1- Nitish Kumar has sworn in as the Chief Minister (CM) of Bihar for the 4th time.
Governor of Bihar Keshri Nath Tripathi administered the oath of office and secrecy to him at the oath taking ceremony held at Raj Bhawan in Patna. Along with Nitish Kumar, 22 Janta Dal United (JDU) Party legislators, including three women were also sworn in as Cabinet Ministers.
Earlier on 20 February 2015, Jitan Ram Manjhi had resigned as CM ending a month long political turmoil in Bihar
About Nitish Kumar
- Nitish Kumar was born on 1st March 1951 in Bakhtiarpur District of Bihar.
- He had started his political career by taking part in the mass movement led by Jayaprakash Narayan between 1974 and 1977.
- Kumar was elected to Bihar legislative assembly for first time in 1985. He was elected to Lok Sabha for 4 consecutive times, first in 1989 than in 1991, 1996 and 1998.
- Union Minister-In 1990, for a brief stint he was Union Minister of Agriculture. In 1998-99, he was Union Minister for Railways and Surface Transport and Minister for Agriculture.
- He was Union Cabinet Minister for Railways in the NDA Government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee from 2001- 2004.
- CM of Bihar-In 2000, for first time he was made CM of Bihar but had resigned within 7 days. In 2005, he was sworn in as the CM of Bihar for second time and in 2010 for third time. In May 2014 he had resigned from the CM post taking the responsibility of his party’s (JDU) dismal performance in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
2- Environmental loss in Sundarbans worth Rs. 1290 Crore: World Bank Report
As per World Bank’s recently released report Building Resilience for Sustainable Development of the Sundarbans, environmental damage in the climate change-hit islands of Sundarbans is costing India Rs. 1,290 crore each year.
This report was jointly prepared by World Bank in collaboration with the West Bengal government.
Key facts of report
- Losses-Annually the cost of environmental damage associated with ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss is about Rs. 670 crore. While, the cost of health effects due to poor environment is estimated at Rs. 620 crore.
- Factors-The losses are due to combination of factors associated with unsustainable and inefficient economic activities in Sundarbans.
- These factors include mangrove destruction, impact of cyclones, reduced agricultural yields and unsustainable fisheries as well as destruction of ecosystem services.
- Cyclones-Damage costs from cyclones are the highest and accounts for damages worth Rs. 290 crore. It also includes damages to houses, agriculture, human injuries and fatalities.
- Health issues-Due to environmental degradation, villagers in Sundarbans are suffering from poor health outcomes. This degradation is generally in the form of adverse natural events, such as cyclones and storms and increases in soil salinity.
- These risk factors contribute considerably to mortality and morbidity, particularly among women and children.
- Other losses-Climate change along with the sea level rise also has resulted in shrimp losses, carbon sequestration losses associated with degradation of mangrove forest, soil salinity in terms of impact on rice yields, loss of biodiversity and agricultural land losses.
Sundarbans is an archipelago of 54 islands and is home to about 44 lakh people. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
In recent times it is hit hard by an increase in floods, storms, salinity and erosion caused by rising sea-levels and global warming.
3- Sri Lanka Parliament enacts witness protection law
Sri Lankan Parliament has passed the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Bill. This bill aims at protecting the rights of criminal victims and witnesses especially in human rights accountability.
Key provisions of enacted law
- Compensation to witnesses who cooperate with investigations.
- Strict punitive action against those who harass victims or witnesses.
- Stringent punishment of prison sentence from three to 10 years to the culprits.
- Witnesses will receive fair treatment and privacy from judicial and investigatory authorities and protections against harassment.
Passage of this bill is seen as reflection of the Sri Lankan new government’s will to implement reforms. It also seeks to fulfill a long-held international demand for justice and human rights accountability in the country.
- Since 2012, for consecutive three years Sri Lanka had faced US-backed UN Human Rights Council (UN-HRC) resolutions on Human rights accountability.
- UN-HRC 2014 resolution also had mandated Sri Lanka to set up of an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses during the 3 decade-long civil war that wiped out the LTTE.
4- Purnendu Dasgupta wins American Chemical Society award 2015
Purnendu Dasgupta, an Indian-American has won 2015 American Chemical Society (ACSs) Division of Analytical Chemistry J. Calvin Giddings Award. He was awarded this award for his special contribution in the field of analytical chemistry. He will receive this award in August 2015 at ACS national conference in Boston.
About Purnendu Dasgupta
- At Present, Dasgupta is a Jenkins Garrett professor of chemistry at The University of Texas at Arlington.
- He has authored of more than 400 scientific papers and book chapters. He also holds 25 US patents. His work has earned more than USD 18 million in research grants.
- Dasgupta research area includes: methods for environment-friendly analysis of arsenic in drinking water, rapid analysis of trace heavy metals in the atmosphere, iodine nutrition in women and infants and the role of the chemical perchlorate and the development of a NASA-funded ion chromatograph for testing extraterrestrial soil, such as on a trip to Mars.
About American Chemical Society (ACSs) Division of Analytical Chemistry J. Calvin Giddings Award
It is national award named after J. Calvin Giddings, Professor of chemistry at the University of Utah, US who was credited with the invention of field flow fractionation.
The award carries a plaque and cash prize.
It is cognises scientist, who has
- Enhanced the professional development of analytical chemistry students.
- Developed and published innovative experiments.
- Designed and improved equipment or teaching labs.
- Published influential textbooks or significant articles on teaching analytical chemistry.
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