March 2015

PRAGATI: Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation.

NRI Foundation Award
Leading industrialist G.P. Hinduja was among those honoured with the inaugural NRI Foundation Award for establishing a global presence across 10 different sectors and his philanthropic work in Britain and India.

Other Award winners included the Asian Media and Marketing Group, publishers of the ‘Garavi Gujarat’ magazine, Lloyds Banking Group’s Head of Responsible Business Kamel Hothi and the UK Government’s Dealmaker for India, Alpesh Patel.

Dadasaheb Phalke Award 2014
Veteran actor Shashi Kapoor has been honoured with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for 2014. The actor, who has charmed the audience for over four decades, is best known for his performances in films like “Jab Jab Phool Khile”, “Deewar”, “Kabhi Kabhie” and “New Delhi Times”.

He is the 46th winner of the prestigious award, which is given out to honour outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema.

National Film Awards, 62nd
Best Actress:
Kangana Ranaut for Queen
Best Supporting Actress: Baljinder Kaur for Pagdi The Honour (Haryanavi)
Best Supporting Actor: Bobby Simhaa for Jigarthanda (Tamil)
Best Actor: Vijay for Nanu Avanalla Avalu (Kannada)
Best Direction: Srijit Mukherji for Chotushkone (Bengali)
Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Mary Kom
Indira Gandhi Award For Best Debut Film Of A Director: Asha Jaoar Majhe (Bengali)
Best Feature Film: Court (Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati & English)
Best Hindi Film: Queen
Best Assamese Film: Othello
Best Bengali Film: Nirbashito
Best Kannada Film: Harivu
Best Konkani Film: Nachom – IA Kumpasar
Best Malayalam Film: Ain
Best Marathi Film: Killa
Best Odiya Film: Aadim Vichar
Best Punjabi Film: Punjab 1984
Best Tamil Film: Kuttram Kadithal
Best Telugu Film: Chandamama Kathalu
Best Rabha Film: Orong
Best Haryanvi Film: Pagdi The Honour
Best Music Direction:
a) Songs – Haider (Hindi)
b) Background Score – Nineteen Eighty Three (Malayalam)
Best Female Playback Singer: Uttara Unnikrishanan for song Azhagu in Saivam (Tamil)
Best Male Playback Singer: Sukhwinder Singh for song Bismil from Haider
Best Choreography: Bismil for Haider
Special Mention: Ain (Malayalam); Nachom – IA Kumpasar (Konkani); Killa (Marathi); Bhootnath Returns (Hindi)
Best Educational Film: Komal & Behind the Glass Wall
Best Exploration/Adventure Film: Life Force – India’s Western Ghats
Best Investigative Film: Phum Shang
Best Animation Film: Sound of Joy
Best Short Fiction Film: Mitraa
Best Film Critic: Tanul Thakur
Best Writing on Cinema: Silent Cinema: (1895-1930)- Pasupuleti Purnachandra Rao
Best Costume Designer: Dolly Ahluwalia for Haider
Best Film On Environment Conservation/Preservation: Ottaal (Malayalam)

Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement
Pune-born ecologist Dr Madhav Gadgil and noted American marine ecologist Jane Lubchenco from Oregon State University, have been honoured with the Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement.

Gadgil received the award for engaging local people in the conservation policy and promoting the field of environmental science nationally. He was a driving force behind the crafting of India’s National Biodiversity Act and also chaired the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel, known as the Gadgil Committee, to offer guidelines on the protection and development of the Western Ghats.

Abel Prize
Two Americans described as “mathematical giants of the 20th century”, including John Nash of “A Beautiful Mind’ fame, have won Norway’s prestigious Abel Prize. Nash, 86, and Louis Nirenberg, 90, have been awarded for “striking and seminal contributions to the theory of nonlinear partial differential equations (PDEs) and its applications to geometric analysis”.

PDEs are equations first developed to describe physical phenomena which also help to analyse abstract geometrical objects.

Named after the 19th century Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, the prize was established by the Norwegian government in 2002 to award outstanding scientific work in the field of mathematics, a discipline not included among the Nobel prizes.

World’s largest asteroid impact zone
Researchers have recently found world’s largest asteroid impact zone in central Australia.  The two impact zones total more than 400 kilometres across, in the Warburton Basin in Central Australia. They extend through the Earth’s crust, which was about 30 kilometres thick in this area.

The crater from the impact millions of years ago has long disappeared. But a team of geophysicists has found the twin scars of the impacts, the largest impact zone ever found on Earth, hidden deep in the earth’s crust.

The impact zone was discovered during drilling as part of geothermal research, in an area near the borders of South Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

According to the researchers, the two asteroids must have been over 10 kilometres across, and it would have been curtains for many life species on the planet at the time.

The exact date of the impacts remains unclear. The surrounding rocks are 300 to 600 million years old, but evidence of the type left by other meteorite strikes was lacking.

The research is published in journal Tectonophysics.

How continents were formed
Scientists have unveiled how continents were formed on Earth over 2.5 billion years ago – and how those processes have continued for the last 70 million years to profoundly affect the planet’s life and climate.

A new study details how relatively recent geologic events – volcanic activity 10 million years ago in what is now Panama and Costa Rica – hold the secrets of the extreme continent-building that took place billions of years earlier.

The discovery provides new understanding about formation of the Earth’s continental crust – masses of buoyant rock rich with silica, a compound that combines silicon and oxygen.

The continental mass of the planet formed in the Archaean Eon, about 2.5 billion years ago. The Earth was three times hotter, volcanic activity was considerably higher, and life was probably very limited.

Many scientists think that all of the planet’s continental crust was generated during this time in Earth’s history, and the material continually recycles through collisions of tectonic plates on the outer-most shell of the planet.

But the new research shows “juvenile” continental crust has been produced throughout Earth’s history.

The researchers used geochemical and geophysical data to reconstruct the evolution what is now Costa Rica and Panama, which was generated when two oceanic plates collided and melted iron- and magnesium-rich oceanic crust over the past 70 million years, Gazel said.

Melting of the oceanic crust originally produced what today are the Galapagos islands, reproducing Achaean-like conditions to provide the “missing ingredient” in the generation of continental crust.

The researchers discovered the geochemical signature of erupted lavas reached continental crust-like composition about 10 million years ago.

They tested the material and observed seismic waves travelling through the crust at velocities closer to the ones observed in continental crust worldwide.

Shashi Kapoor
He has been honoured with the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke award for 2014. He is the 46th winner and the third in his family to receive the India’s highest honour of Indian cinema.

His extensive filmography contains blockbusters like “Deewar” and “Namak Halaal”, acclaimed performances in “Junoon” and “New Delhi Times”, and Merchant Ivory productions like “Heat and Dust” and “The Householder”. He also turned director with 1991 film “Ajooba” and produced films such as “36 Chowringhee Lane” and “Utsav”.

Shashi Kapoor, son of actor Prithviraj Kapoor, was instrumental in reviving the Prithvi theatre group started by his father. He is the younger brother of actors Raj and Shammi Kapoor. He was married to actress Jennifer Kendal, with who he co-starred in films like Bombay Talkies and Junoon, until her death in 1984.

Shashi Kapoor won the National Award thrice and received the Padma Bhushan in 2011.

SpaceX blasts world’s first all-electrical satellites
Space Exploration Technologies rocket blasted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on 1 March 2015, to put the world’s first all-electric communications satellites into orbit.

Perched on top of the rocket were a pair of satellites built by Boeing and owned by Paris-based Eutelsat Communications and Bermuda-based ABS, whose majority owner is the European private equity firm Permira.

The satellites are outfitted with lightweight, all-electric engines, rather than conventional chemical propulsion systems, to reach and maintain orbit. That enabled two spacecraft to be launched aboard one medium-sized Falcon 9 rocket.

The value of electrical propulsion is that it allows the satellite operator to need much less fuel than when the satellite has chemical propulsion.

The disadvantage of electric propulsion is that it will take the satellites months, rather than weeks, to reach their operational orbits about 35,800km above Earth, high enough to appear virtually parked over a particular part of the globe.

Eutelsat’s spacecraft will become part of a 35-member network providing a range of mobile, internet, video and other communications services.

NASA launches four spacecraft to solve magnetic mystery
On 13 March 2015, NASA launched four identical spacecraft on a billion-dollar mission to study the explosive give-and-take of the Earth and sun’s magnetic fields.

The Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft have been placed into an oblong orbit stretching tens of thousands of kilometers into the magnetosphere, nearly halfway to the moon at one point. They will fly in pyramid formation, between 10 km and 402 km apart, to provide 3-D views of magnetic reconnection on the smallest of scales.

Magnetic reconnection is what happens when magnetic fields like those around Earth and the sun come together, break apart, then come together again, releasing vast energy. This repeated process drives the aurora, as well as solar storms that can disrupt communications and power on Earth.

Data from this two-year mission should help scientists better understand so-called space weather. The findings will also be useful in understanding magnetic reconnection throughout the universe.

ISRO launches navigation satellite IRNSS-1D
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched India’s fourth navigation satellite, IRNSS-1D, on 28 March 2015, using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), in its twenty-ninth flight (PSLV-C27).

So far, three regional navigational satellites had been placed in orbit as part of a constellation of seven satellites to provide accurate position information service to users across the country and the region, extending up to an area of 1,500 km. The entire constellation is planned to be completed by early 2016. The first satellite IRNSS-1A was launched in July 2013, the second IRNSS-1B in April 2014 and the third on 16 October 2014.

Once all the seven become operational, India can replace the US GPS with Indian system and will not need to depend on other platforms.


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