Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Starred Articles

Pakistani Taliban declares allegiance to Islamic State and global jihad
World > Pakistan > Oct 5
The Pakistani Taliban has declared it is backing the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and ordered fighters across the region to help the group in its campaign to set up an Islamic caliphate. The announcement comes after a move by Al-Qaeda chief, Ayman al-Zawahri, to name former Taliban commander Asim Umar as the "emir" of a new South Asia branch of the network that masterminded the 2001 attacks on the United States.
Although there is little evidence of a firm alliance yet between ISIS and Al-Qaeda-linked Taliban commanders, ISIS activists have been spotted recently in the Pakistani city of Peshawar distributing pamphlets praising the group.
ISIS flags have also been seen at street rallies in Indian-administered Kashmir. The trend has been of growing concern to global powers struggling to keep up with the fast-changing nature of the international Islamist insurgency.

John O’Keefe, May‐Britt Moser, Edvard I Moser win Nobel prize in medicine
Awards > Noble Prize - Medicine > Oct 6
The 2014 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine has been awarded to British-American researcher John O Keefe, and Norwegian couple May‐Britt Moser and Edvard I Moser, for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain.
They have discovered a positioning system, an "inner GPS" in the brain that makes it possible to orient ourselves in space, demonstrating a cellular basis for higher cognitive function. In 1971, John O'Keefe discovered the first component of this positioning system. He found that a type of nerve cell in an area of the brain called the hippocampus that was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat was at other places. O'Keefe concluded that these "place cells" formed a map of the room.
In 2005, May‐Britt and Edvard Moser discovered another key component of the brain's positioning system. They identified another type of nerve cell, which they called "grid cells", that generates a coordinate system and allow for precise positioning and pathfinding. Their subsequent research showed how place and grid cells make it possible to determine position and to navigate.

Islamic State’s ammunition shown to have origins in US and China
World > ISIS > Oct 6
According to new field data gathered by a private arms-tracking organization, the jihadist group Islamic State has been using ammunition from the United States and other countries that have been supporting the regional security forces fighting the group. The data, part of a larger sample of captured arms and cartridges in Syria and Iraq, carries an implicit warning for policymakers and advocates of intervention. It suggests that ammunition transferred into Syria and Iraq to help stabilize governments has instead passed from the governments to the jihadists, helping to fuel the Islamic State's rise and persistent combat power. Rifle cartridges from the United States, the sample shows, have played a significant role.
Conflict Armament Research's field survey is part of a continuing project funded by the European Union to identify the militant group's weapons and weapon sources, and display them transparently on a global online mapping system known as iTrace. It appears to confirm and add layers of detail to what has been reported anecdotally.
Its samples included 1,730 cartridges that had been manufactured as far back as 1945 and as recently as this year. Most of the ammunition was for rifles and machine guns, although a small fraction was for pistols, too. The ammunition was captured last summer by Kurdish fighters or collected by the organization's investigators at recently abandoned Islamic State fighting positions. Each cartridge's manufacturing provenance was then established by documenting its markings, known as headstamps.
Once the tallying was done, the investigators had identified 21 nations as sources of cartridges that were once possessed by Islamic State fighters, showing that these militants, like many rebel or insurgent groups, have diverse sources of supply.
More than 80 per cent of the ammunition was manufactured in China, the former Soviet Union, the United States, post-Soviet Russia or Serbia. The organization's analysis suggests that much of this ammunition was held by security forces in the region, and then commandeered by militants.


SJVN inks pact with Bhutan
India > SVJN – Bhutan Pact > Oct 2
As a major step towards the implementation of the 600-MW Kholongchu hydroelectric project in Bhutan by public sector Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited, a shareholders agreement was signed. This is the first hydroelectric project being developed by a JV Company of public sector undertakings of both the Governments.
The foundation stone for the project was laid on June 16 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Prime Minister of Royal Kingdom of Bhutan.

Rajasthan becomes first state to start olive refinery
India > Rajasthan > Oct 3
Rajasthan has started the country’s first olive refinery and expressed hope that it would be able to fulfil the country’s demand of olive oil in coming years. The olive oil produced in the refinery will be marked under the brand name of ‘Raj Olive Oil’ and will be available in markets after some time.
Seven leading varieties of Barnea, Arbequina, Crotina, Picholine, Picual, Coraniki and Frontoy have been planted in the farms.
Olive is a small tree belonging to the oleaceae family and is found in coastal areas of eastern Mediterranean (Italy and Spain), northern Iraq and northern Iran south of the Caspian Sea.

Telangana and BHEL sign MoU for power generation
Corporate > BHEL > Oct 4
Telangana State Power Generation Corporation (TS GENCO) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish thermal power plants to generate 6,000 MW of electricity in Telangana.
BHEL, a central public sector undertaking is the largest engineering and manufacturing enterprise in India as well as one of the leading companies in the field of power plant equipment. Its range of services extend from project feasibility through design, manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning, to after sales service.

India signs off at 8th spot in Asiad medals tally
Sports >Asian Games > Oct 4
India ended its 17th Asian Games campaign at the eighth spot on the medals tally, a drop of two positions from the previous edition of the mega-event. India signed off with 57 medals - 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze medals. The tally dipped considerably compared to the 2010 edition in Guangzhou, China.
In 2010, the country had ended sixth with 65 medals - 14 gold, 17 silver, and 34 bronze medals.
China ended its campaign on top claiming a whopping 342 medals. The Chinese contingent walked away with 151 gold, 108 silver, and 83 bronze medals. Hosts South Korea finished a distant second with 234 medals - 79 gold, 71 silver and 77 bronze medals. They were followed by the Japanese, who notched up 200 medals, including 47 gold, 76 silver and 77 bronze medals.

HP splits PC, printer and enterprise businesses
Corporate > Hewlett-Packard > Oct 6
Personal computer and printer maker Hewlett-Packard Co. plans to split itself into two separate companies by spinning off its technology services business. The breakup would create one company that sells HP's computers and printers and a second that focuses on technology service offerings including data storage, servers and software.
The Palo Alto, California-based company has laid off thousands of employees in recent months due to flagging sales as consumers turn to mobile devices to perform basic computing chores. The shift has curbed demand for HP's desktop and laptop computers, as well as its printers.

Nobel Prize for physics 2014 goes to inventors of energy-efficient LED light
Awards > Nobel Prize – Physics > Oct 7
Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano at Nagoya University, Japan, and Shuji Nakamura of UC Santa Barbara have won for inventing blue light-emitting diodes, ‘a new, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly light source’. According to the committee, the laureates' inventions revolutionized the field of illumination technology.
The LED lamp holds great promise for increasing the quality of life for over 1.5 billion people around the world who lack access to electricity grids: due to low power requirements it can be powered by cheap local solar power.The invention of the blue LED is just twenty years old, but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all.

Hong Kong protests dwindle, but talks with govt likely to go nowhere
World > Hong Kong > Oct 7
Crowds of protesters who filled Hong Kong's streets with demands for more democracy thinned dramatically after student leaders and the government agreed to hold talks. But with the authorities unlikely to agree to the protesters' immediate demands, including the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, any talks could quickly collapse. The protesters are demanding a wider say in the inaugural 2017 elections for Hong Kong's top official, known as the chief executive, than China's central government is willing to give them.
China's Communist Party leaders rule Hong Kong through a "one country, two systems " formula which allows wide-ranging autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland and specifies universal suffrage as an eventual goal.
But Beijing ruled on Aug. 31 it would vet candidates who want to run for chief executive in 2017, which the democracy activists said rendered the universal suffrage concept meaningless.
China, with separatist headaches in Tibet and Xinjiang, is concerned that calls for democracy might spread on the mainland and is unlikely to give an inch of ground after the worst unrest in the former British colony since it returned to China in 1997.

5,000-year Harappan stepwell found in Kutch, bigger than Mohenjodaro's
India > Gujarat > Oct 8
The Indian archaeologists have found a 5,000-year-old stepwell in Dholavira near the western Indian city of Kutch. Experts from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are of the opinion that Dholavira is considered as one of the largest Harappan cities.
According to the ASI experts, they found the stepwell while conducting research works jointly with officials of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar. Archaeologists claim that the stepwell is located in the eastern reservoir of Dholavira that is three times bigger compared to the Great Bath at Mohenjo Daro. In a statement, the ASI said that the site is the largest, grandest and the best furnished ancient reservoir discovered in India so far.

More cases of Ebola spreading in Europe 'unavoidable': WHO
World > Ebola > Oct 8
The World Health Organization has said that Europe would almost certainly see more cases of Ebola after a nurse in Spain became the first person known to have caught the virus outside Africa.
With concerns growing that the worst Ebola outbreak on record could spread beyond West Africa, where it has killed more than 3,400 people in three impoverished countries, Spanish officials tried to reassure the public that they were tackling the threat. Health experts said the chances were slim of a full-blown outbreak outside Africa.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), which monitors disease in the EU, said that, while there was a small risk of travellers bringing Ebola in without knowing it, the region's public health authorities "can efficiently detect and confirm cases of Ebola virus disease and thus prevent its onward spread".

While the White House said there were no plans for a travel ban, which could impede assistance to West Africa, U.S. authorities were developing new procedures to screen airline passengers.


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