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Veteran Tamil movie director C. V. Rajendran passes away

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Veteran movie director C.V.Rajendran, who was ailing for sometime, passed away here on Sunday. He was 81.
 
Rajendran has directed popular movies in Tamil like "Galatta Kalyanam", "Sumathi En Sundari" and "Raja" starring Sivaji Ganesan and J.Jayalalithaa who later became Tamil Nadu's Chief Minister.
 
He also directed other popular movies like "Vani Rani", "Sivagamiyin Selvam", "Ponnoonjal", "Maalai Sooda Va", "Garjanai" and several others in Tamil starring Sivaji Ganesan, Jaishankar, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth.
 
Many of the songs in his movies were big hits.
 
Hailing from a village near Madurantakam, Rajendran was related to another popular Tamil movie director C.V.Sridhar, with whom he worked during his initial days.
 
Apart from Tamil movies, Rajendran had also directed movies in Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi.
 
IANS
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Former Manipur CM R K Dorendra Singh passes away, cremated with state honours

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Former Manipur Chief Minister R.K. Dorendra Singh passed away here on Friday and was cremated here on Saturday with full state honours. He was 84.
 
The three-time Chief Minister expired at the J.N. Institute of Medical Sciences here. He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. 
 
The Manipur government has announced a three-day state mourning. The flag will fly half mast and there shall be no state function during this period. 
 
As Chief Minister thrice in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, he had tried to solve the armed movement and several insurgents had come overground and had been rehabilitated. He had also been the Speaker and Minister several times as well as a Rajya Sabha member. 
 
Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, Speaker Y. Khemchand and others have condoled his death.
 
IANS
 
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Veteran journalist V. Sriharsha passes away

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Veteran journalist Veturi Sriharsha passed away here on Tuesday after suffering a cardiac arrest. He was 62.
 
He is survived by his wife and son. He was the younger brother of V. Srivatsa, a former Sports Editor of the Times of India and IANS.
 
Sriharsha was working as a media consultant with the GMR Group after retiring as Bureau Chief of ETV (Delhi).
 
He had previously worked with The Indian Express, Pioneer and Deccan Chronicle.
 
The cremation will be held at Lodhi Road Crematorium at 10.30 a.m. on Wednesday.
 
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Govt. nominates J S Rajput as India’s representative to UNESCO Executive Board

J. S. Rajput
J. S. Rajput
The Government of India has decided to nominate Prof. J S. Rajput, former Director, National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), as India’s representative to the Executive Board (EXB) of UNESCO. 
 
Prof. Rajput is an eminent educationist with rich experience in various fields including UNESCO, an official press release said.
 
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javadekar, during his participation in the General Conference of UNESCO meeting from October 30 to November 4, 2017, had actively mobilised support from various nations for India’s membership to the EXB, by meeting their Ministers, it said.
 
The EXB has a four-year term of office and 58 seats. The executive board is one of the constitutional organs of UNESCO and is elected by the General Conference. The executive board examines the work for the organization and the corresponding budget estimates. In practice, the executive board is the main organ responsible for all policies and programmes of UNESCO.
 
The elections of Members of the EXB for the term 2017-21 took place on 8th November, 2017, in which India won with 162 votes in Group IV during the 39th session of the General Conference which was held from 30th October to 14th November, 2017.
 
"Being a member of the board enables us in principle to play a role in shaping and reviewing UNESCO’s policies and programmes corresponding to its five major programs on education, the natural science, the social and human Sciences, Culture and Communication and Information.The next meeting (Session204) of Executive Board of UNESCO is to be held in UNESCO HQ at Paris, from 4 - 17 April, 2018," the release said.
 
Prof. Rajput is known for his contributions in reforms in school education and teacher education. He has held several assignments which include Professor in NCERT, 1974, Principal of the Regional Institute of Education Bhopal 1977-88, Joint Educational Adviser, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, 1989-94; Chairman, National Council for Teacher Education, NCTE, 1994-99 and the Director of the NCERT, 1999-2004.
 
Prof. Rajput proposed valuable changes in school education curriculum as Director, NCERT popularly known as five Sai values: Truth, Peace, Non-violence, Righteous Conduct (Dharma) and Love.
 
Though a professor of Physics, he is known for regulating the B.Ed correspondence courses as the first Chairman of NCTE and for starting the innovative two-year B.Ed course. His research publications in Physics earned him a Professorship at the age of 31 years. He has published research papers in several specialized areas in education, guided doctoral level researches and has authored several books.
 
Prof. Rajput’s association with UNESCO and other international agencies extends over three decades. UNESCO acknowledged his contributions by selecting him for the Prestigious Jan Amos Comenius Medal for outstanding contributions in research and innovations in the year 2004. He received this award in July 2009.
 
He was invited by UNESCO in April-May 2005 to participate in the evaluation of the UNESCO International Center for Technical and Vocational Education (UNEVOC), Bonn, Germany. He has completed a UNESCO project for Bremen University, Germany in 2007-08. In the recent past, he was invited to make presentations in the meetings of international experts on Technical and Vocational Education and Training organized by international agencies in Vietnam in July 2006 and in Adelaide, Australia in October 2006.
 
He has also been awarded Maharishi Ved Vyas national Award by the Government of Madhya Pradesh for lifelong contributions in the field of education.
 
He has recently completed the project aimed at achieving religious amity through education and his edited book “Education of Muslims in India” was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 15, 2015.
 
The Government of India awarded him Padma Shri in 2014.
 
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Atul Gotsurve appointed as Ambassador to Korea

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Mr. Atul M. Gotsurve, currently Director in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Korea.
 
A press release from MEA said Mr. Gotsurve, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 2004, was expected to take up his assignment shortly.
 
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Actor Irrfan Khan diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour, to go abroad for treatment

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan
Well-known actor Irrfan Khan confirmed today that he has been diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour, a rare disease, and that he would be going abroad for treatment.
 
"The unexpected makes us grow, which is what the past few days have been about. Learning that I have been diagnosed with NeuroEndocrine Tumour as of now has admittedly been difficult, but the love and strength of those around me and that I found within me has brought me to a place of hope," Irrfan, 51, said in a post on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"The journey of this is taking me out of the country, and I request everyone to continue sending their wishes," he said.
 
About the rumours about his disease in the past few days since he went public about being afflicted by a "rare disease" on March 5, Irrfan said, " Neuro is not always about the brain and googling is the easiest way to do research;-)"
 
"To those who waited for my words, I hope to be back with more stories to tell," he added.
 
Irrfan prefaced his remarks on Twitter today with a quote from well-known American writer Margaret Mitchell, the author of the novel Gone With the Wind: "Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect".
 
On March 5, Irrfan mentioned "a rare disease" in a post about his health but urged people not to speculate and promised to share details in some days after a conclusive diagnosis.
 
"Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease," he had said on that day.
 
"I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will," he said. "My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible. In trying times, please don't speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week - ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me!" 
 
On February 21, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj had said on Twitter that he was pushing  back his film, starring Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone.
 
"Pushing back film by a few months, @irrfank down with jaundice and @deepikapadukone with resurfaced back issue caused during Padmaavat," Bhardwaj had said.
 
Irrfan Khan's last release was the romantic comedy Qarib Qarib Singlle in which he had co-starred with Malayalam actress Parvathy, who made her Bollywood debut with that film. His next, Blackmail, which also has Kirti Kulhari and Divya Dutta, is due for release next month.
 
Neuroendocrine tumors are abnormal growths that begin in specialized cells called neuroendocrine cells. Neuroendocrine cells have traits similar to nerve cells and to hormone-producing cells.
 
Neuroendocrine tumors are rare and can occur anywhere in the body. Most neuroendocrine tumors occur in the lungs, appendix, small intestine, rectum and pancreas. Neuroendocrine tumors can be noncancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant).
 
Diagnosis and treatment of neuroendocrine tumors depend on the type of tumor, its location, whether it produces excess hormones, how aggressive it is and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
 
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Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

 
Popular physicist Stephen Hawking dies at 76
Stephen Hawking, who was regarded as one of the most brilliant theoretical physicists since Albert Einstein and had an improbable journey since being diagnosed with a motor neurone disease in 1963, has died, his family announced today.
 
He was 76. He is survived by his wife Jane, daughter Lucy, and two sons, Robert and Timothy.
 
Hawking was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a form of Motor Neurone Disease, shortly after his 21st birthday, and was given two years to live. He became wheelchair-bound and dependent on a computerised voice system for communication. But he did not allow all this to affect him and continued with his research into theoretical physics. He wrote several books that became immensely popular, travelled extensively for lectures and other engagements and had hoped to make it into space one day.
 
The announcement said Hawking passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Cambridge in England.
 
"We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today," his family said in a statement.
 
"He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years," it said.
 
"His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humor inspired people across the world. He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever,” it said.
 
Hawking, who overcame his disease to become a brilliant researcher and one of the best known scientists in the world, wrote several influential books, including "A Brief History of Time", which is an international bestseller.
 
He served as Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College. From 1979 to 2009 he held the post of Lucasian Professor at Cambridge, the chair held by Isaac Newton in 1663. 
 
He had more than a dozen honorary degrees and was awarded the CBE in 1982. He was a fellow of the Royal Society and a member of the US National Academy of Science. 
 
Later, Hawking served as the Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics and Founder of the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge.
 
His other books for general readers include A Briefer History of Time, the essay collection Black Holes and Baby Universe and The Universe in a Nutshell.
 
Stephen William Hawking was born on January 8, 1942 in Oxford, England. When he was eight his family moved to St. Albans, a town about 20 miles north of London. At the age of eleven, Stephen went to St. Albans School and then on to University College, Oxford (1952); his father's old college. Stephen wanted to study mathematics although his father would have preferred medicine. Mathematics was not available at University College, so he pursued physics instead. After three years, he was awarded a first class honours degree in natural science. 
 
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In October 1962, Stephen arrived at the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics (DAMTP) at the University of Cambridge to do research in cosmology. After gaining his PhD (1965) with his thesis titled 'Properties of Expanding Universes', he became, first, a research fellow (1965), then Fellow for Distinction in Science (1969) at Gonville & Caius college. In 1966 he won the Adams Prize for his essay 'Singularities and the Geometry of Space-time'. Stephen moved to the Institute of Astronomy (1968), later moving back to DAMTP (1973), employed as a research assistant, and published his first academic book, The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time, with George Ellis. 
 
Hawking worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein's general theory of relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes (1970). These results indicated that it was necessary to unify general relativity with quantum theory, the other great scientific development of the first half of the 20th century. One consequence of such a unification that he discovered was that black holes should not be completely black, but rather should emit 'Hawking' radiation and eventually evaporate and disappear (1974). 
 
Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science. Later, Hawking worked with colleagues on a possible resolution to the black hole information paradox, where debate centres around the conservation of information.
 
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Irrfan mentions "rare disease" in tweet, says will share story after conclusive diagnosis

Irrfan Khan
Irrfan Khan
Well-known actor Irrfan Khan has mentioned "a rare disease" in a post about his health on micro-blogging site Twitter, but has urged people not to speculate and promised to share details in some days after a conclusive diagnosis.
 
"Sometimes you wake up with a jolt with life shaking you up. The last fifteen days, my life has been a suspense story. Little had I known that my search for rare stories would make me find a rare disease," Irrfan, 51, said in his post.
 
"I have never given up and have always fought for my choices and always will," he said.
 
"My family and friends are with me and we are working it out the best way possible. In trying times, please don't speculate as I will myself share with you my story within a week - ten days, when the further investigations come with a conclusive diagnosis. Till then, wish the best for me!" he added.
 
On February 21, filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj had said on Twitter that he was pushing  back his film, starring Irrfan Khan and Deepika Padukone.
 
"Pushing back film by a few months, @irrfank down with jaundice and @deepikapadukone with resurfaced back issue caused during Padmaavat," Bhardwaj had said.
 
Irrfan Khan's last release was the romantic comedy Qarib Qarib Singlle in which he had co-starred with Malayalam actress Parvathy, who made her Bollywood debut with that film. His next, Blackmail, which also has Kirti Kulhari and Divya Dutta is due for release next month.
 
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Air Marshal R K S Shera takes over as Air Officer-­in-­Charge Maintenance

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Air Marshal R K S Shera took over as Air Officer-in-charge Maintenance of Indian Air Force (IAF) here yesterday.
 
He was commissioned in the Aeronautical Engineering Electronics Branch of Indian Air Force on January 5, 1981.  He is a post-graduate from IIT Kanpur in Electrical Engineering.  He has been trained in Russia on MIG-29 aircraft at the time of fleet induction in 1986.  He is an alumnus of prestigious National Defence College (NDC).
 
The Air Officer is a Fellow of Institute of Engineers, Institute of Electronics and Telecommunication and Aeronautical Society of India, besides being member of Computer Society of India.
 
The Air Officer was Senior Maintenance Staff Officer at HQ Maintenance Command before taking over as Air Officer-in-charge Maintenance at Air Headquarters. During his career of 37 years, the officer has held several important command and staff assignments that include Assistant Chief of Air Staff (Engg A), SMSO HQ WAC, Station Commander TETTRA School, Director MiG-29 Weapon Cell at Air HQ, Chief of Aircraft Production at Base Repair Depot, Inspector in Directorate of Air Staff Inspection (DASI), Chief Engineering Officer of a Fighter Base and Instructor at Technical Training School, Botswana (Africa). He has rich experience in the field of maintenance of aircraft from ‘O’ to ‘D’ Level.
 
For his distinguished service, the Air Officer was awarded “Ati Vishisht Seva Medal” in 2014 and “Vishisht Seva Medal” in 1993 by the President of India.
 
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Vinay Kumar appointed as Ambassador to Afghanistan

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Mr. Vinay Kumar, currently Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as India's next Ambassador to Afghanistan.
 
A press release from MEA said Mr. Kumar, an Indian  Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1992 batch, was expected to take up his assignment shortly.
 
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Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi passes away at 82

Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi
Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi
Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswathi, the 69th pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, passed away this morning at Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, the Mutt said.
 
He was 82.
 
The Shankaracharya, who had been in poor health for much of last year, had been taken to a hospital after complaining of breathing difficulties. He breathed his last around 9 am today.
 
"The 69th Acharya of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam Jagadguru Pujyashri Jayendra Saraswathi Shankaracharya Swamigal attained Siddhi at 9.00 am today - Shukla Trayodashi - 28 Feb. 2018 at Sri Kanchi Kamakotii Peetam Sankara Matam, Kanchipuram," a brief announcement on the Mutt's website said.
 
Born as Subrahmanyam Mahadev on July 18, 1935, at Irulneeki in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, he was nominated by his predecessor Chandrashekarendra Saraswati Swamigal as his successor and was given the pontifical title Sri Jayendra Saraswathi on March 22, 1954. He assumed charge as the as the Peetathipathi of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham on March 22, 1994 after the demise of Sri Chandrasekharendra Sarawathi Swamigal.
 
Jayendra Saraswathi was the 69th pontiff of the Kanchi Mutt, established by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century. 
 
He had travelled throughout the country and expanded the activities of the Mutt in areas such as education, health, employment, temple renovation and so on.
 
He was among those charged in the 2004 murder of a Kancheepuram temple employee and was arrested on November 11, 2004 on charges of being a part of the conspiracy. Nine years later, he and 22 others were cleared of charges in the case.
 
Jayendra Saraswathi had given "sanyasa-deeksha" to a boy in his early teens, given him the name Sankara Vijayendra Saraswati and nominated him as his successor Acharya.
 
The 70th  Pontiff, Vijayendra Saraswati, 48, was born on March 18, 1969 at Peripalayam, a village near Arani in Tiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu.
 
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National Herald Editor-in-Chief Neelabh Mishra passes away

Neelabh Mishra. Image: National Herald
Neelabh Mishra. Image: National Herald
Well-known journalist Neelabh Mishra, who was the Editor-in-Chief of National Herald, passed away at a private hospital in Chennai today after a brief illness.
 
He was 57. He is survived by his long-time partner Kavita Srivastava,  brother Shailoj Kumar, sister-in-law Sudha, and niece Nawasha.
 
His body will be cremated at the Nungambakkam Electric crematorium, Chennai at 2.30 pm today. 
 
"With deep sorrow, National Herald announces the passing away of our Editor-in-Chief, leader and friend Neelabh Mishra, aged 57, on February 24," an announcement on the website of National Herald said.
 
The statement said Mishra was critically ill with complications resulting from non-alcoholic liver cirrhosis. "He breathed his last on Saturday, surrounded by relatives, friends and comrades," it said.
 
Mishra had been admitted for treatment to Apollo Hospital in Chennai earlier this month. He developed multiple organ failure before a liver transplant could be carried out. 
 
Mishra steered the re-launch of National Herald, the newspaper founded by India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru in 1938, as a digital news website. In 2017, he relaunched the National Herald on Sunday newspaper, and then National Herald’s sister publications Navjivan and Qaumi Awaz as news websites.
 
Before National Herald, Mishra was editor of Outlook Hindi for several years. An MA in English Literature from Delhi University, he began his career as a reporter with Navbharat Times in his hometown Patna. He then moved to Rajasthan as the Jaipur correspondent for Newstime. He also set up Eenadu TV in Rajasthan in 1998.
 
"Over more than three decades in journalism, Neelabh mentored a generation of younger journalists, whom he schooled in his inimitable style of speaking truth to power and keeping their ears to the ground. As a journalist committed to uncovering truth and to expansion of civil rights, he had worked very closely with the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Bihar, Rajasthan and other states. He was considered as a great friend by many of India’s social movements. They always looked up to him for his advice and guidance. Among them are Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan of Rajasthan and the Right to Information movement.
 
"The feminist movement treated him as a dear comrade. Besides being a keen observer of politics, he was a great lover of poetry and fiction. History was another passion for him.
 
"National Herald will take forward Neelabh’s unwavering commitment to speaking up in defence of India's precious democratic freedoms, as per the values of our founder Jawaharlal Nehru which were so deeply cherished by Neelabh, a dedicated democrat till the end," the statement added.
 
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Rajesh Kakkar takes charge as Director (Offshore), ONGC

Rajesh Kakkar
Rajesh Kakkar
Mr Rajesh Kakkar took over as Director (Offshore) of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) here today.
 
 As Director (Offshore), he will look after oil and gas production from ONGC’s offshore fields that contribute 70% and 78% of ONGC’s domestic crude oil and gas production, respectively.
 
Mr Kakkar has more than three and a half decades of experience in the various aspects of operations and management in both offshore and onshore fields, an official press release said.
 
According to it, he played a key role in reversing the production trend at Western Offshore in 2015. He has been pioneer of “field-life-cycle maximization” to enhance production from the ageing fields. Through many brownfield as well as marginal field development, he has ensured incremental production of oil and gas.
 
He has held key positions in various high-level committees and task forces concerning oil & gas development projects. He played a pivotal role in ensuring health safety and environment as far as the offshore operations are concerned.
 
Mr Kakkar is well-known for his people management and interpersonal skills to foster team approach to the operations, the release said.
 
Mr Kakkar holds a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering with Honors from Ravi Shankar University, Raipur. He completed Global Managers’ programme at IIM, Kolkata and Leadership Development Programme at IIM, Bangaluru. He was recognized as the “Young Executive of the Year” in 1991 and also received Chairman’s award in 1992 for “Consistent Performance in Offshore Production Operations”.
 
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Vice-Admiral R B Pandit assumes charge as Commandant, Indian Naval Academy

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Vice-Admiral R. B. Pandit today took over as the sixth Commandant of the Indian Naval Academy (INA) at Ezhimala in Kerala, succeeding Vice-Admiral S. V. Bhokare.
 
Vice-Admiral Bhokare had taken over the position on October 20, 2016. During his tenure, the academy saw marked transformation in infrastructure and training facilities at INA, an official press release said.
 
He was accorded a warm send off, with the traditional ‘Pulling Out’ ceremony. 
 
Vice-Admiral Pandit is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Khadakvasala, Defence Services Staff College Wellington, the College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and the Royal College of Defence Studies, London, UK. The Flag Officer is specialised in Anti-Submarine Warfare and has commanded INS Nirghat, INS Vindhyagiri, INS Jalashwa and the 22nd Missile Vessel Squadron at Mumbai. 
 
He has been the Naval Adviser at the High Commission of India at Islamabad, Pakistan. He has also held important staff assignments such as ACNS (Foreign Cooperation and Intelligence) at IHQ MoD (Navy) and Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command. He was the Flag Officer Commanding Western Fleet at Mumbai, prior being appointed as the Commandant of Indian Naval Academy. 
 
The officer was promoted to the rank of Vice-Admiral today, the release added.
 
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Scientists uncover mechanism of joint cartilage formation

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Joint pain due to osteoarthritis is an emerging health problem. Researchers are engaged in developing new strategies for osteoarthritis treatment based on regenerative medicine, tissue engineering and gene therapy. Now Indian researchers have made headway towards finding a molecule that can stop degeneration as well as promote regeneration of articular cartilage.
 
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur have reported role of two novel molecules - NFIA and GATA3 - in development of joint cartilage during embryo growth. They have observed in chicken and mouse studies that both these molecules prevent cartilage degeneration. In addition, GATA3 can also promote formation of articular cartilage, which covers ends of joints. Deterioration of articular cartilage in joints causes osteoarthritis. The results of the study have been published in journal Development.
 
“We have identified and characterized roles of two novel articular cartilage factors - NFIA that prevents degeneration of cartilage and maintains it permanently throughout life; and GATA3 that is not only necessary to prevent cartilage degeneration but also can induce articular cartilage, in collaboration with other factors,” explained Dr. Amitabha Bandyopadhyay, who led the research team.
 
Previous studies suggest that genes involved in tissue repair and regeneration are largely similar to the ones associated with tissue building during embryo development. In an earlier study, this group had reported a collection of genes that are turned on exclusively during embryonic articular cartilage development.
 
In this study, the authors also observed an interesting phenomena where molecular manipulation leading to perturbance of articular cartilage also led to a defect in transient cartilage formation. Pratik Singh, co-author in this study says “this study provides novel insight into the cross-talk between articular cartilage and transient cartilage formation which is essential for successful development of limb skeleton. By studying these molecules further we hope to learn to make stable articular cartilage in vitro, currently a major challenge in the field.”
 
“The work provides important pieces in the puzzle of how joints are initially formed in the body,” commented Dr. Terence D. Capellini of Human Evolutionary Biology department of Harvard University, who was not connected with the study.
 
“We know that joint cartilage is different from other cartilage. It has a different tensile strength and unlike skeletal cartilage, it is resistant to ossification. This new work is going to be the first step in identifying how these differences are established at molecular level,” said Dr. Raj Ladher from National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore. He is not a part of this study.
 
“Despite the importance of joint/articular cartilage in normal physiology and disease conditions, very little is known about how it develops and is maintained permanently as cartilage throughout life. This limited understanding is perhaps why there is not effective strategy to treat osteoarthritis,” said Dr Bandyopadhyay.
 
The research team included Pratik Singh, U. S. Yadav, K. Azad and Amitabha Bandyopadhyay (IIT- Kanpur) Pooja Goswami (KIIT University, Bhubaneswar), Veena Kinare (Sophia College for Women, Mumbai). The work was supported by grants from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) of  the Department of Science and Technology (DST). 
 
(India Science Wire)
 
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Ashok Das appointed as Ambassador to Brazil

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Mr. Ashok Das, presently Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) here, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Brazil.
 
A press release from MEA said Mr. Das, an  Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1987 batch, is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
 
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Rear Admiral D. S. Gujral takes over as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Communications Space and Net-Centric Operations)

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Rear Admiral D. S. Gujral has taken over as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Communications Space and Net-centric Operations) at Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy).
 
The Flag Officer, an alumnus of 69th Course National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla was commissioned into the Executive Branch of Indian Navy on January 1, 1987. A Communication & Electronics Warfare specialist, his afloat appointments include EXO of INS Nashak and INS Delhi, and Command of INS Nishank, INS Karmuk and INS Trishul. 
 
He has held appointments of Directing Staff at Defence Services Staff College Wellington, Officer-in-Charge of Signal School, Deputy Director Naval Signals, Director Naval Operations and Principal Director Network & Space Operations. He has undergone Joint Staff Course at Collège interarmées de defense, France and Higher Command Course at Naval War College, an official press release added.
 
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Rear Admiral Shishir Verma appointed as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Special Submarine Projects)

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Rear Admiral Shishir C Verma has taken over as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Special Submarine Projects) at Integrated Headquarters Ministry of Defence (Navy) in New Delhi.  
 
He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy, Pune, India (1986), Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India (2002) and Naval War College, Mumbai, India (2009)
 
He was commissioned into the Indian Navy on July 1, 1987 and specialised in Navigation and Direction in 1993.  He has done his specialist tenures on Foxtrot and Kilo Class Submarines and has also served as Executive Officer of INS Sindhuratna, INS Sindhuraj  and Commanded INS Sindhukesari, INS Rajpur and INS Ranjit.
 
His staff assignments include Officer-in-Charge Submarine School, Director of Submarine Operations, Principal Director Submarine Operation and Principal Director Nuclear Acquisition, an official press release added.
 
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Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana takes over as Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air)

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Rear Admiral Mukul Asthana has been appointed as the Assistant Chief of Naval Staff (Air) in New Delhi.
 
He was commissioned in 1986 in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy. A graduate of the Naval Academy, he attended the 141 Pilots Course and was awarded wings in Jun 1988, at the Air Force Academy. 
 
An experienced pilot, he has flown four types of aircraft and held operational and supervisory assignments in Indian Naval Air Squadrons 551, 550 and 310, the IW Squadron. He attended the Command and Staff Course at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington in 2000 and the Higher Command Course and the Naval War College, Mumbai in 2009.
 
Rear Admiral Asthana commanded INS Rajali, a premier Naval Air Station, from August, 2009 till December, 2010. During this period he oversaw the drawing-up and implementation of plans for induction of the state of the art Boeing P8I Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance ASW aircraft. A record number of young pilots also graduated from the Navy's Helicopter Training School during this period. 
 
His staff appointments include Command Aviation Officer at Headquarters Eastern Naval Command Visakhapatnam, Chief Staff Officer (Air) at Headquarters Naval Aviation, Goa and Principal Director Naval Air Staff at the Naval Headquarters, New Delhi. During these assignments he steadily steered various cases and policies for enhancing and optimising operational, training, and modernisation aspects of Naval Aviation, an official press release said.
 
His operational sea tenures include the commands of the Missile Corvette INS Nashak during Op Vijay, the Sail Training Ship INS Tarangini during her two world-voyages.
 
Later, he commanded the 21 Mine Counter Measure Squadron and the Guided Missile Destroyer INS Rana. A keen student of military affairs and naval history, he holds a Master's in Defence Studies from Madras University, and a Master of Philosophy degree in Strategic Studies from Mumbai University. He has also undergone the National Security Strategic Course at the National Defence College, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2012.
 
On elevation to Flag rank in Jan 2016, Rear Admiral Asthana assumed the duties of Director General Project Varsha at New Delhi, where he was involved with the development of future infrastructure for the Indian Navy. He is a recipient of the prestigious Nausena Medal and commendations by the Chief of the Naval Staff and the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command. He was also conferred with the Tenzing Norgay National Award by the President of India in 2006. 
 
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Pradeep Kumar Rawat concurrently accredited as Ambassador to Timor-Leste

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Mr. Pradeep Kumar Rawat, presently Ambassador of India in Indonesia, has been concurrently accredited as the country's next Ambassador to Timor-Leste, with residence in Jakarta.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr. Rawat, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1990 batch, was expected to take up the assignment shortly.
 
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Vinod Tahiliani appointed as CEO of BP-RIL JV India Gas Solutions

Vinod Tahiliani
Vinod Tahiliani
Mr. Vinod Tahiliani has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of India Gas Solutions, the 50:50 joint venture company of BP and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) that is focused on sourcing and marketing of natural gas in India.
 
Mr. Tahiliani has over 25 years of international experience in the oil and gas business and project financing and joins IGS from BP, where he was most recently the Vice President, Strategy & Commercial for BP India, a press release from the company said.
 
For BP, he has developed gas value chain businesses and worked on oil, gas and power developments in India, Angola and Vietnam.
 
Mr. Sashi Mukundan, Region President and Country Head, BP India said: “The need for assured gas supplies to fuel the exponential energy demand and growth of India is crucial and our IGS partnership is well positioned to contribute significantly in this respect.”
 
“Vinod Tahiliani brings with him the expertise to lead IGS as we look to further develop the business,” said P. M. S. Prasad, Executive Director, RIL. “Demand for gas has been growing at an exponential rate and we anticipate natural gas to emerge as the preferred choice of fuel given its properties as a cleaner and sustainable fuel source."
 
IGS administers the existing gas sales contracts to customers for production from the KGD6 block and is actively pursuing opportunities for marketing R-Series gas and LNG imports. The joint venture company also has focus on infrastructure to accelerate transportation and marketing of natural gas within the country.
 
RIL’s Bibhas Ganguly is the Chairman for IGS, and there is equal representation from RIL and BP on the IGS Board. India Gas Solutions has employees seconded from both companies, bringing deep experience in the gas business, both in India and internationally, the release said.
 
Before joining BP, Mr. Tahiliani specialized in project finance and infrastructure advisory for power, oil & gas and infrastructure projects with a leading bank in India. In addition to an engineering degree from Mumbai University, he has an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB).
 
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A. K. Prasad assumes charge as Financial Commissioner, Railway Board

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Mr. A.K. Prasad has assumed charge as the new Financial Commissioner (Railways), Railway Board and ex-officio Secretary to the Government of India.
 
He  has succeeded Mr. B. N. Mohapatra, who superannuated on January 31, an official press release said.
 
Mr. Prasad is an officer of the 1981 batch of the Indian Railway Accounts Service (IRAS). He has done his Masters in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics in 1980.
 
Prior to this assignment, Mr. Prasad was Additional Member/Finance in the Railway Board.  He  has earlier headed the Finance and Accounts wing as Principal Finance Adviser in Northern Railway, North Western Railway and North Central Railway. He has also worked as Divisional Railway Manager, Solapur and on deputation as Financial Adviser NDMC and has wide experience of rail management and general administration.    
 
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Thanglura Darlong appointed as Ambassador of India to Romania

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Mr. Thanglura Darlong, presently Chief Liaison Officer, South Asian University, New Delhi has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Romania.
 
A press release from the Ministry of External Affairs said Mr. Darlong, an Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer of the 1988 batch, is expected to take up his assignment shortly.
 
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Subhash Kumar takes charge as Director (Finance), ONGC

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Mr. Subhash Kumar took charge as Director (Finance) of the public sector Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) here yesterday.
 
Mr. Kumar was recommended to the position by Public Enterprise Selection Board (PESB) on October 26, 2017 and has been appointed to the post by the President of India, a press release from the company said.
 
Prior to joining as Director (Finance), ONGC, Mr. Kumar served a brief stint with Petronet LNG Limited where he joined as Director (Finance) in August 2017.
 
Mr Kumar is Fellow Member of ICMAI and also Associate Member of ICSI. He is an alumnus of Panjab University, Chandigarh,where he obtained his Bachelors degree and Masters degree in Commerce with Gold Medal.
 
Mr Kumar joined ONGC in 1985 as Finance & Accounts Officer (F&AO). After initially working in Jammu and Dehradun, he had a long stint at ONGC Videsh, the overseas arm of ONGC. During his tenure with ONGC Videsh, Mr Kumar was associated with key acquisitions and expansion of company's footprint from single asset company in 2001 into a company with global presence in 17 countries with 37 assets. He played a key role in evaluation and acquisition of many assets abroad by ONGC Videsh.
 
He worked as Head Business Development, Finance & Budget and also as Head Treasury Planning & Portfolio Management Group at ONGC Videsh from April 2010 to March 2015. He then went on to serve as Chief Financial Officer of Mansarovar Energy Colombia Limited, a 50:50 joint venture of ONGC Videsh and Sinopec of China, fromSeptember 2006 to March 2010.
 
Mr Kumar joined back ONGC as Chief Commercial & Head Treasury of ONGC in July, 2016 where he played a key role in evaluation, negotiation, and concluding outstanding issues pertaining to the organization.
 
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Errol D'Souza appointed as Director of IIM, Ahmedabad

Prof. Errol D'Souza
Prof. Errol D'Souza
Prof. Errol D'Souza has been appointed as the new Director of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) for a five-year term with effect from tomorrow.
 
The announcement was made by IIM Ahmedabad Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla here today.
 
Prof. D’Souza studied Economics and Statistics at the University of Mumbai where he was awarded the Kashinath Trimbak Telang gold medal for obtaining the first rank in in his M.A. (Economics) degree. He obtained his PhD as a University Grants Commission National Research Fellow from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
 
Prior to accepting this position, he served as a Professor of Economics and the Dean of Faculty at the Institute. He has held appointments such as the IFCI Chair Professor at the University of Mumbai, India Chair Professor at the University Sciences Po in Paris, as a Visiting Professor of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, as an Honorary Senior Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, and as a Visiting Professor at the Turin School of Development of the ILO. He has worked on academic committees of the University Grants Commission and the Indian Council of Social Science Research, and has been associated with the Planning Commission of India and the Reserve Bank of India in various capacities, including as a Member, Technical Advisory Committee on Monetary Policy.
 
"Prof. D'Souza brings experience and a track record which will be invaluable in meeting the Institute's goals and objectives. I would like to thank my colleagues who participated in the selection process. Their efforts are deeply appreciated," Mr. Birla said.
 
"I am confident that Prof. D'Souza will be an excellent match for this position and a strong asset to the IIMA Community," he added.
 
Prof. D'Souza had been appointed as Director-in-charge of the institute with effect from September 2, 2017 for a period of six months or till the appointment of a regular Director, whichever is earlier.
 
He replaced Prof. Ashish Nanda, who had announced on April 27 his decision to step aside from his position as Director, IIMA with effect from September 1, citing personal reasons.
 
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