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Thursday, 29 September 2011

CURRENT AFFAIRS WEEK: 12 Sep 2011 to 18 Sep 2011

NASA'S Kepler Discovery Confirmed First Planet Orbiting Two Stars

NASA's Kepler mission on 15 September 2011 made the first unambiguous detection of a circumbinary planet -- a planet orbiting two stars -- 200 light-years from Earth. The planet is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. Previous research has hinted at the existence of circumbinary planets, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Kepler detected such a planet by observing transits, where the brightness of a parent star dims from the planet crossing in front of it.
 A research team led by Laurance Doyle of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, used data from the Kepler space telescope, which measures dips in the brightness of more than 150000 stars, to search for transiting planets. Kepler is the first NASA mission capable of finding Earth-size planets in or near the habitable zone, the region in a planetary system where liquid water can exist on the surface of the orbiting planet.
 Scientists detected the new planet in the Kepler-16 system, a pair of orbiting stars that eclipse each other from our vantage point on Earth. When the smaller star partially blocks the larger star, a primary eclipse occurs, and a secondary eclipse occurs when the smaller star is occulted, or completely blocked, by the larger star.
Astronomers further observed that the brightness of the system dipped even when the stars were not eclipsing one another, hinting at a third body. The additional dimming in brightness events, called the tertiary and quaternary eclipses, reappeared at irregular intervals of time, indicating the stars were in different positions in their orbit each time the third body passed. This showed the third body was circling, not just one, but both stars, in a wide circumbinary orbit.
This discovery confirms that Kepler-16b is an inhospitable, cold world about the size of Saturn and thought to be made up of about half rock and half gas. The parent stars are smaller than our sun. One is 69 percent the mass of the sun and the other only 20 percent. Kepler-16b orbits around both stars every 229 days, similar to Venus' 225-day orbit, but lies outside the system's habitable zone, where liquid water could exist on the surface, because the stars are cooler than our sun.

Helle Thorning-Schmidt was elected Denmark’s First Woman Premier

Danish opposition leader Helle Thorning-Schmidt emerged victorious in the elections held on 15 September 2011 and will take over as the country's first female Prime Minister. She belongs to the Social Democrats party. The result ended the center-right government's 10 years in office.
Thorning-Schmidt succeeded Lars Lokke Rasmussen who submitted his resignation to Queen Margrethe on 16 September 2011.
Helle Thorning-Schmidt became a social democrat during her studies in Belgium and joined the Danish Social Democrats in 1993. From 1994 to 1997 she led the secretariat of the Danish delegation of social democrats in the European Parliament. After her time in Brussels she worked as an international consultant with the Danish Confederation of Trade Unions until being elected MEP in 1999.
 She was a Member of the European Parliament in the 1999–2004 period. During the five year term, she was a member of the Employment and Social Committee and the Constitutional Committee of the European Parliament. She also co-founded the Campaign for Parliament Reform (CPR).
In the 2005 Danish parliamentary election Thorning-Schmidt was elected to the Folketing (national parliament of Denmark). Since 2005 she has represented a constituency in a part of the Danish capital Copenhagen called Osterbrokredsen.
She led the Social Democrats through the 2007 Danish parliamentary election where her party suffered modest losses and was forced into a third term in opposition. The party was also unable to regain its position as the largest party in the Folketing.
In the 2011 parliamentary election, she was relected to parliament. Although the ruling Liberal Party became the largest party and gained a seat and the Social Democrats lost a seat, the opposition parties combined obtained more seats than the government coalition.

Amendments to National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro –Sciences, Bangalore Bill 2010

The Union Cabinet of India on 15 September 2011 approved Amendments to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences, Bangalore Bill, 2010. The Amendments are based on the recommendations of the Department --related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health arid Family Welfare. 
 The salient features of the proposed amendments are as follows:

(a) No change in Clause 4 (Incorporation of Institute) of the Bill is proposed in view of legal advice obtained from the Department of Legal Affairs.

(b) As regards Clause 5 (Composition of the Institute), it is proposed that:

(i) The President of the Institute shall be nominated by the Central Government from among the members other than the Director of the Institute.

(ii) The Institute shall consist of the Chief Secretary or his nominee, not below the rank of Secretary, to the Government of Karnataka, ex-officio.

(iii) The Institute shall consist of the following members namely:

(i) Seven persons of whom one shall be non-medical scientist representing the Indian Science Congress Association and one each from biological, behavioural and physical sciences of repute from any university to be nominated by the Central Government in such manner as may be prescribed;

(ii) Four representatives of medical faculty of Indian universities of whom one shall be from NIMHANS to be nominated by the Central Government in such manner as may be prescribed;

(c) Under sub-clause 7(1) (Powers and Functions of President), the following may be substituted:

There shall be a President of the Institute who shall be nominated by the Central Government from among the members other than the Director of the Institute.

In October 2010 the Cabinet approved (i) declaring NIMHANS as an institution of national importance on the lines of AIIMS/ PGIMLR. and (ii) introduction of NIMHANS, Bangalore Bill, 2010 in Parliament with such modifications of drafting nature as may be considered necessary. In pursuance thereof, the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences. Bangalore Bill, 2010 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on 7 December, 2010 for declaring NIMHANS as an institution of national importance. The Chairman, Rajya Sabha referred the aforesaid Bill to the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare for examination and report within three months. The fifty-third report on NIMHANS, Bangalore Bill. 2010 of the Committee was presented to the Rajya Sabha on 4 March, 2011 and a copy of the report was also laid on the Table of Lok Sabha on 4 March 2011.

Twenty-Second World Mining Congress and Expo Held at Istanbul, Turkey

Twenty-Second World Mining Congress and Expo was held at Istanbul, Turkey between 11-16 September 2011. World Mining Congress & Expo is a unique opportunity for companies and manufactures to showcase their latest achievements and equipment technologies to a wide audience especially to those officials and specialists from all over the world.

The officials are responsible for future developments and key decisions of the mining sectors of their countries.

Leila Lopes from Angola crowned Miss Universe 2011 in Sau Paulo

Leila Lopes from Angola was crowned Miss Universe on 12 September 2011 in Sau Paulo, Brazil.
Lopes is a business management student in Great Britain, where she was crowned Miss Angola UK on 8 October 2010, the official representative of the Angolan community in the United Kingdom to the 2011 Miss Angola pageant.
Lopes, Angola’s first winner, outdid  88 other competitors to win the title during the 60th anniversary of the world’s biggest beauty pageant. She was crowned by Ximena Navarrete of Mexico winner of the 2010 Miss Universe pagant.
The first runner-up was 23-year-old Olesia Stefanko of Ukraine and the second runner-up was Priscila Machado of Brazil. The third was Miss Philippines and the fourth Miss China.
Contestants from 89 nations on six continents participated in globe’s biggest beauty contest which was held in Brazil for the first time. The contest was hosted by NBC Today anchor Natalie Morales and the Bravo network’s Andy Cohen.

Indian Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket Award at the LG ICC Awards 2011

The LG ICC Awards 2011 were presented in association with FICA on 12 September 2011 taking into account performances by players and officials in the period between 11 August 2010 to 3 August 2011.
Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni won the Spirit of Cricket Award. Dhoni was chosen for the ICC Spirit of Cricket Award for his fine gesture of recalling Ian Bell after the England batsman was run out under controversial circumstances during the second Test at Trent Bridge in July 2011. This award is voted by the members of the Emirates Elite Panels of ICC Match Referees and Umpires.
However iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar missed out the Cricketer of the Year honour which he had won in 2010. England's Jonathan Trott won the Cricketer of the Year award after beating competition from his national team-mate Alastair Cook and South Africa's Hashim Amla, besides that of Tendulkar. Trott had an extraordinary 12 months as a batsman. He compiled 1,042 runs at an average of 65.12, including four centuries and three half-centuries in 12 tests. In addition, he played 24 ODIs, hitting 1064 runs at an average of 48.36 with two centuries and nine 50s. The previous winners of this award includes India's Rahul Dravid (2004), Andrew Flintoff of England and South Africa's Jacques Kallis (joint winners in 2005), Ricky Ponting of Australia (2006 and 2007), West Indies' Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2008), Mitchell Johnson of Australia (2009) and Tendulkar (2010).
India's opening batsman Gautam Gambhir also missed out the ODI Player of the Year Award which was won by Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara. Sangakkara had a superb year of ODI cricket. During the performance period, he played 25 ODIs and compiled 1049 runs at an average of 55.21, including one century and seven half-centuries.

As wicketkeeper, he also took 36 wickets comprising 26 catches and 10 stumpings. He had led Sri Lanka to the ICC Cricket World Cup final in Mumbai. Sangakkara also became the second-ever recipient of the LG People's Choice Award. Sangakkara was voted to the award by the general public.
Engliah cricketer Alastair Cook won the Test Cricketer of the Year Award.

Up-and-coming West Indies leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo was named as the Emerging Player of the Year 2011.
Netherlands all-rounder Ryan ten Doeschate was chosen the ICC Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year for the second successive year. The Associate and Affiliate Player of the Year award serves to recognise and reward the efforts in all international matches of the outstanding cricketers from the teams outside the ICC Full Members.
New Zealand fast bowler Tim Southee was chosen for the ICC Twenty20 International Performance of the Year in recognition of his five wickets for 18 runs against Pakistan in 2010.
West Indies all-rounder Stafanie Taylor won the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year Award.
Pakistan's Aleem Dar won the David Shepherd Trophy for third time after being named ICC Umpire of the Year.

Nitin Dossa elected President of the Federation of Indian Automobile Associations (FIAA)

Nitin Dossa, the executive chairman of the Mumbai-headquartered Western India Automobile Association (WIAA) was unanimously elected president of the Federation of Indian Automobile Associations (FIAA). He was elected president at the annual general meeting of FIAA held on 9 September 2011. He is to hold this position for a period of two years.
Dossa is the chairman on the WIAA-Castrol Institute of Motoring. He is involved with other sports associations. Dossa also holds the position of president of the Vintage & Classic Car Club of India.
He is the first Indian to be unanimously elected vice president of the Paris-based Alliance Internationale de Tourisme (AIT), a world body of mobility.

Maulana Azad Dental Institute bagged the FICCI Excellence Award for their Contribution to Healthcare

The Maulana Azad Dental Institute bagged the FICCI Excellence Award on 8 September 2011. The health care operational award was given away by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry after rounds of assessment. Maulana Azad Dental Institute is the first dental institution, catering to more than 2.5 lakh patients annually across the country.
There were only four hospitals-Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya ( Delhi), Gandhi Nagar District Hospital (Gujarat), Ernakulam District Hospital, Kerala and Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences which had qualified for the final round in the government sector category.
The parameters which went on to decide the winner were initiatives and outcomes reflecting innovation, academic research and training, accreditations, environmental conservation and patient satisfaction.
The FICCI health care operational award aims at felicitating organisation for their contribution to the industry by innovating for increased efficiency and improved performance of health care at large.

Rajasthan Government Launched Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana

The Rajasthan state government on 12 September 2011 launched the ambitiousJanani Shishu Suraksha Yojna in all the 33 districts. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot launched the scheme at Dudu near Jaipur. The Scheme aims to bring down maternal and child mortality rate in the state. Under the scheme, the government will provide free treatment and transport facility to pregnant women and sick infants. Along with this, all the pregnant women would be provided medicines and other consumables before, during and till 6 months after the delivery. Likewise, the sick infants would be provided all medicines free up to 30 days of their birth. The pregnant and infants would also be provided free transport facility from home to health institute. Over 5300 women die every year in Rajasthan due to complications in delivery, while 98 thousand 500 infants die within a year of their birth in the state. 

One lakh 18 thousand private ambulances, taxies and other vehicles have also been listed in the concerned areas of all the districts to provide transport facility from the remote villages to the hospitals. 
The UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi had inaugurated the Janani Shishu Suraksha Yojana in Mewat Distrcit of Haryana on 1 June, 2011. JSSK supplements the cash assistance given to a pregnant woman under Janani Suraksha Yojana and is aimed at mitigating the burden of out of pocket expenses incurred by pregnant women and sick newborns.

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