The World Health Organisation (WHO) on 29 October 2013 confirmed ten cases of polio in Syria. This is the first outbreak in Syria in 14 years as polio virus was last reported in Syria in 1999.
Other 12 cases are being investigated by WHO. Maximum of the 22 people being tested are toddlers and babies.
Joint INDO-RUSSIAN military training exercise, “EXERCISE INDRA 2013”, is being held at the Mahajan Field Firing Range, Jaisalmer (under South Western Command of the Army). Mechanized combat groups of both the country are taking part in the exercise – very first time that India and Russia are holding joint exercise at combat group level (Battalion level exercises).
Objective : to improve interoperability, joint functionality and coordination between both the forces so as to be better prepared and act as a integrated army for any future UN PeaceKeeping Missions elsewhere Russian Military Training Exercise .
Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh was on a 3-day Official Visit to Beijing on 22-24 October 2013 at the invitation of the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. During this visit India and China signed 9 agreements in total. The most important among them was the agreement on defence cooperation.
The Prime Ministers of India Manmohan Singh Visited China held discussions on bilateral, regional and global issues with a view to strengthening the partnership between the two countries. The two nations vowed to strengthen coordination and cooperation in multilateral forums including the BRICS, the BRICS and G20.
The lower house of Russian Parliament, Duma on 25 October 2013 approved a new legislation which makes punishment for terrorism more severe. The new legislation also requires terrorists’ relatives to pay for the damages caused in attacks.
The bill is expected to be approved in the upper house and be signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law. Parliament of Russia Passed The bill further adds that training for terrorist activities is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It also introduced a punishment of up to six years for those participating in a militant group on foreign soils.
Putin has taken a tough stance against the North Caucausus rebellion following two wars between the Russian army and Chechen separatists.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have banned globally the dumping of chemical Poly-iso-butylene (PIB) in to the sea following investigations by Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) of the UK that found out that it was responsible for recent cases of killing thousands of seabirds off the South coast of England. Further investigations also revealed that PIB was also the culprit in March 2010 ecological disaster when thousands of seabirds mysteriously died off the coast of Netherland.
- It was found out that PIB is used by the sailors for tank cleaning operations on the Ship. It’s a high viscosity chemical (sticky) which trapped and killed these seabirds.
- Following the detailed investigation, MCA recommended banning its dumping into the sea. After persistent campaigning by public and wildlife organizations, IMO changed highly viscous PIB’s hazard classification to prohibit any discharge of the chemical at sea from 2014.
Till now under MARPOL convention (which regulates marine pollution from ships) direct discharge of PIB into the sea , even though considered hazardous to marine ecology, was legal but with some conditions as its pollution risk was classed as category Y under Annex-ii. But now it has been moved from Category Y to Category X under Annex II of MARPOL which will completely ban its direct dumping into the sea.
What is PIB (Polyisobutene/ polyisobutylene / butyl rubber) ?
- It is a man-made synthetic product which is non-toxic in nature but very sticky (viscous)
- colourless or light yellow, odourless, tasteless and is the only form of rubber that is completely impermeable to gas as well as water.
- first developed in the 1940s as a synthetic alternative to natural rubber (due to its scarcity following conflicts in rubber-producing regions).
- persistent floater’, slow to degrade and non biodegradable
Used in :
- manufacture of chewing gum, adhesive tape and sealants.
- In shipping, it is often used as a thickening agent for industrial lubricant oils.
impacts on seabirds and marine wildlife
- a hydrophobic substance on contact with water coalesces into a waxy, glue-like formation, generally floating at or just underneath the surface.
- thus extremely hazardous to a range of seabird species, which dive to find food and get covered with it, which sticks their wings to their bodies and prevents them from feeding, causing immobilisation, hypothermia, starvation and eventually death.
- also risk of ingestion of bits of PIB in its waxy form
MARPOL : The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships
- established in 1973 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) which is a UN agency responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
- A 1978 Protocol was adopted following several tanker accidents in 1976-1977. It absorbed the parent 1973 MARPOL Convention since it had not yet entered into force. The combined instrument entered into force on 2 October 1983.
The MARPOL Convention includes six Annexes which contains regulations for preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations :
The very fact that the present system of policing is governed by Centuries’ old “Police Act of 1861” which is still in force, gives a clear idea about the necessity of police reforms in India. Even after terriorist attack, multi-crore scams and internal security threats like Naxalism, political class is less willing to loosen its grip on police & are not letting them do their job thereby further accentuating the problem of “RED TAPISM” in India. They are in total subordination to ruling party and most of the times themselves are involved in the crime.
GROUND SITUATION :
- Every Circle or Sub Inspector is chosen after consideration of local MLA’s choice.
- Caste & “flexibility” of the concerned police also determines posting.
- At the State level, promotion is offered to those who can “serve” to ruling party.
Following continuous rain in Kochi that allowed only ten overs to be bowled during the entire period of play, North Zone and South Zone shared the Duleep Trophy as the joint winners. With most of the 5 days being washed away by the rain only 54 minutes of play was possible and since considerable damage had been done to outfield, umpires decided not to extend it to reserved 6th day and instead declare joint winners.
- This final thus, earned the dubious record as the Duleep Trophy Final having the least number of playing hours.
This was the fourth time that the Duleep Trophy is being shared. The previous occasions are :
1. 1963-64 (West and South zone)
2. 1988-89 (West and North Zone )
3. 1997-98 (West and Central Zone)