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Showing posts from February 27, 2017

Protecting the rights of tribals (Hindu.)

Even as bilateral investment treaties are strengthened, domestic legislation must be implemented

Recently, Ras Al Khaimah Investment Authority (RAKIA), an Emirati investor, initiated an investment treaty arbitration (ITA) claim against India under the India-UAE Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), seeking compensation of $44.71 million. This claim arose after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Andhra Pradesh and RAKIA to supply bauxite to Anrak Aluminum Limited, in which RAKIA has 13% shareholding, was cancelled, allegedly due to the concerns of the tribal population in those areas.

Similarly, in 2014, Bear Creek Mining Corporation initiated an ITA against Peru under the investment chapter of the Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement, claiming violation of the investment obligations due to the withdrawal of mining concessions, allegedly as a result of the protests by indigenous peoples. These cases present an opportunity to evaluate the impact of the obligations of the host states …

What exactly is a money bill? (Hindu)

Or, why we need to reconsider the Aadhaar Act, with all its implications for privacy

The Supreme Court will begin hearing final arguments next month on a writ petition challenging the validity of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial & Other Subsidies, Benefits & Services) Act, 2016 — or the Aadhaar Act. The proceeding, initiated by Jairam Ramesh, a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, primarily questions the legality behind the Union government’s move in introducing the Aadhaar Act as a money bill. Through this categorisation, the government had the law enacted by securing a simple majority in the Lok Sabha while rendering redundant any opposition to the legislation in the Upper House of Parliament.

Imperils liberties
During preliminary hearings, the Supreme Court has suggested that it isn’t entirely convinced of the merits of Mr. Ramesh’s petition. But a closer examination will only show that the introduction of the Aadhaar Act as a money bill contravenes the bare…

Copper is great at killing superbugs – so why don't hospitals use it? (downtoearth,)

Fantasilandia in Chile, one of Latin America’s largest theme parks, has replaced its most frequently touched surfaces with copper to help reduce the spread of germs and protect the health of its visitors. But why? Because copper and its alloys exhibit impressive antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. The Conversation

Copper has been exploited for health purposes since ancient times. Egyptian and Babylonian soldiers would sharpen their bronze swords (an alloy of copper and tin) after a battle, and place the filings in their wounds to reduce infection and speed healing.

Copper was also used to cure medical problems in ancient China and India and is an important component of Ayurveda medicine today. Hippocrates in Greece and the Aztecs used copper oxide and copper carbonate, combined with other chemicals such as sodium carbonate, olive paste and honey, to treat skin infections Copper workers in Paris were protected from several cholera epidemics and French wineries even ap…

Climate change can cause selenium deficiency in soil and humans (downtoearth,)

Predicting yet another implication of changing climate, a new study has claimed that human diet may be deficient of an essential micronutrient called selenium (Se) in the future. The report, published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, finds that quantity of the element will be depleted in soil, leading to lower uptake by plants and further, its reduction in our diet.

A team of researchers from Eawag, a research institute based in Switzerland, and five other institutes analysed already available data to model selenium concentration distribution globally. A total of 33,241 soil data points from 1980 to 1999 were used to look into the concentration of this micronutrient.

The team predicted the global Se-soil distributions scenario for 2080-2099. The overall effects are reduction of levels in Se in soil in most parts of the world. They also predict that it is likely that 66 per cent croplands will lose 8.7 per cent of their selenium amount.  These effects may be…

Trump’s administration will scrap Obama-era green regulations (downtoearth)

The head of the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said that the Trump Administration will begin rescinding Obama-era environmental regulations in an "aggressive way" as soon as Tuesday (February 28). His remarks came even as the United Nationa’ new climate chief said action to stop climate change globally would continue irrespective of whether whether the US was involved or not.

"I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Conservative Political Action summit in Washington DC.

He added that Pruitt added that the EPA's focus on combating climate change under former President Barack Obama had cost jobs and prevented economic growth, leading many Americans to want to see the EPA eliminated completely.

"I think it is justified," he said. "I think people acros…