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Daily News Analysis 10-12-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Seven years after Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan to resume talks (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In their joint statement, External Affairs Minister Swaraj and Pakistans Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it.

2.

Sushma avoids reference to Taliban at meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Addressing the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Ministerial Process in Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Sushma made repeated references to Afghanistans battle against terrorism, but she avoided mentioning the Taliban or its support structure.

3.

Strengthening a foolproof relationship (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     Japan wishes to further intensify its ties with India, particularly amid ever-growing tensions in the South China Sea and unshakeable anxiety about Chinas military stance.

4.

Paris climate draft goes into final round (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     A Draft Paris Outcome providing the final base text for the 195 countries of the UNFCCC to craft the Paris agreement was released on Dec 9. It contains a provision for a progress review of the agreement that could be either in 2023 or 2024.

5.

The crisis enveloping Europe (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The combination of geo-economics and geopolitics is today fuelling a degree of paranoia. Many in Europe see the Nov 13 terrorist attacks in Paris as the precursor to a fresh wave of violence across the continent.

6.

Legislation to cut H-1B numbers (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Two American Senators have introduced legislation in the Senate proposing to cut the number of popular H-1B visas by 15,000. The proposal also says that such a visa be given to highest wage earner first.

7.

Pleas against odd-even rule premature: Delhi HC (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     The Delhi High Court refused to pass any interim direction on the public interest litigation petitions filed against the State governments plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.

8.

Rare admission by RBI as it gears up for US Fed rate hike (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     As market participants gear up for the US Federal Reserves meeting next week, when it is expected to take a decision on raising interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, the Indian central bank is keeping all its powder dry to combat any volatility in the financial markets here.

9.

Govt will protect farmers interests in WTO talks (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha that the govt is committed to the cause of farmers and has taken a consistent stand at the WTO to protect their interests.

10.

Sri Lanka not keen on signing CEPA with India, but ok with new pact: Ranil (Pg16)

a)     Economy

a)     Sri Lankan PM Ranil Wickremesinghe reiterated his govts position that it would not sign the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement with India but it would enter into a pact on economic and technology collaboration with the neighbour.

11.

A deadly war at the genetic level (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     For generations, butterflies have been waging a deadly and long-drawn-out war with their natural enemy, parasitoids, insects, who in their egg and larval stage, live in the tissue of a host and feed on it.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Seven years after Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan to resume talks (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue

c)     Jammu and Kashmir issue

d)     Terrorism

e)     Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline (TAPI) project

 

a)      Seven years after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan have agreed to resume structured dialogue. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said that we have decided to restart the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue.

b)     In their joint statement, Swaraj and Pakistans Foreign Affairs Adviser Sartaj Aziz condemned terrorism and resolved to cooperate to eliminate it. It also noted that Pakistan had given assurances on an early completion of the Mumbai attacks trial.

c)     In a departure from the Ufa statement issued in July this year (which had omitted the reference to J&K), the India-Pakistan statement on resumption of dialogue clarified that the dispute remains one of the issues for discussion.

d)     Vice-President Hamid Ansari will travel to Ashgabat from December 11-13 for the inauguration of the $10 billion TAPI project, where he will meet with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif, and Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani.

e)     While the TAPI project has been discussed by Turkmenistan (which has the worlds fourth largest reserves of natural gas) since 1995, India only joined the project formally in 2008. The project has been stalled over the years over gas price negotiations, transit fees, and the problems of security in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

f)     TAPI pipeline is expected to be completed by 2020 and is expected to transport about 90 million standard cubic meters of gas per day. Indias share of 38 mmscmd would account for about 25 percent of its current gas requirements.

g)     The 1800-km pipeline project contract would provide energy to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India for 30 years, with Turkmengaz extracting the natural gas at a shared cost from the Galkynysh field, the worlds second-largest reservoir of natural gas.

h)     Over the years, the TAPI line has received support from the US, which was keen on seeing countries in the region use an alternative route to Iran under international sanctions at the time.

2.

Sushma avoids reference to Taliban at meet (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan

b)     Taliban

 

a)     Addressing the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Heart of Asia Ministerial Process in Islamabad, External Affairs Minister Sushma made repeated references to Afghanistans battle against terrorism, but she avoided mentioning the Taliban or its support structure.

b)     A prominent Indian diplomat requesting anonymity told that Swaraj could have made an oblique reference to the support that the Taliban receives from Pakistani state agencies because India also has to keep in mind its commitments to Afghanistan.

3.

Strengthening a foolproof relationship (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Japan relations

b)     South China Sea dispute

c)     US Pivot to Asia

d)     Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project

e)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

 

a)     According to the author, Japanese PM Shinzo Abes visit to India (which begins Dec 11) will deepen an already warm relationship. It is also a relationship of great importance for US. Abes visit will build on his and Indian PM Modis meeting last year in Japan. That summit set a high standard and even higher expectations.

b)     Tokyo wishes to further intensify its ties with New Delhi, particularly amid growing tensions in the South China Sea and unshakeable anxiety about Beijings military stance. Japan is wary of Chinas geopolitical aspirations, and continues to rally support from potential regional allies. India is by far Japans biggest potential partner - on the security, economic, and political front.

c)     Meanwhile, Japan plays a central role in Indias current Act East policy, which calls for intensified relations with East Asia. Modi wants to deepen Indias global footprint. This entails increasing its influence in Asia, particularly East Asia, where govts are more receptive to Indias entreaties than in the SAARC region.

d)     Another chief motivation for Indias Asia policy is to respond to Beijings activities in the region. There are few better partners to enlist in Indias Act East enterprise than Japan, a regional economic power with a growing security profile. With China-Pakistan relations continuing to deepen, the time is ripe for India to move even closer to Japan.

e)     We can expect several splashy announcements during the summit. These include an agreement to jointly produce amphibious military aircraft, which would boost Indias counterterrorism and counter-piracy capacities. For Japan, such a deal would bolster its military relations with a key partner amid concerns about Chinas military ambitions and North Koreas nuclear capabilities.

f)     Another expected outcome from Abes visit is a deal that brings high-speed bullet trains to India. This could contribute to the $90 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project - a Japan-funded infrastructure project and perhaps a counterpart to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

g)     While India-Japan security cooperation (driven by shared concern about China) may get the most attention, bilateral economic relations are equally important in that they also amplify the relationships symbiotic nature.

h)     Lets hope Abe and Modi also speak cooperatively about urbanisation - a challenge that Japan has long tackled, but that India has only recently begun to confront. Discussion on climate change would also be worthwhile.

i)     US govt is a big supporter of the India-Japan relationship. A US-Japan-India trilateral was launched in Dec 2011.

j)     To be sure, there are limits to what US can get out of India-Japan relationship, particularly regarding China. Modi (with his stated admiration for Chinas economic model and support for deeper China-India trade) will not serve as a formal foil to Chinas rise.

k)     Additionally, there is reason to fear that the end of US combat operations in Afghanistan could prompt some Pakistani militants operating there to redirect their focus to India. In short, US must not make the mistake of looking to the Japan-India relationship to achieve the US Asia goals on its behalf. Pivot by proxy would not be a good policy.

4.

Paris climate draft goes into final round (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)     Paris Climate Summit 2015

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR)

e)     UNFCCC

f)     Kyoto Protocol

a)     A Draft Paris Outcome providing the final base text for the 195 countries of UNFCCC to craft the Paris agreement was released on Dec 9. It contains a provision for a progress review of the agreement that could be either in 2023 or 2024.

b)     The 29-page outcome document will now be taken up for discussion overnight on the key questions of finance, loss and damage payments to developing countries, emissions-cutting obligations for emerging nations and the frequency and nature of review.

c)     France (as the chair of the CoP21 of UNFCCC in Paris) hopes to pull off a major victory with an agreement that has been in the making for six years after the failure of the Copenhagen summit.

d)     This Agreement will be implemented on the basis of equity and in accordance with the principle of CBDR and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances and on the basis of respect for human rights.

e)     On long-term temperature goal, the outcome contains 3 optional provisions - to reflect the 1.5 degrees C temperature limit; to reaffirm the below 2 degrees C limit and to express the goal as well below 2 degrees C; to have below 1.5 degrees C as temperature limit. The last option is accompanied by a provision emphasising use of the best available science, equity, sustainable development, and the need to ensure food security.

f)     The Paris Agreement held great promise since it relied on verifiable voluntary steps, rather than a fixed percentage of cuts which the Kyoto Protocol contained.

g)    In the Draft Paris Outcome, Loss and Damage that will pay developing countries to respond to the effects of climate change is included as Article 5 tentatively, and the Warsaw International Mechanism is to serve the Agreement on subject.

h)     While the Technology Mechanism will underpin the Article on Technology Development and Transfer, development, removal of barriers, and flow of funds are still under discussion.

i)  Future promises are also part of Paris discussions, and each countrys successive pledge is to represent a progression beyond its previous efforts and reflect its highest possible ambition. In this clause, the CBDR principle awaits finalisation.

j)     Parties may be required to communicate a pledge every five years in accordance with decisions of the CMA (the meeting of countries) being informed by the outcomes of the global stock take. India has been consistently saying its INDC is for 2021 to 2030, indicating it is not for one before that period is over.

5.

The crisis enveloping Europe (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Europe crisis

b)     Terrorism

c)     Paris attacks 2015

d)     Islamic State (IS)

e)     Schengen concept

 

a)   The world has been looking to COP-21 (2015 UNFCCC) with great anticipation, hoping that the outcomes would pave way for an equitable agreement that would satisfactorily address the issue of global warming and achieve the prescribed target of limiting the rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degree Celsius.

b)     However, terrorism was an overwhelming presence, never absent from thoughts of both leaders and other participants attending the COP-21.

c)     The incidents where there were five shootings and two bombings by gunmen and suicide bombers belonging to the IS on predetermined targets in Paris on November 13, have left France in a state of shock.

d)     The meticulous planning, the calibrated nature of the attacks and the use of modern communication equipment by perpetrators have jolted France and Europe. Govts across Europe are being compelled to review and change their laissez-faire procedures and security doctrines.

e)     Europe has been wrestling with economic issues since the 2007-2008 economic crisis and financial meltdown. Consequently, it had put geo-economics on top of its agenda. Even as the existential crisis regarding the future of Euro-zone is still to be resolved, and Europe is yet to fully recover from the great debt crisis, it now confronts a range of newer threats.

f)     This has required the return of geopolitics. The combination of geo-economics and geopolitics is today fuelling a degree of paranoia. Many in Europe see the November 13 terrorist attacks as the precursor to a fresh wave of violence across Europe.

g)     Beginning 2015, Europe (including France) has witnessed terror attacks with increasing regularity. Since 2008, the death toll in violent conflict has gone up in geometrical progression. It is in this milieu that Europe is confronted with the greatest influx of refugees since the end of the Second World War.

h)   Europe seems overwhelmed as a result. One immediate result is that it has led to a divided European Union. It has also given an impetus to right-wing nationalist forces in many countries. The Schengen concept is under grave threat.

i)     Though, Europe is no stranger to terrorism or terrorist attacks. The Baader-Meinhof gang in Germany, the Red Brigades in Italy, the 17 November in Greece and other terror groups that operated in France, the UK and Spain during the latter half of the 20th century had all wrought a great deal of fear.

j) It is not merely that every one of them had underestimated the threat posed by the IS - or their capacity to strike far beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq, extending further into West Asia and now into Europe. Further, they had misjudged the fallout of the Syrian and Iraqi civil wars, which had now metastasised into Lebanon, into Jordan, into Turkey and now into Europe, with thousands of refugees likely to seek asylum in Europe in the coming years.

k)     As the crisis in Europe deepens, concerns are also being voiced at the same time over the implications of French President François Hollandes Declaration of War against the IS. Europe tends to be divided between those who want the state to be armed with greater powers and those who fear that indiscriminate war talk may lead to a crackdown domestically on any contrarian voices.

6.

Legislation to cut H-1B numbers (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     H-1B visa

a)     Two American Senators have introduced legislation in the Senate proposing to cut the number of popular H-1B visas by 15,000. The proposal also says that such a visa be given to highest wage earner first.

b)     By cutting the number of visas available each year and requiring those visas be given to the highest-wage earners first, this bill directly targets outsourcing companies that rely on lower-wage foreign workers to replace equally-qualified US workers.

7.

Pleas against odd-even rule premature: Delhi HC (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Pollution

b)     Air Pollution

c)     Air Quality Index

a)     The Delhi High Court refused to pass any interim direction on the public interest litigation petitions filed against the State governments plan to restrict plying of private vehicles from January 1 to combat pollution, saying it was too early to pass an order.

8.

Rare admission by RBI as it gears up for US Fed rate hike (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Exchange Traded Currency Derivatives (ETCD)  

b)     National Stock Exchange

c)     BSE

d)     Metropolitan Stock Exchange

e)     RBI

f)     US Federal Reserve

a)     As market participants gear up for the US Federal Reserves meeting next week, when it is expected to take a decision on raising interest rates for the first time in more than a decade, the Indian central bank is keeping all its powder dry to combat any volatility in the financial markets here.

b)     RBI said it had decided to intervene in the ETCD segment, without specifying if it had already been active in that market.

c)     The central bank generally intervenes in the spot currency market, and manages the rupee flows resulting from that intervention through the forwards market.

d)     Three exchanges (National Stock Exchange, BSE and Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India) offer paired derivative contracts of rupee-dollar, rupee-yen, rupee-pound and rupee-euro.

e)     The Indian currency has been under pressure amid foreign fund outflows and has depreciated almost 7 percent against the dollar in the current financial year. In Nov, the rupee almost touched a 2-year low, and weakened 2.1 percent, making it the worst performing currency in Asia. Dealers said the RBI has been intervening in spot market to curb volatility.

9.

Govt will protect farmers interests in WTO talks (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Nairobi Ministerial meeting of the WTO

b)     Special Safeguard Mechanism (SSM)

a)     Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha that the govt is committed to the cause of farmers and has taken a consistent stand at the WTO to protect their interests.

b)     India has already said it wants the Nairobi meet to take up on a priority basis issues including an effective Special Safeguard Mechanism (a trade remedy allowing developing countries to temporarily hike duties on farm products to counter sudden import surges and price falls, thereby protecting the interests of poor farmers), and a permanent solution to the issue of public food stockholding in developing countries for the purpose of food security.

10.

Sri Lanka not keen on signing CEPA with India, but ok with new pact: Ranil (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)  

b)     India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISLFTA)

a)     Sri Lankan PM Ranil reiterated his govts position that it would not sign the CEPA with India but it would enter into a pact on economic and technology collaboration with the neighbour.

b)     He clarified that his govt had conveyed to India its opposition against the inclusion of services in the proposed pact and the latter too had agreed to this.

c)   On Dec 21, an official-level meeting is scheduled to take place in New Delhi to discuss contours of proposed agreement on economic and technological cooperation. The CEPA was proposed as a sequel to ISLFTA that was signed in 2000.

11.

A deadly war at the genetic level (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Biodiversity

b)     Butterflies life stages

c)     Parasitoids 

a)    There is something magical about butterflies in different colours flitting around from one flower to another. India is home to 1800 species and subspecies that are increasingly being valued for aesthetic reasons.

b)     For generations, butterflies have been waging a deadly and long-drawn-out war with their natural enemy, parasitoids, insects, who in their egg and larval stage, live in the tissue of a host and feed on it. Death of the host (in this case the butterfly) is the only eventuality.

c)     Scientists have found that this war is waged even at the genetic level. They have been able to systematically document how these parasitoids pose a serious threat to the butterfly endangered species through its different life stages.

d)    They told that evolutionary studies have found that these parasitoids and the butterflies co-evolve in the battle for survival, wherein both try to change at the gene level, besides changing the food host plant preference.

e)     There are many factors that are detrimental to the conservation of butterflies, such as pesticide drifts, industrial pollution, deforestation, encroachment of natural habitat, lack of appropriate flora and even illegal butterfly trade. But what is ignored is the role of the natural enemies of butterflies, the parasitoids.

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