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Daily News Analysis 28-03-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

India to hand over DNA samples of Pathankot attackers to Pak team (Pages 1,12)

a)     I.R

a)     India will hand over the DNA samples of the four terrorists killed in the Pathankot airbase to Pakistans Joint Investigation Team, which arrived here on March 27 to probe the attack.

2.

Border dispute with China can be solved (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Adopting a softer attitude towards Pakistan and China, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar suggested that the confidence-building measures taken for improving India-China ties could be used in the case of relations with Pakistan too.

3.

No zero sums in this great game (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India need not press the panic button or employ ill-conceived diplomatic moves in response to Nepals so-called flashing of the China card. Nor should it make an unethical compromise with Kathmandu on the legitimate interests of Madhesis and other marginalised groups.

4.

India to take up new visa law with British authorities (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India will convey its concerns to the UK about the new British immigration law that will affect professionals earning below £35,000 annually.

5.

Focus on local demand to win WTO solar dispute, says Timothy Meyer (Page 15)

a)     International

a)     According to Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Timothy Meyer, India may succeed in its solar dispute with the US at the WTO if it takes steps to develop its manufacturing capacity to serve domestic demand which is not addressed by global companies.

6.

A mortal blow to the IS, says Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syrian government forces backed by heavy Russian air support drove IS out of Palmyra, inflicting what the army called a mortal blow to militants who seized the city last year and dynamited its ancient temples.

7.

Hasty cure for a familiar malady (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The imposition of Presidents Rule in Uttarakhand on the eve of a vote to test the majority of the Harish Rawat government is yet another instance of a highly questionable resort to a constitutional remedy that was envisaged for extraordinary circumstances.

8.

Updating Aadhaar for better privacy (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     UID is only as secure as its weakest link. This is where segregation of data can help address concerns about data and identity protection.

9.

Did climate change cause those floods? (Page 11)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Determining whether extreme weather events are caused by climate change is crucial in planning for risks. Else, we will reach a situation in which corrective action may not be enough to protect us.

10.

Blowing bubbles may protect coral reefs (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     US researchers have found that blowing tiny bubbles through sea water could help protect coral reefs and oyster farms from oceans, which have increasingly turned acidic through human activities.

11.

Sun may produce devastating superflares, say scientists (Pg 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Scientists say that the Sun is capable of producing monstrous eruptions or superflares that can not only break down radio communication and power supplies, but also affect Earths ability to support life.

12.

Giant planet found near Milky Ways bulge (P20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Researchers in the US have detected what appears to be a Saturn-like planet residing near the Milky Way galaxys bulge.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

India to hand over DNA samples of Pathankot attackers to Pak team (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Pathankot terror attack

d)     Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM)

e)     Joint Investigation Team (JIT)

f)    National Investigation Agency (NIA)

a)     India will hand over the DNA samples of the four terrorists killed in the Pathankot airbase to Pakistans JIT, which arrived here on March 27 to probe the attack.

b)     The team is expected to track down the families of the terrorists in Pakistan and match the samples.

c)     A senior govt official said the evidence gathered by the NIA on the role of the JeM in the attack was not perfunctory or nebulous.

d)     The NIA has prepared a dossier on JeM chief Masood Azhar, his brother Abdul Rauf (one of the handlers) and another handler Kaashif Jaan, who had dropped the terrorists at the Punjab border on the night of December 31.

e)     The NIA has found that Chawinda in Pakistan is connected to Bamiyal in Punjab, where terrorists are suspected to have infiltrated into India. The Pakistani team will be taken to the village in Bamiyal.

2.

Border dispute with China can be solved (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Border disputes

a)     Adopting a softer attitude towards Pakistan and China, Defence Minister Parrikar suggested that the confidence-building measures taken for improving India-China ties could be used in the case of relations with Pakistan too.

b)     The Minister hinted that Pakistan too could participate in the Defexpo-like events in India in future since no calibrated decision had been taken to prevent it or China from doing so.

c)     He highlighted that the ties with China were getting better, and that the India-China border dispute may be resolved in future, indicating a high level of mutual confidence before his three-day visit to Beijing, scheduled for April.

3.

No zero sums in this great game (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     China – Nepal relations

b)     India – Nepal relations

c)     India-Nepal Treaty of 1950

d)     Nepals new Constitution

e)     Madhesis concerns

f)     Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)

g)     Chinese One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative

 

a)     Nepal is celebrating the outcome of PM K.P. Sharma Olis China visit as a major landmark in the evolution of its foreign policy. It is driven by two objectives.

b)     One is domestic, of consolidating the Oli regimes support from the nationalist constituency that stands for reducing dependence on India and keeping Madhes and Janjatis marginalised in Nepali polity. The other is of sending a strong message to India that Nepal has a viable option in mobilising support from China to counter any pressure generated from the southern neighbour.

c)     Both objectives had been triggered by Indias support for the Madhes agitation against a discriminatory constitution adopted in September 2015. Indias support had resulted in restricted supply of essential goods to Nepal for nearly six months, causing unprecedented hardship to Nepals people and generating strong anti-India sentiments among the countrys hill communities.

d)     There is a set pattern of the Kathmandu regime flashing the China card whenever it runs into difficulties with its own people and India lends support to Nepali peoples cause. Recall King Mahendras use of China card when he had pitted himself against democratic forces seeking and securing Indian support during the early 1960s.

e)     He flouted the India-Nepal Treaty of 1950 by soliciting Chinese support as a security protector of Nepal. His successors (King Birendra and King Gyanendra) made similar moves during 1988-89 and 2005-06 (respectively) when faced with popular struggles against their authoritarian governance. Struggling popular democratic forces of Nepal sought and secured Indian support on these occasions.

f)     The underlying thread in all these royal moves was to whip up anti-India nationalism, garner external/Chinese support and erode traditional ties with India to ensure regime security. The use of this royalist strategy by the democratic regime headed by Olis CPN-UML should not come as a surprise because the UML flourished under the royal patronage and political indoctrination.

g)    Oli concluded 10 important agreements and MoUs during this visit to China. They cover the fields of transit and trade, connectivity and infrastructure, energy exploration and storage, banking, scholarships and training. Some of these agreements are projected as historic and unprecedented, particularly those related to transit through China and rail and road connectivity between Nepal and China.

h)     The agreement on transit through China where China has agreed to provide the Tianjin seaport for transit of Nepali goods imported from third countries. This breaks Nepals complete dependence on India for all its imports.

i)     Similarly, the proposal on connectivity of Nepal with the Tibet rail network will also take time. Under the MoU on rail connectivity, Chinese commitments are for feasibility studies and technical support only. The Joint Statement issued on Olis visit says that the two sides will exchange ideas and proposals on constructing cross border railways as soon as possible.

j)     Besides the constraints of costs and terrain, rail connectivity between Tibet and Nepal is also a political issue for the Chinese authorities. They have to decide on the extent to which Tibet can be opened up to the outside world through land connection. The proposed rail could not only facilitate the flight of disaffected Tibetans to Nepal, but also bring in Nepalese and other foreigners into Tibet.

k)    The Chinese side has been both calculating and careful in accommodating the Nepali agenda. As per Joint Statement, it has hound Nepal to synergise its development planning, formulate appropriate bilateral cooperation programmes and carry out major projects under the framework of the Belt and Road initiative.

l)     Accordingly, Nepals infrastructure and connectivity projects will have to be subjected to Chinese OBOR priorities. Nepal will also have to facilitate and encourage Chinese investment. Most of the Chinese commitments are loans, of which only 25 percent will be interest free.

m)     Nepal must also be aware of the unease and discomfort that countries like Sri Lanka and Myanmar experienced in their deepening economic engagement with China. Chinas economic projects invariably come with strategic underpinnings and heavy debt burden.

n)     There are lingering doubts among the mandarins in Beijing whether the Oli govt will last long enough to implement the agreements inked, in view of rising calls for a national govt in Nepal. China also does not want to ruffle Indian feathers on Nepal as India is a much bigger and promising market for Chinese products and services as compared to Nepal.

o)     In reaction to Nepals so-called flashing of the China card, India need not press the panic button or employ knee-jerk and ill-conceived diplomatic moves as it did in response to Nepals constitution and the Madhes agitation six months ago. Nor should it make an unethical compromise with Kathmandu on the legitimate interests of Madhesis and other marginalised groups.

p)     South Asia is a vital link in the Chinese OBOR plan. It is a region that borders on Chinas vulnerable periphery of Xinjiang and Tibet. Its 1.6 billion people constitute a huge economic opportunity that China or any other country cannot ignore. India has yet to evolve a credible response to this Chinese push towards South Asia.

q)     Internal and trans-border connectivity of Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh or even Pakistan may in fact facilitate such economic integration to the long-term advantage of India as well. But in doing so, India has to guard its vital strategic space and interests, as well as those of its neighbours, that China may seek to erode under the cover of its regional economic engagement.

4.

India to take up new visa law with British authorities (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – UK relations

b)     Britishs new immigration law

c)     World Trade Organisation (WTO)

a)     India will convey its concerns to the UK about new British immigration law that will affect professionals earning below £35,000 annually.

b)   Under new rule coming into effect in April, professionals living and working in Britain on a Tier-2 visa who earn less than £35,000 a year at the end of five years of their stay in the country could be deported.

c)     Commerce and Industries Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that India had taken up similar issues concerning visa rules of the US govt at WTO.

d)     Indian professionals have formed the largest category of individuals issued such visas by the UK over the years.

e)     The visa is issued on basis of a certificate of sponsorship issued to UK-based firms to hire such professionals from outside the EU and allows them a maximum stay of 6 years. At the end of 5years, these workers can apply for permanent residency or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK.

5.

Focus on local demand to win WTO solar dispute, says Timothy Meyer (Page 15)

a)     International

a)     Indias solar dispute with US

b)     WTO

c)     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)

 

a)     According to Vanderbilt University Law School Professor Timothy Meyer, India may succeed in its solar dispute with the US at the WTO if it takes steps to develop its manufacturing capacity to serve domestic demand which is not addressed by global companies.

b)     Last month, WTO Dispute Settlement Panel ruled Indias requirement for companies that sell solar power to the govt use only locally-made parts and components in its national solar power program discriminated US manufacturers.

c)   The Indian govt has already raised the question of whether a few such programs are consistent with trade rules before a WTO committee, but they have not yet initiated a formal dispute with the US.

d)     Meyer said that prevalence of local content requirements in renewable energy indicates that govt officials in both India and the US face political pressure to link economic development with environmental objectives.

e)     India argued that solar manufacturing capacity is in short supply relative to the demand for solar panels in India and hence it is claims exception under the GATT for measures essential to the acquisition or distribution of products in general or local short supply.

6.

A mortal blow to the IS, says Syria (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Syria crisis

b)     Islamic State (IS)

c)     Palmyra

a)     Syrian govt forces backed by heavy Russian air support drove IS out of Palmyra, inflicting what the army called a mortal blow to militants who seized the city last year and dynamited its ancient temples.

b)     The loss of Palmyra represents one of the biggest setbacks for the ultra-hard-line Islamist group since it declared a caliphate in 2014 across large parts of Syria and Iraq.

c)  The Army general command said that its forces took over the city with support from Russian and Syrian air strikes, opening up the huge expanse of desert leading east to IS strongholds of Raqqa and Deir al-Zor.

7.

Hasty cure for a familiar malady (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Uttarakhand political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Article 356 of the Constitution

d)     Arunachal Pradesh political crisis

e)     Supreme Court

a)  The imposition of Presidents Rule in Uttarakhand on the eve of a vote to test the majority of the Harish Rawat government is yet another instance of a highly questionable resort to a constitutional remedy that was envisaged for extraordinary circumstances.

b)     The action is bad in law as much as it pre-empted a floor test, which the landmark Bommai judgment held as the right means to establish a govts majority. The question is how one deals with situations when there are indications that the integrity of the floor test is or will be vitiated through abrupt and wholesale disqualifications.

c)   In this respect, the sequence of events in Uttarakhand bears an uncanny resemblance to the developments that led to recent dismissal of the Congress govt in Arunachal Pradesh, which was followed by the installation of a BJP-backed govt there.

d)    The common features are a Congress CM losing support of a section of his legislature party and the opposition BJP making common cause with dissidents to unseat the incumbent. In both cases, the CMs decided to risk a face-off in the Assembly, but only after taking the precaution of getting the rebel legislators disqualified for defection.

e)     Apart from demanding a floor test to ascertain a govts majority, the Supreme Court held that the Assembly could not be dissolved immediately, but only kept under suspended animation until both Houses of Parliament approved Presidents Rule. But we have a recent history that demonstrates that such norms can be cynically exploited by political parties.

f)     Supreme Court is hearing a case on constitutional validity of the imposition of Presidents Rule in Arunachal Pradesh, though the questions being addressed there are not germane in their entirety to what has transpired in Uttarakhand.

g)     There is an urgent need to evolve a further set of norms that inhibit the blatant misuse of Article 356 on the one hand and the cynical use of a Speakers power to sustain a sinking regime on the other.

8.

Updating Aadhaar for better privacy (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Aadhaar Bill

b)     Unique Identification (UID)

c)     MNREGA

d)     Poverty

e)     Above Poverty Line (APL)

f)     Below Poverty Line (BPL)

 

a)     According to the author, the government passed the Aadhaar Bill giving statutory rights for the programme, but this still leaves privacy as a specific challenge. However, this can be addressed.

b)     Privacy with Aadhaar is not just an abstract issue, but related to the fundamental view of how data are to be accessed and used. Per design, the UID system would not know or care whether the person was APL or BPL - such things would be the prerogative of the users of the system such as banks, service providers, or development schemes.

c)     The problem is precisely the use of UID beyond the intended and appealing aspects, by its partners and systems providers. Instead of UID being agnostic to how the system gets used by others, UIDs design should assume the worst, and try to prevent linking of databases by third parties, or unintended usage.

d)    Otherwise, these could lead to not only an abstract violation of privacy but also very specific and troubling asymmetries in commercial transactions and citizen empowerment/rights, including through profiling.

e)     The problem with rights to access is the possibility of unintended access. One thing we can learn from other large IT systems is that the boundary matters - just worrying about outsider hackers is wrong for IT systems since most IT security breaches involve an insider.

f)     Similarly, UIDs privacy cannot be viewed simply from an internal database and its security perspective but rather the ecosystem of users of UID. UID is only as secure as its weakest link. This is where segregation of data can help.

g)     We must ensure that the UID database is not used in a manner that can hurt the citizens either accidentally or through mission creep with unintended consequences.

h)     MNREGA using the 12-digit number like today, each authorised user of the system (such as MNREGA, a bank, and so on) would get a modified (longer) number that is cryptographically generated to be unique but based on the base UID number in such a way that it could be proven to be functionally the same.

i)    Technologically, this would use a one-way hash that would be irreversible so that the longer number or code could not reveal the base UID number.

j)     The benefits of this would be twofold. First, a corporation or other user could not create a linked database for profiling - they would all have different UID+ numbers. Second, to even get the UID+, the cryptographic process could be restricted to authorised users. This way, we could prevent the UID becoming a casual identifier.

k)     The proposed update of UID to a UID+ system can address many of the concerns, and its roll-out need not be viewed as a failure of the original system but simply an update. The next step should be an analysis of how it can be done without disrupting the existing UID databases.

9.

Did climate change cause those floods? (Page 11)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Climate change

b)     Global warming

c)     Paris Climate Agreement

d)     Climate models

e)     Floods

f)     Droughts

g)     Cyclones

h)     Disaster management

a)     According to the author, over the past several years, headlines on weather-related extreme events have included heavy downpours followed by floods, droughts, storms, heat and cold waves, and wild fires.

b)     Such events typically destroy lives, property and ecosystems while stretching the capacities of disaster management departments and coffers for emergency funds in various parts of the world.

c)     Since one of the main impacts anticipated from climate change is an increase in the intensity, frequency or duration of extreme events, there is usually a lot of interest from the media and the public after an extreme event to learn if it was due to global warming.

d)     Most such events have one or more components that are not related to climate change. For example, incompetent forest management practices contribute to fires. Poor land use planning contributed to heavy downpours and floods in Chennai last year.

e)     There are generally nine kinds of extreme events that are considered: heat and cold waves, droughts, wildfires, extreme rainfall, tropical and other cyclones, extreme snow and ice events, and severe convective storms.

f)   Scientific studies of extreme weather events and their attribution to global warming may help various groups such as planners, emergency responders, policymakers and insurance companies.

g)     In order to determine attribution, scientists run climate models to simulate an event or they rely on the observational record from which they may estimate the statistical chance and magnitude of an extreme event. Often, they use both these kinds of approaches.

h)     Scientists confidence in attribution to climate change varies among kinds of events. There is greater confidence in attributing heat and cold waves over the other kinds of events described above. With regard to extratropical or mid-latitude cyclones and convective storms, it appears that there is little to no confidence in attributing them to climate change.

i)     As efforts to improve our understanding of extreme events improve, the ability for attribution is expected to improve. As in any other kinds of scientific studies, the accuracy improves with various advances including validation across different approaches, advances in modelling methods, and the accuracy of historical records of such events.

j)     Scientists sometimes use the term fat tail to describe extreme events. A normal distribution curve (what we know as a bell curve) shows a lot of variation near average, but produces very few points at the far end of the curve.

k)     Biological parameters such as height of Indian women or men are examples of normal curves. On the other hand, in a fat-tailed distribution, portions of the curve that are distant from the average are thicker, and this implies that there is a higher chance of large deviations from the average.

l)     Climate models generally assume a normal distribution rather than a fat tail distribution around the mean, thus ignoring the low probability high-impact events.

m)     International agreements such as the recent Paris climate pact and the global targets for sustainable development set goals for govts and political parties to enable nations and communities to address the risks the world faces in the medium and longer terms.

n)     We must address anticipated risks even before all our models become accurate enough to estimate every detail of climate extremes. Otherwise, we will reach thresholds beyond which making corrective improvements to deal with climate change may not yield the protection we need.

10.

Blowing bubbles may protect coral reefs (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Coral reefs

b)     Ocean acidification

 

a)     US researchers have found that blowing tiny bubbles through sea water could help protect coral reefs and oyster farms from oceans, which have increasingly turned acidic through human activities.

b)   The idea is that tiny bubbles will help cleanse the worlds oceans of CO2 by drawing the gas out of the seawater and transferring it to atmosphere. This may provide a relatively inexpensive solution to one of the biggest threats facing coral reefs today.

c)     Ocean acidification harms a variety of marine organisms, but especially those that use calcium carbonate to assemble their skeletons and shells, such as coral, mussels, and oysters.

11.

Sun may produce devastating superflares, say scientists (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Superflares

b)     Solar eruptions

c)     Kepler mission

a)     Scientists say the Sun is capable of producing monstrous eruptions or superflares that can not only break down radio communication and power supplies, but also affect Earths ability to support life.

b)     Earth is often struck by solar eruptions. These eruptions consist of energetic particles that are hurled away from the Sun into space, where those directed towards Earth encounter the magnetic field around our planet.

c)     When these eruptions interact with Earths magnetic field they cause beautiful auroras.

d)     When the Sun pours out gigantic amounts of hot plasma during large solar eruptions, it may have severe consequences on Earth. However, solar eruptions are nothing compared to the eruption we see on other stars, known as superflares.

e)     Superflares have been a mystery since the Kepler mission discovered them in larger numbers four years ago. The largest observed eruption took place in Sept 1859, where gigantic amounts of hot plasma from our neighbouring star struck Earth.

f)     Researchers used observations of magnetic fields on the surface of almost 100,000 stars to show that these superflares are likely formed via the same mechanism as solar flares.

g)     Evidence from geological archives has shown that the Sun might have produced a small superflare in 775 AD. 

12.

Giant planet found near Milky Ways bulge (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Milky Way

b)     Galaxy

a)     Researchers in the US (including one of Indian origin) have detected what appears to be a Saturn-like planet residing near the Milky Way galaxys bulge.

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