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India falls 5 places in the Global Innovation Index to 81 position; well below all BRICS nations

Despite a strong pitch on 'Make in India' initiative, India has fallen 5 spots in the global innovation index to 81 rank. Published by Cornell University, INSEAD France, and World Intellectual Property Organization, with CII as the knowledge partner, the study was done on 141 economies across the world on their innovation capacity and efficiency. The ranking is based on data, ranks and strengths and weaknesses on 81 indicators India is ranked below all other BRICS nation, which are the main competitors when it comes to attracting investments into the country. Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa are ranked at 70, 48, 29 and 60 positions respectively. 

India was ranked at 76 position in the last year's report and at 66 in 2013 which shows that innovation levels in India have been falling consistently. "We applaud the new innovation policies put in place by the new Indian government, which are not yet effectively captured by the data used in the GII," said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). "Some of these measures have already had a positive impact on the build-up of innovation momentum and entrepreneurial mood in the country, and we expect this trend to grow in the coming months and years." Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and the United States of America are the world's five most innovative nations, according to the Global Innovation Index 2015. 

The GII 2015 looks at "Effective Innovation Policies for Development" and shows new ways that emerging-economy policymakers can boost innovation and spur growth by building on local strengths and ensuring the development of a sound national innovation environment.

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Nepal Has Finally Passed a New Constitution After Years of Political Turmoil

Nepal finally has a formal constitution after nearly a decade of political paralysis.The landlocked Himalayan nation’s parliament passed the constitution on Wednesday with 507 out of 601 members of its Constituent Assembly voting in favor, Presse reported.The new charter replaces an interim constitution that has governed the country since 2007, when a decade long civil war culminated in the end of its Hindu monarchy. Since then, rival political parties have been at loggerheads over the document’s details, a disagreement that dragged on for years until this year’s devastating earthquake that claimed nearly 9,000 lives prompted a hasty reconciliation. The constitutional logjam was widely blamed for the delay in mobilizing rescue efforts, prompting the country’s three leading political stakeholders — the formerly anti government Maoists, the main communist party UML and the Nepali Congress — to begin the drafting process in June.The constitution has not been without controversy, however, with the decision to divide the country into seven distinct provinces sparking protests that claimed at least 40 lives in recent weeks. Critics of the bill say the divisions will further marginalize Nepal’s ethnic minorities like the Tharu and Madhesi communities. A clause that increases barriers to Nepali children automatically acquiring their mothers’ citizenship has also been criticized as backward.“Ownership of the document is important,” Lok Raj Baral, executive chairman of the Nepal Centre for Contemporary Studies, told AFP. “Even if it is a minority that does not accept it, the parties have to take an initiative to address the disgruntled elements.”The general reaction, however, has been one of relief and positivity, with loud cheers reportedly breaking out in the assembly when Speaker Subash Nembang announced the passage of the bill.It is an issue of pride for all Nepalis that the people’s constitution has been passed from the Constituent Assembly,” Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala tweeted.Koirala has announced that he will step down once the constitution is in place, paving the way for a new government to take over.

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Shotputter Manpreet Kaur Shatters National Record, Qualifies for 2016 Rio Olympics

Shotputter Manpreet Kaur smashed an 18-year-old national record to win gold and qualify for next year's Olympics as Railways dominated the show on the opening day of the 55th National Open Athletics Championships here on Wednesday.The 25-year-old Railways girl, who had the previous best of 16.39 at last year's Delhi National Open, threw the iron ball to 17.96m in her second attempt to shatter Harbans Kaur's earlier national record of 17.43m that stood since 1997.This was Manpreet's hat-trick of gold medals at the National Open and sixth overall as she also got past the Olympics qualification mark of 17.80m.Ace long distance runner OP Jaisha, also from Railways, who has already booked an Olympic berth in marathon, set a meet record in the 5000m in the very first event of the day.Jaisha clocked 15:31.73 to better Preeja Sreedharan's eight-year old meet record of 15:45.96 as Railways made a clean sweep in the women's 5000m.Sarita Singh bagged Railways the third gold of the day when she threw 58.97m in the hammer throw, while Sonam of LIC and Gunjan Singh of Railways bagged silver and bronze respectively.

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Chanderpaul receives Icon Award

Veteran Test cricket left-hander Shiv Chanderpaul has been honoured with the Icon Award by the Indo-Caribbean Alliance.In a ceremony held in New York recently, the 41-year-old was given the New York City-based organisation’s highest award and was one of four persons honoured in a five-hour-long ceremony in Flushing, reports CMC.The others receiving awards were television personality Lakshmee Singh, New York City council member Eric Ulrich and businessman Dave Kadernauth.Chanderpaul said he was delighted to have been chosen for the honour.“I’m happy to support the Indo-Caribbean Alliance, and humbled to receive their highest award, the Icon Award,” Chanderpaul said on Wednesday.“We want to see this organisation succeed in providing programmes for residents in New York City.”Chanderpaul has been one of the most prolific run-scorers in West Indies cricket, amassing 11,867 runs from 164 Tests at an average of 51. He is only second to Brian Lara in aggregate.However, he was sacked in May for poor form ahead of the Australia series and was also recently overlooked for the tour of Sri Lanka beginning next month.

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Aqeela Asifi, 2015 Nansen Refugee Award

Aqeela Asifi, an Afghan refugee who has dedicated her life to teach refugee girls in Pakistan has won the 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award. The award ceremony will be held on October 5th in Geneva.

About the Recipient:--Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana in Pakistan. Asifi was horrified by the lack of schooling for girls there. Before she arrived, strict cultural traditions kept most girls at home there but she was determined to give these girls a chance to learn. Gradually she convinced the community, and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent. Today the tent school is a distant memory and over a thousand children are attending permanent schools in the village thanks to her early initiatives.Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, she has guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan. Asifi, a mother of six, has also worked hard to provide a solid education for her own children.

About UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award:-The Award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian work on behalf of refugees, forcibly displaced or stateless people.
The award includes a commemorative medal and a monetary prize worth of USD100,000.
In close consultation with UNHCR, the laureate uses the monetary prize to fund a project that complements their existing work.

About UNHCR:-The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on December 14th, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. UNHCR safeguards the rights and well-being of refugees and displaced or stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. UNHCR is on the front lines of the world’s major humanitarian crises, including Syria, Iraq, Central African Republic, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and countless other emergencies.

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Sunjeev Sahota – Shortlist of Man Booker Prize

Indian-origin British author Sunjeev Sahota is among six writers shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize for Fiction for 2015.

Sahota has won glowing reviews for his novel “The Year of the Runaways” which centres on the lives of three Indian men – one a Dalit – and a woman, all migrants from India.His name also figured in Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2013 for the book.

Other Shortlisted authors

1. Hanya Yanagihara (U.S.) for A Little Life
2.Anne Tyler (U.S.) for A Spool of Blue Thread
3.Tom McCarthy(US) for his book Satin Island
4.Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) for The Fishermen

5.Marlon James (Jamaica) for A Brief History of Seven Killings

About Man Booker Prize

1.It was first awarded in 1969.
2.The prize money awarded is 50,000 pounds.
3.It is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language, and published in the UK.

4.Till 2014, the Booker Prize was open to authors only from the U.K. and Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe.

About Sunjeev Sahota

-34-year-old Sahota was born in 1981 in Derbyshire.
-His debut novel, Ours are the Streets, was published in 2011 which is about the journey of a young British Pakistani from ordinary teenager to terrorist, and was written after the July 7, 2005 bombings on the London underground.

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Hindi writer Uday Prakash returns Akademi award over Kalburgi killing

Renowned Hindi writer Uday Prakash has returned his Sahitya Akademi award as protest against the recent killing of fellow recipient, Kannada litterateur M M Kalburgi, and in disapproval of the national literary body's deafening silence over the assaults on writers. "I returned on Wednesday the shawl, the plaque and the cheque of Rs 1 lakh that I had received for the award. It was received by the personal secretary to the Sahitya Akademi secretary K Sreenivasarao, who was out of town. I was given to understand that the Akademi will organise a meeting in a few days to discuss the matter," Uday Prakash told .  Uday Prakash said that Hinduism isn't a monotheistic religion, rather it offers a multitude of ways of reaching the same goal. "But some people are bent on wiping out their own legacy. They are like terrorists," he maintained. 

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World’s largest chain of volcanoes discovered in Australia

The world’s longest chain of continental volcanoes stretching for over 2,000 kms and formed over the past 33 million years has been found in Eastern Australia.The ancient volcanic chain reportedly runs from Cape Hillsborough on the central Queensland coast, south-west through central New South Wales to Cosgrove in Victoria.“This volcanic chain was created over the past 33 million years, as Australia moved north-northeast over a mantle plume hotspot which we believe is now located in Bass Strait,” the study’s lead author Rhodri Davies of Australian National University, said. “This track, which we’ve named the Cosgrove hotspot track, is nearly three times as long as the famous Yellowstone hotspot tracks on the North American continent,” he said, adding this kind of volcanic activity is surprising because it occurs away from tectonic plate boundaries where most volcanoes are found.

The authors examined 15 extinct volcanoes in eastern Australia that had been known about for quite some time and appeared to follow a generally similar track.“The volcanoes in central Queensland showed an age progression, so they got younger towards the south, and so too did those in New South Wales and Victoria,” Mr. Davies said.

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Origin of Saturn's ring, satellites revealed

Japanese researchers have revealed that Saturn's F ring and its shepherd satellitesare natural outcome of the final stage of formation of Saturn's satellite system.
According to the latest satellite formation theory, Saturn used to have ancient rings containing many more particles than they do today, and satellites formed from spreading and accretion of these particles.During the final stage of satellite formation, multiple small satellites tend to form near the outer edge of the ring.

In their simulations using in part computer systems at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, professor Ohtsuki Keiji and student Hyodo Ryuki from Kobe University revealed that the F ring and its shepherd satellites formed as these small satellites with a dense core collided and partially disintegrated.In other words, the system of the F ring and its shepherd satellites is a natural outcome of the formation process of Saturn's ring-satellite system."As plans are underway in and outside of Japan to explore the satellite system of Jupiter and the satellites of Mars, we will continue to unravel the origin of satellite systems, which is key to understanding the formation process of planetary systems," Ohtsuki said.The F ring is very narrow with a width of only a few hundred km and has two shepherd satellites called Prometheus and Pandora, which orbit inside and outside the ring, respectively.Although the Voyager and Cassini spacecraft later made detailed observations of the F ring and its shepherd satellites, their origin has not been clarified till now.Saturn, which is the second largest planet in our solar system, is known to have multiple rings and satellites.This new finding is expected to help elucidate the formation of satellite systems both within and outside our solar system.The paper was published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

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India makes debut in top 200 world university rankings; IISc Bangalore, IIT Delhi in the list

Two of the India's premier institutes have featured in the top 200 of the Quacquarelli Symonds' (QS) World University rankings 2015/16 rankings.The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore has bagged the 147th rank, highest among Indian institutes while IIT Delhi has grabbed 179th place.This marks the first time that IISc has entered the rankings while IIT Delhi has moved up all the way from 235th spot last year.A total of 14 Indian institutes have featured in the QS World University ranking with 7 institutes making it to top 400.7 institutes including IISc Bangalore (147th), IIT Delhi (179th), IIT Bombay (202nd), IIT Madras (254th), IIT Kanpur (271st), IIT Kharagpur (286th), IIT Roorkee (391st) figure in the top 400.IIT Guwahati, University of Delhi, University of Calcutta, Banaras Hindu University, Panjab University, University of Mumbai and University of Pune are on the list as well but beyond the top 400.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has retained the top spot for the fourth consecutive year. Harvard University has moved up two places to rank second, followed by the University of Cambridge and Stanford University in joint third.This is the 12th edition of QS' annual ranking of the world's top universities, which uses six performance indicators to assess institutions' global reputation, research impact, staffing levels and international complexion.

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