● Push to eco-tourism, bids for 15 sites invited
To promote eco-tourism, the Forest Department in Himachal Pradesh has invited bids for 15 new sites.
As per the new policy, the promoter will have to seek clearance from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. Prior to that, the department had leased out sites without any clearance, to which the Centre had objected. Initially, it was proposed that only private players with a turnover of Rs 3 crore would be allowed to apply. For Himachalis, this amount was Rs 1 crore which was reduced to Rs 50 lakh and the application amount of Rs 5,000 too waived off.
The private players will have to seek clearance from the Centre for use of forest land for non-forest commercial activity. They will have to pay the net present value (NPV) for a hectare of land at Rs 7 lakh besides undertaking mandatory compensatory plantation on two hectares.
- WTO hosts first World Cotton Day celebrations in Geneva
The first-ever World Cotton Day (WCD) was hosted by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva on October 7, 2019.
This event stems from the application by the Cotton-4 countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) to the United Nations General Assembly for its official recognition of a World Cotton Day, reflecting the importance of cotton as a global commodity.
Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani representing India in the five-day event of World Cotton Day being observed at Geneva.
As one of the world’s largest producers and consumers of cotton, India supports the World Cotton Day as an opportunity to recognise the significance of cotton as a global commodity.
● India and France agreed to deepen defence ties
Defence minister Rajnath Singh visited France recently. He held discussions with the French Minister of Armed Forces Florence Parly.
During his visit, he reviewed the full spectrum of the bilateral defence engagement.
India and France reaffirmed their strong commitment to further deepen cooperation to combat terrorism.
Both the countries discussed ways to further deepen defence-related official and operational level interactions.
Both sides agreed to expand the scope and complexity of the existing regular bilateral joint exercises including SHAKTI, VARUNA, and GARUDA.
- National Health Authority and Google tie-up for Ayushman Bharat implementation
The National Health Authority (NHA) has joined hands with Google to collaborate and strengthen the implementation of the government’s flagship health scheme, Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
The two organizations will be working closely to explore various use cases for increasing process efficiencies in day-to-day applications.
Google will also support NHA in improving PM-JAY’s digital presence and showcasing relevant content to the 50 crore entitled beneficiaries.
- 2019 Nobel Prize in Medicine
The 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to scientists William G Kaelin, Jr, Peter J Ratcliffe and Gregg L Semenza.
The Nobel Committee announced that they received the award jointly for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability”.
The jury said that they established the basis for our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function.
The three will share the Nobel prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor or about 9 Lakh 14 thousand US dollar.
It is the 110th prize in the category that has been awarded since 1901.
- Nobel prize in physics awarded for discoveries in cosmology
Three scientists, James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz have won the Prize for their contribution to the understanding of the evolution of the universe and earth’s place in the cosmos.
One half of the award was given to James Peebles for theoretical discoveries in physical cosmology and the other half jointly to Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz for the discovery of an exoplanet orbiting a solar-type star.
They will share a 9-million kronor cash award, a gold medal and a diploma.
● Goodenough, Whittingham, Yoshino won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham, and Akira Yoshino won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the year 2019. The announcement was made by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
The researches were awarded for the development of lithium-ion batteries. Their invention laid the foundation of a wireless, fossil fuel-free society.
Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries have revolutionized the world of technology. These batteries entered the market in 1991. These batteries are used to power various day-to-day products such as smartphones, laptops and even electric vehicles.
- The 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature has been announced along with the 2018 Prize.
Austrian author Peter Handke has won the 2019 Prize while Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk has received the 2018 Prize.
Tokarczuk becomes just the 15th woman to have won the prestigious distinction, out of 116 literature laureates honoured since 1901.
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature was announced along with the 2018 Prize as the latter was delayed by a year following a scandal that included allegations of sexual misconduct.
- Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed wins Nobel Peace Prize
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has won the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his peacemaking efforts with Eritrea.
Abiy was honoured “for his efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, and in particular for his decisive initiative to resolve the border conflict with neighbouring Eritrea,”
Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes who fought a border war from 1998 to 2000, restored relations in July 2018 after years of hostility.
● Abhijit Banerjee, Duflo and Kremer win Nobel in Economics
Indian-American Abhijit Banerjee with his Wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer won Nobel For Economics for the year 2019. The award recognized their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty. The new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics in a flourishing field of research.
Banerjee was educated at the University of Calcutta, Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Harvard University, where he received his Ph.D. in 1988.
The research conducted by this year’s laureates has considerably improved the ability to fight global poverty.
- Chandi Prasad Bhatt to get Indira Gandhi award for national integration
The 31st Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration for the years 2017 and 2018 will be awarded to the pioneer of the ‘Chipko Movement’ Chandi Prasad Bhatt.
The award will be presented for his services in promoting and preserving the national integration.
Bhatt is a Ramon Magsaysay award recipient for the year 1982.
He was also awarded the Padma Shri in 1986, the Padma Bhushan in 2005 and the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2013.
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