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What is Juneteenth?

Juneteenth is a holiday on June 19 in the United States of America that celebrates the end of slavery. It is also known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day”. The day also honors the contribution and achievements of the African American community, Juneteenth was declared a national holiday by the US government in 2021.

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History Of Slavery In The US 

Starting around the early 1600s and lasting until the mid-1800s, slavery in the US was a time when some people were treated very unfairly. The people who were enslaved were taken from Af- rica and brought to the US against their will. 

They were forced to work for other people without getting paid or having any say in their lives. It was a very difficult and unfair time for them. Some people believed that slavery was wrong and unfair. They started speaking out against slavery, saying that it was cruel and that all people should be treated equally. This led to a big conflict in the United States called the Civil War. 

The Civil War was fought between the northern states such as New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Connecticut who wanted to end slavery, and the southern states like Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas who wanted to keep it. In 1863, US President Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Independence, an executive order which effectively ordered those employed as slaves to be freed. 

However, it took two years for the news to reach the community it was targeted at. On June 19, 1865, the last slaves were declared free in the state of Texas. The freedmen and freedwomen, as they were known after Emancipation, commenced widespread celebration.

Significance Of June 19

June 19 is the day used to mark the end of slavery for African Americans, Juneteenth was declared a state holiday in Texas in 2018 and a national holiday by President Joe Biden in 2021. This was considered to be sparked by the significance of the Black Lives Matter movement, which spotlighted the community as well as important historical events.

Today, the commemoration celebrations continue to remain strong as ever. Celebrations include prayer and other religious services as well as other mass gatherings. 

These gatherings create a sense of unity accompanied by tradition- al food and celebratory music.

This day is a reminder of the history of slavery in the US to learn from the past and make sure everyone is treated equally with respect and fairness. It’s important to treat every human as equal and work together to create a better and more inclusive future.

Word Check

Black Lives Matter, formed in the US in 2013, is a global social movement fighting racism, police violence. This movement advocates equal value and respect for Black lives.

The Juneteenth Flag 

The Juneteenth flag is full of symbolism. Designed by L. J. Graf, the flag is packed with lots of meaning. The colours red, white, and blue resemble the American flag to symbolize that the enslaved people and their descendants were Americans. The central star honours Texas, while the bursting “new star” on the “horizon” of red and blue fields depicts new freedom and a new people.

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Understanding Coral Bleaching and Its Impact

What is coral bleaching?

Excessively warm ocean or sea water leads to coral bleaching. Coral bleaching happens when corals lose their vibrant colours and turn white. Due to high temperatures, algae leaves the coral, causing it to fade and look bleached. If the temperature stays high, the coral won’t let the algae back, and the coral will die. One of the main causes of coral bleaching is climate change.

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The Great Barrier Reef Turns Grey

In March 2024, the Australian Government said that Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is experiencing yet another mass coral bleaching event due to heat. This is the fifth time in eight years that the Great Barrier Reef has experienced a mass bleaching event. This means that sections of colourful corals turn pale and grey. 

Climate change causes the temperature of the world’s oceans to rise which leads to bleaching. Bleaching does not kill coral but makes them vulnerable to disease and starvation. Even though it is possible for corals to recover from mass bleaching events, frequent bleaching makes it harder for coral reefs. to bounce back. According to scientific studies, climate change is increasing ocean temperatures, making coral bleaching events more frequent.

Did You Know?

The Great Barrier Reef is an important ecosystem for marine life and it stretches for 2,300 km off the coast of Queensland. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site

Can Underwater Music Save Coral Reefs?

Almost a quarter of all marine species live in coral reefs. However, since the 1950s more than half of the world’s coral reefs have died mainly because of pollution and climate change. Recently, a team of scientists working off the coast of the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean have hopefully found a solution to revive coral reefs. 

A healthy coral reef makes a lot of noise like clicking, grunting, and scratching under the water, because of all the wildlife that live there. They’ve been testing whether playing sounds of a healthy coral under the water could help bring damaged coral reefs back to life. They found that baby corals (known as coral larvae) were seven times more likely to settle on damaged reefs when they heard recorded sounds of a healthy reef. And this could help damaged reefs. recover! This method was successfully tested by the researchers in the Caribbean. So this could be a new way to protect the coral reefs.

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2023 Summer Was The Hottest In 2,000 Years

It has been confirmed that the summer of 2023 in the Northern hemisphere was hottest in the last 2,000 years. The UN’s climate body has said that the last time the Earth was continuously this warm may have been more than 100.000 years ago.

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The experts looked at deep sea sediments and ice cores to determine this. They also looked at tree rings for valuable insights about climate. Tree rings not only show the tree’s age, but also record detailed information about the state of the climate each year as the tree grows. Scientists reviewed living specimens and fossils, from the European Alps to the Russian Altai mountains.

They studied trees living at altitude, where the impact of summer growth would be most clearly felt. In such places, ringe are usually wider in warmer years when there is more growth and thinner in colder years. This long term Tree ring record along with modern temperature data has shown that: Summer of 2023 was 2.07°C warmer than the “pre-industrial” period of 1850-1900. Compared with the coldest summer in the record which was the year 536, last summer was 3.93°C warmer.

How is Global Warming Tracked?

Presently, global warming is tracked by comparing temperatures to the “pre-industrial era”, before humans started burning large amounts of fossil fuels. This time period is widely defined as the period between 1850 to 1900.

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World Oceans Day: Check History & Significance

World Oceans Day is celebrated every year on June 8 and the main objective of the day is to focus on and create awareness about ocean conservation. World Oceans Day serves as a reminder to everyone about the major role the oceans have in our everyday life. The world’s oceans, their temperature, currents and marine life, drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the ocean. Throughout history, oceans and seas have also been vital for trade and transportation. Careful management of this essential global resource is a key feature of a sustainable future.

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History Of World Oceans Day 

The concept of a ‘World Oceans Day’ was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives and the important ways people can help protect it. In 2008, led by Canada, the United Nations General Assembly resolved that June 8 would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”. The theme of the inaugural World Oceans Day in 2009 was ‘Our Oceans, Our Responsibility’. The theme for World Oceans Day 2024 is ‘Awaken New Depths.

What was the Earth Summit? 

In 1992, more than 100 heads of state met in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the first international Earth Summit convened to address urgent problems of environmental protection and socio-economic development.

Oceans And The Threats They Face 

Our modern habits and the use of many kinds of technologies have a devastating impact on the oceans and on the marine ecosystems and life in general.

  1. Overfishing
  2. Climate Change
  3. Plastic Pollution

Did You Know? 

World Environment Day is celebrated every year on June 5 to encourage global action to protect the environment. It is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and has been held annually since 1973. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host World Environment Day 2024 with a focus on land restoration, desertification, and drought resilience.

How Can We Save The Oceans?

The time has come to take action and safeguard the ocean. We can all do our bit by taking small steps. We can:

  1. Conserve Water
  2. Shop Responsibly
  3. Reduce Pollutants 
  4. Use Less Energy
  5. Fish Responsibly 
  6. Reduce Waste 
  7. Reduce Vehicle Pollution 

Some Important Facts About Oceans:

  • Did you know that the Earth has one global ocean? Oceanographers and nations have divided it into five different geographical regions – the Pacific, the Atlantic, India, Arctic, and Southern.
  • The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen.
  • Oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, reducing the impacts of global warming.
  • Oceans play an important role in influencing and regulating the climate on the Earth.
  • Oceans are a major source of food and medicine.
  • The ocean covers 71% of the Earth’s surface. It also holds about 96.5% of all Earth’s water.
  • Ocean is home to 94% of life on Earth. However, the exact number of species that live in the ocean is unknown.
  • The sea is home to the world’s largest living structure – the Great Barrier Reef. It is 2,600km long and can be seen from the Moon.
  • The ocean is very important for our economy. It is estimated that 40 million people will be employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.

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Sunil Chhetri Announces Retirement

Captain Fantastic To Hang His Boots!

Indian football icon Sunil Chhetri recently announced that he will retire from international football. He will play his last international match on June 6 in the FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Kuwait in Kolkata. Sunil Chhetri, who made his debut in 2005, has scored 94 goals for India. He will leave the scene as India’s all-time top scorer and most-capped player. At the moment, he is the third highest scorer of international goals among active footballers, after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Everything You Need To Know About Sunil Chhetri

Sunil Chhetri is the all-time top scorer for the Indian football team and has been the Indian captain for the better part of a decade.

  • Position : Forward
  • India Caps : 150 (Captain in 87 Matches)
  • International Goals : 94
  • Fourth Highest International Goal Scorer.
  • Third Most Goals Among Active International Players.
  • First Indian to score 50 international goals.
  • Only Indian to score a hat-trick in the final of an international tournament – AFC Challenge Cup in New Delhi (2008).
  • AIFF Player of the Year award seven times.

Awards of Indian Football Legend Sunil Chhetri :

Arjuna Award in 2011.

Khel Ratno in 2021 First and only Indian footballer to win India’s highest sporting honour.

Padma Shri in 2019.

In 2018, the continental governing body of football in Asia, the Asian Football Federation awarded the title “Arian icon” to Sunil Chhetri.

Guess What? 

Sunil Chhetri’s mother, Sushila Chhetri, was a talented footballer who represented the Nepal women’s national team.

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