Uttarakhand high court appoints itself legal guardian of cows in state
The Uttarakhand high court would henceforth act as the legal guardian of cows in the state. It has also issued some directions to the state government in this regard.
Significance of the judgment:
This is the first time in India that a court has had invoked the ‘parens patriae’ doctrine for cow protection.
Parens patriae: The court did this by invoking the ‘parens patriae’ doctrine. Parens patriae in Latin means ‘parent of the country’ and is a doctrine that grants the court inherent power and authority to act as guardian for those who are unable to take care for themselves.
Implications of the judgment:
The court can now act as the legal guardian of the cows in the state and keep a tab on all issues related to cows especially its directions with regard to their protection. If there are any violations in laws and rules regarding cows, the court can take suo moto cognisance and issue directions to the state.
The judgment came as a response to a public interest litigation claiming that stray cattle were being slaughtered and waste from a slaughter house was flowing into water bodies , posing a health threat to the villagers.
The court cited animal welfare law, national and international documents and Hindu religious texts to say that animal welfare was part of “moral development of humanity”.
Important Directions issued by the Court:
Source: The Hindu
The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal which has been hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, has delivered its final verdict.
The final verdict:
About the dispute:
The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
The dispute arose since Goa was opposed to Karnataka’s plans to divert waters from the tributaries of the river, which Karnataka justified was for drinking water purposes. The tribunal was constituted in November 2010.
Source: The Hindu
NITI Aayog launches “Pitch to MOVE”
NITI Aayog has launched “Pitch to MOVE” – a mobility pitch competition that aims to provide budding entrepreneurs of India a unique opportunity to pitch their business ideas to a distinguished jury.
About “Pitch to MOVE”:
“Pitch to MOVE” is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).
Aim: The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected, and environment friendly mobility. It also aims to incentivise the startups, which will help the Government realize its vision of Shared, Connected, Intermodal and Environment Friendly Mobility for India. The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in our country.
The Startups can be from the domain of Public Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Shared Transport, Last Mile Connectivity, Passenger Transportation, Battery Technology, Automotive IoT, Freight & Logistics, Powertrain/Drivetrain, Experiential, Travel, Mobility Infrastructure and Automotive Electronics etc.
Australia recommences its adoption programme with India
The Government of Australia has decided to recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.
The adoptions from India had earlier been put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies (the Adoption agencies mandated to place children in Inter-country adoption at that point of time).
The recommencement of the adoption programmes will now enable large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.
Safety measures put in place by India:
The regulation of Inter-country adoptions have been made strict by the Government of India with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have been constantly monitoring the implementation of these laws.
What is the Hague Convention?
The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.
To do this, the Hague Convention puts:
Safeguards in place to make sure that all intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of the child and respects their human rights,
A system in place of cooperation among countries to guarantee that these safeguards are respected, and to prevent the abduction of, sale of, or traffic in children.
For Hague adoptions, the authorities in both countries must agree to go ahead with the adoption. For non-Hague adoptions, requirements may vary from one country to another. The Hague Convention does not allow private adoptions in the child’s home country. Adoption is a handled by the provinces and territories, and they all have and follow laws implementing the Hague Convention.
Aerogel- Super-insulating gel
Scientists have developed a transparent heat-resistant gel- called aerogel- using beer waste.
Features of aerogel:
The “aerogel” looks like a flattened plastic contact lens. The transparent gel is highly resistant to heat.
The gel is cheaper to produce because it comes from beer waste. Aerogels are at least 90% gas by weight, but their defining feature is air. Their thin films are made up of crisscrossing patterns of solid material that trap air inside billions of tiny pores, similar to the bubbles in bubble wrap. It is that trapping capacity that makes them such good insulators.
It may one day be used to build greenhouse-like habitats for human colonised on Mars.
It could also be used on buildings on Earth to help make huge savings on energy costs.
US Space Force
NASA Administrator recently expressed full support for President Donald Trump’s proposed military “Space Force” but added that it will have a role separate from NASA.
U.S. President Donald Trump is planning to create a “space force” or a sixth branch of the American armed forces. The space force plan requires congressional approval. Military leaders and experts have questioned the wisdom of launching an expensive, bureaucratic new service branch.
What is Space Force?
The United States Space Force, as proposed by the Trump administration, would be a new branch of the military by 2020, on par with the army, navy, air force, marines and coast guard. An independent branch can’t be created until Congress approves it, but the administration can take several steps on its own to prepare for the launch of a new force, the first since the air force was formed shortly after the second world war.
Officials plan to create a Space Operations Force – an “elite group of war fighters specializing in the domain of space” drawn from various branches of the military, in the style of existing special operations forces, Pence said. They’ll also create a United States Space Command and a Space Development Agency, and appoint an assistant secretary of defense for space.
The White House points to galactic threats from US adversaries, particularly Russia and China, which could develop weapons to jam, blind or destroy satellites that are crucial to communications systems. In 2007, China destroyed one of its own satellites, in a test of a weapon that could be used to target others. Russia has also tested a missile that could be used to track and destroy satellites. Not everyone is convinced, however, with critics saying threats on earth are much more real than the prospect of wars in space.
Does it already exist?
There is no independent military branch focused on space, but there is a sizable space command within the air force. Created in 1982, it is headquartered at Peterson air force base in Colorado and oversees 30,000 people. It includes the Space and Missile Systems Center, oversees Department of Defense satellites, and uses radar to monitor ballistic missile launches to guard against a surprise attack on the United States.
Would military action in space be legal?
In a word, yes. But if a U.S. Space Force ever came online, legal experts say that international law would limit what it could do.
All major space powers, including the U.S., Russia, and China, have signed the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. The pact says that nothing in space can be claimed as a single country’s territory, and it bars countries from stationing nuclear weapons or weapons of mass destruction anywhere in outer space, including in orbit around Earth.
The treaty gets stricter when it comes to “celestial bodies” such as the moon and Mars. Parties can’t build military bases, conduct military maneuvers, or test weapons of any kind—even conventional weapons—on another world.
But the Outer Space Treaty does give countries some wiggle room. The treaty doesn’t explicitly forbid intercontinental ballistic missiles, which enter and exit space on their way toward their targets. The treaty also doesn’t specify whether conventional weapons can be used in open space or on space stations.
Why it may not feasible to have a space force?
The fundamental difficulty of a space corps is that the physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris.
And despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
The technical demands of defending assets in space make the possibility of dominance and space as a domain for war-fighting a sort of chimera.
Source: The Hindu
NASA’s New Horizons mission
Scientific data sent back by National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) New Horizons spacecraft suggests that there could be a hydrogen wall at the end of our solar system.
What does the presence of Hydrogen wall indicate?
It is believed that this hydrogen wall is a “signature of the furthest reaches of sun’s energy”.
Technically speaking, the charged particles which the sun sends outwards causes hydrogen to release characteristic ultraviolet light. But as one keeps going away from the sun its influence wanes, which might create a pileup of interstellar hydrogen.
About New Horizons Mission:
Source: The Hindu
Report on cleanliness of the country’s railway stations
Third Party Survey Report on Station Cleanliness has been released. It ranks 407 railway stations including 75 A1 category stations, 332 A category stations on basis of cleanliness performance.
The survey was conducted by the Quality Council of India (QCI) to increase level of cleanliness under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by identifying unclean spots, improve cleanliness standards and propel healthy competition among railway stations.
Jan Arogya Abhiyaan
Crew Escape System (CES)