Tripura government has decided to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the remaining areas of the state. Decision in this regard was taken during the state cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar in Agartala after Police in its latest half-yearly review had found no need to extend the act any further. Now state government will move to the Union Home Ministry for formal withdrawal of the central Act from state which was in effect for the last 18 years to curb insurgency.
Union Government had enforced AFSPA in Tripura after the relentless violence and bloodshed in tribal areas of state in February 1997 . Since then, it was reviewed and extended in every six months as per the provisions of the Act. The last six-month extension was given in November 2014 and its term ends by the end of May 2015. At the time of imposition of Act in the state, there were only 42 police stations and two-third of the entire police station areas were under this Act. Presently, the number of police station areas are 74 and out of them 26 police stations are fully and four police stations partly under this Act.
A new study has warned that Glaciers in the Everest region of the Himalayas could shrink at least 70 per cent or even disappear entirely by 2100 due to global warming. This study was undertaken by team of researchers from International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). For this study, ICIMOD researchers from Nepal, France and Netherlands had studied glaciers in the Dudh Kosi basin in the Nepal Himalaya.
By the end of 2100, most of the glaciers in the Mount Everest region will disappear or drastically shrink due to temperatures increase because of continuous rise in greenhouse-gas emissions. The estimated 5,500 glaciers in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region and many of the world’s tallest peaks may reduce their volume by 70 percent to 99 percent by 2100. The rate of disappearance will depend on how much greenhouse-gas emissions continue to rise and indirectly will affect temperature, snowfall and rainfall in this region. Increased temperatures due to global warming will not only increase the rates of snow and ice melt, but can also result in a change of precipitation from snow to rain at critical elevations, where glaciers are concentrated. It will greatly affect the farming and hydropower generation downstream of the Himalayan peaks. While, avalanches and earthquakes in this region also can breach the dams, causing catastrophic floods. It can also result in the creation and growth of lakes dammed by glacial debris.
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has unanimously adopted a resolution on the protection of journalists in conflict zones. The resolution has urged member nations, governments and armed groups to take appropriate steps in order to ensure accountability for crimes committed against journalists, media professionals in situations of armed conflict. It also condemns attacks on journalists and affirms the work of a free, independent and impartial media as it constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society. The resolution also called for the immediate and unconditional release of reporters who are held as hostages in conflict zones. UNSC resolution comes after the number of deaths and kidnappings cases of media professionals continues to increase. In 2014, 66 journalists were killed and since January 2015, 25 more have died. In the last decade, 700 media workers were killed in the conflict zones.
Scientists have discovered a new human ancestor species of Australopithecus deyiremeda in Afar region of Ethiopia. The upper and lower jaw of the species was unearthed by an international team of scientists led by Dr Yohannes Haile-Selassie from Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The radiometric and depositional rate analysis of fossils dates it around minimum and maximum ages of 3.3 and 3.5 million years. Thus indicating that it lived alongside the famous Lucy (female Australopithecus afarensis discovered in 1974 in same region) up to 3.5 million-years ago. It should be noted that Lucy’s species lived from 2.9 million years to 3.8 million years ago. The discovered species also indicates the presence of more than one closely related early human ancestor species the middle Pliocene prior to 3 million years ago. The discovery also shows that Australopithecus deyiremeda species differed from Lucy’s species in terms of the shape and size. It had thick-enamelled teeth and the robust architecture of its lower jaws. Its anterior teeth are also relatively small indicating compared to Lucy species which shows that it probably had a different diet.
Indian- origin businessman and diplomat S Chandra Das was appointed as Resident High Commissioner to Sri Lanka by Singapore Government. Earlier, Das had served as served as Singapore’s Trade Representative in the USSR erstwhile Soviet Union from 1970 to 1972. He also had served as Singapore’s Ambassador to Turkey from 2006 to 2015. He also was Member of Parliament (MP) of Singapore from 1980 to 1996 Presently he is the Managing Director (MD) of NUR Investment & Trading private limited of Singapore and also is a Director of a number of other companies. He has over 40 years of rich experience primarily in companies involved in the trading and manufacturing industries. He also had served as the First Chairman of the Singapore Trade Development Board.
Influential documentary photographer Mary Ellen Mark passed away in Manhattan, New York. She was 75. She was best-known for her humanist work and was one of the premier documentary photographers of her generation. In her career she had photographed people who were mainly away from mainstream society. Her work had appeared in numerous magazine including Life, New York Times Magazine, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Mark‘s work was published into 18 collections most famous among them was Streetwise and Ward 81. Her work was exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide.
She had received numerous accolades for her work including three Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2014 she was awarded Lifetime Achievement in Photography Award from the George Eastman House and the Outstanding Contribution Photography Award from the World Photography Organisation.
Shantanu Khosla on 27 may 2015 resigned as the Managing Director (MD) of Procter and Gamble (P&G), India. He will leave the office on 30 June 2015. Khosla joined the firm in 1983, when P&G, the world’s largest consumer company acquired Richardson Hindustan Ltd that is known for its Vicks brand.
In his place, Procter & Gamble India (P&G) appointed Al Rajwani as the new Managing Director & CEO. Rajwani will assume responsibilities for P&G India from 1 July 2015. Rajwani has more than 34 years experience working for P&G in countries including US, Canada, China, Korea and Arabian Peninsula.
P&G has one wholly-owned company in India named Procter & Gamble Home Products Ltd (PGHP), which sells detergents (Ariel and Tide) and shampoos (Head & Shoulders and Pantene). P&G also has two listed companies in India including Gillette India Ltd, which sells razors such as Mach 3 and Gillette, and Procter and Gamble Hygiene and Health Care Ltd (PGHH) that sells feminine hygiene products such as Whisper
The annual UN hunger report titled State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 was on 27 May 2015 released by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). As per the report, the number of hungry people in the world has dropped to 795 million. Today, 795 million people are undernourished globally, which is 216 million less than the number of hungry people in 1990–92. The decline is more pronounced in developing regions, despite population growth.
The evolution of hunger trends in India has a significant influence on results for the region. Higher world food prices were observed since the late 2000s which have not been entirely transmitted into domestic prices. During the period 1984–2013, India was prone to sudden increases in imports (defined as imports exceeding the average of the previous three years by more than 30 percent), registering more than a hundred surges.
In India, 194.6 million people are still undernourished. India still has the second-highest estimated number of undernourished people in the world.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on 27 May 2015 notified that the Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) or the Registered Foreign Portfolios Investors (RFPIs) can now invest up to 49 percent of the paid up capital in the Gammon Infrastructure Projects Limited under the Portfolio Investment Scheme (PIS). RBI stated that the company agreed for enhancing the limit for the purchase of its equity shares and convertible debentures by FIIs/RFPIs by passing resolutions at its Board of Directors’ level and a special resolution by the shareholders.
The purchases can be made through primary market and through stock exchange. However, the purchases will be subjected to Regulation 5(2) of FEMA Notification dated 3 May 2000 and other terms and conditions stipulated by the Reserve Bank. The Reserve Bank notified this change under FEMA Act, 1999.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on 27 May 2015 resigned as the Special Envoy of the Middle East Quartet. He sent his resignation to the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and is expected to officially step down in June 2015.
Tony Blair was appointed to the position by the Diplomatic Quartet on 27 June 2007, the same day he resigned as the Prime Minister of the UK after serving for ten years.
It is a group of four members’ viz., the United Nations (UN), the United States, the European Union (EU), and Russia involved in mediating the peace process in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It was established in Madrid, Spain in 2002.
Forum for Human Rights and Justice (FHRJ) on 27 May 2015 organised a Marathon named as Ajanmi Beti Ke liye Daud (Protecting the Unborn Girl) in Shimla, Himachal Pradesh. The objective of this Marathon is to save girl child and arrest the declining sex ratio in the hill state.
Himachal is one among the ten worst states wherein sex ratio is worst. It has a child sex ratio of 906 against 1000 females. The districts of Himachal with worst sex ratio are Una (875), Kangra (876), Hamirpur (887), Solan (899) and Bilaspur (900).
Districts with sex ration above 900 are Mandi (916), Shimla (925), Sirmaur (928), Chamba 953, Kullu have 962, Kinnuar have 963. Only Lahaul Spiti has a higher sex ratio of 1033. Through the run, FHRJ tried to make people aware and mobilize them to join hands for a new beginning.
Sixteen amendments pertaining to winding up of companies, board resolutions, bail provisions and utilisation of unclaimed dividends have been incorporated into the Act by amending the Companies Act, 2013.
The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports on 27 May 2015 gave its nod for recognising certain sports federations representing indigenous sports disciplines as Regional Sports Federations (RSFs). The decision is aimed at promoting sports having only regional spread.
The US state of Nebraska on 27 May 2015 abolished death penalty after a veto override was passed through the its legislature. This measure was backed by a coalition of conservatives who oppose execution as a form of punishment. In the unicameral legislature the proposal to abolish death penalty was passed 30 to 19, which is the exact number of votes needed to override Governor Pete Ricketts earlier veto.
With this ban of the capital punishment, Nebraska has joined the league of 18 other states and the federal district of Washington, DC. It also became the first traditionally conservative state in four decades to do so.
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