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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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Indo-Maldivian Joint Military Exercise Concludes

The sixth edition of Ekuverin-2015, the annual joint military training exercise between the Indian Army and the Maldives National Defence Forces (MNDF), concluded at the Military Station, Pangode.Brigadier Samir Salunke, Station Commander, Pangode Military Station, presents a memento to Brig Ali Zuhair of the MNDF in T’Puram 
The 2016 edition will be held in Maldives.   Brigadier Samir Salunke, chief director of the exercise and Station Commander, Pangode Military Station, and Brigadier Ali Zuhair of the MNDF oversaw the final phase of the exercise. Senior officials from both armies, who reviewed the exercise, expressed their satisfaction over the level of training and jointmanship achieved between the troops, a defence spokesperson said.A total of 45 MNDF marines and an equal number of soldiers of the Indian Army’s Bihar Regiment took part in the two-week-long exercise. The bilateral annual exercise commenced in 2009 at Belgavi and is hosted alternately by India and the island nation for enhancing military cooperation and interoperability between the two forces. Ekuverin-2015 was also the first joint exercise involving an international contingent to be held in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Indian American teen Swetha Prabhakaran, entrepreneur to get White House award

Swetha Prabhakaran, an Indian American teen entrepreneur and founder CEO of Everybody Code Now!, will receive the prestigious 'Champions of Change' award at the White House on Tuesday.Prabhakaran, 15, a junior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, in Virginia, founded non profit Everybody Code Now! to empower the next generation of youth to become engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs."Under Swetha's direction, Everybody Code Now! has taught hundreds of students how to code and has raised thousands of dollars for STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) activities in schools," the White House said."Her mentorship programmes have transformed shy young girls into confident students, community leaders, and budding technologists," it said.Prabhakaran is among 11 young women selected by the White House as recipients of 'Champions of Change'.In addition to her passion for science and computers, Prabhakaran, who was born in Indianapolis, is an avid Bharatanatyam dancer.

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Malcolm Turnbull Is Sworn In as Australia’s New Prime Minister

The  party coup to install Malcolm Turnbull as Australia’s fourth prime minister in just over two years has exposed deep unease about the resource-dependent country’s sharply slowing economy and a political system that lets small groups of politicians oust elected leaders.

The 60-year-old former investment banker unseated Tony Abbott as leader of the ruling Liberal-National coalition government  in a party rebellion, as voter surveys pointed to defeat for the ruling Liberal-National coalition at federal elections due next year. Mr. Turnbull was sworn and became the country’s 29th prime minister.

He now faces many of the same challenges as his predecessor, first among them how to revive an economy in which a recession may be imminent after 24 years of avoiding one. Australia’s economy expanded just 0.2% in the second quarter from the first, the slowest pace in four years, as China’s slowing economy translates into less construction of skyscrapers, bridges and railways—hurting demand for raw materials like iron ore. 
“We need to have in this country…an economic vision, a leadership that explains the great challenges and opportunities that we face, that describes the way in which we can handle those challenges, seize those opportunities, and does so in a manner that the Australian people understand,” Mr. Turnbull said.
The latest ouster caps nearly a decade of instability in Australian politics that has splintered both major political parties.

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Bangladesh PM Hasina wins UN award for leadership on climate change

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been announced as one of the winners of the United Nations Champions of the Earth award in recognition of her country's initiatives to address climate change.

"Serving as Prime Minister of Bangladesh - one of the world's least-developed countries - Sheikh Hasina has proven that investing in climate change is conducive to achieving social and economic development," said the announcement issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), which confers the awards.UNEP noted that Bangladesh is one of the world's most populated countries, with over 159 million people. It is also one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Cyclones, floods and droughts have long been part of the country's history, but they have intensified in recent years.

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