Kurukshetra IAS Academy Blogs

1. Notify norms to make movies accessible to disabled persons: HC

Court directs I&B Ministry to notify the guidelines by July 15; the order came on a petition by four persons with visual and hearing disabilities

The Delhi High Court has given the Centre time till July 15 to notify the guidelines for making films accessible to persons with hearing and visual disabilities.

The court said accessibility was enforceable as a legal right and that even private parties have to take reasonable measures to enable greater accessibility for persons with hearing and visual disabilities.

The court observed that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has framed draft guidelines for accessibility standards in cinema halls for persons with hearing and visual disabilities and is in the process of finalising the same.

“The guidelines shall now be finalised by the Ministry and shall be notified on or before July 15, 2024. It is made clear that the said guidelines shall make the provision of accessibility features mandatory and provide a reasonable period for compliance by all stakeholders, in an expeditious manner,” the court ordered.

The court’s order came on a petition by four persons with visual and hearing disabilities who sought directions on making films accessible to them. They argued that though various rights have been recognised for “persons with disabilities” under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, most films which are released in India do not cater to disabled persons despite the statute having been enacted more than five years ago.

The Ministry had issued various directions to the film producers’ association and to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in October 2019, to use audio description and subtitles and closed captions in all films.

2. Indian Navy seizes hijacked Iranian vessel, rescues crew

Rescue mission: Iranian fishing vessel Al-Kambar, which was reportedly boarded by nine armed pirates. @indiannavy/X

Indian Navy ships Sumedha and Trishul intercepted and freed a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel (FV), Al-Kambar, after forcing the pirates to surrender, the Navy said late on Friday.

“After more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures as per the Standard Operating Procedures, the pirates on board [the] hijacked FV were forced to surrender. The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, have been safely rescued,” a Navy spokesperson said. “Indian Naval specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of the FV in order to escort her to a safe area for resuming normal fishing activities.”

Al-Kambar was approximately 90 nautical miles southwest of Socotra when it was reportedly boarded by nine armed pirates. The Navy spokesperson said that based on inputs of a potential piracy incident on Thursday, two Indian Navy ships, deployed in Arabian Sea for maritime security operations were diverted. INS Sumedha intercepted Al-Kambar during early hours of Friday and was joined subsequently by guided missile frigate INS Trishul.

This is the latest in a series of incidents of piracy in the Arabian Sea and off Somalia in the past few months. As reported by The Hindu earlier this week, the pirate mother vessel that was used to hijack Malta-flagged merchant vessel MV Ruen on December 14 was itself an Iranian fishing vessel. Al Ashkaan with 24 Pakistani crew members was hijacked earlier by seven Somali pirates on November 29 near Socotra Island off the coast of Yemen.

It was taken to Somalia and later used to hijack Ruen.

3. Israeli airstrikes near Syria’s Aleppo kill 42: war monitor

Casualties include 36 Syrian troops and six Hezbollah fighters; dozens injured in what is the deadliest such attack in years, says Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The Syrian Army says Israeli airstrikes early on Friday near the northern city of Aleppo killed or wounded “a number of” people and caused damage. An opposition war monitor said the strikes killed 42, most of them Syrian troops.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, said Israeli strikes hit missile depots for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group in Aleppo’s southern suburb of Jibreen, near the Aleppo International Airport, and the nearby town of Safira, home to a sprawling military facility.

The Observatory said 36 Syrian troops and six Hezbollah fighters died, and dozens of people were wounded, calling it the deadliest such attack in years.

There was no immediate statement from Israeli officials on the strikes.

Israel, which has vowed to stop Iranian entrenchment in its northern neighbor, has carried out hundreds of strikes on targets in government-controlled parts of Syria in recent years, but it rarely acknowledges them.

On Thursday, Syrian state media reported airstrikes near the capital, Damascus, saying they wounded two civilians.

Hezbollah has had an armed presence in Syria since it joined the country’s conflict fighting alongside government forces.

The strikes have escalated over the past five months against the backdrop of the war in Gaza and ongoing clashes between Hezbollah and Israeli forces on the Lebanon-Israel border.

4. Following UN veto, Russia says big powers need to

 Russia said on Friday that major powers needed a new approach to North Korea, accusing the U.S. and its allies of ratcheting up military tensions in Asia and seeking to “strangle” the reclusive state.

Russia vetoed the annual renewal of a panel of experts monitoring enforcement of longstanding United Nations sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Moscow’s move, which strikes a blow at the enforcement of a myriad of UN sanctions imposed after Pyongyang carried out its first nuclear test in 2006, underscores the dividend that Kim Jong-un has earned by moving closer to President Vladimir Putin amid the war in Ukraine.

‘Old templates’

“It is obvious to us that the UN Security Council can no longer use old templates in relation to the problems of the Korean Peninsula,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

Ms. Zakharova said the U.S. was stoking military tensions, that international restrictions had not improved the security situation and that there were severe humanitarian consequences for the population of North Korea, formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that Russia’s veto had “cynically undermined international peace and security” and accused Moscow of seeking to bury reporting by the panel of experts on its own “collusion” with North Korea to get weapons.

Russia had vetoed the annual renewal of sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear programmes

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