
Bureau
of
Investigation
(CBI) has
registered
a Preliminary
Enquiry againstGoogle on the basis of allegations made by Surveyor General of India
(SoI) Swarna Subba Rao who alleged that Google did not refrain from mentioning classified
sites despite being warned against it.
Google had not taken permission from SoI before organizing a mapping contest in FebruaryMarch 2013 in which they asked citizens to map their neighborhoods, particularly details
related to hospitals and restaurants.
According to the National Map Policy 2005, the responsibility for producing,
maintaining and disseminating the topographic map database of the whole
country, which is the foundation of all spatial data, vests with the Survey of
India.
There are allegations that Google India had launched a countrywide competition and people
might have passed on maps and other important details of strategic installations located in
other cities and states to the Internet giant.
From the perspective of national security, civil and military Vital Areas, Vital Points (VPs)
cannot be displayed on the map/data published in public domain.
Tags: Google IBPS

Reserve Bank issue draft guidelines for anytime anywhere Bharat Bill
Payment System
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August 9, 20141 Comment
With a view to introduce an anytime anywhere payment system, the Reserve Bank of India
(RBI) issued draft guidelines for the implementation of Bharat Bill Payment System
(BPPS).
The draft mentions the requirements and the basic framework of operating the BBPS, and
stipulates the eligibility criteria, standards for settlement model and customer grievance
redressal, roles and responsibilities and scope for entities seeking to be part of BBPS.

RBIs plan to implement an anytime anywhere centralized payment system is based on a


report submitted by the GIRO (Government Internal Revenue Order) Advisory
Group. GIRO Advisory Group (GAG) was constituted by the RBI in October 2013, under
the chairmanship of Prof. Umesh Bellur, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay to
implement a national GIRO-based Indian Bill Payment System.

The panel had recommended a mechanism for centralized bills payment system in India,
mainly by laying out 2 organizations:
Bharat Bill Payment Services (BBPS)
Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs)
Bill Payments in India: Issues and challenges
What do Bill payments in India mainly comprise of?
Bill payments form a key portion of all retail payment transactions. Bills include utility
services such as school/university fees, examination fees, Government payments, pre-paid
payment instruments top-up, mobile phones recharge/top-up etc.
How are Bill payments at present done in India?

Currently, customers make bill payments at Bill Owners Customer Point (BOCP), cheque
drop boxes, bank branches, agent outlets, and via electronic modes. Options available
include:
Direct payment to billers biller operated payment centres, Internet Banking /
Payment Gateway, ECS (Electronic Clearing Service).
Aggregators and Banks Internet Banking, Bill Presentments, Standing
Instructions.
Bill Pay Agents Collection Points, Business Correspondents.
What are the shortcomings observed in the present scenario of bill collection/
payment process in India?
Absence of Interoperability- Limited or no interoperability, thus each biller needs
to establish and supervise its own collection points (BOCPs.
Consumer preference for BOCP- A consumer prefers that BOCP where (s)he feels
comfortable by a direct payment and an instant printed receipt received for the payment.
Due to lack of visibility consumer usually do not trust agents networks.
Poor Accessibility- BOCPs are generally concentrated in urban centers and are not
easily accessible to people in rural/remote areas.
Lack of coordinated initiative- No industry-driven initiative as of yet to develop a
common interoperable system, which would bring about comfort of payment to users and
cost and functional efficiency to the Billers.
There is no common website from where all bills can be accessed and smoothly
paid .
Why there is a need for a national GIRO-based Indian Bill Payment System?
Those people who have access to internet banking facility can pay their bills online, however
there are a huge number of consumers who dont have access to internet banking and thus
they cannot pay their bills online. Such consumers have to physically go at diferent places
to pay their diferent bills. Albeit, the ECS (Electronic Clearing Service) debit volume is
growing in India at the rate of 5% per annum and in 2012-13 it was Rs 176.50 Million, but,
still this is very small when compared with total billing volume in largely populated country

like India. Most of the consumers in India still pay their bills by physically visiting diferent
customer outlets.

Therefore, there is a requirement for an interoperable, integrated bill payment system in


India which:Provides consumers a single point for their various bill payments
Near to place of work or residence
Enables payment of any bill at any place
Allow payments via any mode (cash, cheque, credit card, debit card, prepaid
payment instruments etc.)
Includes bank branches, post offices, business correspondents, retail agents of
aggregators, ATMs (Automated Teller Machine), etc.
Furnishes quick confirmation of payment made via SMS or a payment receipt
Provides facility of payment of bills via internet banking (if possible a single website),
mobile banking and IVRS (Interactive Voice Response System)
Is efficient and cost efectual substitute to the present systems
Motivates billers to switch over to the new system
Sets up billing standards in India
Increases consumer trust and experience
Reduces the expenditure that billers incur on collection of bills at their own collection
centres
The above issues and challenges can be resolved if we have a centralized infrastructure for
bill payments in India which brings about interoperability with an all India-standard.
What is the Model for pan-India centralised bill payment in India as suggested by
the Umesh Bellur headed GIRO Advisory Group?

The pan-India centralised bill payments infrastructure would have two types of entities:
Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)- Will set standards and conduct of
centralised payment, clearing and settlement process
Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs)- Will act as operating unit(s)
The model would thus be a 2-tier structure with a single standard setting body (BBPS) with
payment and settlement functionalities/responsibilities and multiple operating entities
(BBPOUs).
Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

A not-for-profit organization registered under the Companies Act 1956, like NPCI (National
Payments Corporation of India). It shall have a Steering Group constituting of
representatives from the participating BBPOUs and other stake holders.The Roles and
Responsibilities of BBPS include:
Setting Business standards and processes the BBPOUs, management of dispute
resolution, standards for information exchange.
Marketing and brand positioning of the pan-India Bharat Bill payments system
Accomplishing payment, clearing and settlement of the transactions executed at
several BBPOUs
Act as final dispute resolution escalation point
Set up a single website on behalf of the brand for online payment of bills
Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs)

A forprofit company registered under the Companies Act 1956 and has obtained
requisite certification from BBPS for participating in the the centralised bill payments
system.

Roles and Responsibilities of BBPOUs:Infrastructure development (including APIs as per standards set by BBPS).
Transaction handling
Handling customer grievance / disputes at first place
Provide Value-added services
Ensure confidentiality and privacy standards are in place
Tags: IBPS Infrastructure RBI

Strange practice of aboriginal Martu people of Australia helped kangaroo


population flourish
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August 9, 20141 Comment
As per a study conducted by anthropologists, the practice of aboriginal Martu people of
Australia which involves setting small grass fires to catch lizards has actually enhanced
kangaroo populations. The Martu people have been following this practice for at least 2000
years to expose burrows dug by 2-foot-long sand monitor lizards, which they then drag from
the holes, cook and eat. The fires set by these people average about 10 acres. A researcher
found such human-made disruption boosts kangaroo populations showing how co-evolution
helped marsupials and made Aborigines into unintentional conservationists.
It has been found that the same land becomes the breeding ground for diferent types of
vegetation, aiding kangaroos. For instance, the marsupials hide from predators such as
dingoes in older bush grass and consume shoots and fruits in areas of younger vegetation.
The findings, published online today in the journal Human Ecology, suggest that Australia
might want to encourage small-scale burning to bolster wildlife populations in certain
areas. The study concludes: To be successful, management schemes should facilitate
traditional burning and hunting regimes in remote communities, and incorporate this
traditional ecological practice into future management protocols.

Science and Technology


NASA to launch Mars 2020 Rover to further exploration of the Red Planet
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August 8, 2014No comments
NASA has announced that it will launch a new mission to Mars in 2020 named as Mars 2020
Rover mission. The mission will endeavor to find out the potential habitability of the Mars
environment, and directly search for signs of prehistoric Martian life. This attempt if
successful will facilitate future manned missions.
The Mars 2020 rover mission is likely to be launched somewhere in July or August 2020,
which will make landing on the red planet after an eight to nine month journey in 2021. The
mission will be designed and managed by NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
The mission rover will be based on the design of the successful rover, Curiosity that is
functioning since it landed on the Mars in August 2012 and is a part of the NASAs Mars
Exploration Program.

Tags: NASA

Rosetta: First spacecraft placed into orbit around a comet


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August 8, 2014No comments
The European Space Agencys (ESA) spacecraft Rosetta became the first spacecraft to
intercept and go into orbit around a comet. It is now in position to help researchers
to begin with their investigations into how the Solar System came into being.
ESA scientists brought Rosetta to within 100km of the comet a 3km by 5km rock
called 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko and put it in a stable orbit by reducing its speed
with its thrusters. To reach that point so far from the earth the spacecraft took around 10
years. Comets are considered to be primitive building blocks of the Solar System, and relics
of the formation of the planets. It also believed that they provided Earth with both water and
other essential ingredients which were necessary for triggering the evolution of life.
Rosetta and 67P
67P was first discovered in 1969 by Soviet astronomers Ivanovych Churyumov and
Svetlana Ivanova Gerasimenko.
Scientists hope that Rosetta will unravel the secrets of this early history. The spacecraft has
been named after the Rosetta Stone, the discovery of which in 1799 provided the key to
translating Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and Demotic script into Ancient Greek (and thus
any other language).
It blasted of from Europes spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in March 2004, for a long
journey involving loops around the Sun as it aimed to get onto the same orbit as 67P.
Rosetta has traversed over 6bn km, passing by Earth three times, Mars once, and flew by
two asteroids, using the gravitational pull of those bodies to change velocity and catch up
with 67P.
The mission has some resemblance with Japans 2005 Hayabusa mission, which landed on
an asteroid named Itokawa. Its task was to lift out material from the asteroids surface, and
return it to Earth for study those samples arrived in 2010, but its capture mechanism
malfunctioned. It is still uncertain if the capsule could successfully collect the asteroid rock
fragments.
Tags: Europe IBPS

Russia hackers stole 1.2 billion usernames and passwords


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August 8, 2014No comments
As per Hold Security a US firm with expertise in spotting breaches, a Russian group of
hackers dubbed CyberVor has stolen 1.2 billion usernames and passwords belonging to
more than 500 million email addresses.
It claimed the hacked information belongs to over 420,000 websites, including many leaders
in virtually all companies across the globe. It revealed that the hackers targeted every site
that their victims visited. However the firm has not disclosed the names of those companies
the accounts of which have been compromised.
Surprisingly, it has posted a message on its site saying it will charge $120 (71) a month for
a breach notification service. As claimed by Hold Security, the hackers also got access to

data from Botnets a network of computers infected with malware, to set off
online scam and helped the hacking group identify more than 400,000 websites
that were susceptible to cyber attacks.

Science and Technology


Ebola is a Public Health Emergency: WHO
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August 8, 2014No comments
The emergency committee of the World Health Organization has unanimously agreed to
proclaim the Ebola virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
As per the UN body, the possible outcomes of further international spread are particularly
serious in view of the mortality rate linked with the disease, the intensive community and
health facility transmission patterns, and the fragile health systems in the currently afected
and most at-risk countries.
As per WHO, the current Ebola outbreak began in Guinea in December 2013 and
has since spread to Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. As of August 4, 2014, 1,711
cases of the infection have been reported and over 1,000 of which have been confirmed,
and 932 deaths due to the virus have occurred.
The WHO also released a list of recommendations for governments in afected nations.
Among other things, the organization suggested temporary bans on mass gatherings and
exit screenings at airports to examine people leaving countries hit by the virus.
Tags: Diseases Health Liberia Nigeria Sierra Leone UN WHO

ZMapp: Experimental drug to treat Ebola infected U.S. Aid Workers


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August 7, 2014No comments
A small biotech company Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. based in San Diego-based has
provided an experimental Ebola treatment for two Americans infected with the deadly virus
in Liberia. The biotechnology drug, produced with tobacco plants, appears to be working.
The company which has just nine employees released its experimental ZMapp drug, until
now only tested on infected animals, for the two health workers. Kentucky BioProcessing
LLC, a subsidiary of tobacco giant Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), manufactures the
treatment for Mapp from tobacco plants.
As per the relatives and supporters of both these workers, their health condition is now
improving.
Tags: Diseases Health Liberia US USA

Mangroves in Sunderbans losing capacity to soak up CO2: Research


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August 6, 2014No comments
As per a latest research financed by the Union government and headed by noted marine
scientist Abhijit Mitra, the Sunderbans huge mangrove forest is rapidly losing its
capacity to absorb carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, from the
atmosphere due to increase in the salinity of water, unchecked deforestation and pollution.

As per the study, the mangrove forest, marsh grass, phytoplanktons, molluscus and other
coastal vegetation in the largest delta on earth are the natural absorbers of carbon dioxide
(CO2). The locked carbon in the plants is known as Blue Carbons. The absorption of
CO2 is a process which plays a role in reduction of the warming of the earth and other bad
efects of climate change.
The study titled Blue Carbon Estimation in Coastal Zone of Eastern India
Sunderbans was submitted to the government in 2013. The researchers who conducted
the study expressed concerns, especially towards the central Sunderbans, one of the three
zones into which the forest was divided for the study, the other two being western and
eastern.
The situation, especially in the central part, is quite alarming. The capacity of the mangrove
forest, especially the Byne species, to absorb carbon dioxide has declined significantly. This
will afect the whole ecosystem of the area.
The study was focused mainly on the Byne species of mangrove. There are 34 other species
of mangroves found in the forest including Keora and Genwa. The situation is worrying
because less absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere meant higher proportion of CO2 in the
atmosphere which traps heat.

The main causes of such an alarming situation in the Sunderbans, a UNESCO world
heritage site, are increased salinity in water and human activities like shrimp farming, kiln
industries and deforestation.
Sharp increase in the salinity of water in Matla River: The mangroves thrive on
fresh water, but due to lack of fresh water the height of mangroves has reduced
significantly, bringing down its capacity to absorb carbons. Due to deposition of silt at the
confluence of the Vidyadhari and Matla rivers, fresh water is unable to enter the Matla river
resulting into rise in its salinity.
Human incursion in these areas for activities like shrimp farming, setting up of brick
kiln industry and deforestation has added to the problem.

Science and Technology


How Ebola spread and became deadliest disease
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August 5, 2014No comments
The Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa has emerged as a new medical challenge and poses
a serious threat to the rest of the African region and the world at large. Researchers are still
trying to ascertain the causes, key factors involved, and are also trying to forecast the future
eruption and movement of the virus.
The outbreak of the Ebola triggered with Ebola cases that turned up in Guinea, and
subsequently spread to the neighbouring countries of Liberia and Sierra Leone. This is
particularly surprising as until now, none of these three West African countries had ever

experienced an Ebola outbreak, let alone cases of a type of Ebola virus that had been
detected only in distant Central Africa.
But, as per scientists, despite the image of Ebola as a virus that furtively and randomly
emerges from the forest, the sites of the cases are far from random. Scientists are of the
view that the outbreak has a connection with the travel patterns of bats across Africa and
current weather patterns in the region, as well as other factors.
Researchers have narrowed down to five potential reasons why this outbreak is so
severe:

Involvement of deadliest type of Ebola virus: The Ebola virus has 5 species, and
each species has caused outbreaks in diferent regions. Surprisingly, instead of the Ta
Forest Ebola virus, which is found near Guinea, it was the Zaire Ebola virus that is
involved in the current outbreak. This virus was previously found only in three countries
in Central Africa: the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo
and Gabon. Zaire Ebola virus is the deadliest type of Ebola virus in previous
outbreaks it showed a fatality rate of up to 90% which means it kills 90 out of 100 people it
infects. Scientists suspect bats to be the carrier of the virus that migrated from Zaire to
Guinea. It is also possible that the virus was actually in West Africa before the current
eruption, circulating in bats and possibly even infected people but so infrequently that it
was never reported. Some preliminary investigation of blood samples gathered from patients
with other diseases before the outbreak indicates people in this region were exposed to
Ebola previously but the finding still needs more research.
Poorest countries getting affected: Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the
world, which has been ranked as low as 178 out of 187 nations on the United Nations
Human Development Index (HDI). Likewise, Liberia and Sierra Leone stand at 174 thand
177th on the HDI respectively. Because of prevalent poverty, they are inadequately equipped
to counter an outbreak and lack coordination to monitor peoples movements across
regions.
Lack of good health care systems: A poor economy translates into weak health
care systems that are not ready to respond to an outbreak and lack even basic health
resources. The hospitals in the region do not have even basic medical needs like protective
gloves, masks, clean needles and disinfectants.
Poverty forcing people to move towards forests: Normally the animals carrying
or infected with the Ebola virus or other pathogens are not usually in the vicinity of humans,
but rather deep in the forests with little possibility of coming into contact with people.
However, poverty is pushing the people deeper into forest territories to search for resources.
Extremely dry season may have been the trigger: The first case of Ebola was
reported in Guinea in December 2013, at the start of the dry season. In other countries, too,
outbreaks often occur during the transition from the rainy to dry seasons, when conditions
become drier sharply. It is likely that drier conditions one way or another afect the number
or proportion of bats infected with the Ebola virus, or the frequency of human contact with
them.
Tags: Africa Congo Diseases Gabon Guinea Health IBPS Sierra Leone

NASAs Mars 2020 rover mission to have MOXIE to generate Oxygen on Mars
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August 5, 2014No comments


The US space agency NASA has decided to put MOXIE Mars Oxygen ISRU
Experimentas one of the payloads on the Mars 2020 rover mission. MOXIE will produce
oxygen on MARS using the Martian atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (CO 2). NASA will
launch the Mars 2020 rover mission in July or August 2020. The conversion of CO 2 into
Oxygen will be beneficial for human respiration. The oxygen can be used as an oxidizer for
rocket fuel for return mission. If this experiment is successful it will make future manned
missions easier.
MOXIE is among the seven selected instruments that will be sent on Mars mission with a
view to determine the potential habitability of the Mars environment, and directly search for
signs of early Martian life.
Tags: IBPS NASA

Micromax dethrones Samsung, emerges as Indias No. 1 mobile supplier


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August 4, 2014No comments
As per a report by an independent market research and consulting firm, CounterPoint
Research, Micromax has overtaken Samsung to become the largest mobile phone
supplier in India in Q2 2014.
As per the report, Micromaxs mobile shipments share was 16.6% in the quarter while
Samsungs share stood at 14.4%. This is the first time that Samsung has been toppled from
the apex position.
With a 10.9% shipments share, Nokia stood at the third spot followed by domestic
brands Karbonn and Lava which had a 9.5% and 5.6% share, respectively.
In the sphere of smartphone, Samsung still holds the top position with a 25.3% shipments
share in the second quarter (Q2). Micromax is catching up with 19.1% share, followed by
Karbonn, Motorola and Nokia.
Micromax was also the top feature phone supplier with a shipments share of 15.2%. It
dethroned Nokia for the first time in this race. Micromax has been reported as the 10 thlargest
handset brand in terms of mobile phone shipments.

Science and Technology


PM Modi to induct warship INS Kolkata
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August 4, 2014No comments

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to induct countrys largest indigenously-built


combat vessel INS Kolkata in Mumbai in August 2014.

Key points about INS Kolkata:


Largest indigenously-built warship
Constructed by the Mazagon Dockyards Limited and designed by Navys design
bureau.
The 6,800 tonne warship is a technology demonstrator and will mark Indias giant
leap in shipbuilding technology.
To be a part of the Kolkata Class destroyers of the Indian Navy which will include
follow-on ships by the name of INS Kochi and INS Chennai respectively.
It also test-fired a BrahMos missile of Karwars coast earlier in August 2014 as part of
pre-induction weapon trials at sea.
Tags: IBPS Narendra Modi Navy

Chinese Government takes strict steps to regulate GM Crops


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August 4, 20141 Comment
With a view to exercise stern regulation on GM Crops, Chinas Ministry of Agriculture has
decided to regulate the sales and growth of Genetically Modified (GM) crops in the country.
As per the Ministry of Agriculture, any firm or individual found transgressing regulations to
grow or sell GM crops will be punished strictly.
The decision comes close on the heels of a media publicizing the sale of GM rice at a
supermarket in Central China, which is prohibited in the country. The objective behind this
measure is to prevent illegal distribution of GM crops in the country.
China has authorized imports of GM soybeans and corns and certified the growth of various
GM crops including cotton, tomatoes, papayas and peppers. However, it has not allowed
commercial production or sale of GM crops.
Though, the ministry has given nod to experimental planting of two strains of insectresistant GM rice in 2009, but the safety certificates for this experiment expire this year and
commercial production is yet take of. Grant of safety certificates on GM crops doesnt mean
autonomy of commercial production.
China faces the challenge of providing adequate food to its billions of people. Its population
is continuously on the rise and its available land is gradually reducing leading to flat yield in
the past decade. Such long-term food security trends are worrying for the country. Chinas
decision to open the doors of commercial production of GM crops can extenuate the worries.
But, concerns over after-efects of GM crops persist.
The major reason behind such protective concern is the uncertainty on GM crops long-term
risks on environment and humans.
Status
of
GM
crops
in
India
Indian government has approved commercialization of only one GM crop i.e. Bt
Cotton.However, there are various GM crops that are in pipeline and are under
development and field trials. The crops include brinjal, corn, tomato, rice and
groundnut. The success of field trials of GM crops will pave the way for commercialization
of GM crops in the country.

However, Indian government


commercialization of GM crops.

is

still

in

quandary

over

the

issue

of

Major concerns related to this are:


GM is a cost-intensive technology, which is not suitable for small farmers in India.
There is a dearth of sufficient infrastructure and tools required for testing of GM crops
in India
India has a weak regulatory framework of GM crops.
Tags: Agriculture China IBPS India

Indias PM Narendra Modis Nepal visit concludes


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August 4, 2014No comments
The two-day Nepal visit of Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded on August 4,
2014.

Highlights of Mr. Modis Nepal visit:


Mr. Modi is the first Indian PM to Nepal in 17 years. He was welcomed by the guard of
honour.
He addressed the Nepalese Parliament.
Aim was to forge a new relationship with Nepal and to begin a new chapter in
bilateral ties that will serve as a model and catalyst for regional collaboration.
Mr. Modi gave a HIT formula for Nepal expressing Indias willingness to help Nepal
build Highways (H), Information highways (I) and Transways- transmission lines
(T).
He promised to grant Nepal 10,000 crore Nepali rupee concessional line of
credit, for its development.
He announced Indias keenness to double power supply to Nepal.
India would help Nepal in building pipelines to help transport oil to Nepal.
The scholarships to students from Nepal would be increased.
India extended help to Nepal to enable it to emerge as a major exporter of herbal
medicines.
India would also help develop the tourism potential of Nepal, both as a spiritual,
and adventure tourism destination.
Mr. Modi extended assistance to Nepal in the fields of organic farming, and soil
health.
Key agendas of PMs Nepal visit:
The aim was to forge a new relationship with Nepal and to begin a new chapter in bilateral
ties that will serve as a model and catalyst for regional collaboration.
The main agenda of the visit was to give impetus to negotiations on a power trade between
the two nations.
Negotiators were trying to resolve the diferences over the power agreement aimed at
tapping Nepals estimated 42,000 MW hydro-electric potential to meet domestic demands
and also supply Indias power-deficient economy.
Currently, Nepal has an installed capacity of 600 MW as its development has been hindered
by years of political turbulence. Nepal is still grappling with the transition to a constitutional
republic after the abolition of the monarchy in 2008.

Nepals ties with India are also significant to tackle the emergence of China as the strongest
power in South Asia.

Science and Technology


Right to Research (R2R) Foundation to promote Indian researchers
launched
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August 3, 2014No comments
With a view to support foreign-educated and trained Indian researchers to help them find
suitable jobs, upon their return to the country, a group of researchers and academicians
have launched the Right to Research (R2R) Foundation.
It has been observed that a significant number of Indian researchers are returning from
overseas, after obtaining their MS, PhDs and post doctorate fellowships. And despite their
high qualifications and training, many of them do not get suitable jobs or do not get
absorbed
in
research.
The R2R Foundation calls it Intelligent Reverse Brain Drain. Therefore, to engage such
researchers, the foundation has been established and has started operations nearPunes
Hinjewadi
Biotech
Park.
To begin with, R2R Foundation has established dry lab facilities, to engage around 25
researchers. The researchers will be engaged in inter-disciplinary research thought process,
and will find good opportunities in India.
Tags: Biotechnology IBPS Maharashtra Socio-Economic

Science can now explain why suns atmosphere is hotter than its surface
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August 2, 2014No comments
Researchers have found substantial evidence to explain why the Suns outer atmosphere is
much hotter than its surface.
As per scientists, Nanoflares a continuous infusion of impulsive bursts of heating, none
of which can be individually detected is behind the production of the extra heat.
The photosphere, the visible surface of the Sun, is around 6,000 Kelvins, while
thecorona reaches temperatures which are 300 times more than the photosphere.
NASAs EUNIS (Extreme Ultraviolet Normal Incidence Spectrograph) rocket, equipped
with a very sensitive spectrograph gathered information about the Sun about how much
material is present at a given temperature by recording diferent wavelengths of light.
EUNIS flew up nearly 321 km above the ground aboard a sounding rocket and gathered
about collected observations from above the planets air.
It scanned a region on the Sun known to be magnetically complex, also termed active
region, which can often be the source of larger flares and coronal mass ejections.
Several theories have been ofered for how the magnetic energy coursing through the
corona is converted into the heat that raises the temperature.
The EUNIS spectrograph was tuned into a range of wavelengths useful for locating material
at temperatures of 10 million Kelvin temperatures that are a key characteristic
of nanoflares.

Scientists have conjectured that infinite number of nanoflares could heat up solar material in
the atmosphere to temperatures of up to 10 million Kelvins. This material would cool very
rapidly, producing ample solar material at the 1 to 3 million degrees regularly seen in the
corona. However, the faint presence of that extremely hot material should remain.
The EUNIS team studied the data from the rocket and found a wavelength of light indicating
presence of 10 million degree material.
Tags: IBPS NASA

Dongfeng-41: Chinas 12,000-kms intercontinental missile


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August 2, 2014No comments
Enhancing the reach of its fire-power, Chinas has unveiled the sophisticated InterContinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which has a range of 12,000 kms, placing it
among the worlds longest-range missiles.
The existence of a new generation of Chinese ICBM, the Dongfeng-41 (DF-41) missile,
was indirectly revealed by a Chinese Government environmental monitoring file. It is widely
speculated that the DF-41 missiles will be capable of carrying three nuclear warheads. The
next generation missile is also likely to have better mobility as the launchers can cross more
complicated terrain, and have better survivability in the event of a first strike. It would also
have stronger penetration abilities and faster response times.

Science and Technology


SHERLOC: Raman UV spectrometer to be sent with Mars 2020 rover mission
to sense habitability
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August 2, 2014No comments
NASA recently revealed its plan for a comprehensive Mars mission in 2020. It will send a
rover to the Red Planet for conducting an unprecedented detailed study of the planet. The
mission will carry seven key payloads including SHERLOC-Scanning Habitable
Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals.
SHERLOCis a spectrometer that will carry out fine-scale imaging and will use an ultraviolet
(UV) laser to determine fine-scale mineralogy and detect organic compounds. It will conduct
complementary measurements with other instruments. It is the first UV Raman
spectrometer that will land on the surface of Mars.
Mars 2020 rover mission will attempt to determine the potential habitability of the Mars
environment, and directly search for signs of ancient Martian life.
Tags: IBPS NASA

NASA releases list of Payloads to be installed onto Mars 2020 Rover Mission
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August 2, 2014No comments
NASA released a list mentioning payloads to be sent on the new Mars Rover 2020 mission by
the end of year 2020.
The Mars 2020 rovers framework will be based on the design of the Curiosity rover currently
operational on Mars, but with a significant upgrade in hardware.

NASA plans to install seven payloads onto the rover. The missions goal is to find out how life
can be sustained by using what is available in the Martian environment to prepare for future
manned missions on the red planet. The most important is how oxygen can be generated for
respiration and as oxidizers for rocket fuel.
The rover will perform geological and atmospheric survey that is expected to enhance our
understanding of both the present and the past of Mars geological landscape. The rover is
also designed to store rock and soil samples for future retrieval by a manned mission.

The Seven Payloads are:Mastcam-Z : From Arizona State University, it is an advanced camera system with
panaromic view, zoom and stereoscopic vision. The cameras are based on Curiositys current
equipment, but with upgraded technology. The zoom in particular is expected to be useful
for target selection and rover navigation. These cameras will function as main eyes of the
rover.
SuperCam: From France, it is an imaging sensor that will analyze chemical
compounds and minerals. It has a laser to determine the elemental composition of any
compound from 20 feet distance.
MEDA or Mars Environmental Dynamics Analyzer: From Spain, it is a pack of
sensors to measure atmospheric conditions. The sensors will measure temperature, wind
speed, pressure, relative humidity and dust size and shape. It will also measure solar
radiation cycles.
RIMFAX or Radar Imager for Mars Subsurface Exploration: From Norway, it is a
radar system that will plow into the ground and provide subsurface structure data.
PIXL or Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry: From NASA, it is an Xray fluorescence spectrometer and hi-res imager for determining elemental composition of
the surface of Mars.
MOXIE or The Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment : From Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, it is an experiment with an objective to produce oxygen from Martian carbon
dioxide. The Martian atmosphere comprises about 96% carbon dioxide, and the MOXIE
device can turn it into pure oxygen and carbon monoxide. Data from this experiment will
help researchers design instruments capable of generating oxygen on Mars.
SHERLOC or Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence
for Organics and Chemicals: From NASA, it is a spectrometer equipped with a UV laser
for finding organic compounds and other minerals. This is the first time a Raman
spectrometer will be sent to the Martian surface.
Tags: IBPS NASA

No conclusive data available on effects of Mobile Phone/Tower on Health:


ICMR
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August 1, 20141 Comment
As per Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there are no conclusive data
available on the issue of Health Hazards due to radiation emitted from cell phone and cell
phone tower.
Some scientific evidences indicate some bio-efects and potential adverse health efects
of Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR). As per ICMR, WHO/International Agency for
research on Cancer has categorized radio frequency electromagnetic field as possible
carcinogenic agent to humans. ICMR has initiated a multi-disciplinary cohort study in Delhi

and National Capital Region (NCR) to investigate adverse efects of Radio Frequency
Radiation (RFR), if any, emitted from cell phone on adult Indian population.
The study intends to examine whether use of cell phone is linked with reproductive
dysfunctions, infertility, neurological disorders (cognitive behaviour, sleep related disorders,
depression etc.), cardiovascular disorders, Otorhinolaryngology (ENT) disorders and promote
cancer, if any in human volunteers.

Key Findings reported by some studies:


Cytogenetic damage in tissues of some individuals using cell phone over a period of
time.
Study conducted animals indicated considerable reduction in testicular size, weight
and in sperm counts after chronic exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR)imitated
from cell phone which may lead to infertility.
Headache, dizziness, numbness in the thigh, and heaviness in the chest among
mobile phone.
Long term and intensive mobile phone use may cause inner ear damage.
Increase in peak heart rate, serum total cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol and
triglycerides concentration in acute RFR.
Microwave radiation caused an increase in erythrocyte and leukocyte counts, a
significant DNA strand break in brain cells and the loss of spatial memory in mice.
Microwave exposure adversely afects male fertility.
Reduction in melatonin or an increase in caspase-3, creatine kinase, and calcium ion
may cause significant damage in rat brain due to chronic exposure of microwave radiations.
These biomarkers indicate possible health implications of such exposures.
Prolonged exposure to non-ionizing Microwave radiation may lead to infertility.
Study conducted on animal concluded that 3G mobile phone radiations afect the
brain function and cause several neurological disorders. It also indicated testicular
impairment in male Westar rats due to long-term exposure of Microwave.
Measure taken in India:
India has adopted Electro Magnetic Field (EMF) radiation limits prescribed
byInternational Commission on non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
In addition to this, Department of Telecommunication (DoT) has prescribed stricter
precautionary limits for EMF radiation from mobile tower which is 1/10 th of the limits
suggested internationally by ICNIRP.
With a view to ensure adherence to the prescribed EMF radiation limits from mobile
tower in India, self-certificates are required to be submitted by telecom service providers as
per the guidelines issued by DoT.
To inspect this, regular audit of Base Transceiver Station (BTS) sites is conducted
byTelecom Enforcement Resource & Monitoring (TERM) field units.
If any BTS site is found to infringing the prescribed EMF norms, actions are taken by
imposing a penalty of Rs.10 lakh per BTS per incidence.

Science and Technology


Bees choose best flowers even before landing just from the color of petals
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July 31, 2014No comments
As per a scientific study, Bumblebees select most nutritious flowers for providing best food
for their young simply by looking at the colour of the petals even before landing on the
flower. As bees do not ingest pollen unlike nectar while foraging on flowers, it has been

unclear whether they are able to form associative relationships between what a flower looks
like and the quality of its pollen. The study used bumblebee foragers housed under
controlled conditions to test whether they do learn about flowers during pollen collection.
The findings showed that bumblebees can individually evaluate pollen samples and
differentiate between them during collection, quickly forming preferences for a
particular type of pollen. They are able to detect diferences in pollen, even before
landing, which means they may be able to discriminate, just from the colour of the petals,
which flowers are richer in nutritious content.
Tags: IBPS

Japanese women are worlds longest-lived females; Hong Kong men longestlived males
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July 31, 2014No comments
The average life expectancy of Japanese women increased to 86.61 years in 2013, up
from 86.41 the previous year, making them the worlds longest-lived females for the
second consecutive year. Japanese mens lifespan rose above 80 for the first time in 2013.
A Japanese infant born in 2013 can be expected to live 80.21 years, up from 79.94 years in
2012. Women in Hong Kong held the second spot on the longevity list, whose life expectancy
rose to 86.57 in 2013. Japanese men positioned 4th fourth on the longevity list of the worlds
50 major countries and regions behind Hong Kong, Iceland and Switzerland. Hong
Kongs average male life expectancy was 80.87. However, Japans ageing population
is a serious issue for policymakers who have to find solutions to ensure that the declining
pool of workers can pay for the increasing number of pensioners.
Japans population contracted for the third consecutive year, with the aged comprising
around 1/4th of the total population for the first time. The proportion of people aged 65 or
over is estimated to reach nearly 40% of the population in 2060.
Tags: Hong Kong IBPS Iceland Japan Socio-Economic Switzerland

Gaia satellite ready to operate 1.5 million kms from Earth


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July 31, 20141 Comment
European Space Agency (ESA) satellite Gaia, the billion star surveyor, launched in 2013,
has reached its intended location 1.5 million kilometers from Earth and is ready to start
operation.

Gaias work will include:


Surveying a billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy to develop the most precise 3-D map
ever.
To track thousands of exoplanets, comets, asteroids, failed stars, exploding stars and
even quasars.
Scanning each of the billion stars for an average of 70 times each over five years
which means 40 million observations per day.
Measuring key physical properties of each star, including its brightness, temperature
and chemical composition.
By the end of its five-year mission, Gaia would have gathered 1 Petabyte (1 million
Gigabytes).

Science and Technology


Urbanization activities impacted a few wetlands: Government

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July 31, 2014No comments

The government has said that a few wetlands in the country have reportedly been
impacted due to various developmental activities and urbanization.

As per Environment Ministry, for conservation and management of wetlands, the


centrally sponsored scheme National Wetland Conservation Programme
(NWCP) was implemented till 2012-13. However, for better synchronization and to
avoid overlap the NWCP has been merged with another scheme National Plan
for Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems (NPCA) for holistic conservation of
lakes and wetlands. Under NWCP, 115 wetlands in 24 states and two UTs have been
identified for conservation and management. So far, the central government has
released an amount of Rs 133.64 to the concerned states for undertaking various
conservation
programmes.
In order to regulate certain activities within the identified wetlands, the government
notified the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules in December 2010. At
the behest of Environment Ministry, the Space Applications Centre (SAC)
Ahmedabad has
prepared
a National
Wetland
Inventory
Atlas
on
1:50,000 scale using Indian Remote Sensing Satellite III data of pre- and postmonsoon seasons during 2006-11.

As per the atlas, there are a total of 7, 57,060 wetlands covering an estimated area of
15.26 million hectare, that is around 4.63% of the geographic area of India.

Tags: IBPS

MyGov: Financial Inclusion Plan gets impetus from Creative Corner

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July 31, 2014No comments

The new Narendra Modi led Government has taken up the task of Comprehensive
Financial Inclusion. It is projected to be achieved by August 2018 with basic
banking accounts for everyone by August 2015. Comprehensive Financial Inclusion
intends to make banking services accessible to every household in the country.

The objective is to empower the weaker strata of the society with primary focus on
farmers and marginalized laborers. Notwithstanding the fact that almost 70% of
Indians living in rural areas, even after 67 years of independence only 38.2% of total

bank branches and 14.58% of ATMs are there in rural areas. Due to the absence of
banks, money lenders in rural areas continue to exploit the poor by charging
extortionate interest rates.

Creative Corner:

The recently launched web portal MyGov has Creative Corner through which
various Ministries can invite creative inputs on issues relating to their
departments. In a first, the Finance Ministry has invited designs for logo,
name and tagline for their financial inclusion programme. To encourage wider
participation there is an open competition with a winning prize of Rs
50,000. The last date of submission is August 7, 2014.

The Creative Corner also has another invitation Designs and a concept plan for
mobile app of PMOs website.

Tags: IBPS IT Socio-Economic

RTS,S: Worlds first vaccine against Malaria to hit markets soon

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July 30, 2014No comments

The worlds first malaria vaccine RTS,S created by pharma company GSK, is
expected to hit the markets by 2015. GSK has submitted a regulatory application to
the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its malaria vaccine candidate, RTS,S.

Application of RTS,S:

The vaccine will be uses exclusively against the Plasmodium falciparum malaria
parasite, which is widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). As per estimates, around
90% deaths from malaria occur in SSA, and 77% of these are in children under the
age of 5.

To support the efficacy of the vaccine, data from the phase III vaccine trial
programme conducted at 13 African research centres in eight African countries
(Burkina Faso, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania)
including over 16,000 infants and young children have also been included to the
filing. A large-scale Phase III trial showed that over 18 months of follow-up, children
aged 5-17 months at first vaccination with RTS,S reported 46% fewer cases of clinical
malaria, compared to children immunised with a placebo.

An average of 941 cases of clinical malaria were prevented over 18 months of followup for every 1,000 children vaccinated in this age group. Malaria hospitalisations
came down by 42%.

How RTS,S works?

The vaccine triggers the bodys immune system to protect against the P falciparum
malaria parasite when it first enters the human hosts bloodstream and/or when
the parasite infects liver cells. The vaccine is developed to prevent the parasite from
infecting, maturing and multiplying in the liver, after which time the parasite would
re-enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells, leading to disease symptoms.

GSK has pledged to sell the vaccine at cost price plus 5%, which it said would finance
further research into tropical diseases. Now EMA will evaluate the vaccine as per
Article 58 procedure, which allows the body to assess the quality, safety and efficacy
of a candidate vaccine, or medicine, manufactured in a European Union (EU) member
state, for a disease recognised by the World Health Organisation as of major public
health interest, but intended exclusively for use outside the EU.

This assessment is conducted by the EMA in collaboration with the WHO, and
necessitates products to meet the same benchmarks as vaccines or medicines
intended for use in the EU. As per WHO, if the EMA approves the vaccine, a policy
recommendation may be possible by end of 2015. A positive opinion from the EMA
would also be the basis for marketing authoritization applications to National
Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) in SSA nations.

Science and Technology


Man-made water vapour next climate threat
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July 30, 2014No comments
Scientists have warned that increasing levels of water vapour in the upper
troposphere a key intensifier of global warming owing to greenhouse gases will
amplify climate change impacts over the next decades.
Scientists at University of Miamis Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
conducted the first study to confirm that human activities have increased water vapour in
the upper troposphere. To find out the potential causes of a 30-year moistening trend in the
upper troposphere, a region 3-7 miles above the earths surface, they measured water
vapour in the upper troposphere collected by NOAA satellites.They showed that rising

water vapour in the upper troposphere cannot be explained by natural forces


such as volcanoes and changes in solar activity but by increased greenhouse
gases.
Greenhouse gases contribute immensely in raising temperatures by trapping the earths
radiant heat inside the atmosphere. This warming also increases the buildup of atmospheric
water vapour, the most abundant greenhouse gas. The moistening of the atmosphere traps
more radiant heat and contributes in amplifying greenhouse efect.
The study explains with the help of climate models that as the climate warms from the
burning of fossil fuels, the concentrations of water vapour in the atmosphere will also
increase due to that warming which result into trapping of more heat and further increases
the Earths temperature.
Tags: IBPS

Sixth C-17 Globemaster III aircraft delivered to IAF


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July 29, 2014No comments
Indian Air Force received its sixth C-17 Globemaster III aircraft at the Palam Airbase in New
Delhi in the presence of the Union Defence Minister Arun Jaitley.
About C-17 Globemaster III

It has the potential to carry 75 tonnes of load which is almost double the capacity of
Russian IL-76 in the IAF inventory which can carry only around 40 tonnes.
It will boost up IAFs flexibility in terms of operational response and with the heavy lift
capability it could easily move troops and heavy tanks to required locations.
It will have a greater strategic reach of up to 4000 kms and will also be very useful in relief
operation with its capabilities of being operational under all conditions and abilities to takeof from short runways with heavy loads.
Tags: IBPS

Science Express for raising biodiversity awareness flagged off


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July 29, 2014No comments
The third phase of Science Express Biodiversity Special (SEBS) was flagged of
fromSafdarjung Railway Station in Delhi.

The train with its innovative exhibition aims to spread awareness amongst masses in general
and youth in particular about the exceptional biodiversity of India.
Science Express is a flagship programme of Ministry of Environment, Forests and
Climate Change, Ministry of Science and Technology and Indian Railways. The train
covering a span of 194 days at 57 locations would reach out to 30 lakh students.
In fact, the train was the brand ambassador of the COP-11. It exhibited Indias rich
biodiversity to delegates from over 190 nations.

Science and Technology


Flipkart raises $1 billion, largest in Indian e-commerce field
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July 29, 2014No comments
Indias home-grown e-retailer Flipkart announced that it has raised funds worth $1 billion
(over Rs.6,000 crore), the largest-ever by an Indian e-commerce firm.
Flipkart has been raising fund aggressively as it raised $210 million in May 2014. This year
the e-retailer also surpassed $1 billion in gross merchandise value in March 2014 and then
went on to acquire rival Myntra.com in one of the biggest deals in the e-commerce space.
As per experts, with this the company is valuated between $6 billion and $7 billion.
Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal, described the deal inked last week as a milestone for the
Indian Internet as a whole and said that the company hoped to become one of Indias first
$100 billion company in the next five years or more.
Comparing Indian Internet business with that of Chinese both Bansals believed the Indian
Internet is picking up with Internet speeds on the increase, more users connecting and with
ascending mobile traffic. As per them, the Indian e-commerce is still at least nine years
behind Chinese.
Tags: IBPS

PM Modi launches MyGov web platform to get citizens ideas for governance
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July 28, 2014No comments
A new web platform MyGov launched by PM Narendra Modi will now make it much
easier for the common man and experts from diferent fields to reach out to the government
with their ideas and suggestions.
The web platform www.mygov.nic.in allows the citizens to discuss their ideas with
experts within and outside the government and even earn credit points for the tasks
which
would
eventually
be
approved
for
implementation
by
concerned
departments\agencies.
The platform will enable flow of ideas\suggestions on various issues including diferent
projects like cleaning the river Ganga, education of girl child and job creation.
PM Modi is of the view that the step would enhance peoples participation by bridging the
gap between the people and the processes of governance. During his past sixty days as PM

he observed that there were many people who wanted to contribute towards nation-building,
and devote their time and energy for good governance.
How does MyGov work?
The web platform provides an opportunity to the citizens to both Discuss and Do. There
are several theme-based discussions on MyGov where a wide range of people would
exchange their thoughts and ideas. Besides, any idea shared by a contributor will also be
discussed on these discussion forums, facilitating constructive feedback and interaction. For
those who intend to go beyond discussions and wish to contribute on the ground, the MyGov
ofers several options to do so. Citizens can volunteer for various tasks and submit their
entries.
Other members and experts would review these tasks. Once approved, these tasks can be
shared by those who complete the task and by other members on MyGov. Every approved
task would earn credit points for completing the task.
The platform has been divided into various groups namely Clean Ganga, Girl Child
Education, Clean India, Skilled India, Digital India, Job Creation. Each group consists of online
and on-ground tasks that can be taken up by the contributors. The objective of each group is
to bring about a qualitative change in that domain through peoples participation.
MyGov would also be used as a comprehensive knowledge repository, giving insights from
the sharpest and brightest minds across.
The web platform will be managed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC),
Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).
Tags: IBPS Narendra Modi

Researchers discovered new species of Mayfly in India


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July 28, 2014No comments

Researchers have found a new species of mayfly in the southern


Western Ghats of India.
As per scientists, this is the first time that any mayfly belonging to the genus Labiobaetis
has been found in peninsular India. The new species, called Labiobaetis soldani, has
been named after Dr T Soldan honoring his remarkable contribution to the understanding
of the Ephemeroptera of Palaearctic and Oriental realms.