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Railway Minister to Inaugurate ‘First Green Train Corridor

In order to contribute to mission ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ launched by Prime Minister of India, Ministry of Railways have taken up a mammoth task of providing human discharge free bio-toilets in all its coaches and the same would be completed by September 2019. With provision of bio-toilets in all its coaches’ discharge of human waste from trains on to the ground would be completely stopped which in turn would help in improving cleanliness and hygiene. Ministry of Railways has already provided 40,750 bio-toilets in its coaches till 30th June, 2016 and in the current financial year, it is planned to fit additional 30,000 bio-toilets. 

•    To mark the beginning of this journey towards ‘Swachh Bharat’, Ministry of Railways is inaugurating ‘First Green Train Corridor-Rameswaram-Manamadurai’ free from human waste discharge from trains tomorrow i.e. 24.07.2016. The inauguration will be done from Chennai station by Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu through video conferencing between Chennai and Rameswaram station. 
•    The Rameswarm-Manamadurai (114 Kms) track was identified to make it Green Train Corridors- free from human waste discharge from trains. Accordingly, 10 passenger trains consisting of 286 coaches moving over this section have been provided with bio-toilets. 
•    After Rameswarm-Manamadurai, Okha-Kanalas Junction(141 Kms), Porbandar-Wansjaliya (34 Kms) and Jammu-Katra(78 Kms) would also be taken up for making them free from human waste discharge from trains. For this around 35 trains consisting of nearly 1110 coaches would be further provided with bio toilets and the work is underway. These sections and stations were chosen, because the number of trains originating and terminating at these stations and sections are few, thus making it operationally easier and faster to make them human-discharge free. 
•    Indian Railways in its commitment to provide hygienic environment to passengers and to keep station premises/tracks clean, have developed environment-friendly Bio-toilets for its passenger coaches. The technology has been developed jointly by Indian Railways (IR) and Defence Research & Development Organization (DRDO) for railway passenger coaches through an MoU. This environment friendly, low cost and robust technology, is the first of its kind in Railway Systems in the world. In the bio-toilet fitted coaches, human waste is collected in tanks below the toilets and the same is decomposed by a consortium of bacteria.

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Corpse Flower blooms in Kerala after 9 Years

Hundreds of people have been lining up at a sanctuary in Alattil, Kerala to view the Titan arum or Amorphophallus titanum (Corpse Flower), which is blooming after about nine years. 

•    Titan arum, which smells like rotting flesh and is the largest flower in the world, collapses on itself about two days after blooming. It is native to Sumatra in Indonesia.
•    The Gurukula Botanical Sanctuary, established by late Wolfgang Theuerkauf, a German who dedicated over 30 years of his life to the conservation of plants of southern India, has been growing the Amorphophallus Titanum or Titan arum , more commonly called the Corpse Flower, the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world, for nine years.
•    It began opening on Monday in the garden’s green house.
•    Suma Keloth, conservationist of the sanctuary, said the plant, which is native to Indonesia’s Sumatra region, had been grown from a seed planted about nine years ago. The corpse flower cannot self-pollinate and its stench attracts sweat bees and carrion beetles that live on animal carcasses.

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India's first paperless court opens in Hyderabad

India’s first e-court was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad on 17 July 2016. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court.

Hyderabad High Court is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
•    The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. 
•    The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public. 
•    It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country. 
•    It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective.
Besides the launch of e-court, SC judge Justice Madan B Lokur also announced that India’s first Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) will be launched in High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. The system will integrate the courts, police stations, prosecution, forensic science laboratories and jails.

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India’s first e-court (paperless court) was opened at Hyderabad High Court

India’s first e-court was opened at High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad on 17 July 2016. It was inaugurated by Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur who heads the e-Committee of the Supreme Court.
Hyderabad High Court is the common high court for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
•    The purpose of e-court is to ensure speedy justice for the litigants. 
•    The e-Courts will ensure easy and better access to justice for public. 
•    It will also provide solution for large number of pending cases in the country. 
•    It will also make the work of judges, advocates and all those related with judiciary a lot more effective.
Besides the launch of e-court, SC judge Justice Madan B Lokur also announced that India’s first Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) will be launched in High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad. The system will integrate the courts, police stations, prosecution, forensic science laboratories and jails.

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BHEL commissions eco-friendly power plant in Gujarat

Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has commissioned a 250 MW thermal power project based on eco-friendly Circulating Fluidised Bed Combustion technology, using low quality lignite, in Gujarat. 

•    BHEL’s scope of work includes design, manufacture, supply, and commissioning of boilers, among others. 
•    This is the third such unit commissioned by BHEL, with the previous two in Tamil Nadu.
•    The project is equipped with CFBC technology that enables use of low quality lignite as fuel. The second unit of this project is also at an advanced stage of completion.
•    This is the third 250 MW unit based on CFBC technology, commissioned by BHEL, with two others commissioned earlier in Tamil Nadu.
•    CFBC boilers are highly fuel flexible and can burn a wide variety of fuels, including lignite, efficiently. 
•    These boilers are also highly environment friendly with very low pollutant emissions.

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Threatened breed of Kendrapara sheep in Odisha.

The National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR) has conferred rare and singular species genetic recognition tag to thethreatened breed of Kendrapara sheep found in Odisha.

•    It became the 42nd sheep breed in India to receive such tag. The genetically rare status will help to boost conservation effort to protect these domesticated threatened sheep. 
•    Previously, two buffalo and four cattle breeds’ native to Odisha were registered at national level by NBAGR. 
•    Kendrapara sheep is found only in coastal Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara districts of Odisha. 
•    Locally it is called kuji mendha. The average adult sheep weighs 18-20 kg and are dwarf in built with the body covered with coarse hair. 
•    They are well adapted to high ambient temperature, high humidity and heavy rain. 
•    Multiple-birth characteristics make it a profitable livelihood source. 
•    They are primarily used for mutton production. Besides, their skin also has economic importance. National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources is dedicated to work with its mandate of identification, characterization, evaluation, conservation and utilization of livestock and poultry genetic resources of the country.

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Bornean orangutan has been declared critically endangered

Bornean orangutan, a primate species has been declared critically endangered by the (IUCN). 
•    The declaration is based on the assessment of Red List of Threatened Species. 
•    IUCN assessment has found that population of Bornean orangutans has dropped by nearly two-third since the early 1970s. 
•    It has projected that their population will further decline to 47,000 animals by 2025 representing population loss of 86%. 
•    Bornean orangutan is a primate species native to the island of Borneo. 
•    It is found only in the wild in Sumatra island of Indonesia and Borneo in the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah and Kalimantan. 
•    Together they belong to the only genus (Pongo) of great apes native to Asia. 
•    Orangutans share 97% of their DNA with humans. 
•    They are highly intelligent.
•    They display advanced tool use and distinct cultural patterns in the wild. 
•    About 40% of Borneo’s forests lost since the early 1970s to plantation agriculture and it will continue. 
•    In past four decades, about 2000 and 3,000 of Borneo’s orangutans were killed every year for their meat. 
•    They are slow breeders and produce only one offspring every six to eight years on average.

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Great Barrier Reef named best destination of 2016

The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s biggest single structure of living organisms, has been named the world’s best place to visit in 2016 in a newly released ranking published by US News & World Report.
•    The UNESCO World Heritage Site, which stretches for more than 2,000 km along the coastline of Queensland and is visible from space, was ranked the world’s best place to visit in 2016.
•    Rounding out the top three spots are Paris and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.
•    The Great Barrier Reef is home to the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusk, covering an area of 348,000 square kilometers.
•    Every year, it’s estimated that 1.9 million people visit the area. But with the devastating effects of climate change and rising water temperatures continuing to place increased pressure on one of earth’s most extraordinary ecosystems, scientists warn that our time with the natural wonder is running out.
•    In April, the Australian Research Council warned that 500 coral reefs from Cairns to Papua New Guinea experienced the worst mass bleaching on record.
•    Meanwhile, despite the spate of terror attacks and labour strikes to beset the City of Light, Paris managed to slip into second place for the best vacation destination of 2016.
•    Currently, the French capital is hosting the UEFA Euro soccer games.
•    The ranking weighs editors’ and voters’ choices equally.
•    Here are the results of the US News & World Report’s World’s Best Places to Visit 2016:
Best places to visit in the world
•    Great Barrier Reef, Australia
•    Paris
•    Bora Bora, French Polynesia
Best places to visit in the USA
•    Grand Canyon National Park
•    Maui, Hawaii
•    Yellowstone National Park
Best places to visit in the Caribbean
•    British Virgin Islands
•    St. Lucia
•    US Virgin Islands
Best places to visit in Canada
•    Vancouver, British Columbia
•    Toronto
•    Banff, Alberta

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North America to have its first sanctuary for dolphins

Baltimore’s National Aquarium on 15 June 2016 announced its plan to create an Oceanside dolphin sanctuary. This will be first of its kind sanctuary for the marine mammals in North America.
The aquarium will move its colony of eight Atlantic bottlenose dolphins to an outdoor facility with natural seawater by 2020. Of the eight bottlenose dolphins (six female and two male), only one has ever lived in the open ocean.
•    Decided venue for the dolphins will be a protected coastal habitat, where the animals will continue to live under human care.
•    The venue will lie in a tropical or subtropical location will also contain natural stimuli for the dolphins, such as fish and sea plants.
•    Bottlenose dolphins are the one of the most common species of marine mammals, with colors ranging from light gray to black.
•    They range in size from 6 feet (1.8 meters) to more than 12 feet (3.6 meters) in length, and adults can weigh up to 1,400 pounds (635 kg).
•    Of the eight bottlenose dolphins, only one dolphin, female named Nani, has ever lived in the open ocean as she was born in wild in 1972.
•    They have never felt the rain on their dorsal fins, neither they ever chased a mullet along a mangrove shore or teased a startled crab.
•    These dolphins will have to learn the acts of being ocean-dwelling dolphins with its sets of skills to fight against problems like pollution, noise, jellyfish and red tides.
•    They will have to learn to survive in the new habitat that will be much larger than their current habitat.
•    The new habitat will also have more fish and marine plants as compared to the present habitat.

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Bramble Cay melomys is first mammal declared extinct from human-caused climate change

Scientists in June 2016 declared Bramble Cay melomys found only on a tiny island on the Great Barrier Reef as extinct.
It is the first recorded extinction of a mammal anywhere in the world thought to be primarily due to human-induced climate change.
The news was revealed in the report of a survey led by Ian Gynther from Queensland’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in partnership with the University of Queensland.
•    The root cause of the extinction was reported to be high tides and surging seawater, which has travelled inland across the island.
•    As a result of rising seas, the island was inundated on multiple occasions killing the animals. The rising seas also destroyed their habitat.
•    The Bramble Cay melomys are also known as Australian Great Barrier Reef rodent or Bramble Cay mosaic-tailed rat.
•    It was a species of rodent in the family Muridae.
•    It was similar to the Cape York melomys except that it had some protein differences and a coarser tail caused by elevated scales.
•    It was prominent in herdfields and strandline vegetation where it built burrows.
•    It was Australia's most isolated mammal.
•    The Bramble Cay melomys was first discovered by Europeans in April 1845.
•    The species was then apparently in high densities.
•    It was not until the first part of the following century that the species was formally described as Melomys rubicola based on a specimen collected by MacGillivray.

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