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28 May Current Affairs

Irish abortion referendum

In News:

In its recent referendum, Ireland voted decisively to repeal one of the world’s more restrictive abortion bans, sweeping aside generations of conservative patriarchy and dealing the latest in a series of stinging rebukes to the Roman Catholic Church. The vote repeals the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution.

What is the eighth amendment?

The eighth amendment is a clause inserted into the Irish constitution after a referendum in 1983. It recognises an equal right to life for both mother and unborn child, effectively prohibiting abortion in almost all cases.

Why was it introduced?

Abortion had been illegal in Ireland since the Offences Against the Person Act of 1861. But with reform under way around Europe and many countries opting to permit abortions on request until 12 weeks or more, anti-abortion campaigners in Ireland sought the greater security of a constitutional amendment.

What does the law say now?

Two further referendums were held in 1992, resulting in the 13th amendment, which allows women to travel in and out of Ireland to have an abortion (pro-repeal campaigners say 170,000 have done so), and the 14th, which authorises information about abortion services overseas. In 2013, the law was changed to permit abortions when doctors feel a woman’s life may be at risk from pregnancy complications or suicide. Otherwise, a doctor unlawfully performing an abortion faces prosecution and up 14 years in jail.

Way ahead:

Repeal of the 8th amendment would allow the government to legislate on abortion. The proposed legislation will bring Ireland into line with the majority of European countries, allowing for abortion on request up to the 12th week of pregnancy (subject to medical regulation). After 12 weeks abortion would only be available in cases of fatal foetal anomaly, if the pregnant woman’s life was at risk or if her health was at risk of serious harm. Cases after 12 weeks would have to be approved by two doctors.

Source: The Hindu

New governors appointed

In News:

Ganeshi Lal and Kummanam Rajasekharan have been appointed as Governors of Odisha and Mizoram respectively by the President of India.

Governors of States in India:

Governor is the head of the Executive power of any state in India, just like the President who is the head of the executive power in the Union. But, Governor is the nominal head of a state, unlike the Chief Minister who is the real head of a state in India. According to an amendment in the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.

Appointment and removal: The governors and lieutenant-governors are appointed by the president for a term of 5 years. The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by: Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister of the country, at whose pleasure the governor holds office or Resignation by the governor. There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president. Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.

Powers: Like the President of India, the Governor of any state in India is vested with certain executive, legislative and judicial powers. He or she also possesses certain discretionary or emergency powers. But one major difference in the powers enjoyed by the President and those enjoyed by the Governor is, the Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.

Source: PIB

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH)

In News:

Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) is engaged in restoration works of a trove of more than 600 pages of rare Tibetan manuscripts which contains Buddha’s teachings written in gold letters. The restoration work is being carried out at Mak Dhog Monastery in West Bengal.

Facts:

The manuscripts contain the ancient Tibetan text called Gyetongba, which contains teachings of Buddhism. The manuscripts are in the Tibetan script Sambhota, named after its inventor.

About INTACH:

INTACH is an autonomous non-governmental Indian non-profit society that seeks to preserve Indian culture and heritage. It was founded in 1984.

In 2007, the United Nations awarded INTACH a special consultative status with United Nations Economic and Social Council.

Source: The Hindu

NATO

In News:

Colombia is all set to formally become the NATO’s first Latin American “global partner.” Colombia will join as a “global partner”, which means it will not necessarily have to take part in military action, and will be fully accredited in Brussels. The move would improve Colombia’s image on the world stage.

Details:

Areas of cooperation include cyber security, maritime security, terrorism and its links to organised crime, as well as building the capacities and capabilities of the Colombian armed forces.

About NATO:

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded in 1949 and is a group of 29 countries from Europe and North America that exists to protect the people and territory of its members.

The Alliance is founded on the principle of collective defence, meaning that if one NATO Ally is attacked, then all NATO Allies are attacked.

The NATO lists Afghanistan, Australia, Iraq, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mongolia, New Zealand and Pakistan as “partners across the globe”.

Source: The Hindu

Global Wind Summit

In News:

The first edition of the Global Wind Summit will be held in Hamburg, Germany.

About the Global Wind Summit:

The conference on wind is the largest and most important meeting of the wind industry worldwide. The event combines two conferences, WindEnergy Hamburg and WindEurope.

The event will provide a platform for experts from across the globe to discuss innovative and green technologies for harnessing wind energy making.

The focus of the conferences would be on three major subjects. Dynamic markets, cost efficiency and smart energy. How to develop new markets, make product competitive in auctions and use wind power for all energy applications.

Background:

India is fourth largest country — after China, the US and Germany — in terms of wind energy installation capacity at around 33 GW. The government has set a target of achieving 60 GW by 2022.

Source: The Hindu

Eastern Peripheral Expressway

In News:

Eastern Peripheral Expressway was recently inaugurated by PM Modi.

About Eastern Peripheral Expressway:

The 135- km expressway connects National Highway 1 and 2 from the eastern side of Delhi and aims to decongest and de- pollute the national capital by diverting traffic.

It commences near Kundil in Haryana and terminates near Palwal by passing through Sonepat, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Noida, Faridabad and Palwal.

It is India’s first highway to be lit by solar power besides provisions of rain water harvesting on every 500 metres on both sides and would showcase 36 national monuments and 40 fountains.

The state-of-the-art road will have auto challans for over-speeding as cameras will capture speed of vehicles. It will also have provisions of tolling only for the distance travelled. The expressway has an iconic toll plaza at the entry point on Kundli side besides digital art gallery.

Around 2.5 lakh trees have been planted near it, including transplant of 8-10 year old trees. It also has drip irrigation provision.

Background:

The Eastern and the Western Peripheral Expressways were planned in 2006 following the apex court’s order to build a ring road outside the national capital for channelling the traffic not bound for Delhi.

Source: The Hindu

An air cleaner with potential

In News:

Scientists have developed a nanocomposite material that can selectively convert environmental carbon monoxide into less toxic carbon dioxide.

About the new material:

The new composite material is made of graphene and an alloy of platinum and palladium in the form of nanoparticles. Graphene was used as a substrate and then “decorated” with alloy nanoparticles made of platinum and palladium. The material was then used for selective oxidation of CO into CO2.

The catalytic behaviour of the nanocomposite was studied using different morphologies for the oxidation of CO. The conversion rate varied along with the flow rate of CO as well as temperature, showing full conversion at temperatures ranging from 75° to 125°.

The new material could find potential use in chemical industries as well as environmental cleaning.

About Graphene:

Graphene has been touted in the global electronics industry as a “miracle material” given its strength, electrical conductivity and elasticity, and has been seen as an alternative to lithium-ion batteries since its discovery in 2004. It is a form of carbon that can be used to develop smaller, slimmer batteries but with higher capacity.

Graphene is a carbon material that is one atom thick. Its thin composition and high conductivity means it is used in applications ranging from miniaturised electronics to biomedical devices. These properties also enable thinner wire connections; providing extensive benefits for computers, solar panels, batteries, sensors and other devices.

The potential applications of graphene include water filtration and purification, renewable energy, sensors, personalised healthcare and medicine, to name a few.

Graphene has excellent electronic, mechanical, thermal and optical properties as well. Its uses range from improving battery performance in energy devices, to cheaper solar panels.

Source: The Hindu

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