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Dr. VV Dongre and Prof. Guocheng Zhang bagged International Gandhi Award 2013

The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee presented the International Gandhi Award for the year 2013 to Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre and Prof. Guocheng Zhang for making outstanding contributions in the field of leprosy to eradicate the disease through treatment, training and research at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

International Gandhi Award
  • Instituted by the Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation (GMLF) that was established in 1950 to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s service and scientific approach towards leprosy.
  • GMLF introduced the International Gandhi Award in 1986.
  • Recognizes the commendable contributions of individuals and institutions in ameliorating the quality of life of people afflicted with leprosy.
  • The two awards are given every alternate year to individuals/institutions for making outstanding contribution in the field of leprosy.

Note: Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs.

Study: Titled “Climbing behavior in extant crocodiles”

The researchers from University of Tennessee, USA studied the tree-climbing and basking behavior in reptiles, under the title, “Climbing behavior in extant crocodiles”. They noticed crocodilian species on three continents viz. Australia, Africa and North America and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations.

  • Crocodiles are known for impressive speed and agility around the water. As stated by new study, they are also capable of climbing trees. 
As per the study titled “Climbing behavior in extant crocodiles”

The scientists confirmed that four different crocodile species – found in Australia, Africa and the Americas – are all able to climb, some as high as 4m, where they were observed basking in trees.

  • These species that are able to climb trees can go as high as 4m. Their abilities also vary by size. Those small and lightweight crocs, 1.5m long, can climb the highest branches. Those heavier in weight can be found in lower branches, cannot go as high as 1m above water.
  • It was found that crocodiles developed the agility to climb trees to laze under the sun and to survey their surroundings against possible threats or for possible food.
  • The Australian freshwater crocodiles can actually climb steep slopes along riverbanks up to 1.8 m.
  • In North America, the team saw crocodiles up to 1 meter long lounging on the aerial roots and low branches of mangrove trees during the day.
  • The most commonly observed climbers were the slender-snouted crocodiles of Central Africa. Some African crocodiles roosted as high as 3m above the surface of rivers.

Crocodiles lack the toe and foot structure that would be expected of a climber. Though, smaller and juvenile crocodiles in particular were observed climbing vertically while larger ones tended to climb angled trunks and branches, all of which is a measure of the reptiles’ spectacular agility.

Researchers believe that the tree climbing and basking are driven by two conditions: thermo-regulation and surveillance of habitat. 

Note: People who spend time around crocodiles have known about the climbing ability for decades. Though, this study is the first to thoroughly examine the climbing and basking behavior. 

“Tropex 2014”: Indian Navy started largest combat exercise with dedicated satellite G-SAT 7

Screenshot_2Indian Navy started largest combat exercise called “Tropex 2014”, with both the western and eastern fleets amassing in the Bay of Bengal for intensive combat manoeuvres.

This month long exercise is being held under the gaze of India’s first dedicated Military Satellite G-SAT 7 or “Rukmini”.
This geostationary naval communication and surveillance satellite is beaming signals from its UHF, S, Ku and C-band transponders to network all Indian warships, submarines and aircraft with operational centres ashore through high-speed encrypted data-links.
Over 50 Indian warships viz. aircraft carrier INS Viraat, nuclear submarine INS Chakra, fighters, helicopters, drones, etc. would participate in the exercise.

Note: Rukmini is capable of surveying and communicate with the network of all Indian warships, submarines and aircrafts and have a 2000 nautical mile footprint over the critical Indian Ocean region (IOR)).

India hosted third World Congress on Agro-forestry 2014

The third World Congress on Agro-forestry 2014 (WCA14) held in New Delhi, India and was inaugurated by President Mr. Pranab Mukherjee. This was the First ever World Agro-forestry Congress in Asia Pacific Region. 

  • Theme:Trees for Life: Accelerating the Impact of Agro-forestry”.
  • Co-host: the World Agro-forestry Centre, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the Indian Society of Agro-forestry and Global Initiatives.
  • Objective: To boost awareness, engagement and investments in agro-forestry,
  • Benefit: Would shape the next steps in the field of integrative science, transformative change in landscapes, tree improvement, innovative tree-based value chains, and debates on global and local sustainability, reform of land and tree tenure and holistic education. 

The third edition of World Agroforestry Congress organized to-

  • Expand global awareness and understanding of agro-forestry.
  • Share the current status of knowledge and practice of agro-forestry and consolidate its research base.
  • Build support for agro-forestry within governments, companies, academia, NGOs and the media.
  • Increase the engagement of the private sector. 
About World Agroforestry Centre (or ICRAF i.e International Centre For Research On Agriculture And Forestry)
  • Mission: To generate science-based knowledge about the diverse roles that trees play in agricultural landscapes, and to use its research to advance policies and practices, and their implementation, that benefit the poor and the environment.
  • To improve food security, nutrition, income, health, shelter, social cohesion, energy resources and environmental sustainability of rural area in developing countries.
  • Objective: poverty alleviation which requires enhanced food security and health, improved productivity with lower environmental and social costs, and resilience in the face of climate change and other external shocks.
  • Headquarters:Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Regional offices: Cameroon, India, Indonesia, Kenya and Peru.
  • Role of Agro-forestry: (a) produces food, fuel and fibre, (b) major source of livelihoods and also help in preventing deforestation and (c) protect water resources and fighting off soil-erosion.

Note: First two World Congresses on Agro-forestry held in :Florida,USA (2004) and Nairobi, Kenya (2009).

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