Current Affairs, News & Facts of 08 Feb 2016

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  • Edgar Mitchell, sixth man on the Moon, passes away

     

    Edgar Mitchell, sixth man on the Moon, passes away

    US astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who was the sixth man to walk on the Moon, passed away at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, one day before the 45th anniversary of his Moon landing, He was 85. He was the part of  Apollo 14 mission in 1971 and had spent more than nine hours on the Moon conducting experiments.

    About Edgar Mitchell 

    Mitchell was born on September 17, 1930, in Hereford, Texas, was an American naval officer and aviator, test pilot, aeronautical engineer and NASA astronaut. He joined NASA as an astronaut in 1966. 

    Mitchell was designated as backup Lunar Module Pilot for Apollo 10 and had served as Lunar Module Pilot on Apollo 14. Mitchell's mission to the Moon was the fourth in the US Apollo series, and first after the ill-fated Apollo 13 which aborted its attempt to land after an oxygen tank explosion.

    Mitchell and his crewmate, landed safely to the lunar surface on Fra Mauro Highlands, which  was the target of the failed Apollo 13 mission. He stayed on the surface of moon  33 hours and  collected 45kg (94lb) of Moonrock for examination back on earth and completed the longest moonwalk in history.

    Mitchell left Nasa in 1972 and set up the Institute of Noetic Sciences, which aimed to support "individual and collective transformation through consciousness research".

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  • The border troops of India and China hold first joint tactical drill on border

     

    The border troops of India and China hold first joint tactical drill on border

    The border troops of India and China have held their first joint tactical exercise named “Sino-India Cooperation 2016”, in the Chushul-Moldo area along the northern border of Jammu and Kashmir.

    This exercise is complementary to the Hand-in-Hand series of India-China Joint Exercises and the recently conducted joint exercise in Sikkim.

    During the exercise the 30-member Indian Army team was led by Colonel Ritesh Chandra Singh, while the Chinese delegation with an equal strength was led by Colonel Qu Yi.

    The exercise is part of the ongoing initiatives taken by India and China to ensure greater interaction between troops stationed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and thereby ensure peace and tranquillity along the border.

    The regular bilateral interaction between Indian and Chinese border troops reflects positive relationship which is crucial for enhancing confidence and building relation between the armies of the two countries.

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  • For the first time paper waste turned into green aerogel

     

    For the first time paper waste turned into green aerogel

    For the first time in history of science and technology the scientists from National University of Singapore (NUS) have successfully converted paper waste into green cellulose aerogels that are non-toxic, ultra-light, flexible, extremely strong and water repellent. 

    Aerogels, are among the lightest solid materials known to man and are one of the finest insulation materials available. Traditional aerogels are mainly made of silica, which is not environment-friendly but the aerogels obtained by this method are biodegradable, simple, and cost-effective.

    Features and applications :

    These novel aerogels have low thermal conductivity and super high oil absorption capacity i.e. 4 times higher than commercial sorbents available in the market. Oil spills are serious disasters that threaten marine ecosystems. Sorption has been considered one of the most effective ways to clean oil spills.

    Polypropylene (PP)-based absorbents are widely used for oil absorption but they are non-biodegradable and  their absorption capabilities are both low and slow but novel cellulose aerogels are biodegradable and very effective so it will be attractive alternative to current methods of oil spill cleaning.

    Its fabrication process uses 70 per cent less energy and produces fewer polluting emissions into the air and water as well as uses less dioxins in the chlorine bleaching process.

    Applications :

    The novel aerogels can be used for oil spill cleaning as it has four times higher absorbing capacity than commercial sorbents available in the market. It can also serve as heat insulation materials for buildings as it is one of the finest insulating material available.

    It can be also used in packaging industry and  plastic-based packing materials such as the bubble wrap could be replaced with biodegradable aerogel-based foam or advanced cellulose aerogel nanosheets, which are environmentally-friendly. With high surface area and high porosity, the biodegradable aerogels could also be used as coating materials in drug delivery or as smart materials.

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  • AIDS prevention: Centre launches 'Project Sunrise' in Imphal

     

    AIDS prevention: Centre launches 'Project Sunrise' in Imphal

    Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  J.P. Nadda had launched Project Sunrise for prevention of AIDS in the eight North-Eastern states. The Project will be implemented in the North East, in addition to the existing projects of the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO). The project aims at bringing the people living with HIV/AIDS into the national mainstream and creating awareness about the disease in these N-E states.

    Project Sunrise sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control will be implemented in 20 districts of the eight states including four districts of Manipur- Imphal East, Bishnupur, Ukhrul and Churachandpur.  It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost. 

    The project has been sponsored by US based Centre for Disease Control and would be implemented by Family Health International 360. It will cover one lakh people living with HIV/AIDS by giving them treatment and care facilities free of cost. The project will include enhancing capacity of state-level institutions, community mobilization, and making people aware about the disease.

    HIV/AIDS Situation in North-East India

    In India the highest HIV prevalence rates are found in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in the south; and Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland in the north-east.North Eastern States like Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram account for highest adult (15-49 years) HIV prevalence in the country. 

    In comparison to other Indian states, the North East is less populated, but still there are some 100,000 people, who live with HIV and AIDS in the eight north eastern states.National average for prevalence of HIV/AIDS among drug addicts is 7.14%, whereas in Manipur it is 12.9% and in Mizoram it is 12%.

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  • Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks passes away

     

    Singer-songwriter Dan Hicks passes away

    Noted American singer-songwriter Dan Hicks who was known for his traditional mix of folk, jazz and country music,  passed away after a two-year long battle with throat and liver cancer. He was 74. Hicks was known as the frontman of the acoustic band Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. His songs were infused with humor. Some of his famous songs are I Scare Myself, Canned Music and How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?

    About Dan Hicks 

    Born on December 9, 1949 to a military family, he was drummer in grade school and played the snare drum in his school marching band. In  1959, he became part of the San Francisco folk music scene, performing at local coffeehouses. He joined the San Francisco band The Charlatans in 1965 as drummer. His latest album, Live at Davies, was released in 2013, capping over forty years of music released under his name.

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  • PM Narendra Modi inaugurates National Institute of Science Education and Research 

     

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a two-day tour of Odisha,  inaugurated the permanent campus of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) in Jatani near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.

    NISER has been established along the lines of the IISc in Bangalore, and its five sister institutions, the IISERs that are being established at Pune, Mohali, Kolkata, Bhopal and Thiruvananthapuram.

    Unlike the IISERs, which will be governed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development (HRD), the ISER operates under the umbrella of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

    Financial budget : The government of India has earmarked an initial outlay of RS. 823.19 crore (USD120 million) during the first seven years of this project, starting from September 2007.

    Background : The foundation stone for NISER campus was laid by then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh in August 2006 who stated that  NISER will compare with the best institutions in the country in terms of facilities and faculty and elevate the standard of research and education in Odisha.

    Academics: NISER is dedicated to graduate education and research only. It offers a five-year integrated M.Sc. as well as Ph.D. degrees in pure and applied sciences. The academic programme of NISER is designed to provide strong foundations to students through core courses so that the students can take up challenging research and teaching assignments  in universities, R&D laboratories and various industries.

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  • Noted Political Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang Passes Away

     

    Noted Political Cartoonist Sudhir Tailang Passes AwayNoted political cartoonist Sudhir Tailang, who known for his political cartoons that chronicled contemporary Indian politics through his unsparing satires and unique drawing style, Passed away in Gurgaon, Haryana after battling with brain cancer for a long time. He was 56.

    About Sudhir Tailang

    Tailang was born in Rajasthan’s Bikaner on Febnruary 26, 1960. He was a self-taught cartoonist who started drawing at the age of five. By 10, his first cartoon was published in 1970. He started his career with the Illustrated Weekly of India, Mumbai, in 1982.

    He had worked in a number of leading newspapers including Hindustan Times, Indian Express and The Times of India. His last assignment was with the Asian Age. In 2009, he had published book of cartoons titled “No, Prime Minister” which carried cartoons on Manmohan Singh drawn during first stint of his Prime Ministership.

    Awards and Honours : He was awarded Padma Shri, India’s fourth highest civilian award, in 2004, for his contribution to the art of cartooning.

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  • PM Modi Dedicates Paradip Oil Refinery to the Nation

     

    PM Modi Dedicates Paradip Oil Refinery to the Nation

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a 15-million tonne per annum Indian Oil Corporation refinery at Paradip in Odisha. The refinery has been dedicated to the nation. It is overall IOC’s 11th refinery to be set up and has installed capacity of 15 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA). Government has a target of 10% reduction in oil imports by 2022 with increase in use of bio fuels like ethanol produced from sugarcane and diesel from Jatropha.

    Facts and Figures

    The project set up at an investment of Rs. 34, 555 crore and spread across 3,300 acres of land, has been designed to process 100 per cent high sulphur including 40 per cent heavy crude of low cost to produce various products such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, aviation turbine fuel, propylene, sulphur and petroleum coke.

    It is one of the most modern refineries in the world and is equipped with the latest technology with a complexity factor of 12.2. It is capable of producing Bharat Stage IV (BS IV)/BS V quality transportation fuel to comply with Auto Fuel Policy.

    The refinery will manufacture 78 crore kg of LPG, 500 crore litres of petrol, 660 crore litre of diesel, 250 crore litre of kerosene and ATF, 27 lakh quintal of sulphur and 120 lakh qunital of petroleum coke. 

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  • National Organic Farming Research Institute to come up in Sikkim

     

    National Organic Farming Research Institute to come up in SikkimThe Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has decided to set up the National Organic Farming Research Institute in Sikkim. The decision in this regard was taken by the Union Agriculture Minister Radhamohan Singh and Sikkim Agriculture Minister Som Nath Paudyal in New Delhi.

    The institute will be established by upgrading the existing Regional Centre of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in Gangtok. The Government will also help the state  in sustaining the organic farming and also in marketing of the State’s organic products.

    Background : It should be noted that Sikkim was officially declared as first fully organic state in India in January 2016. The state has achieved this feat by converting around 75000 hectares of land into certified organic farms by following the guidelines prescribed by National Programme for Organic Production.

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