China Develops Leak Detection System For Moon Exploration
- Chinese scientists have developed a system to measure the leak rate for a vacuum environment which will be used in the third step of the country's moon exploration programme.
- According to scientists at China Academy of Space Technology, the measurement system will help in figuring out a better way to preserve samples from the moon, which are stored in a vacuum capsule, increasing the accuracy of research, Xinhua reported.
- "The third step of the lunar exploration project involves taking samples from the surface of the moon back to the Earth," said Li Detian, chief scientist.
- "The samples will be packed in a vacuum environment. The accuracy of measuring the finest leak in a vacuum capsule will have direct impact on the research result of the samples," he said.
UNSC Divorced From Reality, Represents A Bygone Era: India
- India has hit out at the UN Security Council over its current structure and methods of work, saying the 15-membered powerful world body is "divorced from reality" and represents a bygone era warranting reform.
- "It is ironical that the Security Council is working towards the establishment of democracy and Rule of Law in various parts of the world when its own house is not in order," India's Ambassador to the UN Syed Akbaruddin said.
- "The current structure and methods of work of the Security Council are divorced from reality and represent a bygone era," he told the UNSC on 16 feb. Akbaruddin said that to regain "its legitimacy there is no option but for the Security Council to reform."
- The terse remarks were made by Akbaruddin during an open debate "Respect to the Principles and Purposes of the Charter of the United Nations as Key Element for the Maintenance of International Peace and Security" at the UN Security Council.
- "We hope it does not require a cataclysmic crisis to foster this fundamental change. There has never been a greater need for reform of the Council which is a sine qua non for the optimal efficiency of the Council and would be the real form of tribute to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations," he said.
- Akbaruddin said while terrorism remains a cardinal threat to the maintenance of international peace and security, the efforts of the United Nations and the Security Council in taking decisive action to combat terrorism leaves much to be desired.
- It has been noticed that even brazen public violations of the sanctions regime by listed individuals and entities, far from attracting punitive measures, do not even elicit the mildest censure, Akbaruddin said. "Yet, we the general membership of the UN are expected to comply with the decisions of the Council"s Sanctions Committees decisions or lack thereof," he said.
- Observing that the Council has taken the lead in referring to the purposes and principles of the Charter while attempting to maintain international peace and security, he said, however, its own actions have not always been in the spirit of the Charter.
Sena Wins Palghar Seat In Maha
- The BJP on 16 feb wrested the communally-sensitive Muzaffarnagar constituency in Uttar Pradesh where the Samajwadi Party suffered a blow losing two of the three seats it had while the Congress was jolted in Karnataka where it lost two of the three seats in the Assembly by-elections.
- The ruling RJD-JD(U)-Congress coalition, which had come to power in Bihar with a massive majority in the Assembly elections three months ago, faced an embarrassment when the Congress candidate was defeated in Harlakhi constituency by BJP ally RLSP.
- In the other five states, ruling parties BJP, Shiv Sena, Akali Dal, TRS and CPI (M) won in the by-elections for a lone seat in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana and Tripura respectively. The by-elections were held for 12 seats across eight states, results of which were declared on 17 feb.
Maha Govt Likely To Have Own Convention Centre By 2018
- The Maharashtra government is expected to set up its own convention centre, with a seating capacity of nearly 20,000, by 2018 to host large meetings, conferences and other events.
- The government, instead of going in for a usual convention centre, is focusing on building a convention centre that will tap into Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) tourism, in which large groups are usually planned in advance and brought together for a specific purpose, an official from the state finance department said.
- The centre will have a capacity to accommodate 18,000 to 20,000 people and employ around 900 to 1,800 people. "The convention centre will be located close to the Mumbai airport.
- Taking lessons from the shortcomings at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi and recent fire that engulfed the Maharashtra Rajani programme at Girgaum Chowpatty here, the proposed convention centre will be fire compliant, have well laid out entrance and exit points.
- "The government has fixed a deadline of 2018 by which it wants the convention centre ready," the official said. The convention centre will have large exhibition halls, meeting rooms, theatres, auditoriums and foyers.
- "The government had asked KPMG to conduct a study of convention centres the world over," he said, adding that international-level convention centres cover an area between three to four lakh square feet.
Nepal PM To Focus On 'Clearing Misunderstanding' With India
- Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who is all set to embark on an official visit to India, on 16 feb said he will aim to clear all "misunderstanding" that crept up in the recent past between Nepal and India and deepen the bilateral ties based on shared prosperity.
- Providing details to parliament of his upcoming six-day visit, Oli said relations with India will be maintained on the basis of mutual benefit, according to the spirit of the 21st century.
- Leading a 60-member delegation that would include ministers, government officials, parliamentarians, leaders from various political parties, business leaders and the media, Oli will embark on the visit on February 19.
- In New Delhi, Oli will meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other government officials on Saturday and Sunday. He will later visit Mumbai, where he will address the business community. No agreement will be signed in India against Nepal's national interest, Oli assured parliament.
- "My visit is focused on repairing ties not further disturbing it," he said. "We have very deep relations with India but we saw some minor problems," he said.Oli said rather than getting entangled in the issues, "we should move ahead in a new direction".
India Crowned Overall Champs
- India's regional supremacy went unchallenged as the hosts were crowned overall champions for the 12th consecutive time after notching up a record-breaking haul of 308 medals, dominating the final day of competitions as well in the South Asian Games here on 16 feb.
- With women boxers scooping all the three gold medals on offer and the judokas also bagging two gold and two silver on the last day of the Games, India's final tally came to 188 gold, 99 silver and 30 bronze medals. It was a massive jump in medal count for the Indians, who had won 175, including 90 gold, in the previous edition of the Games in 2010.
- At the distant second spot were Sri Lanka with a haul of 186 medals (25 silver, 63 silver and 98 bronze). Pakistan held on to the third spot with a final count of 106 medals (12 gold, 37 silver and 57 bronze).
- Curtains comes down on Games: Northeast India's diverse and colourful culture were in full display as the curtains were brought down on the 12th South Asian Games amid magnificent fireworks that lit the night sky over the capital city on 16 feb.
- Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal declared the Games closed at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium here to mark the formal end to the 12-day biggest multi-sporting spectacle of the eight SAARC countries, jointly co-hosted by Guwahati and Shillong. "I declare the 12th South Asian Games closed," Sonowal said in the presence of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Meghalaya Sports Minister Zenith M Sangma and Indian Olympic Association top bosses to bring a sombre end to the Games competed among more than 2500 athletes from eight countries.
- The Games flame at the cauldron was extinguished as the Guwahati night sky was lit with fireworks. The flag of the South Asian Olympic Council was lowered and handed over to the officials of next host country Nepal. Earlier, on the final day of competitions, action was restricted to this hill town where women boxers and judokas fought their summit bouts. First off the blocks were pugilists, who ensured that India scored a "Perfect 10" in boxing.
- After the men had scooped all the seven gold medals on offer on 15 feb, the women made a clean sweep on 16 feb. London Olympics bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom (51kg), former world champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Asian Games bronze winner Pooja Rani (75kg) picked up the top honours in their respective categories.
- On a comeback trail after recovering from a shoulder injury, Mary Kom packed a powerful punch against her seasoned Sri Lankan rival Anusha Kodituwakku Dilrukshi to be adjudged winner via Technical Knockout (TKO) in a bout lasting less than 90 seconds.
- With Mary landing some powerful blows, Anusha lost her balance and injured her right knee. This forced her to take a medical break before attempting a comeback. Indian contingent marching past at the closing ceremony of the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati on 16 feb.