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World Record: Meet the 96 year-old Shigemi Hirata, World’s Oldest College Graduate of Japan

Shigemi Hirata received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design from Kyoto University at the age of 96 years and 200 days

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Shigemi Hirata Image Credit: japantimes.co.jp
  • Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren
  • He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s
  • 100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport

JAPAN: A 96-year-old man in western Japan has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for breaking all the records and becoming the oldest college graduate according to the World Record Academy. Shigemi Hirata, a resident of Takamatsu, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and Design from Kyoto University at the age of 96 years and 200 days. It took him 11 years to earn the degree of his ceramic arts course.

“My longevity is something like destiny. I am blessed with people (I have met).”

Hirata was born in Hiroshima on 1 September, 1919 and has four great-grandchildren. He served in the navy during the Second World War and worked as a security guard in a Takamatsu hospital after the war until he got retired in 1980s. In 2005, when he was 85, Hirata enrolled in the university’s correspondence study program to enhance his skills in pottery, which he took up when he became a pensioner. He occasionally attended classes at the university’s campus in Kyoto though most of his studies were done at home. He is something of a celebrity on campus.

Shigemi Hirata Image Source: Indiatimes
Shigemi Hirata Image Source: Indiatimes

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Hirata, after becoming the oldest man to earn a graduate degree is not done with setting the records. “My next goal is to live until 100,” he said, before cracking a joke. “If I’m still in good shape at the time, I will consider going to graduate school,” said Hirata.

Japan’s lively pensioners regularly set eye-popping records as the silver-haired generation enjoy longer and healthier lives.

100-year-old Japanese woman, Mieko Nagaoka, became the world’s first centenarian to complete a 1,500-metre freestyle swim, 20 years after she took up the sport.

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Hidekichi Miyazaki, dubbed “Golden Bolt” after Jamaican superstar Usain Bolt, set a record by finishing a 100-meter sprint in just 42.22 seconds at the Kyoto Masters Athletics Autumn Competition at the age of 105.

There were nearly 59,000 centenarians in Japan in 2015, according to government figures — which means 46 out of every 100,000 people is 100 or over.

According to NHK World report of 2015, the number of Japanese aged 65 or older has risen to a new record of about 33.8 million people, or 26.7 per cent of the population.

– by Pashchiema, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @pashchiema

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  • Paras Vashisth

    A line is very famous that “any age is not so important for being educated”
    And from now he is an example and a proof for that line.

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Undaunted Initiative by tribal women for forest preservation in Muturkham, Jharkhand

Muturkhum forest saved from deforestation and exploitation under Timber mafia due to collective efforts of tribal women

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forest under the threat o deforestation in Muthurkam saved by tribal women. pexeby

8th Nov, 2017, Jharkhand:Armed with just water bottles and sticks, a group of poor tribal women in Muturkham village of Purbi Singhbhum district of Jharkhandtrekked miles to the sal forest that surrounded their habitat. Their mission: To save the forest from being plundered and denuded by the “forest mafia”.

Accompanied by just a dog for their safety, these determined women made frequent forays into the deep forest — with which they shared a symbiotic relationship — and have been able, over the years, to successfully conserve 50 hectares of forest land and its flora and fauna deep in the heart of a territory that has also been a battle zone between government forces and left-wing extremists.

This group was brought together by Jamuna Tudu, 37, who has spent the last two decades of her life fighting against deforestation. It was in 1998, after her marriage, that Jamuna took up this challenge of preserving the forest by making villagers develop a stake in it.

 

orest saved from deforestation by tribal women in Muturkham. pexeby

Today, her Van Suraksha Samiti (Forest Protection Group) has about 60 active women members who patrol the jungle in shifts thrice a day: Morning, noon and evening. And sometimes even at night, as the mafia set fire to the forests in random acts of vandalism and vengeance.

Jamuna’s fight has not gone unnoticed. The President of India has honoured her conservation efforts.

“Few days after my marriage, when my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and a few other women from the village took me to the forest to cut wood and get it to cook food, I felt that if we keep cutting the trees this way, all our forests will be wiped out,” Jamuna recalled to IANS in an interview.

In her quest, she had to battle against the mafia that was chopping down trees for their precious sal timber with complete disregard for the law or the tribal tradition that prohibits cutting of the trees.

Realising that she would get little help from authorities, who may well have been hand in glove with the mafia, she took matters in her own hands. She spoke to a few women of the village who were quite aghast at the task she had taken on. We won’t do it; this will require us to fight the men in the village, they told her.

But Jamuna, who has studied up to Class X, foresaw a bleak green-less future for herself and her community with no trees and forests to sustain or protect them.

‘Jungle nahi rahega toh paryavaran kaise bachega (how will we protect the environment if the forest is destroyed)?’ she asked.

Jamuna’s clear understanding of the issue soon trickled down to the other women and even men in her village.

“I was brought up with a love and respect for nature. My father used to plant numerous trees in our farms in Odisha. That’s where I learnt the importance of the environment,” she said.

Pointing out how the mafia was exploiting the wood from Muturkham to fund their alcohol needs, she said she was bewildered by the passive response of the community at their habitat being slowly destroyed.

“I went on to speak to a few women in the village. I held a meeting with them several times to be able to convince them that we needed to protect our beautiful forests,” she said.

Gradually, she mobilised a group of 25 women from the village and armed them with bows and arrows, bamboo sticks and spears, they marched into the forest to take on the forest predators.

With time, many men also became part of the campaign against deforestation, but most of the effort has continued to be from women, said Jamuna.

There are many daunting challenges that came their way, but their single-minded dedication towards their cause kept them going.

“There were too many altercations with the village people initially.. many scuffles with the mafia… and I told those women that in this journey, we would come across both good and bad times, but we have to struggle to keep the forest,” said Jamuna.

The group convinced the railway authorities to bar the plundered wood from being exported.

“Some time in 2008-09, we were brutally attacked by the mafia,” she said.

“They pelted stones at us while we were coming back from the railway station after speaking to the station master. Everybody got injured,” she added.

For obvious reasons, Jamuna, the woman whose initiatives were hampering their business, was their main target. She and her husband suffered most in the assault.

“My husband got hit on his head as he tried to save me. It was dark and we somehow managed to run away. We narrowly escaped death that day.” But she did not give up.

Over 15 years of many fierce encounters with the mafia and relentless sensitisation of the community, Jamuna, and the Van Suraksha Samiti that she formed, have succeeded in protecting and conserving the 50 hectares of forest land not just surrounding her village, but around many others as well.

Tribal communities cannot survive without wood. They need it for various things — mostly to cook food. But they ensure that their requirements remain within sustainable limits.

“We don’t cut trees on purpose any more and use the fallen trees and branches for all our needs,” Jamuna said. “The amount we are able to save up during the rains is sufficient for the whole year.”

The Forest Department has “adopted” her village, which has led to Muturkham getting a water connection and a school.

In 2013, Jamuna was conferred with the Godfrey Phillips Bravery Award in the ‘Acts of Social Courage’ category and this year in August, she was awarded with Women Transforming India Award by the NITI Aayog.

Today, she runs awareness campaigns through various forest committees in Kolhan Division. Around 150 committees formed by Jamuna, comprising more than 6,000 members, have joined her movement to save the forests.

She wants to do a lot more. “I wish to do a lot… to make a lot more difference, but I am bound by limited resources. I can’t in many ways afford to go beyond the villages in my state.”

But if I get more support, many more forests like ours can be saved, she declared.

(This feature is part of a special series that seeks to bring unique and extraordinary stories of ordinary people, groups and communities from across a diverse, plural and inclusive India, and has been made possible by a collaboration between IANS and the Frank Islam Foundation. Mudita Girotra can be contacted at mudita.g@ians.in)

 

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Top 5 Affordable Travel Destinations where Money will be the Last Thing on your Mind!

Indian currency seems weak when compared to international currencies. Hence, planning a trip to New York or California is not easy

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Japan will have your heart at first sight! Pixabay

How many times has it happened that you longed for an exotic foreign trip, but gave up on the idea because of upsetting figures in your bank balance? Indian currency seems weak when compared to international currencies. Hence, planning a trip to New York or California is not easy; everybody knows these are expensive places and you will have to think twice before your NYC dreams come true.

But what if we tell you there are countries in the world that you can visit and gather equally thrilling and exotic experiences, at much lesser price?

Yes, there are countries that can be on your travel bucket list, where money will be the last thing you will worry about! These places are not only unique and undoubtedly beautiful, they are relatively cheap and our Indian currency will prove a stronger, higher currency when compared to their own currencies!

So, what are you waiting for? We bring you our top 5 picks for affordable travel destinations and you should get packing!

 1. SRI LANKA

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 2.37 LKR (Sri Lankan Rupee)*

Sri Lanka is the first in our affordable travel destinations list!

affordable travel destinations
Sri Lankan beaches are a sight not to be missed. Pixabay

Despite being extremely small in size, Sri Lanka is a heavenly abode that makes it to the post of top five biodiversity hotspots in the world!

Dive in with the blue whales or watch spinner dolphins play against the setting sun! Go on a wildlife safari and spend days playing with elephants in the water.

affordable travel destinations
Elephant safari in Sri Lanka. Pixabay

Sri Lanka is a haven for back-packers, packed with Dutch architecture from the times of Sri Lanka colonialists, and exotic scenic locales, it is closer to home and yet, everything that any far-off international destination could possibly offer!

 

 2. JAPAN

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 1.70 JPY (Japanese Yen)*

Cute buildings, cute people, cute food, and cute everything else! Second on our list of affordable travel destinations is Japan.

Food is an integral part of Japan, and something that the Japanese wholly embrace as a prime part of life.

Japan’s history is intrinsically linked to the Buddhist, Shinto, and Taoist faiths- the reason why a visit to Japan will be no less than a serene and tranquil experience.

affordable travel destinations
Japan will have your heart at first sight! Pixabay

Japan is categorically blessed with natural beauty with the country boasting of extremely rare and fascinating flora and fauna – experience the magnificence of Mt. Fuji in summer and spring, and visit the streets completely covered with cherry blossoms in March and April- Japan will present you with sights that will simply take your breath away!

 

 3. ICELAND

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 1.66 ISK (Icelandic Króna)*

Iceland convincingly makes it to the third spot on our affordable travel destinations list. Iceland is situated just below the Arctic Circle, which means the country has 24-hour daylight from mid-May to late July. Isn’t that already stimulating?

And who hasn’t heard of Iceland’s famous northern lights? The county is undoubtedly one of the world’s best places to witness the magic of the northern lights or aurora borealis. The best time to witness the magic of these celestial marvels from September to mid-April.

affordable travel destinations
The northern lights, do they even look real? Pixabay

Iceland’s rich water supply is undoubtedly its most valuable natural resource. Why are we telling you about this? Iceland has natural pools that can be found all around the country, calmly seated in natural environment.

affordable travel destinations
Iceland has natural pools that make for magnificent sights! Pixabay

Fun fact : People of Iceland do not have surnames. They follow the traditional Nordic naming system in which a person’s name includes their father’s first name.

 

 4. HUNGARY

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 4.00 HUF (Hungarian Forint)*

From its cosmopolitan cities to the charming countryside, Hungary will provide you with innumerable reasons to make a stop here. Nonetheless, it is going to be a decision you will not regret. From mouth-watering food to traditional folk culture, Hungary offers something for everybody, which is what brings the country on the fourth spot in our affordable travel destinations list.

Hungary’s countryside is filled with naturally magnificent sights- from natural landscapes in the Hortobagy National Park, to extravagant caves of Lillafured, your Hungarian vacation will be both peaceful and beautiful!

affordable travel destinations
Szechenyi Chain Bridge. Pixabay

Hungary will be the best option if you’re looking for an affordable vacation – with affordable food, drink, and many of the country’s attractions being totally free to visit such as the Chain Bridge)

 

5. VIETNAM

1 INR (Indian Rupee) = 353.78 VND (Vietnamese Dong)*

The last on the list of affordable travel destinations is Vietnam. With its fascinating history, succulent food, gorgeous beaches, old towns, islands and waters, Vietnam should definitely be on everybody’s bucket list.

affordable travel destinations
Sunrise at Vietnam is to die for! Pixabay

Street food is a trademark of Vietnam and you will find countless food stalls on street sides throughout your trip that you can gorge on! Vietnam will also not disappoint mountaineers, or adventure seekers- you can either rent a motorbike and drive to the scenic mountains in the north or along the length of the country from north to south – but beware, this thrilling ride is not for the faint-hearted.

Don’t forget to share with us if you do plan a trip to any of these places!

* Conversion rates are subject to change. 

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Delhi Woman Shot Dead In front of Husband, 2 Year Old Son

Her husband told police he had borrowed money from someone and alleged the lender was behind the killing as he was unable to pay the amount back.

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A woman was murdered in the early hours of the morning as the family traveled from Kashmere Gate to their home in Rohini in Delhi. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 25, 2017 : A 30-year-old woman was shot dead in the early hours of Wednesday in front of her husband and two-year-old son, police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Milind Mahadeo Dumbere told IANS the woman, Priya Mehra, was travelling in a car along with her husband and son when she was shot at around 4.30 a.m. in Shalimar Bagh in north-west Delhi.

Her husband told police he had borrowed money from someone and alleged the lender was behind the killing as he was unable to pay the amount back.

He had borrowed Rs 5 lakh in a high interest rate and as the debt grew into Rs 40 lakh, he was finding it difficult to pay back.

“There were four assailants in a car, according to the deceased’s husband, and she was shot at twice,” the police officer said.

Dumbere said no one has been arrested yet and the body has been sent to Babu Jagjivan Ram Memorial Hospital (BJRM) Hospital for autopsy.

The family was on the way to their house in Rohini from Kashmere Gate, when the woman was murdered. (IANS)