Deepa Malik becomes first Indian Women to win a Paralympics medal

Deepa Malik has created history by winning a silver medal in Women’s shotput at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. With this she becomes first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics. This takes India’s medal count to 3 in the ongoing Paralympics games at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Malik had won the silver medal in the shotput F-53 event with her best throw of 4.61m in her six attempts. In the shotput F-53 event, Bahrain’s Fatema Nedham had won the gold medal with the best throw of 4.76m. Greece’s Dimitra Korokida had won the bronze medal with a throw of 4.28m.

  • Deepa Malik was born in Sonipat, Haryana. She is associated with the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India (FMSCI) and Himalayan Motorsports Association (HMA).
  • She has completed 8 day, 1700-km drive in sub-zero temperatures which included a climb to 18000 feet covering many difficult paths including remote Himalayas, Leh, Shimla and Jammu.
  • She is also a member of the working group in the formulation of 12th five- year plan (2012-2017) on Sports and Physical Education. She was nominated on behalf of the Union Sports Ministry by the Planning Commission HRD Division.

BRICS Environment Ministers to meet at Goa

  • Environment Ministers of BRICS countries are meeting on September 16, 2016 in Goa, to strengthen mutual cooperation. The meeting is expected to discuss Memorandum of Understanding and the Joint Working Group on environment. The BRICS Ministers are also expected to discuss thematic areas of mutual interest and prioritise actions for cooperation in critical areas like air and water pollution, liquid and solid waste management, climate change and conservation of biodiversity. This meeting shall be preceded by discussions at official level.
  • The meeting assumes significance after the adoption landmark global environmental agreements like Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Agreement last year. It is one in a series of meetings being organized by various Central Government Ministries, in the run-up to BRICS Heads of States Summit in October 2016 at Goa, after India assumed BRICS Presidency this year from Russia. The meeting of BRICS Environment Ministers is being organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India.
  • Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa comprising BRICS block together accounts for 41.6% of global population, 29.31 % of total world’s territory and about 22% of world’s total GDP. These nations have rich biodiversity and natural capital. The choices made by the BRICS countries have a global significance.

Union Government issues model guidelines for states to curb Ponzi schemes

The Union Government on September 12, 2016, issued model guidelines for states to regulate direct selling and multi-level marketing businesses while prohibiting pyramid structures as well as money circulation schemes. The guidelines were issued to protect consumers from Ponzi frauds. The Direct Selling Guidelines 2016 framework was released by the Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan. They have been sent to the states and Union Territories for adoption.

In the guidelines, the Union Government has clearly defined legitimate direct selling and differentiates it from pyramid and money circulation schemes to help investigating agencies identify fraudulent players.

  • Direct selling means marketing, distribution and sale of goods or providing of services as a part of network of direct selling other than under a pyramid scheme.
  • To conduct direct selling business, the guidelines have prescribed many conditions that need to be complied within 90 days.
  • The guidelines bar direct selling companies from charging any entry fee from agents or compelling them to buy back unsold stocks. These entities will have to enter into an agreement with direct sellers or agents, and give full refund or buy-back guarantee for goods and services sold to them.
  • The guidelines also mandate direct sellers to constitute a grievance redressal committee to protect consumers’ right.
  • The guidelines have also made provision for appointment of monitoring authority at both Central and state level to deal with the issues related to direct selling.

Tenth of world’s wild areas vanished since 1990s: Research

The world’s wilderness has reduced by a tenth in the past two decades, according to a study conducted by the scientists of University of Queensland in Australia.

Their findings are reported in the journal Current Biology in the second week of September 2016.

The findings highlight an immediate need for international policies to recognize the value of wilderness areas and to address the unprecedented threats they face.

The scientists mapped wilderness areas around the world and compared the results with a previous similar map produced in the 1990s.

  •  An estimated 1.3 million square miles (3.3 million square km), almost 10 percent, of wilderness has disappeared since the 1990s.
  • The Amazon basin and central Africa have been hit the hardest. The comparison showed that a total of 30.1 million km2 (around 20 percent of the world’s land area) now remains as wilderness. The majority of the areas are located in North America, North Asia, North Africa, and the Australian continent.
  • However, comparisons between the two maps show that an estimated 3.3 million km2 (almost 10 percent) of wilderness area has been lost in the intervening years. Those losses have occurred primarily in South America, which has experienced a 30 percent decline in wilderness, and Africa, which has experienced a 14 percent loss.

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