Most Spoken Languages

Most Spoken Languages
1. Mandarin language – China
The highest number of speakers use Mandarin language the number of speakers
are crossed 1 billion plus, it is the most widely spoken language on the planet which is
based in the most populated country on the planet, China. Speaking Mandarin can be
really tough, because each word can be pronounced in four ways (or “tones”), and a
beginner will invariably have trouble distinguishing one tone from another.
To say “hello” in Mandarin, say “Ni hao” (Nee HaOW). The “Hao” is pronounced as
one syllable, but the tone requires that you let your voice drop midway, and then raise
it again at the end.
2. English
While English doesn’t have the most speakers, it is the official language of more
countries than any other language. Its speakers hail from all around the world, including the U.S., Australia, England, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, South Africa,
3. Hindustani – Number of speakers: 497 million
Hindustani is the primary language of India’s crowded population, and it encompasses
a huge number of dialects of which the most commonly spoken is Hindi. Many predict
that the population of India will soon surpass that of China, the prominence of English
in India prevents Hindustani from surpassing the most popular language in the world.
To say “hello” in Hindustani, say “Namaste”.
4. Spanish
Spanish is spoken in just about every South American and Central American country,
Spain, Cuba, and the U.S. There is a particular interest in Spanish in the U.S., as many
English words are borrowed from the language, including: tornado, bonanza, patio,
quesadilla, enchilada, and taco grande supreme.
To say “hello” in Spanish, say “Hola”.
5. Russian
One of the six languages in the UN, Russian is spoken not only in the Mother Country,
but also in Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the U.S.
To say “hello” in Russian, say “Zdravstvuite” (ZDRAST-vet- yah).
6. Arabic
Arabic, one of the world’s oldest languages, is spoken in the Middle East, with speakers found in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and
Egypt. Because Arabic is the language of the Koran, millions of Moslems in other countries speak Arabic as well. So many people have a working knowledge of Arabic, in 1974
it was made the sixth official language of the United Nations.
To say “hello” in Arabic, say “Assalamu Alaykum” .
7. Bengali – Number of speakers: 211 million
In Bangladesh, a country of 120+ million people, just about everybody speaks Bengali.
And because Bangladesh is virtually surrounded by India, the number of Bengali speakers in the world is much higher than people would expect.
To say “hello” in Bengali, say “Ei Je” (eye-jay).
8. Portuguese
In the 12th Century, Portugal won its independence from Spain and expanded all over
the world with the help of its famous explorers like Vasco da Gama and Prince Henry
the Navigator. Because Portugal got in so early on the exploring game, the language
established itself all over the world, especially in Brazil where it’s the national language,
Macau, Angola, Venezuela, and Mozambique.
To say “hello” in Portuguese, say “Bom dia” (bohn dee-ah).
9. Malay – Indonesia
Malay Language is spoken in Malaysia and Indonesia. There are many dialects of Malay,
the most popular of which is Indonesian. But they’re all pretty much based on the same
root language, which is the ninth most-spoken in the world.
To say “hello” in Indonesian, say “Selamat pagi” (se-la-maht pa-gee).
10. French
French often called the most romantic language in the world, French is spoken in countries like Belgium, Canada, Rwanda, Cameroon, Haiti and France.
To say “hello” in French, say “Bonjour” (bone-joor).
Solar System Quiz
Our solar system consists of one central star, the Sun
Our solar system consists of more than 60 moons
The Solar System have nine planets named Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto
Our solar system consists of millions of rocky asteroids
Our solar system consists of billions of icy comets
The solar system is said to be over 5 billion years old.
Planets are different in sizes and colors. The four planets closer to the Sun are called
‘rocky’ planets.
Only two planets have (Earth and Mars) have moons
The asteroid belt is a zone between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen with the naked eye (Without
telescope or binoculars)
Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars are called ‘rocky’ or’ terrestial’ planets.
`Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are called the gaseous planets.
Jupiter and Saturn contain the largest percentages of hydrogen and helium, while Uranus and Neptune contain largest shares of ices, frozen water, ammonia, methane, and
carbon monoxide.
The four gas giants, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, have rings.
Hubble is one of the worlds most powerful telescopes.
The Sun is too bright for the Hubble Space Telescope to observe.
The sun is 330330 times larger than the earth.
The earth began billions of years ago as a huge ball of swirling dust and gases.
Earth is only known planet where life began on 600 million years ago.
Animal General Knowledge Test
The Earth has over 12,00,000 species of animals, 3,00,000 species of plants & 1,00,000
other species.
All polar bears are left handed
The original name for the butterfly was ‘flutterby
A cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime
A cheetah does not roar like a lion – it purrs like a cat (meow)
A jellyfish is 95 percent water!
No two zebras have stripes that are exactly alike. There are more than 50 different
kinds of kangaroos.
A butterflie have 6 Legs & 2 Pair of Wings & has 12,000 eyes.
Human birth control pill works on gorillas.
German Shepherds bite humans more than any other breed of dog.
Owl is the only bird, which can rotate its head to 270 degrees.
The Swan has over 25,000 feathers in its body.
Elephant teeth can weigh as much as 9 pounds.
Crane sleeps standing on one leg.
Shark cannot see, they are very sensitive to sound.
A cat sees about six times better than a human at night because of the tapetum lucidum , a layer of extra reflecting cells which absorb light.
A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
Bears whose brown fur is tipped with lighter-colored hairs are called grizzly bears .
Ants don’t sleep.
A cheetah can run 76 kilometres per hour (46 miles per hour)
Kiwis are the only birds, which hunt by sense of smell.
Cassowary is one of the dangerous birds that can kill a man or animal by tearing off
with its dagger like claw.
The largest frog in the world is called Goliath frog.
Human Body Quiz
In 24 hours, An average human heart beats 1,03,689 times.
In 24 hours, An average human Lungs respire 23,045 times.
In 24 hours, An average human Blood flows 16,80,000 miles.
An average human Nails grow 0.00007 inches in every 24 hours, .
An average human Hair grows 0.01715 inches in 24 hours, .
In 24 hours, An average human Take 2.9 pounds Water (including all liquids).
In 24 hours, An average human Take 3.25 pounds FOOD.
In 24 hours, An average human Breathe 438 cubic feet AIR.
In 24 hours, An average human Lose 85.60, BODY TEMPERATURE.
In 24 hours, An average human Produce 1.43 pints SWEAT.
In 24 hours, An average human Speak 4,800 WORDS.
In 24 hours, An average human During SLEEP move 25.4 times.
The fastest human beings runs only about 30 kilometres per hour (18 miles per hour).
About 10% of the world’s population is left-handed.
A person afflicted with hexadectylism has six fingers or six toes on one or both hands
and feet
A human eye blinks over 10,000,000 times a year!
The vocabulary of the average person consists of 5,000 to 6,000 words.
The average person laughs about 15 times a day
Fingernails grow nearly 4 times faster than toenails!
Never hold your nose and cover your mouth when sneezing, as it can blow out your
People who ride on roller coasters have a higher chance of having a blood clot in the
Sneezing stops heart beat for a second and then continues.
Shape of the backbone is important to have sufficient breathing.
Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different.
True Facts
The Venezuelan brown bat can detect and dodge individual raindrops in mid-flight, arriving safely back at his cave completely dry.
When immersed in liquid, a dead sparrow will make a sound like a crying baby.
Centuries ago, purchasing real estate often required having one or more limbs amputated in order to prevent the purchaser from running away to avoid repayment of the
loan. Hence an expensive purchase was said to cost “an arm and a leg.”
If you put a bee in a film canister for two hours, it will go blind and leave behind its
weight in honey.
At the first World Cup championship in Uruguay, 1930, the soccer balls were actually
monkey skulls wrapped in paper and leather.
Urine from male cape water buffaloes is so flammable that some tribes use it for lantern
we can get blood from a stone, but only if contains at least 17 percent bauxite.
Polar bears can eat as many as 86 penguins in a single sitting.
Replying more than 100 times to the same piece of spam e-mail will overwhelm the
sender’s system and interfere with their ability to send any more spam.
Scuba divers cannot pass gas at depths of 33 feet or below.
Manatees possess vocal chords which give them the ability to speak like humans, but
don’t do so because they have no ears with which to hear the sound.
In the weightlessness of space a frozen pea will explode if it comes in contact with
Smearing a small amount of dog feces on an insect bite will relieve the itching and
The typewriter was invented by Hungarian immigrant Qwert Yuiop, who left his “signature” on the keyboard.
King Henry VIII slept with a gigantic axe.
Human saliva has a boiling point three times that of regular water.
Until 1978, Camel cigarettes contained minute particles of real camels.
You can actually sharpen the blades on a pencil sharpener by wrapping your pencils in
aluminum foil before inserting them.
When Mahatma Gandhi died, an autopsy revealed five gold Krugerrands in his small
If you part your hair on the right side, you were born to be carnivorous. If you part it
on the left, your physical and psychological make-up is of a vegetarian.
The world’s smartest pig, owned by a mathematics teacher in Madison, WI, memorized
the multiplication tables up to 12.
The “nine lives” attributed to cats is probably due to their having nine primary whiskers.
Coca-Cola was the favored drink of Pharaoh Ramses. An inscription found in his tomb,
when translated, was found to be almost identical to the recipe used today.
Approximately one-sixth of human life is spent on Wednesdays.
Indian Presidents
1. Dr. Rajendra Prasad
India’s first president after independence was dr. Rajendra Prasad born on december 3,
1884 in the Saran district of North Bihar. Prasad spent his childhood listening to tales
from the Ramayana, and the epic had a profound influence on his life. He was a brilliant
student, he studied in the Presidency College, Calcutta, and topped in Master of Arts
and Master of Law at the Calcutta University.
He joined the Indian National Congress while practicing Law in Calcutta in 1911. Even
though he made his mark as a lawyer, he was deeply influenced by Gandhi, and plunged
himself into the freedom struggle. He twice became the president of the Congress in
1934 and 1939.
Prasad emerged as the only choice for presidency after the country became a Republic
in 1950. When it came to relinquishing office in 1962, after being the First Citizen of
India for 12 long years from January 26, 1950 to May 13, 1962, Dr. Prasad did not bat
an eyelid, despite persuasions from all quarters. The nation befittingly awarded him
with a Bharat Ratna. He was passed on February 28, 1963.
2. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan
The Second President Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan born on September 5, 1888 in a
middle class Hindu family in Tirutani in the then Madras State. He best known as a
philosopher, statesman, writer, educationist, humanist and administrator, despite being
orthodox, his parents had a vision for their son and sent him to Christain missionary
schools and colleges, such as Lutheran Mission School, Tirupati; Vellore College, Vellore; and Madras Christian College.
He took up Philosophy at the graduation level in Madras University and went on to
master the subject. Throughout his glorious career, Radhakrishnan held numerous important academic, cultural and political posts, both in India and abroad, such as ViceChancellor of Andhra University, Spaulding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics,
Oxford University, Leader of the Indian Delegation to UNESCO, Ambassador-Extraord
inary and Minister-Plenipoten tiary to the U.S.S.R., etc.
Dr. Radhakrishnan became the President after Dr. Rajendra Prasad, his presidency period starts from May 13, 1962 to May 13, 1967. His birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s
Day throughout India he passed on April 17, 1975.
3. Dr. Zakir Hussain
Third President an educator, Dr. Zakir Hussain was born in Hyderabad on February 8,
1897. He studied at Islam High School, Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, and later at the AngloMuhammadan Oriental College (now known as Aligarh Muslim University).
He founded the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi. He held several posts as Chairman, Central Board of Secondary Education, a member of the University Grants Commission and a member of the University Education Commission. Hussain served as the
Vice-President from 1962 to 1967 and then went on to grace Rashtrapati Bhavan as
the third President. The first President to die while in office on may 3, 1969, he was
awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 1954 and the Bharat Ratna in 1963.
4. Varahagiri Venkata Giri
Fourth President Varahagiri Venkata Giri was a prolific writer and a good orator, he
was born in Berhampur in the Ganjam district(then a part of the Madras Presidency) of
Orissa on August 10, 1894.
5. Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed
A Telegu by birth, he went to the University of Dublin, Ireland, for higher studies. He
soon got absorbed into the freedom struggle in Ireland. While taking active participation in the freedom movement, Giri joined the Indian National Congress and mobilised
the trade unions in support of the freedom struggle. He was elected to the Parliament
in 1952. Thereafter, Giri served as Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Mysore from
1957 to 1967. He became the Vice-President in 1967. Giri had to officiate as President
Dr. Zakir Hussain passed away while in office. He was finally elected the President in
1969. Giri received the Bharat Ratna in 1975.
The Fifth President Dr. Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed man of many abilities, Fakhruddin Ali
Ahmed was born on May 13, 1905 in the Hauz Qazi area of Old Delhi. He received his
primary education from Bonda Government High School, Uttar Pradesh, and did his matriculation from the Delhi Government High School, then under the Punjab University.
Later, he joined the Catherine College, Cambridge University, and was called to the Bar
from Inner Temple of London. Ahmed joined the Indian National Congress in 1931 and
took active part in the freedom struggle. He became part of the Central Cabinet after
Independence and held important portfolios. He could not complete his term due to a
fatal heart attack on February 11, 1977.
6. Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
India’s sixth President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy was born in the Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh on May 18, 1913. After completing his primary education at Theosophical
High School at Adyar in Madras, Reddy went to Government’s Arts College at Anantpur
for higher studies. He plunged into the freedom movement in 1931, participating in
various nationalist activities.
Reddy became the chief minister of the then newly-formed state of Andhra Pradesh
in 1956, and later from 1962 to 1964. He served in the cabinet of Prime ministers Lal
Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. Twice elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker (1967 and
1977), Reddy became the President in 1977 after winning the elections hands down as
an unopposed candidate.
7. Giani Zail Singh
Giani Zail Singh a man of the masses and the only Sikh President of India till date, Zail
Singh was born on May 5, 1916 in an agricultural family in village Sandhwan in the then
Faridkot State. Hailing from a humble background, Singh showed remarkable acumen
in mastering Sikh history and its scriptures. He acquired the epithet of ‘Giani’ because
of his scholarly abilities.
After leading the fight against feudalism and participating actively in the freedom movement in Punjab, Singh went on to become the chief minister of the state in 1972. Punjab
enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity under his leadership. He became home
minister in Indira Gandhi cabinet in 1980, he utilised his administrative skills to solve
many problems that stared in the face of the nation. He was elected to the highest office of India in 1982.
8. Ramaswamy Venkataraman
Eighth President, Ramaswamy Venkataraman was born in village Rajamadam in the
Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu on December 4, 1910. He did his Masters in Economics
from Madras University and Law from Law College, Madras. As a practicing lawyer, he
became involved with the Quit India Movement in 1942.
Venkataraman was a member of the Constituent Assembly that drafted India`s Constitution. After India became a Republic, he was elected to the Parliament in 1952. He
was Governor, International Monetary Fund, International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, and the Asian Development Bank. He was elected Vice-President of India
in 1984 and became the President in 1987.
9. Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma
The Ninth President Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma was born in Bhopal on August 19, 1918,
Madhya Pradesh, and studied in St. John’s College, Agra; Allahabad University; Lucknow University; Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge University; Lincoln’s Inn, London and
Harvard Law School, USA.
He taught Law at Cambridge University in 1946-47. While in Britain, Sharma took active interest in India’s struggle for Independence, and later joined the Indian National
Congress. After India became a Republic, Sharma took over as the Chief Minister of
Bhopal in 1952 before the state of Madhya Pradesh was formed. He also occupied the
posts of the Governor of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra. Sharma was elected
the Vice-President in 1987 and eventually the country’s President in 1992. He is credited to have sworn in three prime ministers.
10. Kocheril Raman Narayanan
The tenth president Kocheril Raman Narayanan was a scholar and a writer, Narayanan
was born in village Uzhavoor in Kottayam district of Kerala on October 27, 1920. He did
his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in English Literature from Travancore University,
and later went on to study at the London School of Economics.
Narayanan joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1949 and served in Rangoon, Tokyo,
London, Canberra and Hanoi. He was India’s Ambassador to Thailand, Turkey, China,
and eventually became Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs in 1976. He was
India’s Ambassador to the United States from 1980 to 1984. Elected to the post of
Vice-President in 1992, Narayanan became the President in 1997. He was also the first
President to cast his vote in the 1998 General Elections. He passed away on November
9, 2005.
11. Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam
One of the most distinguished scientists of India, Abdul Kalam is known as the Missile
Man of India. He was born at Rameswaram, in Tamil Nadu on October 15, 1931, and
studied Aeronautical Engineering at the Madras Institute of Technology.
12. Smt. Pratibha Patil
Kalam developed India`s first Satellite Launch Vehicle. He also developed and enabled
operationalisation of Agni and Prithvi missiles. It was largely because of his efforts that
India became a nuclear weapons country. Befittingly, he has been bestowed with all
the three civilian honours of the Nation. The 11th President is also credited with many
firsts to his credit. He is the first President to be awarded the Bharat Ratna before he
occupied Rashtrapati Bhavan, the first scientist to become the President and the first
bachelor to be elected to the highest office of the land. He created history by flying the
Sukhoi 30.
The 12th and current president of india, she is the first indian women appointed at the
top post of the indian constituency.
USA General Knowledge
On 4th July 1776 America declares itself as an independent country
The U.S President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865
According to a theory California State was nbamed by its Spanish settlers after a utopian society described in a popular 16th-century novel called Serged de Esplandian.
The State Georgia named after King George II of England, who charted the colony in
Louisiana state named after French King Louis XIV.
Washington Named after George Washington.
Wyoming derived from the Algonquin word for “large prairie place”
Rhode Island named by “Roode Eylandt” (Red Island) because of its red clay.
Teaxas word Derived from the Caddo Indian word for “friend,” or “ally.”
North and south Dakota taken from the Sioux word for “friend,” or “ally”.
Virginia and west virginia was Named after Queen Elizabeth I of England, the “virgin”
queen, by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584.
Newyork was named after the Duke of York and Albany.
Minnesota was derived from the Sioux word for “sky tinted” or “muddy water”.
New Mexico is the Spanish name for the territory north of the Rio Grande.
Kansas word was taken from the Sioux word for “south wind people,” their name for
anyone who lived south of Sioux territory.
Hawaii is an English adaptation of the native word Owyhee, which means “homeland”.
Indiana state was named by English-speaking settlers because the territory was full of
Kentucky was possibly derived from the Indian word kan-tuk-kee, meaning “dark and
bloody ground.” Or kan-tuc-kec, “land of green reeds”, or ken-take, meaning “meadowland”.
Shakespeare invented the word ‘ assassination’ and ‘bump’.
Amazing Facts
Tuesday is considered as the most productive day of the week.
In human body the right lung takes in more air than the left one.
The sun is 330330 times larger than the earth.
Bill gates house was designed using Macintosh computer which is a brand of the microsoft’s rival company.
Almost all varieties of breakfast cereals are made from grass.
In the 1930’s America track star Jesse Owens used to race against horses and dogs
to earn a living.
There is a great mushroom in Oregon that is 2,400 years old. It Covers 3.4 square
miles of land and is still growing.
Jimmy Carter is the first USA president to have born in hospital.
Elephants are the only animals that cannot jump.
Cleopatra married two of her brothers.
Human birth control pill works on gorillas.
It is illegal to own a red car in shanghai china.
Tru to spin an egg, Its strange that a hard-boiled egg will spin but an uncooked or
soft-boiled egg will not.
Astronauts cannot burp in space.
People with blue eyes see better in dark.
The snowiest city in the USA is Blue Canyon, California.
Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua is the only fresh water lake in the world that has
Kite flying is a professional sport in Thailand.
The gasoline can not freeze no matter how cold the temperature falls.
Human stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks otherwise it will
digest itself.
Every person has a unique tongue print.
Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn’t wear pants.
A tiny amount of liquor on a scorpion will make it go mad instantly and sting itself to
By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you can’t sink in quicksand.
Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the book most often stolen from
Public Libraries.
The Polar Bear can can reach 25 miles / hr of speed.
Leonardo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same
Chocolate affects a dog’s heart and nervous system. A few ounces will kill a small
sized dog.
Most lipsticks contain fish scales.
Computer Related Quiz
Abacus is cnsidered as the first known counting device and it was orginated from
Asia. Abacus worked on a place-value notion meaning that the place of a bead or rock
on the apparatus determined how much it was worth.
In 1642 a French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal invented the first mechanical digital calculator using gears known as the Pascaline.
In 1812 Charles P. Babbage later known as the “father of the computer”,designed a
machine, the difference engine which was steam-powered, fully automatic and commanded by a fixed instruction program.
In 1947 the giant calculating device ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) machine was developped by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, Jr. at the
University of Pennsylvania.
In early 1960s Gene Amdahl designed the IBM System/360 series of mainframe
computers, which considered as the first general purpose digital computers which uses
intergrated circuits.
In 1961 Dr. Hopper developed the COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language)
programming language.
In 1964 the International Business Machines (IBM) publishes and marketed the term
“word processor”
In 1965 Dr. Thomas Kurtz and Dr. John Kemeny developped BASIC (Beginners Allpurpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language .
In 1969 the Internet was started.
In 1969, computers were first used to communicate synchronously.
In 1970 Dr. Ted Hoff developed the famous Intel 4004 microprocessor (G) chip.
In 1971 the Intel released the first microprocessor, a specialized integrated circuit
which was able to process four bits of data at a time.
In 1976 Apple Computers was founded by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak.
In 1981 the IBM PC was introduced with a 16-bit microprocessor.
Current Affairs 20 - 27 Feb 2010
1. Olympic Winter Games in 2010
The city of Vancouver was elected host city of the XXI Olympic Winter Games in
2010 at the 115th IOC Session in Prague on 2 July 2003.
* Eight cities applied to host the Games: Andorra la Vella (Andorra), Bern (Switzerland), Harbin (China), Jaca (Spain), PyeongChang (Republic of Korea), Salzburg (Austria), Sarajevo (Bosnia-Herzegovina) and Vancouver (Canada).
* The following cities were accepted as Candidate Cities to host the XXI Olympic
Winter Games in 2010 by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board
on 28 August 2002 (in the order of drawing of lots):
- Vancouver (Canada)
- Salzburg (Austria)
- Bern (Switzerland)
- PyeongChang (Republic of Korea)
* On 27 September 2002, the city of Bern withdrew its candidature to host the XXI
Olympic Winter Games.
* The Winter Olympic Games are a winter multi-sport event held every four years.
They feature winter sports held on snow or ice, such as Alpine skiing, cross-country
skiing, figure skating, bobsledding and ice hockey. Cross-country skiing, figure skating, ice hockey, Nordic combined, ski jumping, and speed skating have been competed at every Winter Olympics since 1924. Other athletic events have been added
as the Games have progressed. Some of these events, such as luge, short track
speed skating, andfreestyle skiing have earned a permanent spot on the Olympic
programme. Others, like speed skiing, bandy, and skijöring have beendemonstration
sports but never incorporated officially as an Olympic sport.
* Fewer countries participate in the Winter Olympics than the Summer Olympics.
The first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France in 1924. Prior to this, figure
skating and ice hockey had been events at the Summer Olympics. The Games were
held every four years from 1924 until 1940 when they were interrupted by World
War II. The Winter and Summer Games resumed in 1948 and were celebrated on the
same year until 1992. At that time the Winter Games split from the Summer Games,
and were begun to be celebrated on alternating even years. The first Winter Olympic
Games to be held on this new schedule was in 1994 in Lillehammer, Norway.
One HIV test, but two results
* At an HIV research meeting this week, boffins from the World Health Organisation revived a mathematical model that shows that if we test everyone in Africa for
HIV once a year and give everyone who tests positive expensive drugs right away and
for the rest of their lives, we’ll wipe out new HIV infections within seven years. That’s
because HIV is passed on most easily when there’s lots of virus in the infected person’s blood and body fluids. Antiretroviral medicines cut the “viral load” (the amount
of virus in the body), so they make it more difficult to pass on HIV. Ergo, more treatment means fewer new infections.
* Sadly, it’s not that simple. For one thing, HIV is most infectious in the few months
after a person is first infected. Even if everyone got tested annually, we’d miss most
of these new infections.
* Second, people’s viral load spikes upwards if they get another sexually transmitted infection (STI), or if they stop taking their medicine because the clinic runs out of
stock, the meds make them feel sick, or they went on a three-day bender and forgot
their pills. Interrupting treatment also allows the virus to develop resistance to drugs,
and that leads to more spikes in viral load. Most importantly, antiretrovirals keep you
alive and well enough to be out there meeting new sex partners.
* In countries like the U.K. where treatment has been available for over a decade,
AIDS has virtually disappeared. HIV, unfortunately, has not. A few years after antiretrovirals became widely available, new infections among gay men in the U.K. began to
* One reason for that is that gay men use condoms less now than they did when
HIV = AIDS = a horrible death. Now, though, HIV = a pill every day. Boring, but not
the end of the world, unless you’re the taxpayer picking up the tab for it or the epidemiologist worrying that drug-resistant strains of HIV will reignite AIDS.
* On top of that, many people assume that if the person they’re having sex with is
infected, they’ll be on meds and so not very infectious. Which may be true if they’re
not in that early peak of infectiousness, have taken all their pills diligently, and don’t
have another STI. Though since condom use is dropping across the board, other STI
rates are soaring. In short, more people living with HIV, combined with more unprotected sex, is outweighing the effects of lower viral load in places where the population is well informed, HIV testing is actively promoted, and treatment has been free
and universally available. But in Africa it will be different.
* Our computer model assumes every African will get tested for HIV every year,
everyone who tests positive will start taking antiretrovirals immediately and 98 out of
100 will never miss a dose. On top of that, though gay men in rich countries use condoms far less now than they did before we had antiretrovirals, we assume that heterosexuals in Africa are going to use them more once the most visible and frightening
face of AIDS disappears.
* On the strength of this model, which bears as much relation to reality as a British
MP’s expense claim, we are going to hail expanded HIV treatment in Africa as the new
answer to prevention. A triumph of optimism over common sense.
UNEP awards for two institutions
* The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) awarded an appreciation to
two institutions that managed to produce environmental-friendly products while at the
same time having capability to improve livelihood for poor people.
* In a prize awarding ceremony, the UNEP’s Executive Director and Under-Secretary
General of the United Nations Achim Steiner said that the companies, named Trees,
Water and People (TWP) and Nuru Design changed the lives of thousands of school children, housewives and villagers across Latin America, Africa and India.
* “This is the green economy of tomorrow in an action today,”. The appreciation
called the Sasakawa Prize worth $200,000 each was awarded to Nuru Design as the
company has brought rechargeable lights to villages in Rwanda, Kenya and India while
TWP is an organisation that collaborates with local non- governmental organisations in
distributing fuel-efficient cook stoves to communities in Honduras, Guatemala, El Savador, Nicaragua and Haiti.
* Wangari Mathai, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who is one of the juries, said that
both institutions managed to fulfil three standards set namely replicable, taking side on
grassroots people and inexpensive.
* Stuart Conway, co-founder and International Director of TWP said that stove he
created managed to reduce forest cuts and improve health of housewives as it is completed by chimney that emit smoke to outdoor.
* The founder and Chief Executive Officer of Nuru Design said that the rechargeable
lights managed to reduce dependence of kerosene to energise lantern, a fossil fuel that
is expensive for poor people and emits smoke that is unhealthy and environmentally
Giant George is the tallest
* Giant George, the Great Dane from Tucson, Arizona.
* Were he able to don boxing gloves, bob and weave, his 111 kg mass would allow
him to fight as a heavyweight. And if he could dribble and shoot, his 2.2 metres would
make him the envy of the NBA.
* But seeing as his paws — not to mention several sporting rules — disqualify him
from either pursuit, “Giant George” the Great Dane will instead have to content himself
with the title of world’s tallest dog.
* George, who lives with his owner, David Nasser, in Tucson, Arizona, has clinched
the Guinness world record after his stats — 109 cm from paw to shoulder; 220cm from
head to tail — were confirmed by an official adjudicator following some controversy.
* The lofty canine saw off competition from the previous record holder, a four-yearold Great Dane named Titan, thanks to his extra 1.9 cm. The breed appears to have the
title sewn up: before Titan took the 2009 crown, the glory belonged to Gibson of Grass
Valley, California.
For very substantial reasons, this will be a special Tendulkar record
* IN the end, there seemed to be only one force of nature that could have stopped
Sachin Tendulkar from reaching the first double century in one-day interna- tionals:
Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s inability to get the delivery away for anything less than a
That was apt. Tendulkar owns many records, but they have never been just a matter
of numbers. So it is that he again affirmed his spe- cial place in cricket by not allowing,
in those final overs, any anxiety about the record change the drift of play. His partner
was straining to give him the strike, but Tendulkar’s batting did not betray a temptation
to get the strike by passing up an opportunity for a run.
* This record has come late in Tendulkar’s career, a career in which India remained in
the game far too often and for far too many stretches just by his very presence.
For that reason, for the sense that Tendulkar now plays in a team that has it to win
without him, the record is timely. Now, the team may not despair of playing a match
without him; but he, unencumbered by great expectations, can still rise to them. Tendulkar needed circum- stances. We needed these circum- stances for an exceptional career like Tendulkar’s to be made com- plete and invested with special- ness. He’s been
around for so long that it is easy to forget that he car- ried a heavy burden from the
very beginning. He debuted in a series in Pakistan in 1989. In the Sialkot Test, Waqar
Younis, also a debu- tant, bloodied 16-year-old Ten- dulkar’s nose.
International (Political & Economy)
New Franco-Russian rapprochement
* French President Nicolas Sarkozy has clearly decided to forget his earlier strident
and principled declarations about Russia, Chechnya and human rights and cosy up to
* During Russian President Dimitri Medvedev’s visit to Paris the two countries took
their relationship to a new level of understanding, with Paris opening exclusive negotiations for the sale of four French Mistral warships to Russia and Moscow agreeing to be
more cooperative on sanctions against Iran.
* Paris underlined the importance of Mr. Medvedev’s three-day visit by receiving him
with unusual pomp. The Russian leader arrived in the French capital by helicopter, landing on the vast esplanade in front of the Invalides museum, where Napoleon is buried.
Scores of golden-helmeted Republican Guards on horseback led his limousine across
the Alexandre III bridge, named for the second-to-last Tzar.
* The message to Washington was clear — Paris is a major player on the international
scene and France is determined to carve out a foreign policy niche for itself with or
without the active cooperation of Washington. Paris decided to go ahead with the sale
of the warships despite opposition openly expressed by U.S. President and Congress as
well as by the Baltic States.
* Mistrals, They are in fact amphibious combat tank and helicopter carriers. Such
an arms sale would be the biggest ever by a NATO country to Russia. The purchase,
each ship can carry up to 16 attack helicopters, would allow Russia to land hundreds of
troops quickly on foreign soil. The possibility has alarmed Georgia as well as the three
Baltic countries in NATO — Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
* In return a key business deal signed during the visit will give France’s GDF Suez
a 9-per cent stake in the Nord Stream gas pipeline project run by Russia’s Gazprom.
Once again, this runs counter to efforts by U.S. and other European countries to lessen
Europe’s dependence on Russian pipelines and gas. The pipeline also competes with
Nabucco, a proposed pipeline backed by the U.S. and the European Union that would
bring natural gas to Europe from the Caspian Sea region.
* It will be more difficult for Washington and Paris to get the newly renewed U.N.
Security Council to commit to a resolution calling for even tougher sanctions against
Iran, a prime goal for the French. Besides China, a permanent member that opposes
sanctions against Iran, the new U.N. Security Council includes recalcitrant non-permanent members like Brazil, Turkey, Nigeria or Lebanon where the pro-Iranian Hizbollah
is a major force in politics. Although as rotating non-permanent UNSC members, none
of these states has a veto, their votes against sanctions would greatly undermine the
credibility of any resolution.
* From Moscow’s point of view it would be giving nothing away by agreeing to fresh
sanctions against Iran. With western impatience growing over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, Mr. Medvedev said his country is ready to consider targeted new sanctions against
the Islamic Republic. “Russia is ready, with other partners, to consider sanctions,” he
India set to unveil green pavilion as Shanghai readies for World Expo
Ian Paisley steps down as MP
* Even on Chinese New Year’s day, when all of the country comes to a standstill, the
hammering does not stop along the banks of the Huangpu river.
* At a sprawling 1,200-acre site, construction workers toil round the clock, carrying
bricks, laying steel pipes and furiously drilling, all to ensure that Shanghai is ready for
its big show.
* Come May, this site will host what is being billed as the biggest fair in history, when
more than 70 million people from at least 190 countries descend on Shanghai for the
World Expo.
* Just as the 2008 Olympics in Beijing was seen as announcing China’s arrival on the
world stage, the Expo is being perceived here as making an equally significant statement — declaring the coming of age of the country’s commercial capital.
* Since Shanghai won the bid to host the World Expo 10 years ago, the city has
spent more than $45 billion on a spectacular infrastructure makeover, part of its quest
to become a global financial capital by 2020 — this exceeds even Beijing’s spending in
the lead-up to the Olympics.
* Ian Paisley bowed out of the House of Commons announcing he would not stand
again in the forthcoming general election, while defending his decision to go into a
power-sharing government with Sinn Fein.
* The 83-year-old former Northern Ireland First Minister said he had done the deal
with Sinn Fein because the public wanted a compromise. He said he had no regrets
about entering the power-sharing arrangement with former IRA members.
* The securing of the deal at St. Andrews in 2006 led to Mr. Paisley serving as First
Minister and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness as Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland.
* They were so often pictured together joking, they were nicknamed the “Chuckle
Brothers”, which stuck until Mr. Paisley stepped down in 2008.
* The announcement draws to a close the career of a man who dominated Ulster
politics throughout the Troubles, as a fundamentalist, firebrand and, latterly, peacemaker. Mr. Paisley was a key player in the Ulster workers’ strike of 1974, which brought
down the first power-sharing government between unionists and nationalists, and condemned Northern Ireland to decades of political stasis. The move was critical to the
formation of the province’s present assembly government. However, his influence has
waned in recent years amid declining health.
ETA chief held in France, says Spain
* The leader of the armed Basque group ETA was arrested in France , said officials,
in another setback for the separatists, who have seen five of their commanders taken
into custody in the last two years.
* ETA chief Ibon Gogeascoechea and two other suspected separatists were arrested
in a joint French-Spanish police operation in the village of Cahan, France, following a
long surveillance operation on a cottage that had been rented using false identity papers, said Spanish Interior Minister Alferdo Perez Rubalcaba.
* Gogeascoechea (54) is wanted for allegedly helping to place 12 explosive devices
around the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, northern Spain, in 1997 on the eve of the
gallery’s inauguration by the king of Spain.
Obama pushes for energy-saving homes
Ukraine- Cabinet voted out
* U.S. President Barack Obama announced a new multi-pronged policy to reduce
the United States’ dependence on oil consumption and create new jobs after the worst
recession in a generation.
* Mr. Obama described the policy, called HOMESTAR, as aiming to create jobs by
encouraging American families to invest in energy-saving home improvements.
* Building supplies and systems that would save energy over time would be identified. Any homeowner putting in new windows, replacing a heating unit or redoing a roof
would be eligible to claim from the store or the contractor 50 per cent of the cost of
each upgrade up to $1,500, said Mr. Obama.
* The scheme mirrors the Cash for Clunkers initiative launched last year — a $3billion federal programme that created incentives for people to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles.
* Ukraine’s newly-elected President Viktor Yanukovych has won his first victory in
Parliament forcing out his rival, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
* The Ukrainian Parliament on Wednesday passed a no-confidence motion sending
the Prime Minister and her Cabinet packing. Mr. Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions,
which controls only 172 seats in the 450-seat Parliament, mustered the backing of 243
deputies for the no-confidence vote as the majority “orange” coalition comprising supporters of Ms. Tymoshenko and the former President, Viktor Yushchenko, collapsed.
* Mr. Yanukovych beat Ms. Tymoshenko in a presidential election runoff last month
with a 3.5 per cent margin.
* To appoint a Prime Minister of his choice, Mr. Yanukovych has to build up a new
majority coalition. If he fails, the country will face snap parliamentary elections.
Ex-tycoon slams Russian justice
* The former oil tycoon, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is in prison for fraud and tax
* The former CEO of the now-defunct Yukos oil company.
Hillary in Latin America to boost U.S. image in the region
* Hillary Clinton is midway through a week-long tour of Latin America, as she seeks
to rescue the United States’ flagging image in the region. The Secretary of State will
wrestle with a host of thorny issues during her trip, most of which offer but a slim
chance of success.
* Starting out in Uruguay, where Ms. Clinton attended the inauguration of President
José Mujica, she may well have bumped into co-attendee and Venezuelan President
Hugo Chavez, one of the most vocal critics of U.S. foreign policy in all of the Southern
UAE blocks infected sheep, goat shipment
* The United Arab Emirates has blocked an Indian shipment of 950 goats and sheep
after a number of animals were found to be infected with foot and mouth disease.
* The owners of the shipment attempted to enter the country at night through Ras
Al Khaimah, but were prevented by the quarantine and customs authorities, the UAE’s
official news agency WAM reported.
Trial on in Da Vinci theft case
* A solicitor has been accused along with four other men of threatening to destroy
a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece unless they were paid £4.25 million, in a conspiracy allegedly hatched in the offices of one of Glasgow’s leading law firms.
* Marshall Ronald (53), a lawyer from Skelmersdale, Lancashire, has gone on trial
for allegedly helping to organise a plot to extort the money from the Duke of Buccleuch
for the safe return of Leonardo’s Madonna of the Yarnwinder.
Chile death toll over 700
* The painting was recovered in October 2007 after police raided the offices of the
law firm, HBJ Gateley Wareing, in Glasgow. The duke, a keen fine art collector, had died
aged 83 a month before it was recovered.
* Police fired tear gas and imposed an overnight curfew to control looters who sacked
virtually every market in this hard-hit city as Chile’s earthquake toll surpassed 700.
* President Michelle Bachelet promised imminent deliveries of food, water and shelter for thousands living on the streets.
Waves reach Japan, Russia
* The tsunami from Chile’s devastating earthquake hit Japan’s main islands and the
shores of Russia but the smaller-than-expected waves prompted the lifting of a Pacificwide alert. Hawaii and other Pacific islands were also spared.
* Hundreds of thousands of people fled shorelines for higher ground after the Pacific
Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii warned 53 nations and territories that a tsunami had
been generated by magnitude-8.8 quake.
* In Japan, the biggest wave hit the northern island of Hokkaido.
* The tsunami raised fears Pacific nations could suffer from disastrous waves like
those that killed 230,000 people around the Indian Ocean in December 2004, which
happened with little-to-no warning and much confusion about the impending waves.
Storm claims 60 lives in Europe
* The weather bureau and radio stations across France had posted warnings of gale
force winds and a storm to come.
* But what hit France’s western Atlantic coastline in the early hours was no ordinary
storm and no one foresaw the mayhem it would bring in its wake.
* Winds at 160 km per hour combined with unusually high tides pounded small, unprotected fishing villages and seaside tourist havens. Entire rural communities were inundated and nearly 50 lives were lost, most of the dead caught unawares by the swiftly
mounting wall of water.
* The storm, called Xynthia, flooded ports, destroyed homes and left one million
households without electricity.
* It also battered Belgium, Portugal, Spain and parts of Germany. The death toll
across Europe was 60 although a dozen persons are still missing and feared dead.
Pro-government demonstrations in Turkey
* Tens of thousands of Turks took to the streets in support of an ongoing investigation related to a 2003 coup plot and to create awareness against military takeovers of
democratically-elected governments in their country.
* The countrywide demonstrations were organised on February 28 to mark the thirteenth anniversary of the “post-modern” coup, when the Turkish military forced the resignation of the religiously-inclined government of Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.
U.S. denies nuclear deal, power plant to Pakistan
* The U.S. has told Pakistan that it will not get any atomic power plant or civilian
nuclear deal, similar to the one it signed with India.
* “The United States is working closely with Pakistan to help meet its growing needs.
Nuclear power is not currently part of our discussions,” a senior official told PTI.
Suu Kyi’s appeal dismissed
* Aung San Suu Kyi, celebrated democracy campaigner and Nobel Peace laureate,
will continue to remain under house arrest in Yangon, following the Myanmar High
Court’s dismissal of her appeal for freedom.
* Also known as Supreme Court, this apex judicial forum pronounced only the operative portion of the judgment, without reading out the reasons.
Italy oil spill termed eco-terror
* As sludge from an oil spill began polluting the Po, Italy’s longest river, raising fears
of contamination of specialised farm products such as Parma cheese, ham or the famous arborio rice used in making risotto, central authorities in Rome struggled to find
answers who could have deliberately set off the oil leak from an abandoned refinery
near the town of Monza.
Gul seeks to ease civil-military tensions
* Amid growing tensions following Monday’s arrest of more than 40 military officers
in connection with an alleged 2003 coup plot, Turkish President Abdullah Gul has held
a summit with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Armed Forces Chief General
Ilker Basbug.
* The meeting was prompted to ease civil-military tensions after the arrest of more
than 40 officers for their suspected role in the alleged “sledgehammer” plot.
Dylan, Eastwood get White House awards
* U.S. President Barack Obama honoured actor and director Clint Eastwood and
singer Bob Dylan with arts awards.
* The White House called Mr. Dylan “an icon of youthful rebellion and poetic sensitivity” and said Mr. Eastwood’s films and performances are “essays in individuality, hard
truths and the essence of what it means to be American.”
Rigi’s arrest should worry U.K., U.S.: Iran
* The dramatic arrest of Abdolmalek Rigi, leader of a high-profile anti-Iran militant
group based in Pakistan, should worry the intelligence agencies of the United States,
Britain and a number of “regional states,” a senior Iranian official has said.“The information that he [Rigi] has is more important than his trial and punishment.
* Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency (FNA).
* Iranian officials say Rigi, head of the militant group Jundallah, worked closely with
the intelligence services of the U.S, Britain and Israel.
26th chief of the Indian Army: General V K Singh
On 31st March 2010, General Vijay Kumar Singh, PVSM (Param Visistha Seva
Medal),AVSM (Ati Vishisht Seva Medal), YSM (Yudh Seva Medal), ADC (Aide-de-camp)
with vast experience in counter insurgency operations, takes over as India’s 26th Chief
of the Army. A third generation officer of the Rajput Regiment (commissioned 2 Rajput
Kali Chindi in 1970 ), the General commanded the same battalion with distinction from
Jun 91 to May 94. He is an alumnus of Birla Public School, Pilani and National Defence
He was in action in Liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971 and Operation Pawan in Sri
Lanka in 1987. (Operation Pawan: Indian Peace Keeping Force took control of Jaffna
from the LTTE in late 1987 to enforce the disarmament of the LTTE as a part of the IndoSri Lankan Accord. This operation was named operation Pawan.)
He was Brigadier General Staff of a Corps during ‘Operation Parakram’ when Indian
troops were mobilised on the border in the wake of attack on Parliament in 2001.
He replaces General Deepak Kapoor.
Its worth note that Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa who was the first
Indian Chief of Staff and led the Indian forces on the Western Front during the IndoPakistan War of 1947 was also from the Rajput Regiment.