Uruguayhas become the first nation in the world to make it legal to grow, sell and consume marijuana. The country’s parliament has passed the government-sponsored bill which allows registered Uruguayans over 18 to buy up to 40g (1,4oz) of the drug a month.
Though possession of the drug is not a crime in the country, but with this legislation coming into effect in April 2014, the price of marijuana will be set at 1 dollar per gram, aiming to undercut the current price of $1.40 in the illegal market. A specialized body would be set up by the government to regulate the sale and production of the drug and it will administer a database of adult citizens registered to consume marijuana. The law would permit registered Uruguayans over the age of 18 to buy up to 40 grams of marijuana from pharmacies every month and cultivate a maximum of 6 plants on their property a year. The legislation will also permit for the creation of so-called cannabis clubs, composed of up to 45 members who will be able to grow a maximum of 99 plants a year.
Why Uruguay is legalizing marijuana trade?
The government of Uruguay intends to curb the market of illegal marijuana this new legislation as its previous attempts and policies have failed. The law is an experiment programme under which the government will sell the drug at a price lower than that in the illegal markets to defeat them and push them out of thisbusiness. It will also be able to tax the revenue generated from it. The whole programme will be regulated and administered by the government.
The project has drawn national and international criticism. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)has warned that the law would be in complete contravention to the provisions of the international drug treaties to which Uruguay is signatory. As per health experts, this move would encourage the drug market and would cause social damage as marijuana is highly addictive and is 15 times more carcinogenic than tobacco. It produces psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and – for heavy consumers – schizophrenia.
What is International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)?
The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)is an independent body of experts established by the United Nations to monitor countries’ compliance with international drug treaties.
US and UK spying on virtual world, online games
December 13, 2013
As per the secret documents disclosed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden, in an effort to identify terrorist threats, US and British spies have reportedly penetrated the massive communities playing video games such as World of War craft, etc.
Why are US and UK intelligence agencies fearing from online gaming platform?
US and British intelligence fear that the terrorists could use the hugely popular platform to plot attacks, as online gaming is a big business attracting tens of millions of users worldwide who inhabit their digital worlds as make-believe characters, living and competing with the avatars of other players.
Why there are concerns on the spying of online games?
The US and UK spying agencies conducted operations illegally; not taking permission from the authorized owner of the online games. This has raised concerns over the privacy of the online-gamers. It is however, unclear that how these agencies accessed the data, or how many communications were collected. It is also not clear how the NSA ensured that it was not monitoring innocent Americans whose identity and nationality may have been concealed and compromised behind their virtual avatar.
Supreme Court restricts the use of red beacon light on vehicles
December 13, 2013
The Supreme Court has banned the use of red beacon light with flashers on all vehicles except those used by high dignitaries holding constitutional post; also banned pressure horns, multiple sound emitting horns and musical horns in vehicles.
The court passed the order on a PIL filed byUttar Pradeshresident Abhay Singh on misuse of red beacon.
Why the Supreme Court restricted the use of red beacons?
The apex court stated that the red lights represent power and create an arrant difference among those who are allowed to use it and the ones who are not. But a large number of those using vehicles with red lights have neither respect for the laws of the country, nor they treat the ordinary citizens with respect. Even criminals were getting away using red lights because the police were too “scared” to stop a car with a beacon. So, to avoid such practices, the court decided to restrict them.
As per the directions of Supreme Court:
The term “high dignitaries” used in proviso (iii) to Rule 108(1) of the 1989 Rules takes within its fold the holders of various posts, positions and offices specified in the Constitution.
The motor vehicles carrying “high dignitaries” specified by the Central Government and their counterparts specified by the State Government may be fitted with red lights but the red lights with or without flasher can be used only while the specified high dignitary is on duty and not otherwise.
The State Governments and Administration of Union Territories cannot enlarge the scope of the term “high dignitaries” beyond what is prescribed in clauses ‘c’ and ‘d’ of Notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2005 issued by the Central Government. Therefore, they shall amend the relevant rules and notifications to bring them in tune with the 1989 Rules and notifications dated 11.1.2002 and 28.7.2002 issued by the Central Government. This exercise must be completed within a period of three months.
The men in uniform; operational agencies which require un-hindered access to the roads for performance of their duty; those engaged in emergency duties such as ambulance services, fire services, emergency maintenance etc, and police vehicles used as escorts or pilots or for law and order duties shall not be entitled to have red lights but lights of other colours, e.g., blue, white, multicoloured etc…
No motor vehicles except those specified in Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or similar provisions contained in the rules framed by the State Governments or the Administration of Union Territories shall be fitted with multi-toned horns giving a succession of different notes or with any other sound producing device giving an unduly harsh, shrill, loud or alarming noise.
The police officers and other authorities entrusted with the task of enforcing the provisions of the 1988 Act and the Rules framed thereunder must discharge their duties without any fear or favour and should impose appropriate penalty on those who violate the prohibition contained in Rule 108(1) and Rule 119 and similar rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories. The owners/users of the vehicles fitted with multi- toned horns other than those allowed to use such horns under Rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of the Union Territories shall, within a period of one month from today, remove the multi toned horns. The officers authorised to enforce the provisions of the 1988 Act and the rules framed thereunder by the Central Government, the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories shall also ensure that multi-toned horns are removed from all the vehicles except those specified in rule 119(3) of the 1989 Rules or corresponding rules framed by the State Governments and the Administration of Union Territories.
The Chief Secretaries of all the States and the Administrators of Union Territories shall cause a notice published in the newspapers having wide circulation in their respective States and the Union Territories incorporating the directions contained in this order.
VIPs who can use Red beacons while on duty:
LIST A: (With Flasher)
President; Vice President; Prime Minister; ex-Presidents; ex-PMs; deputy PM; CJI and SC Judges; LS Speaker; Union Cabinet Ministers; plan panel deputy chairperson; leaders of opposition in LS and RS.
LIST B: (Without Flasher)
CEC; CAG; Union Mos & dy ministers; LS deputy speaker; RS dy chairman; plan panel members; AG; Cabinet secy; services chiefs & officiating chiefs of staff; heads of CAT, UPSC, minorities commission, SC & ST commission.