As per recently published study in the journal Science Advances, humans are driving Earth to sixth mass extinction. The study was led by team of experts from Stanford University, Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley of United states.
The analysis of study was based on documented extinctions of vertebrate species such as frogs, tigers, reptiles and from fossil records and other historical data. Researchers had compared the modern rate of species loss to the natural rates of species disappearance before human activity was dominated. As per natural rate of extinction, two species go extinct per 10,000 species in 100 years. However, modern rates of extinction are 8 to 100 times higher. For example, 477 vertebrates have gone extinct since 1900, rather than 9 that would be expected at natural rates. The average rate of vertebrate species loss in past 100 years is up to 114 times higher than it would had been without human activity. Main causes for species loss includes climate change, pollution, deforestation, habitat loss, over-exploitation for economic gain etc.
As per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) around 41 percent of all amphibian species and 26 percent of mammals are threatened with extinction. The study calls for rapid and greatly intensified efforts to conserve already threatened species. It also calls to alleviate pressures on species populations due over-exploitation for economic gain, habitat loss and climate change.
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had passed a resolution to observe 20 June as World Refugee Day on 4 December 2000. It was passed to mark 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Since then it is observed annually with different themes. Prior to passing of this resolution in 2000, African Refugee Day was formally celebrated on 20 June in several countries especially by Organization of African Unity (OAU) member states. On this day, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNRA) hosts various events and announces a theme for its campaign. With this UNRA seeks to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide who have fled their homes forcefully due to war, conflict and persecution.
Haryana Government has launched a Village Mentoring Project (VMP) in a bid to improve healthcare and education of the villagers with a special emphasis on girl child. The project was launched in Rajjipur village of Panchkula district of state in collaboration with Indian School of Business (ISB). VMP is the first of its kind initiative in Haryana under which villages in the state would be mentored by leading educational institutions, corporate houses and other organizations. It will be launched in a phased manner in 5 villages each of the 22 districts in the state. In case of Rajjipur village of Panchkula district, faculty and students of ISB will visit the village. They will present a street play on the theme of Continuing girl education, sanitation, hygiene and nutrition and also conduct a counseling session, health camps engaging with the school kids and village residents.
Astronomers have named a newly discovered galaxy as CR7 (COSMOS Redshift 7) after Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is famously known as CR7 after his initials and his jersey number. He had won Fifa’s Ballon d’Or award consecutively for two years in 2013 and 2014 and has scored a staggering 66 goals this season.
CR7 discovered by a team of astronomers led by Dr. David Sobral from the University of Lisbon in Portugal and Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands. It was discovered by using European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT). CR7 is three times brighter compared to Himiko galaxy which was earlier thought be as brightest distant galaxy known to mankind. It is part of the early universe which contains the first generation of stars i.e. known as Population III stars. CR7 belongs to the age of the ancient Universe which existed 800 million years after the Big Bang. This period is known as reionization period.
Population III stars: They are first generation of stars which are born out of the primordial material of the Big Bang. It is believed that Population III stars are several hundred or even a thousand times more massive than our Sun and it is more blazing hot, transient, exploding as supernovae after only about 2 million years ago.
Afghanistan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani has issued a decree to extend the mandate of present Parliament which expires on 22 June 2015. President Ghani had taken this decision in consultation with the judiciary, the legislative and the executive. With the issuing of decree, current Afghan Parliament now can continue to function until voting take place for the parliamentary elections. The dated for elections to elect new Parliament will be announced later in end of June 2015. The parliamentary elections of Afghanistan were scheduled in April 2015. However due to security reasons and disagreement on how to conduct a free and fair voting it was delayed.
It should be also noted that during 2014 presidential elections, both Ashraf Ghani and his rival Abdullah Abdullah had claimed victory in the election which marred by accusations of widespread fraud on both sides. Later, after the intervention of United States both of them agreed to form a unity government. After this deal Ashraf Ghani was chosen as President and Abdullah as Chief Executive.
Eminent Historian-writer Ramachandra Guha has been selected for Japan’s Fukuoka Prize 2015 in n the Academic category. Apart from him Thant Myint-U (Grand Prize category) and Minh Hanh (Arts and Culture category) were also chosen for this edition of award. They have been selected for their outstanding contributions to academia, arts and culture across Asia. The awards will be presented to them on September 17, 2015 at the Fukuoka International Congress Centre. During this award ceremony Mr Guha will give a lecture on “Gandhi, India and the World”.
He is historian and writer. His research interests include social, political, environmental and cricket history. He also write as a columnist in various newspapers including The Telegraph and Hindustan Times and also pens for the magazines The Caravan and Outlook. His famous bibliography: Gandhi Before India (2013), Patriots and Partisans (2012), Makers of Modern India (2010), India after Gandhi: The history of the world’s largest democracy (2007) etc.
Awards: Padma Bhushan (2009), Sahitya Akademi award (2011) for India After Gandhi. For year 2011–12, he had served as the Philippe Roman Chair of International Affairs and History at the London School of Economics.
Established: in 1990 by the Japanese city of Fukuoka and the Yokatopia Foundation. It is an annual prize that honours the outstanding work of individuals or organizations in preserving or creating Asian culture.
Prize has three categories: Grand Prize, Academic Prize, and Arts and Culture Prize. The award ceremony is held in every year in September (which is also known as Asian Month in Fukuoka) along with the public forums by the prize winners. Winners of 2014 are Mohammad Yunus, Romila Thapar, Ashis Nandy and Mo Yan.
India and Tanzania have inked various agreements including for cooperation in the field of statistics, hydrography, agricultural science and tourism. These agreements were signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counter Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete in New Delhi. Apart from signing these agreements both nations also agreed to set up a joint working group on counter-terrorism and increase gas exploration cooperation in the east African nation. It should be noted that President of Tanzania is on a five-day tour to India from 17 June to 21 June 2015. He is the first head of state from Africa to visit India after the PM Narendra Modi led Government came to power in 2014.
Jharkhand Government has imposed a ban on the sale of thermocol plates in the state. It was announced by Chief Minister Raghuvar Das. By banning thermocol plates, the state government aims at Promoting of leaf plates in the state Generate employment for the poor and tribals who are engaged in making leaf plates. Apart from this decision, Chief Minister also announced Rs 1 lakh to villages in states which become liquor-free.
Former Turkish President Suleyman Demirel died on 17 June 2015 following a heart failure and a respiratory tract infection. He was 90. Demirel was one of the dominant figures in Turkey’s politics for over half a century. He served as the President of Turkey from 1993 to 2000, but before that he also held the post of Prime Minister of the country several times in the 1960s and 1970s.
Demirel launched his political career in the aftermath of the 1960 military coup that deposed the Government of Prime Minister Adnan Menderes. He came to power with a landslide win in 1965 as the Prime Minister of Turkey.
However, when the ideological conflict started to turn violent in the Turkey, Demirel was forced out of office in 1971 through a military coup. Demirel was back in power in 1975, but his Coalition Government including Islamists and nationalists again failed to halt Turkey’s slide into chaos. As president, Demirel fostered ties with the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union and took credit for brokering the removal of an Islamist government from power under pressure from the secular-minded military in 1997.
Demirel was a trained civil engineer. He oversaw many hydroelectric projects and became Director General of the State Hydraulic Works where he looked after the construction of dams. He was born to a farming family in the western Turkish province of Isparta in November 1924.
Justice Gian Parkash Mittal on 19 June 2015 resigned from the Office of the Judge of Delhi High Court with effect from the afternoon of 8 July 2015. However, the reason behind his resignation was not disclosed. Mittal tendered his resignation from the office of the Judge of Delhi High Court, in pursuance of provision (a) to clause (1) of article 217 of the Indian Constitution.
Article 217 of Indian Constitution states appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court. As per clause (1) of article 217, every Judge of a High Court shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the Governor of the State.
And as per provision (a) to clause (1) of Article 217 of the Indian Constitution, a Judge may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.
France on 18 June 2015 announced a ban on wearing earphones while driving a vehicle and riding a cycle. The ban will come into effect from 1 July 2015. The ban was announced with an aim to reduce deaths due to accidents.
Those found using earphones while driving a vehicle or riding a cycle will be fined 135 Euro (214 US dollar) and lose three license points. However, use of phone while having the caller on loud speaker will be allowed. The announced ban was initially proposed in January 2015 to cut down death toll on the roads in France and to improve driver’s attention while driving. The officials said that one in 10 deaths was linked to mobile phone use while driving.
The Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma on 19 June 2015 launched the new edition of Atithi Devo Bhava television (TV) commercials starring Aamir Khan as brand ambassador. The four films, made on the theme of Atithi Devo Bhava, will spread awareness about ways to extend hospitality to tourists visiting India by adopting an honest and helpful attitude, as well as maintaining cleanliness and hygiene.
Veteran actor Aamir Khan is the brand ambassador for these impressive films and these films have been directed by the eminent ad maker Prasoon Joshi. These four films will be telecasted on various television channels to spread the message of Atithi Devo Bhava across the country.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) on 12 June 2015 set up an Expert Group on Salt, Sugar and Fat in Indian Food Products. The 11-member Expert Group will be headed by Dr. D Prabhakaran, Director, Centre for Chronic Conditions and Injuries and Vice-President, Public Health Foundation of India.
The Group will examine Foods with High in Fat, Sugar and Salt (HFSS), also called Junk Food, on the health of consumers, especially on school going children. The decision to set up the group was taken after the Delhi High Court asked the FSSAI to issue guidelines in this regard. The Expert Group will advise FSSAI on potential health risks to vulnerable groups from consumption of Foods products with HFSS.
Further, it will also recommend FSSAI on prescription of regulations for display of fat, sugar and salt on food products sold and served in eating joints or catering facilities besides labelling requirements for packaged food.
The Union Government on 19 June 2015 released the Draft Outline of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme. The government invited comments till 2 July 2015 on it. The scheme is aimed at reducing the demand for physical gold and to shift part of the estimated 300 tons of physical bars and coins purchased every year for investment into demat gold bonds.
The announcement of Draft Outline of Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme is in tune with the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s 2015-16 budget speech.
Jaitley, on 28 Februay 2015, announced three major initiatives viz., Gold Monetisation Scheme, Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme and Indian Gold Coin to curb demand for physical gold there by reducing dependence on gold imports.
Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS), for which the draft outline was released on 19 June 2015, is intended to replace both the gold deposit and gold metal loan scheme and to allow depositors to earn interest on their gold metal accounts jewelers to obtain loans. Indian Gold Coin, which will carry the Ashok Chakra on its face, would help reduce the demand for gold coins and also help recycle the gold available in the country.
Blue Star, India’s largest central air-conditioning company, on 19 June 2015 launched VRF (variable refrigerant flow) IV Plus air conditioning (AC) system. This is the first-ever locally-developed-and-produced VRF ACs in India. This VRF IV Plus AC system that is powered by inverter-driven compressor was designed after two years of indigenous R&D work. Its development work was spearheaded by a Japanese expert on VRF technology.
This new system of Blue Star will replace its existing VRF products, which were sourced from global manufacturers. A VRF AC system are used to cool large multi-zone spaces like hotels and restaurants, hospitals, educational institutions, residential and official spaces with varying different cooling and heating needs through smart controls.
Blue Star is India’s largest central air-conditioning company with an annual turnover of 2800 crore rupees. It works with a network of 32 offices, 7 modern manufacturing facilities, over 2000 dealers and around 2500 employees.
Union Ministry of Finance on 5 June 2015 constituted a Task Force on Financial Redress Agency (FRA). The 10-member task force will be headed by Dhirendra Swarup who served as the first chairman of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in 2004.
The Task Force was set up to begin the preparatory work for FRA that was recommended by the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC). FRA would act as a unified redress agency for financial consumers across the country.
FRA was envisaged in the draft Indian Financial Code (IFC) and was recommended by the FSLRC. It would act as the first forum of independent grievance redress which a financial consumer can access. It will entertain grievance against all financial service providers. It would also handle a large number of relatively low value complaints on a pan-India basis and run a large scale, customer-centric process to deliver efficient and effective outcomes.
Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) celebrated the 350th foundation day of Shri Anandpur Sahib from 17 June to 19 June 2015 at Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib located in Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. The holy city was founded by the 9th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Tegh Bahadur in 1665.
Takht Sri Keshgarh Sahib situated amid Shivalik hills on the bank of River Satluj is the birthplace of the Khalsa. It is the place that commemorates the miracle of ‘celebrating the scum of humanity’ and a wonder of the divine and transcendent guru-disciple matrix.
Guru Teg Bahadar was father of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who was the 10th Guru of Sikhs. Later, Guru Gobind Singh in 1699 created Khalsa Panth. Anandpur Sahib is the new name of Chak Nanki, the name designated by Guru Tegh Bahadur after he purchased land of Makhowal.
According to the report, in 2014, nearly 33000 people were killed in almost 13500 terrorist attacks around the world. That’s up from just over 18000 deaths in nearly 10000 attacks in 2013.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) in collaboration with IMRB International on 17 June 2015 released the Social Media in India 2014 report. The report analysed the trends in using social media across the country between March 2014 and April 2015.
Ricoh India Ltd is a part of the 18.5 billion US dollars Tokyo-headquartered Ricoh Group.
The CB Richard Ellis Group (CBRE) Research on 18 June 2015 released the Global Prime Office Occupancy Costs survey. CBRE is an American commercial real estate company based in Seattle. The survey listed out top 50 expensive office market spaces by surveying 127 markets around the globe.
In the survey, while London’s West End continued to be the world’s highest-priced office market, Connaught Place (CP) –Central Business District (CBD) in New Delhi was the fifth costliest office market in the world. The cost of office space represents office rents and occupancy costs that include rent, plus local taxes and service charges per square feet per year as of 31 March 2015.
Blue Opposition Bloc led by Lars Loekke Rasmussen of right-wing Venstre party on 19 June 2015 won the parliamentary elections of Denmark. Blue opposition bloc, also called Centre-Right coalition, won 90 seats in the 179-member parliament.
Red Bloc or Centre-Left ruling coalition led by incumbent Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt of Social Democratic Party won 85 seats. Thorning-Schmidt, the first woman Prime Minister of Denmark, conceding defeat quit as the head of Social Democrat Party.
Former Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is set to become Denmark’s next Prime Minister. He took over as the country’s youngest-ever prime minister in 2009 but was ousted by the leftist coalition in 2011 after voters rejected his government’s austerity policies.
Although incumbent prime minister’s Social Democratic party is still the single largest party but right-wing, anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party of Blue bloc emerged as the biggest force in 2015 elections. It won over 21 percent of the vote to become the second largest party in parliament.
The decision to call early elections by incumbent PM Thorning-Schmidt in a hope to capitalize on an economic recovery boomeranged. On the other hand, Danish People’s Party win means a tougher immigration laws.
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