Daily Current Events – 05 May 2016


Loss of vultures damaging for humans, ecosystem: study

Decline in vulture populations in some parts of the world, including India, may have serious consequences for ecosystems and humans alike, according to a new study that suggests poisoning is the greatest extinction risk facing the scavengers.Poisoning is the greatest extinction risk facing vultures, and impacts 88 per cent of threatened vulture species.

They are unfortunate victims

In many continents, vultures are the unfortunate victims of poisoned carcasses — especially impactful because dozens, or even hundreds — of vultures can feast on a single carcass.Populations of most vulture species around the world are now either declining or on the brink of extinction.

Other scavengers will enter human habitat

Losses of vultures can allow other scavengers to flourish. Proliferation of such scavengers could bring bacteria and viruses from carcasses into human cities .

Their make could be their unmaking

The results suggest several inherent ecological traits that likely contribute to vultures’ extinction risk, including their large body masses, slow reproductive rates and highly specialised diets.In the mid-1990s India experienced a precipitous vulture decline, with more than 95 per cent of vultures disappearing by the early 2000s.

 This drug called diclofenac

The cause was eventually traced to diclofenac, a veterinary anti-inflammatory drug that relieved pain in cattle, but proved highly toxic to vultures.Hundreds of vultures would flock to each cattle carcass.And if the cattle had recently been treated with diclofenac, hundreds of vultures would die.Because of this highly gregarious feeding behaviour, less than one per cent of cattle carcasses contaminated with diclofenac could account for the steep vulture decline.

Spurt in feral dogs and the rabies link

Following the decline of vultures, India experienced a strong uptick in feral dogs — by an estimated seven million.The increase in dogs, potentially feeding on disease-ridden carcasses, is thought to have at least partially caused the rabies outbreak that was estimated to have killed 48,000 people from 1992-2006 in India — deaths that may have been avoided if not for the disappearance of vultures.

It is happening in sub-Saharan Africa

Now, the centre of the vulture crisis is in sub-Saharan Africa.In Africa, it is a lot more challenging. It is a darker story.


Bhakti Saint- Ramanuja

One thousand years have gone by. Ten centuries. In India alone, so many kingdoms which would do their best to put an end to the religious and cultural traditions that had flourished from time immemorial. The Delhi Sultanate, the five Sultanates of the South – Berar, Bidar, Golkonda, Bijapur and Ahmednagar. Sher Shah and the Suri interregnum. The Moghuls. The British Empire. In spite of all that, Vedic culture not only survived but also gained new spaces. For, the adherents of the culture have had the benefit of leadership by spiritual personalities from time to time, re-formatting the culture in a positive manner without losing any of its seminal strengths. Of such great men, Sri Ramanuja, who was born in the 11 century, takes the pride of place as he remains relevant even today.

How shall we crown Sri Ramanuja? Is he a fine-tuned philosopher or a poet? Does his sociological thinking exceed the commentator? Does he loom large as a temple-builder or as a management expert? Does his concern for helping the common man out-top his blazing spirituality? Is he greater as a student or as a teacher? A deeper and wider engagement in his life and ministry makes it very, very difficult to decide. But one thing is clear. His virtue was compassion: his means, integration. The two main reasons why Sri Ramanuja remains perfectly relevant even today.

Sister Nivedita said that the history of India is the land itself. Applied to Sri Ramanuja, we can read his life in the temples, the rituals he set up, in his philosophy and poetry, and his untiring and patient moves to bring down man-made differences and integrate the society by applying the ideal of compassion. Since he did all this by his personal example and involvement, and remained active throughout his life, he became the progenitor of the Neo-Vedantists of modern Indian renaissance. Hadn’t he opened the doors of spirituality for one and all, as Swami Vivekananda had pointed out in his lecture on ‘The Sages of India’ –

  “He (Ramanuja) felt for the downtrodden, he sympathised with them. He took up the ceremonies, the accretions that had gathered, made them pure so far as they could be, and instituted new ceremonies, new methods of worship, for the people who absolutely required them. At the same time he opened the door to the highest; spiritual worship from the Brahmin to the Pariah. That was Ramanuja’s work. That work rolled on, invaded the North, was taken up by some great leaders there; but that was much later, during the Mohammedan rule; and the brightest of these prophets of comparatively modern times in the North was Chaitanya.”

Though there are several documentations of the Acharya’s life, the main events can be summarised easily. Forty-five kilometres west of Chennai is the village of Sriperumbudur he took birth.An apt pupil for his scholarly father, Ramanuja grew up to be an erudite scholar and was married to Thanjamambal at the appropriate age. But the father’s sudden passing was a great blow indeed. He continued his studies under the scholar Yadavaprakasa. Since he was not very happy with the ways of the teacher, he turned to Tirukachchi Nambi for further studies.

Meanwhile Sri Yamunacharya who headed the community of Srivaishnavas in Srirangam expressed his wish to have Ramanuja succeed him, before he passed away. Sri Ramanuja consciously prepared himself for the onerous duties of becoming a religious-spiritual head by undergoing studies in the scriptures, vedanta as also the hymns of the Alvars. His teachers were all great eminences like Peria Nambi, Tirukoshtiyur Nambi, Maladhara and Vararanga. Soon he was in demand as a teacher too.

But now a big change occurred in his family life. Sri Ramanuja’s liberal ways and avoidance of caste-born arrogance, and readiness to help others even if it cost his own peace of mind was not relished by Thanjamambal, who had been brought up in strict orthodoxy. After sending his wife to her natal home, he renounced the world. Soon he went to Srirangam assumed his duties as the head of the Srivaishnava community.

In Srirangam, he was also entrusted with the management of the famous temple of Sri Ranganatha. The temple needed a thorough overhauling and flushing out the innumerable ‘old bandicoots’ turned out to be a thorny exercise. However, the Acharya was no confrontationist. He simply withdrew to the nearby hillock of Tiruvellarai for a couple of years. He returned to Srirangam after the poison had drained away. His management of the temple involving all sections of the society and introducing several socially relevant schemes like plentiful ‘annadaana’ have endured till this day as we see the innumerable Ramanuja Koots spread all over India.


Satellites under operation in Country

Currently, 34 satellites are operational in the country comprising of :-

(i) 13 Communication Satellites namely, INSAT-3A, INSAT-3C, INSAT-4A, INSAT-4B, INSAT-4CR, GSAT-6, GSAT-7, GSAT-8, GSAT-10, GSAT-12, GSAT-14, GSAT-15 and GSAT-16.

(ii) 12 Earth Observation Satellites namely, Resourcesat-2, RISAT-1, RISAT-2, Cartosat-1, Cartosat-2, Cartosat-2A, Cartosat-2B, Oceansat-2, SARAL, Kalpana-1, Megha-Tropiques and INSAT-3D.

(iii) 7 Navigational Satellites namely, IRNSS-1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1F & 1G.

(iv) 2 Space science Satellites namely Mars Orbiter Mission & Astrosat.


President of India confers Niryat Shree and Niryat Bandhu Awards at the Golden Jubilee celebrations of FIEO

Niryat Shree” and “Niryat Bandhu”  are awarded to companies from various sectors of exports besides service providers, banks, various facilitating agencies promoting exports during the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO).

Among the awardees Reliance Industry was adjudged as the top foreign exchange earner and leading exporter of last 50 years. In IT Services, TCS bagged the Gold Award. Exporters from engineering, chemicals, textiles, agro & processed sector, etc. were also given Gold/Silver/Bronze awards. Amongst the supporting institutions, State Bank of India got the Gold award followed by Canara Bank and Punjab National Bank.


Plan for Giving Warning about Natural Calamities

To date, there is no proven scientific technique available, anywhere in the world, to predict/ forecast the occurrence of earthquakes with reasonable degree of accuracy with regard to space, time and magnitude. Nevertheless, efforts are being made world-over including India, to monitor and study various earthquake precursory phenomena in critical seismotectonic regions, which would not only help understand the earthquake generation processes better but also lead to identifying possible earthquake precursors, which may serve as useful predictors in future.

As part of this, a Program on ‘Seismicity & Earthquake Precursor’ has been initiated by Ministry of Earth Sciences ( MoES), through a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary mechanism to adopt an integrated approach of generation, assimilation and analyses of a variety of earthquake precursory phenomena in critical seismotectonic environments in the country in a comprehensive manner.

MoES has also initiated a major project on drilling a deep bore hole in the seismically active Koyna-Warna region in Maharashtra, to study in detail the ongoing earthquake generation processes in the region. The proposed scientific deep drilling investigations in the seismically active Koyna region will provide a unique opportunity and the much desired data sets to better understand the mechanisms of faulting, physics of reservoir triggered earthquakes and also contribute towards earthquake hazard assessment and develop models for earthquake forecast in future.


 

 

 

 

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