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Showing posts from April 7, 2014

21 pygmy hog nests found in Manas National Park

The smallest and rarest wild pig has been listed as critically-endangered A survey conducted by the Assam Forest Department in the Manas National Park (MNP) has detected an estimated 21 nests of the critically-endangered pygmy hog (Porcula salvania).The nests of pygmy hog — the smallest and rarest wild pig — were found in three separate locations. The survey also found pellets of the Hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus) in almost all of 17 camp site locations, where the study was conducted for grassland species from March 18 to March 22.Deputy Director of Manas Tiger Reserve Sonali Ghosh told The Hindu that Manas is known to be the last remaining wild habitat of the pygmy hog in the world.“The finding of the survey is highly encouraging as the number of pygmy hogs was thought to be declining in number at the Park. Both Pygmy hog and Hispid Hare are Schedule I species. The pygmy hog nests were live with indications of the activity of this highly-endangered species, including droppings of …

DRI gets UN award for record seizure of ozone-depleting gas

The Directorate of revenue Intelligence has seized a record over 2.4 lakh kg of ozone-depleting restricted refrigeration gas ‘R-22’, which was being smuggled into the country. Taking note of its efforts in checking the smuggling of R-22 gas into the country, the DRI has been chosen for a United Nations award. DRI has registered several cases involving attempted smuggling of ozone-depleting substances and effected seizure of 2,41,463 kgs of R-22 gas in the last year, agency officials said. The gas, whose import is restricted, was being brought into the country illegally through various means including mis-declaration of good and outright smuggling, they said. The illegal import of refrigerant 22 gas (R-22), which is used for air-conditioning applications, residential as well as process chillers and industrial refrigerant plants, has been noticed in India. Smuggling of such ozone depleting substances (ODS), reduces the incentives for users to shift to alternative technologies using ozon…

A new foreign policy agenda

With an unsettled neighbourhood, an increasingly aggressive China and a politically weak and ambivalent U.S., India’s external environment is defined by uncertainty. Yet, unfortunately, in all the party manifestoes released so far, the weakest sections are on foreign policy Foreign policy has rarely mattered in Indian elections, yet one of the biggest challenges the new government in New Delhi will face is in confronting an international system that has felt systematically let down by India over the last few years. The world is hoping — as are India’s impatient and angry young voters — for a quick recovery of India’s self-esteem and a more robust engagement with the international system. The challenges are enormous, and overcoming them will require leadership from the very top. Only a thoughtful, forward-looking and determined Prime Minister — aided by an equally deft External Affairs Minister — can get this task right. New foreign policy architecture is required here — radical reform…

Diplomatic gains from a strategic abstention

AP With a renewed possibility of closer engagement with Sri Lanka, New Dehli will have to put political pressure in those areas where progress has been grossly inadequate. Photo: AP

Sri Lanka’s response to the UNHRC vote suggests that to Colombo, what India thinks matters more than what many other powerful nations do

With 23 countries backing a relatively strong resolution against Sri Lanka at the recent U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in Geneva, one would have thought the country would feel effectively cornered. However, a day after the resolution was adopted, Sri Lanka only seemed too pleased, thanks to its neighbour.

Amid all the buzz around the strategically-timed elections to Sri Lanka’s Sinhala majority Southern and Western Provinces, senior politicians including President Mahinda Rajapaksa were rather prompt in expressing their happiness over India’s decision to abstain from voting.

Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris termed India’s departure from its voting pattern over the …