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Showing posts from January 3, 2017

NASA’s Cassini reveals stunning image of Saturn’s north pole (thehindu)

The image from late 2016 obtained at a distance of about 1.2 million kilometres from Saturn shows a hexagon-shaped jet-stream which is fully illuminated.

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured a stunning image of Saturn, showing the whole northern region of the ringed planet bathed in sunlight.

The image from late 2016 obtained at a distance of about 1.2 million kilometres from Saturn shows a hexagon-shaped jet-stream which is fully illuminated.

The planet appears darker in regions where the cloud deck is lower, such the region interior to the hexagon, NASA said.


Mission experts on Saturn’s atmosphere are taking advantage of the season and Cassini’s favourable viewing geometry to study this and other weather patterns as Saturn’s northern hemisphere approaches Summer solstice.

The view looks towards the sunlit side of the rings from about 51 degrees above the ring plane, according to NASA.

The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft’s wide-angle camera on September 9, last year us…

Rs. 5.5 lakh for each PoK refugee (the hindu)

Relief package for Hindu migrants was announced by Prime Minister last year

The Centre will deposit Rs. 2,000 crore into the bank accounts of 36,000 Hindu refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), a senior Home Ministry official said on Sunday.

The compensation package for the Hindu refugees was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year, and it got the clearance from the Union Cabinet in December. These refugees migrated to Jammu and Kashmir in 1947, 1965 and 1971.

Currently, violent protests have erupted in the Valley against domicile certificates being issued by the State government to 19,000 west Pakistan refugees, mostly Hindus, who came to India after Partition, but are yet to be given any voting rights or financial package.

“Each PoK refugee would get Rs. 5.5 lakh in his or her bank account, and the Centre will bear the cost,” the official said.

Resettlement fund

The west Pakistan refugees have been demanding a similar package, but the previous Omar Abdullah gove…

‘Leap second’ syncs Indian time with Earth’s spin (the hindu)

A ‘leap second’ was added to the Indian clock at 5:29.59 hours on Sunday to synchronise with the Earth’s rotational clock. As the atomic clock at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) here struck 23:59:59 last night, it was programmed to add an extra second to 2017 to compensate for a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation.

Adding a second barely has an impact on the daily life, but it does matter in the fields of satellite navigation, astronomy and communication. “The Earth and rotation around its own axis is not regular, as sometimes it speeds up and sometimes it slows down due to various factors, including earthquakes and moon’s gravitational forces. As a result, astronomical time (UT1) gradually falls out of sync with atomic time (UTC), and, as and when the difference between UTC and UT1 approaches 0.9 seconds, a leap second is added to UTC through atomic clocks worldwide,” D. K. Aswal, Director of NPL, said.

Extreme precision

Adding the leap second to the Indian clock is done by the …

In Cox’s Bazaar, Rohingyas huddle together in shacks in a harsh winterop(the hindu)

Describing the influx of refugees from Myanmar to southeast Bangladesh as a “forgotten crisis”, Sarat Dash, chief of mission of the International Organisation for Migration in Bangladesh, has said the crisis is worsening in the Rohingya refugee camps.

Mr. Dash, who visited the camps in Cox’s Bazaar district with the Foreign Ministers of Indonesia and Bangladesh, said “34,000 refugees” had moved from Myanmar to Bangladesh since the recent spate of ethnic violence in Rakhine state of Myanmar. While at least half-a-dozen international humanitarian agencies were working in the area, the situation was worsening with the advent of winter, Mr. Dash said.

Difficult times

“With severe crisis of shelter and food [as] the winter is approaching, there is a serious need of winter clothes; also an urgent need of medical assistance and psycho-social help,” Mr. Dash said. He said a “lot of the refugees are visibly depressed [as] they had traumatic experiences”.

Since the beginning of an anti-Rohingy…

It was fire in boiler that sank Titanic’ (the hindu)

Irish journalist claims in documentary the liner’s hull was fatally weakened by blaze in coal bunker

The real reason for Titanic’s tragic sinking that claimed over 1,500 lives in 1912 was a fire in the ocean liner’s boiler room and not simply a collision with a giant iceberg, a new documentary has claimed.

The Titanic’s hull was fatally weakened by a fire that had been smouldering in the coal bunker in the boiler room since it left the shipyard in Belfast, Irish journalist and author Senan Molony has claimed in the documentary.

Photographs of the ship with a dark mark on her hull before it left Southampton — at the same spot the iceberg struck — support the theory, Mr. Molony, who has spent 30 years researching the disaster, was quoted as saying by The Times .

He claimed that J Bruce Ismay, president of the company that built the ship and the man forever branded a coward for taking one of the few lifeboat places, knew about the fire but downplayed its significance in the aftermath.

I…

,TS allots 1,000 sq.yard house site to P.V. Sindhu (thehindu)

Ace shuttler P.V. Sindhu has been allotted a house site of 1,000 square yards area in Bharani Layout at Shaikpet in the city by the Government of Telangana as part of its reward to her silver medal-winning performance at Rio Olympics last year.

Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had announced a reward of Rs. 5 crore and 1,000 square yards plot in Hyderabad to Ms. Sindhu in recognition of her sterling performance. Pullela Gopichand, coach of Ms. Sindhu was also announced a reward of Rs. 1 crore in August last year.

Accordingly, Special Chief Secretary (Revenue) to Government M.G. Gopal issued the orders on Monday. Following the proposal from the District Collector of Hyderabad, the 1,000 square yard house site would be carved out of two adjacent plots, No. 7 and 8 measuring 753 SY and 645 SY, respectively, in TS No.1, Block-F, Ward 9, correlated to Survey No.403 in Shaikpet.

It was also stated in the orders that the District Collector of Hyderabad and Chief Commissioner of Land Admin…

New system kicks up a storm at RCC (thehindu/)

Radiation oncologists oppose multidisciplinary tumour boards

An internal dispute at the Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) over the government’s decision to introduce multidisciplinary tumour (MDT) boards in place of the cancer site-specific clinic system is threatening to disturb the fragile peace in the institution, which has been witnessing a lot of internal and administrative issues of late.

On Monday, the entire Department of Radiation oncology marched to the office of RCC Director Paul Sebastian in protest against the “sudden” decision of the administration to change the treatment plan and system, which they said had been the norm since the inception of the centre.

The Superintendent, Deputy Superintendent, Head of Radiation Oncology Department and doctors holding the posts of chairmen of the Ethics Committee Institutional Review Board resigned their posts in protest against “ the haste” with which the decision to introduce the MDT system had been implemented.

It was on December 30 t…

SC bowls out top BCCI bosses(thehindu.)

Thakur, Shirke declared ‘unfit’to continueat the helm

Noting that its diktats are not “written in sand” and are meant to be complied with, the Supreme Court on Monday stripped BCCI president Anurag Thakur and secretary Ajay Shirke of their posts and ordered them to “forthwith cease and desist” from associating themselves with Indian cricket’s most powerful body.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud declared Mr. Thakur and Mr. Shirke “unfit” to continue at the helm of the BCCI for their “obstructionist” attitude and specious pleas in court about their incapacity to make affiliated State associations fall in line with the Justice Lodha reforms.

The court primarily referred to how Mr. Thakur had “washed his hands of a duty and obligation to ensure compliance” with the Lodha panel reforms, citing the excuse that he had been “rendered totally incapable and without any authority” to compel the members to comply with the orders o…

The price of defiance(The Hindu)

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has only itself to blame for its present predicament. Its president and secretary have been removed for defying the Supreme Court’s order to accept reforms suggested by a court-appointed committee. And its president, Anurag Thakur, now faces legal action for contempt of court as well as prosecution for perjury. None of this would have happened had the BCCI shown some sense of responsibility and a vision for the future, and recognised the fact that the highest court was only seeking to reform the manner in which cricket is administered in the country. In the court’s view, the appointment of the Justice R.M. Lodha Committee and adoption of its recommendations were part of a project to bring transparency and accountability to the BCCI. While the court expected cooperation and compliance, the BCCI responded with obstructionist tactics and defiance. It was therefore inevitable that the court would seek to send out a message that it will not brook …

New Year’s-eve tragedy in Turkey(The Hindu.)

The New Year’s-eve attack on an Istanbul nightclub that killed at least 39 people, mostly foreigners including two Indians, is yet another reminder of the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Turkey. It comes days after the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrey Karlov, was shot dead in Ankara by a lone gunman. In 2016, there were dozens of violent incidents, both by the Islamic State and Kurdish rebels, which have raised questions about the government’s ability to provide even basic public security. The attacks have also badly hit the tourism economy, which makes a sizeable contribution to Turkey’s GDP. The Istanbul attacker, who the IS has called “a heroic soldier of the Caliphate”, has followed a similar pattern. He chose an upmarket nightclub in the western part of Istanbul where foreign tourists had gathered to welcome the New Year. But why is Turkey being repeatedly targeted? Or, how has the country, till a few years ago politically stable with a booming economy, descended…