Current Affairs- 25 February 2014

The issue of legalising euthanasia in India

  • The Supreme Court has referred the issue of legalising euthanasia in the country to a five-judge Constitution bench, saying there has been “inconsistent” opinion in its previous verdicts on withdrawing medical support to terminally ill patients.
  • A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said that it is extremely important to have a clear enunciation of law on this issue and referred the matter to a larger Constitution bench.
  • The court said that the Constitution bench will go into all aspects of the issue and take a final decision on framing guidelines.The Bench also comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi and S K Singh passed the order on a PIL to allow a terminally ill person not to continue with artificial medical support.
  • The Centre had vociferously opposed the plea terming it as “suicide” which could not be allowed in the country.
  • The PIL filed by NGO “Common Cause” had contended that when a medical expert opines that the person afflicted with terminal disease has reached a point of no return, then he should be given the right to refuse being put on life support system as otherwise it would only prolong his agony.
  • The petition was filed in 2008 when the apex court had issued notices to the Union Ministry of Health and Law and sought their response on the issue.

PIL against Sushilkumar Shinde

  • The Supreme Court refused to entertain a PIL seeking probe in the allegation by former Home Secretary R K Singh that Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had interfered in the inquiry into the IPL betting scam and prevented Delhi Police from questioning a businessman’s role.
  • A bench headed by Chief Justice P Sathasivam asked the petitioner to file the complaint before an appropriate authority.
  • The petition said the allegation levelled by Singh against Shinde is a matter of “serious concern” which call for immediate and urgent intervention of the court.

Makkah-Medina high speed railway

  • Two of Islam’s holiest cities, Makkah and Medina will now have an Indian connection.
  • The Indian labour force will be roped in for the Haramain High Speed Railway project — Saudi Arabia’s plan to connect the two cities by high speed trains. The rails for the tracks will also be supplied by Indian companies.
  • Till recently, Saudi Arabia was India’s biggest crude supplier while receiving labour for its construction projects. These two factors have remained constant although there are operational hiccups. Saudi petro giant Aramco turned down India’s request for more extra light crude and withdrew credit facilities for an Indian public sector oil company.
  • The two sides had agreed on a defence MoU when A.K. Antony became the first Indian Defence Minister to visit Riyadh in 2012.
  • For now, India is setting its sights on railways.

National Lok Adalat

Taking note of pendency of a large number of cases, the District Legal Services Authority is organising a National Lok Adalat at Nagpur on April 12.
The mechanism of Lok Adalats available for disposal and resolution of disputes will be used to clear pending cases at the earliest by sorting out suitable ones. The National Lok Adalat will be conducted at all levels right from the Supreme Court, High Courts, it benches upto the Taluka Courts.
Various cases in the courts at various levels will be taken up for disposal at the National Lok Adalat including criminal compoundable cases, negotiable instrument act Cases U/S 138, motor accident claim petitions, accident information report (AIR), state transport cases and matrimonial and family courts cases.

Chinese man sued over smog

  • A Chinese man in a smoggy northern city has become the first person in the country to sue the government for failing to curb air pollution
  • Li Guixin, a resident of Shijiazhuang, capital of Hebei province, has submitted his complaint to a district court, asking the Shijiazhuang Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau to "perform its duty to control air pollution according to the law".
  • He is also seeking compensation from the agency for residents for the choking pollution that has engulfed Shijiazhuang, and much of northern China, this winter.
  • Northern China has in recent days been suffering its worst air pollution crisis in months.
  • Authorities have introduced countless orders and policies and made innumerable vows to clean up the environment but the problem only seems to get worse.

The oldest known gem

  • A tiny gem found on an outback sheep station in Western Australia has been declared the oldest known piece of our planet.
  • The zircon is said to be 4.4billion years old and was found by geoscience professor John Valley from the University of Wisconsin in the United States.
  • He was on a field trip to an area called Jack Hills about 600km north of Perth in 2001 when he found the specimen. It's an area known for its ancient gem stones which date back to when the Earth's temperatures cooled and formed a crust.
  • Prof. Valley said the zircon was formed when the Earth had cooled sufficiently to form a crust.

Dubai Duty Free Championships quarterfinals

  • Rohan Bopanna and Aisam-ul-haq Qureshi progressed to the doubles quarterfinals of the Dubai Duty Free Championships after overcoming qualifiers Nikolay Davydenko and Victor Hanescu via Super Tie breaker.
  • The second seeded Indo-Pak pair defeated the Russian-Romanian combo 6-1 5-7 10-8 in one hour and 28 minutes in the opening round of the USD 2,359,935 hard court tournament.
  • Bopanna and Qureshi broke their rivals twice to run away with the opening set. 


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