Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tennis Grand Slams 2009

Switzerland's Roger Federer and Serena Williams (USA) were named 2009 ITF world champions on December 22, 2009. It is the fifth time that Switzerland's world number one has won the ITF award based on the performances at grand slam events, tour events, Davis Cup and Federation Cup. Serena Williams won the award for the second time. Following table summarizes the grand slam championships in 2009:


Winners/ Runner up

Australian Open January 2009

French Open May-June 2009

Wimbledon June-July 2009

US Open September 2009

Men's Singles


Rafael Nadal (Spain)

Roger Federer (Switzerland)

Roger Federer (Switzerland)

Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina)

Runner up

Roger Federer (Switzerland)

Robin Soderling (Sweden)

Andy Roddick (USA)

Roger Federer (Switzerland)

Women's Singles


Serena Williams (USA)

Svetlana Kuznetzova (Russia)

Serena Williams (USA)

Kim Clijisters (Belgium)

Runner up

Dinara Safina (Russia)

Dinara Safina (Russia)

Venus Williams (USA)

Carolina Wozniacki (Denmark)

Men's Doubles


Mike Bryan & Bob Bryan (both USA)

Lukas Dlouhy (Czech Rep) Leander Paes (India)

Daniel Nester (Canada) Nenad Zimonjic (Serbia)

Lukas Dlouhy (Czech Rep) Leander Paes (India)

Runner up

Mark Knowles (Bahamas) Mahesh Bhupati (India)

Wesley Moodle (S. Africa) Dick Norman (Belgium)

Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan (USA)

Mark Knowles (Bahamas) Mahesh Bhupati (India)

Women's Doubles


Serena Williams & Venus Williams (USA)

Anabel Medina Garrigues & Ruano Pascual (Spain)

Serena Williams & Venus Williams (USA)

Serena Williams & Venus Williams (USA)

Runner up

Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) Ai Sugiyama (Japan)

Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) Elena Vasnina (Russia)

Samantha Stosur & Rennae Stubbs (Australia)

Cara Black (Zimbabwe) Liezel Huber (USA)

Mixed Doubles


Mahesh Bhupati & Sania Mirza (India)

Liezel Huber & Bob Bryan (USA)

Mark Knowles (Bahamas) Anna Lena Groenfeld (Germany)

Carly Cullickson& Travis Parrot (USA)

Runner up

Andy Ram (Israel) Nathalie Dechy (France)

Vania King (USA) Mercelo Melo (Brazil)

Leander Paes (India) Cara Black (Zimbabwe)

Leander Paes (India) Cara Black (Zimbabwe)


Quick Snippets

# Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission Solar India on January 11, 2010 which aims at creating an istalled capacity of 20000 Megawatt by the end of the 13th Five Year Plan, i.e. by 2022.

# The 2008 Dada Saheb Phalke Award has been given to legendary cinematographer V.K. Murthy.

#Following 6 persons have honoured with Padma Vibhushan- the second highest civilian honour of the country:

ArtEbrahim Alkazi, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Zohra Segal

Public Affairs

Y.V. Reddy
Trade & IndustryPrathap Reddy
Science & EngineeringVenkatraman Ramakrishnan

#The new chief of Army Staff is Lieutenant General V.K. Singh. He will take over on March 31st, 2010.

#Newly appointed governors of various states are:

Shivraj PatilPunjab
K. SankaranarayananMaharashtra
E.S.L. NarasimhanAndhra Pradesh
M.O.H. Farook Jharkhand
Prabha RaoRajasthan
M.K. NarayananWest Bengal
Shekhar DuttChhattisgarh
Urmila BenHimachal Pradesh

# Andhra Pradesh government signed three agreements with the World Bank on January 22, 2010 to receive loan assistance of Rs. 3720 crore to fund three projects to develop roads.

#ISRO recently successfully tested its biggest and most powerful rocket motor called S-200 powered by 200 tonnes of solid propellants on January 24, 2010 at Sriharikota.

# Shiv Shankar Menon is the new National Security Advisor replacing M.K. Narayanan who has been appointed governor of West Bengal.

# The Lokmanya Tilak Award has been conferred on the Editor-in-Chief of the Hindu on the 129th foundation day of the Kesari newspaper started by Lokmanya Tilak in 1881.

# Tamil Nadu won the men's title of the 58th National Volleyball Championship in Gwalior on January 6, 2010 with Railways taking the women's title in the same tournament.


56th National Film Awards

The 56th National Awards for 2008 were announced on January 23, 2010. As per the recommendations of the Jury, Antaheen (Bengali) was announced the Best Feature Film and also selected for the award in Best Cinematography, Best Lyrics and BEst Female Playback Singer category. Upendra Limaye got the Best Actor award for his role in Marathi feature film Jogva while Priyanka Chopra bagged the Best Actress Award for her performance in hindi film Fashion. The list of the awards is given below:
Best Feature FilmAntaheen (Bengali)
Indira Gandhi Award for Best First Film of a DirectorA Wednesday (Hindi): Neeraj Pandey
Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome EntertainmentOye Lucky! Lucky Oye (Hindi)
Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National IntegrationAai Kot Nai (Assamese)
Best Film on Family ValuesLittle Zizou (English, Gujarati)
Best Film on Social Issues such as Prohibition, Women and Child Welfare, Anti-Dowri, Drug Abuse, Welfare of the Handicapped etc.Jogva (Marathi)
Best Film on Environment Conservation/ PreservationJianta Bhoota (Oriya)
Best Children's FilmGubbachigalu (Kannada)
Best Animation FilmRoadside Romeo (Hindi)
Best DirectionNaan Kadauul (Tamil): Bala
Best ActorJogva (Marathi): Upendra Limaye
Best Actress

Fashion (Hindi): Priyanka Chopra

Best Supporting ActorRock On! (Hindi): Arjun Rampal
Best Supporting ActressFashion (Hindi): Kangana Ranaut
Best Child ArtistThanks Maa (Hindi): Shams Patel
Best Male Playback SingerJogva (Marathi): Hariharan
Best Female Playback SingerAntaheen (Bengali) & Jogva (Marathi): Shreya Ghoshal
Best CinematographyAntaheet (Bengali): Avik Mukhopadhyay
Best ScreenplayGandha (Marathi): Sachin Kundalkar
Best AudiographyGandha (Marathi): Pramod J. Thomas
Best EditingFiraaq (Hindi): A. Sreekar Prasad
Best Art DirectionFiraaq (Hindi): Gautam Sen
Best Costume DesignerJodha Akbar (Hindi): Neeta Lulla
Beest Make-up ArtistNaan Kadauul (Tamil): Moorthy V.
Best Music DirectionJogva (Marathi): Ajay & Atul
Best LyricsAntaheen (Bengali): Anindya Banerjee & Chandranil Bhattacharya
Special Jury AwardBioscope (Malayalam)
Best Special EffectsMumbai Meri Jaan (Hindi): Govardhan
Best ChoreographyJodha Akbar (Hindi): Chinni Prakash & Rekha Prakash


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Nobel Prizes 2009

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2009
1. Charles K. Kao (China): For groundbreaking achievements concerning the transmission of light in fibers for optical communication.
2. Willard S. Boyle (USA) and
3. George E. Smith (USA): For the invention of an imaging semiconductor circuit – the CCD sensor
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009
1. Venkatraman Ramakrishnan
(United Kingdom)
2. Thomas A. Steitz (USA) and
3. Ada E. Yonath (Israel): For studies of the structure and function of the ribosome
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009
1. Elizabeth H. Blackburn (USA)
2. Carol W. Greider (USA) and
3. Jack W. Szostak (USA): For the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.
The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009
Herta Müller (Germany): Who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed.
The Nobel Peace Prize 2009
Barack Obama
(USA): For his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Memory Flash Points

  • The Chairperson of the Children Film Society is Nandita Das.
  • India defeated South Africa to clinch the Emerging Player Tournament on August 1, 2009 in Brisbane.
  • “Swaranajayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana” has been restructured under a new nomenclature National Livelihood Mission.
  • India's Deep Joshi, who has done pioneering work for rural communities on August 3, 2009 was named along with five others for the Prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for 2009- considered Asia's equivalent of the Nobel prize.
  • N. Rangbashyam, a Chennai based surgical gastroenterologist has been nominated to the Wall of Honour of the Royal Society of Medicine UK.
  • The National Solar Mission, recently approved by the Prime Minister's National Action Plan on Climate Change envisages 10 year tax holiday for solar plants- both photovoltaic and thermal set up by 2020.
  • World Tiger Summit will be held in 2010 at Ranthambore (Rajsthan).
  • India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) , 2009 signed a Free Trade Agreement in Bangkok after 6 years' negotiations.
  • Environmental activist and Director of Centre for Science and Environment Sunita Narain has been chosen for the Raja Lakshmi Award- 2009 instituted by the Shri Raja Lakshmi Foundation, Chennai.
  • The Special Representatives of India and China M.K. Narayanan and Dai Bingguo began the 13th round of talks on the boundary issue with a wider ambit in New Delhi on August 7, 2009.
  • India will hold joint military exercise Cope-09 with United States that would see for the first time the deployment of the C-17 Globemaster, a heavy lift military trasport aircraft.
  • Kolkata Open Grandmaster Chess Tournament to be held in September 2009 is the strongest ever Open Chess Championship in Asia with 124 players from 18 countries taking part.
  • The number of drought hit districts in the country as declared by the government is 246 of 600 odd disctricts in 10 states.
  • NASA has teamed up with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to locate water - ice on Moon. During their recent Bi-static experiment, both NASA and ISRO through instruments on board ISRO's Chandrayan and NASA's Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO) trained their radars to a specific point to locate water- ice on the floor of permanently shadowed craters of moon.
  • Indra Nooyi (Ranked 3rd), Sonia Gandhi (Ranked 13th), Chanda Kochhar (Ranked 20th) and Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Ranked 91st) have been named among the world's 100 most powerful women by Forbes magazine.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire makes a sweep at the Oscars

"Slumdog Millionaire", the rags-to-riches story of a Mumbai slum dweller, had a golden run at the Oscars on Monday sweeping eight awards with two going to music maestro A R Rahman, the first Indian to achieve the historic feat.

43-year-old Rahman bagged Oscars for Original Score in the film, named the best at the 81st Academy Awards, and along with veteran lyricist Gulzar also won the Best Song award for the foot-tapping number 'Jai ho'.

Following is the list of winners at the 81st Academy Awards:

Best Picture: "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Director: Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")

Best Actor: Sean Penn ("Milk")

Best Actress: Kate Winslet ("The Reader")

Best Supporting Actor: Heath Ledger (posthumously for "The Dark Knight")

Best Supporting Actress: Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona")

Best Foreign Film: "Departures" (Japan)

Best Adapted Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy ("Slumdog Millionaire")

Best Original Screenplay: Dustin Lance Black ("Milk")

Best Animated Feature Film: "WALL-E"

Best Art Direction: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Best Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle ("Slumdog Millionaire")

Best Sound Mixing: Resul Pookutty with Ian Tapp and Richard Pryke ("Slumdog Millionaire")

Best Sound Editing: "The Dark Knight"

Best Original Score: A R Rahman ("Slumdog Millionaire")

Best Original Song: 'Jai ho' ("Slumdog Millionaire", music by A R Rahman and lyrics by Gulzar)

Best Costume: Michael O'Connor ("The Duchess")

Best Documentary Feature: "Man on Wire"

Best Documentary (short subject): "Smile Pinki"

Best Film Editing: "Slumdog Millionaire"

Best Makeup: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

Best Animated Short Film: "La Maison en Petits Cubes"

Best Live Action Short Film: "Spielzeugland" (Toyland)

Best Visual Effects: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saraswati Samman 2008 conferred to Assamese writer Lakshmi Nandan Bora

Noted Assamese writer Lakshmi Nandan Bora will be honoured with the prestigious Saraswati Samman for 2008 this year i.e. in 2009 for his novel 'Kayakalpa'.

The award, instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991, is given every year for an outstanding literary work in any Indian language mentioned in the schedule VIII of the Constitution and published during the past 10 years.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs five lakh.

Bora, who won the Sahitya Akademi award for his 1986 novel 'Patal Bhairavi', is considered as one of the foremost men of letters in Assam today.

'Kayakalpa' was chosen for the award after consideration of works published in 22 Indian languages by a selection committee headed by former Chief Justice of India G B Patnaik.

Past Recipients:

* 1991 - Harivanshrai 'Bachchan' for his autobiography in four volumes
* 1992 - Ramakant Rath
* 1993 - Vijay Tendulkar
* 1994 - Harbhajan Singh
* 1995 - Balamani Amma for poetry collection Nivedyam
* 1996 - Shamsur Rahman Faruqi for She`r-e Shor-Angez
* 1997 - Manubhai Pancholi
* 1998 - Shankha Ghosh for his anthology Gandharba Kabitaguccha
* 1999 - Indira Parthasarathy
* 2000 - Manoj Das for his novel Amrita Phala (The Nectar Fruit)
* 2001 - Dalip Kaur Tiwana for her novel Katha Kaho Urvashi
* 2002 - Mahesh Elkunchwar for his play Yugant
* 2003 - Govind Chandra Pande for his collection of 163 Sanskrit poems entitled Bhagirathi
* 2004 - Sunil Gangopadhyay for his novel Pratham Alo
* 2005 - K. Ayyappa Panicker for his collection of poems Ayyappa Panikarude Kritikal
* 2006 - Jagannath Prasad Das for his collection of poems Parikrama written in Oriya
* 2007 - Naiyer Masud for his collection of short stories Taoos Chaman Ki Myna (The Myna from Peacock Garden) written in Urdu
* 2008 - Lakshmi Nandan Bora for his novel Kayakalpa written in Assamese


Bharat Ratna conferred to Bhimsen Joshi

Eminent exponent of Hindustani classical music Pandit Bhimsen Joshi was officially conferred the "Bharat Ratna' on 10th February, 2009 at his residence in Pune by a President's emissary.

Following is the list of Bharat Ratna awardees since its institution in 1954:

1) Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1954)
2) Chakravarti Rajagopalachari (1954)
3) C V Raman (1954)
4) Bhagwan Das (1955)
5) Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya (1955)
6) Jawaharlal Nehru (1955)
7) Govind Ballabh Pant (1957)
8) Dhondo Keshav Karve (1958)
9) Dr B C Roy (1961)
10) Purushottam Das Tandon (1961)
11) Dr Rajendra Prasad (1962)
12) Dr Zakir Hussain (1963)
13) Pandurang Vaman Kane (1963)
14) Lal Bahadur Shastri (1966)
15) Indira Gandhi (1971)
16) V V Giri (1975)
17) K Kamaraj (1976)
18) Mother Teresa (1980)
19) Acharya Vinoba Bhave (1983)
20) Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan (1987)
21) M G Ramachandran (1988)
22) B R Ambedkar (1990)
23) Nelson Mandela (1990)
24) Rajiv Gandhi (1991)
25) Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (1991)
26) Morarji Desai (1991)
27) Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1992)
28) J R D Tata (1992)
29) Satyajit Ray (1992)
30) A P J Abdul Kalam (1997)
31) Gulzarilal Nanda (1997)
32) Aruna Asaf Ali (1997)
33) M S Subbulakshmi (1998)
34) Chidambaram Subramaniam (1998)
35) Jayaprakash Narayan (1998)
36) Pandit Ravi Shankar (1999)
37) Amartya Sen (1999)
38) Gopinath Bordoloi (1999)
39) Lata Mangeshkar (2001)
40) Ustad Bismillah Khan (2001)
41) Pandit Bhimsen Joshi (2008)


Thursday, February 5, 2009

Mawsynram vs Waialeale

Mawsynram, 9 km from Sohra, more famous by its erstwhile name Cherrapunjee, is the wettest place on earth. Over the last few years, it received an average rainfall of 467.4 inches of rain. Both these places are in Meghalaya. Now, Mawsynram’s position is under challenge from a mountain in Hawaii.

Sohra, which receives 450 inches of rain annually, is not even the second-wettest place on earth.
It has been upstaged by Mount Waialelale on the Hawaii Islands, which gets 460 inches of rain every year. The US has been pushing Mt Waialeale for quite some time now. It rains almost every day, albeit lightly, on that 5,148 ft mount owing to marine conditions. But the fact is, Sohra and Mawsynram record more rainfall during the monsoon and while the rainfall area on Mt Waialeale is 5 sq km, Sohra-Mawsynram is over 200 sq km.

Meteorologists agree that Sohra has been recording less rainfall in recent years- 11,414.6 mm or 449.4 inches in 2008 compared to 14,790.8 mm or 582.31 inches in 2004. Ditto with Mawsynram, where rainfall records are maintained periodically. There isn’t much deviation in the average annual rainfall but the spread is less. Deforestation has turned much of the Sohra area into a rocky, barren expanse, and this could eventually dent Mawsynram’s record. Along with local organisations, green measures are being promoted in the area. The Khasi Students’ Union, too, is pulling its weight to help Sohra regain its rainier-than-Mt Waialeale record.

Ecologists are blaming it on global warming and on local factors like deforestation and limestone quarrying. But they aren’t ready to concede “defeat” yet.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Superlatives- India

Highest Airport- Leh Air Port in Ladakh (3256 m/ 16080 ft high)
Largest Auditorium- Sri Shanmukhananda Hall, Mumbai
Largest Public Sector Bank- State Bank of india
Largest Botanical Garden - National Botanical Gardens in Kolkata
Longest River Bridge- Mahatma Gandhi Setu over the Ganga at Patna (5,575 m/ 8286 ft long)
Longest Sea Bridge- Anna Indira Gandhi Bridge connecting the island of Rameswaram with Mandapam in Tamil Nadu (2.34 km long)
Biggest Cantilever Bridge- Rabindra Setu (also called Howrah Bridge), Hoogli river in Kolkata (457 m/1499 ft long)
Longest Canal- Indira Gandhi Canal or Rajasthan Canal (959 km long)
Largest Cave- Amarnath (about 44 km from Pahalgam in Jammu and Kashmir)
Largest Cave Temple- Ellora (Maharashtra)
Oldest Church- St Thomas Church at Palayar in Trichur district in Kerala built in 52 AD.
Largest Church- Se Cathedral at old Goa, 10 km from Panaji.
Most Populous City- Mumbai
Longest Corridor- Corridor in Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu ( 1220 m /4002 ft long)
Highest Dam- Bhakra Dam on Sutlej river in Punjab (226 m/ 738 ft high and 518 m/ 1699 ft long)
Longest Dam- Hirakund Dam on Mahanadi river in Orissa (24.4 km long)
Largest Delta- Sunderbans (75,000 sq km) formed by the Ganga and Brahmaputra in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
Largest Dome- Gol Gumbuz, Bijapur in Karnataka.
Highest Gateway Buland Darwaza at Fatehpur Sikri near Agra. Built by Akbar (53.5 m /175 ft High)
Longest Glacier- Siachen Glacier on the Indo-pakistan border (75.6 km long and 2.8 km wide)
Largest Gurudwara- Golden Temple at Amritsar
Highest Hydel Power Station- Rongtong Hydel Project in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.
Largest Lake- Wular lake, Kashmir
Largest Fresh Water Lake-Kolleru in Andhra Pradesh
Largest Library- National Library, Kolkata
Oldest Monastery- Buddhist Monastery, (situated at an altitude of 3,048 m /10,000 ft) at Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
Largest Mosque- Jama Masjid , Delhi (built by Shah Jahan in 1644-58)
Highest Mountain Peak- Kanchenjunga
Largest Museum- Indian Museum, Kolkata.
Largest Planetarium- Birla Planetarium, Kolkata.
Largest Prison- Tihar Jail, Delhi
Longest Railway Bridge- Dehri-on-Sone Railway bridge over the Sone river near Sasaram on Kolkata-Delhi main line Longest Passenger Train Route Jammu Tawi-Kanyakumari (3730 km) Fastest Train Shatabdi Express between New Delhi and Bhopal at a speed on 140 kmph
Longest Railway Platform- Kharagpur in West Bengal (833 m /2733 ft). Also world's longest Largest Refinery IOC Refinery at Koyah (Gujarat)
Largest Tribe- Gond
Largest Concentration of Scheduled Tribes- Madhya Pradesh
Largest Scheduled Caste- Community Chamar
Longest River- Ganga (2640 km long)
Longest Road- Grand Trunk Road from Kolkata to Delhi
Highest Road- Road at Khardungla in the Leh-Manali Sector
Largest State in Area- Rajasthan
Smallest State in Area- Goa
Most Populated State- Uttar Pradesh
Least Populated State- Sikkim
Most Densely Populated State- West Bengal
Least Densely Populated State- Arunachal Pradesh
Most Literate State- Kerala .
Most Women State- Kerala
Tallest Statue- Statue of Jain Saint Gomateswara at Sravanabelagola in Karnataka.
Largest Stupa- Great Stupa of Sanchi, Madhya Pradesh
Largest Tunnel- Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal Pass (Jammu and Kashmir) Largest Union Territory in Area- Andaman and Nicobar Island (8,249 sq km)
Smallest Union Territory in Area- Lakshadweep (32 sq km)
Most Populated Union Territory- Delhi (1,37, 82,976) Least Populated Union Territory- Lakshadweep (60,595)
Most Literate Union Territory- Lakshadweep
Highest Waterfall- Jog Waterfall, Karnataka
Largest Zoo- Zoological Gardens, Kolkata