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DAILY CURRENT EVENTS CIVILS360

September 4, 2017

Korea tests ‘hydrogen’ bomb, sparks outrage

  • North Korea said on Sunday that it tested a ‘hydrogen’ bomb which it can mount on a missile, declaring its biggest-ever nuclear detonation a “perfect success.” This sparked a strong rebuke from U.S. President Donald Trump who slammed the act “dangerous.”
  • Pyongyang residents threw their arms aloft in triumph as a television newsreader hailed the “unprecedentedly large” blast. It “marked a very significant occasion in attaining the final goal of completing the state nuclear force,” she added
  • But world reaction to the country’s sixth nuclear test was swift and angry.
  • China lost no time in issuing “strong condemnation” of the test, which overshadowed the opening of the BRICS summit in Xiamen by leader Xi Jinping
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe described it as “absolutely unacceptable,” while Russia’s Foreign Ministry expressed the “strongest condemnation” but urged calm.
  • In Seoul, President Moon Jae-in called for new United Nations sanctions to “completely isolate North Korea”, and said the South would discuss deploying “the strongest strategic assets of the U.S. military.”

No separate labour rights for transgenders

  • The NDA government has dropped plans to recognise transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ in the country’s labour law framework.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court had for the first time recognised transgender persons as the ‘third gender’ and asked the Centre and the States to give them equal opportunities in education and employment. But now this reform, part of the Labour Ministry’s draft law to codify wages and aimed at protecting transgender workers from discrimination, has been shelved following reservations expressed by the Law Ministry.

Defined as persons

  • “We had proposed inserting clauses for recognising the rights of transgender workers in all the four labour codes. However, the Law Ministry objected, citing the General Clauses Act of 1897, according to which ‘transgenders’ fall within the definition of ‘person’. It was then decided that there was no need to add a separate clause for them,” a senior Labour and Employment Ministry official told The Hindu .
  • The Wages Code Bill was drafted under an exercise to rationalise the country’s 44 labour laws into four codes covering all the regulations pertaining to wages, industrial relations, social security and safety, and health and working conditions.
  • “Now, because of the objections raised by the Law Ministry, we will not mention the term ‘transgender’ while stating the entitlements related to gender in any of the labour laws,” the official added. The draft Labour Code on Wages Bill prepared by the Labour Ministry in 2015 had provisions prohibiting discrimination against transgender persons in the payment of wages.

Odisha villagers grow back their forest

  • Women of this western Odisha district have traditionally forayed into forests nearby for harvesting leaves of the creeper called siali to augment a much-needed income. But now that the demand for siali leaves, biodegradable plates made of which are replacing plastic, has grown rapidly in international markets, especially in Europe, villagers here have begun growing siali and other produce with a longer-term view of harnessing dividends from their sale.
  • In Nayagarh district, villagers randomly scatter seeds of amla or the Indian gooseberry ( Phyllanthus emblica ), harida or black myrobalan ( Terminalia chebula ) and bahada or beleric ( Terminalia bellirica ), known for their medicinal values, in the forests. They believe regeneration of the trees will help bolster their income from forest.
  • “At present, we walk about five kilometres to pluck siali leaves from forest. If the same leaves were available nearby, our daily toil would be halved and the harvest would be higher,” said Jamuna Nayak (45) of the Sirgida village. Controlling the harvest will also be more sustainable in the long-term, they feel.
  • “I have received order to supply 50,000 to 3 lakh leaf plates per month from a French company,” said said Ayush Mishra, director, MetaCognitive, a Ranchi-based start-up. According to Mr. Mishra, companies based in New Delhi and in some south Indian cities have already tied up with the primary gatherers in Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh to procure siali leaves for making leaf plates.