Four Indians have been named in Forbes magazine’s 12th annual list of World’s 100 most powerful women. They are
Apart from them, two women of Indian-origin PepsiCo Chief Indra Nooyi (15th position) and Cisco Chief Technology and Strategy Officer Padmasree Warrior (84th position) also have appeared in the list.
It is an annual list of the 100 most influential women published by Forbes magazine. The list feature extraordinary entrepreneurs, politicians, celebrity role models, visionary CEOs, billionaire activists and pioneer philanthropists who are transforming the world. They are ranked by dollars, media presence and impact.
Union government has constituted a 10-member committee to review and revitalise public private partnership (PPP) mode of infrastructure development. The committee will be chaired by former finance secretary Vijay Kelkar and submit its report within a period of 3 months from the date of its Constitution.
Members of Committee: C.S. Rajan, Dr. Shekhar Shah, S.B. Nayar, Pradeep Kumar, Vikram Limaye, Sudipto Sarkar, P.S. Behuria, Sharmila Chavaly, Representative of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech of February 2015 had announced that the PPP mode of infrastructure development has to be revitalized and revisited in which the major issue involved is rebalancing of risk.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 May 2015 launched India’s first television channel DD Kisan dedicated to farmers in New Delhi. The 24X7 channel is owned by public service broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) and is dedicated to agriculture and allied sectors.
DD Kisan will disseminate real-time inputs to farmers on new farming techniques, water conservation and organic farming. It will also share best farm practices in different parts of the country, quiz shows for farmers, a bottoms-up approach involving agriculturists. The channel show will also invite programme suggestions from general public and real-time interaction with experts and farm scientists.
Prior to launching this channel, Prasar Bharati was running ‘Krishi Darshan’ programme on DD1 for farmers. It was one of the longest running programmes on DD and was launched on January 26, 1967.
During the Budget of 2014, NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had had earmarked 100 crore rupees to this dedicated channel to fulfill it election promise. BJP in its 2014 Lok Sabha election manifesto had announced that if they come to power they will set up dedicated 24X7 channel for Indian Farmers.
India and Vietnam signed a Joint Vision Statement on Defence Cooperation for the period 2015-2020. It was signed by Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Vietnamese counterpart Minister for National Defence General Phung Quang Thanh in New Delhi. Apart from this statement, a MoU on cooperation between the Coast Guards of the two countries was also signed. Vietnamese Defence Minister is on a 3-day official visit to India. Both nations also had held delegation level talks and discussed wide ranging issues concerning defence cooperation, including cooperation in the area of maritime security. Both sides also reiterated their commitment to further enhancing the ongoing defence engagements between them for mutual benefit.
National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) and Data Security Council of India (DSCI) have launched NASSCOM Cyber Security Task Force. The aim of task force is to build India as a global hub for providing cyber security solutions, developing cyber security Research & Development (R&D) plan and develop a skilled workforce of cyber security experts. Rajendra Pawar, Chairman of NIIT will chair this task force and its members will include industry leaders from across various sectors like Information Technology (IT), BPM and internet. Apart from them, heads of user organizations like banks and telecom companies, representatives from the government and academia will be also its members. The task force over a 12 week period will identify the key priorities and build the detailed action plan for the sector. The main vision of this task force is to build the cyber security industry in India from the 1 percent market share to 10 percent by 2025. It also seeks to create a trained base of 1 million certified and skilled cyber security professionals and build more than 100 successful security product companies from India.
Scientists have developed the first man-made molecular pump which is capable to transport key proteins to cells for its functioning and can be used to power artificial muscles. This system on carrier proteins was modeled by J. Fraser Stoddart and coworkers at Northwestern University. This system basically can pump ions, electrons, protons or molecules across membranes of cells to produce energy. How it works? The new machine mimics the pumping mechanism of life-sustaining proteins. These proteins can move small molecules around living cells to metabolize and store energy from food. The energy stored in their pump will power artificial muscles and other molecular machines. It should be noted that the artificial pump draws power from chemical reactions and drive molecules step-by step from a low-energy state to a high-energy state, far away from equilibrium.
The participant countries include all NATO members like the US, Britain, Germany, France and the Netherlands as well as neutral Switzerland. This exercise is the second of its kind, first similar tests was conducted in 2013.
Apart from this, Russia also on 26 May 2015 begun a four-day-long massive military exercise and described it as a massive surprise inspection, to check combat readiness. The exercise involves 12000 soldiers and around 250 aircraft, including long-range bombers carrying cruise missiles. This Russian military exercise has coincided with an Arctic training exercise by NATO and has raised debate. Russian military exercise on the same day when NATO military alliance launched their training exercise may raise tensions with West over Russia’s role in conflict in Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in fourth week of May 2015 said that the large number of snap exercises conducted by Russia decreases transparency and practicability. But Russia has defended the exercise by terming that these drills are part of preparation for a larger exercise known as Center-2015, which will be held later in 2015.
Manabi Bandopadhyay on 26 May 2015 became the first transgender principal of Krishnagar Women’s College in Nadia district, West Bengal. She will join her new job from 9 June 2015. Currently, she is working as an associate professor in Bengali at the Vivekananda Satobarshiki Mahavidyalaya.
She did her Master of Arts (MA) in Bengali and joined the Vivekananda Centenary College in Jhargram sub-division as a lecturer in the late 1990s. In 1995, she published the country’s first transgender magazine, Ob-Manab (sub-human). The magazine, despite a very low circulation, continues to be published.
In April 2015, Supreme Court (SC) declared the transgender community as a legal third gender, granting them minority rights and privileges to education, employment and health benefits. The court directed the government to provide transgender people with quotas in jobs and education in line with other minorities. India is estimated to have about two million transgender people.
State forest department of Himachal Pradesh has set up the satellite tracking system to check the forest fire incidents during summer season. The system was launched with an aim to preserve the precious forest fire incidents during summer season. In case of any fire incident, the forest officials will immediately receive SMS on their mobiles.
Apart from this, the department also launched an awareness campaign across the state to protect forests from fire in which local people will be involved to detect the fire incidents. Forest cover of the Himachal Pradesh is one of the biggest wealth and identification of the hill state which faces forest fire as one of the biggest challenge and threat during the summer season. This satellite tracking system may help the state to keep on a vigil on the fire incidents in its forests.
Besides, 700 participatory committees had been constituted, more than 90 water tanks constructed and nearly 100 watch towers had been erected so that the people could easily detect fire incidents.
Trevor Bayliss was appointed as the head coach of England cricket team on 26 May 2015. With this appointment, 52-year-old Bayliss became the first Australian to coach England. The New South Wales coach succeeded Peter Moores and will take up the new job in June 2015. Moores second spell ended in first week of May 2015 after he was sacked.
Bayliss has led Sri Lankan team from 2007 to 2011 and later in 2014 took temporary charge of Australia for their Twenty20 series in South Africa. He has coached Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Sydney Sixers in Australia’s Big Bash League. Before becoming a coach, he played for New South Wales between 1985 and 1997.
The Delhi High Court on 26 May 2015 allowed Greenpeace India to operate two of its domestic accounts and access its fixed deposits. The high court bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher also allowed Greenpeace to encash its fixed deposits and utilise the funds for running the organisation. The court said it was giving the interim relief to the Non Government Organisation (NGO) so that it can continue to work at the moment. The court clarified that the NGO cannot utilise the amount frozen by the government.
The court was hearing a plea of Greenpeace India to de-freeze its international and national bank accounts. In April 2015, the accounts were blocked following a directive from Union Home Ministry. However, the Union Government reiterated that Greenpeace India violated the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act by merging its foreign donations with domestic ones.
Greenpeace India had filed a plea in court against the cancellation of its registration, saying that it was facing an imminent shut-down and it had barely a month to survive with the government recently freezing its accounts, over allegations of foreign funding that were specifically meant to target India’s economic and development interests.
The organisation has also faced a host of other penalties for which they have approached the court in the past. The government had suspended Greenpeace India’s license for six months, which had barred it from receiving foreign funds. It had also issued a show cause notice to them asking why it should not be shut down permanently.
The tiger estimation study in non-protected areas of Maharashtra conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Trust (WCT) on 26 May 2015 claimed that as many as 48 tigers have inhabited outside the protected areas in forests of Chandrapur district.
The survey claims that total number of such animals has now increased to 120 in the zone which is home to Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR). As per the survey, the number of big cats in the district stands at 120, including 60 in core area and 12 in buffer area of TATR. The study was carried out in the territorial forests and areas under Forest Development Corporation of Maharashtra (FDCM) over last four months. The study was first of its kind in the country, which was carried out across 2000 square kilometers of territorial area outside the protected area. The survey was sponsored by Chandrapur Forest department.
Besides, WCT President, Anish Andhariya informed that tiger density in some blocks in these areas was found to be higher than that of some tiger reserves, like tiger density in Kanhalgaon-Central Chanda Block was found to be 2.34, which is more than that of Melghat Tiger Reserve in the state, in Junona-Central Chanda block was found to be 1.77, which is higher than that of Sahyadri Tiger Reserve.
Movement of tigers in Greater Tadoba Landscape (non PA areas outside TATR) was identified by DNA identification through scat collection. In the process, the 2000 square kilometer area outside protected area was divided into six blocks in accordance to occupancy of tigers and other large carnivores. The team used Phase-IV camera trap (capture-recapture) technique to ascertain the exact number of tigers and leopards in these blocks. As per the guidelines for Phase-IV tiger estimation, the entire area was covered by a network of 600 camera traps for 25 days.
Academy Awards telecast director Marty Pasetta passed away on 21 May 2015 following injuries sustained in a car accident in La Quinta, United States. He was 82. Pasetta is survived by his wife Elise, daughter Debbie, son Gregory and five grandchildren.
Pasetta was famously known as a veteran director of live TV extravaganzas including 17 Academy Awards shows. During four decades in television, Pasetta directed and produced specials for Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and oversaw tributes to Elizabeth Taylor, Fred Astaire and Alfred Hitchcock. He was credited with convincing Elvis Presley to suspend his drug use and lose weight for the 1973 special Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii, which has been described as the first satellite broadcast of a live concert.
Pasetta was born on 16 June 1932 in San Jose. He attended Santa Clara University, but dropped out to work at San Francisco’s KGO-TV, where he became stage manager and producer.
Abraj Kudai: The world’s biggest hotel project which is under construction in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The term Abraj Kudai was in news in the last week of May 2015 as it was described as the world’s biggest hotel. It is set to open in 2017.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 25 May 2015 announced the complete operationalisation of the GPS Aided Geo Augmented Navigation (GAGAN). The final operational phase of the system commenced on 19 May 2015 as it began broadcasting APV1 Certified signals.
With this, India has become the fourth nation after the US, Europe and Japan to have inter-operable Satellite Based Augmentation System (SBAS). Also, GAGAN is the first SBAS system in the world to serve the equatorial region.
Earlier on 30 December 2013, Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) gave its nod for GAGAN for enroute operations (RNP 0.1) and subsequently on 21 April 2015 for precision approach services (APV). While the GAGAN Payload is already operational through GSAT-8 and GSAT-10 satellites, the third payload will be carried onboard GSAT-15 satellite scheduled for launch in October 2015.
India’s off-road racer CS Santosh on 25 May 2015 was presented with the Motorsport Man of the Year Award at the 2014 Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) Price Distribution Ceremony held in Bangalore, Karnataka. He received the Raymond Gautam Singhania Rolling Trophy along with 2 lakh rupees as cash prize from Gautam Singhania, the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of the Raymond Group.
The Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) is the only national motor sport federation recognised by the Government of India for the promotion and control of motor sport in the country and is affiliated to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). It was India founded in 1971 and is a long-standing member of the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and the Federation International de l’Automobile (FIA), the world bodies for 2/3 and 4 wheeler motor sports respectively.
R Bharat Raj is the president of FMSCI.
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