Australia’s catastrophic fire season began in August 2019
Fire is no stranger to the dry continent’s woodlands.
Devastated over 10 million hectares of land
Killed at least 25 people
Killed tens of millions of animals
Besides forcing the evacuation of entire communities
PM Scott Morrison has sought to downplay the impact of changing climate.
Scientists: coal industry has a sway over politics in Australia
Scientists’Warning: what has happened is because of global average temperature rise of 1°C.
Over the past half century, the number of hot days and very hot days each year have steadily increased.
Centre’s decision: Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020.
Liberalise norms for entry into coal mining
Relax regulations on mining
Selling coal in the country
Enabling anyone with finances and expertise to bid for blocks and sell the coal freely to any buyer of their choice.
India spent ₹1,71,000 crore in coal imports last year to buy 235 million tonnes
100 million tonnes was not substitutable
135 million tonnes could have been substituted by domestic production had it been available.
Large investment in mining will create jobs, boost demand of mining equipment and heavy commercial vehicles
Along with FDI, India will get sophisticated mining technology, especially for underground mines.
Coal India’s (CIL) monopoly status will end.
CIL is a Maharatna PSU and tremendous public resources have been invested in the company over the years.
The company employs about three lakh people, is listed and is a national asset.
CDS and the path to jointmanship
Bipin Rawat: 1st Chief of Defence Staff
Establishment of a CDS, was recommended by the Kargil Review Committee in 2001.
CDS will consult and solicit the views of the services, but the final judgment will be the CDS’s alone.
CDS will be the principal military adviser to the Defence Minister.
Procurement of big-ticket items will remain under firm control of the Department of Defence (DoD).
The CDS is also vested with the authority to provide directives to the three chiefs. CDS will lead the Department of Military Affairs (DoMA) dealing with the three services. CDS does not enjoy any command authority
CDS will also perform an advisory role in the Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).
Core function: foster greater operational synergy + keep interservice frictions to a minimum. Gen. Rawat has sought the establishment of an Air Defence Command (ADC).
As an infantry officer in the past, he should make sure that he is not biased towards army.
One of the tasks the CDS is to avoidwasteful expenditure and duplication of equipment in the inventories of the services.
CDS’s role is equally about fostering better cooperation between the MoD bureaucracy and the services.
Pruning the number of personnel in the Army.
Greater investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) over the long term.
Support the native Research and Development for production and eventual deployment of weapons systems
Teaching research ethics better
UGC has finally made it compulsory for PhD scholars to take up a course on research and publication ethics as part of their pre-registration course work.
The course carries two credits and entails 30 teaching hours.
It covers several aspects of research conduct, publication ethics and misconduct, open access publishing and databases, and research metrics.
Plagiarism, falsification and fabrication, misrepresentation of data, selective reporting, duplicate publication, and segregation of data and publishing as multiple papers.
All this is to be magically covered in just five hours.
If UGC is serious about teaching research and publication ethics, it should make scientific conduct and publication ethics separate courses with sufficient teaching hours.
A nation losing democratic steam
In one stroke, New Delhi distanced itself from the friendly state establishments of Dhaka and Kabul, and deepened the divide with Islamabad.
The Indian authorities did not engage in sustained international effort to address the issue, such as through the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues.
The appropriate approach here would have been to join the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees.
One must challenge India’s Home Ministry as to why the CAA ignored the larger number of Muslims of different sects enduring sectarian strife.
These include Ahmadiyya and Shia, particularly Hazara, of Pakistan and Ahmadiyya and Bihari Muslims of Bangladesh.
JNU students beaten up during march
Foreign envoys in J&K on a fact-finding visit
A 15-member foreign envoys’ delegation arrived in Srinagar on a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir and met over 100 people, including senior Valley-based politicians, top newspaper editors and grassroots representatives.
Nirbhaya case: two convicts file curative pleas
SC rebuffs plea to implement CAA
The CJI scoffed at the prayer, explaining to the lawyer that any law passed by the legislature was anyway attached with “a presumption of constitutionality”. It was now for the Supreme Court to independently review the law for elements of unconstitutionality in it. India, Sri Lanka hold ‘productive’ talks