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India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO)

After denying permission to the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to locate the
India-based Neutrino Observatory
(INO) at Singara in Nilgiris district in Tamil Nadu , the Union Ministry of Envi
ronment and Forests (MoEF) accorded
both environmental and forest clearance for locating the project in the Bodi Wes
t Hills (BWH) in Theni district, also
in Tamil Nadu.
*?The INO will be a major underground experimental facility to study the elusive
and nearly mass-less fundamental
particles of nature called neutrinos.
*?The proposed massive neutrino detector will be built in a cavern set in massiv
e charnockite rock (group of
igneous rocks found in South India with those in Tamil Nadu known to be the hard
est). The cavern will be
excavated by drilling a tunnel of 1.9-2 km in length under the peak designated a
s 1589 so that there is vertical
overburden of about 1,300 m. For a good neutrino detection facility, a vertical
cover of at least 1,000 m is
required so that the observed neutrino events are not contaminated by unwanted p
articles that will be absorbed
by the overburden.
*?The INO includes nearly 90 scientists from 25 institutions, with the TIFR as t
he nodal institution.
A neutrino is an elementary particle, that usually travels close to the speed of
light, is electrically neutral, and is able to
pass through ordinary matter almost undisturbed. This makes neutrinos extremely
difficult to detect. Neutrinos have a
very small, but nonzero rest mass.
Neutrinos are similar to the more familiar electron, with one crucial difference
: neutrinos do not carry electric charge.
Because neutrinos are electrically neutral, they are not affected by the electro
magnetic forces which act on electrons.
Neutrinos are affected only by a "weak" sub-atomic force of much shorter range t
han electromagnetism, and are
therefore able to pass through great distances in matter without being affected
by it. As neutrinos have mass, they also
interact gravitationally with other massive particles. Gravity, however, is by f
ar the weakest of the four known forces.
On December 18, the scientists and engineers in the Department of Atomic Energy
(DAE) celebrated the Golden
Jubilee of research reactor CIRUS and the Silver jubilee of DHRUVA.
Research Reactors
*?The research reactor programme of DAE provided research and development support
to the nuclear power
programme, produces radioisotopes for use in health care,agriculture, industry a
nd research, and provides
manpower training.
*?The research reactors set up by DAE so far, have been Apsara (1mW, Fuel:Enrich
ed Uranium-Aluminium alloy),
CIRUS (40MW, Fuel: Natural uranium), Zerlina(zero energy, Natural Uranium), Purn
ima I-III (Fuel:
Plutonium/Uranium-233),Dhruva (100 MW, Fuel: Natural Uranium) at Trombay (Mahara
shtra), and Kamini(30kW,
Fuel : Uranium-233-A1 alloy) and Fast Breeder Test Reactor (40MW, Fuel :Uranium-
Plutonium carbide) at
Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu). Of the research reactors,Zerlina was decommissioned in 1
984, and Purnima series made
way for Kamini.
The light water reactor or LWR is a type of thermal reactor that uses normal wat
er as its coolant and neutron
Fuel cell
A fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an elect
ric current. It generates electricity inside a cell
through reactions between a fuel and an oxidant, triggered in the presence of an
electrolyte. The reactants flow into the
cell, and the reaction products flow out of it, while the electrolyte remains wi
thin it. Fuel cells can operate continuously as
long as the necessary reactant and oxidant flows are maintained.
Fuel cells are different from conventional electrochemical cell batteries in tha
t they consume reactant from an external
source, which must be replenished a thermodynamically open system.
BHEL developed a 3 kW (3 x 1 kW) automated Proton Exchange Membrane fuel Cell Po
wer Pack and demonstrated the
same for the Stationary Applications.
The Bloom Energy Server (commonly referred to as the Bloom Box) is a solid oxide
fuel cell (SOFC) made by Bloom Energy,
of Sunnyvale, California
*?Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals
*?Asbestos became increasingly popular among manufacturers and builders in the l
ate 19th century because of its
sound absorption, average tensile strength, and its resistance to heat, electric
al and chemical damage.
*?Due to carcinogenic effects it is banned in many countries including the UK, U
S and Australia.
*?Monikers: Killer Dust/ the silent time-bomb
*?Chrysolite: chemical name of while asbestos.
*?Top Producers
*?Russia (40.2%), China (19.9%), Kazakhstan (13.0%), Canada (10.3%), and Brazil
*?Top exporters
*?Top Consumers
*?In news: Kolkata-headquartered Balmukund Cement & Roofing Ltd. (BCRL) proposed
to set up an asbestos
cement roofing sheet factory in the Bishnupur-Chainpur, Marwan block in Bihar. E
IA report has
calcium carbide (CaC2)
*?A deadly chemical, calcium carbide, is used widely across the country to artif
icially ripen fruit, risking the
health of consumers.
*?Although banned, the chemical, known commonly as masala, is used freely in the
*?The Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954, and the Prevention of Foo
d Adulteration Rules, 1955,
both ban artificial ripening, including the use of CaC2.
GM mosquitoes
Malaysia's Health Minister said the country would carry out a landmark field tri
al by releasing genetically modified
mosquitoes designed to combat dengue fever by the end of the year.
When a female Anopheles mosquito is laying eggs, she needs extra protein, which
she gets by sucking blood from
vertebrate animals like birds, reptiles or mammals. If the animal she feeds on i
s carrying a malaria parasite, the
mosquito picks it up. The next time she feeds on an animal, she transfers the pa
rasite to that animal's blood stream.
The idea of using genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to help wipe out malaria
has been around for a while.
Theoretically, if you could create a "better," stronger mosquito that happens to
be unable to spread malaria
parasites, and you were to release tens of thousands of those better mosquitoes
into the wild, they would
eventually win the survival game and replace the mosquitoes that are able to spr
ead malaria. In this theoretical
solution, once malaria were eradicated from a particular area, it wouldn't come
back because the mosquitoes
couldn't carry it back. But there has always been a glitch.
scientists turned on a gene in the mosquito's gut that controls SM1 peptide. SM1
peptide, a type of protein, appears
to stop the development of the malaria parasite while it's living in the mosquit
o, rendering it harmless
a human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based therapy by Geron corp. to treat spinal
cord injury. First trial with human
embryonic stem cells began in USA recently as the Obama administration has lifte
d the ban on embryonic stem cell research.
17th independent zonal railway
*?Kolkata Metro given Zone Status
*?The Kolkata Metro or Calcutta Metro is the Underground Mass Rapid Transit Urba
n Railway network in Kolkata
*?It was the first underground railway to be built in India, with the first oper
ations commencing in October, 1984
(foundation stone-29 Dec 1972)
Skybus Metro
*?is a rapid transit system indigenously developed by the Konkan Railway in Indi
*?Cheaper than normal metro.
*?Konkan Railway trying to find partners.
India to get world's first AC double-decker train
The world's first air-conditioned double-decker train was launched on the Howrah
-Dhanbad sector.
World's longest Railway tunnel
The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT),due to open in late 2017, is a railway tunnel ben
eath the Alps in Switzerland. With a
route length of 57 km (35.4 mi) and a total of 151.84 km (94.3 mi) of tunnels, s
hafts and passages, it is the world's longest
rail tunnel, surpassing the undersea Seikan Tunnel in Japan.
CRH380/world's fastest train
China's home-built CRH380 bullet train has been recorded travelling at 420 km pe
r hour, a world record. It will, however,
travel between the two cities at less than full tilt, at an average speed of 350
km per hour.
*?India has the world's fourth largest railway network after that of the United
States, Russia and China.?
*?China has world's largest high-speed rail network and overall third. ?
*?World's only commercial Maglev Line in Shanghai reaches speeds of 431 km/h.?
*?The world record for conventional high-speed rail is held by the V150, a speci
ally configured version of Alstom's
TGV which clocked 574.8 km/h on a test run. The world speed record for Maglev is
held by the Japanese
experimental MLX01: 581 km/h (361 mph).
Delhi Integrated Multi Modal Transit System Ltd. (DIMTS) is a Joint Venture Comp
any set up with equal equity of the
Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) and Infrastructure Dev
elopment Finance Company (IDFC). It is
aiming to develop and deliver world class urban infrastructure to the citizens o
f Delhi, primarily in the area of urban
India s largest private port
Mundra Port and SEZ owned by Adani Group
The U.S. army is deploying a new rifle in Afghanistan. The XM-25, described as a
game changer , uses a laser guidance
system and specially developed microchipped ammunition which can be programmed t
o detonate over a target, even
when the target is hidden behind walls or in ditches.
Phoenix capsule
Named after the mythic bird that rose from its ashes, a custom-built rescue caps
ule, designed through a joint
collaboration by NASA engineers and the Chilean navy to ferry 33 miners to the s
urface -- 69 days after the men were
trapped in a dark, humid, copper-gold mine in Chile's northern Atacama Desert.
World's first methanol factory using carbon dioxide
The world's first methanol factory using carbon dioxide extracted from steam is
expected to be completed next March in
Iceland, according to a report from Stockholm on December 8.
K.G. Kannabiran, senior advocate and noted civil liberties lawyer activist has p
assed away on 30th December 2010. Kannabiran has been known for his concern towa
rds poor and down trodden sections of the society. He is an activist lawyer and
has been associated with civil liberties institutions for more than three decade
s. He married to Vasanth Kannabiran, who is a women activist and founder of Decc
an Development Society. K.G. Kannabiran s popular book is The wages of impunity: po
wer, justice, and human rights .
KG Kannabiran born in 1929 in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. He obtained his Masters Degre
e in Economics and later Degree in Law from Madras University. He started his pr
actice in Hyderabad in 1961. He is also President of People s Union for Civil Libe
rties, New Delhi. Recently, a Bangalore based documentary maker, Deepa Dhanraj h
as directed a 130 minute film The Advocate on Kannabiran s contribution in various w
alks of life. His daughter Kalpana Kannabiran is also a famous womens activist a
nd academician. Kalpana is a founder member of Asmita Resource Center for Women,
Hyderabad, which is involved in research on women s issues.
Address: K G Kannabiran, National President, PUCL, Plot 300, Street 6, East Marr
edpalli, Secunderabad- 500026, Andhra Pradesh, India. Phone: 040-27730632.
In Kannabiran s death the civil liberties movement in the country has suffered an i
rreparable loss. This loss is particularly shocking as it has come within a fort
night of the passing away of Surendra Mohan, another stalwart in the field, reads
a PUCL press statement signed by its national secretaries Mahipal Sigh and Kavi
ta Srivastva.
Renowned social activist, Shabnam Hashmi said, In his death India lost one of the
stalwarts of the human rights movement and it has created a huge void . Human Righ
ts activists of our generation always drew strength from him, she added while sal
uting his spirit, his memory, his dedication, his determination and fearlessness
K.G. Kannabiran, was instrumental in mediating between the Naxalites and the Sta
te in Andhra Pradesh along with K. Balagopal who also passed away last year. He
was also the President of (APCLC). He had filed more than 400 public interest li
tigation (PIL) cases single-handedly. He was also one of the jury members of Ind
ependent Peoples Tribunal on the Atrocities Committed against Minorities in the N
ame Of Fighting Terrorism ,(Hyderabad, 22-24 August 2008).
Kannabiran was prominent for his most scholarly write-ups on civil liberties and
human rights. He regularly wrote articles for various magazines and daily newsp
apers apart from PUCL Bulletin. He was author of many books. THE WAGES OF IMPUNI
TY: Power, Justice and Human Rights published by Orient Longman in 2004, is know
n to be his best and most read book

Pandit€Bhimsen Gururaj Joshi€(Kannada:€?????? ?????? ??????? ????,€Marathi:€????? ?????? ?

?????? ????), (February 4, 1922 - January 24, 2011) was an€Indianvocalist in the€Hin
dustani classical€tradition. A member of the€Kirana Gharana€(school), he is renowned f
or the€khayal€form of singing, as well as for his popular renditions of devotional m
usic (bhajans€and€abhangs). He was the most recent recipient of the€Bharat Ratna,€India'
s€highest civilian honour, awarded in 2008.[1]
Joshi was admitted to Sahyadri Super Speciality Hospital on December 31, 2010 wi
th€gastrointestinal bleeding€and€bilateral pneumonia. Due to difficulty in breathing,
he was put on ventilator support. He suffered convulsions and was put on dialysi
s too during his stay in hospital. Though he recovered briefly for three days wh
en he was taken off the ventilator, his condition deteriorated thereafter. He pa
ssed away on 24 January 2011 at 08:00 am (IST), 11 days before his 89th birthday
.[10]€He was cremated at Vaikunth Crematorium in Pune with full state honors.[11]
Lakshmi Chand Jain€(1925 2010) was a€Gandhian€activist[1]€and writer. In his youth, he par
ticipated briefly in the€Indian freedom movement. Later, he served at various time
s as a member of the€Planning Commission, as Indian€High commissioner€to€South Africa, a
s a member of the€World Commission on Dams€(WCD) and as secretary of the Indian Coop
erative Union and the All-India Handicrafts Board. He was awarded the 1989€Ramon M
agsaysay Award€for Public Service.
In 2011, he was chosen posthumously for the second highest civilian award€Padma Vi
bhushan€by€Government of India, but the family declined to accept the award since he
had been against the concept of state honours[
While yet in his youth, Jain took part in the Quit India movement (1942). During
the€partition of India€(1947), he was put in charge of the refugee camp at€Kingsway C
ampin€North Delhi. He helped introduce cooperative societies for farming and cotta
ge industries into rehabilitation camps. As a volunteer organiser with the India
n Cooperative Union (ICU), he joined the rehabilitation project for refugees fro
m Pakistan located in Faridabad, 20€km from Delhi.
Jain later helped€Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay€organize the Indian Cooperative Union and
applied its principles to the handicrafts industry. As secretary of the All-Ind
ia Handicrafts Board, he fostered decentralized production and directed training
, technical services, and loans to India's struggling self-employed spinners, we
avers, carpenters, and metalsmiths. He applied modern marketing techniques to pr
omote handicrafts sales abroad and organized the Central Cottage Industries Empo
rium to expand the market at home. He championed artisans against mechanization
and mass production, helping millions of independent craftsmen carry on traditio
nal livelihoods in security and pride and assured the survival of precious arts
and skills.
Jain became an expert on development, applying unique organizational skills to w
ed theory to practice. In 1966 he led the establishment of a chain of consumer c
ooperative stores where those living in cities could buy food, clothing, and too
ls at a fair price. In 1968 he co-founded a service-oriented consulting firm. By
seeking the advice of farmers and workers, Jain and his like-minded colleagues
helped government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) design mod
ernization projects that were relevant and effective.
Jain worked with and on a number of development agencies as well as government c
ommittees and boards, such as the United Nations' World Dam Commission€[3]€As part o
f the ICU, he helped set up the Central Cottage Industries Emporium and Super Ba
zaar cooperative stores.[4][5]
Jain's wife is the economist€Devaki Jain; the couple have two sons and now settled
in Bangalore. In 1989, Jain received the€Ramon Magsaysay Award€for Public Service,
for "his informed and selfless commitment to attack India's poverty at the grass
-roots level".[6]
Bindinganavale Srinivas Iyengar Ranga€(11th November 1917 - 12th December 2010€[1])
was born in€Magadi Village€(near€Bangalore,€India) in the erstwhile princely state of€Myso
re€(now part of€Karnataka State). After an art-enriched childhood wherein he interac
ted with many stage personalities, B.S.Ranga entered the field ofphotography. At
the age of 17, the self-trained Ranga sent some of his work to be exhibited at
the€Royal Salon€in€London, and was elected an Honorary Fellow of theRoyal Photographic
Subsequently, he moved to€Bombay€(now€Mumbai) and apprenticed himself to the famous ca
meraman / laboratory technician, [[Krishna Gopal. B.S.Ranga then embarked on a f
ilm career lasting more than five decades, during which he played the roles of c
inematographer, director, producer, laboratory owner, studio owner, exhibitor an
d script-writer, sometimes all at once for one of his productions. His productio
n company, Vikram Productions, gained fame and fortune throughout the 60's and 7
0's, and won B.S.Ranga many awards, including two President's Awards. The first
was for "Tenali Ramakrishna" in€Telugu€(starring€N.T. Rama Rao€and€Akkineni Nageswara Rao)
, and the second was for "Amarshilpi Jakkanna", the first colour movie produced
in Kannada.

Pandit Puttaraja Kavi Gavai

*?Padma awardee Pandit Puttaraja Kavi Gavai of the Gwalior Gharana, musician and
reformer who
successfully used the power of Hindustani classical music to bring about economi
c empowerment and
social transformation, especially among the visually impaired and the destitute,
is no more.
Homi Nusserwanji Sethna
*?He was a nuclear scientist and a chemical engineer, who remained the head of A
tomic Energy Commission
of India during India's first nuclear test in Pokhran in 1974(Smiling Buddha).
*?He was the primary and central figure in India's civilian nuclear program as w
ell as the construction of
nuclear power plants.
*?all three padma awardees
Priti Kumari
*?Become the first woman to drive a train for Western Railway in its 143 years h
Mitali Madhumita
*?first woman officer to be awarded the Sena medal(gallantry) for her brave acti
on overseas.
*?From Army Education Corp (AEC)
*?Major Madhumita's job was to teach at facilities in Kabul, but she rushed to t
he spot and saved the lives of those
buried under the debris.
Fateh Singh Rathore( Tiger Man')
*?Fateh Singh Rathore, one of the last of the mighty men who fought all odds to
protect the tiger, was conferred a
Lifetime Achievement Award by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Preeta D. Bansal
*?Obama administration has appointed Preeta D. Bansal to serve as the Vice Chair
(Government Official) of
the Council of the Administrative Conference of the U.S. (ACUS).
Indian-American Obama appointees
1. Rajiv Shah, Administrator, USAID,
2. Vivek Kundra, Federal Chief Information Officer,
3. Aneesh Chopra, First Chief Technology Officer,
4. Farah Pandith, Special Representative to Muslim communities,
5. Richard Verma, Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs at the State Depar
6. Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of New York,
7. actor Kal Penn (Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Engage
ment, later Resigned),

Paul Kagame
*?Sworn in as president of Rwanda for a second term.
*?He rose to prominence as the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), whos
e victory over the incumbent
government in July 1994 effectively ended the Rwandan genocide.
*?Under his leadership, Rwanda has been called Africa s biggest success story and Ka
game has become a
public advocate of new models for foreign aid designed to help recipients become
*?However involvement in the Congo Civil War has seen doubts raised over his Gov
ernment's policies