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Saturday, 22 February 2014

Kolkata ranked top in public transport among Indian cities

Kolkata was ranked top in public transport among Indian cities, according to a study of the International Association of Public Transport (UTIP) released on 16th December. Kolkata was ranked 31st which was the highest among the six cities studied in India. The study was made by the IAPT in association with Arthur D Little, a management consultant based in Boston, for 84 cities across the world. The study was titled Future of Urban Mobility 2.0. According to the study, although Kolkata had the slowest mode of commuting but in public transport it was regarded as the most progressive city in the country. The other cities studied by the IAPT are Mumbai (41), Chennai (54), Hyderabad (55), Bangalore (65) and Delhi (79).

Moreover, Kolkata fared better than several cities in developed countries including New York (35), Toronto (38) and Melbourne. The Study has placed Hong Kong as the best city in public transport followed by Stockholm and Amsterdam. The cities with the worst mode of public transport were Baghdad, Hanoi and Atlanta. The parameters that were taken into account included share of trips made in public transport, smart card penetration, road density, frequency of public transport and initiatives taken in the public sector

Sahitya Akademi Award for Katyayani Vidmahe

Noted literary critic and activist Katyayani Vidmahe won the prestigious Sahitya Akademi award for 2013 in Telugu category. She won the award for her book ‘Sahityaakashamlo Sagam.’ The Sahitya Akademi announced the awards in Delhi on 18th December.

Katyayani Vidmahe hails from Warangal and she is currently working as Telugu professor in Kakatiya University. She was the eldest daughter of well known critic late Ketavarapu Ramakoti Sastry. Sastry worked as a professor at Osmania and Kakatiya universities. 

Amitabh Bachchan named Star of the Millennium

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan was honoured with the Star of the Millennium award at the Big Star Entertainment Awards 2013 here. He says he was "embarrassed" when the audience stood for him as he received the award.
The 71-year-old received the award for his movie `Satyagraha` at the event held at the Andheri Sports Complex here on 18th December. The gala also saw some sizzling performances by actors Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sunny Leone, Elli Aavram, Nakuul Mehta and Mukti Mohan.
The fourth edition of Big Star Entertainment Awards was co-hosted by funnyman Sunil Grover and actor Shreyas Talpade. The duo had the audience in splits with their entertaining on-stage camaraderie. 

Taishan, fourth research station of China, opened in Antarctica

China built a new research station in Antarctica called Taishan. It was China’s fourth research station in the southern pole. The aim of the research station would be to provide a base for research on bio-ecology and remote satellite sensing.

The Taishan camp will be used from December to March every year and is located near the United States' McMurdo Station, Italy's Zucchelli Station and a recently built South Korean station. The other three research stations of China in Antarctica are Great Wall, Zhongshan and Kunlun. China’s first research station, Great Wall Station was opened in 1985.

First Ministerial Level Talk held for BCIM Trade Corridor

India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar in the third week of December 2013 held the first ever official-level discussions on the ambitious corridor to link India and China with Bangladesh and Myanmar.

The BCIM corridor faced a rapid boost for the first time after it was discussed with ministerial level talk. The four member countries namely, Bangladesh, India, China, and Myanmar proposed the establishment of the BCIM Forum for regional cooperation. 

Over the next six months, each country will come up with a joint study report proposing concrete projects and financing modalities, before the next meeting of the four nations in June 2014. 

The next meeting would be hosted by Bangladesh.

Presently, the four countries come up with an ambitious proposal that included developing multi-modal transport, such as road, rail, waterways and airways, joint power projects and telecommunication networks.

As a first step, the four countries will identify realistic and achievable infrastructure projects to boost physical connectivity.

The  linking of all four countries by road has further strengthen the notion that this corridor would subsequently open up the whole of the northeastern region of India to Southeast Asia and China and turn it into a significant channel of trade.

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport of Hyderabad received Sword of Honour award

Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA),Hyderabad awarded the Sword of Honour for safety management in London in the second week of December 2013. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Ltd is operated by GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd (GHIAL) and it is first airport in India to receive this award.

The airport received award in recognition of its effective implementation of occupational health and safety management systems from the British Safety Council for health and safety works at the airport.The Sword of Honour is considered to be Oscar of the Safety World. The Organization has achieved 5-star certification in the British Safety Council’s audit Programme.

First human artificial heart implanted in France

The first human artificial heart implantation performed in Georges Pompidou Hospital, Paris on 18 December 2013 was successful.

The artificial heart designed by the French biomedical firm Carmat and developed by the Dutch based European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS).

The artificial heart can give patients up to five years of extra life, which replaces the real heart. The previous heart assistance devices are created mainly for temporary use.

The artificial heart uses biomaterials including bovine tissue and an array of sensors to mimic the contractions of the heart. The patient has to wear a belt of lithium batteries to power the heart.

Inside the heart, surfaces that come into contact with human blood are made partly from bovine tissue instead of synthetic materials which can cause blood clots.

The artificial heart weighs as little as less than a kilogram (900grams), almost three times heavier than an average healthy human heart.

Manmohan Singh launched total E-literacy project in Kerala

Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh on 4 January 2014 launched the total E-literacy project implemented by PN Panicker Vigyan Vikas Kendra in Thiruvanathpuram. This would act as the corner-stone of the Kerala model of development.

The Prime Minister after launching the project said that the total E-literacy will reduce the digital divide and improve the living standards of the unprivileged population of Kerala. As per him, the E-governance would help the country in better delivery of services mainly education in financial inclusion and in e-commerce. It will also help the youths to generate productive employment opportunities. 

The IT companies have been asked by the Prime Minister to utilize the youth potential of Kerala, which is of highest standard. 

He said that the Granthasala Sanghom (library movement), which began by Panicker with 47 libraries in 1945 has grown into a network of more than 6000 libraries in due course was the corner stone of the Kerala model of development. Panicker also worked to foster social amity and harmony by devoting to Friendship Village Movement. 

Oommen Chandy, the Chief Minister of Kerala said that within three years the state will become totally E-literate state. If this is achieved, Kerala will become the first state of India to achieve the goal of making people E-literacy. Kerala has also implemented the Right to Electronic delivery of services.

PARAM Supercomputer Among the Most Power Efficient Systems of the World

The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) has achieved a significant milestone with PARAM Yuva II supercomputer being ranked 1st in India, 9th in the Asia Pacific Region and 44th in the world among the most power efficient computer systems as per the Green500 List announced at the Supercomputing Conference (SC`2013) in Denver, Colorado, USA. 

Supercomputers, in general, consume a lot of electrical power and produce much heat that necessitates elaborate cooling facilities to ensure proper operation. This adds to increase in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a supercomputer. To draw focus towards development of energy efficient supercomputers, Green500 ranks computer systems in the world according to compute performance per watt, thus providing a world ranking based on energy efficiency. 

Energy consumed by supercomputers is measured at various Levels – L1, L2, L3 - for purpose of reporting. As the level increases, accuracy and rigor of measurement exercise also increases. It is also a measure of our capability and noteworthy that C-DAC is the second organization worldwide to have carried out the Level 3 measurement of Power versus Performance for the Green500 List. 

Shri Kapil Sibal, Minister for Communications & Information Technology, has congratulated C-DAC for this significant achievement. He said that supercomputing is very important for the all round advancements in the country, and the Government is planning a big impetus for capacity building and advanced R&D in this area. He would expect many more contributions from C-DAC, as a key player, in this endeavour. 

PARAM Yuva – II uses hybrid technology – processor, co-processor and hardware accelerators - to provide the peak compute power of 520.4 Teraflop/s using 210 kiloWatt power. The interconnect network comprises of homegrown PARAMNet-III and Infiniband FDR System Area Network. This system is designed to solve large and complex computational problems. The system has 200 Terabytes of high performance storage, and requisite system software and utilities for parallel applications development. 

Gorakhpur railway station entered Limca Book of Records as world’s longest platform

Gorakhpur railway station’s platform number one of Uttar Pradesh has entered into the Limca Book of Records as longest rail platform in the world. The certificate given by the Limca Book of Records was unveiled on 10th January 2014 by KK Atal, the General Manager North Eastern Railways (NER). The platform’s length is 1355.40 meters and was inaugurated in 6 October 2013. Before the platform number one of Gorakhpur, the platform of Kharagpur railway station of West Bengal had the distinction of being world’s largest platform with length of 1072.5 meters.