11, July 2017

  1. New sites get UNESCO heritage tag

Source: The Hindu

  • The United Nations’ cultural agency has added 22 heritage treasures to its list of World Heritage sites. The additions come as the agency meets in Poland for an 11-day session to nominate new locations in need of protection and reviews the status and well-being of existing designated sites.
  • The UNESCO designation, which recognizes the outstanding universal values of the sites, is meant to draw attention to them and the need to preserve them.

New additions:

  • The UNESCO World Heritage List Committee designated Britain’s Lake District, the Baden-Wuerttemberg caves in Germany, and the modernist architecture in Asmara — the capital city of Eritrea — to the roster of places with special recognition.
  • Among the other new sites on the UNESCO list are: the underground mines in Tarnowskie Gory in Poland, the historic city of Yazd, in Iran; Japan’s sacred and restricted-access island of Okinoshima, and Los Alerces National Park in Argentina.
  • Also added were Turkey’s 3rd century B.C. Aphrodisias temple and the Valongo Wharf Archeological Site in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

UNESCO world heritage site:

  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as of special cultural or physical significance.
  • The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  • Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.

  1. Committee formed to study legalities for separate State flag

Source: The Hindu

The Karnataka State government has constituted a nine-member committee headed by Principal Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, to study and submit a report to the government on the possibility of “designing a separate flag for Karnataka and providing it a statutory standing.”

Background:

Recently, some activists had urged the government to design a separate flag for Kannada ‘naadu’ and accord statutory standing for that.

States permitted to have their own flags:

  • In S.R. Bommai v/s Union of India (Supreme Court 1994) case, the Supreme Court has declared that federalism is a basic feature of the Constitution and States are supreme in their sphere.
  • This being the Constitutional position, there is no prohibition in the Constitution for the State to have its own flag.
  • However, the manner in which the State flag is hoisted should not dishonour the national flag.
  • It has to be always below the national flag. The national flag code specifically authorises use of other flags subject to the regulation by the court. So, State flag is not unauthorised.

  1. India to join new global foreign exchange committee

Source: The Hindu

India will soon get a seat on the Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC), a newly-constituted forum of central bankers and experts working towards promotion of a robust and transparent forex market.

  • The newly expanded and formalised GFXC, which will meet regularly, replaces a similar but more informal organisation of eight foreign exchange committees — namely those from Australia, Canada, Euro area, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, UK and the US.
  • The GFXC will also now include representatives from existing, or soon to be established, foreign exchange committees or similar structures in Brazil, China, India, Korea, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden and Switzerland.

GFXC:

  • The Global Foreign Exchange Committee (GFXC) was established in May 2017 as a forum bringing together central banks and private sector participants with the aim to promote a robust, liquid, open, and appropriately transparent foreign exchange market in which a diverse set of participants, supported by resilient infrastructure, are able to confidently and effectively transact at competitive prices that reflect available information and in a manner that conforms to acceptable standards of behaviour.
  • The committee has been set up under the guidance of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), an international financial organisation owned by 60 member central banks, representing countries from around the world.

The objectives of the GFXC:

  • To promote collaboration and communication among the local foreign exchange committees (FXCs) and non-GFXC jurisdictions with significant FX markets;
  • To exchange views on trends and developments in global FX markets, including on the structure and functioning of those markets, drawing on information gathered at the various FXCs; and
  • To promote, maintain and update on a regular basis the FX Global Code (the Code) and to consider good practices regarding effective mechanisms to support adherence.

  1. 4. Sri Lanka bans bottom-trawling

Source: The Hindu

Sri Lanka has banned the destructive fishing practice of bottom-trawling in their waters, making violators liable for a fine of LKR 50,000 (approximately ₹20,000) and face two years imprisonment. In this regard, an Amendment to the country’s Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Act was passed unanimously, in effect declaring the fishing method an offence.

Why the ban?

  • Bottom trawling is a destructive fishing practice which affects the marine ecosystem. The practice, which involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea floor, is known to cause great depletion of fishery resources, and curbing it is in the interest of sustainable fishing.

Concerns raised by Tamil Nadu:

  • The development could directly impact a section of fishermen from Tamil Nadu, who engage in bottom-trawling and have often been found trespassing into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters.

  1. Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF)

Source: PIB

Indian Railways achieves a major landmark in the field of Eco friendly fuel technologies at Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuel (IROAF) which has been awarded the coveted National level “Golden Peacock Award for the Year 2017 for Eco-Innovation” for substitution of fossil fuels (Diesel) by environment friendly CNG in DEMU passenger train services.

  • Use of CNG in Train Sets for passenger transportation has been done for the first time in the world.
  • The CNG based dual fuel 1400 HP engine used in DEMU trains developed by IROAF has successfully substituted diesel fuel with CNG upto 20%.
  • This innovation will reduce emissions considerably by bringing down NOx by 16%, CO2 by 6% and Particulate Matter by 18% besides achieving economy in fuel cost by 8%. So far, 19 Engines of DEMUs have been successfully converted into CNG based dual fuel engines with this technology.

Golden Peacock Awards

  • Golden Peacock Awards, instituted by the Institute Of Directors (IOD), India in 1991, are now regarded as a benchmark of Corporate Excellence worldwide.
  • Golden Peacock awards have become a hallmark of excellence, both locally & globally. Based on internationally recognised criteria, the credibility of these awards lies in the transparency depth & impartiality of the assessment process.



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