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Josy Joseph’s Feast of Vultures

An award-winning journalist draws up on the stories of anonymous poor and famous Indians to weave together the challenges facing the nation.
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Mahasweta : Life And Legacy

Mahasweta Devi's ideas and writing will continue to be the guiding principle for generations of writers, activists, academics and journalists.
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Goa Civilians to Undergo Training in Disaster Management

The north Goa district administration is imparting training to a number of civilian volunteers in disaster management and rescue with an objective to make them capable of coping with rains and floods during monsoon.

The civilian volunteers force mostly comprises well-built people including Physical Education Teachers in various schools, Additional District Collector Dipak Desai said in a news agency report.

Mumbai-based Sarista Foundation has already began training few batches in the district at various taluka level, he said adding that advance level training can also be imparted to civilian volunteers on whom the administration can bank on during emergencies.

“There is no age limit. We also intend to include retired Physical Education teachers. If a person is below 18 years of age, the consent of his parents would be necessary," Desai said adding even students are involved in it. Read more..

Bureaucrat Helps Create Man-made Forest in Aluva, Cochin

A man-made forest in the heart of Aluva, Cochin is the effort of a group of environmentalists headed by Professor S. Sitaraman.

‘Harithavanam’ on the banks of the Mangalapuzha near Sivarathri Manappuram, Aluva was born when a sensitive bureaucrat with a love for plants and a group of nature lovers with a drive to green the city got together. Twenty years after it was planted ‘Harithavanam’, a unique experiment, has expanded in area and supports a thriving eco-system. This green lung is the fruit of dedicated work done by Professor S. Sitaraman and his team. But the creation of the forest was not easy. It was a constant struggle against a capricious river and negotiations with a judgemental public reports The Hindu.

Sitaraman retired as professor of Chemistry from Sree Sankara College, Kalady, after 32 years of service. Recalling the beginning of the project he says, “In 1987, then District Collector the late K.R. Rajan, was interested in environmental projects for the city. This project was initiated by him under a scheme called Integrated Development of Kochi. The initial funding, a small amount, was sanctioned by the Science and Technology Department. This was an experimental project to protect riverbanks by planting trees. I had suggested afforestation on an experimental basis,” recounts Sitaraman for whom ‘tree is life’. Read more..

Kashmir to Remain Connected Even in Winter

The Northern Railway's train service on the Banihal to Qazigund became operational last month. The latest 17·7 km section was built at a cost of Rs 16·9bn, including Rs 13bn for the 11·2 km PirPanjal tunnel, the longest in the Indian Railways network. This connects the Jammu region to the 119 km Kashmir Valley line between Qazigund, Srinagar and Baramula, which was completed ahead of the more difficult mountain section and opened as an isolated route in stages during 2008-09.

The Pir Panjal tunnel offers a year-round all-weather alternative to the 35 km road, which is impassable in heavy snow. Read more..

Nanofibre Mesh Brings Good News for Cancer Patients

Scientists have developed a “nanofibre mesh” that can efficiently induce natural death of epithelial cancer cells, says a study.

Developed by the researchers at International Centre of Material Nanoarchitectonics (MANA), Japan, the nanofibre mesh is capable of simultaneously realising thermotherapy (hyperthermia) and chemotherapy (treatment with anti-cancer drugs) of tumours, which until now was difficult to achieve, says the online bulletin of journal Advanced Functional Materials. Read more..

Eyecan – Colouring The World of the Blind

It was a usual weekend for Swasti Ray when he observed a visually impaired kid behind her mother trying to feel the shape of an apple near a fruit vendor in ShahpurJat, Delhi.

“Will he be able to know the colour as well – ‘red’ – and should we put Braille colour codes on every fruit?” The very thought motivated him to work on something that helps the blind enjoy colours and painting. And thus, ‘eyecan’ came into being reports

“Eyecan was conceptualized two years back. It was the time when I realized I have to do something real using my academic and professional skills. And as I was completely inclined towards the social form of art, I kept my emotional senses always open, which really helped me to come up with the idea of ‘eyecan’.

Swasti’s initial work of developing a basic water painting strip with Braille identifiers (named Colorise) ended in confusion and failure. “But with technical inputs from the Vice President of Amar Colony’s Institution for the Blind and Helen Keller Institute for Deaf & Blind (Mumbai), I was able to adapt a Japanese colouring device ‘Mitsuro Pen’ (an electronic device which is heavy in weight and uses wax strips to melt as wax ink) into ‘eyecan ’pastels which are being used by the visually impaired in India for realizing their art dreams” says Ray. Read more..

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