Telugu writer Prof Kalakaluri Enoch conferred 29th Moortidevi Award

Noted Telugu writer Prof. Kalakaluri Enoch was on 29 September 2016 conferred with Moortidevi Award of Bharatiya Jnanpith for the year 2015 at function in New Delhi. The award was given for his novel Ananta Jeevanam.

The novel was thought-provoking and contemplative as it depicted the struggle of the weak, the downtrodden and the common man of Rayalaseema. This is the first time a Telugu writer was selected for the award.

Veteran art historian Dr Kapila Vatsyayana presented the award to Prof. Kalakaluri Enoch.

Prof. Kalakaluri Enoch

  • Born on 1 July 1939, Prof. Enoch is a former vice-chancellor of SV University.
  • He has been awarded the Padma Shri.
  • The noted Dalit voice, poet and academician was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award, in 2014 for his contributions to the field of literature.
  • He has credited over 180 poems, 180 stories, 9 novels and 30 plays.

About Moorti Devi Award

  • Moorti Devi award was founded by Bharatiya Jnanpith and is given away to the authors who have contributed in the field of contemporary creative writing in modern Indian languages.
  • It is presented annually for a contemplative and perceptive work which expresses, underlines and illumines human values rooted in the broad vision of Indian philosophy and cultural heritage.
  • Books written in English and all Indian languages are considered for the Prize, which comprises a cash award of four lakhs rupees, a Saraswati statue and a citation plaque.

Union Government decides to raise EPFO Investment in ETF from 5 to 10 per cent

The Union Government on 30 September 2016 decided to raise the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) investment in Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) from existing 5 per cent to 10 per cent.

The decision has been taken considering the good returns in ETF investment.

An official release said, in the last one year, the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has invested 6577 crore rupees. The investment has yielded a good return of 13.24 per cent.

The past performance of the last six months from April, 2016 to August, 2016 also showed gradual appreciation in the returns from 0.37 per cent in March 2016 to 13.24 per cent in August 2016. Five per cent EPF has been invested in NIFTY 50 and SENSEX.

The pattern of investment prescribed by the Ministry of Finance has given guidelines for investment in equity from 5 per cent to 15 per cent.


Infosys launches mobile-first and modular e-commerce platform Skava Commerce

Infosys on 28 September 2016 launched Skava Commerce, a modern, mobile-first and modular e-commerce platform that delivers engaging omni-channel experiences.


Skava is a Silicon Valley based e-commerce startup which was acquired by Infosys. 

Highlights of the Skava Commerce Platform

• The platform can help brick-and-mortar retailers to quickly launch new offerings, improve conversion rates of traffic coming from digital channels without making large investments upfront.
• It can integrate with existing technologies while providing a future-ready architecture that will enable next generation shopping experiences leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
• It also includes a responsive web store and native mobile shopping applications that can be managed by non-technical business users through SkavaSTUDIO- a web-based experience management tool.
• For retailers who are building their own platform, Skava is offering a source code license of its platform with an aim to accelerate retailers’ journey and yet have full ownership through the source code license.

R Subramania Kumar appointed Executive Director of Indian Overseas Bank

The Union Government on 29 September 2016 appointed R Subramania Kumar as Executive Director (ED) of state-owned Indian Overseas Bank.

Kumar is currently serving as the Executive Director of Indian Bank.

About Indian Overseas Bank

 Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is a major public sector bank based in Chennai.

 It has about 3700 domestic branches, including 1150 branches in Tamil Nadu, 3 extension counters, and eight branches and offices overseas as of 30 September 2014.

 Indian Overseas Bank has an ISO certified in-house Information Technology department, which has developed the software that its branches use to provide online banking to customers.

 The bank has achieved 100% networking status as well as 100% CBS status for its branches.

 IOB also has a network of about 3300 ATMs all over India.

 IOB has branches in Singapore, Hong Kong, Colombo, Seoul, and Bangkok.

 It has representative offices in Guangzhou, Vietnam, and Dubai.

 IOB also is part-owner of a joint-venture bank in Malaysia.

NASA spots possible Water signs on Jupiter's Moon Europa

The latest finding has given scientists fresh hope that a robotic spacecraft could one day fly past these potential plumes and learn about their contents without having to drill miles deep into the moon’s icy shell.

Using ultraviolet images taken by Hubble, a space telescope that was launched in 1990, the potential plumes were seen around the southern edge of Europa and appear as dark fingers or patches of possible absorption.

They were spotted over the course of 15 months in 2014 when scientists observed Europa passing in front of Jupiter.

This was observed by a team of astronomers led by William Sparks of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore. They observed these finger-like projections while viewing Europa’s limb as the moon passed in front of Jupiter.

If confirmed, Europa would be the second moon in the solar system known to have water vapor plumes. In 2005, NASA’s Cassini orbiter detected jets of water vapor and dust spewing off the surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

About the Plumes on Europa

The plumes are estimated to rise about 125 miles (200 kilometers) before, presumably, raining material back down onto Europa’s surface.

Europa has a huge global ocean that contains twice water than Earth’s oceans, which is protected by a layer of extremely cold and hard ice of unknown thickness.

The plumes provide a tantalizing opportunity to gather samples originating from under the surface without having to land or drill through the ice.

Previous Finding

Earlier in 2012, a team led by Lorenz Roth of the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, detected evidence of water vapor erupting from the frigid south polar region of Europa and reaching more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) into space. Although both teams used Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph instrument, each used a totally independent method to arrive at the same conclusion.

Next step to confirm presence of water vapor plumes on Europa

It is expected that scientists will use the infrared vision of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled to launch in 2018, to confirm venting or plume activity on Europa. Besides, NASA is also formulating a mission to Europa with a payload that could confirm the presence of plumes and study them from close range during multiple flybys.

The work by Sparks and his colleagues will be published in the 29 September 2016 issue of the Astrophysical Journal.

Hubble Space Telescope

It is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (the European Space Agency.) NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. STScI, which is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy in Washington, conducts Hubble science operations.

Former Australian cricketer Max Walker passes away

Former Australian cricketer Max Walker passed away on 28 September 2016 at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was 68.

Walker was famous for his unconventional bowling action that earned him the nicknameTangles.

About Max Walker

 Maxwell Henry Norman Walker was an Australian cricketer and Australian rules football player.

 He earned a place in the Australian cricket team in 1973 and represented his country in the sport until injury ended his career in 1981.

 Following his retirement, he worked as an architect and also commenced a career in radio and television media.

 He wrote 14 books over a period of thirty years and became a successful public speaker.

World Maritime Day observed with theme Shipping

World Maritime Day was observed across the world on 29 September 2016. Theme for the day is shipping: indispensable to the world.

The theme was chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and global society and to raise awareness of the relevance of the role of International Maritime Organization (IMO) as the global regulatory body for international shipping. The importance of shipping to support and sustain today’s global society gives IMO’s work a significance that reaches far beyond the industry itself.

Besides, to mark the 2016 World Maritime Day, a parallel event will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, from 4 to 6 November 2016.

Importance of Maritime Service

In the today’s world, maritime service supports the global economy by simplifying global trade. It helps in shipping the huge quantities of cargo in a cost-effective manner which is clean as well as safe. Maritime or shipping service also supports every country directly or indirectly to sell the products that it produces or to buy what it needs. 

In short it can be said that maritime transport is the backbone of global trade and the global economy.
Establishment of a sustainable maritime transport system sector is essential to the development and growth of the world’s economy. Shipping has always provided the only cost-effective method of bulk transport over any great distance, and the development of shipping and the establishment of a global system of trade are inextricably linked.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide.

ISRO signs MoU with Telangana to provide digital classes

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and Telangana government on 28 September 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide digital classes across the state through its state channel Mana TV.

As per the MoU, the ISRO’s Development & Educational Communication Unit (DECU) will work with the state government to disseminate educational content using satellite technology.

IT Minister KT Rama Rao said that this arrangement would help the channel start coaching classes from 1 October 2016. The channel will telecast a four-hour programme daily.

Besides, about 6000 schools of the state will launch digital classes from 14 October 2016. The digital classes will provide a platform for lakhs of students and job aspirants to get quality education.

Earlier in August 2016, the states Irrigation Department signed MoU with ISRO’s National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) to use space technology for real-time monitoring of all water resources in the state.

Mana TV

Mana TV was an initiative started by the undivided Andhra Pradesh to provide programmes on distance education, telemedicine and agriculture extension under different channels. The state in 2006, entered into a similar agreement with ISRO.

US appoints Jeffrey DeLaurentis as first Cuban Ambassador in 55 years

The United States on 27 September 2016 appointed its first Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis to Cuba in 55. The two countries broke off relations in 1961 after the communist revolution.

He was appointed to the post by President Barack Obama, who said that it was a step towards a more normal and productive relationship. He said that there was no better qualified public servant.

But this appointment will need an approval from the Republican-led Senate, which has opposed to his dealings with the communist island.

The new ambassador DeLaurentis had been working at the new US embassy in Havana, which opened since 2014. He served in Havana during the transition period between the two nations which includes re-opening of embassies in Washington and Havana. This was followed by resuming travel and trade relations on a limited basis.

About Cuba

Cuba is a unitary sovereign state comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet.

It is south of both the US state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti, and north of Jamaica. Havana is the largest city and capital. Cuba is governed by a communist type of government. A country with about 11.4 million people and speaks Spanish. Its currency is Cuban Peso and GDP per capita is 6790 dollar. Its land area is 41100 square miles.

Uttam Singh to be honoured with Lata Mangeshkar Award for Lifetime Achievement

Veteran music director and violinist Uttam Singh on 27 September 2016 was named for the 2016 Lata Mangeshkar Award for Lifetime Achievement of the Maharashtra Government.

The award carries a citation, a trophy and 500000 rupees in cash.

About Uttam Singh

  • Born on 25 May 1948, Uttam Singh has worked as a violinist, music arranger and music director for many Bollywood films.
  • He worked as a music arranger for Ilaiyaraaja in numerous Tamil films before establishing himself as an independent composer.
  • His big break came in 1963, when he worked as a violinist for a documentary being made by Mohammad Safi. After this, Uttam Singh played violin for major composers including Naushad, Roshan, Madan Mohan, C. Ramchandra, Sachin Dev Burman.
  • Later, he became the main violinist for Rahul Dev Burman.
  • His songs and score for the movie Pinjar won him much critical acclaim. It is considered to be his finest work as composer.

About Lata Mangeshkar Award

  • The Lata Mangeshkar Award is a national-level award instituted to honour works in the field of music.
  • Various state governments of India present awards with this name.
  • The state Government of Madhya Pradesh started this award in 1984.
  • The Lata Mangeshkar Award issued by the Maharashtra Government started from 1992. This is also officially known as Lata Mangeshkar Award for Lifetime Achievement.
  • Krishna Kalle was the winner of the 2014 Lata Mangeshkar Award for Lifetime Achievement.