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G4 Ministers from India, Brazil, Germany, Japan review UNSC reform

G-4 Nations viz. India, Brazil, Germany and Japan have voiced concern over lack of substantive progress in long-pending United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reform. It was convened during meeting of Ministers from four G4 Countries which was hosted by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj at Indian Mission to UN to review the reform progress.

Key Highlights of meeting

Ministers from G4 countries reaffirmed need for early reform of UNSC including expansion of both permanent and non-permanent categories of membership to enhance its legitimacy, effectiveness and representativeness in order to safeguard legitimacy and credibility of UNSC which deals with international peace and security. They discussed pathways to reform UNSC and tasked their diplomats to consider way forward to advance the reform process known as Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN). They also held that it is time to finally initiate text-based negotiations to safeguard the legitimacy and credibility of the powerful UN organ.

G4 nations

The G4 nations comprise of Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan which support each other’s bids for permanent seats to United Nations Security Council. G4’s primary aim is permanent member seats on Security Council. Each of these four countries have figured among elected non-permanent members of UNSC since UN’s establishment. The economic and political influence of these four has grown significantly in last decades, reaching scope comparable to five permanent members (P5) of UNSC viz. US, China, Russia, United Kingdom and France . However, G4’s bids are often opposed by Uniting for Consensus movement or Coffee Club (ground 12 countries including Pakistan led by Italy) and particularly their economic competitors or political rivals.

Month: Categories: International Current Affairs 2018

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Germany rolls out world’s first hydrogen-powered train 

Germany has rolled out world’s first hydrogen-powered passenger train. These locomotives named iLint trains emit zero emissions, making them eco-friendly. This train technology offers greener and quieter alternative to diesel on non-electrified railway lines. These hydrogen trains are manufactured by French TGV-maker Alstom and are commercially running on 100km route between towns and cities of Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervoerde and Buxtehude in northern Germany.

Hydrogen trains

Hydrogen trains are equipped with fuel cells that produce electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen. This conversion process only emits steam and water, thus producing zero emissions. Excess energy produced is stored in ion-lithium batteries on board train.

These trains also make very little noise. Moreover, hydrogen fuel cells have advantages over batteries. Instead of recharging, they can easily be refueled like gas or diesel engine. It is also easier to build refueling infrastructure for these trains at railway stations.

These trains can run for around 1,000 km on a single tank of hydrogen, similar to the range of diesel trains. These trains offer attractive prospect to many cities scrambling to combat air pollution. The only disadvantage these hydrogen trains is that they are more expensive than fossil fuel-based trains.

Month: Categories: Science and Technology Current Affairs - 2018

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