1. MADRAS HIGH COURT ASKS CENTRE AND TAMIL NADU GOVERNMENT TO STRICTLY ENFORCE MANUAL SCAVENGING ACT.
- Recently Madras High Court ordered the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to ensure the strict enforcement of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, in the wake of the death of 30 people engaged in the activity in the State.
- Vigorous national campaign for the rehabilitation of those engaged to manually clean insanitary latrines, and urban structures into which human excreta flows without sewerage, has been unable to break governmental indifference and social prejudice.
- Because of the continued presence of insanitary latrines that require cleaning by hand manual scavenging still persists.
- Government hasn’t conducted a full census of both the latrines and the people engaged in clearing such waste.
WHY MANUAL SCAVENGING STILL PERSISTS
- Entrenched belief in the caste system, that assumes Dalits will readily perform the task of cleaning latrines.
- Many communities still regard the inclusion of a sanitary toilet as ritual and physical pollution of the house.
FUTURE COURSE OF ACTION
- Break the caste barriers through education and economic uplift.
- Raising the confidence level among those engaged in manual cleaning, even official data show their reluctance to take up self-employment.
- Effective implementation of the law .
2. CORAL BLEACHING NEAR JAPAN COAST
- About 30% of the coral reef off the coast of Tsushima island in Japan, which lies 1,000 km southwest of Tokyo,has suffered bleaching in recent years.
- Also early in 2017, the rise in water temperature caused significant bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in Australia for the second consecutive year.
- Since 2015, all tropical coral reefs have seen above-normal temperatures, and more than 70% experienced prolonged high temperatures that can cause bleaching.
WHAT IS CORAL BLEACHING?
- Coral bleaching occurs when coral polyps expel algae that lives inside their tissues.
- Normally, coral polyps live in an endosymbiotic relationship with the algae and that relationship is crucial for the coral and hence for the health of the whole reef.
- Bleached corals continue to live. But as the algae provide the coral with 90% of its energy, after expelling the algae the coral begins to starve.
- Above-average sea water temperatures caused by global warming have been identified as a leading cause for coral bleaching worldwide.
- In 2016, bleaching hit 90 percent of coral on the Great Barrier Reef killed between 29 and 50 percent of the reef’s coral.
MECHANISM OF CORAL BLEACHING
- The corals that form the great reef ecosystems of tropical seas depend upon a symbiotic relationship with algae-like single celled flagellate protozoa called zooxanthellae that live within their tissues and give the coral its coloration.
- The zooxanthellae provide the coral with nutrients through photosynthesis, a crucial factor in the clear and nutrient-poor tropical waters.
- In exchange, the coral provide the zooxanthellae with the carbon dioxide and ammonium needed for photosynthesis.
- Negative environmental conditions thwart the coral’s ability to provide for the zooxanthellae’s needs.
- To ensure short-term survival, the coral-polyp then expels the zooxanthellae. This leads to a lighter or completely white appearance, hence the term “bleached”.
- As the zooxanthellae provide for up to 90% of the coral’s energy needs through photosynthesis, after expelling, the coral begins to starve.
3. LINGAYAT COMMUNITY DEMANDS INDEPENDENT RELIGION STATUS
- The demand for independent religion status for Lingayats once again gathered new momentum when lakhs of people belonging to Lingayat community took to the streets in Bidar – Karnataka.
- The heads of the different Lingayat mutts who arrived from different parts of the country to participate in the agitation invariably asserted that Lingayats had been neither part of the Hindu religion nor were a synonym for the Veerashaiva sect.
- There are two main religious streams in Hinduism — Shaivas and Vaishnavas. Veerashaiva is one among the seven sects of Shaivas. Both Shaivas and Vaishnavas uphold Vedas, Agamas, Shastras and Puranas and follow the Vedic religious practices. However, Lingayat religion founded by Basaveshwara vehemently opposed them.
WHAT IS LINGAYATISM ?
- Lingayatism is a distinct Shaivite religious tradition in India.
- Its worship is centered on Hindu god Shiva as the universal god in the iconographic form of Ishtalinga.
- The adherents of this faith are known as Lingayats.
- Lingayatism was founded by the 12th-century philosopher and statesman Basava and spread by his followers, called Sharanas.
- Lingayatism emphasizes qualified monism and bhakti (loving devotion) to Shiva, with philosophical foundations similar to those of the 11th–12th-century South Indian philosopher Ramanuja.
- The terms Lingayatism and Veerashaivism have been used synonymously, and Lingayats also referred to as Veerashaivas.
- Lingayatism is considered a Hindu sect, but some Lingayats have sought legal recognition as a religion distinct from Hinduism.
- Contemporary Lingayatism is influential in South India, especially in the state of Karnataka.
4. 14th PRESIDENT OF INDIA – RAM NATH KOVIND
- Ram Nath Kovind has been elected as India’s 14th President.
- In the final vote count, NDA candidate Kovind received 65.6% votes translating into 702,044 electoral college votes, while UPA candidate Meira Kumar managed to get 34.35% (367,314 votes).
- He is the second Dalit leader after RK Narayanan since Independence to occupy India’s highest constitutional post.