Scientists develop sun shield to protect Great Barrier Reef
Scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Biology have developed an ultra-fine biodegradable film, some 50000 times thinner than a human hair, to prevent coral bleaching, which had spread across the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 2016 and 2017.
The shield has been designed to sit on the surface of the water above the corals rather than directly on the corals to provide an effective barrier against the sun.
The test results of this floating sun shield, made of calcium carbonate, were remarkable enough to establish the certainty in protecting the reef from the effects of bleaching.
SC rules interference by Khap Panchayat in marriages as ‘absolutely illegal’
The Supreme Court on March 27, 2018 termed the interference by illegal assemblies like ‘khap panchayat’ in marriages of two consenting adults as’ absolutely illegal’ and laid down guidelines to prevent such intrusions.
The judgement was passed by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. The bench laid down certain punitive and remedial measures to be followed until a suitable legislation is put in place by the Parliament.
The ruling came on a petition filed against khap panchayats by NGO Shakti Vahini, which had moved the top court in 2010 seeking protection of couples from honour killings.
Judges have no discretion to award lesser punishment to murder convict: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court on March 26, 2018 ruled that as per Section 302 of Indian Penal code, the punishment for murder is death or life imprisonment and any punishment less than the life imprisonment is illegal and without the authority of law.
The judgment was delivered by a Bench of Justices RK Agarwal and Abhay Manohar Sapre, who directed that once a murder accused is convicted, trial court judges have no "discretion" to award lesser punishment than the life imprisonment.
The court expressed its astonishment on the judgement made by a trial court wherein the Sessions Judge sentenced ten years imprisonment to a murder convict Bharatkumar Rameshchandra Barot.
US, Canada and European Union nations expel over 100 Russian diplomats
Standing in solidarity with the United Kingdom, more than 21 nations led by the United States announced the expulsion of over 100 Russian diplomats on March 26, 2018. Britain has already expelled 23 Russian diplomats.
The move is reported to be the largest collective western expulsion of Russian diplomats since the height of Cold War. It follows allegations against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime for having a hand in the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the United Kingdom.
The countries that took the extreme step include the United States, Canada, Australia, Albania, Ukraine, Norway and several European Union nations like France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, Croatia, Poland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Romania, Netherlands, Finland and Sweden.
ISA and India sign the Host Country Agreement
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) on March 26, 2018 signed the Headquarters Agreement with the Indian Government, enabling the ISA to establish its headquarters in the Host Country to discharge its functions and programmes.
This Host Country Agreement makes ISA a juridical personality and gives it power to acquire and dispose the movable and immovable properties.
Under this agreement, ISA will be authorised to institute and defend legal proceedings, will enjoy tax concessions and immunities as necessary to independently discharge its function and programmes.