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By Harshmeet Singh
As a country, 2015 has been an extremely eventful year. There were some amazing highs which were averaged out by a number of lows. From banning anything remotely offensive to showing solidarity with the fellow countrymen at the time of natural crises, we added a number of new chapters to the nation’s history.
But to end the year on a cheerful note, we would prefer concentrating on the positives. The year 2015 brought with itself a number of moments that took India’s stature to new heights. Let’s revisit the top seven moments of 2015 that made India proud and cherish them before we start 2016 with a clean slate.
- The first all women contingent at the Republic Day parade
This year’s Republic Day Parade was in the news for multiple reasons. Barack Obama, during his second visit to India, became the first US President to attend India’s Republic Day Parade as the guest of honor. But what made this parade really special was the participation of first ever all women contingent. Women officers from all the three arms of the military took part in the parade, whose theme was “Women Empowerment.”
On January 25, Wing Commander Puja Thakur became the first woman to command the guard of honor for President Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
- Chennai boy becomes the CEO of Google
Sundar Pichai became a household name not just in India, but in many other countries including the USA. The IIT Kharagpur engineer took over as the CEO of Google on October 2, 2015. Previously, he had played a key role in the development of a number of Google’s flagship products including Android, Google Drive, and Google Chrome.
- Air Force to induct female fighter pilots
On October 8, Air Force Day, air-chief Arup Raha announced the plans to allow the induction of women fighter pilots in the Air Force. Till now, women Air Force officers have only been employed in office work and navigation. Women have also flown cargo planes and helicopters in the past, but have been kept away from the fighter planes.
- Sania Mirza reaches the pinnacle and stays there
The year 2015 saw Sania Mirza setting out on a dream run along with her doubles’ partner, Martin Hingis. The duo ended the year as the world number one team, with 10 titles in their kitty, including the Wimbledon and the US Open.
- Society accepts transgender people
The year saw frequent rallies and pride parades in support of transgender people in different parts of the country. Though these rallies weren’t new, the professional success of Madhu Kinnar and Manabi Bandhyopadhyay raised great hopes.
Madhu Kinnar became India’s fifth transgender mayor after winning the Raigarh Municipal elections while running as an independent candidate. Dr. Manabi Bandhyopadhyay became the first transgender college principal in the country after she was offered the post at Krishnagar Women’s College.
- Magsaysay award for Sanjiv Chaturvedi
Indian Forest Services officer of the 2002 batch, Sanjiv Chaturvedi is known for unearthing corruption with every new posting. He was rewarded with frequent transfers, suspensions and false cases. The Magsaysay award foundation awarded him with the prestigious award for “his exemplary integrity, courage and tenacity in uncompromisingly exposing and painstakingly investigating corruption in public office, and his resolute crafting of programme and system improvements to ensure that government honorably serves the people.”
- 21 June is now the ‘world yoga day’
The UN accepted Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposal of naming 21st June as the ‘world yoga day.’ June 21, 2015 saw millions of people practicing yoga in different parts of the world. PM Modi led from the front and practiced Yoga at Delhi’s Rajpath along with more than 35 thousand people. The gathering at Rajpath also found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest yoga camp.
Hackers have stolen crypto tokens worth $120 million from Blockchain-based decentralised finance (DeFi) platform BadgerDAO. Several crypto wallets were drained before the platform could stop the cyber attack. In a tweet, Badger said it has received reports of unauthorised withdrawals of user funds. "As Badger engineers investigate this, all smart contracts have been paused to prevent further withdrawals. Our investigation is ongoing and we will release further information as soon as possible," the company said late on Thursday.
According to the blockchain security and data analytics Peckshield, the various tokens stolen in the attack are worth about $120 million, reports The Verge. According to reports, someone inserted a malicious script in the user interface (UI) of their website. Badger has retained data forensics experts Chainalysis to explore the full scale of the incident and authorities in both the US and Canada have been informed. "Badger is cooperating fully with external investigations as well as proceeding with its own," it said. DeFi is a collective term for financial products and services that are open, decentralised and accessible to anyone. DeFi products open up financial services to anyone with an internet connection and they are largely owned and maintained by their users. While the attack didn't reveal specific flaws within Blockchain tech itself, it managed to exploit the older "web 2.0" technology that most users need to use to perform transactions, according to reports. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: crypto wallets, BadgerDAO, decentralised finance, Blockchain, 120 million, crypto tokens, Hackers)
A total of 120 top Bollywood and other celebrities are expected to attend the wedding of film stars Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal which is scheduled on December 9 in Rajasthan, said Rajendra Kishan, the District Collector (DC) of Sawai Madhopur district of the state on Friday. The District Collector told mediapersons: "These 120 guests shall follow all COVID-19 protocols and fully vaccinated guests will get entry in the much-hyped celebrity wedding."
Kishan said that the organisers have been asked to strictly follow all Covid-19 protocols. Also, those who are not vaccinated, will not be allowed without the negative RT-PCR test report, he added. "We have been informed by organisers that a total of 120 guests are invited to the wedding and the events will take place between December 7 to December 10," he added.
Earlier at 10.30 a.m., Kishan called a meeting which was attended by administrative, police and forest department officials, hotel and event managers to ensure adequate arrangements for crowd control, smooth regulation of traffic, and law and order situation amid the VIP movement. The wedding venue Fort Barwara, that has been converted into a heritage hotel, is situated in the panchayat samiti Chauth Ka Barwara. The venue is around 22 km away from Sawai Madhopur and is around 174 km from Jaipur. Sawai Madhopur district is famous for the Ranthambore National Tiger Reserve and as per reports, the guests are likely to be taken for a tiger safari. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Rajasthan, December 9, Vicky Kaushal, Katrina Kaif, film stars, celebrities, Bollywood, Katrina-Vicky)
The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)