Lesotho Current Affairs - 2019

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Military Coup at Lesotho, the Kingdom of Sky

Lesotho, the country whose entire land area is above 1000 meters and is often referred to as the “Kingdom of Sky”, is currently facing a dire political challenge from within. Lesotho is entirely surrounded by South Africa with a population of 2 million. It is also known for its “herd boys”, as very young children, aged 5, are seen raring herds of cattle in remote corners. These children thus, don’t get time for a formal education. Lesotho gained its independence from UK in 1966 when it agreed to continue to be a part of the 53-member Commonwealth.
Thomas Thabane was elected as the Prime Minister in 2012, when he was successful to manoeuvre a coalition government-a first in the history of the nation. The next elections are due in 2017.
Lesotho has asked for help and intervention of South African government. The secretary general of Commonwealth Kamlesh Sharma has expressed concern at the situation and has asked the military leaders to respect the civilian governmental authority and work within the ambit of Constitution and law. He also reiterated the sentiment of Commonwealth nations of zero tolerance towards any act which tries to undermine and overthrow a democratically elected government.
US State Department also expressed its concerns at the escalated situation and has called on all parties to exercise restrain and resort to peaceful resolution of the problem by democratic means.
The Prime Minister has, however ruled out any possibility of his resignation or stepping down. Following the reports of a military hunt for him, he has taken refuge at some undisclosed location.

India ranked 155th on Yale’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI)

India ranked 155th out of 178 countries with an index score of 31.23 points, in its efforts to address environmental challenges, in the 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) issued by Yale University. Regardless of an improvement in overall performance, India ranks behind China (118), Pakistan (148) and Nepal (139).  Among the BRICS nations, South Africa was placed at 72nd position, followed by Russia (73), Brazil (77) and China (118).

About 2014 Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
  • Prepared by America’s Yale and Columbia universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum (WEF) as well as with support from the Samuel Family Foundation and the McCall MacBain Foundation.
  • Released at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
  • Objectives that provide the overarching structure of the 2014 EPI: Environmental Health and Ecosystem Vitality.
  • The 178 nations in the index represent 99% of the global population, 98% of the world’s total land area and 97% of the global GDP.
  • Ranking based on High -priority environmental indicators:  health impacts, air quality, water and sanitation, water resources, agriculture, forests, fisheries, bio-diversity and habitat, climate and energy.
  • The overall list is topped by Switzerland followed by Luxembourg, Australia, Singapore and Czech Republic.
  • The least five performers:  Somalia, Mali, Haiti, Lesotho, Afghanistan – all are grappling with civil unrest, significant economic development pressures, and political turmoil. 

The EPI ranks how well countries perform on high-priority environmental issues in two broad policy areas: Protection of human health from environmental harm and protection of ecosystems.