Current Affairs - April, 2019

Latest Current Affairs April, 2019 with Current Affairs, news summary on current events of National and International importance of April, 2019 for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS, Railways and other Competitive Examinations.

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US Judge and Civil Rights Icon Damon J. Keith Dies at 96 age

Former US Judge Damon J Keith, a grandson of slaves and icon in civil rights movement died in Detroit at the age of 96. He was born in 1922. He even being a grandson of enslaved people, later became sixth African American in U.S. history to serve on federal court of appeals.

Lifetime Achievements

  • He never retired and died incumbent in office.
  • He served for more than 50 years in federal courts, and even at age of 94 he heard cases about four times in one year at 6th US Circuit Court of Appeals (or circuit courts are intermediate appellate courts of US federal court system) in Cincinnati, Ohio and issued dissent in voting rights case.
  • During his time as judge he made series of landmark decisions that changed social and legal landscape of US. Some of them are-
  • He rejected government’s claim of having authority to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant on anyone it considered as national security threat.
  • Stopping Illegal Government Wiretaps: As a federal judge he gave judgement in warrantless wiretapping case against Richard Nixon and Attorney General John Mitchell in 1971. He rejected government’s claim of having authority to conduct electronic surveillance without a warrant on anyone it considered as national security threat. Nixon administration which was in middle of social turmoil over Vietnam War, later sued Keith personally in famous “the Keith case”.
  • Secret Deportation Hearings: One year after 9/11 attacks, while serving on federal court of appeals, he gave judgement against Bush administrations conducting deportation hearings of terrorism suspects in secret using blanket national security justification, in which he coined iconic phrase “democracies die behind closed doors”.

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Goldman Environmental Prize 2019

Six grassroots environmental activists from around the world received prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize 2019. They were honored at award ceremony held at San Francisco Opera House in California, US where Al Gore former US Vice President and environmental activist presented  keynote address.

Goldman Environmental Prize 2019 winners

  • Linda Garcia of US, rallied local communities to successfully prevent construction of North America’s largest oil export terminal in Vancouver, Washington.
  • Ana Colovic Lesoska of North Macedonia, led seven-year campaign to cut off international funding for two large hydropower plants project from being built in Mavrovo National Park (country’s largest national park).
  • Bayarjargal Agvaantseren of Mongolia, who led the fight to create 1.8 million-acre Tost Tosonbumba Nature Reserve (in South Gobi Desert) which is a critical habitat for vulnerable snow leopard. She persuaded Mongolian government to prohibit all mining within reserve.
  • Alfred Brownell of Liberia, an environmental activist and human rights lawyer who stopped destruction of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers.
  • Jacqueline Evans of the Cook Islands, led five year campaign to protect Islands’ stunning marine biodiversity and for conservation and sustainable management of all of Cook Islands’ ocean territory and creation of 15 marine protected areas.
  • Alberto Curamil of Chile, a jailed indigenous activist who organized his Mapuche community to protest construction of hydroelectric projects on sacred Cautín River in Chile.

Goldman Environmental Prize

  • It is an annual award established in 1989 by U.S. philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. It is also known as Green Nobel Prize and awards Cash prize of $200,000.
  • It is awarded by Goldman Environmental Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, California
  • It honors grassroots environmentalists, who risk their lives to protect environment and empower those people who are most vulnerable to lose from industrial projects.
  • It honors grassroots environmental heroes from world’s six inhabited continental regions of Europe, Asia, North America, Africa, Islands & Island Nations and South & Central America. Final winners are selected from nominations made by environmental organisations and others.
  • Generally winners are announced every April to coincide with Earth Day (22 April).

Indians Received Awards in Past

  • Prafulla Samantara: He had led historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.
  • Medha Patkar: She is known for Narmada Bachao Andolan.
  • C. Mehta: He had single-handedly won numerous landmark judgments from supreme court, like introducing lead-free gasoline to India and reducing industrial pollution fouling the Ganges and eroding the Taj Mahal.
  • Rasheeda Bi and Champ Devi Shukla: They are Bhopal activists who ignited international campaign to seek justice for disaster survivors, demanded cleanup and compensation for affected individuals 1984 Union Carbide gas leak.
  • Ramesh Agrawal: He had organized villagers to demand RTI about industrial development projects and succeeded in shutting down one of largest proposed coal mines in Chhattisgarh.

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