Kwanzaa is a weeklong celebration held in the United States and in other western nations celebrating with African communities.  Every year Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 – January 1st honoring the African custom in African- American Community.

Kwanzaa Celebration

People light a Kinara – which is a candle holder with seven candles and distribute gifts to each other.  It was first celebrated in 1966-67 by its creator Maulana Karenga.

Kwanzaa means “first Fruits”, Karenga said the word Kwanzaa is extracted from the Swahili phrase.  Swahili is a Bantu language and the phrase he denoted is “matunda ya kwanza” which means “first fruits of the harvest".

People celebrate Kwanzaa in their own way but they often include singing and dancing.  Everyone gathers at one place and celebrate this day by telling stories, poetry, playing African drums, and having a large traditional meal.  Given by its creator Maulana Karenga (generally called as Nguza Saba) Karenga mentioned that Nguza Saga or the seven principles of Kwanzaa are the best African practices and thoughts in continual give-and-take with the world.

The Seven Principles

  • Umoja (Unity): To do your best for and to preserve unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination):  To describe and label ourselves, in addition, to producing and voice for ourselves.
  • Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility):  To shape and preserve our community composed and craft our brothers' and sisters' difficulties problems our difficulties and to resolve them collectively.
  • Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics):  To maintain and construct our own businesses and to attain revenue from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose):  To make vocations collectively the constructing and rising of our community in order to reestablish traditional prominence.
  • Kuumba (Creativity):  Always do whatever you can, in order to make our tradition more gorgeous and valuable.
  • Imani (Faith):  To trust with all our hearts in our parents, our leaders, our teachers, our people,  and the morality and triumph of our struggle.

The symbols of Kwanzaa include mat (Mkeka), Mishumaa Saba (seven candles), a Kinara (candle holder), Muhindi (corn), mazao (crops), a Kikombe cha Umoja (unity cup) and giving shukrani (thanks) to African Ancestors, and Zawadi (gifts).  Other symbols include black, red and green flags (bendera), books and other African artwork which resemble the African culture unity and reinforcement.

How to Observe

Families, who observe Kwanzaa wear African cloths (kente), decorate their houses with African artifacts and fresh fruits,  which represent African tradition and culture.  Parents make their children to participate in the celebration to honor their ancestors.

The ceremony also includes music such as playing drums, performances by various artist, candle-lighting rituals, reading the African pledge and a feast (karamu).

Cultural exhibitions held at the John F. Kennedy Center include the Spirit of Kwanzaa, interpretive dance, songs and poetry and African dance.

Kwanzaa and its Popularity

According to the survey done by the National Retail foundation USA in 2004, it is found that 4.7 million people had planned to celebrate Kwanzaa.  In a 2006 speech Maulana Karenga mentioned 28 million celebrate Kwanzaa.  In 2009 the African-American cultural center had claimed 30 million people celebrated Kwanzaa.

Celebration has also spread across Canada, where their black Canadian population started celebrating Kwanzaa.  Similar celebration is also observed in Brazil.


Yoshinori Ohsumi - Best Brains

The 2016 Nobel Laureate discovered the mechanism of Autophagy, which is a fundamental process for humiliating and recycling cellular components.

Yoshinori Ohsumi is a Biologist from Tokyo Institute of Technology. Yoshinori has been awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his discoveries of mechanisms for Autophagy. Autophagy is a process where a cell recycles of its own contents.

The researchers and scientists are aware of Autophagy since the 1960s, but they knew little about how it works. While Ohsumi's revolutionary experiments with baker's yeast in the 1990s gave them the complete picture. The study on Autophagy has become important; as Autophagy can abolish invading intracellular bacteria, whereas disrupted Autophagy is linked to Parkinson's disease, this is type 2 diabetes and like other disorders which may particularly affect the elderly.

History of Autophagy

The word autophagy originates from the Greek words auto which means self and phagein — to eat. Hence, Autophagy means self-eating. This concept came to be known since from the 1960's, when scientists first observed that a cell could destroy its own contents by enclosing it in layers, forming sack-like vesicles that were related to a recycling section, called the lysosome, for degradation. Thus there were difficulties in understanding and studying this phenomenon as very little was known until the series of brilliant experiments of Yoshinori’s came out in the early 1990's. Yoshinori Ohsumi used baker's yeast to classify genes that are essential for Autophagy. He then went on to clarify the fundamental mechanisms of Autophagy in yeast and showed that similar machinery can be used in our cells.

Ohsumi's experiments and discoveries led to a new prototype in everyone’s understanding on how the cell recycles its own contents. While the discovery of Autophagy has opened the path of understanding the fundamentals of Autophagy and its importance with the help of many physiological processes; such adaptation will strive to starvation or response to infection. However, the process of mutating Autophagy genes may cause disease, or the process will involve in quite a few conditions including cancer and neurological disease.

During the period of the 1970's and 1980's the researchers focused on explaining other systems used to degrade proteins, specifically the "proteasome". The other researchers who were also awarded within this field are Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko, and Irwin Rose; these researchers were awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation. The proteasome efficiently degrades proteins slowly, and this mechanism did not tell how the cell will get rid in larger protein complexes and worn-out the organelles. Let us look the process of Autophagy and what were the mechanisms?

About the revolutionary experiment

Yoshinori Ohsumi stayed always active in various do research areas, but when he planned to lead his own lab in 1988, he started focusing on protein degradation methods in the vacuole, an organelle that corresponds to the lysosome in human cells. Through his discovery, he learned that Yeast cells are comparatively easy to study and as a result, they are often used as a model for human cells. These are mainly helpful for the identification of genes that are significant in difficult cellular pathways. However, Ohsumi faced the most important challenge in identifying the yeast cells which are small as their inner structures are not easily eminent in the microscope and hence he was unsure whether Autophagy still exists in this organism. Yoshinori reasoned that if he could reverse the degradation process in the vacuole while the process of Autophagy was active, then Autophagosomes may accumulate within the vacuole and turn out to be visible under the microscope. As a result; he then cultured mutated yeast lacking vacuolar degradation enzymes and simultaneously moved Autophagy by starving the cells. As we all know the result was striking; and in few hours the vacuoles were filled with small vesicles which had not been degraded. These vesicles are Autophagosomes, and Ohsumi's discovery proved that Autophagy exists in yeast cells. But even more significantly, now he had a method to categorize and characterize key genes caught up this process. However, this is a major breakthrough and you can see the results are published in 1992.

How Autophagy genes are discovered

After identifying Autophagy in yeast cells, Ohsumi took advantage of his engineered yeast strain in which Autophagosomes accumulated throughout starvation. This accumulation process should not arise if genes significant for Autophagy were inactivated. He then exposed the yeast cells into a chemical which randomly introduced mutations in many genes, and then he induced Autophagy. Thus, this strategy worked and within a year of his discovery of Autophagy in yeast, Yoshinori identified the first genes necessary for Autophagy.

Why Autophagy is essential mechanism in our cells

Soon after identifying the machinery for Autophagy in yeast, a key question raised; was there any corresponding mechanism to manage this process with the help of any other organisms?

When it became clear that virtually identification of mechanisms operates in our own cells; the research tools required to investigate further on the importance of Autophagy in humans was now available.

We have to thank the great researchers like Ohsumi and others; who helped us to understand how Autophagy controls vital physiological functions of cellular components that need to be degraded and recycled. While Autophagy can quickly provide fuel for energy and building blocks for regeneration of cellular components and it is, therefore, essential for the cellular reaction to starvation and other types of stress. The experiments proved that after infection, Autophagy can get rid of invading intracellular bacteria and viruses; and contributes to embryo progress and cell separation. Cells also use Autophagy to eradicate the damaged proteins and organelles, a quality control method that are serious for counteracting the negative consequences of aging.


Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th has been an unlucky day for many people since long and why we choose this day, in particular, to fear for our lives is what we will learn in this blog today.

In 1993, some scientists found that there is a general increase in hospital admissions on Friday 13th.  From then it is just like a superstition or is there something more touchable at play?


Superstitions around this day have come from the Middle Ages, and have Biblical origins.

While some historians have claimed that on Friday 13th Eve bit the apple from the Tree of Knowledge and the great floods begin and the builders of the Tower of Babel.

Jesus's last supper

According to the New Testament; the day before Christ's crucifixion there were 13 people who attended Jesus's last supper with his 12 Apostles and the other myth is God Odin invited 11 of his friends to Valhalla. When they had to dine the god of evil and turmoil LOKI appeared at that place and caused the death of a demigod in the group.

On October 13, 1307, Friday Philip IV of France arrested hundreds of the Knights Templar. In the novel Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown cites about the 14th century carrying out of Templar Grand Master Jacques de Molay, which again took place on Friday the 13th; he cursed the Pope and the King of France, and this spread bad luck down the ages.

The fear of Friday the 13th has a name called “Paraskevidekatriaphobia” – which is derived from the Greek words paraskeví means Friday and dekatreís are thirteen. The fear of the number 13 itself is called triskaidekaphobia.

How repeatedly does Friday the 13th occur in 2016 and 2017?

In 2016, we will have it only one which is already done on May 13, and in 2016 we will see it twice on January Friday 13; and again on October, Friday 13. Most years have just once or twice the Friday the 13ths.

In addition, all three months - February, March, and November - must start on a Sunday. Thus any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th in it.

The next February, March and November trilogy occur in 2026, and following that, it will have to wait for 11 more years till 2037 to roll around.


Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew: means the beginning, also head of the year) is the Jewish New Year.  The biblical name of this festival is Yom Teruah. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration, which is also known as the day G-d created Adam and Eve. It is celebrated for one day by many reform Jews, while others who are Conservative and Orthodox Jews observe two days of celebrations.  This festival is celebrated as the head of the Jewish year, which usually begins on the first day of Tishrei. Tishrei is the first holy month in the Jewish year, and the seventh month of the religious year. This holiday occurs in the early days of autumn of the Northern Hemisphere.

Meaning & History

Rosh is a Hebrew word which means "head", "ha" will be the definite article ("the"), and "Shanah" is a year. Hence "Rosh HaShanah” means the head of the year, referring to the Jewish New Year. The term "Rosh Hashanah" does not appear in the Torah in its current meaning. Whereas in Leviticus 23:24 it refers to the festival of the first day of the seventh month as Zichron Teruah.

As per Judaism, the fact about the Rosh Hashanah beginning is considered as the first religious year; and been also explained as the traditional anniversary of creating Adam and Eve, the first man and woman as per the Hebrew’s Bible, and their first actions in the direction of the realization of humanity's role in God's world.  It is believed to be the day of accounting the judgment for every action. This day people relate to God as the “Ultimate Judge”.


Origin - Rosh Hashanah

However, as per some secular opinions, the most primitive origins of the Hebrew New Year are allied to the beginning of the financial year of the agricultural societies in the ancient Near East. As New Year is the beginning of the cycle of sowing, growth, and harvest, but later it marked its own set of major agricultural festivals.

This festival relate to Semitic culture in general and occur in the beginning of autumn, while other ancient civilizations such as the Persians or Greeks chose spring to celebrate, the primary reason to do so is being agricultural and the time of sowing the seed and of bringing the harvest.


Rosh Hashanah - Duration

As per the Jewish calendar, the Rosh Hashanah occurs 163 days following the first day of Passover (Pesach). While according to the terms of the Gregorian calendar, the first date on which Rosh Hashanah falls was on September 5, as happened in 1899 and again in 2013.

However, the latest Gregorian date that Rosh Hashanah may occur is October 5, which earlier happened in 1967 and will again happen in 2043.  The dates may differ month to month and years as per the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars.

How they celebrate

Usually, the festival starts in the evening after listing to the first 30 blasts of the Shofar; The Shofar blowing is the sign to start the festive by candle lighting and by reading Rosh Hashanah prayers in the evenings, which are the major attraction on these two days. Special prayer services also include the sounding of the ram’s horn (Shofar) on both mornings, and desist from creative work. Families gather for festive meals which include; round challah, which symbolize the circle of life, sweet delicacies.

By tradition Jews love to eat sweet foods like apples dipped honey, challah, and tzimmes to start a sweet new year. Chicken and brisket are commonly served at Rosh Hashanah meals. In Sephardic tradition, a number of foods are supposed to signify the wishes for the coming year, among them here are some; pomegranates, leeks, and pumpkins, are also seen on the Rosh Hashanah table. All foods that can be eaten year-round are allowed. Most famous are the round Challahs.

Rosh Hashanah  - Round Challahs

What is a Shofar?

Rosh Hashanah - Shofar

A Shofar is a ram’s horn which is blown like a declare during this Jewish month of Elul that leads up to Rosh Hashanah. There will be four sounds of the Shofar like Shofar– tekiah, shevarim, teruah, and tekiah gedolah these sounds remind many people of a crying voice. Hearing the Shofar’s horn, people will be reminded to look inward and regret for the sins of the past year.


Stanford’s Robotic Mermaid

Stanford created "Robotic Mermaid" to help with Deep Sea Exploration Missions.

Remotely Operated Vehicles and Artificial intelligent walk side by side these days. Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) are used to conduct undersea tasks, which are considered unsafe for humans, for many years. While, these machines are very useful to tackle projects like oil rigging repairs, vehicles that lack the refinement and agility required to handle delicate missions like monitoring the coral reefs.  The traditional boxy shape also created difficulties for the robots to penetrate the tiny areas without damaging the surrounding flora. Now it’s time for the Stanford universities to grab the appreciations for the latest creature which is the high-end version mermaid robot, named as OceanOne.

The idea behind creating this humanoid robot was conceptualized three years ago by the King Abdullah University of science and Technology (KAUST) researchers in Saudi Arabia. They believe that such robots would help monitor coral reefs and under ocean activities in the Red Sea. To elaborate and bring the vision to life the Associate professor Khaled Salama turned to his colleagues at California’s Stanford University for further help.

Professor Oussama Khatib, and the Director of Stanford’s Robotics Lab along with his team of graduate and undergraduate students were fascinated by the idea of creating an underwater robot and instantly agreed. While it took a few years to get the first prototype of OceanOne, and it was released in April 2016, is everything Salama and his team had hoped for, and more.

OceanOne was about five feet from head to tail, and it has stereoscopic eyes, which helps to allow the pilot to view deep down views into the ocean without entering the ocean. It has the fins which provide ample storage space to fit computers, batteries, and even 8 multi-directional thrusters to help and keep the robot stable in confused waters.

Unlike other traditional ROV’s; the OceanOne’s electronics are waterproofed with oil rather than covering the inside parts with a rigid case. The OceanOne is designed simply to prevent the electronics from buckling under the water pressure and enable the robot mermaid to reach depths of up to 2,000 meters without collapsing.

Smart algorithms enable the humanoid robot to avoid collisions under the water and help from the pilot, even it can use its hands to swim when it is stuck in a tight spot; when it cannot avoid a crash then the robot can alleviate the impact by stretching out its arm. Since it can also communicate with human pilots through hand-gestures, it can also be a useful diving companion when needed.

However, when the waters are very uneven, the robot can turn on the thrusters which are stored in its fin to stabilize itself. Sensors are affixed to the robot’s arms and wrists which will help enable the pilot to touch the undersea objects and determine them clearly on the weight and texture. It was very crucial to decide on the amount of force that is required to lift the object without damaging it. There were additional sensors fixed around the robotic mermaid’s body to keep track on the currents and ocean’s turbulence.

Although, the OceanOne is originally created to monitor the coral reefs, but the first mission was a tad more exciting. In April, the robotic mermaid was first sent to investigate the wreckage of King Louis XIV’s flagship, La Lune, which sank off the coast of France in 1664; but the robotic mermaid did not dissatisfy. Later with the help of Professor Khatib guidance, OceanOne made its way 100-meters beneath the surface of the Mediterranean, and it carefully picked up a preserved grapefruit-sized vase and placed it in the recovery basket.

The OceanOne, however, stood up to all the expectations and high-fived all the archaeologists and engineers who had accompanied it on this significant journey. With the achievement of the first under sea’s mission, it will be all exciting to see what coming in the future.



Oktoberfest begins in Germany

2016 Oktoberfest begins in Munich; the Beer lovers from all around the world are ready to stream into the Munich's Theresienwiese for the start of this year's cheer with beer Oktoberfest. This is going to be the 183rd Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.

What is Oktoberfest all about?

What is Oktoberfest all about?

The Oktoberfest began on October 12, 1810, to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria, who later became the King Ludwig I. He married to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen, according to Oktoberfest de. The celebrations ran through October 17, for five days after the marriage. A large fest was organized in front of the Sendlinger Tor, one of the gates that lead towards to Munich. The celebrations were the highest moments for the people o Munich and the festivities included horse races which became later the Oktoberfest custom lasting until today since 1938.


While in the year 1811, an agricultural fair was added, and by 1818 beer pubs were started alongside with the performers. So starting from then, it became a great traveler attraction and a great opportunity for the visitors to learn more about Bavaria, its people, and culture.

Munich Oktoberfest is held in the month of September, as the weather is milder than the Octobers. The fest lasts for almost sixteen days, beginning on a Saturday in September and ends on the first Sunday of October. Already the horse racing was ended in 1938, the other events continued over the years with the exception of wartime.

Since 1887 lederhosen and dirndls are the traditional wear for the attendees. When the sharp dot hits at 12 noon on Saturday, September 17th, The Munich’s mayor Dieter Reiter will tap the first barrel declaring the "Wiesn“ - as per Munich people they call it-  officially open.  The fest begins with a parade, and then it’s the time you can see everyone with big beer mugs cheering each other.  You will see the City mayor and the other civic leaders, followed by a horse-drawn brewer’s carts, bands, and townspeople wearing the traditional costumes. The parade ends at the oldest tent at the Oktoberfest, the Schottenhamel Tent where the mayor starts the fest with the first keg of beer and then the toasting begins.  It is estimated that more than 7,000,000 people attended the opening ceremony.

The Schottenhamel Tent

The six major brewers of the Oktoberfest Maerzen beer in Munich will be found in the seven halls where there will be live music throughout the day and evening. Here are the six major brewers: Lowenbrau, Hacker-Pschorr, Hofbrauhaus, Spaten, Augustiner, and Paulaner.

You will find people dancing and screaming outside the beer tents, with the music, sideshows, carnival rides and lot of delicious German food serving.

While kids below the age six must leave the tents before; even they are in the company of their parents. For families you will find extra discounts on particular days, and everything will be served to eat like; wursts of beef, chicken, pork, veal, slices of beef, pieces of chicken, sauerkraut, variety of potato salads, cabbage, onions, and of course pretzels to be enjoyed with a large stein of favorite beer.

Happy Oktoberfest!!!


9/22 — Autumn Equinox Begins

When do the Seasons of the Year Begin?

Here are the times & dates for the four seasons as per Eastern Time.

Seasons of 2016

seasons of 2017

Fall comes year after year, but the arrival of waiting for autumn is still very special for all of us. One day late in the summer, we will feel the subtle crispness in the air. Before you are aware of it, you can see the spice colors of the pumpkin everywhere and on everything.  We all will be wrapped in sweaters and wear boots and seen in shades of orange, after slogging in the hot august, it excites us.

We should thank the autumnal equinox for this exciting shift from the hot and sultry summer to foggy fall. While most of us are aware of when the first day of autumn hits the lands on the calendar, but there is more to the equinox.

What is the Autumnal Equinox?

What is the Autumnal Equinox?

The autumn equinox happens every year on September either on 22nd, 23rd or even sometimes on 24th depending on the calendar. This is considering as the astronomical start of the fall in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The name equinox comes from Latin aequus (equal) and nox (night) — “equal night”; which means the day and night are about the same duration of time. During this equinox period, the Sun crosses what we call the “celestial equator” from north to south.  During this period, the amount of nighttime and daytime will be roughly equal to each other.

The other definition for autumn equinox is nights of below freezing temperatures are combined with days of temperatures below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

From here on the temperatures will slowly begin to drop and the days light will start to get shorter than the nights that means the hours of daylight will decline.

Enjoy the Northern Lights

You have a chance to catch and enjoy the northern light in the month of September. As September rolls in you enjoy the autumn equinox and can easily catch the increase of aurora borealis display for those who are located at Northern Hemisphere. As per NASA, the equinoxes are prime time for Northern Lights and you will find more geomagnetic activities to take place in the fall time and spring, than in the summer or winter.

Celebrated Across the World

There are many cultures across the world which host feasts to celebrate the September equinox.

Happy 2016 equinox!!!


International Talk like a Pirate Day

International Talk Like a Pirate Day – ITLAPD is a parody holiday celebrated for the first time in 1995 on September 19. This holiday was created by John Baur (Ol' Chumbucket) and Mark Summers (Cap'n Slappy) of Albany, Oregon, U.S., out of respect for World War II’s D-Day. However, this day was a quite low event until 2002; when it received media awareness via syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry. If you see today it is celebrated all around the world as a way to increase funds for charity organizations, Childhood Cancer Support and Marie Curie Cancer Care.


On June 6, 1995, a group of men were playing racquetball with all excitement throughout the day they were shouting and encouraging each other. But for reasons unbeknownst to them, they started shouting in piratical slang at each other. From then it took on a life of its own. By the end of the game, the players realized that it was essential that they create a holiday to celebrate which encouraged the use of such a fine language. The one thing they needed was the date to celebrate, but due respect for the adherence of the Normandy landings, they chose summer’s ex-wife's birthday, as it would be easy for him to keep in mind.

This was just an inside joke between the two friends John Baur and Mark Summers, but later the holiday gained publicity when John Baur and Mark Summers sent a letter about the created holiday to the American syndicated columnist and author of a great number of books Dave Barry in 2002. Barry liked the idea and he promoted the holiday, and it’s been one of the amazing years soon after another and people all over the country started celebrating this auspicious holiday.

Pirates — Criminals at Sea

Pirates are people who commend acts of robbery and fighting at sea. This was there since the seas are open to being used to transport the goods and the people from one part of the world to other. Many famous people who used to travel through sea were captured by pirates.

Traditionally if we see pirates were considered to be the most disgraceful human beings. In many countries, the acts of piracy were punishable by torture and death. Even today piracy is considered as outstandingly bad crime at par with other terrible crimes such as sedition.

Parody Version

While from the 18th century itself the image of pirates got a makeover of being cruel criminals to being a somewhat parody. They were shown with sporting eye patches, with a large colored handkerchief or a tricorne hat.  They were seen always accompanied by a pet, frequently with a parrot or a monkey; they speak a special version of the English language, which is again grammatically wrong, and often interspersed with growls.

How to Celebrate?

  • Along with kids, men and women are seen dressed like swashbuckling pirates on this day.
  • You will have completions held in your local communities and will be eligible to grab bonus if you are able to carry a pet on your shoulder, that can be a parrot or a monkey.
  • You will enjoy when you speak like a pirate the whole day. Mix together your speech with grunts and growls and slur your word that’s enough. Try to call your pals “matey”.  No good grammar on this day.
  • Plan your day and host a pirate-themed party and ask your guests to dress up like a pirate.

Did You Know?

A famous Englishman William Dampier was the first person to explore parts of what today Australia and he is also the first person to circumnavigate the world thrice. He is also known as the English pirate responsible for introducing many words in the English language which are still is use today. Some of those words include chopsticks, caress, posse, barbecue, and snug.



Panama Canal Expansion

What is Expansion Program of Panama Canal?

The Panama Canal expansion is the largest project at the Canal since its original building; it is also known as “The Third Set of Locks Project”.  This project will create a new lane of traffic along the Canal through its construction process of a new set of locks, by doubling the waterway’s capacity. This will add a new lane to clear of traffic allowing the bigger number of ships, and increase the width and depth of the lanes and locks allowing larger ships to pass. However the existing locks allow only the passage of vessels that can carry up to 5,000 TEUs.  Whereas, the new larger size of ships called New Panamax are about one and a half times the Post- Panamax size and be able to carry over thrice as much cargo; which means up to .15,000 – 14,000 TEUs.

The project consists of several components such as:

  • New Locks — Third Set of Locks Project

  • Direct Impact on Economies of Scale and International Marine Trade

  • Access to Pacific Channel

  • Widened and deepened existing channels

  • The maximum operating water level of Gatun Lake raised

  • Improvements to water supply

  • Good Navigational Channels (Dredging)


The Panama Canal Expansion project is formally proposed on April 2, 2006, by then Panamanian President Martin Torrijos;  saying that it would transform Panama into a first World country. This proposal was approved by National Referendum with 76.8 majorities on October 22, and the Cabinet and National assembly followed suit. Then the project formally began in 2007.

It was primarily announced that the Canal expansion would be finished by August 2014 to match with the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal. However, due to various setbacks, strikes and disputes with the construction group over cost over runs dragged the completion date to several times. Above to then the additional difficulties like seepage from the new locks was also one reason to the due.  The Panama Canal expansion was opened on June 26, 2016. The expansion doubled the Canal’s capacity and has a direct impact on economies of scale and international naval trade.

The program is also expected to create demand for ports to handle big ships with heavy capacity.  Several Unites states Eastern seaboard ports will be ready for this heavy capacity and large ships, other considerations for renovations include dredging, bridge raising and blasting. While the UK port of Southampton can handle post-Panamax Vessels and is expanding the capacity of the port to handle larger ships, the Port of Liverpool was anticipated to be capable by the end of 2015, but it was delayed until mid of 2016; while the others are considering such expansion.

Let us look at some key points which will help you understand more about Panama Canal and it's Expansion program.

The capacity of the expanded Panama Canal

While the existing locks allow the capacity up to 5,000 TEUs of the passage of vessels; thus after the extension program, the shipment capacity with the Post-Panamax Vessels along the Canal is up to 13,000-15,000 TEUs.

What is the main purpose of this Expansion Program?

The main idea behind the Expansion Program is to amplify the current capacity and to let bigger ships. As per the survey, the expansion also allows the demand growth of enhanced customer service and helps to double the new Canal’s capacity. This will also add an impact on economies of scale and international marine trade; and help maintain the Canal’s competitiveness and value the marine route through Panama’s extension.

What is the estimated price of this Expansion Program?

Till now it is estimated to US$5.25 billion.

How was it Financed?

To obtain the estimated finance and to complete this extension program of the waterway, the Panama Canal Authority has signed multiple contracts with a group of bilateral and multilateral credit institutions.

What was the actual date it began?

The actual expansion work was officially begun in September 2007. This extension has helped many people with different roles and created plenty number of job opportunities since its implementation along with the training programs for the professionals in different roles.

How does the program deal with Archaeological findings?

In every project the Archaeological findings add a significant role, thus happened with this extension program also. The Panama Canal Authority took great efforts to protect the cultural heritage, and valuable archaeological items that were found such as; the 16th-century Spanish dagger, bottles dated from last century, and pre-Colombian arrowheads have also been recovered from the excavation sites, all the findings were restored and preserved safely.

The Paleontological Findings

The PC Authority has signed a contract with the paleontological research center — STRI Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in 2012. As a result of the work; the STRI has found 8,862 items; and all these items were collected and then cataloged. Among them, 5,377 items were made up of rock and sediments and remaining 3,485 items are of fossils.

About the Environmental Impact

The activities under the Panama Canal Expansion Program bear by strict environmental values. The Canal also conducts wildlife rescue and relocation actions to protect the environment. By doing such activities the authority has rescued many mammals, birds, and reptiles and relocated to safe areas.

We will come up with the next version on this blog soon with more details on the expansion program. Until then keep reading.


8/26 – Women’s Equality Day

According to the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution; Women in the United States were given the right to vote nationally on August 18, 1920, but why is Woman’s Equality Day celebrated on August 26th each year; is what we have to know?

While the first amendment was initially introduced many years earlier in 1878; and every president has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1971 this is the time when legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug, this resolution was passed designating August 26 of each year as Women’s Equality Day.

The Women rights

The Women rights are the rights and entitlements claimed for women and girls of many societies Worldwide. In some countries and places, these rights are institutional and supported by local customs, law, and behaviors; whereas in some places they are ignored or suppressed. Again they differ from broader notions of human rights through claims of an inherent historical and customary bias against the exercise of rights by girls and women in favor of boys and men.

The issues that are commonly linked with notions of women's rights include, while they are not limited to the rights— to forcibly integrity and independent, to own property, to vote, to work and hold public office, fair wages or equal pay; to education; to serve in the military; to enter into legal contracts; and to have marital or parental rights.

Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby

While the simple answer to know why the Woman’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26th each year is just because of a constitutional amendment is ratified. It’s not official until it is totally certified by the correct government official. In the year 1920, the official who was dealing was Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. Colby signed a proclamation on August 26, 1920, behind the closed doors at 8 a.m. at his own house in Washington, D.C, ending a move violently for the vote that started a century earlier.

History behind this Date

The United Nations Charter

The United Nations Charter plays a major role for women's rights; as it was the first international agreement to assert the equality between women and men. Since then, the Unites Nations has been an important advocate for the rights of women, adopting an international bill of rights for women in 1979 and sponsoring four global women's gatherings and conferences. The Millennium Development Goals, which all nations agreed at the UN in 2000, sets tangible goals for nations to be achieved by 2015. However, several of which deal directly for empowering women.

Full text of Resolution

Full text of Resolution - Women’s Equality Day

The joint Resolution of Congress has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1971. This resolution then passed designating August 26 of each year as Women's Equality Day. While, the women of the United States have been treated as second-class citizens and have not been included for the full rights and privileges, participation in public or private was not authorized, legal or institutional rights are only available for male citizens of the United States.

However, the women of the United States have united to promise that these rights and privileges are available to all citizens equally regardless of sex. But, the women of the United States have won the designation on August 26, and it was declared as the anniversary date of the passage of the 19th Amendment, and the symbol of the continued fight for equal rights.

The Senate and House Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled and passed that August 26 of each year is designated as "Women's Equality Day," and then President is requested to authorize and issue a proclamation annually in commemoration of that day in 1920, this is the day on which the women of America were first given the right to vote, and day in 1970 on which a nationwide demonstration for women's rights took place.

Happy Women's Equality Day