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Daily News Analysis 19-12-2014








Co2 emissions at all-time high in 2013 (Page 18)

a)     I.R

a)     Climate change

b)     Co2 emissions

c)     Greenhouse gases 

a)     A new report says global co2 emissions from burning of fossil fuels and production of cement reached a high of 35.3 billion tonnes in 2013, mainly due to the continuing steady increase in energy use in emerging economies such as India.

b)     Brazil (6.2 percent), India (4.4 percent), China (4.2 percent) and Indonesia (2.3 percent) reported a sharp rise in emissions of the greenhouse gas that year.

c)     The global emissions increased at a notably slower rate of 2 percent than the average yearly 3.8 percent since 2003.

d)     The slowdown (which began in 2012) signals a further decoupling of global emissions and economic growth, mainly reflecting the lower emissions growth rate of China.

e)     China, US and EU remain the top three emitters of carbon dioxide, accounting for 29 percent, 15 percent and 11 percent respectively of the worlds total.

f)     After years of a steady decline, the emissions of the gas by the US grew by 2.5 percent in 2013, mainly due to a shift in power production from gas back to coal and an increase in gas consumption for space heating.

g)     The much lower increase in emissions in China was primarily due to a decline in electricity and fuel demand from the basic materials industry and aided by an increase in renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency.

h)     With the present annual growth rate, China has returned to the lower annual growth rates that it experienced before its economic growth started to accelerate in 2003, when its annual co2 emissions increased on average by 12 percent a year.


GSLV Mark-III takes to the skies in test flight (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     GSLV Mark-III

b)     Crew-module atmospheric re-entry experiment (CARE)

c)     Crew module

d)     Satish Dhawan Space Centre


a)     The first experimental flight of the GSLV Mark III registered success as it lifted off from the second launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, taking India much closer to realising the dream of manned space flight.

b)     The GSLV Mark III moved a step closer to its first development flight with the functional C25 cryogenic stage.

c)     Also known as LVM3/CARE, the suborbital experimental mission was intended to test the vehicles performance during the critical atmospheric phase of its flight and this carried a passive (non-functional) cryogenic upper stage.

d)     The vehicle carried its payload (the 3,775-kg CARE) to the intended height of 126 km.

e)     With the module gently landing in the Andaman Sea (about 1600 km from Sriharikota), the GSLV Mark-III X/CARE mission concluded successfully. 


Maldives joins Silk Road Project (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Maritime Silk Road Project

b)     China – Maldives relations

c)     Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation

d)     Maritime security

e)     US Pivot to Asia

a)     The Maldives has joined Chinas 21st Century Maritime Silk Road project, becoming the second nation in Indias backyard after Sri Lanka to sign up for the multi-billion infrastructure scheme floated by Beijing to firm-up its influence in the region.

b)     The Maldives joined the project (a brainchild of Chinese President Xi) this week.

c)     The MoU was signed after the first-ever meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade and Economic Cooperation was held.


US-Cuba historic detente wins global plaudits (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     US-Cuba relations

b)     US-Cuba deadlock

c)     US trade ban


a)     Pope Francis led a chorus of global praise for breakthrough in US-Cuban relations, welcomed as historic in Europe and South America.

b)     In a personal overthrow for the Pope, it emerged that the Vatican had played a central role in bringing together the global capitalist superpower and the small communist island.

c)     The Argentine Pope sent warm congratulations to the former enemy for overcoming the difficulties which have marked their recent history.

d)     The Vatican said the Pope had appealed to US President Obama and his Cuban counterpart to end the deadlock, offering negotiators his offices in October and giving the way for solutions acceptable to both parties.

e)     The goal of increased US engagement in the days and years ahead should be to encourage real and lasting reforms for the Cuban people. 

f)     Canadian PM noted that his country (which never broke off ties with Cuba) had also played its part by hosting the first secret talks in 2013 and welcomed the overdue development.

g)     The EU (which is itself moving to normalise ties with Cuba) welcomed the announcement as a historical turning point.


UN sends team to clean up Sundarbans oil spill (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Oil spill

b)     Subdarbans

c)     Mangrove forest

d)     United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC)

e)     Irrawaddy

f)     Ganges dolphins

a)     The UN said that it has sent a team of international experts to Bangladesh to help clean up the worlds largest mangrove forest, more than a week after it was hit by a huge oil spill.

b)     Thousands of litres of oil have fell into the protected Sundarbans mangrove area (home to rare Irrawaddy and Ganges dolphins) after a tanker collided with another vessel last week.

c)     A team from the UNDAC has arrived in the capital Dhaka to support Bangladeshs cleanup efforts of the oil spill in the Sundarbans.

d)     The UN team will help in the ground work in coordination with the govt and will also conduct an assessment and advise on recovery and risk reduction measures.


Rise in global inequality (Page 8)

a)     International

b)     Social issue

a)     Global inequality

b)     International Labour Organisation (ILO)

c)     Wage inequalities

d)     Household income inequalities

a)     The findings from the latest ILO report on real wages point to a mix of proactive initiatives and policy paralysis in different contexts.

b)     The study notes that continuing reduction in the growth of global real wages and discriminatory pay gaps based on gender and nationality could sharpen household income inequalities.

c)     A most striking finding is that labour productivity growth exceeded increases in real wage between 1999 and 2013 in the advanced economies.

d)     Globally in 2013, wages adjusted for inflation grew on average 0.2 percent less a month than in the year before to 2 percent.

e)     The world average for the preceding two years drops by nearly a half if the progress achieved by China is discounted.

f)     The nearly 6 percent growth in real wages for Asia and Eastern Europe vis-a-vis the less than 1 percent increase in Latin America and the Caribbean point to sharp regional variations.

g)     The distribution of wages also significantly influences differing levels of inequality.

h)     Wage gaps and job losses accounted for a 90 and 140 percent increase in inequality in Spain and the US respectively.

i)     These are countries among advanced economies with the maximum increase in inequality between the top and bottom 10 percent of the population.

j)     An increase in wages would impact on the cost of production, profitability and competitiveness of firms.

k)     But at the macro-level, wage stagnation also feeds into a decrease in domestic consumption, investment and exports.

l)     Based on its effectiveness in the developing and advanced countries, the ILO recommends that a minimum wage floor should be set in a manner that balances the needs of workers and their families with broader economic factors.

m)     Collective bargaining is the other key institution that has a proven record of narrowing wage inequalities, subject of course to the extent to which employees are covered under such bodies.


A significant achievement (Page 8)

a)     National

b)     S&T

a)     GSLV Mark-III

b)     Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE)

c)     Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)

d)     Soviet Soyuz spacecraft

e)     ISRO

a)     It has been a wonderful year for the ISRO.

b)     The successful launch of Mangalyaan into Mars orbit on Sept 24 on its attempt was the crowning fame.

c)     On Dec 18, the space organisation followed it up with another success with the first experimental launch of a GSLV Mark III vehicle and the safe splashdown of an unmanned crew module in the Bay of Bengal off the Andaman and Nicobar Islands after re-entry into the atmosphere.

d)     These two achievements best exemplify the maturing of the Indian space programme and its capability to take the countrys space missions to greater heights.

e)     The experimental flight of GSLV Mark III carrying a CARE as its payload is remarkable for a few reasons.

f)     Unlike PSLV launches, GSLV launch history has been trouble-prone.

g)     Making it all the more challenging is the fact that the GSLV Mark III vehicle is heavier, taller and more advanced than others.

h)     The space organisation is confident of launching in two years a developmental flight of this vehicle with a fully operational cryogenic engine.

i)     Thirty long years after Rakesh Sharma became the first Indian to travel into space aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft, India has now come a step closer to realising its long dream of sending humans into space with the successful test flight of GSLV Mark III and the safe splashdown of the unmanned crew module.

j)     The primary objective of the current mission was to test the new design of the rocket, particularly at the time of lift-off and passage through the atmosphere.

k)     The fact that there was little deviation from the flight path during its entire course till it reached an altitude of 126 km, was proof that the two large solid boosters fired simultaneously at take-off.

l)     Also, the vehicle withstood the atmospheric loading as it travelled through the atmosphere.

m)     Tall and heavy rockets encounter greater atmospheric loading than smaller vehicles.


The changing face of history (Page 9)

a)     History

a)     History

b)     Mythology

c)     Positivist/Marxist conviction

d)     Globalisation

e)     Modernity

a)     During the 18th, 19th and much of the 20th century, History was dominated by the Positivist or Marxist paradigm which had placed an objective reality out there open to recovery through incremental knowledge of facts which would ultimately reveal the truth. 

b)     Over the decades the realisation grew that unlike the facts of the natural sciences which are given and immutable, social facts resulting from human action are adaptable.

c)     History as a social science does not have the luxury of a single Truth but diverse truths open to a variety of interpretations.

d)     The Positivist/Marxist conviction began to give way to confusions in the last quarter of the twentieth century, which in turn opened up difficult areas of study beyond the hard facts of battles, coronations, depositions and trade figures.

e)     Evolving codes of human behaviour absorbed through daily lived experience, moral dimensions existing in religions, mythologies and cultures, changing images of the past including origin myths and changing perceptions of time and space and much more called out to the historian for attention.

f)     For ages the assumption that the West was the driver of the universe we inhabit was a given, that the modern world was what the West had made it and it got reflected in the view of the past globally.

g)     That Globalisation and Modernity were given to humanity by the West was taken for granted.

h)     Instead of a Eurocentric history, the consensus among professional historians all around is that the world we inhabit was made up of contributions from all societies, civilisations and cultures throughout the past, whether in the debate of crops, techniques, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, ideas, cultural mores, whatever.

i)     The study of mythologies of different societies and cultures brings to the surface a whole range of values they had absorbed over the millennia underneath the overarching good vs evil syndrome. 

j)     The Positivist postulate of mythology as implicitly imaginary is the reason for the anxiety in projecting mythological stories as historical events leading to absurd claims like the existence of nuclear bombs, stem cell research and head transplantation in ancient India.

k)     One wonders why Indian rulers (in possession of nuclear weapons) kept losing one battle after another to a host of occupiers throughout history since several centuries BC.

l)     For long, history had a mono-causal explanation - conflict between civilisations included in religious difference. 

m)     Today, religion is one among a social environment of a particular aspect which constitute historical causation and historical change, important but not determinist.

n)     The great diversity of perceptions of the past or history in different civilizations until now, concealed under the layer of the Western conception of history is getting increasingly articulated with ever growing confidence. 

o)     Whenever and wherever the State has intervened to determine what history should be taught to its citizens, the result has invariably been an unmitigated disaster both for the discipline and for the society. 

p)     The most recent examples of it are the Soviet Union and the Pakistani States interventions. 

q)     Historys evolution through its own momentum has brought unprecedented dynamism to it.

r)     States immediate needs to legitimise itself and its actions through a forcible rewriting of history have invariably prevented both or taken them back.   


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