Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo react after winning Nobel Prize
3 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won the Nobel Prize 2019 in Economics “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced.
Banerjee and Duflo are professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), while Kremer is a professor at Harvard University, all based in Boston.
Farmers continue to burn stubble despite ban
3 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Burning stubble, the rice chaff left over after harvesting, is linked to winter air-pollution in Punjab as well as down-wind Delhi. In 2013, the National Green Tribunal issued a directive to Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh asking them to ban such stubble burning. The Centre has spent about ₹600 crore in subsidising farm equipment via village cooperatives to enable farmers to access them and avoid stubble burning.
In 2018, Punjab had disbursed about 8,000 farm implements to individual farmers and set up 4,795 custom hiring centres, from where such machinery could be leased. The cost of hiring these machines was about ₹5,000 an acre. However, the success of these efforts has been mixed even though stubble-fires in 2018 were fewer than in 2017 and 2016, according to satellite maps by independent researchers.
Abhijit Banerjee among 2019 Economics Nobel winners
4 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
A video of Nobel Prize in Economics:
The 2019 Nobel Prize for economics goes to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer “for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Monday.
The research conducted by the 2019 Economic Sciences Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.
Barbie-maker Mattel brings out 'gender neutral' dolls
5 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Barbie makers Mattel launched a new line of dolls called Creatable World this September. According to Mattel this is the world’s first gender-neutral doll.
The doll can be a boy, a girl, neither, or both. It is available in different skin tones Each doll comes with two wigs of different lengths. There are several gender-neutral wardrobe options. The figures in both form and fashion are not coded as stereotypically male or female.
With the slogan “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in” this line is inclusive of kids who go by various pronouns-him, her, them, xem.
Mattel describes the line as one that is 'designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in-giving kids the freedom to create their own customizable characters again and again.'
Kenya's Kipchoge breaks the 2-hour mark for marathons
5 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
A video of Eliud Kipchoge.
Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge made athletics history on Saturday when he became the first person to run a marathon in under two hours although his remarkable effort will not be recognised by the sport's governing body.
The Olympic marathon champion and world record holder completed a course around Vienna's Prater Park in one hour 59:40 minutes on a cool, misty and windless autumnal morning.
Guided by rotating seven-man teams of pacesetters, many of themselves renowned athletes, and an electric pacecar which shone green lasers onto the track, Kipchoge averaged around 2.50 minutes per kilometre.
The Hindu Explains | Turkey's attack on Kurds in Syria
6 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Turkey pounded Kurdish militia in northeast Syria for a second day on Thursday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee and killing at least dozens of people in a cross-border assault on U.S. allies that has turned the Washington establishment against President Donald Trump.
The offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) led by Kurdish YPG militia, which began days after Mr. Trump pulled U.S. troops out of the way and following a phone call with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, opens one of the biggest new fronts in years in an eight-year-old civil war that has drawn in global powers.
The SDF have been the main allies of U.S. forces on the ground in the battle against Islamic State since 2014. They have been holding thousands of captured IS fighters in prisons and tens of thousands of their relatives in detention.
SDF forces were still in control of all prisons with Islamic State captives, a senior U.S. State Department official said in a briefing with reporters on Thursday.
The United States has received a high-level commitment from Turkey on taking responsibility for Islamic State captives but has not yet had detailed discussions, the official said.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019: For creating a rechargeable world
7 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
A video of Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2019 - For creating a rechargeable world.
Lithium batteries have transformed cars and phones, cut use of fossil fuels
Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday for their work developing lithium-ion batteries, which have reshaped energy storage and transformed cars, mobile phones and many other devices and reduced the world’s reliance on fossil fuels.
The prize went to John B. Goodenough, 97, a German-born engineering professor at the University of Texas; M. Stanley Whittingham, 77, a British-American chemistry professor at the State University of New York; and Japan’s Akira Yoshino, 71, of Meijo University.
Abiy Ahmed, the winner of Nobel Peace Prize 2019
7 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize 2019 for his efforts to resolve the long-running conflict with neighbouring foe Eritrea.
He received the award for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea, a statement from the Committee said.
NASA sets first all female spacewalk
7 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
NASA announced on October 4 that the International Space Station’s two women astronauts will pair up for a spacewalk later this month. Christina Koch and Jessica Meir are set to venture out of the ISS on October 21 to plug in new, upgraded batteries for the solar power system. It will be the fourth of five spacewalks for battery work.
This will be the first all-female spacewalk. NASA’s deputy chief astronaut Megan McArthur told reporters the all-female spacewalk will be a milestone.
Koch and Meir are members of NASA’s Astronaut Class of 2013.
According to NASA, since the world’s first spacewalk in 1965, only 14 women have done it, compared to 213 men. There are 11 spacewalks coming up in the next few months out of which 10 will be U.S. walks and one will be a Russian walk.
The Hindu Explains: What to expect from the Modi-Xi summit
8 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Trade issues, boundary disputes and multilateral cooperation are expected to dominate the “informal summit” at Mamallapuram as the seaside resort on the outskirts of Chennai prepares to host Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping for two days - October 11 and 13.
No joint statement is expected after the talks, nor have any MoUs or Agreements been prepared as outcomes of the summit, officials involved in the planning of the summit said. They suggested that the Indian side will hope to keep discussions over the issue of Kashmir at a minimum.
Madurai’s viral tour guide Nagendra Prabu
8 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Tour guide V. S. Nagendra Prabu is greeted by three officials of the State Department of Archaeology as he steps into the office at the Tirumalai Nayak Palace on Wednesday.
“We did not know about your talent. Did you learn Bharatanatyam? Can you show us a small performance,” they ask.
On September 26, 2019, the guide’s abhinayas and dance movements shot to fame across social media platforms as he explained various postures of Lord Siva, Parvathi and a lotus flower to a group of tourists at the palace.
In the video which runs for a little over a minute, Mr. Prabu, who works with the Department of Tourism, can be seen tilting his head side to side in a graceful manner, inviting applause from the audience for his distinct way of conducting tours.
The travelling Durga idol makers
9 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Pintu Paul's family has been in the idol making business for generations and have been coming to Coimbatore since 2002 to make idols for the city’s 'The Bengali Association', among others.
Pintu, who started by helping his father, took over in 2010 after he passed away. He has brought 45 sacks of soil collected from the banks of the Ganga to make the idols this year.
“I wrap straw around bamboo sticks to form a rough structure. A mixture of Ganga soil, red soil from the city and straw is then added. The final layer is made of fine Ganga soil, which gives a smooth finish,” explains Pintu.
Each layer takes three days to dry. He then uses water-based colours to paint the idols before adorning them with jewellery and clothes. This year he has made 12 idols of Durga and her family.
India receives first Rafale jet
9 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
India received on October 8, 2019 the first of 36 Rafale fighter jets ordered from France in 2016 in a multi-billion-dollar deal. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh joined his French counterpart Florence Parly for a ceremony at the Dassault Aviation factory in Merignac, near the southwestern city of Bordeaux, on the Indian Air Force's birthday.
After the handing over, Mr. Singh performed shastra puja on the aircraft on the occasion of Vijayadashami and also flew a sortie on it.
The first batch of jets will arrive in India only in May 2020.
Standing next to the plane, decorated in the colours of the Indian flag, Mr. Singh hailed a "historic and landmark day for the Indian armed forces," noting the Rafale "will add to the strength of our air force."
Nobel Prize in Physics 2019: Awarded for the study of the universe
10 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The Nobel Prize for Physics has been awarded to James Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology, and Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for discovering an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Physics rewards new understanding of the universe’s structure and history, and the first discovery of a planet orbiting a solar-type star outside our solar system. The discoveries have forever changed our conceptions of the world, a statement from the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Royal Academy of Sciences said.
Air Force Day parade at Hindon Air Force station
10 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
On the 87th Anniversary of the Indian Air Force, the Air Force Day parade was held at the Hindon Air force station. The air display commenced with flag-bearing sky divers of the Akash Ganga Team dropping out of an AN-32 aircraft with their colourful canopies. There was also a marching contingent Air Chief Marshal Rakesh Kumar Singh Bhadauria reviewed the parade.
Wg. Cdr. Abhinandan Varthaman, who was awarded Vir Chakra for shooting down a Pakistani F-16 during Balakot air strike, led a Mig-21 Bison formation at the Air Force Day parade on Tuesday.
The Air Force Day flypast also saw other pilots who took part in the Balakot air strike and were recently given Gallantry awards.
Every year, the Air Force Day is celebrated at Hindon base in presence of the IAF chief and senior officials of the three armed forces.
The IAF was founded on October 8, 1932, and the force has participated in several crucial wars and landmark missions.
Is India open defecation-free?
11 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
On Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India open defecation-free.
A part of the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative, launched in October 2014, was to provide every household access to a toilet. “In 60 months, 600 million people have been given access to toilets, more than 110 million toilets have been built. The whole world is amazed to hear this,” he said. But access to toilets is still an issue in many parts of the country.
First zero waste grocery store in Hyderabad
14 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Nestled in the bylanes of Karkhana, Secunderabad, is a small and unassuming store that you might miss while driving by, unless you notice the name painted in bold letters - the ‘Zero Waste Eco-Store’. The store opened earlier this month and has been drawing a steady trickle of customers from the neighbourhood and other parts of town, thanks to word-of-mouth publicity.
Step in and you can shop for a lot of your home needs, but remember to take your own bags, bottles and containers. If you aren’t carrying these, the store stocks a few cloth bags, bottles and paper covers for a price. The store has a stringent no-plastic rule and is happy to pack all your essentials - rice, pulses, oils, cleaners et al - in paper covers, cloth bags and containers.
Goa, Chennai and Bengaluru among a few other cities, have similar no-plastic grocery stores where customers are encouraged to get their own non-plastic packaging materials and this is the first such initiative in Hyderabad.
Pankaj Sancheti, his wife Jyoti and sister Pratibha Jain are the force behind the store, along with two other partners Suvibha Nolkha and Namrata Baldwa. A chartered accountant by profession, Pankaj lived in Chennai until recently and used to shop at Ecoindian, The Zerowaste organic store. When he moved to Hyderabad three months ago, he was disappointed at not finding something similar and decided to open one.
The first India-Pakistan visa-free corridor
14 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur was the place in which Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, spent his last 18 years. The original shrine was built after the Guru’s demise in 1539. The shrine, which was refurbished by the Pakistani government in 1995, lies a mere three kilometres from the Indian border in Gurdaspur district.
The year 2019 will mark the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak. Celebrations have already started with the Punjab government and the Centre announcing plans to commemorate the occasion in a big way.
The four-km fenced passage will be the first-ever visa-free corridor between the two countries. According to diplomatic sources, Pakistan has agreed to allowing 5,000 pilgrims per day, issuing a one-day permit, and pilgrims crossing the corridor on foot and in groups.
Nizam's £35 million: U.K. Court Favours India, Dismisses Pakistan’s Claim
15 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Rejecting Pakistan’s claim in the case that dates back to 1948, the High Court of England and Wales ruled in favour of India and the Nizam’s descendants - now mostly based in Turkey and the U.K. - granting them access to a £35 million fund (worth approximately ₹306 crore).
“Nizam VII was beneficially entitled to the Fund and those claiming in right of Nizam VII - the Princes and India - are entitled to have the sum paid out to their order. I will leave it to the parties to frame an appropriate form of order for my approval,” ruled Justice Marcus Smith in his order.
“The question before the court is …the shortly-stated one of whether it is Pakistan or the late Nizam VII who was in 1948, entitled to the fund.”
Mamallapuram's unparalleled marvels set for Modi, Xi visit
15 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The historic coastal town of Mamallapuram on the scenic East Coast Road in Tamil Nadu is the venue for the second India-China informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, scheduled in October 2019.
Mr. Modi will host Mr. Xi for two days - October 11 and 13 - in Mamallapuram. Arrangements are being supervised at the highest levels of the Central and State governments.
Mamallapuram, about 50 km from Chennai, was popularly known as "Seven Pagodas" to European travellers of the 16th century. It is known for its unparalleled works of architecture: rock-cut temples built by the Pallava rulers. The monuments can be grouped under four categories: rock-cut caves, monolithic structures, open air bas-reliefs and structural temples.
Recent and Upcoming car launches in India
16 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Here are the recent and upcoming car launches in India. The new launches are: Maruti S-Presso by the country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India; Elantra 2019 by Hyundai Motors India Limited; Renault Kwid 2019; Volkswagen's 2019 facelifts Polo and Vento; and ZIPTRON technology by Tata Motors India Limited.
Mahatma Gandhi 150th birth anniversary: his impactful role in India's freedom struggle
17 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
India’s freedom struggle was a mass movement. However, there was one person
- M.K. Gandhi - who led the nation in its non-violent resistance, which shook
the very foundation of British rule.
When he returned to India from South Africa (as suggested by his political mentor Gopal Krishna Gokhale) in 1915, he had garnered international attention and a reputation as a powerful nationalist. And powerful he would be for the way in
which he changed the course of the freedom struggle.
As the nation celebrates his 150th birth anniversary, here are some of the key moments from Gandhi’s impactful role in India’s long struggle for freedom
Aaditya Thackeray, first in the family to contest elections
17 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
On Monday evening, Aaditya Thackeray (29), Shiv Sena youth wing leader and son of party president Uddhav Thackeray, announced his intention to enter the poll fray in Maharashtra from the Worli Assembly constituency. With that, he became the first Thackeray in three generations to fight a direct election, a move that reflects the changes within the party in the years following the death of its founder and supremo, Balasaheb Thackeray.
Mr. Aaditya Thackeray’s move comes at a time when the party has reconciled to playing the junior partner in the National Democratic Alliance in the State, after years of playing Big Brother.
The Muslim man looking after a Hindu shrine in Assam
17 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
In the volatile world of religion in India, Motibar Rahman stands out as a Muslim looking after a Hindu shrine, as his family has done for centuries.
Like his forefathers, Rahman, 73, sweeps the Burha Gosair Than shrine in Assam every morning and lights candles for Shiva.
"Apart from the Hindus, lots of Muslim people also come here and offer prayers. People including the Hindus and Muslims say that their prayers are often fulfilled," he said.
Pakistan to invite Manmohan Singh for Kartarpur Corridor inauguration
18 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Pakistan has decided to invite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to attend the inaugural ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in November, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Monday.
“The inauguration of Kartarpur Corridor is a big programme and Pakistan is preparing for it in a big way. We have decided to invite India’s former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to grace the event. We will send a formal letter to him soon,” Mr. Qureshi said told Capital TV. Mr. Qureshi said that Manmohan Singh represents the Sikh community.
The Navaratri golu doll makers of Madurai
18 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The village, which is home to 200 families of artisans, is throbbing as the streets are dotted with colourful idols wrapped and packed, ready to be sent to various places. The demand for Kanchi Athi Varadhar dolls are higher this year, says M. Ramalingam, an artisan, who has been in the business for 35 years. “The customers are frequenting the area for custom-made dolls. This year customers have placed orders for innovative sets like dolls depicting the life of goddess Meenakshi and a gram panchayat model,” he says.
Customers from across the State, including places such as Theni, Dindigul and Sivakasi, and even from far away Bengaluru visit the shops to buy dolls. “I have come from Bengaluru just to buy dolls from Vilachery as the dolls are economical. Unlike the retail shops, we can buy custom-made dolls here,” says S. Muthukumar.
Golconda Fort's forgotten doorway
20 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
332 years ago, on a cold night of September 21, the Qutb Shahi dynasty in Hyderabad was snuffed out after Mughal soldiers surged into the Golconda fort.
A mercenary soldier called Abdullah Panni had opened a doorway to let in the enemy. The doorway is now called Fateh Darwaza. This doorway is what first meets the eye of tourists visiting the heritage site.
But today, it is in a state of disrepair
The gateway is being chipped away as the area under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India is not demarcated. A legal vacuum has emerged between the Revenue Department and the ASI.
Now, the fort has turned into a happy hunting ground for encroachments.
Notices have been sent to people who are encroaching on the site, but there is no authority to stop it. A whole shanty town has grown around the gateway, including private hospitals, schools and markets. The wall to the right of the entrance even has a garbage dump
Highlights of PM Modi's visit to the U.S.
20 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the U.S. between September 21 and September 27 during which he addressed the annual U.N. General Assembly session and had a series of bilateral and multilateral engagements in New York, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Mr. Modi attended an Indian community event 'Howdy Modi' in Houston during the visit. Mr. Modi addressed the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA). As the world commemorates Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary, Mr. Modi hosted a special event ‘Leadership Matters: Relevance of Gandhi in the Contemporary World’ on September 24 in the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber in the U.N. Headquarters.
All about the Maharashtra and Haryana 2019 Assembly Elections
21 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The Election Commission announced on September 21 that Assembly Elections will be held in Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21, 2019. The results will be declared on October 24.
The term of the present 288-member Maharashtra Assembly ends on November 9 and the term of the present 90-member Haryana Assembly ends on November 2. Notification for the two elections will be issued on September 27, and the nomination process will begin the same day.
October 4 is the last date for filing nominations. Scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on October 5. October 7 is the last date for candidates to withdraw from the battle.
The Election Commission will set up 94,473 polling stations for over 8.95 crore voters in Maharashtra. In Haryana, 19,425 polling stations will be set up for nearly 1.83 crore voters.
Indian Navy's largest dry dock opened in Mumbai
21 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The Indian Navy now has its largest dry dock in Mumbai. It was inaugurated on September 28, 2019. It can service India’s only aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, weighing 44,500 tons and the first indigenous carrier Vikrant in the near future .
In a dry dock, water is drained out after a ship is brought in, to enable repair and inspection
This dry dock has been under construction for nine years. Five lakh tonnes of concrete have gone into making it.
Protective wall of Hussain Sagar canal partially collapses
21 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
About 200 houses in Hyderabad's MS Maktha area were inundated in the wee hours of Friday after a protective wall of a canal connected to Hussain Sagar Lake partially collapsed due to heavy rains, official sources said.
The rains also led to waterlogging in the low-lying areas of the city. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is carrying out operations to remove water which is knee-high in some areas.
The first Arab on the International Space Station
22 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Hazzaa al-Mansoori will make history as the first Arab on the International Space Station. Mansoori belongs to the United Arab Emirates. He tweeted before the launch that he was “filled with this indescribable feeling of glory and awe”.
Mansoori is accompanied by Russia’s Oleg Skripochka and NASA astronaut Jessica Meir. The Soyuz rocket carrying the three was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on September 25. The three of them will head back to Earth on October 3.
Read more here: www.thehindu.com/news/international/rocket-blasts-off-carrying-first-arab-to-space-station/article29511651.ece
Are Saudi Arabia’s oil supplies vulnerable? | The Hindu Explains
22 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Early on September 14, two critical Saudi Arabian oil installations the Abqaiq processing facility and the Khurais oilfield, near the Gulf coast came under attack. The attack has escalated geopolitical tensions in West Asia with the U.S. pointing fingers at Iran and Tehran in turn denying any role in the attacks and warning against any action against it which had failed to detect and prevent the attacks as they came from the north. Saudi Arabia has said it is committed to meet India’s energy security needs and will work constructively with other oil producers to maintain market stability.
The Hindu's International Affairs Editor Stanly Johny explains the impact of the drone attacks on Saudi Arabia's installations and it's effects on India.
Read more: www.thehindu.com/news/international/are-saudi-arabias-oil-supplies-vulnerable/article29478951.ece
Iconic Dindigul lock gets GI tag
23 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Video: G. Karthikeyan
Script: Preethi Ramamoorthy
Voice Over: K Rajashree Das
Production: Sharon Joseph
The Dindigul lock was given the GI tag by the Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai on Thursday. The application for the lock was made by the Dindigul Lock, Hardware and Steel Furniture Workers Industrial Co-operative Society Limited.
The famous Dindigul locks are known throughout the world for their superior quality and durability, so much so that even the city is called Lock City.
The abundance of iron in this region is the reason for the growth of the lock-making industry.
Though machine-made locks are easily available, government institutions like prisons, godowns, hospitals and even temples use the older pattern locks. These lock manufacturing units are limited to an area of 5 km in and around Dindigul. There are over 50 varieties of locks made by the artisans.
But over the last few years, this industry has been slowly dying due to competition from Aligarh and Rajapalayam. Marketing these locks has also been a challenge. A. Premkumar, a third-generation lock maker, who runs Jegankumar Industries in Nagal Nagar, said, “The lock industry in Dindigul is focussed [more] on quality than production (referring to quantity). Aligarh replicates mechanisms from here but produces in large quantities. The GI tag will help people differentiate Dindigul locks from others.” He added that several people have moved away from the craft due to meagre wages and waning demand.
Currently, this industry is worth over ₹20 crore per annum.
Gully boy goes to the Oscars
24 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Zoya Akhtar's Gully Boy is India's official entry for the 2019 Oscars. The Hindi film is about the journey of an aspiring rapper from the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, fighting against the odds. It stars Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt.
Gully Boy is inspired by the lives of street rappers Divine and Naezy.
The film beat movies like Super Deluxe, Article 15 and Pahuna, which were among the 28 films in contention for its entry in the 92nd Academy Awards' Best International Feature Film category. The jury that met in Kolkata for the screening and selection process felt that the feel-good factor of the film was important for the Oscar nomination.
Read more here: www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/zoya-akthars-gully-boy-is-indias-official-entry-for-the-oscars/article29477153.ece
Greta Thunberg opens the United Nations Climate Action Summit
25 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Climate change activist Greta Thunberg opened the United Nations Climate Action Summit in the United Nations (UN) headquarter on September 23, 2019.
This was days after millions of young people around the world took to the streets to demand emergency action on climate change in what could possibly be the largest climate protest in history, the Global Climate Strike.
Thunberg's speech was an angry condemnation of world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change - “How dare you,” she said.
Also read: www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/energy-and-environment/you-have-stolen-my-dreams-climate-activist-thunberg-angrily-tells-world-leaders/article29492492.ece?homepage=true
Global Climate Strike What happened around the world on September 20
26 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
On September 20, 2019, the world stood up and took notice of the millions of people across the world taking to the streets for the Global Climate Strike.
The signs and impacts of global heating are speeding up. World Meteorological Organization data says the five-year period from 2014 to 2019 has been the warmest on record. There has also been a significant rise in sea-levels and CO2 emissions.
The strike was a call for citizens and leaders to immediately address climate change.
A huge crowd of youngsters, led by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, protested in New York. Hundreds of people rallied in the southwestern French city of Bordeaux to protest against climate change.
Islamabad saw hundreds of children demanding adults act to stop environmental disaster. Thousands of protesters hit Parisian streets to demonstrate against inaction on climate change.
Nearly 15,000 people marched through the streets of Brussels during the Global Climate Strike. Climate change protesters gathered at Millennium Square in Leeds city centre demanding immediate action to stop climate change. Australia saw an estimate of 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 rallies calling for action to guard against climate change.
Youngsters in India took to the streets of New Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and several other cities for what could be the largest climate protest in history.
Remembering Marko Feingold: The oldest Austrian Holocaust survivor dies at 106
27 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Marko Feingold, who survived Auschwitz, in Nazi-occupied Poland and several German concentration camps died at the age of 106 in the city of Salzburg on Thursday after a lung infection.
The Auschwitz concentration camp was a complex of over 40 concentration and extermination camps by Nazi Germany during World War II and the Holocaust.
Feingold was born on May 28, 1913 in what is now Slovakia and grew up in Vienna. He was arrested in Prague and deported to Auschwitz in 1940 at the age of 27. Feingold lost his father and siblings in the camps.
He had fled Austria when it was annexed by the Nazis in 1938 before being arrested in Prague in 1939. Feingold was freed from the Buchenwald concentration camp when it was liberated by American forces in May 1945.
He went on to give talks and teach in conferences on the dangers of anti-semitism and discrimination. "I must have spoken to around half a million people all in all,” he told AFP in 2018.
Zimbabwe's Hamilton Masakadza retires from international cricket
27 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza could not hold back the tears when announcing to his players that Friday's match against Afghanistan would be his last in internationals.
The 36-year-old was given a guard of honour by both sides as he came in to bat in Chittagong and then hit 71 off 42 balls to take Zimbabwe to an impressive seven-wicket victory -their first over Afghanistan -in the Twenty20 match.
Masakadza ended his 18-year international career with a blistering five sixes and four fours.
What is Tamil Nadu's new Electric Vehicle Policy?
28 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
The Tamil Nadu State Government introduced its first-ever electric vehicle (EV) policy. The Tamil Nadu Electric Vehicle Policy, 2019, provides for various concessions to manufacturers of e-vehicles. Tamil Nadu, known as the Detroit of South India, accounts for 6.4% of the electric vehicles sold in the country as of July 31, 2019.
To encourage start-ups in the EV sector, incubation services will be offered in the form of office space, common facilities and mentoring support.
An EV Venture Capital Fund will be created to offer financial support to EV start-ups to enable them to scale up their business.
EV-related and charging infrastructure manufacturing units will be provided 100% exemption on electricity tax till December 2025.
Units that obtain land by sale or lease shall be entitled to 100% exemption on stamp duty for transactions till December 2022. Units that obtain land from SIPCOT, SIDCO or other governmental agencies will be provided a 15% subsidy on the cost. They will be provided 50% subsidy if the investment is in the southern districts.
The government will provide a higher capital subsidy of 20% of the eligible investment over 20 years in cases where units are engaged in making EV batteries.
Amendment to building and construction laws will ensure that charging infrastructure is integrated at the planning stage itself for all new constructions in cities.
Chennai is home to major automobile manufacturing firms, including Hyundai, Ford, Nissan, TVS, Mahindra and Daimler
97-year-old farmer takes the lead
28 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
A 97-year-old farmer of Posampatti near Athavathur in Tiruchi district has set an example in taking up ‘kudimaramathu’ works without expecting any support from the government.
V.P.P. Posan is full of energy and enthusiasm as he steps into No. 32 supply canal of Old Kattalai Mettuvaical - which is just six years away from celebrating 100 years of its existence - for desilting on Tuesday.
His ripe-old age has in no way dampened his spirit in clearing the accumulated silt and thick bushes grown on the canal. He was instrumental in bringing together a group of like-minded farmers of Posampatti and Koyyathoppu to desilt the canal that they term as their lifeline.
The group began the desilting work on Friday. It works meticulously in clearing the silt along a four-km stretch and is confident that there will be hurdles to irrigating 500 acres in Posampatti and Koyyathoppu, where they propose to raise paddy.
Locals, including septuagenarians and octogenarians, say Mr. Posan is a regular in participating in ‘kudimaramathu’ work every year. Barring a few years, he has been doing it for more than 60 years without expecting any financial support from the government or others.
10 lakh seed balls made in under 30 hours
29 ਦਿਨ ਪਹਿਲਾਂ
Over 10 lakh seed balls were made in 30 hours by students and volunteers at the ‘Seed Ball Festival’ organised by Thiyagi N.G. Ramaswamy Memorial Higher Secondary School and Ruthambra Yoga Centre in Coimbatore.
Around 6,000 participants, including students from 15 government, government aided and matriculation schools, 10 colleges, and volunteers from 15 non-governmental organisations, members of Bharat Scouts and Guides, Junior Red Cross and National Green Corps, took part in the initiative.
The seeds would last for nearly two years with 80 % chance of sprouting as they were covered with a mixture of mud, cow dung and compost.
What we know about black holes
Researchers have, for the first time, detected the gravitational waves from a newly born black hole and found that the ringing pattern of the waves predicts the cosmic body’s mass and spin.
This provides more evidence for Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity. Einstein theorized that a black hole, born from the collisions of two massive black holes should itself “ring” in the aftermath, producing gravitational waves much like a struck bell reverberates sound waves.
The latest study showed that when a black hole is birthed, it emits gravitational waves at characteristic tones just like a struck bell, it fades away as the hole settles.
According to Einstein's theory, a black hole should exhibit just three observable properties: mass, spin, and electric charge. All other characteristics would be swallowed up by the black hole itself. The black hole acts as a one-way trapdoor.
Despite the name, is actually a great amount of matter packed into a very small area making its gravitational field so strong that nothing, not even light, can escape. And because no light can get out of black holes, people can't see them.
They are effectively invisible and scientists use special tools to infer their presence and observe them by the effects of their enormous gravitational fields on nearby matter.
Most black holes are remnants of large stars that die in supernova explosions. There are four types of black holes: stellar, intermediate, supermassive, and miniature.
Astronomers believe that supermassive black holes lie at the center of almost all large galaxies. The Milky Way hosts Sagittarius A*, which is more than four million times as massive as our sun, at its center.
What is World Ozone Day?
Commonly known as the ‘World Ozone Day’, September 16 commemorates the Montreal Protocol that was signed on this date by 24 UN member nations in 1987, to limit and ultimately phase out the production of manmade chemicals like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and 95 other ozone-depleting materials.
The slogan for this year “Ozone: All that is there between You and UV” is meant to show how human activity can impact the ozone layer and ultimately, the survival of the Earth and its environment as we know it.
Pulikkali Kerala's 'play of the tigers'
Thrissur saw around 300 tigers, in all possible colours, prancing around at a rollicking show of Pulikkali as a part of the city's Onam celebrations.
The term Pulikkali literally means 'play of the tigers'.
The folk art form is native to Kerala and is performed on the fourth day of Onam. Performers are painted like tigers and wear leopard or tiger masks. The feral dance is well-aided by rustic drum beats.
The first women ‘tigers’ participated in the predominantly male Pulikkali in 2016.
400 million Facebook users' phone numbers exposed
Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, U.S. media reports have said.
An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases - including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam, according to technology news site TechCruch.
Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook’s lax privacy settings to access millions of users’ personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.
The exposure of a user’s phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping - as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey - with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.
The privacy lapse was discovered by Sanyam Jain, a security researcher and member at Hague-based non-profit organisation GDI Foundation.
A quick guide to the 2019 Rugby World Cup
The Rugby World Cup starts next week in Japan. The international tournament, held every four years, had its first match in 1987.
Japan will open the 2019 edition against Russia in Tokyo on September 20. A total of 48 matches will be played at 12 venues over six weeks. The final will take place at Nissan Stadium in Yokohama on November 2.
Three-times world champion New Zealand has the best overall competition record, with the most match wins and points scored.
The top five teams going into the World Cup include New Zealand, Ireland, England, South Africa and Wales.
Japan will try to make the most of its 'home advantage' and replicate its surprise victory over South Africa four years ago.
Polish World War II refugees return to Kolhapur for a happy occasion
When Poland was caught between Adolf Hitler’s Germany and Josef Stalin’s Russia during the Second World War, a stream of refugees from Poland made their way to Valivade village in Kolhapur district.
A commemorative pillar for these families who lived in Valivade between 1942 and 1948 will be unveiled on September 14. Several members of a 29-member Polish delegation recall their ‘mini Poland’, with its own church, schools and even a cinema.
Ludmila Jakutowicz's mother brought her a Kolhapuri bangle in the Christmas of 1947. She hasn't removed since then, thus keeping alive her memories of Kolhapur and her bond with India.
Umesh Kashikar is one of the five children of the late Wanda Nowicka. Wanda married Vasant Kashikar and lived on in Kolhapur even after her countrymen went back to other countries in 1948.
Krystana was born in the Valivade camp. She now lives in Wroclaw, Poland.
Dennis Wypijewska was a teenager when he was in India. He remembers the time he spent here to be joyous. He remembers going to Chandoli and Panhala.
HMT museum, where the legacy will remain forever
Have you ever wondered about the mechanism that allows wristwatches to function without batteries? How and why do they go ‘tick-tick’ when their hands and seconds indicators rotate? How does a ‘crown’ of merely a few centimetres rotate the hands of the watch even anti-clockwise?
Wonder no more. In an effort to keep its legacy alive, HMT Watches, the country’s first wristwatch manufacturer, is set to establish a wristwatch and clock museum with wondrous collections in Bengaluru.
Work is under way on setting up the HMT Heritage Centre and Museum, which is being called the country’s first national watch heritage centre, near Jalahalli.
HMT Watches, a public sector undertaking of the Government of India, has been a pioneer in watch manufacturing in the country since 1961. The purpose behind the establishment of this museum is enhancing people’s knowledge on HMT Watches and its products, senior officers at the PSU said.
The engineering experts of HMT have manufactured and sold over 1.1 crore watches till date. Wearing an HMT watch was the dream of most of people back in the day. Former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, H.D. Deve Gowda and Atal Bihari Vajpayee too used to wear HMT wristwatches and appreciated their accuracy and reliability, a senior officer told The Hindu.
India's new age Instagram calligraphers
The art of writing has evolved over the years and so have the instruments used to write. We have moved a long way from writing on stones and leaves to now using computers, threatening traditional pen-and-paper writing practices like calligraphy.
But new crop of artists are capitalising on the power of platforms like Instagram to help netizens discover the power of handwriting. Here are five Indian modern calligraphers who are taking instagram by storm.
Sadhika Gupta (@delhidoodler08)
Four years ago, it was a post on Instagram that opened Sadhika's eyes to the beauty of brush calligraphy propelling her to start experimenting with the art form. “I was drawn to the way it could instantly bring words to life,” she says.
Bhavika Malhotra (@theinkaffair)
“My day job involved understanding typography, calligraphy, and fonts,” says Bhavika. Three years ago a stint in a digital marketing agency ushered her obsession with the art form. She has her own popular font, Wild Magnolia.
Arunoday Singh (@sufisoul)
Arunoday is cautious about labels and refuses to call himself a calligrapher. He says, “That implies being able to write in multiple fonts.” He explains, “I just write in my own handwriting which is rather calligraphic.
”Georgy Roy (@gy_roy)
George says “Calligraphy is an art that breaks the typographical structure by adding a natural quality to the designs being shown." With three years of experience under his belt, he sticks primarily to hand-lettering which, quite literally, means drawing letters by hand.
Avinash Kharat (@avinash_calligraphy)
Avinash uploads videos of the technique to his social media audience of over 20,000. The strategy has paid off, bringing in deals with clients like Louis Vuitton and Gucci “My technique has allowed me to stay unique over the decade,” he says.
Read more here: www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/meet-indias-top-instagram-calligraphers/article29241605.ece
Solving India's hunger problem
The Supreme Court has agreed to examine a plea that starvation deaths continue to eat into the right to life and dignity of social fabric and a “radical” new measure like community kitchens need to be set up across the country to feed the poor and the hungry.
A Bench led by Justice N.V. Ramana issued notice on Monday to the government on the petition filed jointly by activists Anun Dhawan, Ishann Dhawan and Kunjana Singh, represented by advocates Ashima Mandla and Fuzail Ahmad Ayyubi.
The petition said State-funded community kitchens was not a novel concept in the country. They pointed out how Tamil Nadu's Amma Unavagam had become a roaring success by involving peers in self-help groups, employing the poor to serve hygienic food to eradicate the gnawing problem of hunger on the streets.
The petition also referred to how Rajasthan's Annapurna Rasoi, Indira Canteens in Karnataka, Delhi's Aam Aadmi Canteen, Anna Canteen in Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand Mukhyamantri Dal Bhat and Odisha's Ahaar Centre were combating starvation and malnutrition crisis.
Paatima's ₹1 idli, prepared by hand on a grindstone
From the outside, the 30-year-old eatery looks like any other nondescript building in a village. Home to octogenarian M. Kamalathal, in Vadivelampalayam on the outskirts of Coimbatore, visitors arrive here from near and far for her sought-after idlis - priced at ₹1 each.
Ms. Kamalathal wakes up at 5 a.m. every day, and prepares her idli batter and chutney for side dish using a traditional grinding stone. She opens the doors for diners at 6 a.m. and closes at noon, sometimes sooner, depending on how much batter she is left with.
“I use eight kg of rice for the batter,” she said. When asked how many idlis she steamed every day, she replied,: “I don’t have a count for that!”
According to paatima (grandmother), as Ms. Kamalathal is fondly known among her customers, she is 82 years old. Despite her wrinkled, bespectacled face, a bony frame and a slightly hunched back, she appears as sprightly as a middle-aged person, running the cramped eatery all by herself.
With her son taking to gardening work, it is P. Aarthi, wife of Ms. Kamalathal’s grandson, who keeps her company during the day time. “She likes to do everything by herself,” the granddaughter-in-law said, adding that Ms. Kamalathal even chooses the firewood to be used. On paatima’s age, Ms. Aarthi, who intends to continue running the eatery after the old lady, remarked, “She might be even 90 years old.”
With the number of customers visiting the eatery steadily increasing from 7 a.m. onward, Ms. Kamalathal cooks without a pause in her traditional idli vessel, on an an earthen stove with firewood.
The Jack Ma story
Jack Ma stepped down as chairman of China’s Alibaba Group on September 10, 2019
Born to a poor family in Hangzhou in southeast China, Ma worked as an English teacher at a local university
With no previous exposure to the internet, his first online search was "beer" and the entrepreneur was surprised when no Chinese beers turned up.
A cash-strapped Ma co-founded Alibaba in his apartment with a group of friends in 1999. Alibaba is now one of the biggest online retail firms
Ma once did a Michael Jackson-inspired dance at an Alibaba anniversary celebration and has also starred in his own kung fu short film
Ma is one of the world's top billionaires with an estimated net worth of 38.6 billion dollars according to Forbes. He stepped down as chairman of Alibaba on his 55th birthday
He had farewell party in the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center stadium with music and celebrity performances
Ma is set to spend more time on philanthropy and education after his retirement
He handpicked Daniel Zhang to take over as the group chairman
Chandrayaan 2's Vikram lander: what we know so far
The Indian Space Research Organisation is continuing its efforts to reconnect with lunar lander Vikram.
The 1.4-tonne lander has been lying silent on the moon’s surface since the early hours of September 7.
ISRO's Chandrayaan-2 mission involved an orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan).
The Vikram module was to make a historic first soft landing near the moon’s south pole at 1.55 a.m. on September 7. Vikram lost its earth link when it was 2.1 km and about 3 minutes from touchdown.
ISRO said the mission’s orbiter had spotted the lander on the moon on September 8. ISRO Chairman K Sivan said they would try to restore link with the lander for 14 days.
The lander and the rover are not expected to have signals after 14 earth days from September 7. The lunar night will begin and the spacecraft will have run out of solar power.
The ISRO is understood to be trying to call Vikram via the orbiter link. The orbiter is safe in the intended orbit around the moon. With the “precise launch and mission management”, the orbiter's life span will extend to almost seven years.
Villages submerged as Sardar Sarovar dam level rises
Nisarpur is a town located in Dhar district of Madhya Pradesh. It is located upstream of the Narmada river from the Sardar Sarovar Dam
It is the largest of several other towns now facing submersion by the backwaters of the Narmada river as level in the dam rises.
The area has been experiencing heavy rainfall the past fortnight
Now, around 178 villages face the threat of submersion without appropriate rehabilitation measures.
The Big Fat Company shows us theatre comes in all shapes and sizes
When Bangalore-based Anuradha H.R. realised plus-sized women don’t get enough lead roles in theatre, she founded the Big Fat Company (BFC) in 2017.
When BFC performed their play Head 2 Head for the first time at KH Kala Soudha, a spectator jeered at one of the performers, shouting, “Tindi pota” (a person who loves food). But that doesn't stop BFC from fighting the preference for conventionally ‘beautiful’ women.
BFC tries to challenge the perception that one's identity lies in the body rather than the mind. The company doesn't have an official membership and is currently made up of around 13 to 15 people. They now perform all around India.
Anuradha says she wants BFC to become obsolete at some point.
Who is Bianca Andreescu?
The 19-year-old beat Serena Williams in the 2019 US Open Women's Singles final to become the first Canadian to win a Grand Slam title
Ram Jethmalani through the years
Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani passed away at 7.45 a.m. on September 8, 2019. He was 95 and he died days before his 96th birthday on September 14.
He was the Law Minister twice, criminal lawyer, jurist, teacher, litigant and parliamentarian. He has served as Chairman of Bar Council of India.
He obtained a law degree at the age of 17 and started practising law in Karachi until the partition of India, following which he moved to Bombay.
He married Durga at the age of eighteen and later married lawyer Ratna Shahani in 1952. He had two sons and two daughters- Janak, Shobha, Rani and Mahesh.
He was chosen to be a part of former President S.D. Sharma's cabinet in 1992. He has served as a Union Minister for Law and Urban Development in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet.
A Rajya Sabha member of the Bharatiya Janata Party, he never shied away from criticising the party leadership. This led to him being expelled in 2013 from the primary membership of the party for six years for “breach of discipline”.
Mr. Jethmalani has fought several high-profile cases during his legal careerHe has defended former deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in the hawala scam case, stockbroker Harshad Mehta, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, the assassins of former Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, and former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Leaders across political and social spectrum joined in to pay tributes to the former Union Law Minister. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recollected the contributions of Mr. Jethmalani to both the Court and Parliament while condoling his demise. President Ram Nath Kovind condoled the demise of Ram Jethmalani, a "person of great erudition and intellect".
He is survived by his son Mahesh Jethmalani, a well known lawyer, and daughter Shobha, who is based in the U.S.
China's first cloned kitten
Huang Yu, a 22-year-old Chinese businessman, was dejected when his cat Garlic died in January earlier this year. But now, after seven months, he holds Garlic's clone in his hands thanks to Beijing-based company Sinogene.
The commpany is run by Mi Jidong. Sinogene has cloned several dogs in the past.
The British shorthair is supposedly China's first cloned cat.
It cost Mr. Huang roughly $35,000 to get his pet cloned. The gray-and-white kitten will be sent to Mr. Huang after a month's observation in the Sinogene lab.
Although cloning does not guarantee hundred percent results,“similarity between the two cats is more than 90 per cent,“ says Mr. Huan.
A year after the Section 377 verdict
It has been a year since the Supreme Court judgement on Section 377 of IPC that read down provisions of the British colonial era law that criminalised consensual gay sex. But only half the battle is won.
Vivek Kishore and Vishwa Srivastav are a same-sex couple from Gurgaon. Vivek's family hasn't been supportive of the couple. They had even threatened to call the police on Vivek before the Section 377 judgement. But the couple has found support in Vishwa's mother.
Anjali Gopalan, director of The Naz Foundation, was one of the first people to challenge Section 377. She feels there is still a long way to go.
A brief history of lunar exploration
From NASA's Ranger probes and USSR's Luna missions to the Apollo moon landings and now India's Chandrayaan, human efforts to conquer the moon have continued.
Since the dawn of time, the moon has fascinated humans
Poems and songs have been written about its beauty, spectacle and mystery in every language and culture
In the fifth century B.C, Greek philosopher Anaxagoras suggested the moon was a rocky body and reflected the sun's light. This resulted in Anaxagoras’ arrest and exile as people believed that the moon and sun were Gods. In his honor a crater at the moon’s north pole is named Anaxagoras.
In India, Aryabhata mentions in his book Aryabhatiya in the fifth century AD that the moon’s light is reflected sunlight
Persian astronomer Habash al-Hasib al-Marwazi, conducted various observations at the Al-Shammisiyyah observatory in Baghdad and estimated the Moon's diameter and its distance from the Earth. His measurements cine close to the measurements we have today. The moon is 384,400 km away from Earth and has a radius of 1738.1 km.
The advent of telescopes helped get a better view our cosmic neighbour and in 1609 Galileo Galilei made one of the first drawings of the Moon.
But it was during the Cold War era that the Moon became the focus of a "space race" between the Soviet Union and the United States of America.
In 1959, Russia’s Luna 2 became the first spacecraft to land on the moon's surface. To compete with the Soviet successes in space, U.S. President John F. Kennedy proposed a manned Moon landing.
“ I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth....But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon-if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there....I believe we should go to the moon” (not in voiceover)
Between 1961 and 1965, nine NASA Ranger spacecraft got a few close-up pictures of the moon’s surface.
The Ranger 7 lunar lander which approached the moon on July 31, 1964 is considered the first true success in the United States' early quest to explore the moon. Ranger 7 transmitted 4,308 images in the 15 minutes before it impacted the lunar surface.
In 1966, Russia’s Luna 9 became the first vehicle to soft-land safely on the moon’s surface.
Luna 10 launched in the same year became the first spacecraft to successfully orbit the moon.
But the U.S. scored the biggest win with its Apollo programme.
On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first people to walk on the moon.
“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
From 1970-73, Apollo missions 12 to 17 helped collect several kilograms of lunar samples and helped us understand the moon’s geology.
In 1990 Japan joined the race and placed its Hiten spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon
On November 14, 2008, Chandrayaan 1 landed on the moon and showed the presence of water molecules on the moon
China joined the list of countries to soft land on the Moon when its Yutu rover touched down in 2013.
Its Chang`e-4 landed on the far side of the moon in January 2019 and became the first spacecraft to ever land there.
On February 21, Israel’s lunar lander Beresheet was launched but after a month it was reported to have crash-landed on the Moon.
With Chandrayaan 2 India is set to become the fourth country to soft land on the moon after Russia, U.S and China.
And NASA too is planning to return to the moon in 2024, as a preparatory step to launch missions to Mars and other deep space destinations
Bengaluru's secular pet cemetery
People for Animals in Bengaluru has been awarded the Saalumarada Thimmakka International Award for Environment Conservation this year.
Over three-dozen staff at People for Animals Wildlife Hospital and Rescue Centre, that spreads over six acres of trees and plants at Kengeri, work round the clock to treat injured animals and release them into their natural habitat. The NGO receives nearly 25 calls a day from people who want to help birds, reptiles or animals in distress. “PFA, in 23 years, has rescued 26,000 animals in 198 species of wildlife in Bengaluru, all with just funds coming from the public,” says Alpana Bhartia, one of the four founders, adding, “We feel honoured and humbled to win the prestigious Thimmakka Award.”
According to Colonel (Dr) Navaz Shariff, chief veterinarian and general manager, PFA Wildlife Hospital, they have four helplines, half a dozen trained rescuers, seven ambulances, five two-wheelers, two four-wheelers, four vets qualified in wildlife science, an intensive care, and professional rehabilitation and recovery enclosures working through the year. “PFA does not have a domestic shelter, although their working environment - without artificial lights - is akin to a jungle,” he adds.
Sid Sriram sings his favourite Rajinikanth, Kamal, Vijay and Ajith songs
The singer-composer gives The Hindu a private concert of sorts, as he picks out his favourite songs of Kollywood superstars, and delivers them in his own inimitable style - from 'Kanne Kalaimane' to 'Aalaporaan Thamizhan'. Watch out for a stunning Carnatic rendition and an English vocal from Sid's album 'Entropy' in between too!
Facial payment technology gains popularity in China
No cash, no cards, no wallet, and no smartphones: China’s shoppers are increasingly purchasing goods with just a turn of their heads as the country embraces facial payment technology.
China’s mobile payment infrastructure is one of the most advanced in the world, but the new systems - which require only face recognition - being rolled out nationwide could make even QR codes seem old-fashioned.
Customers simply make a purchase by posing in front of point-of-sale (POS) machines equipped with cameras, after linking an image of their face to a digital payment system or bank account.
Giraffes close to being 'critically endangered'
In Africa, the population of the world's tallest mammals are quietly, yet sharply, in decline.
Giraffe numbers across the continent fell 40 percent between 1985 and 2015, to just under 100,000 animals, according to the best figures available to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
But unlike the clarion calls sounded over the catastrophic collapse of elephant, lion and rhino populations, less attention was paid to the giraffe's private crisis.
The rate of decline is much higher in central and eastern regions, with poaching, habitat destruction and conflict the main drivers blamed for thinning herds of these gentle creatures.
Hong Kong protests explained
The protests that have been on in Hong Kong in full swing since in mid-June were sparked by widespread opposition to a now-shelved extradition bill which would have allowed extradition to mainland China.
These protests have brought into focus the "one country, two systems" deal under which Hong Kong is governed. When Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997 by Britain, both sides agreed that the city would remain a semi autonomous region under the Basic Law, its mini-Constitution, for 50 years. The Basic Law provides people in Hong Kong more political freedoms than their counterparts in mainland China.
There is a relatively free press, an unregulated Internet and a less-controlled judiciary in Hong Kong. But Beijing has increasingly tried to exert its influence on the city in recent years, raising concerns of the city’s pro-democracy groups.
They say the extradition bill would empower the city government to send critics of Beijing to the mainland where the criminal justice system is tightly controlled by the establishment.
The extradition-bill was first proposed by the government of Hong Kong on February 2019.
On June 9, about one million people marched to the government headquarters in protest.
On June 15, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam issued a reversal of the bill, indefinitely delaying it.
However, the protests have continued, with activists facing off with the police on the streets.
Bank merger: key numbers
In what comes as the second wave of the government’s efforts to revive the economy, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday announced a slew of banking reform measures, including merger of 10 public sector banks into four entities. This would take the number of banks in the country from 27 in 2017 to 12, Ms. Sitharaman said.
These bank mergers, and the ones already carried out, will lead to the creation of big banks with an enhanced capacity to give credit, she said. These big banks, she said, would also be able to compete globally and increase their operational efficiency by reducing their cost of lending.
“We have chosen these banks for the mergers on the basis of ensuring that there is no disruption in the banking services, and that the banks should benefit from increased CASA [current account savings account] and greater reach,” Ms. Sitharaman said. “The banks that are being merged with each other run the same or very similar platforms, and so there will be no disruption in their activities.”
How Kovalam became a top surfing destination
The last of the competitive standup paddlers finish their laps. The sun begins her slow descent. Then, the drumming begins.
The cajons, and didgeridoos follow, all played by one man, coaxing revellers closer to the stage. Among them are professional surfers from across Asia, unwinding after a long day of competing under the intense Kovalam sun. It is day two of the seventh edition of Covelong Point Surf, Music and Yoga Festival and in that moment, it is Israeli musician Yogev Haruvi is determined to ensure everyone has a good time.
Today, the festival attracts professional surfers from different countries year after year, competing, partying, mingling with athletes and partygoers from across the country.
Former South African cricketer Jonty Rhodes is attempting to convince surfers from Australia to participate in the fest. Rhodes has been an ambassador of the festival right since its inception, and never misses an edition or a chance to ride Kovalam’s waves. While local students sometime seem unimpressed by the waves here, “when they see people from outside India doing great in their own backyard, they realise they can’t make any excuses for not performing just as well,” Rhodes says, perched on the arm of a chair on the balcony of Surf Turf, which offers a vista of the beach and the main stage, from where tunes of musical performance after performance float up.
Eight U.S.-made Apache attack helicopters inducted into IAF
The Indian Air Force (IAF) on September 3 formally inducted eight AH-64E Apache attack helicopters into service at the Pathankot Air Force Station. Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.
“Apache attack helicopters are being purchased to replace the Mi-35 fleet. Alongside the capability to shoot fire and forget anti-tank guided missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets and other ammunitions, it also has modern Electronic Warfare (EW) capabilities to provide versatility to helicopters in a network-centric aerial warfare,” said IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal B.S. Dhanoa at the induction ceremony.
Ocean plastic recycled into sportswear
Adidas expects to make 11 million pairs of shoes with recycled ocean plastic, the Business Insider reports. In 2015 Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans to turn marine pollution into sportswear.
The waste from the ocean is collected, sorted, and the recovered plastic is sent to a Adidas processing plant.
Meet Bihar's Revolver Rani
Abha Devi is a real terror for goons and criminals in her panchayat under Phulwari Sharif block of Patna district, say villagers.
She is possibly the only woman panchayat head in Bihar who moves with a pistol clung to her waist.
At her home in Babhanpura village, the mother of four can easily pass off as a quiet, affectionate and humble lower middle-class housewife, but outside she spells terror for troublemakers. Of late, she is known by the sobriquet ‘Revolver Rani’ and ‘Lady Singham’ in her panchayat and surrounding areas.
Celebrating with an eco-friendly Ganesha
Eco-friendly idols of Ganesha containing ‘navadhanya’ (nine auspicious grains) have become a unique entry into the market ahead of Vinayaka Chaturthi in Coimbatore.
According to the makers, idols containing the grains will turn into feed for aquatic creatures when these are immersed in waterbodies. The seeds will sprout and turn to plants when idols are discarded on the side of waterbodies. The fresh sprouts also become feed for birds and other creatures. R. Manikandan of Kovai Kulangal Paathukaappu Amaippu said that the eco-friendly idols are made of clay as an alternative to plaster-of-paris, a non-biodegradable material.
19 lakh people left out of Assam's NRC Final List. What next?
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) was published on August 31, 2019.
The NRC is a Supreme Court-monitored exercise. It took five years and Rs. 1,220 crore. All residents of Assam had to produce documents proving that they or their families lived in India before March 24, 1971.
When the final draft of the list was released on July 30, 2018, out of 3.29 crore applicants, the names of over 40 lakh people were left out of the list.
Over 19 lakh people found themselves excluded from the final list on August 31, 2019.
Excluded persons will have 120 days to file an appeal at any of the existing 100 Foreigners’ Tribunals. At least 200 additional Foreigners’ Tribunals are expected to be set up by September, 2019. The Tribunals are required to dispose of the cases within six months. Appellants can then approach the High Court and Supreme Court. They will get a window of 10 months to prove their citizenship before being sent to detention centres.
Six Central jails will double up as detention centres. A separate detention centre at Agia in western Assam’s Goalpara district has been constructed. It has the capacity to house 3,000 people. Ten more such centres are in the works.
Tawaifs, the first women in Hindi cinema
Tawaif is the Awadhi term for a highly-skilled courtesan. Tawaifs rose to prominence during the 18th and 19th centuries in the royal courts of Awadh.
They took Persian influences from the courts of Shia kings and married them with Indian forms. We inherit the Kathak, the dadra, and the thumri from them.
Popular tawaifs were the top tax-paying citizens of Lucknow at one time. By the early 1920s, with the rise of colonial morality and ideas they slowly began to lose their prestige and demand.
Sensing the decline of their kothas and dreading a push into prostitution, the tawaifs began migrating to other professions. Some were lured by the gramophone industry, others moved towards Parsi theatre. It was at this time that they began acting in cinema as well, becoming the first women to do so.
Fatma Begum was the first woman to direct a Bollywood film. Her daughter Zubeida became a star in silent movies and acted in India’s first talkie, Alam Ara (1931).
Jaddanbai set up her own production house called Sangeet Movietone. Her daughter, Nargis, became an accomplished actor. She went on to marry the actor Sunil Dutt, and is the mother of actor Sanjay Dutt.
The song ‘Mohe Panghat Pe Nandlal Ched Gaye Ro’, a part of K. Asif’s Mughal-E-Azam (1960) is taken from the repertoire of Uttar Pradesh's tawaifs.
Despite this, there was anxiety within the industry around their sexuality and sensuality. Slowly, a lot of their contributions were played down.
However, it was the role as Tawaif in films like Mugal-E-Azam, Pakeezah and Umrao Jaan; that gave actors like Madhubala, Meena Kumari and Rekha a chance to show off their skills in a hero-driven industry.
The Chennai food walk
Chennai embraces food from across the State and world with equal enthusiasm, so not surprisingly, the flavours of this city change constantly. Hence, when we ask Harish Rao (chef and food consultant), who exults in researching ancient recipes and discovering local gems, to curate a roving menu, we quickly realise it’s a tough route to define.
As we move across the city, we come across many old gems like the pakodas and the biryani, but also visit some not-well-known gem of hotels.
Time did play spoilsport in our culinary endeavour.
India's auto industry crisis explained
The automobile sector is one of the largest employers in the country, employing about 37 million people, directly and indirectly. The prolonged demand slowdown has triggered production as well as job cuts in the sector. According to the latest figures that are available, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have removed about 15,000 temporary workers in the past two to three months. A lack of working capital amid tepid demand has led to closure of nearly 300 dealerships across the country. This has led to over two lakh people losing their jobs, according to the Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), the apex national body of automobile retail industry engaged in the sale, service and spares of two- and three-wheelers, passenger cars, utility vehicles, commercial vehicles (including buses and trucks) and tractors. Separately, the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) warned in July that 10 lakh jobs were at risk and urgent action was needed to bring the industry back on track.
PV Sindhu’s journey to victory
P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win a Badminton World Championships gold on August 25, 2019.
She beat Nozomi Okuhara of Japan in a lop-sided final held in Switzerland. This was Sindhu’s fifth World Championships medal.
Read her interview with The Hindu after the victory here : trib.al/IqhLrN5
Sindhu has often credited her parents, P. Vijaya and P. V. Ramana, for her success. Both of whom are former volleyball players. She became world champion on her mother's birthday and dedicated the medal to her.
The 24-year-old who hails from Hyderabad had the first of her victories during the all-India under-10 singles held in Kochi in June 2005. She won the all-India junior major ranking badminton tournament in Hyderabad in November 2008.
Under the tutelage of Pullela Gopichand, she won her first Grand Prix gold in the Malaysian Open in May 2013. P.V. Sindhu received the Padma Shri award in 2015. She won a silver medal in the Rio Olympics in 2016 becoming the first Indian to reach a badminton singles final at the Olympics.
Her winning a BWF World Tour Finals medal, did not lessen the criticism of losing two World Championship finals in 2018 and early 2019.But she left audiences and her critics speechless with her historic win in the Badminton World Championship now in 2019.
P.V. Sindhu said toThe Hindu that her next goal is the Olympic gold.
All about the Parliament House
There have been several discussions in the Parliament in recent times, of renovating and revamping its circular building. The latest of which was brought up by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and PM Narendra Modi.
There is a sense that a new parliament building is required. Several groups have been formed for taking suggestions from various people, including parliamentarians, on the issue, said Mr. Birla at a press conference in August, adding that a final call was yet to be taken.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is also proposing a revamp of the Indian Parliament house to improve and modernise facilities.
The 92-year-old Parliament house, also known as Sansad Bhavan, is home to the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The foundation stone of the building was laid on February 12, 1921 by the Duke of Connaught. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, it took six years to be constructed, and at a cost of Rs. 83 lakh.
It was opened on January 18, 1927, by the then-governor General Lord Irwin.
The building has a diameter of 560 feet and covers nearly six acres. At its centre is the Central Hall where the transfer of power took place when India gained independence from the British. This was also where the Constituent Assembly of India had its sittings, and it currently hosts joint sessions of the Parliament. The present Rajya Sabha chamber was designed for the Council of State of the British Indian government and the Lok Sabha Chamber for the Legislative Assembly. The Chamber of Princes is now Library hall.
The chambers are connected by the first floor veranda supported by 144 cream coloured columns made of sandstone.
The Supreme Court of India functioned from the Chamber of Princes after it was inaugurated on January 28, 1950 till it moved to the present building in 1958.
On November 7, 1966, an anti-cow slaughter mob stormed Parliament House and a section of sadhus tried to force their entry into the Parliament. On December 13, 2001, a five-member suicide squad targeted Parliament. 12 people were killed in that attack by Lashkar e Taiba and Jaish e Muhammed terrorists.
Arun Jaitley (1952-2019)
India's former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley died on August 24, 2019. He was 66 years old. He was born in 1952 to parents who had migrated to Delhi from Lahore. His father, Maharaj Kishen Jaitley, was a lawyer. A law graduate from the University of Delhi himself, Mr. Jaitley also graduated in commerce from Shri Ram College of Commerce.
His political life and legal career spanned more than 40 years. He was under preventive detention for 19 months during the Emergency in 1975-77, first in the Ambala Jail and then in the Tihar Jail, Delhi.
Mr. Jaitley started his journey with the BJP in 1980 after having been an ABVP student activist during his college years.
Mr. Jaitley married Sangeeta Dogra, daughter of former J&K Finance Minister Girdhari Lal Dogra, in 1982.
Appointed the Additional Solicitor General of India in 1990, he was entrusted with the Bofors case. In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government he held the portfolios of Commerce and Industry, Law and Justice and Information and Broadcasting. Mr. Jaitley was the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha in 2009, when Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister. In the same year, he was elected the Vice President of the BCCI. He made vital contributions in discussions on the Women Reservation Bill and supported the Jan Lokpal Bill. Mr. Jaitley was the Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs between 2014 and 2019. He has also served as the Minister of Defence under PM Narendra Modi.
Mr. Jaitley has been ailing for a while because of which he could not present the 2018-19 Union Budget and the 2019-20 Interim Budget. He also did not contest the Lok Sabha elections 2019 for the same reason. Arun Jaitley is survived by his wife and children, Rohan and Sonali, who are both lawyers.
The hidden history on Chennai's OMR and ECR
This Madras Week, Ramanujar Moulana of the Cycling Yogis group shows us that the archaeological value of the route to Mamallapuram, dotted with areas such as Padur, Thiruporur and Nemili, is of just as much importance. He has specially designed a circular route for MetroPlus, that starts in Thiruvanmiyur, takes the OMR and heads up to the Nemili Bridge, crosses The Great Salt Lake, and comes back to the same place, via the ECR.
How the surplus food from temples reaches the needy
Thousands gathered in Coimbatore to observe the Aadi Perukku festival this year.
Devotees offered food as part of the rituals. This generated a lot of food waste. Thanks to ‘No Food Waste’ the food was distributed to nearby colonies.
Founded in Coimbatore in 2014, No Food Waste is a food recovery and waste management network. It collects surplus food from weddings, parties and other places to distribute among the needy.
How Madras grew from an English settlement
August is an exciting month for Madras, now Chennai. It was 380 years ago that the British East India Company purchased Madrasapattinam from an Indian. A sleepy hamlet that the British set their sights upon is now a bustling metropolis, always in a state of flux, and yet, by all accounts retaining its original character, even as the old gives way to the new.
Did you know that Chennai houses Asia’s largest library? Or that it has the world’s second largest urban beach?
Madras, now Chennai, is always full of surprises. As we take you through the 380 years of Madras' journey, sit back and soak in the history culture that Chennai has to offer.
Read more here: www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/madras-day-2019-where-the-adyar-flowed-quiet-and-unpolluted/article29229636.ece
A look inside Amazon's largest global office, recently opened in India
E-commerce giant Amazon inaugurated in Hyderabad its single-largest campus in the world that will house more than 15,000 employees.
It is the only Amazon-owned campus outside the US and will house over 15,000 employees of its over 62,000 employee base in India.
It is a facility spread over 9.5 acres and comprising three million square feet of built up area. The office space is about 1.8 million sq ft.
Brazil's Amazon forests see 83% rise in wildfires
Wildfires raging in the Amazon rainforest have hit a record number this year, with 72,843 fires detected so far by Brazil's space research center INPE, as concerns grow over right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro's environmental policy.
The surge marks an 83% increase over the same period of 2018, the agency said on August 20, and is the highest since records began in 2013.
What caused the blue glow on Chennai beaches?
Visitor to Chennai's Injambakkam beach and Besant Nagar’s Eliot’s Beach were in for a treat on August 18, 2019. They witnessed what is popularly known as 'Sea Tinkle'. This is essentially a blue shimmer on the waves. Pictures and comments about this phenomenon kept social media abuzz for the next couple of days.
The phenomenon, caused by Noctiluca algae, is also known as bioluminescence. The algae biologically produce light when disturbed. Bioluminescence has been observed in fireflies, a few beetles and in marine creatures such as Anglerfish and copepods.
Such blooms have been reported annually in the Northern Arabian Sea since the early 2000s. Goa, Mumbai and the backwaters of Kerala have witnessed these algal blooms. Recently the magical glow featured in the Malayalam movie Kumbalangi Nights, which gained much attention.
Greta Thunberg sets sail to New York on zero-carbon yacht
Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg set sail for New York on August 14, 2019. She will be crossing the Atlantic in a racing yacht with no shower or toilet to join protests in the United States and take part in a United Nations summit.
To avoid traveling by air, Thunberg is making her trans-Atlantic trip on board the 60-ft yacht, the Malizia II, fitted with solar panels and underwater turbines that produce electricity onboard, with the aim of making the journey zero-carbon.
Indian Railway runs the world's oldest working locomotive
To commemorate the 73rd Independence Day celebrations, a Heritage Special Service hauled by EIR-21 was operated from Chennai Egmore to Kodambakkam today. EIR-21 is the world’s oldest steam locomotive.
The express which is similar to Fairy Queen in appearance, is 164 years old. Many parts of Express EIR-21 were corroded, missing and broken thus not fit for use. However, the Loco Works, Perambur, revived the loco in 2010 and since then the heritage runs have been made to showcase the heritage value of Indian Railways.
Are PET bottles safe?
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PET bottles are safe, a comprehensive evaluation by the CSIR-Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore has determined.
For years there’s been a swirling debate internationally on whether PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) bottles, which are the mainstay of plastic bottles and disposable food containers, leach harmful chemicals when exposed to high temperatures.
The CFRTI analysis, commissioned by an industry body, concluded that antimony, arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, selenium and zinc “were below” their detection limits (BDL) of 0.001 mg/kg.
Bisphenol-A was below its detection limit of 0.02 mg/kg.
Yamuna river crosses warning mark
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The water level in the River Yamuna crossed the warning mark on Monday, prompting Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to call a meeting of departments concerned to assess the situation and review arrangements in place.
The Yamuna was flowing at 204.7 metres on Monday and its water level is expected to rise up to 207 metres as 8.28 lakh cusecs water was released from Haryana’s Hathini Kund barrage.
The Delhi government sounded a flood alert for the city and asked people living in low-lying areas to move to safer places as the water level in the Yamuna river is expected to cross the danger mark.
This temple in Japan has a robot priest
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A 400-year-old temple in Japan is attempting to hot-wire interest in Buddhism with a robotic priest. The android Kannon, based on the Buddhist deity of mercy, preaches sermons at Kodaiji temple in Kyoto, and its human colleagues predict that with artificial intelligence (AI), it could one day acquire unlimited wisdom.
The adult-sized robot was put into service earlier this year and is able to move its torso, arms and head. But only its hands, face and shoulders are covered in silicone to replicate human skin.
It was developed at a cost of almost US$1 million (S$1.38 million) in a joint project between the Zen temple and renowned robotics professor Hiroshi Ishiguro at Osaka University
Tik Tok turns one
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Getting your "60 seconds of fame" hasn't been more achievable than it is today. Short-video making apps let people show off their talents with the click of a button.
The Chinese app Tik Tok is the most recent addition to this trend. It lets you create and share short lip-sync, comedy, and talent videos. The app has succesfully completed a year since its release.
India is Tik Tok's largest user base with nearly 300 million users. Despite the fact that citizens love it, authorities aren't too happy with it.
The then-viral Nillu Nillu Challenge caused a fight between two groups in Malappuram, Kerala, in the initial months of the app's release. It resulted in eight people being injured.
The platform is often misused, with people doing dangerous stunts. The Madras High Court ordered a ban on the app across the country in April, 2019 and the app was removed from Apple and Android app stores. But the ban was soon revoked on conditions of strict community guidelines. Those under 13 years of age aren’t permitted to use the app.
What is your favourite TikTok challenge?
Read more: www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/tiktok-turns-one-year-old-when-one-year-lapses-into-30-seconds/article29020634.ece
All about Ladakh
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On August 5, the Central Government announced that a Union Territory of Ladakh is to be created by carving out the region from the State of Jammu and Kashmir. This new Union Territory is set to come into existence on October 31.
The Ladakh region is ecologically and culturally unique. It has a topography that is very different from the rest of India, and is home to enormous mineral reserves. The extremely fragile cold desert ecosystem of the regions has meant that its inhabitants have a very adaptive lifestyle.The population of around 3 lakh is spread sparsely over an area of about 60 thousand square kilometers.
The people are primarily Buddhists, and their culture is closely tied to the Tibetan region. And like the Tibetans, the Ladakhi cuisine is know for momos and thukpa. The primary language of the region is Bhoti, and Ladakhi culture has a rich oral tradition of of songs and poems.
The region was settled by tribes and races like the Mons and the Dards and historical mentions of the region go back as early as the third century BC and the puranas.
In the 1830s the Dogra army of Jammu laid siege on Ladakh and brought it under Maharaja Gulab Singh’s rule. Ladakh became a part of India when Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the union in 1949.
During the 1962 war, China took control of a part of the region that is known as Aksai Chin. Since then, India and China have signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control that separates Aksai Chin from Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2002, all the political parties in Ladakh had merged to form the Ladakh Union Territory Front in demand of Union Territory status because of its religious and cultural differences with Jammu and Kashmir.
Ladakh’s Member of Parliament, Jamyang Tsering Namgyal of the BJP, said that Ladakh felt stifled by J&K’s decision-making apparatus, which was centred in Srinagar.
Ladakh celebrated Independence Day, 2019, with fervour with Mr. Namgyal saying the region has got “independence from Kashmir”.
The parliamentarian, whose speech in the Lok Sabha after the abrogation of special status to Jammu and Kashmir drew praises, was seen dancing and playing the drums along with locals.
Mr. Namgyal hoisted the national flag at the local BJP office along with party national general secretary Ram Madhav.
All about antivenom
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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), snakebites claim more than 100,000 lives globally. India sees 45,000 snakebite deaths every year, finds the 2011 ‘Million Death Study’. Interestingly, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, came up with much lower figures in the Lok Sabha - 689 deaths only in 2018.
On May 23, WHO launched a new programme - ‘Snakebite Envenoming: A Strategy for Prevention and Control’, the core of which is to bring down the number of snakebite deaths and casualties by 50% before 2030. In 2017, WHO included snakebite in the list of ‘Neglected Tropical Diseases’ to improve research and funding, and to draw the attention of policy-makers to this silent killer.
Researchers are trying to end snakebite deaths in South Asia. But the lack of research, funding, data, and even the lack of prioritisation by governments are major challenges, finds a recent paper by Ravikar Ralph, researcher with the Department of Internal Medicine at Christian Medical College, Vellore.
Encouraging farming with a contest
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In the thick of a monsoon downpour, 40 farmers, reins in hand, raced with their oxen through slushy fields in the tiny hamlet of Gawlipada in Mucheri village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district.
The unique ploughing competition had been organised to promote farming in this picturesque region nestled in the foothills of the Western Ghats. Young farmers, aged 18 to 25, used social media to invite participants to the first event of its kind in this village.
Players had to plough a 200-metre circular track without touching the fluttering flags set along its edges, and the first to finish won ₹5,100 and a trophy. The sound of thundering hooves, loud cheers and folk songs brought alive a village that has no more than 120 families.
Dubbed a ‘festival for the farmer, by the farmer’, the competition was organised by Sunil Bhalekar, Pratik Bhojane, Sanket Bhalekar and Sanjay Kamble. It was supported by Mucheri villagers now settled in Mumbai. Bhalekar, overwhelmed by the response, said: “We are always looking for a reason for villagers to return and take up farming again.”
Where do the temple flowers go?
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Holy Waste is a social enterprise run by Maya Vivek and Minal Dalmia at Gundlapochampally village in Kompally. They process floral waste from temples to manufacture fragrant soaps, incense sticks and natural compost. Seated on the floor of the terrace, a team of women start plucking petals from semi-dried and wilted roses.
Maya and Minal became friends through their children. Their friendship led them to dream of doing something together but had absolutely no idea what. Says Minal, “Around that time we read the news of the Kanpur-based brand ‘Help us green’ who process flowers from temples. We began experimenting at home. We would forage the colony’s gardens and streets to pick flowers and worked at home to first understand the process. We started our experiment in October 2018. We had no prototype until then. We were successful in doing what we wanted to by the end of the month with help from a few people. We set our first bin at Skandagiri temple in Secunderabad, in November 2018.”
Holy Waste is less than a year old and has won the Best Green Startup award under Eco Ideas by Green India Awards 2019.After the petals are dried they are made into a fine powder with an industrial grinder that can work for an hour at length. Every week the team powders about two kilograms of dried petals.
NASA tests new Mars rover on Iceland's lava field
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To prepare for the next mission to Mars in 2020, NASA has taken to the lava fields of Iceland to get its new robotic space explorer ready for the job.
With its black basalt sand, wind-swept dunes and craggy peaks, the Lambahraun lava field at the foot of Iceland's second biggest glacier, Langjokull, was chosen as a stand-in for the Red Planet's surface.
For three weeks, 15 scientists and engineers sent by the U.S. space agency descended on the site, 100 kilometres from the capital, Reykjavik, last month to develop a prototype.
Experts say that Iceland, a volcanic island in the middle of the North Atlantic, is in many ways reminiscent of the fourth planet from the Sun. "It's a very good analogue for Mars exploration and learning how to drive Mars rovers," said Adam Deslauriers, manager of space and education, at Canada's Mission Control Space Services.
The prototype is a small, electric vehicle with white panels and an orange chassis. It has a four-wheel drive propelled by two motors and is powered by 12 small car batteries stacked inside.
Equipped with sensors, a computer, a dual-lens camera and controlled remotely, the rover moves its approximately 570 kilograms at a leisurely speed of about 20 centimetres per second.
Exchange plastic for tickets on this bus
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Indonesia is the world’s second-biggest marine polluter behind China. It has pledged to reduce plastic waste in its waters some 70% by 2025 by boosting recycling, raising public awareness, and curbing usage.
It has introduced the Surabaya scheme, by which passengers can swap trash for travel tickets. According to authorities, the scheme is a hit, with nearly 16,000 passengers trading trash for free travel each week.
An hour-long bus ride with unlimited stops costs three large bottles, five medium bottles or 10 plastic cups. But they must be cleaned and cannot be squashed.
Uttar Pradesh plants 220 million trees in one day
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More than a million Indians planted 220 million trees on August 9, 2019 in Uttar Pradesh. It was part of a massive effort to tackle climate change and improve the environment.
Students, lawmakers, officials and others planted dozens of species of saplings along roads, rail tracks and in forest lands.
The trees include 16 fruit species, and will increase forest cover in the state.
"We set the target of 220 million because Uttar Pradesh is home to 220 million people," Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath said.