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Friday, 9 March 2012



  • The Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), India on 21 June 2011 signed a memorandum of understanding with Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation, of Russia, for cooperation in the activities to be pursued at the Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) being set up by the DAE in Haryana. DAE Secretary and Atomic Energy Commission chairman Srikumar Banerjee, and Rosatom Director-General SV. Kirienko, signed the MoU in Vienna.The Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP) is set to be consisted of four schools studying advanced nuclear energy systems, nuclear security, radiological safety, and applications of radio-isotopes and radiation technologies. 
  • UNESCO removed the in-danger tag from the Manas National Park, a World Heritage Site in Assam. The tag suffixed to the national park was removed at the 35th session of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Paris that started on 20 June 2011.The in-danger tag was attached to Manas National Park in 1992 it was ravaged due to insurgency and political unrest. The removal of the tag was a huge achievement and recognised the hard work put in by the government and the people, to restore the lost glory of Manas. Manas National Park is a biodiversity hotspot in Northeast India. Mana has a number of additional epithets, including a national park, a tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 1985. 
  • A 50-MW wind power project is to be set up in Tamil Nadu by April 2012. The project is to be set up by the subsidiary of Suryachakra Power Corporation Ltd, Suryachakra Green Power Pvt Ltd. Suryachakra Power Corporation Ltd entered into a memorandum of understanding with Winwind Power Energy Private Ltd (WPEPL) to set up 250 MW-capacity at Dharapuram in Tamil Nadu.WPEPL use agriculture waste, comprising output from sugarcane mills to fire the plants. 
  • The Scientists on 5 June 2011 discovered a werewolf gene which causes hair to grow all over the body. The discovery could provide a remedy for baldness. According to the Scientists, a genetic fault is behind a rare condition called hyper-trichosis also known as werewolf syndrome, where thick hair covers the face and upper body. Based on this finding, Scientists could use drugs to trigger a similar gene mutation in people to cause hair grow on bald patches.It should be noted that Werewolf syndrome is ery rare, in the past 300 years only 50 cases were recorded. Thick hair similar to wolf grows on upper part of the body and face of a human being under this syndrome. 
  • The World Environment Day is anually observed on 5 June. The theme of 2011 World Environment Day (WED) was Forests: Nature at your service. The 2011 WED theme explores the intrinsic link between quality of life and the health of forests and forest ecosystems. The WED theme also supports this year's UN International Year of Forests. The United Nations has also announced 2011 as International Year of Forests. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced India to be the global host of World Environment Day 2011. 
  • Prithvi-II missile was successfully flight-tested on 9 June 2011 by the Strategic Forces Command personnel. It was flight-tested at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Orissa. Prithvi-II is nine metres tall. Its range is 350 kilometre. Prithvi-II is the first indigenously built surface-to-surface strategic missile. Prithvi-II is capable of carrying nuclear weapons and can carry payloads ranging from 500 to 1000 kg. It could be launched anywhere and it is equipped with a high accuracy navigation system.
  • The Spices Board on 5 June 2011 launched a campaign to educate farmers, traders and exporters about aflatoxin, a naturally occurring toxin that degrades spices exported from India. The campaign was launched following rapid alerts issued by the European Union against aflatoxin in nutmeg and mace exported from India.Nutmeg and mace are important spices that find wide application in food industry and medicine, and hence monitoring their quality is of utmost importance. Countries from the EU and West Asia, and South Africa and Japan import large quantities of these products in the raw form and as value-added spice oils and oleoresins.The board launched a nationwide publicity campaign to create awareness on the need to get rid of the toxin. Exporters, scientists from the Indian Institute of Spices Research and Kerala Agricultural University, the board, and educated farmers will address the campaign meetings. In the meetings the major nutmeg- and mace-growing regions of Kerala, Konkan coast and Raigad district of Maharashtra will be focussed upon. 
  • A new report released by the International Energy Agency on 5 June 2011 stated that despite 20 years of effort, greenhouse gas emissions are increasing instead of decreasing. The IEA report revealed that energy-related carbon emissions topped 30 gigatons in 2010 which is 5 percent more than the previous record in 2008. If the emission increases further, it could lead to catastrophic climate shifts affecting global agriculture and water supplies. Moreover, it will set off more frequent and fierce storms besides causing an increase in sea levels that would endanger coastlines.The IEA report was released ahead of the Bonn summit to debate a new global warming accord taking place from 6 June to 17 June 2011. It should be noted that the World Environment Day is celebrated on 5 June 2011 every year. 
  • The century’s longest and darkest lunar eclipse has taken place on june 15 night. The awesome spectacle was visible all over the country, including the national capital. The total phase lasted 100 minutes. The last eclipse to exceed this duration was in July 2000. The next such eclipse will only take place in 2141. 
  • India's latest warship 'INS Kabra' was on June 08 commissioned at Naval Base in Kochi by Vice Admiral K N Sushil, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command. The ship is named after an island in Andaman and Nicobar archipelago. INS Kabra is the eighth of a series built at GRSE. Garden Reach Ship(GRSE), Kolkata.With a top speed of over 35 knots and manoeuvrability offered by her water-jet propulsion, the ship was ideally suited for high-speed interdiction of fast-moving targets and useful in search and rescue operations, he said.INS Kabra complies with the latest regulations of International Maritime Organisation on sea pollution control.
  • Gujarat would house the largest solar energy park in Asia in two years with a power production capacity of 500 Mw. This would be set up with an investment of around Rs 8,000 crore flowing from companies such as GMR and Lanco, which have been assigned generation capacities under the Gujarat Solar Mission. The park, on the lines of an industrial estate, is being developed by Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GCPL), as the sectoral nodal agency, on around 2,000 hectares of wasteland bordering the Rann of Kutch, in Patan district. When commissioned, the project would provide 800 million units of power. 
  • India on July 25 signed a civil nuclear cooperation deal with South Korea, allowing a framework for Korean companies to participate in atomic power plant projects in the country. The agreement was signed after a meeting between President Pratibha Patil with her South Korean counterpart Lee Myung-Bak. South Korea has become the ninth country, which had signed nuclear agreement with India after it got the waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) in 2008. 
  • India registered a 20 per cent increase in tiger population in 2010, according to a report released on 28 July 2011 by Ministry of Environment and Forests. The report stated that the estimated population of 1,706 individual tigers represents a 20 per cent increase from the last survey in 2006, which estimated a number of 1,411 tigers. The assessment of tigers included 17 States with tiger population. The increase in the numbers happened because of the tiger populations in Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka have shown an increase in their density. However, the report warned that tigers are still in danger due to an overall 12.6 per cent loss of habitat. 
  • The national green tribunal ordered Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd (HPPCL) to stop all construction work related to the Renuka Dam project. The dam on the Giri Riverwill offer a storage capacity of 542 million cubic metres of water and an installed power capacity of 40 MW. The proposed Renuka Dam Project is one of the largest projects in the backward district of Sirmour in Himachal Pradesh. The state governments of Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 12 May, 1994 for the utilization and allocation of the waters of the Upper Yamuna . As a part of this agreement, a storage dam was to be constructed across Giri river, a tributary of the Yamuna, at Renukaji in Sirmour district of Himachal Pradesh. The ministry of environment and forests canceled Forest clearance to the project in October 2010. The assessment report mentions that about 308 families will be displaced and about 37 villages will be impacted because of the Renuka Dam project. 
  • A team of Scientists led by Paul Hartogh of Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research recently solved a 14-year mystery by discovering the source of the water in Saturn’s upper atmosphere. The scientists discovered that giant jets of vapour from the planet’s moon Enceladus is responsible for Saturn’s water. Enceladus is Saturn’s sixth largest moon and it is covered with ice and is providing water to Saturn. 
  • Construction work on two more units of 700 MW each at the Rajasthan Atomic Power Station (RAPS) was inaugurated by Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Srikumar Banerjee. During the inauguration, Banerjee mentioned that exploratory works unveiled uranium deposits at another site, Tummalapalle spread over 35 km. At present, the country is estimated to have a total reserve of about 175000 tonnes of uranium. The findings are deemed as a major development. 
  • DRDO successfully flight tested its latest surface to surface Missile `PRAHAAR’ from Launch Complex III, off Chandipur Coast, ITR, Balasore, Orissa. The Missile has a range of 150 kms. The Missile is capable of carrying different types of warheads, operates as battlefield support system to the Indian Army. It is equipped with state of the art high accuracy navigation, guidance and electro mechanical actuation systems. The Missile system is developed to provide Indian Army a cost effective, quick reaction, all weather, all terrain, high accurate battlefield support tactical system. The development of Missile was carried out by the DRDO Scientists in a short span of less than two years. 
  • ITC’s luxury hotels was accorded the highest rating (Platinum Rating) of greenest luxury hotel chain in the World for their environment-friendly efforts. The rating was given by US Green Building Council (USGBC). ITC hotels are energy efficient and utilise renewable energy. 
  • The Oldest commissioned ship of the Indian navy, Sharabh was decommissioned on 14 July 2011 after 35 years of service. INS Sharabh was commissioned in January 1976 at Gdynia, Poland. 
  • Neptune the eighth planet of the solar system completed its first orbit around the sunon 12 July 2011, 165 years after its discovery. Neptune is also the farthest planet from Sun. It was discovered by German astronomer Johann Galle on 23 September 1846. Neptune is blue-green in colour and it was named after Roman God of Sea. Neptune completes one revolution every 165 years. 
  • Doctors in Spain performed the world’s first double-leg transplant, giving two new legs to a man whose legs were severed in an accident. The man lost both of his legs above the knee in an accident and the attempts to fit him with artificial limbs were not successful. Pedro Cavadas of La Fe hospital in Valencia performed the operation. He is the first doctor in the world to successfully transplant a jaw and a new tongue while doing a face transplant. 
  • India on July 15 successfully launched its latest, 1410 kg communication satellite GSAT-12 onboard a powerful Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, PSLV-C17, from Sriharikota. It is the 18th successful mission in a row for ISRO. GSAT-12 was injected into an elliptical Transfer Orbit of 284 km perigee (closest point to Earth) and 21,000 km apogee (farthest point to Earth). Subsequently, the onboard Liquid Apogee Motor would be used to place the satellite in a circular orbit. GSAT-12, aimed at augmenting the capacity in the INSAT system for various communication services like tele-education, tele-medicine and Village Resource Centres, would be co-located with INSAT-2E and INSAT-4A satellites. This was the second time in its 19 flights that the PSLV has been used for launching a communication satellite after Kalpana-1 in 2002. 
  • Giant glider-like aircraft completed the first night flight propelled only by solar energy on July 7th.Solar Impulse, whose wingspan is the same as an Airbus A340, flew 26 hours and 9 minutes, powered only by solar energy stored during the day. It was also the longest and highest flight in the history of solar aviation. The plane, which has 12,000 solar cells built into its 64.3-metre wings, is a prototype for an aircraft that its creators hope will carry out its first circum-navigation of the globe from 2012.Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss president of the project, best known for completing the first round-the-world flight in a hot air balloon in 1999, said the success of the flight showed the potential of renewable energies and clean technology. 
  • The Union government unveiled a new remote sensing data policy called the Remote Sensing Data Policy 2011(RSDP2011) which allows all data of resolutions up to 1 metre to be distributed on a non-discriminatory basis. The new policy replaced the 2001 policy. Apart from opening up the remote sensing sector, the RSDP 2011 will remove restrictions to facilitate more users to get high resolution data for developmental activities. Restrictions as per the earlier 2001 policy, was removed. Now there is no bar on publishing of high resolution, remote sensing data of up to one metre resolution.
  • After 134 flights over three decades, The space shuttle Atlantis’ voyage will close when the final space fly to International Space Station(ISS) from Florida’s Kennedy Space Centre on July 8. The shuttle began its long-career in the 1970s as a successor to the Apollo moon craft and was designed to be the first reusable space craft. The maiden flight in April 1981 by astronauts John Young and Robert Crippen aboard shuttle Columbia formally ushered in the new era with a two-day, six-hour mission and 36 orbits of Earth. Since then, shuttles have flown more than 800 million kilometres -- more than the distance between Earth and Jupiter -- and brought more than 350 people into orbit, launched crucial satellites, ushered in a new era of cooperation in space and built the International Space Station.
  • Scientists achieved a major breakthrough in the fight against Type 1 diabetes by developing a treatment which would save the sufferers from a lifetime of insulin injections.The new treatment was codenamed DiaPep277. It will block the process which causes the body's immune system to attack the pancreas in people with Type 1 diabetes. The treatment will be available in the markets within three years. 
  • Planetary scientists have discovered the closest young star to Earth. An international team carried out a research and showed that the star, named AP Columbae, is the closest so-called pre main sequence star. Scientists used the telescopes in Coonabarabran, Chile, Hawai and California to show that the red-dwarf star AP Columbae is the closest to the Earth. Scientists added that for decades it was believed that young stars only resided in vast star-forming regions like Orion Nebula. These regions are usually hundreds of light years away from Earth. Scientists have carried out accurate, all sky surveys to find young stars much closer to home. 
  • A 10-meter long periscope, indigenously developed for a nuclear reactor at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) in Kalpakkam and claimed to be the longest in the world, was dedicated to the nation on 22 August. The Rs. 3.9-crore periscope, manufactured by Chennai -based Visual Education Aids (P) Ltd (VEA) in collaboration with IGCAR and others, was handed over to Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam (Bhavini), Kalpakkam, by IGCAR Director S.C. Chetal. The periscope is the longest in the world and would be used in the Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor to view objects inside the reactor during maintenance. 
  • Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California who analysed lunar rock samples, thought to have been derived from the original magma, found that the moon could be about 200 million younger than thought. It is believed that the moon took its birth from a giant impact between a large planet-like object and Earth. The energy of the impact was so high that the moon formed from melted material that was ejected into space and as it cooled down, the magma solidified into different mineral components. The rock they analysed is called ferroan anorthosite, or FAN, and it is believed to be the oldest of the moon's crustal rocks.
  • The Zoological Survey of India will establish five DNA laboratories in Dehradun, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Pune with the objective of restraining wildlife poachers. The laboratory set by the country’s premier organisation in zoological research and studies will carry out the DNA test of animals listed under Wildlife Protection Act, in order to keep a tab on poaching of these species. The main aim behind setting DNA test centers is to help the wildlife experts in the investigation of dead animals and body parts smuggled to different countries for therapeutic and spiritual purposes. By DNA test it will also become easy to trace out that the dead animal found was being poached or killed by another animal. 
  • Two teams of astronomers discovered the largest and farthest reservoir of water ever detected in the universe. The water in the reservoir is equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world’s ocean. The water surrounds a huge feeding black hole, called a quasar more than 12 billion light years away. A quasar is powered by an enormous black hole that consumes a surrounding disk of gas and dust. Astronomers studied a quasar called APM 08279+5255. This quasar harbors a black hole 20 billion times more massive than the sun and produces as much as energy as a thousand trillion suns.
  • Scientists at the University of Columbia in New York developed a portable blood test devicewhich can diagnose an infection within minutes. The device could be used effectively to prevent HIV and AIDS. The device is in the form of mChip, costing 1dollar and looks like a credit card. 
  • Astronomers discovered that the planet named TrES-2b which is darker than any planet or moon in our solar system. This planet reflects less than one percent of the sunlight falling on it. The astronomers used NASA’s Kepler spacecraft to make this observation. It orbits its star at a distance of only three million miles. The star heats TrES-2b to a temperature of more than 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. TrES-2b orbits the star GSC03549, which is located about 750 light-years away. It can be observed near the constellation Draco. 
  • NASA scientists announced that they had found the first evidence of flowing water onMars. NASA confirmed that the evidence gathered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter would be the first discovery of active liquid water in the ground on the red planet.
  • A team of Scientists from Rutgers University in Brazil discovered a tiny plant that they say bows down and sows its own seeds. The plant has pink and white flowers. Scientists found the plant in rural northeastern Bahia, Brazil, one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas. The discovery was reported in Live Science. The team of scientists named the new species Spigelia genuflexa, because of the plant’s dexterity.
  • Surface to surface strategic PRITHVI (P-II) Missile developed by DRDO was successfully flight tested at on 26 September 2011, from Launch Complex-III, ITR, Chandipur, Balasore District in Orissa.PRITHVI-II, the first indigenous surface to surface strategic Missile and has arange of 350km and can carry a warhead weighing up to 500kg.
  • Nuclear-capable surface-to-surface medium range missile, Shaurya, was successfully test-fired from Chandipur-on-sea off the Orissa coast on 24 September 2011. The missile has a maximum range of 750 km. Shaurya is 10 metre in length and about half -a-metre in width. It is is a two stage, solid fueled weapon and can carry conventional as well as nuclear warheads. Shaurya can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads. It is the land version of the underwater-launched missile K-15 and was first fired in 2008 from the same test range. This missile can remain hidden and camouflaged in underground silos from enemy surveillance or satellites.
  • China on 29 September 2011 successfully launched its first unmanned space laboratory Tiangong-1 from a site in the Gobi Desert. Tiangong-1 means heavenly palace. This launch makes China the third country after Russia and USA to operate a permanent space station. The space lab launched by China is expected to be operational by 2020.The Tiangong-1 will orbit on its own for a month after which it will be joined by another spaceship, Shenzhou-8. Both will then carry out the first space docking. The Tiangong-1 will help China establish a manned space test platform capable of long-term unmanned operation in space with temporary human attendance.
  • For the first time in India, the genome and coding parts of multi-utility neem plant, Azadirachta indica, was sequenced and analyzed. The process was disclosed in Bangalore on 29 September 2011. The project funded jointly by Government of India and Government of Karnataka, has helped bare most useful biological information of Indian neem varieties that has received prominence in our traditional medicines. Scientists informed that understanding the molecular architecture of neem genome and its various coding parts would enhance the knowledge of this wonder species further. 
  • NASA's twin lunar Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to study the moon in unprecedented detail. GRAIL-A is scheduled to reach the moon on 31 December 2011, while GRAIL-B will arrive on 1 January 2012. The two solar-powered spacecraft will fly in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field. GRAIL will answer longstanding questions about the moon and give scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed. 
  • Brazilian scientists believe they have located an underground river, an estimated 4000 meters below the Amazon River. Named after the head of the research team that located the river, the Hamza River stretches an estimated 6000 kilometers, emptying deep in the Atlantic Ocean. Like its famous above ground counterpart, the underground river is believed to flow from west to east, but at a much slower pace than the Amazon. Scientists recently said they believe the Hamza River may explain the low salinity of the Amazon. Brazil's National Observatory hopes to confirm the existence of the river in the next several years.
  • Lukoskin, a herbal product for Leucoderma developed by DRDO, was launched by Dr. W. Selvamurthy, Distinguished Scientist & Chief Controller Research & Development (Life Science & International Cooperation) in New Delhi on 7 September 2011. The product backed by extensive R&D work by the scientists of Defence Institute of Bio-energy Research (DIBER) will be a boon for the patients of Leucoderma. The product, Lukoskin, was developed under the leadership of Dr Narender Kumar, Ex Director DARL and his team. The herbal product will be available in the form of ointment and oral liquid.
  • Top government, business and civil society leaders from several countries, including India, has formed a unique alliance to deal with climate change. They have launched an ambitious programme to restore 150 million hectares of lost forests and degraded land by 2020. The alliance was formed at the two-day conference on climate change organised jointly by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and the German Ministry for Environment in the city of Bonn. The meet titled 'Bonn Challenge on Forests, Climate Change and Bio-diversity' was aimed at securing a broad support from government, business and civil society leaders for forest conservation efforts and thereby making a contribution to reducing global warming. 
  • The US space agency NASA said ,the twin satellites blasted off aboard a Delta II rocket on September 10 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a mission to unveil the inner secrets of the moon, “Trying to understand how the moon formed, and how it evolved over its history, is one of the things we’re trying to address with the Grail mission,” said researcher Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Scientists identified a new biochemical mechanism, which allows brain tumours to survive and grow. This finding will pave the way for new and effective treatments for some of the most aggressive tumours. An international team, led by the University Hospital of Heidelberg made the discovery. Scientists identified the major role played by kynurenine, in favouring the brain tumour growth and at the same time suppressing anti-tumour immune response. Kynurenine is a by-product of metabolism of essential amino acid tryptophan.
  • Astronomers discovered a mysterious little dwarf planet which is believed to be covered in ice. The planet was nicknamed Snow White. It orbits the Sun as part of the Kuiper belt (the ring of the icy body that orbit the Sun beyond Neptune). The planet is located outside Neptune. Officially known as 2007 OR10, it is actually red, half of its surface is covered by water ice that probably emitted from ancient cryovolcanoes. The planet is red because of the thin layer of the methane. Snow White had broken off long ago from another dwarf planet, called Haumea. 
  • The union government of India decided to ban the use of infertility drug Letrozolethat is mainly recommended for treating Cancer patients. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued a directive to ban the use of Letrozole completely with immediate effect. While banning the drug, the Ministry stated that harmful effects were found in the use of Letrozole. Letrozole is used worldwide for cancer patients but it was being used in India as an infertility drug for a long time. 
  • Australian Scientists created the world’s first drug that can prevent blindness from cataracts. At present, the only treatment available to prevent the blindness from cataracts is to remove surgically the affected eye lens and replace it with a synthetic lens. Cataracts are formed when a protein, known as calpain, clouds the eye lens and impairs vision. This is for the first time that a non-surgical cure for the debilitating condition was discovered.
  • A study conducted jointly by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, University of Hong Kong and the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) found that Avahan successfully slowed the transmission of HIV among the general population. Avahan managed to slow down transmission of HIV by raising the coverage of prevention interventions in high-risk groups like female sex workers, their clients and partners, men who have sex with men (MSM), intravenous drug users and truck drivers. About 100, 000 fresh HIV cases among the general population were averted in India in five years by targeting the most vulnerable section. Avahan was launched in 2003 and received $258 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It complemented the government’s own efforts on HIV prevention. The programme was implemented in four large states — Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and 2 small northeastern states of Manipur and Nagaland. These six states were estimated to have the highest HIV prevalence in India in 2003, and a total population of 300 million. 
  • The World's cheapest tablet, Aakash was launched on 5 October 2011. Aakash is a part of the Indian Government's National Mission on Education's Sakshat Project. It is one of the main agendas of the Mission that aimed to link all higher education institutions in India. It is designed to revolutionize the education system in the country. Open source materials from IITs are to be created by Aakash. The government's endeavour is to ensure that every student in any part India has access to technology and they can access lectures. The Indian Institute of Technology, Rajasthan, developed the software for the tablet indigenously. The device is seven-inch touch screen, equipped with Wi-Fi Internet, media player, 3 hours battery power and several other multimedia applications. This device is to be sold only through colleges and universities.
  • INS Shakti, the second of the two fleet tankers built by Fincantieri Shipyard of Italyfor the Indian navy, was commissioned on 8 October. Chief of Indian naval staff, Admiral Nirmal Verma, commissioned the vessel. INS Shakti is the third tanker by the same name, with the earlier two having served the nation with pride. The induction of Shakti into naval service would enhance the reach of the navy well beyond the limits of the Indian Ocean and provides support to the expanding fleet of the Indian Navy. The ship is one of the largest in the Indian Navy as it is 175 metres in length and 32 metres in width. The vessel displaces over 27,000 tonnes and is capable of carrying over 15,000 tonnes of liquid cargo including fuels for ships and aircraft of the navy as well as fresh water.
  • The world’s highest webcam was installed on Kala Patthar, a smaller mountain facing the Everest. It is a solar-powered camera and set at 18618 feet (5675 metres). The Web cam will send live images of Mount Everest back to scientists studying the effect of climate change on the planet’s tallest peak. Earlier, scientists had set up a webcam at the base camp of Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. The German surveillance firm Mobotix developed the device and the mountain research group, Giampietro Kohl of EV- K2-CNR, installed it.
  • The World Health Organization says the Ahvaz, Iran is the world's most polluted city. In a new study, WHO says Ahvaz has the highest measured level of airborne particles small enough to cause serious health problems in humans. Ahvaz is a heavily industrialized city known for oil fields. WHO says cities in India, Pakistan, and Bostwana are also high on the list - and Mongolia is the world's most polluted country overall. The city with the world's cleanest air,according to the WHO, is Whitehorse; the capital of Canada's Yukon province. WHO says air pollution is responsible for about 1.3 million premature deaths worldwide every year.
  • NASA on 26 November 2011, launched Rover, nicknamed Curiosity to explore the planet Mars. The rover was launched from Florida on an Atlas 5 rocket. The Rover will take eight and a half months to reach the Red Planet (Mars). The Rover will then scour Martian soils and rocks for any signs that could have supported microbial life on the planet. 
  • India's most advanced long-range missile, Agni-IV was test fired successfully on 15 November 2011 from a road-mobile launcher from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Wheelers Island, off the coast of Orissa. The missile covered a range of more than 3,000 km in 20 minutes of fluent flight. The indigenous ring Laser Gyros based high accuracy INS (RINS) and Micro Navigation System (MINGS) was used in the launch for the first time. So far, this was India’s longest-range mission flown by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Agni-IV opened a new era for India in the class of long-range missiles to carry strategic nuclear warheads for the armed forces. It is capable of providing deterrence; strategically Agni-IV is capable of covering the whole area of India’s border with China. Agni-IV is a two-stage missile. Agni-IV is capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Agni-IV was earlier called Agni-II Prime. The first flight of Agni-II Prime in December 2010 was a failure.
  • A team of six scientists at the Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP) developed a new technology to convert plastic into petroleum products. After a decade long experiments, the scientists led by director Madhukar Omkarnath Garg managed to develop a combination of catalysts, which convert the plastic into either gasoline or diesel or aromatics along with LPG as a common byproduct.
  • Russia successfully launched a manned spacecraft on 14 November in 2011. A Soyuz TMA-22 spaceship with two Russians cosmonauts and a US astronaut blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. This launch was the first manned flight to the ISS after the NASA shut down its space shuttle programme, leaving Russia responsible for the maintenance and supply of the space station. 16 nations are investing in the space station that relies solely on Russia to ferry crews. Crews rotate every six months.
  • Scientists discovered two sunken islands west of Australia, in the Indian Ocean, which once formed part of the last link between India and Australia. The two islands were about the size of Tasmania. They were once part of the supercontinent Gondwana and more than 1.5 kilometres underwater. The islands, called micro continents, were formed when India moved away from Australia, 130 million years ago during the Cretaceous period (when dinosaurs roamed the Earth). 
  • Indian scientists succeeded in decoding the genome of the arhar dal, which is also known as pigeon pea. This will help not only in developing new varieties but also in increasing the productivity. Indian Council of Agriculture Research and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) carried out the research. Professor Nagendra Kumar Singh spearheaded the project. In fact, 85 per cent of the world's arhar dal is produced and consumed in India. Therefore, this discovery will help decrease the inflated cost of pulses in India.
  • China launched its unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8 on 1 November 2011. Long March-2F rocket propelled the unmanned spacecraft into orbit in the next step towards China's ambitious plans for a manned space station by 2020. Shenzhou-8 carried an experimental facility developed by German and Chinese scientists. Shenzhou 8 was launched from North Gobi desert in China that entered into the orbit successfully. The mission was considered China's most important since its first manned space flight in 2003. In September 2008, the Shenzhou 7, piloted by three astronauts, carried out China's first spacewalk.
  • Australian senate on 8 November 2011 passed legislation that would impose a carbon tax on the nation’s 500 largest polluters. The government reasoned that it was necessary to control climate change. Australia's largest polluters will now pay 23 Australian dollars for every metric ton of carbon gases they produce. Australia is one of the world's worst greenhouse gas emitters per capita because of its heavy dependence on abundant reserves of coal to generate electricity.
  • China launched a high-speed bullet train in Quingdao, Shandong province. Its speed can reach up to 500 kmph. The train was launched by China’s largest rail vehicle maker, CSR Corp. Ltd. China has the largest network of bullet-train track in the world, with 8000 miles of track. 
  • NASA's Kepler mission on 20 December 2011 discovered the first Earth-size planetsorbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our sun. The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra.
  • The indigenously designed and developed Rustom-1 (medium altitude long endurance unmanned combat aerial vehicle) completed its 8th successful flight. It flew at an altitude of 6,000 ft and at a speed of 90 knots during its 30 minutes flight near Hosur, said a Defence Research and Development Organsiation release. Rustom-1 weighs 661 kg.
  • A team of researchers from NASA’s Kepler Mission discovered a habitable earth-like planet,called Kepler-22b. This newly discovered planet orbits around a sun-like star 600 light years away from the planet earth. The star is located near the constellations of Lyra and Cygnus. The planet is very much similar to earth in key aspects. It has a surface temperature of about 72 degrees Fahrenheit and it is likely to have water and land. 
    The star was categorized as a G5 star. It has a mass and radius smaller than that that of the Sun. It makes the star 25 percent less luminous than the Sun. NASA's Kepler mission confirmed its first planet in the habitable zone, the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. The new exoplanet has the smallest radius amongst all the planets so far discovered. 
  • The theme of World AIDS Day 2011 was Getting to Zero. Backed by the United Nations the Getting to Zero campaign will run until 2015. The Getting to Zero campaign draws heavily from successful 2010 World AIDS Day’s Light for Rights initiative encompassing a range of vital issues identified by key affected populations. In 2011 the global community committed to focusing on achieving 3 targets: Zero new HIV infections, Zero discrimination and Zero AIDS-related deaths.
  • Green Film Festival was held in Delhi from 6 December to 10 December 2011. Leading environment and wildlife films from across the world were screened as part of the CMS Vatavaran film festival. Biodiversity Conservation was the theme of the festival. 114 films were screened, taking viewers into the diverse geographical realms of planet Earth through the lens of the finest environment and wildlife film-makers. It was a summit for Asian film-makers, special programmes for children throughout the event and discussions on the environment with more than 50 speakers and 300 delegates from 15 different countries. 
  • India successfully test-fired its nuclear capable Agni-I strategic ballistic missile on 1 December 2011 from the test range at Wheeler Island off Odisha coast, as part of the Indian Army's user trial. The trajectory of the missile, which had an operational strike range of 700 km, was tracked by sophisticated radars and electro-optic telemetry stations located along the sea coast and ships positioned near the impact point in the downrange area. Agni-I was developed by Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), the premier missile development laboratory of the DRDO in collaboration with Defence Research Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and integrated by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), Hyderabad. Agni-I strategic ballistic missile is an indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile. Agni-I can carry payloads up to 1000 kg. It Weighed 12 tonnes.
  • The first Eld’s deer was born via in vitro fertilization in Thailand. The researchers at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) collected eggs, inseminated in vitro with thawed semen to produce embryos and transferred the embryos to a surrogate mother. As a result, a fawn was born on 17 October 2011 at the Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Thailand. Eld's Deer is also known as the Thamin or Brow-antlered Deer. It is an endangered species of deer indigenous to southeastern Asia.

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