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Kerala to host SAG
The Indian Olympic Association has allotted the 12th South Asian Games to Kerala to be held in November-December this year. The proposed budget for the conduct of the Games will be approximately Rs. 70 crore and the Games programme will cover 22 disciplines.
Harvard names two Indians for prestigious Radcliffe fellows
Two Indians from Indian Institute of Science and University of Delhi have been named for the prestigious Radcliffe fellowship of Harvard University. Shivani Agarwal from Indian Institute of Science and Maharaja Pandit from University of Delhi are among 50 scholars, scientists and artists who will begin their one-year fellowships along with 48 at the Radcliffe Institute in September 2015.
Considered as one of the most prestigious honors for faculty, only three per cent of applicants were accepted this year. Shivani, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Fellow have been selected for learning to make choices in the era of big data. Pandit, the Hardy Fellow, has been selected for his project life in Himalaya.
Hungarian Laszlo Krasznahorkai wins Man Booker International Prize
“Visionary” Hungarian writer Laszlo Krasznahorkai has been announced as the winner of the sixth Man Booker International Prize. Krasznahorkai has chosen to split the separate £15,000 translator’s prize between two translators of his work, the Hungarian-born poet George Szirtes and literary critic Ottilie Mulzet.
Science and Technology
India’s dedicated astronomy satellite ASTROSAT fully assembled
A fully assembled Astrosat, India’s first space observatory is ready for intensive tests before its launch around October. It is significant to note that ASTROSAT is the first mission to be operated as a space observatory by ISRO. The Indian Space Research Organisation said that the 1,650-kg spacecraft would orbit Earth equatorially at 650 km and study distant stars, galaxies, black holes and other cosmic objects. It will put India in an elite orbit with the U.S., Europe, Russia and Japan. Astrosat would be the first such satellite to scan simultaneously the sky in most of the frequency spectra from ultraviolet to optical and low- and high-energy X-ray bands. It should be of immense benefit to scientists, who have depended on inputs from other agencies and sources like the Hubble [US-European space telescope].
The space research organisation said ASTROSAT carries four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor. Apart from ISRO, four other Indian institutions — Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute– are involved in payload development. The satellite will be launched from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
‘Kavaratti’ – Fourth Ship of Project – 28 (Anti Submarine Warfare Corvette) Launched at GRSE, Kolkata
The fourth and last anti-submarine warfare ship being made for the Indian Navy was launched, adding a feather to the cap of domestic manufacturing for naval forces. Kavaratti, the corvette which is 90 per cent indigenous, was launched at a glittering ceremony. Kavaratti is the last of four ASW class stealth corvettes being built for the Indian Navy under Project 28. The other three ships of the same class are INS Kamrota, Kadmatt and Kiltan. Of the three, Kamrota was delivered to the navy in 2014, and has been commissioned. Kadmatt and Kitan are expected to be delivered between 2015 and 2017.
The 3,300-tonne Kavaratti can reach a speed of over 25 knots. An X-shaped hull, full beam superstructure, inclined ship sides and an Infra Red Signature Suppression (IRSS) system increase the stealth feature of the ship. The Project-28 ships also have Total Atmospheric Control System (TACS), capable of fighting in nuclear, biological and chemical warfare conditions.
Environment and Ecology
Driest place on earth found in Atacama Desert, Chile
Researchers have discovered the driest location on Earth in the Atacama Desert in Chile – and they were surprised to find some bacteria living there, according to NASA’s Astrobiology magazine. The site is reported to be as dry as Mars. The site is called Maria Elena South (MES). This discovery has toppled the Yungay region as the driest area of the hyper-arid Atacama Desert, with conditions close to the so-called “dry limit” for life on Earth. Remarkably, scientist have found a number of viable bacterial species in the soil profile at MES using a combination of molecular dependent and independent methods, unveiling the presence of life in the driest place on the Atacama Desert reported to date.
Yuki Bhambri, No. 1 among Indian men
Yuki Bhambri has a lot to celebrate. For the first time ever, the 22-year-old Delhi lad played the final of a clay court Challenger. The effort helped him reach 158 in the latest world rankings, the best for an Indian at the moment, ahead of Somdev Devvarman (172) and Saketh Myneni (196). Also, Yuki is inching closer to his career-best rank of 143 that he had reached in February last year. This is a rare occasion that three players figure in the top-200 of world rankings. This project a healthy image of Indian tennis, especially in the light of the Davis Cup tie scheduled against New Zealand in Christchurch in July.