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India's First Monorail Opens in Mumbai

India’s first monorail opened for the public in the first week of February promising relief for residents in Mumbai’s crowded eastern neighborhoods and suburbs through improved connectivity to key railway stations.

The 8.9 kilometre monorail connects Wadala, a neighborhood along the eastern side of the island city, to Chembur, an eastern suburb. The remaining 10.2 kilometer stretch is expected to open next year, and connects Wadala to Mahalaxmi, a south Mumbai neighbourhood close to the city’s financial centre.

A ticket to hop onto the monorail, which cost 30 billion rupees or $480 million to build, is priced between Rs. 5 to Rs. 20 .

The four-car coach can carry 570 passengers at a time and gets from Wadala to Chembur in less than 20 minutes, with seven stops on the way. The coaches are sleek and shiny, painted in bright pink, green and blue, a pleasant change from the city’s drab, dust-coloured trains.

Scientists create bone-like material lighter than water but strong as steel

Materials shape human progress – think stone age or bronze age. The 21st century has been referred to as the molecular age, a time when scientists are beginning to manipulate materials at the atomic level to create new substances with astounding properties. Taking a step in that direction, Jens Bauer at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and his colleagues have developed a bone-like material that is less dense than water, but as strong as some forms of steel, reports The Hindu.

“This is the first experimental proof that such materials can exist,” Bauer said. For many years, material scientists have thought that some empty areas on the compressive strength-density chart should be filled by materials that theory predicts. Computer simulations could be used to indicate an optimum microstructure that would give a material the right properties. However, nobody had tools to build materials with defined patterns at the scale of a human hair.

With recent developments in lasers and 3D printing, however, a German company called Nanoscribe started offering lasers that could do just what Bauer wanted. Nanoscribe’s system involves the use of a polymer that reacts when exposed to light and a laser that can be neatly focused on a tiny spot with the help of lenses.

Raw Horse Grain Good for Diabetics, says IICT

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology have found that unprocessed raw horse gram seeds not only possess anti-hyperglycemic properties but also have qualities which reduce insulin resistance.

The scientists made a comparative analysis between horse gram seeds and their sprouts and found that the seeds would have greater beneficial effects on the health of hyperglycemic individuals, reports The Hindu.

Dr. Ashok Kumar Tiwari, Principal Scientist and lead author of the study said increased consumption of highly processed foods was contributing to spiked levels of blood glucose and lipid levels. He said South Asians consume more carbohydrates, and the introduction of polished white rice has contributed to increased levels of blood sugar among them.

Quoting an earlier study carried out at IICT, he said it was noticed that brown rice or pounded rice was less glycemic than polished rice. He said that persistent hyperglycemia induces oxidative stress which in turn generates free radicals. These free radicals damage bio-molecules leading to imbalance in physiological functions and development of diabetic complications. Describing horse gram (Ulavalu in Telugu, Kulthi in Hindi, Kollu in Tamil) as a poor man's pulse crop in South India, he said it was an anti-oxidant rich food grain. Traditionally different preparations were made with the pulse to suit the requirements of different seasons. For instance, it was given in the winter for generating body heat/warmth and energy.

Industry Heads Participate in Teach for India Week

The heads of major companies are stepping into the classrooms of students from low-income groups as part of the ongoing Teach for India Week in Pune. The campaign which began on January 27 will continue till January 31, reports Sakal Times.

Bajaj Auto Managing Director (MD) Rajiv Bajaj, Kirloskar Brothers Chairman and MD Sanjay Kirloskar, Cybage Chief Financial Officer Kedar Sabne and over 30 other leaders are participating in the event.

Each year, the Teach For India Week aims to give leaders across industries a glimpse of the harsh reality of the education crisis as well as the hope and impact that education can bring for them. Leaders get an opportunity to teach children in a subject of their expertise.

Recently, Rajiv Bajaj and Shishir Joshipura interacted with children from schools run by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

Rajiv Bajaj taught standard VI students of Kasturba Gandhi School in Koregaon Park. He began by narrating stories from the life of Mahatma Gandhi. He later stressed the need to specialise in one field in order to become successful in life.

Shishir Joshipura, SKF India Managing Director, also taught standard VI students of Ahilya Devi Holkar English Medium School on Baner road.

He narrated his journey from a young boy studying in Jaipur to becoming the Managing Director of SKF in Pune. All along, the students learnt lessons of perseverance, hard work and the importance of always helping others.

The visit ended with a promise from Shishir to escort the students to the SKF facility to view models of automobiles and to understand the working of different products being manufactured by SKF.

UN praise for falcon saviour

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has congratulated India, particularly the Nagaland government, for preventing the massacre of Amur falcons last year. In a letter to former Union minister of environment and forest Jayanthi Natarajan, the executive secretary of the UNEP (convention of migratory species) Bradnee Chambers, wrote: “I wish to congratulate the government of India for their continued work with the local Naga community and to further promote community-based conservation to protect the Amur falcon in Nagaland.”

The letter stated that the UNEP/CMS was confident that India would continue to work towards the conservation of Amur falcons and other migratory birds of prey in the long term, reports The Telegraph. The letter lauded the people of Nagaland, stating that it was crucial to recognise the willingness of the Naga people to voluntarily withdraw from harvesting the falcons and to work proactively to develop alternative ways to generate income.

The efforts of the Nagaland forest department and villagers of Wokha district ensured that not a single falcon was killed last year on their way to South Africa from Siberia.

Till a few years back, there were reports that hundreds of these migratory raptors were killed in Nagaland when they arrived at the Doyang reservoir in Wokha to roost every winter.

Three Amur falcons were also fitted with satellite tracking devices this year in Nagaland to monitor their movement.

“All the three birds, Naga, Wokha and Pangti, are in southern Africa now. While one bird was spotted in Botswana yesterday, the other two are in South Africa,” a senior forest officer in Nagaland told The Telegraph today.

The UNEP letter stated that the conservation efforts in India generated immense amount of positive publicity, both within India and internationally, and this has given out a positive message on conservation.

The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) has also congratulated the Nagaland forest department for “excellent work done for the protection of Amur falcons”.

Two forest range officers of Nagaland and the forest protection force also received the governor’s awards for their services in conservation this year.

This was the first time that forest department officers were awarded with governor’s gold medals in Nagaland.

The forest protection force was awarded with the governor’s commendation certificate for protecting the Amur falcon.

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