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India successfully test fires Prithvi-II in Odisha ( Technology – GS Paper 3) India on Thursday successfully test-fired the surface to surface nuclear-capable Prithvi-II missile, which has a strike range of 350 km, as part of a user trial by the army. The missile test was carried out at the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur. Prithvi-II is capable of carrying 500 kg to 1, 000 kg of warheads. During the test, the trajectory of the missile, weighing 4, 600 kg, 8.56 meter in length and 1.1 meter in width, was tracked by radars, electro-optical tracking systems and telemetry stations located along the coast of Odisha. Prithvi II: Prithvi II class is also a single-stage liquid-fuelled missile having a maximum warhead mounting capability of 500 kg, but with an extended range of 250 km (160 mi). It was developed with the Indian Air Force being the primary user. It was first test-fired on January 27, 1996 and the development stages were completed in 2004. In a recent test, the missile was launched with an extended range of 350 km (220 mi) and had improved navigation due to an inertial navigation system. An inertial navigation system (INS) is a navigation aid that uses a computer, motion sensors (accelerometers) and rotation sensors (gyroscopes) to continuously calculate via dead reckoning the position, orientation, and velocity (direction and speed of movement) of a moving object without the need for external references. It is used on vehicles such as ships, aircraft, submarines, guided missiles, and spacecraft. The missile features measures to deceive anti-ballistic missiles. The missile was inducted into India’s Strategic Forces Command in 2003. It was the first missile developed under the IGMDP(Integrated Guided Missile Development Program). According to news sources the range is now increased to 350 km (220 mi) and the payload capacity now ranges between 500 – 1000 kg.
India re-elected as Member of International Maritime Council India has been re-elected unopposed to the Council of the International Maritime Organization [IMO] under Category “B” at the 29th session of the Assembly of the IMO held in London. The 29th Session of the IMO Assembly is being held at IMO Headquarters London . The International Maritime Organization [IMO] is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping. The IMO was established in Geneva in 1948. Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO has 171 Member States and three Associate Members. The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping. India’s overseas seaborne EXIM trade, which is presently about 600 million tonnes per annum, is expected to be quadrupled to about 2, 200 million tons by the year 2020. In value terms, the commensurate figures thereof are in the region of US$ 900 billion and US$ 2100 billion respectively. India ranks amongst the top twenty ship owning countries of the world in terms of Gross Tonnage as well as Deadweight. Gross tonnage (often abbreviated as GT, G.T. or gt) is a unitless index related to a ship’s overall internal volume. IMO is supported by a permanent secretariat of employees who are representative of the organization’s members. To become a member of the IMO, a state ratifies a multilateral treaty known as the Convention on the International Maritime Organization. As of 2015, there are 171 member states of the IMO, which includes 170 of the UN members and the Cook Islands. The first state to ratify the convention was the United Kingdom in 1949. The Organization consists of an Assembly, a Council and five main Committees: The Maritime Safety Committee; The Marine Environment Protection Committee; The Legal Committee; the Technical Co-operation Committee and the Facilitation Committee. A number of Sub-Committees support the work of the main technical committees. India has been one of the earliest members of the IMO, having ratified its Convention and joined it as a member-state in the year 1959. India has had the privilege of being elected to and serving the Council of the IMO, ever since it started functioning, and till date, except for two years for the period 1983-1984. IMO Council plays a crucial role to play in deciding various important matters within the mandate of the IMO, in relation to the global shipping industry, including its work program strategy and budget. The IMO Council consists of 40 member countries who are elected by the IMO Assembly. India has acceded to/ratified about 32 of the Conventions/Protocols adopted by the IMO and 6 of them are under consideration for the purpose, during the year 2015. India has also been playing a leading role in actively participating in and taking pro-active measures to counter threats from sea-borne piracy. It may also be recalled that vulnerable areas were defined as High Risk Area (HRA), characterized by piracy attacks and / or hijackings and in 2008, the HRA line in the Indian Ocean region was designated at 65 degrees East longitude which was quite far away from India’s West Coast. The issue of the restoration of the said HRA geographical coordinate from its existing position of 78 degrees East longitude to 65 degrees East longitude. This is one of the most significant triumphs for India in the maritime sector on the global stage, in the past several years now, vindicating India’s reasoned stance and persistently persuasive soft skills in the matter. This will result in huge savings for India’s EXIM trade and consumers on account of reduced insurance premium and consequently freight costs. It will improve safety of fishermen and fishing boats, and will also improve the security along India’s coastline.
UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost The United Nations Report says : The rising level of air borne pollution in Asia is extracting greater social and economic costs leading to millions of people dying prematurely each year. Globally some 7 million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in the Asia Pacific. From forest fires with their smoky haze over South East Asia, to China’s smog-filled mega cites, to rural homes in South Asia choked by inefficient stoves, scientists say in Asia there are rising health and social costs from air borne particle pollution. The costs from air pollution are rising for millions across the region, with hundreds of cities facing pollution levels exceeding World Health Organization (WHO) safety standards. We know that well over 200 cities in Asia exceed WHO guidelines on PM2.5 emissions. Millions of people living in them exceeding WHO guidelines which is directly linked with basically chronic health problems. Emission rates from household fuel combustion should not exceed the following targets (ERTs) for particles with aerodynamic diameters of less than 2.5 µm (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO), based on the values for kitchen volume, air exchange and duration of device use per day set out in Table R1.1 and which are assumed to be representative of conditions in low- and middle-income countries. Scientists warn that without significant steps, the number of premature deaths from air borne pollution will double by 2050. In South Asia, from Bangladesh to India and Pakistan, the toll to human life has been directly linked to people using stoves that burn solid cooking fuels, like wood or dung. Indoor pollution is a major contributor to health problems that compares to the pollution faced by urban communities with traffic borne smog. it’s not just a kind of respiratory problem, but it’s also a cardiovascular problem. it’s not just young children’s and women’s problem but across all age groups — men and women — everybody’s impacted — it makes it the top most public health environment concern. In India alone some 3.5 million deaths a year are attributable to household air pollution. But she adds India’s economic growth and rising incomes has led to more families to seek alternatives to solid fuels, such as liquid petroleum gas. Atmospheric brown clouds (ABCs) over mega cities from Bangkok, Japan, China and throughout India, also extract serious costs to communities. China is reported to be increasing investment to curb severe pollution in major cities, both the capital and regionally. But U.N. scientists say more must be done than merely punishing polluters. They say the challenge lies in ensuring there is the political will to enforce existing environmental laws and cooperate on cross border problems such as smoke haze and other atmospheric pollution. Air pollution in India It is quite a serious issue with the major sources being fuelwood and biomass burning, fuel adulteration, vehicle emission and traffic congestion. In autumn and winter months, large scale crop residue burning in agriculture fields – a low cost alternative to mechanical tilling – is a major source of smoke, smog and particulate pollution. The National Green Tribunal directed Delhi and its neighbouring States Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh to stop the age-old practice of straw burning recently. India has a low per capita emissions of greenhouse gases but the country as a whole is the third largest after China and the United States. A 2013 study on non-smokers has found that Indians have 30% lower lung function compared to Europeans. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act was passed in 1981 to regulate air pollution and there have been some measurable improvements. However, the 2014 Environmental Performance Index ranked India 155 out of 178 countries.In which Air quailty is ranked 174 out of 178 countries.
ICFT-UNESCO Fellini award to be declared International Film Festival India (IFFI) 2015 in collaboration with the International Council for Film, Television and Audiovisual Communication (ICFT), Paris will present a special ICFT prize consisting of the UNESCO Fellini Medal, awarded to a film, which reflects the ideals promoted by UNESCO. Background: Five films have been shortlisted from the official selection of IFFI following the recommendations of the Film Preview Committee constituted by the Directorate of the Film Festivals. The broad guidelines for the selection of the films are: The film shall exhibit artistic excellence in screenplay, music, and filming technique. The film shall promote the common good, which is defined as a society in which persons and communities care for one another’s well-being. The film shall exhibit sensitivity to the human situation, promoting the dignity of all. The film shall cultivate a realistic hope of creative transformation. The film shall reflect the ideals of peace, love, tolerance, harmony, and friendship. The UNESCO Fellini Medal: When Italian film director Federico Fellini died in 1993, UNESCO’s Member States had just adopted a General Conference resolution calling for the safeguarding of the cinematographic heritage. An appeal was launched to the international community inviting governments, industry, and the public to participate in a campaign to keep the seventh art alive. Activities were also earmarked for UNESCO’s participation in the forthcoming cinema centenary celebrations in 1995. The Fellini medal, first unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival in May 1995, therefore had a double significance: to honour the director’s tremendous contribution to film as an art form and to commemorate the centenary of the birth of cinema (1895-1995). The medal’s design of fragmented, interlocking images is the work of Italian painter Valerio Adami. The obverse side features a profile of Fellini with his signature hat, facing the inscription 8 1/2, the title of one of the most famous films in the history of cinema. The reverse is inscribed Fellini (1920-1993) UNESCO. French sculptor Robert Michel created the model and the Paris Mint strike the medal. The Indian films that made it to the competition are- 1. Cinemawala – Bengali 2. Katyar Kaljat Ghusli – Marathi 3. Ain – Malayalam 4. Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal – Malayalam
National award winning film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ inspired by the issues of Niyamgiri Adivasis Nandan Saxena and Kavita Bahl’s film ‘I Cannot Give You My Forest’ is the story of Struggle for the survival of Adivasis in Niyamgiri. The film has won this year’s National award in the category of Best Environmental Film. The main theme of the film is an intimate poetic window into the lives of the Kondh, the original dwellers (Adivasis) of the forests of Niyamgiri in Odisha State. This film is about those peoples relationship with the forest. It highlights environmental issues and focus on struggle of tribals in day-today life. The Kondha are indigenous tribal groups of India. They live in Odisha, a state in eastern India. Their highest concentration is found in the blocks of Rayagada, Kashipur, Kalyansinghpur, Bissam cuttack and Muniguda. The Kondhas are believed to be from the Proto-Australoid ethnic group. Their native language is Kui, a Dravidian language written with the Oriya script. The Kondha are adept land dwellers exhibiting greater adaptability to the forest environment. However, due to development interventions in education, medical facilities, irrigation, plantation and so on, they are forced into the modern way of life in many ways. Their traditional life style, customary traits of economy political organization, norms, values and world view have been drastically changed over a long period. One sub-group of Kondhas is the Dongria Kondhas. They are called Dongria or dweller of donger and settle in higher altitudes due to their economic demands. They have a subsistence economy based on foraging, hunting & gathering but they now primarily depend on a subsistence agriculture i.e. shifting cultivation. The Dongrias commonly practice polygamy. By custom, marriage must cross clan boundaries (a form of incest taboo). The clan or “Puja” is exogamous, which means marriages are made outside the clan (yet still within the greater Dongoria population). The form of acquiring mate is often by capture or force or elopement. However, marriage by negotiation is also practiced. The Dongrias are great admirer of aesthetic romanticism. Their pantheon has both the common Hindu gods and their own. The gods and goddesses are always attributed to various natural phenomena, objects, trees, animals, etc. Vedanta Resources, a UK based mining company, is threatening the future of this tribe as their home the Niyamgiri Hill is rich in bauxite. The bauxite is also the reason there are so many perennial streams. The tribe’s plight is the subject of a Survival International short film narrated by actress Joanna Lumley. In 2010 India’s environment ministry ordered Vedanta Resources to halt a sixfold expansion of an aluminium refinery in Odisha. As part of its Demand Dignity campaign, in 2011 Amnesty International published a report concerning the rights of the Dongria Kondh. Vedanta has appealed against the ministerial decision, but the tribal leaders have promised to continue their struggle whatever the decision in a key hearing before India’s supreme court (in April 2012). In 2013 A three-member bench of the Supreme Court directed the village councils of Rayagada and Kalahandi to take a decision within three months on whether the project can go ahead after considering any claims of cultural, religious, community and individual rights that the forest dwellers of the region may have. The ruling linked the constitutional provision for the protection of Scheduled Tribes as enshrined in Article 224 with protection of religious rights under Articles 25 and 26 and the Forest Rights Act. After years of controversy and confusion, Vedanta’s project to mine bauxite on a forested hill considered sacred by an ancient tribe has been stopped by the Indian government.
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