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Swedish general appointed to head UN India Pakistan military observers:-

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has appointed Swedish Major General Per Lodin, a logistics expert, to head the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) that monitors the situation in Kashmir. India does not recognise the UNMOGIP’s mandate.

He is to succeed Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who is completing his two-year assignment in July.

Lodin is currently the head of Strategic Material Management at Forsvarets materielverk (FMV), the Swedish defence ministry’s procurement and logistics arm.

He had earlier served as the head of the task force centre of Kosovo Force (KFOR), the multi-national peacekeeping mission led by NATO in 2006-2007.

UNMOGIP, which has personnel from 10 countries comprising 44 military members and 72 civilian staff, began operations in 1949.

India maintains that the UNMOGIP has been made irrelevant by the 1972 Simla Agreement between Prime Ministers Indira Gandhi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that recognises the Kashmir dispute as a bilateral issue.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, has called for an expansion of the UNMOGIP and his country continues to file complaints with it about alleged Indian ceasefire violations.

In 2014, India asked the UNMOGIP to leave the government building it had provided the mission.

Strong quake rattles Indonesia’s Lombok, no tsunami

Photo courtesy: US Geological Survey

An earthquake of magnitude 6.2 struck off the Indonesian island of Lombok on Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said, but there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The earthquake, which hit 234 km (145 miles) south of Lombok, at a depth of 29 km (18 miles), also briefly startled tourists on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Centre plans alternative to Bt cotton

The Union government is working to develop a suite of Bt cotton genes that can be integrated into traditional varieties and be made available to farmers as a viable alternative to the current technology, which is largely sourced from Mahyco Monsanto Biotech India Ltd. (MMB).

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has for many years unsuccessfully tried to develop Bt cotton, which contains insecticidal genes sourced from a soil bacterium and targeted at key cotton pests. However this project would be led by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

There were already several genes available in various labs and stages of development, but the aim was “that India not be dependent on foreign technology.

While Bt cotton has always been controversial, it is now in the throes of a new controversy with the Agriculture Ministry mooting a change in the way seed companies and seed-technology companies such as the MMB share royalty, technology and determine the price as which farmers buy cotton seed. Different arms of government are split over whether seed tech companies have the right or are obliged to license their technology to seed companies on request. More clarity is expected to emerge on this issue within the next few months.

Slew of technologies

Institutes such the National Botanical Research Institute, the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources will be among the key agencies for identifying and developing new genes.

Cotton is the only genetically-modified seed that’s legally allowed in India. Gm food crops such as brinjal and mustard, which are in advanced stages of regulatory clearances, are yet to become available to farmers due to stringent opposition by anti-GM activist groups.

Augmented Reality:-

Envision a future where flat screen devices like a laptop or smart phone are history. Why stare at a 10 inch screen when the whole world can be used as one? That future is not very far. “Augmented Reality (AR) is seeing digital things being a part of your real life environment, and Virtual Reality (VR) is being transported to an entirely digital environment. In simple terms, AR is seeing a dragon land on your table and VR is you being inside a dragon’s world.

Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer.

As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one.Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Information about the environment and its objects is overlaid on the real world. This information can be virtual or real, e.g. seeing other real sensed or measured information such as electromagnetic radio waves overlaid in exact alignment with where they actually are in space.

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