Current Affairs – February 2017

89th Academy Awards (Oscar Awards)  

The 89th Academy Awards commonly referred to as Oscars was held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The award presented in 24 categories by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), honouring   best films of 2016.

Musical drama La La Land won the most number of awards totaling to six at the ceremony after it was nominated into 14 categories. It was followed by Moonlight and Arrival with each being nominated in eight categories.

Winners are
  • Best Picture: Moonlight.
  • Best Actres: Emma Stone (La La Land).
  • Best Actor: Casey Affleck (Manchester By The Sea).
  • Best Director: Damien Chazelle (La La Land). At 32, he became youngest director to win oscar.
  • Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis (Fences).
  • Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali (Moonlight). He is first Muslim to win acting Oscar.
  • Best Original Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester By The Sea).
  • Best Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight).
  • Best Cinematography: Linus Sandgren (La La Land).
  • Best Original Score: Justin Hurwitz (La La Land).
  • Best Original Song: Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land).
  • Best Sound Editing: Sylvain Bellemare (Arrival).
  • Best Foreign Language Film: The Salesman (Iran).
  • Best Film Editing: John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge).
  • Best Visual Effects: Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon (The Jungle Book).
  • Best Production Design: David Wasco and Sandy Reynolds Wasco (La La Land).
  • Best Sound Mixing: Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace (Hacksaw Ridge).
  • Best Documentary-Feature: Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow (O.J.: Made in America).
  • Best Animated Feature Film: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer (Zootopia).
  • Best Animated Short Film: Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer (Piper).
  • Best Documentary-Short Subject: Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara (The White Helmets).
  • Best Live Action Short Film: Kristof Deak and Anna Udvardy (Sing).
  • Best Make-Up and Hairstyling: Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelso (Suicide Squad).
  • Best Costume Design: Colleen Atwood (Fantastic Beast and Where To Find Them).

Indian actor Om Puri, Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds and Bill Paxton were among late stars who were remembered and honoured at the Oscars.

About Academy Awards (Oscars)

It is famously known as “Oscars”. It is a group of 24 artistic and technical honours that recognizes excellence in cinematic achievements in the US film industry. It is given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The award was first presented in 1929. The winners are awarded a copy of a statuette officially called the Academy Award of Merit (famously referred as Oscar Award).


Pests eat away India’s 35% of total crop yield: ICAR scientist

According to Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) scientist, pests eat away about 30-35% of the annual crop yield in India.

Such large-scale crop-loss is having an adverse effect on the agricultural biosafety which is paramount to food security of the country. 

Key Facts
  • Among such pests, nematodes (microscopic worms many of which are parasites) have emerged as a major threat to crops in the country. They have caused loss of 60 million tonnes of crops annually.
  • They are causing loss of crops to the tune of almost 60 million tonnes or 10-12 % of crop production every year. Indian farmers are still not fully aware about these potential crop-destroyers.
  • In the past particular kind of nematode had affected plants such as potatoes and tomatoes in India. The Potato Cyst Nematode was first discovered in Nilgiris and now has spread to various parts of the country.
What are Nematodes?
  • Nematodes are microscopic worms many of which are parasites consisting of roundworms, threadworms and eelworms.
  • They have successfully adapted to nearly every ecosystem from marine (salt or brackish water) to fresh water, to soils, and from the tropics to the harsh polar regions, as well as the highest to the lowest of elevations.
  • Depending on the species, a nematode may be beneficial or detrimental to plant health. The predatory nematodes breed by soaking a specific recipe of leaves and other detritus in water.
  • Crop rotation of agricultural plants with nematode-resistant species or varieties is one of the simplest way of managing parasitic infestations of nematodes.