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Daily News Analysis 10-12-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

India – Israel FTA talks may resume soon (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Israel relations

b)     Free Trade Agreement (FTA)

a)     Israel Ambassador expressed the hope that negotiations for a FTA with India will resume soon.

b)     Towards underscoring the significance attached to the proposed FTA, he pointed out how it figured in the discussion PM of India and Israel had in New York in Sept and subsequently during the very, very successful visit of Home Minister to Israel.

d)     He said the issue of FTA is definitely on the table.

2.

Russia-Pakistan ties in Indias long-term interest: Putin (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     India-Russia strategic partnership

c)     Kudankulam nuclear reactor plant

a)     Russian President Putin (who is set to land here for the annual India-Russia summit) says Russias cooperation with Pakistan will serve the long-term interests of India.

b)     He also said the scope of the agreement signed last month (which was the first of its kind between Russia and Pakistan) is limited.

c)     Regarding Pakistan, we have held talks on Russias possible assistance aimed at improving the counter-terrorism and anti-drug operations.

d)     He said this kind of cooperation serves the long-term interests of all countries of the region including India.

e)     Removing aside concerns that the cooperation would lead to a shift in India-Russia ties (or Indias growing military closeness to the US was transforming bilateral ties), he replied that if some transformations take place; it would be a completely different kind of transformation. 

f)     He listed nuclear energy cooperation as a pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership.

g)     He said the Kudankulam plant built by Russia as the worlds only nuclear power plant which meets all the post-Fukushima safety requirements.

h)     Strategic Vision of the Strengthening Russian-Indian Cooperation in the Field of Peaceful Uses of the Atomic Energy would be signed during the visit.

i)     The Russian President said he awaits Indias decision on allotting the site for a new Russian-designed nuclear power plant as well.

3.

For a warmer Russian bear hug (Page 8)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)    Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

c)     Bilateral trade

d)     Ukrain trade

e)     Russia – China agreements

a)     The new Indian PM was moved to the head of a long queue of waiting foreign dignitaries and introduced to the Russian leader. 

b)     Putins visit comes against the backdrop of a challenging strategic and domestic context.

c)     The crisis in Ukraine continues to remain.

d)     The Russian President is being no more hypocritical than the US when he couches his actions in the language of humanitarianism or religious belief. 

e)     The economic impact of sanctions has been considerably accentuated by a coincidental trend - the collapse in global oil prices.

f)     The economic projection is very serious - inflation and economic slowdown loom on the horizon.

g)     Financial instability could have serious domestic political consequences. Putins ratings remain high but the fall in oil prices and inaccessibility of foreign capital could erode his standing.

h)     The model of managed democracy instituted by him was made possible by the world market for Russias natural resources. 

i)     It is hardly surprising that Russia is leaning heavily towards China.

j)     During Putins visit to Shanghai earlier this year, the two countries signed a contract worth nearly $400 billion whereby Russia would supply gas to China over the next 30 years.

k)     The Chinese Premiers subsequent trip to Moscow resulted in an array of agreements in energy, banking and transportation among other areas.

l)     The defence relationship between Moscow and Beijing also looks set to deepen if only because Russia would want to reduce Chinas dependence on Ukraines defence industry.

m)     On the one hand, the international and domestic challenges confronting Russia provide an opportunity to deepen the relationship.

n)     On the other hand, it is important to ensure that these challenges do not compel Russia to act in ways that might affect on Indias interests.

o)     It has cut no words in stating that India and Russia share similar views on a range of issues including the need to defuse cold-war like tensions.

p)     Unless economic relations are increased, strategic ties cannot be strengthened.

q)     Bilateral trade between India and Russia currently stands at around $6 billion.

r)     Setting up a joint study group to look into the feasibility of CECA needs to be given a push at the highest levels.

s)     A gas pipeline deal (amounting maybe to $40 billion) is also in the works and may be announced when he is in India.

t)     All these are essential to ensure that our economic ties with Russia go beyond the purchase of military hardware.

u)     The future of Afghanistan must be an area of common concern. 

v)     India is keen to ensure that Afghanistan does not become a hub for terrorists from the region and beyond.

w)     Russia is more concerned about the problem of drugs flowing from Afghanistan.

x)     It is worth recalling that the strategic partnership between New Delhi and Moscow came into being during the Cold War due to their shared concerns about Beijing. 

y)     Both India and Russia have significantly improved their bilateral ties with China. 

z)     India must work to ensure that Moscow plays its role in facilitating the emergence of a balanced security architecture in Asia.

4.

Bhutan, not India, first recognised Bangladesh (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     India – Bangladesh relations

b)     Bhutan – Bangladesh relations

c)     Bangladesh Independence

 

 

a)     Putting an end to decades old speculation on the issue, Bangladeshs Foreign Office has said Bhutan and not India was the first to recognise Bangladesh as an independent nation.

b)     Official said both Bhutan and India had recognised Bangladesh as an independent country on Dec 6 1971 but Thimphus announcement came hours ahead of Indias official recognition.

c)     Dhaka was liberated by joint forces of India and Bangladesh on Dec 16 with the unconditional surrender of Pakistani troops.

d)     The clarification came as many debated over the years on whether Bhutan followed Indias footstep in recognising Bangladesh as an independent country.

e)     Indias recognition came three days after India-Pakistan war broke out on Dec 3 following the pre-emptive Pakistani air attack on Indian territory.

f)     Bangladesh won its independence on Dec 16 after nine months of Liberation War against Pakistan.

5.

Bullet trains success fires Chinas nuclear export drive (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Chinas nuclear export drive

b)     Carbon footprint

c)     Fukushima nuclear disaster 2011

 

a)     After successfully competing for high-speed rail links abroad, China now wants to develop world class nuclear technology - a move that would not only lighten its carbon footprint but also help it emerge as a major exporter of atomic power.

b)     Last week, China decided to set up an undisclosed number of shore-based nuclear power plants, lifting the ban on new ventures that was imposed in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

c)     Currently, China runs 21 nuclear power reactors, generating 19,095 MW of power. 

d)     It is estimated that China would need to set up another 13 reactors if it is to meet its 2020 target of generating 58 GW of atomic power.

e)     The post-Fukushima drive for nuclear energy has been significantly urged by the clean-energy target set by President Xi , who had announced that China is focusing on peaking its emissions by 2030 before its carbon footprint begins to slide.

f)     Nuclear power generation has come into sharper focus because of some of the problems that China has recently encountered with renewables. 

g)     On Dec 4, China and South Africa signed a financing framework agreement for the construction of a new nuclear power plant in South Africa, as well as an agreement on nuclear personnel training.

6.

WTO rules against US import duties on Indian steel products (Page 15)

a)     International

b)     Economy

a)     Indias exports to US

b)     Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM)

c)     Countervailing Duty (CVD)

d)    WTO

a)     The WTO has ruled against the US imposing high duty on imports of certain Indian steel products, an order by India as a significant victory that will help domestic manufacturers and exporters.

b)     The Appellate Body of the WTO has ruled that the high duty imposed by the US on the certain Indian steel imports was inconsistent with various provisions of the ASCM.

c)     India has achieved a significant victory at the WTO, as the Appellate Body held that the CVD measures imposed by the US against certain hot-rolled carbon steel flat products are inconsistent with various provisions of the ASCM.

d)     The implication of this ruling is that the US has to amend its domestic law to be WTO compliant.

e)     It has significant trade impact for India as out of the current 10 products on which US has imposed CVD, about seven products suffer from the same inconsistency.

7.

What carbon space have you given us, asks Javadekar (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Lima climate talks

b)     2015 Paris conference

c)     Kyoto Protocol

d)     Intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs)

e)     Common but Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR)

f)     BASIC

 

a)     Both India and the US stuck to their stand on the differentiation of countries according to the Kyoto Protocol which had clear divisions for the developed countries as annexe one and developing countries as non annexe one.

b)     Union Minister of State for Environment said that this differentiation should remain as it is.

c)     India is not in favour of rewriting the Protocol to change the categorisation of countries, he pointed out in a clear indication that historical responsibilities of the developed countries would continue to be a determining factor in funding adaptation and technology transfer.

d)     The BASIC group of countries will meet this week and he said the countries were all on the same page on several issues.

e)     They also agreed that (INDCs should have a strong adaptation focus.

f)     BASIC also wants developed countries to make more meaningful financial contributions.

g)     He said that new climate legislation in India would include a review of laws on forest, wildlife, environment, water and air and proposed amendments to make the laws and rules transparent.

h)     He also highlighted the fact that India would not accept a review of its climate targets in a bilateral meeting with the head of the delegation of the US.

i)     An official statement said they discussed issues related to the INDCs, pre-2020 ambitions and elements of the 2015 agreements including mitigation, adaptation, technology transfer framework and capacity building. 

j)     He said the principle of CBDR should be at the heart of the Paris Agreement. 

8.

India a moderate performer: report (Page 10)

a)     International

b)     Environment

a)     Climate change

b)     Carbon emissions

c)     Climate Change Performance Index 2015

a)     According to a report released at climate negotiations, India has been named a moderate-performing country in combating climate change with Australia being the worst.

b)     India was ranked 31.

c)     Climate Change Performance Index 2015 report said that India climbs five places and continues to profit from the very low level of per capita emissions but overall CO2 emissions have risen constantly over the past five years to about 40 percent.

c)     Australia was the worst performing industrial country in terms of climate change in 2014.

d)     The Climate Change Performance Index ranks emissions and climate policies of the 58 highest CO2 emitters worldwide.

e)     It ranked Denmark as the best performing nation, followed by Sweden and the UK. Saudi Arabia ranked last on the index. 

9.

No room for complacency (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza A(H5N1)  

a)     Though India is one of the six countries where the H5N1 is considered endemic in poultry and several places in Kerala are favourite destinations for migratory birds, the State remained outbreak-free until recently.

b)     Most of the outbreaks since 2006 have been in West Bengal and the northeastern States, primarily due to cross-border transport of infected birds from Bangladesh - a hot-spot for H5N1 outbreaks.

c)     The H5N1 virus has infected seven people and killed one in Bangladesh between 2003 and 2013.

d)     Domestic ducks (which have long been recognised as one of the primary reservoirs of the virus) are responsible for the spread and outbreaks of H5N1.

e)     According to some studies, unlike in the case of chicken, disease presentation in ducks depends on the H5N1 subtype and the bird species; the way the immune system responds to the virus infection in the two birds is vastly different.

f)     While most subtypes of H5N1 cause severe disease in chicken and kill nearly all of them, even clinical manifestation of infection is absent when certain species of ducks are infected with particular virus subtypes.

g)     Unlike chicken (which die), ducks not only turn out to be perfect hosts for the virus to survive but also provide an ideal environment for diversity to emerge through genetic reassortment of the virus.

h)     As of now, H5N1 infection in humans is sporadic and human-to-human transmission has not been reported.

10.

Curious case of the Mars mountain solved (Page 12)

a)     S&T

a)     Mount Sharp

b)     Red planet

c)     Martian soil

d)     Curiosity

e)     NASA

 

a)     According to NASA scientists (who have been studying observations from the Curiosity rover scouring the Red Planet), a mountain on Mars may have built up over time from lake sediments.

b)     The latest analysis is based on rocks discovered at the lower edges of Mount Sharp, which is located in the midst of a crater on Earths neighbouring planet.

c)     While scientists are still not sure how long Mars was wet for any given spell through history, a great surprise was finding sloped rocks and soil that point to the existence of a lake bed in the crater.

d)     Curiositys pictures and data collected from the Martian soil in the lowest sedimentary layers of Mount Sharp has helped scientists see the remnants of how rivers once carried sand and silt to the lake, depositing sediment at the mouth of the river. 

e)     Billions of years ago, the planet is believed to have been much warmer with a thicker atmosphere that would have supported liquid water and potentially some form of life.

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