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Daily News Analysis 19-02-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

            

Hurt by US plan to sell F-16s to Pakistan: Parrikar (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Expressing hurt over the US decision to sell Pakistan eight F-16 fighter jets, the government said it had made it clear that the deal was unacceptable to India.

2.

Limits to Indian exceptionalism (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     K.P. Sharma Oli may prefer to let bygones be bygones and not talk about a blockade which flouted the principles of international law, Panchsheel and good-neighbourliness. But it would be reparation enough if Nepal was allowed to be able to reconstruct and rebuild in a sovereign space.

3.

Obama to make historic visit to Cuba (Pages 1 and 14)

a)     International

a)  US President Obama said he will visit Cuba on March 21-22 and meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, in the first US presidential trip to the country in nearly 90 years as relations between the former adversaries thaw.

4.

North Korea is preparing for attack, says South (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     As worries about North grow after its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, the Souths spy agency disclosed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently ordered preparations for launching attacks on South Korea.

5.

Strengthen peacekeeping under UN to counter new threats (Page 13)

a)     International

b)     National

a)    Weeks after Defence Minister Parrikar spoke about sending troops to fight the IS in Syria, India told the UN Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations that it recognises the need for flexibility on international anti-terror operations if they are backed by UN authorisation.

6.

Restore propriety in Arunachal Pradesh (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The revocation of Presidents Rule in any State ought to be welcomed, as it paves the way for the installation of a popular government.

7.

Ministry moots National Social Security Authority (Page 15)

a)     National

a)    The Labour Ministry has mooted the idea of forming a National Social Security Authority (chaired by PM Modi) and a separate Social Security Department within the ministry to provide social security to the entire population in a bid to prop up the governments pro-worker credentials.

8.

Cabinet approval for trade facilitation pact ratification (Pg16)

a)     Economy

a)     The Cabinet has approved a proposal for ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO, aimed at easing customs rules for expediting global trade flow of goods.

9.

Belgium keen on joining Clean Ganga drive (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     A top Belgian official said that Belgium is keen on taking part in the Clean Ganga campaign, and a Belgian mission with companies specialising in sanitation will meet Indian government officials soon.

10.

A landmark for Indian scientists (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    The Union Cabinet has finally granted in-principle approval for a gravitational wave detector in India.

11.

Now, a novel propeller for Mars expeditions (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    An engineer from the University of Michigan has developed a prototype of a thruster that may form the basis for a propulsion system to take a manned spacecraft to Mars in the 2020s.

12.

Neanderthals, humans interbred earlier than thought (Page 20)

a)      S&T

b)     Geography

a)     A new study based on several different methods of DNA analysis has found neanderthals may have been mating with modern humans 100,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

            

Hurt by US plan to sell F-16s to Pakistan: Parrikar (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     India-Pakistan defence ties

c)     F-16 fighter jets

 

 

a)     Expressing hurt over the US decision to sell Pakistan eight F-16 fighter jets, the government said it had made it clear that the deal was unacceptable to India.

b)     While the US govt had formally notified its Congress of its intention to make the Foreign Military Sale last week, the deal may take some months, especially after objections from Congressmen of any plans by the US of subsidising the deal.

c)     Sources said India had made it clear that not only was its opposition to the deal over fact that the military hardware would be used to bolster Pakistani defences against India rather than counter-terror operations, it was also upset by the timing of the deal.

d)     Senior officials said the F-16 sale came even as India was hoping to keep the pressure on Pakistan to deliver action on the Pathankot terror attack.

2.

Limits to Indian exceptionalism (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Nepal relations

b)     Nepals economic blockade

c)     Nepals new Constitution

d)     Madhesis concerns

a)     Without doubt, the most damaging episode in the relationship between the Indian republic and modern Nepal was the 5-month economic blockade that devastated the latters economy, hit post-earthquake reconstruction, and created a humanitarian crisis through the autumn and deep winter.

b)     During Nepal PM K.P. Sharma Olis state visit to India, which he had refused to make without the blockade being lifted, Kathmandu and New Delhi must try to understand how this crisis came about and ensure that it does not recur.

c)     Nepal might be a small country and economy in relative size, yet the open border and the links to the teeming plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar make it of vital importance to India - and it is a two-and-a-half-century-old nation state with great resilience but one that can only be prosperous and inclusive as a stable, sovereign democracy.

d)     Unfortunately, Kathmandu has lately suffered both micromanagement and macromanagement at the hands of New Delhi, which have sown the seeds of long-term instability. From involvement in govt formation to meddling in Constitution drafting, New Delhis emissaries and agents have kept Nepal on the boil.

e)     Certainly the Constitution is a problematic document in many ways, even though it has the legitimacy for having been voted in favour by 85 percent in Constituent Assembly, which itself was elected by 78 percent of the electorate.

f)     As a rights-based Constitution, it will be a difficult document to implement because of the promises it makes - including in expanding the scope of fundamental rights to cover a whole slew of economic, social and cultural rights.

g)     The Indian proactivity on the Constitution was designed without reference to Nepals citizenry of mountain, hill and plain, and certainly with inadequate knowledge of the countrys history and demography.

h)     The Madhesi Morcha leaders were certainly protesting, but the blockade was implemented at border points through its officials by India two days before the Morcha formally took responsibility for the blockade on September 24.

i)     Historically, Kathmandus state establishment has been insensitive in the way it has treated the Madhesi citizenry of the plains, economically marginalised and held at arms length on national identity which has been propagated as hill-based.

j)     Politics and bureaucracy remained the preserve of the hill Brahmin (Bahun) community in the democratic era since 1990, and so while the hill ethnicities too simmered in discontent, the plains populace erupted in the Madhes Movement of 2007-08.

k)     While the historical injustices of the past are an unkind reality, the new Constitution is meant to apply redress. The question is whether the text is so inimical to the plains communities of Nepal that it cannot be addressed through amendments, and whether the South Asian superpower should have blundered into the debate.

l)     In the days ahead, Nepal and Nepalis are confronted with the task of implementing the new Constitution, and the Constitutional Bench under the Supreme Court is sure to have its hands full. The Constitution is a chaotic document that will be hard to implement, but there can be no doubting that it is socially progressive, protecting diversity and inclusion as core values.

m)     As India is roiled by tensions within, with a myriad challenges emanating from its religious-, sectarian-, regional- and class-based divides, New Delhi must introspect on its activities in South Asia. Increasingly, it seems to act unilaterally and exhibiting what might be termed Indian exceptionalism. 

n)     On his state visit to India, Oli may prefer to let bygones be bygones and not talk about a blockade against landlocked Nepal which flouted principles of international law, Panchsheel and good-neighbourliness. He will surely not demand reparations for the economic and humanitarian harm caused, which can be quantified.

3.

Obama to make historic visit to Cuba (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Cuba relations

b)     Cold War

c)     Platt Amendment

d)     Helms-Burton Act

 

a)  US President Obama said he will visit Cuba on March 21-22 and meet with Cuban President Raul Castro, in the first US presidential trip to the country in nearly 90 years as relations between the former adversaries thaw.

b)     In 1902, Cuba gets independence with Thomas Palma as President. But Platt Amendment gives the US a right to interfere in Cuban affairs.

c)     In 1959, Fidel Castro leads a 9000-strong guerrilla army into Havana, forcing autocrat Batista to flee; Castro takes over.

d)     In 1960, all US businesses in Cuba are nationalised, US cuts off diplomatic ties; imposes embargo.

e)     1962, Cuban missile crisis hits ties with US as USSR deploys missiles.

f)     In 1996, the Helms-Burton Act passed as a US federal law, which strengthens the embargo.

g)     In Dec 2014, Obama and Raul Castro reach a deal to begin normalising ties.

h)    In May 2005, US officially removes Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism.

4.

North Korea is preparing for attack, says South (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     North Korea – South Korea relations

b)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

a)     As worries about North grow after its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, the Souths spy agency disclosed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un recently ordered preparations for launching attacks on South Korea.

b)     North Korea has a history of attacks on South Korea, such as the 2010 shelling on an island that killed four South Koreans and the 1987 bombing of a South Korean passenger plane that killed all 115 people on board. But it is impossible to independently confirm claims about any such attack preparations.

5.

Strengthen peacekeeping under UN to counter new threats (Page 13)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     High Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) report

d)     UNSC

 

a)    Weeks after Defence Minister Parrikar spoke about sending troops to fight the IS in Syria, India told the UN Special Committee for Peacekeeping Operations that it recognises the need for flexibility on international anti-terror operations if they are backed by UN authorisation.

b)     Presenting Indias position on the HIPPO report (which is aimed at countering international terror groups), the Permanent Representative of India at UN said we understand that these issues (response to counter-terrorism operation with UN authorization) need to be viewed with flexibility in response to emerging challenges.

c)   HIPPO report has expanded the scope of counter-terror operations beyond traditional UN peacekeeping operations by recommending that ad hoc coalitions authorised by the UNSC can undertake counter-terror operations with the intention of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement.

d)     India welcoming the UN report has triggered a debate with experts suggesting that the mention of ad hoc coalitions authorised by the UNSC, has opened up possibilities of Indias participation in foreign anti-terror operations to safeguard Indian interests.

6.

Restore propriety in Arunachal Pradesh (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Arunachal Pradesh political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Governor

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

a)  The revocation of Presidents Rule in any State ought to be welcomed, as it paves the way for the installation of a popular government.

b)     The latest Supreme Court order allowing the Union govt to withdraw the proclamation bringing Arunachal Pradesh under Central rule may end the prevailing uncertainty and help avoid a constitutional vacuum, but it may not prevent more legal tangles.

c)     There will certainly be a political tussle over the course of action that Governor J.P. Rajkhowa ought to adopt as soon as the suspended Assembly is revived.

d)     While lifting its earlier directive to maintain the status quo, the Constitution Bench has not interfered with the Gauhati High Court order staying the disqualification of 14 legislators by Speaker Nabam Rebia. This may mean that the 14 Congress dissidents will be allowed to vote on the confidence motion.

e)     At the same time, the Bench has asked the High Court to expedite the final hearing on their petitions challenging the legality of their disqualification.

f)     Indisputably, democracy works through political processes, but it becomes a travesty when partisan politics overshadows constitutional norms.

7.

Ministry moots National Social Security Authority (Page 15)

a)     National

a)     National Social Security Authority

b)     Social Security Department

c)     National Policy on Social Security

a)     The Labour Ministry has mooted the idea of forming a National Social Security Authority (chaired by PM Modi) and a separate Social Security Department within the ministry to provide social security to the entire population in a bid to prop up the govts pro-worker credentials.

b)     The authority may have all the ministers and secretaries of all ministries dealing with social security programmes along with state government officials as members.

c)     The functions of the authority should be mainly to formulate the National Policy on Social Security and to co-ordinate the central and state level programmes and to ensure that the objectives of the policy are achieved within the time frame prescribed.

d)     The proposed Social Security Department within the Labour Ministry will provide policy inputs and secretarial services to the body.

8.

Cabinet approval for trade facilitation pact ratification (Page 16)

a)     Economy

a)     Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the WTO

b)     National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF)

c)     Ease of Doing Business initiative

a)     The Cabinet has approved a proposal for ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO, aimed at easing customs rules for expediting global trade flow of goods.

b)     To facilitate domestic coordination and implementation of the TFA, the Cabinet meeting (chaired by PM Modi) also cleared proposal to set up a National Committee on Trade Facilitation to be jointly chaired by commerce and revenue secretaries.

c)    According to an official statement, these objectives are also in consonance with Indias Ease of Doing Business initiative. The WTO member-countries in Nov 2014 adopted a protocol of amendment to incorporate the TFA on goods in the overall WTO Agreement.

d)     For TFA to be operational, two-thirds (or 108) of the 162 WTO members will have to ratify it. However, only 69 countries have ratified it so far.

e)     The TFA also contains measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.

f)     That includes finding a permanent solution to the issue of public stockholding for food security purposes and a mechanism to safeguard poor farmers from sudden import surge of farm products.

9.

Belgium keen on joining Clean Ganga drive (Page 9)

a)     National

a)     Ganga Cleaning programme

b)     India – Belgium relations

a)     A top Belgian official said that Belgium is keen on taking part in Clean Ganga campaign, and a Belgian mission with companies specialising in sanitation will meet Indian government officials soon.

b)     Belgium also wants to diversify its trade with India in the diamond business, which contributes to a large part of the bilateral trade. PM Modi is expected to visit Belgium as part of his EU tour in March.

10.

A landmark for Indian scientists (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Gravitational waves

b)     Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO)

c)     India-LIGO project

d)     India-based Neutrino Observatory project

a)    The Union Cabinet has finally granted in-principle approval for a gravitational wave detector in India.

b)     The clearance comes close on the heels of the detection of the elusive gravitational waves for the first time; the LIGO based in Washington and Louisiana in the US found evidence of gravitational waves coming from two black holes colliding and fusing together 1.3 billion light years away.

c)  By virtue of having the same sensitivity as LIGO detectors in US and being geographically separated by thousands of kilometres, the Rs. 1200-crore LIGO-India project will at once vastly improve the level of accuracy and ability to detect new gravitational wave events.

d)     An active programme to develop optics for the laser system that could be used in future upgrades to the detectors is already under way at the Indore-based Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology.

e)     Besides playing a pivotal role in gravitational wave astronomy, the Indian observatory could thus be a catalyst in changing the landscape of Indian scientific efforts. Together with other mega projects such as the India-based Neutrino Observatory project, experimental science will at last get a much-needed boost in the country.

11.

Now, a novel propeller for Mars expeditions (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Mars expeditions

b)     XR-100

c)     NASA

a)     An engineer from the University of Michigan has developed a prototype of a thruster that may form the basis for a propulsion system to take a manned spacecraft to Mars in the 2020s.

b)     The NASA awarded $6.5 million over the next three years to Aerojet Rocketdyne for the development of the propulsion system, dubbed the XR-100.

c)     The XR-100 is up against two competing designs. All three of them rely on ejecting plasma (an energetic state of matter in which electrons and charged atoms called ions coexist) out of the back of the thruster.

d)     The core technology (the Hall thruster) is already in use for manoeuvring satellites in orbit around Earth.

12.

Neanderthals, humans interbred earlier than thought (Page 20)

a)      S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Human migration patterns

b)     Human genomes

c)     Neanderthals genome

 

a)     A new study based on several different methods of DNA analysis has found that neanderthals may have been mating with modern humans 100,000 years ago, tens of thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

b)     Scientists provide the first genetic evidence of a scenario in which early modern humans left the African continent and mixed with the now-extinct members of the human family prior to the migration out of Africa of the ancestors of present-day non-Africans, less than 65,000 years ago.

c)    This finding (the result of several kinds of advanced computer modelling algorithms comparing complete genomes of hundreds of contemporary humans with complete and partial genomes of four archaic humans) has implications for our knowledge of human migration patterns.

d)     People of European, Eurasian and Asian descent have well-identified Neanderthal-derived segments in their genome.

e)     These fragments are traces of interbreeding that followed the out of Africa human migration dating to about 60,000 years ago. They imply that children born of Neanderthal-modern human pairings outside of Africa were raised among the modern humans and ultimately bred with other humans, explaining how bits of Neanderthal DNA remain in human genomes.

f)     The teams evidence of gene flow from descendants of modern humans into the Neanderthal genome applies to one specific Neanderthal, whose remains were found some years ago in a cave in south-western Siberia, in the Altai Mountains, near the Russia-Mongolia border.

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