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Current Affairs: 15th March 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by Mar 16th, 2015

1- Kidambi Srikanth wins Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 2015

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Kidambi Srikanth

India’s ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth on 15 March 2015 won  badminton’s prestigious $120,000 Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold title in Men’s singles category.

In the final match he defeated Denmark’s defending championViktor Axelsen by score of 21-15, 12-21 and 21-14. With this victory, Kidambi Srikanth became first Indian to win this prestigious title in Men’s singles category.

Other winners in Swiss Open Grand Prix Gold 2015

  • Women’s singles title-China’s Sun Yu defeated Thailand’s Busanan Ongbumrungpanby score of 21–16, 21–12.
  • Men’s doubles title-China’s Cai Yun and Lu Kai pair defeated Malaysia’s Goh V Shemand Tan Wee Kiong pair by score of 21–19, 14–21 and 21–17.
  • Women’s doubles title-China’s Bao Yixin and Tang Yuanting pair defeated Japan’sAyane Kurihara and Naru Shinoya by score of 21–6, 17–21, 21–17.
  • Mixed doubles title-China’s Lu Kai and Huang Yaqiong pair defeated China’s Liu Cheng and Bao Yixin pair by score of 17–21, 22–20, 21–13.

2- Noted Gandhian Narayan Desai passes away

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Gandhian Narayan Desai

Noted Gandhian Narayan Desai on 15 March 2015 passed away in Surat, Gujarat. He was 90. He is son of Mahatma Gandhi’s personal secretary and biographer Mahadev Desai.

About Narayan Desai

  • He was born on 24 December 1924 at Valsad in Gujarat and was brought up at Gandhiji’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.
  • Desai was also associated with Vinoba Bhave’s Bhoodan (or land gift) Movementand Jayprakash Narayan’s Total revolution or JP’s Movement.
  • He was famous for reciting Gandhi-Katha i.e. narratives on Mahatma Gandhi’s life across the world which was started by him in 2004.
  • Desai was Chancellor of Gujarat Vidyapith from 2007 to 2014.

Awards- Narayan Desai was accorded with many awards. It includes

  • Sahitya Akademi Award(1993) for his book on biography of his father Mahadev Desai in Gujarati.
  • Jamnalal Bajaj Award(1999).
  • Ranjitram Suwarna Chandrak(2001), highest award for Gujarati literature.
  • UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize(2004).
  • Moortidevi Award(2004).

3- Pioneer of Israeli cinema Lia van Leer passes away

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Lia van Leer- Pioneer of Israeli cinema

Lia van Leer, pioneer of Israeli cinema passed away on 13 March 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. She was 90. She was the founder of Israel Film Archive, Jerusalem Cinematheque, Haifa Cinematheque and the Jerusalem Film Festival.

About Lia van Leer

  • She was born on August 8, 1924 in Romania. Later she moved to Israel and studied at Hebrew University.
  • Along with her husband Lia van Leer had founded Israel’s first cinema club in the 1950s.
  • In 1973, she had created the Jerusalem Cinematheque and in 1983 she started the Jerusalem Film Festival.
  • In 1995, she was the head of the jury at the 45th Berlin International Film Festival.
  • Lia van Leer was also considered as an advocate of peace after she had invited Iranian film-makers to Jerusalem and supported Palestinian cinema.
  • Awards- In 2004, Van Leer was awarded theIsrael Prize for her special contribution & lifetime achievement to society and the State of Israel. She also has been awarded with President’s Medal (also called Medal of Distinction of Israel) in 2014.

4- Cyclone PAM hits archipelago of Vanuatu

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Cyclone PAM hits archipelago of Vanuatu

Powerful cyclone Pam on 14 March 2015 slammed the south Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. The cyclone Pam is category five tropical storm and has brought destructive 270 kilometre-per-hour winds and torrential rain along with it after it changed it course in westward direction.

The cyclone was followed by flooding, landslides, sea surges and very rough seas which has caused massive destruction in the small Pacific nation.

Cyclone Pam prior to slamming Vanuatu had destroyed some homes and had caused damage to other Pacific islands including Kiribati and the Solomon Islands.

Vanuatu is located north east of Australia to south west of Hawaii Islands. It has population of 267,000 spread over 65 islands and about 47,000 people live in its capital Port Vila.

5- Union Government merges Green India Mission merged with MGNREGA to reclaim forest cover

Union Government has merged Green India Mission (GIM) with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Scheme. By merging GIM with MGNREGA Scheme government seeks to increase 10 million hectares of forest cover.

Key facts

National Mission for a Green India aims for afforestation at 10 million hectares of land over the next decade in order to increase and improve the country’s forest cover. It also aims at improving ecosystems services, forest based livelihood income of about three million households and to enhance annual CO2 sequestration.
At present under MGNREGA Scheme green works such as water harvesting, afforestation and farm forestry are undertaken which are implemented by Union Ministry of Rural Development. Government will also use modern technology like remote sensing to monitor the progress of this initiative regularly.
Union Government also has set out convergence guidelines in this regard after consulting both Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) and Rural Development Ministries.
Convergence guidelines includes
All lands including community lands, village common lands, revenue wastelands, wetlands, shifting cultivation areas, and private agricultural lands will be eligible for afforestation.
Under MGNREGA for afforestation, forest works such as pre-plantation, planting, watering and pit digging will be undertaken. Fencing, plant support and protection activities, mulching, weeding and manuring the plants will be also undertaken. Technical advice related to the plant species suitable for area and to raise nurseries will be provided by State Forest Development Agencies (SFDA). SFDA will also deliver information related to plant material to each gram panchayat before July each year meeting the cost from MGNREGA funds.

6- Endophytic alga species found in Indian Ocean

Researchers have found Endophytic alga belonging to Ulvella leptochaete species thriving in the Indian Ocean. This species of alga is originally inhabitant to the seas around the British Isles and the East China Sea. It belongs to a type known as endophytic which means that they are microscopic in size and generally found living inside macroscopic seaweeds.

How discovery took place?

Researchers had collected samples of green seaweeds, Cladophora glomerata from Calicut, Kerala and red seaweeds, Laurentia obtusa from Mandapam, Tamil Nadu. From these samples researchers extracted and sequenced a small genomic region called Internal Transcribed Spacer, which is a routinely used as DNA barcode for aquatic plant. This sequence information was compared with the global DNA sequence database from NCBI-GenBank which confirmed the identity of the endophytic alga. The identity of this alga was also reconfirmed by researchers by reconstructing molecular evolutionary legacy of it using computational phylogenetics.

Advantages of this discovery

Endophytic alga has ecological advantage to the host such as disease resistance.
It contains anticancer compounds such as Taxol and can be used for treatment of many cancers including ovarian cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

7- NASA’s Hubble telescope spots ocean on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has spotted massive saltwater ocean under the icy crust of Jupiter’s largest moon Ganymede. Scientists believe that this finding could potentially support life. Hubble Space Telescope’s finding was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. The finding was based on the results obtained after analyzing Ganymede’s magnetic field and aurorae created and controlled by it and its interaction with Jupiter’s magnetic field.

Scientists estimate that 

  • This ocean is 100 kms thick.
  • 10 times deeper than Earth’s oceans.
  • It is buried under a 150-kilometre crust of mostly ice.
  • In 1970s, for first time scientists had suggested that ocean is present inside Ganymede based on its models. NASA’s Galileo mission also had provided first evidence of ocean in Ganymede after measuring its magnetic field in 2002.

About Ganymede

Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is also the only moon with its own magnetic field.
The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon.

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