IFUNA V-P Harcharan Singh Ranauta Honours Cricketer Harbhajan Singh
By Deepak Arora
CHANDIGARH, May 22: The Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) has honoured veteran cricketer Harbhajan Singh for his exemplary contribution to the society amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Harcharan Singh, Vice-President, IFUNA, honoured Harbhajan Singh at a simple ceremony in Chandigarh recently.
The Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) is affiliated to The World Federation of United Nations Associations, (WFUNA).
Harbhajan Singh has played over 100 cricket test matches and 236 ODIs.
During the Covid-19 lockdowns in India, Harbhajan has gone beyond the call of duty to provide high quantities of ration supplies to the needy.
He has also helped affected people helping and arranging transport, essentials, finances and medicines.
Ranauta and other members of the UN wished the sportsman the best and added that IFUNA stood by him in such future contributions to noble causes.
Indian Federation of United Nations Associations (IFUNA) was established more than four decades ago to promote the objectives of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies. It is a Non-governmental, Voluntary, Nonprofit Organization working for International Peace and Understanding.
IFUNA strives to focus its programs and activities around the vital concerns of the United Nations, like, Peace, International Understanding, Environment and Human Rights. In conducting all these activities and programs, effort is made to involve the leadership from all sections of society so as to make them broad based and effective.
IFUNA maintains close liaisons with Government Organizations, Press and Diplomatic Missions interested in United Nations activities. IFUNA has already created a niche for itself in the academic and social circles of the country through its varied and numerous activities like Lectures, Seminars, Symposiums, and Observance of U.N. Days, Debates, Competitions and Exhibitions on U.N Subjects.
Organic salts detected on Mars: NASA
WASHINGTON, May 23: Organic salts are likely present on Mars, a NASA team has found, and their detection may provide evidence that life once existed on the Red Planet.
A study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, found that organic salts, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium oxalates and acetates, may be widespread in Martian surface sediments. These salts are the chemical remnants of organic compounds.
Organic compounds and salts on Mars could have formed by geologic processes or be remnants of ancient microbial life, NASA said in a statement.
The findings were determined by lab experiments and analysis of data from the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), a portable chemistry lab inside Curiosity's belly.
"If we determine that there are organic salts concentrated anywhere on Mars, we'll want to investigate those regions further, and ideally drill deeper below the surface where organic matter could be better preserved," said James M. T. Lewis, an organic geochemist based at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Besides adding more evidence to the idea that there once was organic matter on Mars, directly detecting organic salts would also support modern-day Martian habitability, given that on Earth, some organisms can use organic salts, such as oxalates and acetates, for energy, the team said.
While directly identifying organic salts on Mars is hard to do with instruments like SAM, which heats Martian soil and rocks to release gases that reveal the composition of these samples, the team proposed another Curiosity instrument -- the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, or CheMin for short.
This instrument could detect certain organic salts if they are present in sufficient amounts. So far, CheMin has not detected organic salts, NASA said.
To determine the composition of a sample, CheMin shoots X-rays at it and measures the angle at which the X-rays are diffracted toward the detector.
Curiosity's SAM and CheMin teams will continue to search for signals of organic salts as the rover moves into a new region on Mount Sharp in Gale Crater.
Further, the European Space Agency's forthcoming ExoMars rover, which is equipped to drill down to 6.5 feet, or 2 metres, will carry a Goddard instrument that will analyse the chemistry of these deeper Martian layers.
Tarun Tejpal, Tehelka Founder, Acquitted In Rape Case
PANAJI, May 21: Tarun Tejpal, the founder-editor of Tehelka magazine, has been acquitted of rape charges by a court in Goa.
Tarun Tejpal was accused of sexually assaulting a colleague in 2013 on the sidelines of a conference at a five-star resort in Goa.
In 2017, the trial court had charged him with rape, sexual harassment, and wrongful confinement. Tarun Tejpal challenged the charges in the Supreme Court, which had ordered the trial in Goa to continue.
Tarun Tejpal's daughter Cara Tejpal read out a statement on her father's behalf, which said he was "falsely accused" of sexual assault. "It is with profound respect that I thank this court for its rigorous, impartial and fair trial and for its thorough examination of CCTV footage and other empirical material on record," said Tejpal, thanking his lawyer Rajiv Gomes, who died of Covid.
He also said: "The past seven -an-a-half years have been traumatic for my family as we have dealt with the catastrophic fallout of these false allegations on every aspect of our personal, professional and public lives."
The sessions court in Goa was to declare its verdict on Wednesday but could not, citing "power failure" due to Cyclone Tauktae.
The verdict was previously delayed over various reasons including the coronavirus crisis.
The Tehelka allegations broke out when a series of emails in which the woman complained to her seniors at Tehelka and their response were leaked.
Mr Tejpal stepped down as Tehelka Editor soon after, saying he was "recusing" himself for six months. He was arrested on in November 2013. He has been out on bail since May 2014.
A Bend Can Never Be the End
Covid Pandemic से हम सब परेशान है
शायद ये वक़्त हमारी बेबसी का इम्तिहान है
किसे मालूम था
तपती लाशे गर्मी की दोपहरें लायेगी
हवाओ में साँसें थम जायेगी
रिश्तों के फूल मुरझाये
सन्नाटे शोर मचायेंगे
Now the positive spin to this ..
जल्दी ही बहारें आयेंगी
हर आँगन ख़ुशीया लायेंगीं
सूरज की पहली किरणों से
रातें रोशन हो जायेगी
बरखा भी अब कुछ दूर नहीं
हरियाली साथ में आयेगी
पक्षी नयी हवाओं में
कोयल मल्हारे गायेगी
हम सब फिर life के आँगन में
भरपूर ख़ुशी मनायेंगे ....2
— Prof. Sanjay Kaul
Indian American NGO raises USD 1 million for COVID-19 crisis in India
WASHINGTON, May 3: An Indian American non-governmental organisation has raised USD 1 million fund for the COVID-19 crisis in India.
The fund raised by International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in partnership with India-based NGO, Art of Living, have been deployed to mobilise emergency equipment and essential services, a media release said here on Monday.
Among these 250 medical grade oxygen concentrators, 50 ventilators and 413 oxygen cylinders have already been distributed to hospitals in need. In addition, 450 Oxygen concentrators from the US and 1,000 from China have been procured and are in the process of getting to India this week. Another 1000 concentrators have been ordered, it said.
IAHV in partnership with Art of Living is driving an effort to supply critical equipment -- from concentrators and ventilators to oxygen cylinders -- for the hospitals in need. These organisations have so far raised USD 1 million out of their USD 2 million target fund raise, the release said.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
According to Indian health ministry data, single day rise of 3,68,147 COVID-19 infections and 3,417 fatalities pushed the country's tally of cases to 1,99,25,604 and death toll to 2,18,959 on Monday.
“Such times bring out qualities of human spirit -- its ability to endure, prevail and emerge stronger, kinder and wiser. This is the time to invoke valour in us, stand together and overcome once more,” said Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a spiritual guru and Art of Living founder.
According to the media release, IAHV and Art of Living have established a 100-bed COVID hospital in Sri Sri University, Odisha. Three more 150-bed hospitals have been set up in the cities of Pune, Hyderabad and New Delhi. More than 5,600 doctors are volunteering for emergency assistance.
IAHV said volunteers are driving multiple plasma donation drives nationwide to support the healthcare system under duress.
It is not you or I .... it is all of us
Sanjay Kaul on Covid-19 situation in India
BOSTON, April 28: I find myself passively watching the Covid 19 situation unfold in India. I am finding it hard to put into words how I feel. I read the pessimistic news in the local papers from both here and India, who by now are aware of the Coronavirus and its global spread.
Somehow the news feels disingenuous to me- it feels like publishers are trying to impress their liberal editorial bosses at best.
On the other hand, I read about lack of oxygen and medical necessities, leading to the anguish of Indians. This trauma will not suddenly leave Indians. They have learned to exist silently without complaint, and instead push through challenges with a resilience which they have actively sought from themselves and from their friends and families.
We should all be united across the globe- working together against Covid with the same resilience that we were required to show in the United States only a few months ago. When a virus spreads its disruption affects all of us. In order for us to be normal again, a support is needed at the various states in which countries find themselves.
There has to be investment in multilateral partnerships for global vaccination. We can meet this challenge only if we feel that vaccinating the world is a moral obligation and our shared commitment during these difficult times.
I quote the New England Journal of Medicine “A global pandemic requires a world effort to end it —none of us will be safe until everyone is safe". Let us all do our part in moving forward for better times.
Astronomers discover X-rays detected from Uranus, but unsure of its source
WASHINGTON, April 1: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronomers have detected X-rays from the seventh planet of our solar system, Uranus for the first time. The results were obtained using NASA’s Chandra X-ray observatory. However, the new study is not based on recent observations, but from those taken in 2002 and 2017.
Analysed recently, the first clear detection of X-ray was noted almost two decades ago. In 2017, they noticed a possible flare of X-rays. The image/graphic released of the distant cold planet uses the 2002 image superimposed on an optical image from the Keck-I Telescope in 2004. The latter was a part of a separate study and it shows Uranus approximately in the same orientation as it was in the observations of 2002.
Emitting X-rays is not new in our solar system. Venus, Saturn, even moons of Jupiter emit X-rays and others. On Jupiter, astronomers have observed that Sun is the source of X-rays. Astronomers note that it is similar to how Sun’s light is scattered on the moon. However, the X-rays detected from Uranus were not a result of sunlight scattering and pointed towards a possibility that there might be another source of X-rays present on the planet.
Astronomers do not know from the source of these X-rays coming from Uranus but have come up with two possible explanations. The first one says that the rings of Uranus may be the reason behind this phenomenon as they may collide with charged particles like electrons and protons in the planet’s nearby space environment. This could lead to rings glowing in X-rays.
As per the second possible explanation, some of the X-rays may be coming from auroras on the planet. Auroras have previously been observed on Uranus at other wavelengths.
On Earth and Jupiter, X-rays are a result of electrons travelling down magnetic lines. Positively charged atoms and molecules raining down on polar regions of Jupiter is another reason. Scientists hope to understand the reasons behind the phenomenon on Uranus using observations from Chandra.
One of the main reasons why X-rays emissions intrigue astronomers is that it has unusual orientations of its spin axis and its magnetic field. Also, its rotation axis is parallel to the Sun unlike other planets in our solar system. The magnetic field is offset from the planet’s centre as it is tilted on the side which can be the reason behind complex and variable auroras. Understanding the origins of X-rays on Uranus may also help them understand similar emissions from growing black holes, neutron stars and other objects in space.