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Origins Of International Women’s Day : March 8

International Women’s Day celebrates the achievements of women in politics, science, sports, and economics etc.

The origins of International Women’s Day can be traced back to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter working hours, better pay and the right to vote. The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on February 28, 1909. 

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Clara Zetkin, communist activist and advocate for women’s rights, was the first to suggest the idea that this day should be made inter- national. She suggested this in 1910 at an International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen. There were 100 women there, from 17 countries, and they agreed to her suggestion unanimously. Pursuant to the decision taken at Copenhagen in 1911, International Women’s Day was first celebrated in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19.

The UN commemorated the first International Women’s Day on March 8, 1975. In 1977, the UN General Assembly declared March 8 as Inter- national Women’s Day in support of women’s rights and global peace.

Do you know why International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th? On February 23, 1917, women in St. Petersburg, Russia, staged a strike to protest against food shortages, poor living conditions, and World War I. This strike for “Bread and Peace” helped give rise to the Russian Revolution of 1917, which led to the abdication of Nicholas II. In 1921, the date of the International Women’s Day was officially changed to March 8. The date when the women’s strike commenced on the Julian calendar, which was then in use in Russia, was February 23. This day in the Gregorian calendar was March 8- and that’s when it’s celebrated today.

Did You Know?

International Men’s Day is celebrated on November 19. It has only been marked since the 1990s and isn’t recognised by the UN. People celebrate it in more than 80 countries worldwide, including the UK.

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Let The Games Begin The History Of Olympic Day

Olympic Day is celebrated all around the world on June 23, every year. Thousands of people get together to participate in cultural and sporting activities, such as runs, musical performances, and exhibitions.

Also read, The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

The Origin Of The Olympic Games

The first known Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C in the summer at Olympia, in southern Greece. The games were created to honour Ancient Greek god Zeus. Athletes prayed to Zeus for victory and left gifts to thank him for their victories.

When Rome conquered Greece, they banned the Olympics in 393 A.D. After over 1,500 years the modern version of the Olympic Games was revived in 1896 in Athens, Greece, by Baron Pierre de Coubertin and has been celebrated every four years since then. In 1924, Winter Olympics were added to incorporate winter sports such as cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding, figure skating. and ski jumping.

Who Is Baron Pierre De Coubertin? 

Baron Pierre de Coubertin is considered the founder of the modern Olympic Games. Born in Paris, France, he was a keen sportsman himself, who enjoyed boxing, fencing, horse-riding, and rowing. He believed that sports were an import- ant part of developing the mental energy of a person.

In 1894, Pierre founded the International Olympic Committee (“IOC”) to help build a better world by educating young people about the importance of sports. He is responsible for the creation of the five-ring Olympic symbol in 1913, the Olympic Charter, and the protocol of the games, including the opening and closing ceremonies. He believed, “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the fight the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought well. He was the IOC President between 1896 and 1925.

The First Olympic Day

During the 41st Session of the IOC in 1947, Dr. Grusa, a member from Czechoslovakia, presented a report on the concept of World Olympic Day. This day would be dedicated to promoting the Olympic values and ideals. The idea was officially adopted at the 42nd 100 Session in St Moritz, Switzerland in January 1948.

The first-ever Olympic Day was celebrated on June 23, 1948. Since then, Olympic Day has been celebrated annually to encourage participation in sports, promate the Olympic movement, and spread the spirit worldwide. It serves as an opportunity to engage individuals of all ages and backgrounds in sports activities, promoting the values of friendship, fair play, and peace.

Some Interesting Facts About The Olympics

The first Olympic Games had just 14 participating countries, and now over 200 countries participate in the Olympics.

The Olympic symbol was designed to include everyone. The five different coloured rings and the white background are the colours found on the flags of all participating countries.

motorboat sailing used to be Olympic sports but eventually got voted out and games like rugby and golf got voted in.

From 1921 to 1948, artists, writers, and musicians also took part in the Olympics. They competed for medals by creating their works of art based on the sporting successes of the games.

Fencing, football, judo, archery, sailing, handball, trampoline, and water polo are some of the sports included in the Olympic Games.

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Farmers’ Protest Explained: Understanding the Reasons Behind the Movement

Why Are Farmers Protesting?

Recently, the farmers once again launched a massive protest and a march to the national capital, New Delhi. Previously, in 2020-21, the farmers had protested against certain farming laws. Thousands of protesters began gathering at New Delhi’s borders, especially at Singhu Border for the ‘Delhi Chalo’ march. Most of these protesters are a part of two large organised unions, Kisan Mazdoor Morcha and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha and are mostly from Punjab and Haryana. The protesting farmers started marching towards Delhi. However, they were stopped and blocked by the government authorities.

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The Demands Of The Farmers

The main demand of the protesting farmers is that a law should be enacted which will guarantee a minimum support price (“MSP”) for all crops. The government already provides MSP on certain agricultural produce but the farmers want a law that guarantees it. The government usually announces support prices for more than 20 crops each year to set a benchmark, but state agencies buy only rice and wheat at the support level, benefiting only a small percentage of farmers who raise those crops. Further, currently MSP is announced for only 23 crops.

Some of the other demands include the implementation of the Swaminathan Committee. report, loan waivers, and a pension of Rs. 10,000 per month for every farmer above 60. years of age.

After the 2020-21 farmer protests, the Government had promised to consider demands of the farmers especially on MSP. However, these unions claim that no action has been taken by the Government.

Present Status Of The Protest

As on the date of printing this issue, farmers are still protesting and are not satisfied by the offers made by the government.

What Is Swaminathan Committee?

In 2004, the then Prime Minister Man- mohan Singh had constituted a com- mission under the chairmanship of famous agricultural scientist Dr. M.S. Swaminathan to study the problems of farmers. The committee submitted six reports to the government from December 2004 to October 2006.

The 2020-21 Protests

In 2020, three new farm laws were passed in India. These laws were – The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act. 

The government had said these new laws will help strengthen the basic farm sector infrastructure through greater private investments. However, the farmers were worried that these laws made MSP irrelevant. This means that they were concerned that they would not be assured a minimum price for their produce. The farmers protested against the three laws at Delhi borders, leading to their repeal in 2021.

Word Check

The MSP is the price at which the government buys farmers’ crops so they can be sure to get paid for their produce. When market prices drop below the MSP, this price serves as a safety net for farmers, guaranteeing they get paid fairly for their crops.

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One In Five Migratory Species Are Threatened With Extinction

Every year billions of animals migrate across continents and national borders to feed and breed. Migratory species play an essential role in maintaining the world’s ecosystems, and provide vital benefits, by pollinating plants, transporting key nutrients, preying on pests, and helping to store carbon.

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The United Nations (“UN”) has published a report titled State of the World’s Migratory Species (“Report”), the first ever report on migrating animals. The Report was launched at the UN wildlife conservation conference in Samarkand. Uzbekistan. The Report focuses on 1,889 species covered by the UN Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (“Convention”) and on more than 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention.

The Report states that more than one in five migratory species listed under the Convention are threatened with extinction. This means they are facing the possibility of complete disappearance. While some migratory species listed under the Convention are improving, 44% are showing population decline.

The Alarming Numbers: 

According to the Report:

40% of the 158 mammals listed under the Convention are threatened across the globe.

97% of the fish species (like sharks, sturgeons, and rays) listed under the Convention, are threatened with extinction.

3/4 species are affected by habitat loss.

399 species out of the 3,000 migratory species not covered by the Convention are threatened or near threatened with extinction.

The extinction risk is growing for migratory species globally including the species not listed under Convention. The Report has stated that human activities like hunting, fishing, noise pollution, light pollution, use of pesticides, destruction of habitat especially for agriculture are some of the most important causes for this threat. Construction of roads, railways and fences also disrupt migration routes. Another big reason for the threat to the migratory animals is climate change caused by humans.

Some Good News

Only 14 species listed under the Convention have recorded an improvement in conservation status. These include blue and humpback whales, white-tailed sea eagle and the black-faced spoonbill!

Way Forward

The Report states that things can be changed if countries work together. The Report has made the following recommendations:

  • Countries should work towards meeting their commitments to tackle climate change,
  • Increase actions to identify, protect, connect, and effectively manage important sites for migratory species;
  • Reducing plastic, light, and noise pollution;
  • Reducing the use of pesticides;
  • Tackle illegal hunting and fishing;
  • Take more efforts to restore the ecosystem, and
  • Find more key sites and routes that migratory species use.

Word Check 

At certain times of the year, many mammals, fishes, birds, and other animals move from one place to another. This is called migration. Migration is an important part of the life cycle of animals.

Can you name some migratory animals?

Also can you think of more reasons why animals migrate?

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The Iconic Journey Of The Olympic Torch

What Is the Olympic Flame?

Before every edition of the Olympic Games, a flame is kindled by rays of the sun during a ceremony held in the ancient ruins of Olympia, Greece under the authority of the International Olympic Committee. This flame is known as the Olympic Flame. The Olympic Flame is usually lit at Olympia a few months before the opening of the Olympic Games. Starting the ceremony at Olympia celebrates the link between the Ancient Olympic Games and the Modern Olympic Games.

From Olympia, the flame is usually carried for a number of weeks until it reaches the host city, mainly on foot by runners, but also using other forms of transport.

For the Paris Olympics, the ceremonial lighting ceremony is scheduled on April 16 in Olympia, Greece. Over 11 days, 600 torchbearers in Greece will carry the flame 500 km across 41 municipalities.

The torch is passed from one torchbearer to the next until it reaches the cauldron at the opening ceremony at the Olympic Stadium. The flame announces the Olympic Games and spreads a message of peace of peace and friendship between the people. The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Olympia was where the Ancient Olympic Games were held.

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The Arrival Of The Flame In France

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will travel from Greece to France by boat. The Olympic flame arriving in the host country symbolises the advent of the spirit of the Games. Before lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, the flame is carried by a multitude of torchbearers throughout the host country and into the host city.

For the Paris Olympics, the flame will arrive in Marseille in France on May 8. The flame will arrive from Athens, Greece, after travelling by sea on board the full-rigged ship Belem.

The flame will then travel across various French territories for 68 days. 10,000 torchbearers will carry the flame across the 64 territories of France until July 26, when the Paris 2024 Opening Ceremony is scheduled to take place on the River Seine.

When And Where Did The Tradition Of The Olympic Torch Relay Begin?

The Olympic Flame first became a tradition of the Modern Olympic Games, when an Olympic Flame was lit and remained burning at the entrance to the Olympic stadium throughout the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

However, the Olympic Torch Relay was started for the first time at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. The torch relay has opened the Olympic ceremonies ever since.

Let The Games Begin

The Torch relay ends at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. The final runner (or sometimes runners) enters the stadium and lights the cauldron with the Olympic Flame. The Games can then begin!

The Paralympic Flame And Torch Relay

Shortly after the Olympic Flame is extinguished during the closing ceremony for the Olympic Games, the Flame for the Paralympic Games is lit in Stoke Mandeville (in England). Stoke Mandeville is the historic birthplace of Paralympic sport. For the Paris Paralympic Games, the flame after being lit in Stoke Mandeville will cross the sea like its Olympic twin. However, this time the flame will travel via the Channel Tunnel, marking the start of a legendary relay.

From August 25 to August 28, 2024, around 1,000 forerunners will carry the Paralympic Flame to around 50 cities throughout France.

Fun Facts

The current Summer and Winter Olympics torches that carry the Olympic Flame and are designed to withstand wind and rain. They are also uniquely designed to include special elements of the host country and spirit of the Games.

When two torches meet and one already-lit torch lights the flame of the other it’s called a “Kiss“.

Sometimes the Olympic torch can go out. Although, it’s really rare that this happens due to a malfunctioning burner or extreme wind. Just in case, there’s always a “mother flame” carried in specially designed miner’s lanterns that they can use to relight the torch.

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