Current Affairs For IAS-Exam-2011 March-2011 Part 2

UN Women’s scheme for widows
To mark the 100 {+t} {+h} anniversary of International Women’s Day, UN Women announced a new regional programme to address the needs of widows in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
“India has an estimated 40 million widows, and their lives are often mired in poverty, neglect, and deprivation. The time has come for us to act and create space for widows in mainstream policy and social welfare schemes. Their situation has to be recognised and addressed,” said Anne F. Stenhammer, Regional Programme Director, UN Women South Asia.
The three-year programme, funded jointly by UN Women Swiss National Committee and Standard Chartered Bank, will be implemented in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka to reduce social ostracism faced by widows. This will be done by collecting data and evidence to highlight the stigma faced by them, by working with widows’ coalitions so they can speak up and access public
services, and finally by guaranteeing that discrimination and social practices against widows
are reviewed and repealed.
Dalai Lama to step down

The Dalai Lama announced that he would step down as “political head” of the so-called Tibetan government-in-exile but would remain as religious leader and continue to advocate “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet.
The Dalai Lama, 75, a Nobel Laureate, said he would hand over his “formal authority” to a “freely-elected” leader. He said he was committed to playing his part for the “just cause” of Tibet.
Illinois abolishes death penalty
Illinois became the 16th State of the United States to abolish the death penalty when its Governor, Pat Quinn, announced the decision.

A ferocious tsunami spawned by one of the largest earthquakes ever recorded slammed Japan’s eastern coast, killing hundreds of people as it swept away boats, cars and homes while widespread fires burned out of control.
Hours later, the tsunami hit Hawaii and warnings blanketed the Pacific, putting areas on alert as far away as South America, Canada, Alaska and the entire U.S. West Coast.
The 8.9 offshore quake unleashed a 23-ft. tsunami and was followed by more than 50 aftershocks for hours, many of them of more than magnitude 6.0. Dozens of cities and villages along a 2,100 km. stretch of coastline were shaken by violent tremors that reached as far away as Tokyo, hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre. The area around a nuclear power plant in northeast Japan was evacuated after the reactor’s cooling system failed.
Japan races to avert nuclear meltdowns

Facing an unprecedented nuclear crisis, Japan struggled hard to avert multiple meltdowns at two of its reactors damaged by the devastating earthquake and tsunami as it braced itself for a fresh explosion at the Fukushima plant amid fears that the toll may exceed 10,000 in the ravaged northeastern coast.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said excessive levels of radiation at the Onagawa nuclear power plant led authorities to report a state of emergency there.
The Kyodo news agency said 1.80 lakh people were evacuated from a 20-km radius of the Fukushima nuclear plant. Already over 3.5 lakh people have already moved out of the region.
International disaster relief teams are being sent to Japan, with the U.N. helping to coordinate the operation.
China hints at new development approach to Tibet

Ahead of the third anniversary of the March 14 riots in Tibet, a top official from the region said the government would pay more attention to preserving Tibetan culture to address rising concerns about imbalanced growth.
Tibetans, as well as many of China’s 54 other minority groups who together make up 8.4 per cent of the population, have voiced concerns that focus on rapid development has eroded their cultures, with increasing migration of the majority ethnic Han Chinese to areas traditionally inhabited by ethnic minorities. Ahead of the anniversary of the riots, which left at least 22 people dead, the government has warned of “grave challenges” to stability in Tibet. In recent days, it has increased security restrictions in Lhasa and surrounding areas. It has also imposed travel bans on Tibetans and barred foreign tourists from travelling to Tibet.
Cooling systems fail at third reactor in plant

The risk of partial meltdown at a stricken nuclear power plant in Japan increased as cooling systems failed at a third reactor, possibly exposing its fuel rods, only hours after a second explosion at a separate reactor blew the roof off a containment building.
The widening problems underscore the difficulties Japanese authorities are having in bringing several damaged reactors under control three days after a devastating earthquake and a tsunami hit Japan’s northeast coast and shut down the electricity that runs the crucial cooling systems for reactors.
Operators fear that if they cannot establish control, despite increasingly desperate measures to do so, the reactors could experience meltdowns, which would release catastrophic amounts of radiation.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant and the Fukushima Daini power station, about 10 miles away, have been under a state of emergency.
Tokyo Electric Power Company, which runs both plants, said it had restored the cooling systems at two of three reactors experiencing problems at Daini. That would leave a total of four reactors at the two plants with pumping difficulties.
“The whole country was focused on Three Mile Island,” he said, referring to the Pennsylvania nuclear plant accident in 1979. “Here you have Tokyo Electric Power and the Japanese regulators focusing on multiple plants at the same time.”

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Posted on April 16, 2011, in Current Affair, International Events, March-2011. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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