Topic Covered :
Trump wants to expand G7 to G10/11 to include India
SpaceX rocket lifts off on historic private crewed flight
State proposes submerged plateau off Malvan to be declared as protected area
Telangana barred from taking up new projects on Godavari, Krishna rivers
Nepal’s 2nd Constitutional Amendment Bill
TRUMP WANTS TO EXPAND G7 TO G10/11 TO INCLUDE INDIA
Why in news?
US President Donald Trump wants to reformat G7, the group of seven advanced economies in the world, to make it a G10 or G11 that would include India, Australia, South Korea, and Russia.
Calling the existing formation “outdated,” Trump revealed the idea of an expanded group after announcing that he was scrubbing the G7 he had planned to host at Camp David in June.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel bailed out of the meeting earlier this week after Trump revised his decision on a virtual summit because of the coronavirus and decided he would host it in person.
Other G7 countries - United Kingdom, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan - too appeared lukewarm about the summit given the pandemic situation worldwide.
History of G7:
As the world reeled from the first oil shock and subsequent financial crisis, the heads of state and government of the six leading industrial countries met in 1975 for the first time to discuss the global economy.
They were joined in 1976 by Canada and in 1998 by Russia.
Following the Russian annexation of Crimea, the G7 nations decided in March 2014 to meet without Russia until further notice.
The G7 was born as a result of the huge economic problems facing the world in the 1970s. The first oil shock and the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system had the world on tenterhooks. These were grounds enough for the heads of state and government to consult on international economic policy.
SPACEX ROCKET LIFTS OFF ON HISTORIC PRIVATE CREWED FLIGHT
Why in news?
A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying two veteran NASA astronauts lifted off on Saturday on an historic first private crewed flight into space.
The two-stage Falcon 9 rocket with astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley aboard blasted off smoothly in a cloud of orange flames and smoke from Launch Pad 39A at Florida's Kennedy Space Center for the 19-hour voyage to the International Space Station.
The first booster stage of the rocket separated cleanly and landed upright on a barge off the Atlantic coast.
The second stage also separated smoothly, sending the astronauts in the Crew Dragon capsule on their way to the space station orbiting some 250 miles (450 kilometers) above the Earth.
The first crewed flight from US soil since the space shuttle program ended in 2011 had originally been scheduled for Wednesday but was delayed because of weather conditions, which also remained uncertain on Saturday right up until liftoff at 3:22 pm (1922 GMT).
President Donald Trump flew to Florida aboard Air Force One to watch the launch and described it as "really something special."
It finally docked to the ISS.
STATE PROPOSES SUBMERGED PLATEAU OFF MALVAN TO BE DECLARED AS PROTECTED AREA
Why in news?
Less than a week before World Environment Day (June 5), the Maharashtra forest department has proposed the declaration of the 2,011 sq km Angria Bank as a protected area.
The proposal seeks to declare Angria Bank as a ‘Designated Area’ under the Maritime Zones Act, 1976, which if approved by the Centre, will be the first such marine protected zone in India located in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Angria Bank, 105 km (56.7 nautical miles) off Malvan in the Sindhudurg district of Konkan region, is considered a submerged plateau.
The coral formation, located at a depth of 20 to 400 metres, consists of 29 genera and 39 species of both hard and soft corals with the reef showing no evident signs of bleaching (turning white due to rising sea surface temperatures as an aftermath of climate change) yet.
The study found 123 species of fish, 43 species of invertebrates, numerous species of dolphins and whales among other marine animals including the critically endangered sawfish, which is protected under schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The proposed boundary for protection is approximately 61-km long and 50-km wide.
Though India may miss its international Aichi target of identifying 10% marine-protected areas by 2020, protecting Angria Bank will contribute to it since limited marine areas around the country are currently protected.
Aichi targets are an international framework of identifying wildlife and marine protected areas by 2020 developed by the International Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
Though marine regions have been notified as sanctuaries under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the Union environment ministry does not have powers to afford legal protection to a marine area beyond Indian territorial waters (12 nautical miles) owing to jurisdictional constraints. Thus, protecting this area falls within the purview of the Maritime Zones Act, 1976
The proposal was submitted before the state government for final approval earlier this week, and will soon be sent to the Union environment ministry.
TELANGANA BARRED FROM TAKING UP NEW PROJECTS ON GODAVARI, KRISHNA RIVERS
Why in news?
Acting on complaints by Andhra Pradesh, management boards of Godavari and Krishna on Saturday directed the Telangana government not to go ahead with new projects across the respective inter-state rivers till the proposals were appraised and sanction obtained from the top council of the two states.
The Godavari River Management Board (GRMB) and the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) conveyed this in separate but similar letters to the Telangana Principal Irrigation Secretary.
The two boards function under the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The two boards said the state shall not go ahead with the projects till appraisal by them and the Central Water Commission and clearance from the Apex Council on River Water Resources of the two neighbouring states.
Why in news?
Born on May 31, 1725, in the village of Chondi in Jamkhed, Ahmednagar, yesterday marks the 295th anniversary of the brave queen, Maharani or Rajmata Ahilyabai Holkar, regarded as one of the finest female rulers in Indian history.
As a prominent ruler of the Malwa kingdom, she spread the message of dharma and promoted industrialisation in the 18th century.
John Keay, the British historian, gave the queen the title of ‘The Philosopher Queen’. He said in her praise: ‘Ahilyabai Holkar, the philosopher-queen of Malwa, had evidently been an acute observer of the wider political scene.’
The Queen of Malwa was not only a brave queen and skilled ruler but also a learned politician. Her observation of the British and their agenda was something even the Maratha Peshwa had missed noticing.
Indore prospered during her 30-year rule from a tiny village to a flourishing city. Ahilyabai is famous for having built numerous forts and roads in Malwa region, sponsoring festivals and offering donations to many Hindu temples.
Her philanthropy reflected in the construction of a number of temples, ghats, wells, tanks and rest-houses stretching across the length of the country.
Her kingdom’s capital, Maheshwar, was a melting pot music and culture and she is known to have opened doors to stalwarts like the Marathi poet Moropant, Shahir Anantaphandi and Sanskrit scholar, Khushali Ram.
Through public audiences held daily in her court, Ahilyabai addressed the grievances of her people and always became available to anyone who needed her guidance.
A commemorative stamp was issued in her honour on August 25, 1996, by the Indian government. As a tribute to the ruler, Indore’s domestic airport has been named Devi Ahilyabai Holkar Airport. The Indore university too was renamed Devi Ahilya Vishwavidyalaya.
NEPAL’S 2ND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BILL
Why in news?
The Nepal government on Sunday tabled a Constitution amendment Bill in Parliament aimed at altering the country’s map amid a border dispute with India.
Nepal recently released the revised political and administrative map of the country, laying claim over the strategically key areas of Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura.
India reacted angrily to the move saying such “artificial enlargement” of territorial claims will not be acceptable and asked the neighbouring country to refrain from such “unjustified cartographic assertion”.
The Bill seeks to amend the political map of Nepal included in Schedule 3 of the Constitution. The new map will be used in all official documents, including the coat of arms, after the amendment Bill is endorsed through Parliament.
It requires a two-thirds majority to endorse the Constitution amendment Bill.
The ties between India and Nepal came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani, a disputed border area between Nepal and India. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory—India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district. PTI