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Daily News Analysis 05-12-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Syrian invite for Sushma hints at Delhis role in peace talks (Pg12)

a)     I.R

a)     External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (who has visited several Arab countries in the past) has now been invited to war-torn Syria.

2.

Draft Paris pact stresses voluntary contributions (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     In a clear signal that active diplomacy is at work to forge an agreement in Paris based on voluntary pledges, one that is subject to transparent monitoring, India said that it was ready for a regime of stocktaking of future carbon emissions.

3.

Funding holds the key at Paris (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     As the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases among individual countries, India is under pressure at the Paris Climate Change conference to commit itself to a future trajectory of low emissions.

4.

Gates sceptical of solar, wind power (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     Lauding India for doubling its funding for research and development of climate change technology, the former Microsoft CEO and co-founder of worlds biggest charitable foundation Bill Gates said technological innovation was the only way to fight climate change.

5.

Fighting IS with air strikes alone (Page 10)

a)     International

a)   With British jets having started bombing IS locations in Syria, four of the five permanent members of UNSC have formally joined the war against the jihadist group.

6.

Pak is giving Taliban leadership to Haqqanis (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     According to Amar Sinha (Indias Ambassador in Kabul), the ongoing peacemaking attempts between Pakistan and the Taliban factions might end up with the Haqqanis emerging as the leaders of the Taliban.

7.

China consolidates in Africa following $60 billion pledge (Page 16)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     China is set to expand investments in Africa that would help absorb its excess manufacturing capacity as part of an effort to re-engage with continent and integrate it within its Belt and Road connectivity framework.

8.

NDA plans fresh talks with Opposition on GST (Pages 1, 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Armed with Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanians report on the revenue-neutral rates for the GST regime, the NDA govt will initiate fresh talks with Congress and other Opposition parties early next week.

9.

A third of Indias soil degraded: experts (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     A third of Indias soil was degraded, and this could cast a shadow on the sustainability of agriculture in near future.

10.

Preserving Bishnupurs heritage (Page 20)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Anthropologists tracing and documenting the cultural history of the temple town of Bishnupur in West Bengals Bankura district have found a new dimension to its cultural heritage presenting a unique amalgam of the Kalinga school and the prevalent Bengal architecture.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Syrian invite for Sushma hints at Delhis role in peace talks (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Syria relations

b)     Syria crisis

c)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)     External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj (who has visited several Arab countries in the past) has now been invited to war-torn Syria. She met Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in New York during the UN session and the two representatives exchanged invitations.

b)     Official said regional and national reconciliation can take place only if terrorism in Syria is eliminated. No political process can be realised without elimination of terrorist groups because they threaten not just Syria but the entire world as the recent attacks in Sinai, Beirut, Tunis and Paris have shown.

c)     Criticising the govt of Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey for shooting down a Russian fighter plane, he said externally-imposed terrorists were encouraged and equipped by Turkeys present ruling elite. She said that continuous military support from Syrias enemies has emboldened the Islamic State which has now gone out of control.

d)     Calling for peace through an honest international mechanism, he said all Arabs in the West Asian region are in agreement over the need to end civil war in Syria but blamed Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for fomenting the war in Syria.

e)     Targeting hostile regional powers, she said that they have wronged Syria, Yemen, Iraq and the Arabs living in all West Asian countries.

2.

Draft Paris pact stresses voluntary contributions (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

e)     UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (UNFCCC)

f)     Kyoto Protocol

 

a)     In a clear signal that active diplomacy is at work to forge an agreement in Paris based on voluntary pledges, one that is subject to transparent monitoring, India said that it was ready for a regime of stocktaking of future carbon emissions.

b)     Indias first INDCs are for the 2021-2030 period, and it would prefer a review after that.

c)     However, India is not in a position to fix a target year for peaking of carbon emissions because of the current state of its development. The Centre had engaged several technical institutions to do modelling studies, but they could not identify a likely peaking date due to uncertainty.

d)     The US (which did not ratify the Kyoto Protocol that fixed quantified emissions reductions) would like to have a transparency regime in the Paris agreement that would build trust.

e)     The draft Paris agreement has controversial optional text which says all parties to the UNFCCC who were in a position to do so should provide assistance to developing countries in the area of finance, for mitigation and adaptation.

f)     India joined China and the Arab group led by Saudi Arabia in calling for exclusion of substantive recommendations on keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees C made by a review panel under the Structured Expert Dialogue system of UNFCCC, in the submission to the CoP21 negotiating parties.

3.

Funding holds the key at Paris (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Greenhouse gases (GHGs)

d)     Global warming

e)     Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs)

f)     UN Framework Convention on Climate Change conference (UNFCCC)

g)     Kyoto Protocol

a)     As the third largest emitter of GHGs among individual countries, India is under pressure at the Paris Climate Change conference to commit itself to a future trajectory of low emissions.

b)     All countries with a significant role in accumulation of atmospheric CO2 (which leads to global warming) have made voluntary pledges that are aimed at the stabilisation of global temperature rise below 2 degree Celsius.

c)    Indias own INDCs promise to reduce emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030, over 2005 levels. A base agreement of this coalition of the willing is now possible at the UNFCCC, but problems lie ahead.

d)     Among the contentious issues is monitoring and verification of performance, which would inevitably be linked to grant of funding that is vital to help affected communities adapt to the impact of climate change.

e) It is vital that India continues its strong cooperation with the G77+China bloc, which has been aggressively pursuing the principles of equity and differentiated responsibilities, and simultaneously engage the developed world as the negotiations move into the high-level segment next week.

f)   The dichotomy of ambitions on halting dangerous climate change has been evident at Paris, with the most vulnerable island states and the least developed countries expecting rising targets for emissions cuts to keep global temperature rise below 1.5 degree Celsius, and liberal funding from rich nations.

g)     India also has to contend with the growing movement to persuade investors to withdraw from companies using polluting fossil fuels including coal, and tax these fuels at higher rates to consumers. Moreover, although it has the largest emissions, China has won plaudits with its pledge to peak coal use in 2020, and all GHGs by 2030, something that India cannot.

h)     However, for developing countries in Paris, the real challenge is to enshrine in the agreement strong provisions for funding that have been promised but not delivered in the past. Many of them have submitted their INDCs with funding as a condition, and India has estimated a staggering $2.5 trillion as its climate finance requirement until 2030.

i)     By contrast, the total cross-border flows of funds is calculated to be $2.2 billion. It will take a great deal of diplomacy and commitment to bridge the gulf in Paris.

4.

Gates sceptical of solar, wind power (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     Climate change

b)     Carbon emissions

c)     Paris climate summit 2015

a)     Lauding India for doubling its funding for research and development of climate change technology, the former Microsoft CEO and co-founder of worlds biggest charitable foundation Bill Gates said technological innovation was the only way to fight climate change.

b)     Backing Indias stand on climate justice or the need for the developing world to be financed for cutting emissions, Gates said that unless clean energy was made cheaper, it put countries like India in an impossible situation.

c)     However, Gates indicated that solar and wind energy (which formed the bulk of Indias clean energy mix) may not be the most viable sources of electricity in future. The govt had announced it would raise its renewable energy production from the current 38 Gigawatts to 175 Gigawatts by 2022, 100 GWs of which would come from solar energy alone.

5.

Fighting IS with air strikes alone (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria crisis

c)     Kurdish forces

d)     North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

 

a)   With British jets having started bombing IS locations in Syria, four of five permanent members of UNSC have formally joined the war against jihadist group. The US, France and Russia are already in fray. But despite persistent bombing by these countries over the past few months, IS still holds on to the territories it controls.

b)     PM David Cameron himself warned against quick expectations. He said its a complex war and that the country has to be patient and persistent. But the real problem that the war against IS faces is not the campaign being less persistent; its that there is no coordinated strategy among the nations fighting the jihadists.

c)     The downing of Russian aircraft by Turkey over Syrian border last month exposed the faultlines of the anti-IS war. Countries involved in the war are also competitors for geopolitical gains and they have divergent views towards the future of Syria.

d)     Syrian rebel groups are hardly united, and in tough battles in the past they fled, leaving the territories and the weapons they got from Assads enemies to the hands of IS. Those who faced down IS on the ground were the Kurds. But Turkey (a member of NATO that is formally part of the US-led coalition against IS) is bombing the Kurdish rebels on the Syrian border.

e)     The main fight has to take place on ground and for that, the coalition needs coordination among the forces fighting IS, including the Syrian and Iraqi national army. Without such a coordinated strategy, air strikes would only play into the hands of the jihadists.

6.

Pak is giving Taliban leadership to Haqqanis (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Afghanistan situation

b)     Taliban-Afghan government peace talks

c)     Haqqani network

a)     According to Amar Sinha (Indias Ambassador in Kabul), the ongoing peacemaking attempts between Pakistan and the Taliban factions might end up with the Haqqanis emerging as the leaders of the Taliban.

b)     Pakistan in recent weeks has been negotiating with the Taliban to restart the talks with Kabul that were stalled in July following a meeting in the resort city of Murree near the Pakistani capital.

c)     The real issue is that Afghanistans cooperation with Pakistan under the present set of circumstances will mean Afghanistan allowing Pakistan to determine the Taliban leadership which should not happen as peacebuilding has to be Afghan-led.

7.

China consolidates in Africa following $60 billion pledge (Page 16)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     China – Africa relations

b)     Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit

c)     Chinas Belt and Road initiative

a)     China is set to expand investments in Africa that would help absorb its excess manufacturing capacity as part of an effort to re-engage with continent and integrate it within its Belt and Road connectivity framework.

b)   The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit starts on Dec 4. It is also expected to unveil the contours of Chinas security partnership with Africa, focused on counter-terrorism, peacekeeping and funding to train troops within framework of African Union.

c)     President Xi announced a $ 60-billion-dollar package that will benefit Africa in 10 major areas: industry, agriculture, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

d)     In the bigger picture, the Chinese want to harmonise Africas Agenda 2063 (a 50 year developmental framework drawn by the African Union) with Chinas Belt and Road blueprint of connecting Eurasia with roads, railways, cyber-optic highways, industrial parks and smart cities.

8.

NDA plans fresh talks with Opposition on GST (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill  

b)     Constitution (122nd Amendment) Bill

c)     Lok Sabha

d)     Rajya Sabha

e)     Parliament

a)  Armed with Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanians report on revenue-neutral rates for GST regime, the NDA govt will initiate fresh talks with Congress and other Opposition parties early next week.

b)   Soon after he came out with his recommendations on GST Bill, the Congress toughened its stand saying that since there was no further reach out from the ruling BJP, the chances of the Bills passage in Parliament look bleak.

c)     Congress spokesperson brushed aside Subramanians recommendations on the GST and said there will be no compromise on the three demands the Congress had put forward. The party seeks scrapping of the proposed levy of one percent additional tax on goods, 18 percent cap on standard tax and introduction of robust accountability measures.

d)     The decks were cleared for political consensus on the GST with recommendations from a committee headed by Subramanian backing three of the main demands of Congress on the pending reform.

e)     In a report submitted to Union Finance Minister Jaitley, the panel recommended that the govt drop proposed additional one per cent tax on inter-state sales over and above the GST rate - a key Congress demand.

f)     The committee recommended a two-rate structure: The lower of these (it suggested) be kept at 12 percent and the standard rate, at which most products are likely to be taxed, at 17-18 percent.

g)     It recommended that the proposal in the Bill to allow bands for GST rates on various items be dropped in order to avoid complicating the system. The GST will subsume indirect taxes such as excise, service tax and sales tax.

9.

A third of Indias soil degraded: experts (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Soil degradation

b)     Soil health

c)     Agriculture

d)     Indian Council of Agricultural Research

a)     An expert said a third of Indias soil was degraded, and this could cast a shadow on the sustainability of agriculture in near future. Land degradation is posing a major threat to Indias food and environmental security, resulting from the loss in the biological or productive capacity of soil.

b)     Land degradation (mainly caused by natural processes like wind or rain) is often exacerbated by human activity like deforestation and urbanisation. It is closely intertwined with climate change and biodiversity loss.

c)     According to estimates of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (2010), of the total geographical area of 328.73 mha, about 120.40 mha is affected by various levels of land degradation.

d)     Excessive use of chemical fertilisers (especially in the north-western parts of the country) was one of the major reasons for soil degradation. In addition, imbalanced nutrient application, injudicious use of pesticides, intensive cropping system, decline in soil biodiversity and depletion of organic matter in soil were some areas of concern requiring urgent attention.

10.

Preserving Bishnupurs heritage (Page 20)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Bishnupur temples

b)     Terracotta art

c)     Hindu Mallabhum kings

d)     Anthropological Survey of India (AnSI)

a)     Anthropologists tracing and documenting the cultural history of the temple town of Bishnupur in West Bengals Bankura district have found a new dimension to its cultural heritage presenting a unique amalgam of the Kalinga school and the prevalent Bengal architecture.

b)     This unique cultural expression is evident not in the only famous temples of Bishnupur but also in the other material and cultural aspects of the town such as its terracotta art, a distinct musical gharana, the distinctive art of making playing cards, articles of conch cells, bell metal (dokra) craft and also in the stone carvings.

c)     Bishnupur, the capital of the Hindu Mallabhum kings was founded in the eighth century AD and continued till the late medieval period. The study of the temple town (located about 140 km from Kolkata) by anthropologists of the AnSI is part of the project of Ministry of Culture aimed at cultural mapping of India.

d)     There is also a unique history to the Dashabatar tash - a set of playing cards depicting the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The game played with this particular deck of cards started 400 years ago in the court of King Bir Hambir.

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