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Daily News Analysis 11-12-2014

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.

 

Putin, Modi to make joint appearance at Diamond Congress (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Russia relations

b)     Defence ties

c)     World Diamond Congress

a)     Diamonds (not defence and strategic ties) will be the highlight of the summit-level meetings between Russian President Putin and PM Modi.

b)     The two leaders will make a rare joint appearance at the World Diamond Congress where Modi is expected to announce measures for direct import of rough diamonds from Russia that will significantly reduce transaction costs for Indian traders.

c)     In addition, they will witness the announcement of a dozen deals with Russian state-controlled company Alrosa.

d)     The govt has already announced the setting up of a special economic zone for processing diamonds.

e)     The focus on diamonds marks a shift in previous annual summits between India and Russia that had been dominated by strategic cooperation, big defence deals and major energy agreements.

f)     The two countries are expected to sign 15 agreements in these fields.

2.

No compromise at WTO: Nirmala Sitharaman (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     WTO Bali agreement

b)     TFA

c)     FTA

d)     Doha Development Agenda

a)     Indian Official assured the Rajya Sabha that the govt would not compromise on national interests during WTO negotiations.

b)     She said the new decisions of the General Council were an improvement upon the Bali agreement which was imperfect.

c)     She said that under the new decisions, WTO members would not challenge the public stockholding programmes of developing countries for food security purposes which would remain in perpetuity until a permanent solution regarding the issue was agreed and adopted.

d)     Till a permanent solution was agreed and adopted, members shall not drag any member-country to the disputes resolution mechanism.

e)     She said de-linking the negotiations for a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security from the agriculture negotiations on other issues under the Doha Development Agenda would ensure priority and greater focus for a permanent solution.

f)     To a query on FTAs being entered into by India, the Minister said these were building blocks for the multilateral trade system to survive and continue.

g)     Referring to the issue of subsidies given by developed countries, she said India had been and would continue to raise this issue. 

3.

India seeks road map for commitments to climate fund (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Green Climate Fund (GCF)

b)     Climate change

c)     Carbon emissions

d)     Lima climate talks

e)     2005 Paris Conference

a)     While there is much happiness that fresh commitments to the GCF have taken it nearly to the $10-billion mark, concerns are being raised that the new draft text for negotiations is too mitigation-centric and financial commitments from developed countries are still below par.

b)     The push for countries to declare only mitigation targets implied that developing countries had lost the advantage when they go to Paris and they want financial commitments from the developed world for adaptation.

c)     Developed countries should say how much finances they would put forward but that was not happening and they needed to raise $100 billion by 2020 and that figure seemed very remote now.

d)     Union Minister of State for Environment called for a clear road map for funding while appreciating the contributions to the GCF.

e)     He lauded Germanys contribution of €55 million to the fund announced and suggested this could be the implementing arm of the GCF.

f)     He said the world would need to spend annually $600 billion to $1500 billion on climate actions and if there was no clear road map then outcomes would be sub optimal.

g)     He called for global investments in India from developed countries and said they should collectively tap their markets to complement funds for global climate actions.

4.

Trial run of Guwahati-Dhaka bus (Page 11)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Bangladesh relations

b)     Trade ties

 

a)     A technical survey to restore a 496-km-long historic road link between Guwahati and Dhaka (splitted during Partition) began.

b)     India and Bangladesh started the first bus service between Kolkata and Dhaka in 1995 and another one between Agartala and Dhaka in 2002.

c)     Officials said we hope the road connectivity between the two countries will promote and increase trade and commerce.

5.

Universal rights and universal violations (Page 9)

a)     International

a)     Universal rights

b)     Universal violations

c)     UNGA

d)     Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

e)     United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR)

f)     National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)

g)     National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

h)     The Protection of Human Rights Act 1993

 

a)     In 1948, the UNGA adopted the UDHR which stands as a signal for the international community on the standards it should set for the defence and promotion of human rights.

b)     The Declaration was drafted over a period of two years on the initiative of the UNCHR through members from various nationalities and political backgrounds.

c)     It was in keeping with the UDHR and the Paris Principles that countries across the world (including India) established their respective NHRIs.

d)     In India, the NHRC was established by The Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.

e)     Despite this wide array of human rights institutions, there continue to occur throughout the world widespread violations of human rights. 

f)     As we mark the 66th anniversary of the adoption of UDHR this year, disclosures of mass human rights violations have called into question the commitment of govts in guaranteeing the protection of fundamental rights and highlighted the need for greater accountability.

g)     This year, globally, we have witnessed continuing human rights violations such as executions, amputations, and lashings by terrorist groups, assassination of captured hostile groups by govts, mistreatment, violations and crimes committed during conflicts, among other rights abuses.

h)     The true test of good governance is the degree to which it delivers on the promise of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

i)     In India, the bulk of human rights problems that come forth for the consideration and intervention of the NHRC relate to cruel acts by the police and security forces, including extrajudicial killings, torture, rape and corruption at all levels of government.

j)     The worlds largest democracy is also focused by separatist violence, life-threatening prison and police custody conditions, sex trafficking, environmental destruction and a general environment of impunity. 

k)     In addition, issues of sustainable livelihood as well as social and political participation of vulnerable groups exist as a major problem.

l)     NHRIs across the world have been set up to constantly review and uphold the available safeguards for human rights protection. 

m)     They do so through the range of powers accorded to them including monitoring human rights violations, advising their govts on pertinent human rights concerns, establishing and maintaining relations with other regional and international organisations, promoting human rights education, while exercising their quasi-judicial powers.

n)     In order to exercise these powers, NHRIs have been provided a clearly defined and broad-based mandate, encompassing all human rights (civil, political, social, cultural, and economic). 

o)     It has the powers of a civil court while looking into cases of human rights violations. 

p)     There needs to be a concerted move towards consolidating the rights which have been won through painstaking efforts over the last few centuries.

q)     There is a need for individuals, communities and even govts to stand up against human rights abuses.

r)     The responsibility of the State to ensure universal access to human rights, guarantee a life of dignity and equal access to various public goods and services are further underscored by international human rights conventions to many of which India is a signatory.

6.

India last among BRICS in Web index (Page 20)

a)     I.R

a)     Web Index

b)     BRICS

c)     Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008

a)     India ranks behind China and other BRICS nations in a comprehensive index aimed at measuring the Internets contribution to social, economic and political progress.

b)     The Web Index released by the World Wide Web Foundation says though China is well known for its great Internet firewall, the nation is far ahead of India when it comes to translating the power of the Internet into economic potential.

c)     Indias low ranking among BRICS countries in the economic impact sub-index is especially stinging, coming as it does on the heels of the Delhi govts decision to ban all app-based taxi services.

d)     Indias Internet penetration rate is comparable to Nepal or Namibias and despite promises of a digital revolution, the Web is still inaccessible to a large area of the population.

7.

Government to decriminalise suicide bid (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Indian Penal Code (IPC)

b)     Section 309 of IPC 1860

 

a)     The Govt has decided to decriminalise attempt to suicide by scrapping it from the IPC.

b)     Section 309 of the IPC 1860 prescribes one year imprisonment and a fine if a person is found guilty of attempting to commit suicide.

c)      Replying to an unstarred question in the Rajya Sabha on the govts initiative to repeal Section 309, Minister of State for Home Affairs said the decision was taken after studying the feedback from States and UTs.

d)     The decision comes six years after the Law Commission of India recommended the repeal of Section 309 saying the act of taking ones own life should be treated as a manifestation of deep unhappiness rather than a penal offence.

8.

Nod for 49 percent FDI in insurance (Page 1)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008

b)     FDI

c)     Foreign portfolio investments

a)     Chairman of the Rajya Sabha Select Committee tabled the report on the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008, recommending a hike in FDI in insurance sector from 26 to 49 percent.

b)     The report incorporated Congress partys demand for a composite cap on such investments.

c)     The Union Cabinet that met late in the evening approved the incorporation of amendments suggested by a Parliamentary select panel in the Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill 2008.

d)     The report recommends that the composite cap of 49 percent be inclusive of all forms of FDI and foreign portfolio investments.

e)     Incremental equity should be ideally used for expansion of capital base so as to actually strengthen the insurance sector

9.

India to grow 5-6 percent in 2015: Moodys (Page 13)

a)     Economy

a)     GDP

b)     Moody

c)     Inflation

 

a)     Rating agency Moodys said that Indian economy is expected to pick up pace in 2015 and grow in the range of 5-6 percent, helped by strong domestic demand.

b)     It said the country had benefited from a strong domestic demand base and diversified export markets that gave protection from the effects of a slowing Chinese economy and muted growth in the eurozone and Japan.

c)     Employment and consumption are likely to rise in India and the fall in global commodity prices will help to lower high inflation in the country.

d)      As per official estimates, economic growth in the current fiscal ending March 2015 would be between 5.4 and 5.9 percent.

e)     The growth had decreased to sub-5 percent in the earlier two consecutive fiscals.

f)     It also projected that corporates would see improved cash flows on account of acceleration in manufacturing activity.

g)     However, Moodys outlook on the banking system remains negative as it expects poor asset quality to require continued provisioning and strengthened capital buffers.

10.

Satellite to assess Coral reef health (Page 15)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Coral reefs

b)     Coral bleaching

c)     Marine ecosystem

d)     Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS)

e)     Sea Surface Temperatures (SST)

f)     Coral Bleaching Alert System (CBAS)

g)     Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) sensor

h)     National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellites

 

a)      High-end satellite technology is coming to the aid of protecting earths largest biological structures - the coral reefs which have taken millions of years to form and are declining at alarming rates worldwide.

b)      Coral bleaching is one of the main reasons for increased deterioration of reef health.

c)     Corals are sensitive to changes in temperature and this aspect has come in handy for scientists to forewarn about the possibility of coral bleaching.

d)     When exposed to higher temperatures over an extended period of four to five weeks, the corals bleach and this in turn affects the marine ecosystem.    

e)     Scientists at the INCOIS are using satellite technology to glean data on SST.

f)     Based on an average temperature for a particular period, they assess if the coral reefs are facing thermal stress and forewarn about the probability of bleaching.

g)      Once they start bleaching, the corals expel the symbiotic organism (zooxanthellae) from which they derive food and die as a result.

h)      Exploiting the potential of satellite technology, INCOIS has started the CBAS for Indian coral reefs located in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and elsewhere in India.

i)      According to scientists at INCOIS, coral reef ecosystems have been declining at an alarming rate worldwide in recent decades.

j)    They said various parameters like SST climatology, bleaching HotSpot (HS) and Degree of Heating Weeks (DHWs) are used to generate the data by using the AVHRR sensor on-board NOAA satellites.

k)      INCOIS in collaboration with Space Application Centre carried out mapping of the coral reefs of India.

11.

Unmanned crew module to be tested (Page 15)

a)     S&T

a)     Unmanned crew module

b)     Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mark III

c)     Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1)

a)      The experimental flight of the GSLV Mark III (scheduled for Dec 18) will send the unmanned crew module on a suborbital trajectory with the latter splashing down in the Bay of Bengal about 21 minutes after the rocket lifts off from Sriharikota.

b)     Back in Jan 2007, ISRO had orbited a small 550-kg spacecraft SRE-1 that carried out remote-controlled experiments in the microgravity conditions of space.

c)     After 12 days in orbit, the spacecraft was successfully brought back, landing in the Bay of Bengal with remarkable precision.

d)     The 3.7-tonne crew module being tested next week will be the same size, shape and weight as the capsule that is being developed to accommodate up to three astronauts.

e)     The crew module carries sensors that will make measurements of over 200 parameters during the flight including the temperature, pressure and stress experienced at various points in the structure.

f)     After separation from the GSLV Mark III, six liquid-propellant thrusters on the crew module will be used to correct any disturbances that occur during separation and bring the capsule down at the correct angle for re-entry into the atmosphere.

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