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Daily News Analysis 09-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

NIA not against Pakistan probe team visiting Pathankot (Pg 15)

a)     I.R

a)     The National Investigation Agency has reportedly informed the government that it will have no objection if a Special Investigation Team from Pakistan wants to visit the Pathankot air base.

2.

Talking to India on religious freedom, says United States (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     The US expressed disappointment over India denying visas to members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

3.

No legal obligation to NPT, says India (Page 15)

a)     International

a)     Weeks before the Nuclear Security Summit, the govt reminded the world that India does not have any legal obligation to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

4.

Defying sanctions, Iran conducts new missile tests (P16)

a)     International

a)     Iran conducted multiple ballistic missile tests on March 8th in an exercise to demonstrate deterrent power, a move that comes in defiance of US sanctions imposed over its missile programme in January.

5.

EU, Turkey seek to realise refugee plan (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     EU and Turkish leaders sought to turn into a lasting accord a plan on easing Europes refugee crisis hailed as a game-changer by Ankara and Brussels but swiftly criticised by the UNs refugee chief.

6.

Top Jamaat leaders death sentence upheld (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     The Bangladesh Supreme Court has upheld death for key Jamaat-e-Islami leader and financier Mir Quasem Ali (a pro-Pakistani militia commander in 1971) in an appeal verdict of a war crimes case.

7.

Seoul imposes sanctions on Pyongyang (P 16)

a)     International

a)   South Korea said it was imposing unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, including a ban on financial dealings.

8.

China warns against destabilising Korean region (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     An assertive China warned that it would not hesitate to intervene if its fundamental interests on the Korean Peninsula were harmed, and made it plain that its deep-rooted ties with the South China Sea could not be rivalled by any foreign power.

9.

Cashing in on Libyas power vacuum (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Losing territories in Iraq and feeling the heat of American and Russian air strikes in Syria, the Islamic State is fast expanding its presence in stateless, civil war-stricken Libya.

10.

Constitution Bench to decide if MPs, MLAs can be disqualified upon framing of charges (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Opening its third chapter against corruption in politics, the Supreme Court decided to lay down the law on whether the country should even wait until a corrupt legislator is convicted to have him disqualified from Parliament or Assembly.

11.

Dont compromise on privacy (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)    The Aadhaar Bill (which the government introduced in the Lok Sabha last week) has not come a day too soon.

12.

Government cuts its losses on EPF (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)    Facing mounting criticism, the Narendra Modi govt at the Centre has decided to drop its Budget proposal to tax a portion of the EPF corpus upon withdrawal.

13.

Countdown to PSLV-C32 launch begins (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)    The countdown for the launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C32 began at the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on March 8.

14.

Cooling the earth down (Page 13)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)    An emissions-reduction approach to fighting global warming is not enough. Alternative solutions involving climate engineering might have to be deployed sooner than we think.

15.

Iceberg that sank Titanic was 1,00,000 years old, says study (Page 22)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    Scientists say that the giant iceberg responsible for sinking the Titanic on its maiden voyage may have originated in southwest Greenland in snow that fell about 1,00,000 years ago.

16.

Mountain on a dwarf planet (Page 22)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    NASAs Dawn spacecraft that slid gently into orbit around dwarf planet Ceres last year shows a tall mountain that the Dawn team named Ahuna Mons.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

NIA not against Pakistan probe team visiting Pathankot (Page 15)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Pathankot terror attack

d)     National Investigation Agency (NIA)

e)     Special Investigation Team (SIT)

a)     The NIA has reportedly informed the govt that it will have no objection if a SIT from Pak wants to visit the Pathankot air base, a high security defence installation. The Pakistan SIT is due to visit India in connection with an ongoing probe.

b)   The NIAs decision assumes significance as India and Pakistan have renewed attempts to share real time information on terrorist groups.

c)     Based on information provided by India, a case has been registered in Pakistan regarding the Pathankot attack and three persons have been arrested.

2.

Talking to India on religious freedom, says United States (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     United States Commission on International Religious Freedom

a)     The US expressed disappointment over India denying visas to members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

b)     The Indian embassy in US said there was no change in Indias policy with respect to such visits and saw no locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pass its judgment and comment on the state of Indian citizens constitutionally protected rights.

c)     India has been denying visas to USCIRF for seven years now.

3.

No legal obligation to NPT, says India (Page 15)

a)     International

a)     Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

b)     Nuclear Security Summit

c)     Article VI of the NPT

d)     International Court of Justice (ICJ)

 

a)     Weeks before the Nuclear Security Summit, the govt reminded the world that India does not have any legal obligation to the Nuclear NPT.

b)     This was in response to a question on the case that Marshall Islands from the Pacific Ocean region has lodged at the International Court of Justice against all the major nuclear states (including India) for possessing nuclear weapons and for not supporting a global test ban pact.

c)     India has sent a legal team to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Marshall Islands has at present instituted proceedings against India, contending breach of customary law obligations following from the NPT.

d)     Article VI of the NPT demands that each member state of the NPT undertake negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

e)     India has already made a written presentation to the ICJ reiterating that Marshall Islands argument regarding obligations flowing from Article VI of the NPT is not valid before India which is not a signatory to the NPT. India continued to support non-discriminatory global nuclear disarmament.

f)  Though India has been citing its non-membership to the NPT to deal with the case, Marshall Islands has stated that the principles of the Article VI is well enshrined in international law and therefore could be considered a customary law that India may have violated by staying out of NPT.

4.

Defying sanctions, Iran conducts new missile tests (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Irans missile programme

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Irans nuclear programme

a)     Iran conducted multiple ballistic missile tests on March 8th in an exercise to demonstrate deterrent power, a move that comes in defiance of US sanctions imposed over its missile programme in January.

b)     The US imposed new sanctions over Irans missile programme in January almost immediately after separate sanctions related to Irans nuclear activities had been lifted under a landmark deal with world powers.

c)     The latest tests, called The Power of Velayat (a reference to the religious doctrine of the Islamic Republics leadership) were undertaken by the Revolutionary Guards and Aerospace Forces.

d)     Meanwhile, Iran has exported heavy water (key component for one kind of nuclear reactor) to the US as part of their nuclear pact.

5.

EU, Turkey seek to realise refugee plan (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Europe refugee crisis

b)     Syria crisis

 

 

a)     EU and Turkish leaders sought to turn into a lasting accord a plan on easing Europes refugee crisis hailed as a game-changer by Ankara and Brussels but swiftly criticised by the UNs refugee chief.

b)     The EU is wooing Turkey (used by over one million migrants in the last year as a springboard for reaching the bloc) as key player in helping ease Europes worst migrant crisis since World War II.

c)     The talks in Brussels were expected to be tough but Davutoglu upped the ante by bringing additional Turkish demands to the table (such as accelerated visa liberalization) as well as offering more than EU diplomats expected.

d)     But after hours of talks, EU president Donald Tusk described the outcome as a breakthrough and said he would now work on the legal details to reach a final deal at a European summit in Brussels on March 17-18.

e)     A key pillar of the mooted deal was the unexpected offer by Ankara to take back every irregular migrant that crosses from Turkey to the islands of EU member Greece.

f)     In return, the EU would then resettle one Syrian living in Turkey on its territory for every Syrian migrant it takes back from Greece.

g)     Turkey and Greece signed a protocol over the readmission of migrants in 2002 but it has rarely been activated and its use could transform the refugee crisis.

h) Turkey is the main launching point migrants making the dangerous crossing over the Aegean Sea to the Greek islands. It hosts 2.7 million refugees from the five-year civil war in neighbouring Syria, more than any other country.

6.

Top Jamaat leaders death sentence upheld (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     Bangladesh war crimes case

b)     Bangladesh liberation war 1971

c)     Jamaat-e-Islami

a)     The Bangladesh Supreme Court has upheld death for key Jamaat-e-Islami leader and financier Mir Quasem Ali (a pro-Pakistani militia commander in 1971) in an appeal verdict of a war crimes case.

b)     Ali is the sixth war crimes convict whose appeal has been rejected. Of the earlier five, four were executed and one serves life imprisonment for crimes against humanity during the nations liberation war in 1971.

c)     He was the third most important leader of the Al Badr killing squad, which killed tortured pro-independence people in 1971.

7.

Seoul imposes sanctions on Pyongyang (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     North Korea – South Korea relations

b)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

c)     UNSC

a)     South Korea said it was imposing unilateral sanctions on North Korea over its recent nuclear test and rocket launch, including a ban on financial dealings.

b)     The announcement came a day after North Korea warned of pre-emptive nuclear strikes in response to the start of US-South Korean military drills it views as a rehearsal for invasion.

c)     South Korea also said it will ban the entrance of any ship that has stopped at a North Korean port in the previous 180 days.

8.

China warns against destabilising Korean region (Page 16)

a)     International

a)     China – North Korea relations

b)     North Koreas nuclear arsenal

c)     South China Sea dispute

d)     US Pivot to Asia doctrine

e)     Nansha Islands (Spratly Islands)

 

a)     An assertive China warned that it would not hesitate to intervene if its fundamental interests on Korean Peninsula were harmed, and made it plain that its deep-rooted ties with the South China Sea could not be rivalled by any foreign power.

b)    In order to defuse tensions, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi advocated a multi-pronged approach where denuclearisation of the peninsula would be combined with signing of a formal peace treaty.

c)     That would replace the 1953 Armistice, which was meant to insure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.

d)     Wang observed that the Nansha islands (Spratly Islands) are Chinas integral territory. Every Chinese has an obligation, to defend them and China has not and will not make new territorial claims.

e)     Analysts point out that the South China Sea has rapidly emerged as an area of contested hegemony between China and the US, which has already amassed forces in Asia-Pacific under its Pivot to Asia doctrine.

9.

Cashing in on Libyas power vacuum (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Libya crisis

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     Syrian civil war 

d)     Islamic State (IS)

e)     Al-Qaeda

f)     Kurdish forces

a)     In November last year, the US carried out its first air strike against the IS in Libya, killing Abu Nabil, an Iraqi-born, al-Qaeda-trained operative of the jihadist group in the country. The Pentagon hoped that the killing of Nabil would degrade ISs ability to meet the groups objectives in Libya.

b)     The US and Britain have in recent weeks deployed special forces in the North African country besides drones and intense reconnaissance by American, British and French warplanes. A 5000-strong, Italian-led international force is also ready to be deployed in Libya to fight terrorists.

c)     The reason behind this enhanced focus on the IS in Libya is the growing fear that the group is expanding its operations fast in this lawless, civil war-stricken country which US and its allies invaded nearly five years ago to oust Muammar Qaddafis regime.

d)     Though the groups gains in Libya are limited compared to its near-total dominance of large areas of Iraq and Syria, its a growing force in the country, and could further destabilise West Asia and Africa.

e)     From the advent of the Syrian civil war, Libyan jihadists were fighting alongside the opposition rebels against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. But unlike in Syria where al-Qaeda and the IS initially cooperated, the latter faced strong resistance from other militant groups in Libya.

f)     From the ISs point of view, Libya is its best bet outside Iraq and Syria. It lost territories in Iraq and is feeling the heat of American and Russian air strikes in Syria. On the other side, todays Libya is a classic case of a failed state. Theres no central authority and a central military command.

g)     Libya is also strategically important for the IS. Its a Mediterranean gateway to Africa, a continent where the IS and al-Qaeda are competing for terror supremacy. While the recent terror strikes in Mali and Burkina Faso show the growing clout of al-Qaeda in the continent, the Boko Haram of Nigeria has declared allegiance to the Caliphate.

h)    If it sets up a strong base in Libya, the IS could also exploit the large lawless swathes of the African territories (something which al-Qaeda is doing now) and keep its terror project afloat even if it suffers major setbacks in Iraq and Syria. More important, Libyas oil wealth is a potential target of the IS.

i)     The question is whether the IS could build on its momentum, like it did in Syria, and meet its long-term goals in Libya. The US said that it would go after the IS in any country. But its easier said than done. In Syria and Iraq, it took years for an effective anti-IS strategy to evolve.

j)    In both countries, air strikes support ground attacks on the IS - by the Iraqi army and Shia militias in the case of Iraq and Syrian army and Kurdish rebels in the case of Syria. Its only after an air strike-ground war combination started taking on the IS that the jihadist groups positions were weakened (though they are still strong at the core of the Caliphate).

k)     Unless the non-jihadist groups are unified and the Libyan state is rebuilt with monopoly and legitamacy over weapons, it is impossible to launch a credible war on the IS in Libya. Thats the greatest challenge both the Libyans and those who plunged the country into todays chaos face.

10.

Constitution Bench to decide if MPs, MLAs can be disqualified upon framing of charges (Page 14)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Constitution Bench

b)     Article 145 (3) of the Constitution

c)     Section 8 of the Representation of the People Act

d)     Supreme Court

e)     CJI

a)     Opening its third chapter against corruption in politics, Supreme Court decided to lay down the law on whether the country should even wait until a corrupt legislator is convicted to have him disqualified from Parliament or Assembly.

b)     A three-judge Bench referred to a Constitution Bench the question whether a legislator facing criminal trial should be disqualified at the very stage of framing of charges against him by the trial court. Should his disqualification be kept in abeyance till he is convicted?

c)     The fact that the Supreme Court referred the matter to CJI T.S. Thakur under Article 145 (3) to set up a Constitution Bench of five judges indicates its positive resolve to settle this substantial question of law by interpreting the Constitution.

d)     The court has been tightening its grip on corruption in politics from 2013 when it first held that legislators (on conviction) would be immediately disqualified from holding membership of House without being given 3 months time for appeal, as was the case before. Before this verdict, convicted lawmakers would file an appeal in the higher court and continue in the House.

e)  In March 2014, the Supreme Court passed an interim order that criminal trials, especially those dealing with corruption and heinous offences, involving elected representatives should be completed in a year. This order prevented lawmakers from sitting in the House as their cases dragged on.

f)    Section 8 of Representation of the People Act deals with disqualification on conviction for certain offences: A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for varying terms under Sections 8 (1) (2) and (3) shall be disqualified from the date of conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.

g)     In 2013, the Bench found it unconstitutional that convicted persons could be disqualified from contesting elections but could continue to be Members of Parliament and State Legislatures once elected.

11.

Dont compromise on privacy (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016

b)     Lok Sabha

c)     Rajya Sabha

d)     Parliament

e)     Supreme Court

a)    The Aadhaar Bill (which the government introduced in the Lok Sabha last week) has not come a day too soon.

b)     The stated idea of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Bill 2016 is to provide for efficient, transparent, and targeted delivery of subsidies, benefits and services. This (along with a clause that says the unique numbers will not be considered as proof of citizenship) is welcome.

c)     The Bill has attracted immediate criticism for being introduced as a money bill, by virtue of which it does not require approval of the Rajya Sabha, where the BJP-led government does not have the numbers to ensure its passage.

d)     Wider political consensus and scrutiny are vital. For instance, Section 7 of the Bill makes proof of Aadhaar necessary for receipt of certain subsidies, benefits and services. This must be read in the backdrop of a Supreme Court ruling that said Aadhaar cannot be made mandatory.

e)     A key concern over the collection of personal information on this scale is data protection. There are provisions in this Bill that seem to address the concern, including one that prohibits any official from revealing information in the data repository to anyone. But the exceptions cause unease.

f)     Two provisions are particularly troubling. The first is Section 29(4), by which no Aadhaar number or biometric information will be made public except for the purposes as may be specified by regulations. The second is Section(33), under which the inbuilt confidentiality clauses will not stand when it concerns national security.

g)     There is little doubt that India needs to streamline the way it delivers benefits, and to empower citizens with a basic identification document. But this cannot be done without ensuring the strictest protection of privacy.

12.

Government cuts its losses on EPF (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Union Budget 2016-17

b)     Employees Provident Fund (EPF)

c)     National Pension System (NPS)

a)    Facing mounting criticism, the Modi govt at the Centre has decided to drop its Budget proposal to tax a portion of the EPF corpus upon withdrawal.

b)     The government has also withdrawn the proposal to limit tax-free contributions by the employer to the provident fund account of an employee to Rs.1.5 lakh a year.

c)     This did not gel with the Budget speech rationale for taxing EPF savings - to bring parity in tax treatment between the EPF and the NPS (where employers can pay up to 10 percent of salary as contribution without any such cap).

d)     By putting the EPF back into an EEE tax regime (where contributions, income as well as the accumulated corpus are all exempt from tax), the govts volte-face would help retain the EPFs popularity among the salaried class, most of whom are part of it not out of choice but by statutory default.

e)     While announcing a return to status quo on the EPF, the Finance Minister has rightly retained the Budget provision allowing NPS subscribers to withdraw 40 percent of the corpus without any tax liability. The remainder 60 percent will attract a combination of withdrawal tax and deferred tax on annuity products one buys.

f)     In a way, partial tax relief for the NPS will narrow the existing tax-induced gap between the EPF and the NPS. The strident opposition to EPF tax must be read in the context of the virtual absence of a social security net of any worth in India. There are no two views on the need to move towards a pensioned society.

13.

Countdown to PSLV-C32 launch begins (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

b)     PSLV-C32

c)     Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS)

d)     ISRO

a)    The countdown for the launch of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C32 began at the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota on March 8.

b)   The PSLV will be launched to put the 1425-kg IRNSS-1F navigation satellite into orbit.

c)     With this, the ISRO is moving closer to the task of completing the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System with seven satellites.

14.

Cooling the earth down (Page 13)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Climate change

b)     Global warming

c)     Greenhouse gas emissions

d)     Paris Climate Conference 2015

e)     Climate engineering

f)     Solar Radiation Management (SRM)

g)     Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) technology

a)     According to the author, the Paris Conference last year primarily discussed plans to reduce carbon emissions, which is understandable as this is the most immediate item for action. But other measures for dealing with global warming, in particular climate engineering, may soon acquire more importance.

b)    Today, climate engineering efforts are viewed either as secondary measures to be undertaken alongside reducing emissions or as technologies which have not matured enough to warrant discussion by world leaders. But the situation can change dramatically in the future.

c)     Even if all the national commitments made in Paris are fulfilled, the effects of global warming will inevitably worsen in the near term. As nations struggle to reduce emissions even further, alternative solutions using engineering innovations will increasingly gain currency.

d)    A variety of such proposals for battling global warming are already on the table - a few are being tried out and others are being seriously researched. Unfortunately, some of them also carry the risk of causing unintended environmental disasters.

e)     Climate engineering experts have been addressing these problems for years but such awareness has not trickled down to the larger intelligentsia to form a body of educated opinion that can help govts decide on which techniques to adopt and how best to govern and regulate them.

f)     Most climate engineering efforts can be divided into two categories which address, respectively, the management of carbon and the management of sunlight. The first category is directed towards removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

g)     A prominent example is carbon capture and storage (CCS), where some of the CO2 being emitted by coal-fired power stations is recaptured by physically sucking it in and transporting it elsewhere to be sequestered underground.

h)     Another method for removing CO2 from the atmosphere is to increase forest cover as plants will absorb some of the unwanted CO2. Increased forestation is part of Indias strategy for reducing CO2.

i)    It is not clear whether CCS, reforestation and other carbon removal methods can make sufficient impact at the global level to significantly slow down global warming. But they seem relatively benign at the scale at which they are being considered now and will at least lower CO2 pollution locally.

j)     More ambitious is the second category of climate engineering: solar radiation management. Here the plan is to reduce global warming by cutting down the heat absorbed by our planet from the sun. Among the techniques being considered are marine cloud brightening, cirrus cloud manipulation and stratospheric aerosol injection.

k)     SAI (the boldest and also the most risky of climate engineering interventions) involves spraying into the stratosphere fine, light-coloured particles designed to reflect back part of the solar radiation before it reaches and warms the earth. It proponents claim that this could bring down global temperature by as much as 1 degree C - a substantial amount in the climate change context.

l)     SAI also has the potential for disastrous side effects, crossing national boundaries. The Pinatubo volcanic eruption is also said to have reduced precipitation, soil moisture, and river flow in many regions. Injection of sulphur compounds into the stratosphere is likely to increase acid deposition on the ground and also contribute to ozone layer depletion.

m)     SAI research is still at a theoretical and laboratory level. Development of these techniques to large-scale deployment is years away. The technology does not seem to be astronomically expensive by standards of national budgets.

n)   As climate change worsens, some coastlands could go underwater and other regions could suffer extreme heat and severe droughts causing massive human suffering. 

o)     Under such pressure, and in the absence of international regulatory regimes, the affected nation (even a small developing one) may well resort to using whatever SAI technology is available by then in the international market.

15.

Iceberg that sank Titanic was 1,00,000 years old, says study (Page 22)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Iceberg

b)     Ocean currents

c)     Winds

d)     Temperature difference

a)    Scientists say that the giant iceberg responsible for sinking the Titanic on its maiden voyage may have originated in southwest Greenland in snow that fell about 1,00,000 years ago.

b)     The observations obtained from 1912 (the year of Titanics sinking in Atlantic Ocean) and modern data on ocean currents and winds. The research suggests 1912 was a bad year, with icebergs reported floating much further south than normal.

c)     They said why the number reaching shipping lanes should vary so much from year to year is unclear, because so many factors (wind direction, sea currents and temperature changes) are involved.

d)     RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of April 15 1912 after colliding with an iceberg during its maiden voyage from Southampton in the UK to New York City in the US.

16.

Mountain on a dwarf planet (Page 22)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Dwarf planet Ceres

b)     Dawn spacecraft

c)     Ahuna Mons mountain

a)     NASAs Dawn spacecraft that slid gently into orbit around dwarf planet Ceres last year shows a tall mountain that the Dawn team named Ahuna Mons.

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