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- For the first time in 16 years, Odisha has achieved the highest decline in Infant Mortality Rate. This decline is far better than the national average. According to the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Odisha’s infant mortality rate has come down by 29% between 2005 and 2015 which is the highest decline in the country.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has prohibited all camping activity on beaches which fall within 100 meters along the River Ganga from Shivpuri to Rishikesh in Uttarakhand. The 50 km stretch of River Ganga between Shivpuri to Rishikesh is a hub of eco-tourism and river rafting.
- The China-India border dispute came into sharp focus after the Chinese Foreign Ministry warned New Delhi not to allow the Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh — the State which is at the heart of the Sino-Indian dispute in the eastern sector.
- The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued a notice to the Delhi government and the Delhi Police over reports of 26 boys found working as bonded labourers at a factory in north-east Delhi’s Seelampur. The rescued boys were all from Bihar’s Motihari district and had been brought to the Capital about six months ago. They may have been victims of trafficking.
- The Centre’s move to stockpile 4,000 pellet shotguns in the Kashmir Valley has drawn sharp reactions from both separatist leaders and mainstream politicians over the Centre’s approach towards the Kashmir issue. During the five-month-long street protests in 2016, over 10,000 people were injured, mainly due to pellets. Around 1,000 were hit in the eyes. At least 10 civilians died due to pellet injuries.
- The Environment Ministry has dithered, for the second time in three years, from bringing into force a law that will make about 56,825 sqkm of the ecologically-rich Western Ghats out of bounds for industrial development. Ever since a committee headed by ecologist Madhav Gadgil recommended in 2011 that all of the Western Ghats be declared as an Ecological Sensitive Area (ESA) — with only limited development allowed in graded zones— States have forced the Centre to consistently delay imposing the ESA restrictions.
- In a quest to set a new world record, Air India has operated a flight around the world with an all-woman crew ahead of International Women’s Day. The aircraft, a Boeing 777-200LR, flew over the Pacific on its journey to San Francisco, while the return flight flew over the Atlantic, encircling the globe. The cockpit and cabin crew, check-in and ground handling staff, and the engineers who certified the aircraft were all women. The Air Traffic Controllers who cleared the departure and arrival of the aircraft were also women.
- The Supreme Court expressed grave concern over farmers’ suicides due to indebtedness and crop failure. Asking the Centre to apprise it of the policy roadmap to address the burning issue, a Bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar said the issue of farmers’ suicide was of “extreme importance” and paying compensation to the families of such victims “post-facto” was not the real solution.
- The Indian Navy has agreed to set up meteorological facilities and impart training for the Myanmar Navy. This was agreed upon during a recent visit of a Myanmar delegation to Kochi. This fits into India’s overall effort to boost strategic cooperation under the ‘Act East’ policy and will help offset increasing Chinese presence in its neighbourhood.
- Leading stock exchange BSE has set up a new corporate announcement filing system to provide speedy, timely and accurate information on listed companies to investors as well as news agencies. The new system, which has been made operational since March 1, will give out information round-the-clock and provide a firm’s filing time and BSE’s dissemination time for users to verify the delay between reporting and discourse.
- Environment Minister Anil Dave announced that India has 70 per cent of the world’s lion population, with spirited conservation methods taking their numbers to 2,400 at present.
- Harvard University is taking new steps to confront its past ties to slavery. The Ivy League school is hosting a conference exploring the historical ties between slavery and early universities, including Harvard. Scholars will present research on the topic and discuss how other colleges have confronted their connections to slavery.
- The elusive British street artist Banksy opened a hotel situated along the wall separating Israeli and Palestinian territories in Bethlehem. The hotel aims to bring jobs and tourists to a town whose pilgrim and sightseeing-based economy has been ravaged by ever tighter Israeli controls on travel between Israeli and the Palestinian territories.