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Daily News Analysis 21-04-2016

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Special significance for ties with India: China (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)    Going beyond a conversation on the borders, Special Representatives of India and China on the boundary question sought to align perceptions on a string of topics that ranged from rebalancing trade, the situation in Afghanistan to Indias security concerns over the CPEC.

2.

Pranab to visit Beijing in last week of May (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a sign of suddenly accelerated contact between India and China, President Pranab Mukherjee will travel to Beijing at the end of May.

3.

Modi to visit US in June (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the US for a bilateral summit with President Barack Obama in June, most likely on the 7th and 8th.

4.

One handshake among many (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India-US defence cooperation has grown enormously in the past decade - but it should be seen exclusive of Indias outreach to other countries.

5.

India not obstructionist at RCEP, says Commerce Ministry (Page12)

a)     International

a)     India was one of the first countries to have submitted its offers on Goods, Services and Investments in line with the RCEP Ministerial mandate even before the last RCEP Round in Brunei held in February 2016.

6.

Obama holds talks with Saudi King Salman (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     President Obama held talks with Saudi Arabias King Salman on April 20 as he began a two-day visit hoping to ease tensions with the historic US ally.

7.

India ranked low in Press Freedom Index (Page 20)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     India ranks an abysmally low at 133 among 180 countries in the latest annual World Press Freedom Index, which says Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems indifferent to the threats against journalists.

8.

Even Presidents decision can go terribly wrong, says HC (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     On the last day of hearing on a petition challenging the imposition of Presidents Rule in Uttarakhand, a Division Bench of the High Court told the Centre that though the President decided to impose Central rule, his decision was open to judicial review.

9.

Three-judge SC Bench to decide on remission in Rajiv case (Pg 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will soon decide whether the seven life-term convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case deserve to be released after spending 23 years behind bars.

10.

Hotter, longer, deadlier summers (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     As climate change gathers pace, policy intervention is required across three sectors - health, water and power.

11.

Spanish island vying for 100 percent clean energy (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Pines and pineapples vie for space on El Hierro, a tiny rugged Canary island that has gone all out to produce all its electricity from renewables, attracting global attention in the process.

12.

Coral bleaching hits 93 percent of Great Barrier Reef (Page 20)

a)     Geography

a)     Scientists said that Australias Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Special significance for ties with India: China (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     Terrorism

d)     Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)

e)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

 

a) Going beyond a conversation on the borders, Special Representatives of India and China on the boundary question sought to align perceptions on a string of topics that ranged from rebalancing trade, the situation in Afghanistan to Indias security concerns over CPEC.

b)     Highly placed sources clarified that while terrorism was on the agenda, Ajit Doval (Indias Special Representative to the 19th round of boundary talks) was not expected to focus specifically on recent Masood Azhar controversy in talks with his counterpart Yang Jiechi.

c)    China had recently opposed Indias bid at the UN to list JeM chief Masood Azhar on a global terror list.

2.

Pranab to visit Beijing in last week of May (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – China relations

b)     Boundary disputes

c)     China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

a)     In a sign of suddenly accelerated contact between India and China, President Pranab Mukherjee will travel to Beijing at the end of May.

b)    The trip will be expected to indicate India and Chinas desire to put some of tensions of the past few months behind them.

c)     The tensions, which have been spurred mainly by Chinas relations with Pakistan, the CPEC and its support at the UN on the issue of Masood Azhars designation as a terrorist, as well as by Indias ties with the US and the recent moves to coordinate naval and military manoeuvres during the US Defence Secretarys visit, had meant a strain in ties since PM Modis visit to China last May.

3.

Modi to visit US in June (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Space cooperation

c)     Cyber security and nuclear commerce

d)     NASA

a)     PM Modi will travel to the US for a bilateral summit with President Obama in June, most likely on the 7th and 8th.

b)     Ocean economy, space cooperation, cyber security and nuclear commerce are likely issues that the top leaders will discuss, but there is no finality yet on the dates or the agenda.

c)    Modi may also visit NASA during his visit and some new initiatives are likely to be announced during the visit.

d)     A commercial agreement between Westinghouse Electric and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd to build six nuclear reactors in Gujarat could also be finalised during the PMs visit. 

4.

One handshake among many (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Defence cooperation

c)     Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA)

d)     Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI)

e)     US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act

f)     Make in India initiative

g)     Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)

h)     South China Sea dispute

 

a)     On the eve of his visit to India earlier this month, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter indicated that his ambition was to bring the two countries ever closer in the sphere of defence cooperation through a handshake that was both strategic in its quality and technology-driven in its accent.

b)     A clear signal of both sides cooperative intent came in the form of an announcement that the LEMOA would be signed in the forthcoming weeks or months.

c)     Yet, the paucity of actual, production-line-based collaborative initiatives under DTTI (which in a hypothetical world would tie in neatly with PM Modis Make in India initiative) is a testament to need for more trust and willingness to be accommodative towards a partner.

d)     For example, while he was in India last week, Carter spoke of his desire to advance consultations on cooperation over the joint development of aircraft carriers and jet fighter technology. In addition to LEMOA, two pathfinder projects were announced, to co-develop a Digital Helmet Mounted Display; and so was a Joint Biological Tactical Detection System.

e)     However, going by the plodding pace of four other such pathfinder projects outlined during US President Obamas visit to India in January 2015, it may be unwise to expect the two announced during Carters visit to result in actual production kicking off any time in the near future.

f)   Of the initial four pathfinder projects agreements, only two were signed in August 2015, the Next Generation Protective Ensemble protective suit for soldiers confronted by nuclear, chemical or biological warfare, and the Mobile Electric Hybrid Power Source.

g)     While some discussions under DTTI have slowed or stalled owing to Washingtons inability, for a variety of reasons, to meet Indias hopes and expectations for sharing sensitive technologies and others have paused to come to grips with Indias offset rules under latest DPP, there appears to be rising frustration all round at crawling pace of progress.

h)     Further signalling the high level of priority accorded to collaborating with New Delhi, the US Congress introduced a resolution last month, the US-India Defence Technology and Partnership Act, which places India on a par with its NATO allies in terms of trade and technology transfer, specifically elevating its status as a defence export market.

i)     It is the realm of maritime security cooperation, in which space the Carter visit saw the announcement of numerous steps forward, including Indias sustained multi-year commitment to participating in the RIMPAC multilateral naval exercise; a promise to expeditiously conclude a white shipping technical arrangement to improve data sharing on commercial shipping traffic; and an agreement to commence Navy-to-Navy discussions on submarine safety and anti-submarine warfare.

j)     If India is guided by its Act East policy and the US by its Asia-Pacific rebalance, then it should hardly be a surprise that both countries converge strongly on the question of safeguarding maritime security in the South China Sea.

k)    Similar to last year, the joint statement by Carter and Parrikar this time reaffirmed the commitment of both Foggy Bottom and South Block to ensuring freedom of navigation and overflight throughout the region, including in the South China Sea, adding that the two nations vowed their support for a rules-based order and regional security architecture conducive to peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean.

l)     It is significant that after visiting India Carters next stop was in the Philippines, which not only came on the heels of US announcing new military aid to Manila despite protests from Beijing but also included a visit by the Defence Secretary to USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier afloat somewhere in the South China Sea.

m)     It is probably a universal truth that not only the US but every other nation seeking to partner with India must appreciate that India may gladly offer a strategic handshake, but it will only be one handshake among many.

5.

India not obstructionist at RCEP, says Commerce Ministry (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

b)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

c)     Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

d)     Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

 

 

a)     Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that it is important to put in perspective Indias constructive engagement in RCEP negotiations.

b)     India was one of the first countries to have submitted its offers on Goods, Services and Investments in line with the RCEP Ministerial mandate even before the last RCEP Round in Brunei held in February 2016.

c)     Indias prompt offer was highly appreciated by all the RCEP member countries. In fact, several other RCEP countries initial offers on Goods have fallen short of the agreed Basic Concept on Initial Offer thresholds and they have been urged to improve their offers to enable negotiations move forward.

d)     In the Services Chapter, India has made a proposal to raise the ambition level of initial offers by setting numerical benchmarks. Such an approach is essential to ensure balance between Goods and Services so as to harness the full potential of RCEP.

6.

Obama holds talks with Saudi King Salman (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Saudi Arabia relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Syria crisis

d)     Islamic State

 

a)     President Obama held talks with Saudi Arabias King Salman on April 20 as he began a two-day visit hoping to ease tensions with historic US ally.

b)     Riyadh and its Sunni Arab Gulf allies have bristled at what they see as Washingtons tilt towards regional rival Iran after Tehrans landmark nuclear deal with world powers.

c)     Obama is to attend a summit of Gulf leaders on April 21 focused on intensifying the fight against the Islamic State group and resolving the wars in Syria in Yemen.

7.

India ranked low in Press Freedom Index (Page 20)

a)     International

b)     National

a)     World Press Freedom Index

a)     India ranks an abysmally low at 133 among 180 countries in the latest annual World Press Freedom Index, which says PM Modi seems indifferent to the threats against journalists.

b)     The 2016 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders is led by Finland, which retained its top spot for the sixth consecutive year, followed by the Netherlands and Norway.

c)   Among Indias neighbouring countries, Pakistan ranks 147, Sri Lanka (141), Afghanistan (120), Bangladesh (144), Nepal (105) and Bhutan (94). China is ranked 176. The United States is ranked 44th and Russia is placed at the 148th place.

d)     The report shows that there has been a deep and disturbing decline in respect for media freedom at both the global and regional levels.

8.

Even Presidents decision can go terribly wrong, says HC (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Uttarakhand political crisis

b)     Presidents Rule

c)     Article 356 of the Constitution

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

f)     Judicial review

a)     On the last day of hearing on a petition challenging the imposition of Presidents Rule in Uttarakhand, a Division Bench of the High Court told the Centre that though the President decided to impose Central rule, his decision was open to judicial review.

b)     Chief Justice K.M. Joseph said that the power of judicial review is with courts. It cannot be with the President. In earlier times, courts would not interfere in a Presidents decision. Theres nothing such as non-reviewability or absolute power these days.

c)     The Chief Justice said he hoped the Centre will not provoke us by revoking Article 356 before the verdict.

9.

Three-judge SC Bench to decide on remission in Rajiv case (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Rajiv Gandhi assassination case

b)     Death penalty

c)     Section 435 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC)

d)     Supreme Court

e)     High Court

f)     CJI

a)     A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court will soon decide whether the seven life-term convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case deserve to be released after spending 23 years behind bars.

b)  The development comes just four months after a Constitution Bench led by the then CJI H.L. Dattu interpreted the law to hold that States cannot unilaterally remit the sentences of life convicts in a case investigated by the CBI without permission from the Centre.

c)     Interpreting Section 435 of the CrPC dealing with remissions of life convicts, the majority judgment of the Constitution Bench said the word consultation in provision actually meant concurrence. The Bench had ruled that consultation with the Centre in cases of heinous crimes should not be an empty formality as national interest was at stake.

10.

Hotter, longer, deadlier summers (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Climate change

b)     Global warming

c)     Global Climate Change Risk Assessment

d)     India Meteorological Department (IMD)

e)     Heat-Health Warning Systems (HHWS)

f)     National Action Plan on Climate Change and Health

a)     According to the author, climate change is expected to cause an increase in the frequency and intensity of heatwaves. For India, 2015 was the third hottest year on record (since 1901) and the heat claimed over 2000 lives.

b)     This year, the IMD has issued warnings for northwest and central India (Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, eastern Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand) about heatwaves happening sooner than in previous years.

c)     Adverse health outcomes are a complex interaction of frequency, duration and intensity of a heatwave and population-level factors, which include acclimatisation to the temperature profile of certain geography, poverty, lack of shelter, pre-existing disease, age (children or elderly) and access to health facilities.

d)  A joint study by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar found that about 345 districts in India are following a trajectory where average temperatures are likely to rise more than 2 degree C by the end of the century.

e)     The same study also finds that over the next three decades, India may experience increase in annual mean air temperatures of 1 degree C-1.5 degree C and substantial increases in night-time temperatures.

f)     Findings from the first Global Climate Change Risk Assessment highlight that hotter summers make it extremely unsafe for citizens (especially labourers) to undertake heavy outdoor work. Of course, there remain associated impacts such as higher risks of crop failure.

g)     If hotter, longer and deadlier summers are to be the new normal under a changing climate, proactive adaptation measures are required. This implies policy intervention and coordination across 3 sectors - health, water and power.

h)     First, scale up heat-health warning systems. At their core, such warning systems include providing weather forecasts in advance, issuing warnings to people, providing readiness of emergency response systems, and preparing doctors and health facilities to handle a sudden influx of patients.

i)     Second, expedite the rollout of the National Action Plan on Climate Change and Health that was launched last year. Preventing temperature-related morbidity and mortality could be a key programme under this mission.

j)     Third, ensure an adequate supply of water. Dehydration is a key outcome of heat exposure which can cascade into life-threatening conditions and ultimately death. Timely access to drinking water can help mitigate this escalation.

k)     Fourth, provide reliable electricity for adequate duration. Access to cool environments remains the mainstay of preventing heat stress. Use of fans, air conditioners or functioning of medical centres is contingent upon electricity supply.

l)     In rural areas, where electricity access is a challenge, supplementing power supply of primary health centres with solar-based systems should be undertaken. Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Tripura have already deployed such systems.

m)     Finding policy alignment and coordination across these sectors remains a daunting, yet much needed exercise.

11.

Spanish island vying for 100 percent clean energy (Page 20)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     El Hierro island

b)     UNESCO biosphere reserve

c)     Tenerife island

d)     Malta island

a)     Pines and pineapples vie for space on El Hierro, a tiny rugged Canary island that has gone all out to produce all its electricity from renewables, attracting global attention in the process.

b)     With its rugged coastline of great black volcanic cliffs, badland moonscapes and ancient forests, the island (which is slightly smaller than Malta) is a UNESCO biosphere reserve, an area designated to promote its biodiversity and sustainable use.

c)     El Hierros aim initially was to cover 100 percent of its electricity needs within a few months - an objective that has still not been achieved nearly two years on.

12.

Coral bleaching hits 93 percent of Great Barrier Reef (Page 20)

a)     Geography

a)     Coral bleaching

b)     Coral reefs

c)     Great Barrier Reef

d)     Photosynthetic algae

e)     El Nino

a) Scientists said that Australias Great Barrier Reef is suffering its worst coral bleaching in recorded history with 93 percent of the World Heritage site affected, as they revealed the phenomenon is also hitting the other side of the country.

b)     Bleaching occurs when abnormal environmental conditions (such as warmer sea temperatures) cause corals to expel tiny photosynthetic algae, draining them of their colour.

c)     Corals can recover if the water temperature drops and the algae are able to recolonise them, but scientists warned last year that the warming effects of a El Nino weather pattern could result in a mass global bleaching event. 

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