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    February 26th, 2014adminScience & Technology
    Geetha Varadan / The Hindu

    Geetha Varadan / The Hindu

    ‘Active participation of young minds is the need of the hour’

    India is on a par with global giants when it comes to research in the realm of space science. Active participation of young minds is the need of the hour, said Advanced Data Processing Research Institute Director and Outstanding Scientist Geetha Varadan.

    Delivering the keynote address at a two-day national-level seminar on ‘Video Analytics and Image Processing Applications’ here at V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College on Friday, she said that India was marching towards the cutting edge technology in space research. The ADRIN is a wing of the Department of Space, Indian Space Research Organisation.

    The scientist pointed out that days were not far when the country would have its own video-graphing satellite like the Skybox and missile monitoring station in the space.

    Resource crunch

    She said that ‘sky was the limit’ when it came to exploration in science and technology and good brains need to tread the research and development road.

    “We should give back something to the country and the best way for technocrats is through research,” she added.

    The Director of ADRIN pointed out, “We are definitely short of resources, but we have ideas and the brains. Give your best within the available resources.” At the inaugural session she dealt with the various forms of aerial and satellite imaging and processing and how the technology has evolved over the years.

    Ms. Geetha said that today image or video analytics was playing a major role in almost all sectors right from environment to defence and from aviation to cartography. College Research and Development wing head N.N. Sastry urged the students to enjoy research and not take it up as a compulsion.

    College principal K. Mohan Rao, president of Siddhartha Academy N. Venkateswarulu, secretary P. Lakshman Rao, CSE Dept. Head Srinivasa Rao and ADRIN Group Director S. Venkata Raman also spoke.

    The two-day meet is being organised by the Department of Computer Science Engineering in association with TEQIP.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada / by Special Correspondent / Vijayawada – February 22nd, 2014

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    February 26th, 2014adminArts, Culture & Entertainment, World Opinion
    Amy Ziff, Alyson Palmer and Elizabeth Ziff of Betty

    Amy Ziff, Alyson Palmer and Elizabeth Ziff of Betty

    Saturday morning turned out to be a sunny morning but students of Hyderabad Public School were all charged up as band Betty gave out an electric performance.

    Organised by the US Consulate General, the New York-based all woman trio were in the city to perform their brand of music with a message.

    Known for using the arts to counter and raise a voice against gender-based violence, Betty, which features Elizabeth and Amy Ziff on the guitar and cello respectively and Alyson Palmer on the bass, has been a unique initiative in the States since 1986.

    As they took to the stage, at least a 1,000 students cheered them on. Getting right down to business, the ladies launched into a pop number that got people’s feet tapping. However, singing an underlying message about determination and perseverance, the own compositions told the tale of a sailor which was followed by Elizabeth stressing on the importance of passion.

    “Be passionate no matter what it is. No matter what situation you are in, never give up and lose your passion. Spread love and hate none.”

    Following this pattern of song and sermon, the morning had messages on bullying, empowerment of the woman and equal rights, peace and love for all.

    Playing own compositions, the band garnered much enthusiasm from the crowd with their rock sound, even head-banging to a few numbers. Elizabeth Ziff also had the kids doing a few robotic dance moves, keeping them engaged.

    Explaining why they were in India, Alyson said, “We want to build bridges but not walls between New York and India. There shouldn’t be any difference between one and another.”

    With issues like equal rights and bullying at the top of their list, the band tried to reach out to students through their music to push their point forward.

    “One’s dignity can never be taken away unless it is surrendered. I believe that the students here are the future leaders not only of India but of the world,” said Amy, who appealed to students to not  bully their peers.

    At the end of the hour-long concert-with-a-message, students were clamouring for more and called for an encore, which the band willingly obliged to.

    While students wished to speak to the artists, the band made a quick exit, leaving their music to the talking for them.

    source: / The New Indian Express / Home> Cities> Hyderabad / by Jiby Varghese – Hyderabad / February 10th, 2014

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    Hyderabad :

    On a day when Union finance minister  P Chidambaram announced the allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for empowerment of women in the country, Hyderabad is already on its way to reclaim the safety of its roads and make them more women-friendly.

    Starting Tuesday, an only-women cab service, managed by women and ferrying only women passengers will ply in the city to make travelling a safer experience for city women. In two weeks, women drivers will also be seen ferrying techies from Hi-tec city in five all-new pink autos.

    After weeks of training in driving, etiquette and martial arts, four women cab drivers are ready to take over the male-dominated public transport system of the city to begin with.

    The ‘She’ cabs are similar to the existing radio cabs in the city with the added feature of GPS devices fitted in them. The tracking devices are connected to police stations across the city as an alarm system. “With the increasing number of cases of violence against women in the city, it is important to have an exclusive transport system for women. Despite the potential challenges I may face, it is a privilege for me to serve members of my community,” said 23-year-old Nagamani, one of the drivers of the ‘She’ cab.

    The cabs and the autos are all part of a pilot project, with plans already afoot to start a fleet of cars and autos, manned by a call centre later this year.

    The trained drivers are members of the AP Balala Hakkula Sangham, which has taken up this initiative.

    In a similar move, an only for women auto service, identified by their women drivers and pink stickers on the body of the vehicles, will ply in and around Hi-tec city and Kukatpally areas. Women from auto driving unions and self-help groups were selected and then trained in driving, etiquette and even martial arts to prepare them for the task ahead.”It was a challenge to get women to come forward for the training programme, but now we are ready to roll out the first batch of all-women autos. We have specifically chosen the Hi tech city area because they need a woman-friendly transport system because of the number of working women professionals there,” said Suresh Raju, founder president of Vaada Foundation, which has initiated the ‘pink auto’ campaign.

    As added safety measures, these autos have been provided with pepper spray cans as well as an SOS button that would connect them to the police in case of any emergency.

    At a time when the city has been witnessing a spate of crimes against women, including the gangrape of a 23-year-old girl late last year, an exclusive transport system has been welcomed by Hyderabad’s women folk.

    “I would definitely feel safer in an auto or cab driven by a woman, especially if it’s late in the day. Such endeavours are necessary and they need to be implemented on a larger scale,” said Harika Suri, who works at a research centre in Banjara Hills.

    Isidore Philips, a women’s rights activist, said that such initiatives will help make the city’s public spaces safer for women. “Such initiatives are part of the larger picture of women empowerment as women are entering the male dominated space of public transport. At the same time, they are providing safer travel options, which the city really needs right now,” Philips said.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / by Ananya Banerjee, TNN / February 18th, 2014

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    Hyderabad :

    Empowering women smallholder farmers overcome the unique hurdles they face in the semi-arid tropics, and thus securing the future of food production and the economic growth in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, was among the key messages at the Asia Regional Planning Meeting of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).

    The meeting held at the ICRISAT headquarters in Hyderabad, acknowledged the significant contributions made by women smallholder farmers and the transformative role they play in dryland agriculture. “The efforts of ingenious and resourceful women smallholder farmers are helping us in our mission to achieve prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. They have always been at the forefront in fighting poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation. It is upon us to work with and provide them with scientific innovations and solutions to help increase the productivity of their crops and their incomes, while improving the resilience of their lands and livelihoods,” ICRISAT Director General Dr William D Dar said.

    “ICRISAT now adopts a gender transformative approach in all its research for development activities in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Our interdisciplinary teams of scientists, with guidance from gender specialists, will methodically assess the women smallholder farmers’ control over resources and explore more opportunities for value addition to their services. Our aim is to achieve real gender equality and thereby significantly help empower women,” Dr Dar added.

    Present during the meeting were two new gender specialists to be based in West and Central Africa  (WCA) and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) to complement the gender specialists based in its headquarters in India, for enhanced and active gender integration into agricultural research for development.

    “This Regional Planning exercise helps us to ensure that ICRISAT’s research is aligned with the CGIAR Research Programs on Dryland Cereals and Grain Legumes that we are leading, as well as with all the five other CGIAR Research Programs we are involved in. But more importantly, it serves as a guide for us to make sure that we are still focused on the right questions, that we are relevant to the smallholder farmers, particularly women, and that we have strategies, tools and technologies in place for maximum impact,” said Dr CLL Gowda, ICRISAT’s Deputy Director General for Research, in his welcome remarks.

    The meeting attended by over 100 ICRISAT scientists and senior staff mainly from its headquarters in India, and some from its WCA and ESA regional offices, consisted of a review of past research for development activities, as well as brainstorming and interactive sessions to help identify new areas of research and opportunities for scaling out improved technologies and tools.

    ICRISAT’s 2014 work plans for Asia were drawn up and the way forward was mapped out with focus on inclusiveness – gender integration; working with and bringing in the concerns of smallholder farmers; enhancing their participation and engagement in the institute’s research for development activities; and working along the Inclusive Market-Oriented Development (IMOD) framework to give smallholder farmers access to scientific innovations and connecting them to markets.

    Dr Deborah J Delmer, Chair of the Program Committee of the ICRISAT Governing Board, led a brainstorming session during the meeting on ‘Integrating genetic engineering with genomics for crop improvement, with social science and natural resources perspectives’. The technical deliberations stressed on the importance of a better integration of social science and natural resources perspectives in modern biotechnology, to maximize its potential applications in crop improvement and the betterment of farming systems in overcoming the serious challenge of feeding the rapidly growing world population in the future.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Hyderabad / by Syed Akbar, TNN / February 18th, 2014

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    February 26th, 2014adminAmazing Feats, Records, All, Sports


    Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, the visually-challenged judoka from Hydeabad, who has been selected to represent India in the Junior world games (Paralympic) in Hungary, seen with his coach and mentor M. A. Aziz. PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU / The Hindu

    Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, the visually-challenged judoka from Hydeabad, who has been selected to represent India in the Junior world games (Paralympic) in Hungary, seen with his coach and mentor M. A. Aziz. PHOTO: K. RAMESH BABU / The Hindu

    Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi is the only person from the State to compete at the ongoing Junior European and Junior World Games competitions in Hungary

    He cannot see the world like us, but Irfan Bin Hamed Al Hamoomi, 20, is sure to make the world sit up and watch his exploits in judo.

    The local boy is the only person from the State (among five from India) to be selected to represent the country at the ongoing Junior European and Junior World Games competitions in Hungary. The 90-per cent visually challenged student of Chanchalguda Junior College says his career took a turn for the good after meeting M. A. Aziz, former national champion, and a jury member in the 2012 London Paralympics.

    “Things changed for the good after I met him, as I was facing difficult times,” Irfan says, even as he traces his humble origins. His father Irfan Hamoomi supports the family selling onion and garlic.

    The boy’s career took off when he won gold in the 55-kg category in the Lucknow nationals for the visually challenged (Andhra Pradesh won the overall championship for the first time with six gold, three silver and two bronze).

    Irfan is confident of doing well in Hungary where judokas from 35 countries are expected to vie for top honours.

    “I don’t think of my handicap at all. I am just enjoying the sport,” says the youngster. Irfan trains with 20 others at the Quli Qutub Shah Stadium on a wrestling mat (not a judo mat), showcasing his indefatigable spirit to keep improving despite all odds.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by V. V. Subrahmanyam / Hyderabad – December 05th, 2013

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    V. Venugopal, Editor of Veekshana monthly magazine, Hyderabad, delivering 'Abdul Rehman memorial lecture' at the Public Library in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. / Photo: A. Manikanta Kumar / The Hindu

    V. Venugopal, Editor of Veekshana monthly magazine, Hyderabad, delivering ‘Abdul Rehman memorial lecture’ at the Public Library in Visakhapatnam on Sunday. / Photo: A. Manikanta Kumar / The Hindu

    Services of former trade union leader of VPT recalled

    The concept of development had been redefined by former trade union leader of Visakhapatnam Port Trust Abdul Rahman, who passed away 15 years ago.

    But his selfless contributions to the port employees in many forms were something to be remembered for a lifetime, senior journalist and editor of monthly magazine ‘Veekshanam’ N. Venugopal has said here on Sunday.

    Recalling the expertise of Abdul Rahman on the occasion of his 15 death anniversary at an endowment lecture on the theme ‘Development and its alternate perspectives’ hosted by Abdul Rahman Memorial Committee here at Visakhapatnam Public Library, he said: “Development per se doesn’t have any relevance if it is not in line with people’s welfare. In the modern day context, the definition of development has taken a new dimension and is often confined to individual’s growth in the form of assets and other privileges. However, for Abdul Rahman it was beyond personal and professional preferences.”

    His associates and others recalled that Rahman dedicated his life in service to society.

    Several political and societal issues were discussed.

    Former Union Energy Secretary E.A.S. Sarma highlighted how people’s views should never be ignored in a democratic country like ours. He said that before setting up any unit, it was important to draft policies in an inclusive manner.

    “It was a privilege to work under the leadership of Abdul Rahman.

    Till his last days, his focus was always on employees’ welfare. He was an epitome of hard work and perseverance who had led by example,” said convener of the committee P.V. Ramana.

    With the first annual event inaugurated by former Mayor D.V. Subba Rao, committee members said that the annual feature will have experts speak on different subjects that would have a positive impact on society.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Visakhapatnam / by Staff Reporter / Visakhapatnam – February 17th, 2014

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    Visakhapatnam :

    After a spate of population control and family planning measures pushed the total fertility rate (TFR) in Andhra Pradesh (1.8 births per woman) well below the national average of 2.7 births per woman, the state government has now reversed gears and is focusing on population stabilization policies and spacing of children.

    Taking this endeavour a step ahead, the state department of health and family welfare has mooted proposals for sanctioning two centres in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam to carry out specialized recanalization surgeries to reverse family planning operations.

    “We have proposed setting up of recanalisation centres in Secunderabad (Gandhi Hospital) and Visakhapatnam, utilising this financial year’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) funds for infertile couples or those who want an issue after losing their child.

    It’s a microsurgery and needs high amount of expertise,” said state joint director of family welfare Dr Ch Jayakumari.

    The latest proposals come even as the proposal to set up three infertility clinics in Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Kurnool for below the poverty line (BPL) childless couples, which was mooted in 2012, failed to make much headway.

    Many couples, who have undergone family planning surgeries like tubectomy or vasectomy, are changing their minds due to various reasons.

    Couples generally undergo such surgeries after the birth of their second child as part of family planning operations, which also fetch them monetary incentives. As per the National Family Health Survey, more than 60% women undergo tubectomy, while just around 2-3 % men undergo vasectomy in the state.

    Recently, at the King George Hospital (KGH), a 20-year-old woman from Padmanabham lost her newborn daughter to asphyxiation a day after she underwent tubectomy. In a fit of rage and grief, the husband G Naidu alleged that the proced

    owever, the issue was resolved after the hospital authorities found the allegations false and assured the husband that a re-canalisation or ‘reverse procedure’ could be done after some days when the wife recuperates from her second Caesarian-section.

    Like this couple, there are others, who want a recanalization done for various reasons, mostly after they lose their child.

    Around 25 reverse family planning operations or recanalisations take place at KGH every year, which is the biggest state-run teaching hospital in north-coastal Andhra. Couples, who undergo a change of mind, months or years after performance of either tubectomy or vasectomy, usually come for these recanalisation surgeries.

    Interestingly, there have also been a few former Maoist couples, who approached doctors in the hope of getting a reverse surgery done, said Dr P V Sudhakar, head, department of plastic surgery, KGH, and acting medical superintendent of the hospital.

    “The primary reasons for recanalization include death of the first or second child due to ailments or accidents or when the spouse wants a child with a new partner following the death of or divorce from the first partner. There have also been a few cases of couples, who had undergone tubectomy or vasectomy when they were actively involved in the Maoist movement, changing their minds after surrender and seeking a recanalisation procedure to lead a normal family life,” added Dr Sudhakar.

    According to doctors, the success rate of recanalization is around 80% but a lot depends on the time frame and expertise of the surgeons. “If it is done within six months to one year of family planning operations, the chance of success is quite high. This specialised surgery is done under magnification by experts from the genito-urology and plastic surgery departments,” said Dr Soma Raju, regional health director, north coastal Andhra.

    “The greater the delay in taking up recanalisation after vasectomy, the greater the risk of antibodies developing against the sperm cells, reducing the sperm count. While, in the case of women, fibrosis and changes inside the fallopian tube obstruct the transport of the ovum, thereby rendering recanalisation ineffective,” averred Dr Sudhakar, who undertakes this highly skilful and specialised surgery at KGH.

    source: / The Times of India / Home> City> Visakhpatnam / by Sulogna Mehta, TNN / February 18th, 2014

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    The Andhra Pradesh government today unveiled an exclusive policy for the life sciences sector aiming at USD 13.5 billion market by 2019 with an emphasis on biotechnology, medical devices, bio-services, pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals.

    “This policy will lead to Rs 20,000 crore of new investment and skilled employment opportunity to 50,000 people besides augmenting exports to Rs 60,000 crore by 2019,” the policy that was unveiled during the inaugural session of ‘BioAsia-2014’ said.

    The major initiative of the policy is to declare lifesciences sector as an industrial category with a set of steps that will ease compliance of procedures through single window system and provides power at industrial tariff which are hitherto being levied commercial tariff.

    Providing uninterrupted power supply for life saving drugs is also one of the steps in the policy, it said.

    As a part of infrastructure development, the policy envisages certain projects which are critical for the development of the sector under PPP mode such as Vivarium, vaccine testing facility, animal quarantine and bio-security facility, medical devices park, dedicated life sciences clusters in the form of Genome Valley, parks and institutions, it further said.

    K Pradeep Chandra, principal secretary (industries), said that with initiatives mentioned in the policy, the state will become a major attraction for the life sciences industry in the coming years.

    source: / Business Standard / Home> PTI Stories> National> News / by Press Trust of India / Hydreabad – February 17th, 2014

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    Nikhil Kumar at his shop selling fish./ The Hindu

    Nikhil Kumar at his shop selling fish./ The Hindu

    Fifteen-year-old S. Nikhil Kumar, who took to sailing three years ago, is back from Hong Kong after a training stint under renowned Polish sailing coach Marek Nostitz Jackowski

    Fifteen-year-old S. Nikhil Kumar has made rapid strides in the sport of sailing since he took it up about three years ago on the waters of the Hussainagar Lake. His family is in the business of selling fish and when he is not studying or sailing his boat, he too puts in his share of handling the household chores which includes selling fish.

    Recently Nikhil had the privilege, along with a few other boys from India, to go to Hong Kong to attend a sailing course conducted by Marek Nostitz Jackowski, the well-known Polish sailing coach based there.

    Marek had come to Hyderabad a few months ago following an invitation by Suheim Sheikh, founder of the Yacht Club of Hyderabad. On that occasion Nikhil’s skills in handling his craft had caught the eye of this experienced coach.

    Marek had asked Nikhil to come over to Hong Kong for further coaching and recently Nikhil managed to make the trip.

    The training was provided free by the coach and YCH paid other expenses. It turned out to be a very exciting and valuable experience for this young lad from Hyderabad.

    “Marek sir provided me with very good advice. I was among a group of 16 sailors from different countries. Our coach put us through some tough sailing exercises on the water. Every day we trained for about seven hours. The way he trained us was an eye opener to me in many ways. After my trip, I can truly say that I have emerged a far better sailor and I am sure I will do even better in the days to come,” says Nikhil.

    Nikhil Kumar during a sailing session. / The Hindu

    Nikhil Kumar during a sailing session. / The Hindu

    High on confidence

    “Sailing in the sea was quite a different experience from sailing on the Hussainsagar Lake which is an inland venue. Coping with wind speeds, changes and shifts and also handling boats under simulated competitions gave me a lot of confidence in my own abilities. Now I am sure I will do well in the national meets that I am planning to take part in, during the coming year,” Nikhil says.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Hyderabad / by Abhijit Sen Gupta / Hyderabad – November 20th, 2013

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    A view of Naye Maszid at Rajpet in Machilipatnam. / Photo: T. Appala Naidu / The Hindu

    A view of Naye Maszid at Rajpet in Machilipatnam. / Photo: T. Appala Naidu / The Hindu

    Renovation of the architectural beauty of 1920s is now under way

    Idyllic living conditions help peaceful existence of people from different religious practices in Rajpeta area. This peaceful atmosphere of co-existence justifies it to be called ‘Jewel by the sea’ in the port town.

    Renovation of Naye Masjid, an architectural beauty of 1920s, is now underway and it is bound to become the most sought-after location for the people in the town in the coming years. Naye Masjid, with two minars, each standing 108 feet tall, has been the sole sacred place for the estimated 700 families belonging to Muslim Sunni sect.

    An integral part

    Every resident from five streets around it – Rajpeta, Nooruddinpeta, Varregudem, Pathullahbad and the National College Street – need to pass in front of the Masjid everyday as part of their routine. Having a look at the Masjid has become an integral part of the people’s daily lives, irrespective of their religious practices.

    “Construction of Masula’s one of the multi-speciality hospitals is on in our area. People from the entire town will appreciate the beauty of the Masjid when they visit the hospital after it goes functional,” feel the Rajpeta residents. The proud locals claim that renowned educational institutions such as The National College and Krishna University were situated in its vicinity.

    The Committee Secretary Sheik Hussain with his son. / Photo: T. Appala Naidu / The Hindu

    The Committee Secretary Sheik Hussain with his son. / Photo: T. Appala Naidu / The Hindu

    “Muslim families in Rajpeta area contribute funds for completion of the ongoing beautification and renovation works of the Naye Masjid. However, people from all other religions take pride in having such a structure,” Naye Maszid Committee Secretary Sheik Hussain told The Hindu.

    This landmark construction is visible from majority of the areas in the district headquarters town.

    source: / The Hindu / Home> News> Cities> Vijayawada> City Musings  / by T. Appala Naidu / Machilipatnam – February 17th, 2014

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