செவ்வாய், டிசம்பர் 23, 2008

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Lotus blooms in Karnataka in 2008

Bangalore (PTI): The BJP's 'lotus' bloomed for the first time in south India in 2008 but the saffron party had little time to celebrate as Karnataka was rocked by serial bomb blasts in capital Bangalore and attacks on churches that drew flak in the country and abroad.

But the state saw history being made when the scientists of Bangalore-based ISRO successfully launched the country's first unmanned moon mission -- Chandrayaan-1 on October 22 from Sriharikota.

Karnataka, which witnessed political instability after the 2004 Assembly elections threw up a fractured verdict and ultimately led to collapse of three coalition governments, turned a new leaf with the people voting into office the BJP government led by B S Yeddyurappa.

The assuming of office by Yeddyurappa realised the saffron party's dream of making Karnataka its gateway to the South. The elections saw the rejection of Congress which was hoping to make a comeback and Deve Gowda's JD(S) biting the dust.

The BJP fell three seats short of majority. However, JD(S) lost four of its MLAs and the Congress three and the legislators, who wrote a new chapter circumventing the anti-defection laws, will face the electorate in the December 27 by-elections.

Even as the counting of votes for the assembly polls were underway on May 25, a massive hooch tragedy struck the state claiming more than 130 lives in Bangalore, neighbouring Kolar and Hoskote

Profile of Columbia's Kalpana Chawla

Kalpana Chawla was a national heroine in India. Her official NASA portrait graced the cover of a leading Indian news magazine, which voted her the most well-known among millions of Indians to emigrate overseas.

Born in Karnal, India, she earned an undergraduate degree in aeronautical engineering from Punjab University in 1982.

After moving to the United States, she earned a master's and a doctorate in the same field. She also became a U.S. citizen.

In 1994, she was selected by NASA for a rigorous one-year training program to serve as a mission specialist on board shuttle missions.

On her first spaceflight, in 1996, she was blamed for making mistakes, as the prime robotic arm operator, which sent a science satellite tumbling out of control. However, a post-flight NASA evaluation absolved her of blame.

Prior to the shuttle Columbia's launch, Chawla, who had logged more than 375 hours in space, told reporters that her inspiration to take up flying was J.R.D. Tata, who flew the first mail flights in India.

The first Indian or Indian-American to fly with a U.S. space shuttle crew, Chawla said she was enthralled by space travel.

"Just looking at Earth, looking at the stars during the night part of Earth; just looking at our planet roll by and the speed at which it goes by and the awe that it inspires; just so many such good thoughts come to your mind when you see all that," she said. "Doing it again is like living a dream — a good dream — once again."

Her parents and siblings had traveled to the United States to witness her shuttle mission.

About her parents, Chawla said: "They are conservative, but very different from lots of other parents. For example, my father never gave me a hard time on career choices. There wasn't any, 'No, absolutely not.' You could always say, 'But, I want to do it.' If you said it enough times, then you would have it."

She is survived by her husband, Jean-Pierre Harrison, a free-lance flying instructor.

Profile of President-Elect Barack Obama

Elected 44th President of the United States:

On November 4, 2008, 47-year-old Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States, after a hard-fought two-year presidential campaign.

Obama (D-IL) was elected to the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2004, after serving 7 years as an Illinois state senator.

He's the author of two best-selling books. Obama was named by Time magazine in 2005, 2007 and 2008 as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Notable:

On February 10, 2007, Barack Obama declared his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic nomination for the presidency. Obama first rose to national prominence when he delivered an inspiring keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

On June 3, 2008, Obama accumulated enough Democratic convention delegates votes to become the presumptive party nominee for the presidential race.

In 2004, Sen. Obama signed a $1.9 million deal to author 3 books. The first, "The Audacity of Hope,", discusses his political convictions. The second book will be co-written with his wife. His 1995 autobiography was a bestseller.

The Obama Persona:

Barack Obama is a independent-minded leader with an even-keel temperament and charismatic speaking skills. He's also a talented, introspective writer.

His values and goals are strongly shaped by his expertise as a Constitutional law professor and civil rights attorney, and by Christianity. While private by nature, Obama mingles easily with others, but is most comfortable addressing large crowds.

Unlike most politicos, Obama is known for being unafraid to speak and hear hard truths when necessary. Although armed with shrewd political sensibilities, he's sometimes slow to recognize viable threats to his agenda.

Major Areas of Interest:

Sen. Obama's areas of special legislative interest have been in support for working families, public education, health care, economic growth and jobs creation, and ending the Iraq War. As an Illinois state senator, he worked passionately for ethics reforms and criminal justice reform.

In 2002, Obama publicly opposed the Bush Administration's push for the Iraq War, but supported war in Afghanistan.

Senate Committees in the 110th Congress:

  • Committee on Foreign Relations
  • Subcommittee on African Affairs
  • Subcommittee on International Economic Policy
  • Subcommittee on Asians and Pacific Affairs
  • Committee on Veterans' Affairs
  • Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions
  • Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs

Practical, Progressive Thinking on the Issues:

In 2002, Barack Obama publicly opposed the Iraq War, and continues to call for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. He urges universal health care, and if elected president, promises implementation by the end of his first term.

Barack Obama's voting record and stances as US Senator and Illinois State Senator reflect a "practical, common sense progressive" thinker who emphasizes increased support for teachers, college affordability, and restoration of meaningful federal support of veterans. Obama opposes privatization of Social Security.

Prior Experience:

Barack Obama served 7 years as an Illinois State Senator, resigning to assume U.S. Senate responsibilities. He also worked as a community organizer and a civil rights attorney. The Senator is a Senior Lecturer in Constitutional Law at University of Chicago Law School.

After law school, he aggressively organized one of the largest voter registration drives in Chicago history to help Bill Clinton's 1992 election.

Personal Data:

  • Birth - August 4, 1961 in Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Education - B.A. in international relations, 1983, Columbia University. J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was Editor of the Harvard Law Review
  • Family - Married on October 18, 1992 to Michelle Robinson, a Chicago native, also a Harvard Law School graduate. Two young daughters, Malia and Sasha.
  • Faith - Christian, United Church of Christ
Shen the Senate is in session, Obama returns to their Chicago home from D.C. every weekend. Obama is a Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bears fan, and an avid basketball player.

Growing Up Barack Obama:

Born Barrack Hussein Obama, Jr, son of a Kenya-born Harvard-educated economist and Ann Dunham, a caucasian anthropologist, was 2 years old when his father left them.

His father (deceased in 1982) returned to Kenya, and only saw his son once more. His mother remarried, and moved Barack to Indonesia. He returned to Hawaii at age 10 to live with his maternal grandparents. He graduated from the respected Punahou School with honors. As a teenager, he scooped ice cream at Baskins-Robbins, and has admitted to dabbling in marijuana and cocaine. His mother died of cancer in 1995.

Memorable Quotes :

"You can't have No Child Left Behind if you leave the money behind."

"I do agree that the Democrats have been intellectually lazy in failing to take the core ideals of the Democratic Party and adapting them to circumstances.... It's not just a matter of sticking in a quote from the Bible into a stock speech."

"There has yet to be a serious conversation about health care on the floor of the United States Senate."

"...as parents, we need to find the time and the energy to step in and find ways to help our kids love reading. We can read to them, talk to them about what they're reading and make time for this by turning off the TV ourselves. Libraries can help parents with this. Knowing the constraints we face from busy schedules and a TV culture, we need to think outside the box here - to dream big like we always have in America.

Right now, children come home from their first doctor's appointment with an extra bottle of formula. But imagine if they came home with their first library card or their first copy of Goodnight Moon? What if it was as easy to get a book as it is to rent a DVD or pick up McDonalds? What if instead of a toy in every Happy Meal, there was a book? What if there were portable libraries that rolled through parks and playgrounds like ice cream trucks? Or kiosks in stores where you could borrow books?

What if during the summer, when kids often lose much of the reading progress they've made during the year, every child had a list of books they had to read and talk about and an invitation to a summer reading club at the local library? Libraries have a special role to play in our knowledge economy." -- June 27, 2005 Speech to the American Library Association

Obama May End NASA Ares Program, Keep Space Shuttles

Washington (dbTechno) - According to the latest reports, NASA and President-elect Barack Obama are not seeing eye to eye on one major topic.  Obama reportedly wants to end the Ares rocket program, and keep the current space shuttles around a bit longer.

The transition team of Barack Obama has been working on what to do with NASA due to the major budget issues the space agency is facing.

In Obama does indeed decide to end the Ares program, NASA will have no way to get astronauts up into space.

NASA has had several issues with the program as they have been trying to build the Ares rockets for some time now.

Their issues have resulted in them going way over budget in the long run.

Obama has never announced a clear stand on what he wants to do with the Ares program, but the possibility is there that he will delay the program completely.

This is not going to sit well with the American people, as Obama stated during his campaign that he was in favor of space goals.

These included NASA getting a man on the moon by 2020, as well as a base on the moon, and a manned mission to Mars.

If Obama decided to scrap the Ares rocket program, we can forget about all of this.

'Bhuvan' to be launched in March

New Delhi (PTI): Bhuvan, India's response to Google Earth, will be launched in March 2009 and will provide high resolution imagery data of the order of five metre which would be of great relevance for real-time exercises, including disaster management and military operations.

"The Google Earth is providing high resolution data in the order of less than a metre. But the data is two to three years old. It cannot be of much use for any real-time exercise. But Bhuvan will provide the relevant data for any real-time exercise," S K Pathan, Head, Geo Informatics Data Division, ISRO, said.

Bhuvan, to be launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be a better alternative to Google Earth in terms of quality of data, he said.

"Bhuvan, which means earth, will get the images from the satellites and provide high resolution imagery data of the order of five metre. This can be of use for real-time exercises like disaster management and military operations," he said.

For real-time exercises, the latest data is a guiding force, he said. It can show the topography, altitude, depth and other features of any specific location.

"This information will be required when you are undertaking a massive exercise like flood management or post-cyclone disaster mitigation," he said.

The data could be of use to manage public services, internal security, town planning and infrastructure development activities.