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Daily News Analysis 18-06-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

N-pact a done deal, says Indian envoy (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Indian Ambassador to the US conveyed that Policymakers have done all they can to facilitate the implementation of the India-US civil nuclear deal and it may now be left to the US nuclear corporations to take a decision on whether to invest in nuclear reactors in India.

2.

Colombo notifies 20th Amendment (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Even as certain sections of political parties in Sri Lanka continue to have reservations over latest version of proposed 20th Amendment, the govt has gone ahead with the notification of the draft legislation in the gazette.

3.

Iran talks likely to be extended (Page 12)

a)     International

a)    Iran and 6 powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations.

4.

Russia, Germany see new cold war (Page 12)

a)     International

a)    Russia accused NATO of reviving the ghost of Cold War by encroaching close to its borders and seeking to change the strategic balance of power, as Germany criticised Moscows nuclear weapons build-up as a Soviet-style reflex.

5.

A looming refugee crisis (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     A new report on the Global Refugee Crisis says the world is facing worst situation on this front since the Second World War, with number of people forcibly displaced from their homes exceeding 50 million.

6.

Government plans 20 million houses for urban poor (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     The Union Cabinet approved the launch of Housing for All by 2022 programme for rehabilitation of slum-dwellers and promotion of affordable housing for urban poor with target of nearly 20 million houses over 7 years.

7.

SC lawyers body slams Collegium system (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)  Supreme Court Bar Association ripped into collegium system of judicial appointments, blaming its give-and-take culture for a perceived fall in judicial standards.

8.

Mixed fortunes (Page 8)

a)     Economy

a)     Continuing its decline for the fourth consecutive day, the rupee hit a 21-month low of 64.26 against the dollar. The impact of the falling rupee has played out in predictable ways on Indias trade front.

9.

India: ocean warming weakens monsoon (Pg 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     The summer monsoon has been showing a weakening trend over the past century with decreasing rainfall over large regions of the Indian subcontinent.

10.

Cleaner air could save 1.4 million lives in India, China (Page 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Health

a)     A new study has found that improving air quality could prevent up to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in polluted countries such as China and India.

11.

Hampis saalu mantapas collapse (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     In a grim reminder of the threat looming over the historical ruins at Hampi, the saalu mantapas (rows of stone pillars) at Krishna Bazaar collapsed following heavy rain that lashed the World Heritage Site.

12.

High alert sought against MERS outbreak (Page 6)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     As South Korea struggles with first global outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus outside of the Middle East where it was first reported in 2012, the situation has yet again given rise to fears that it may be only a matter of time before international travel imports the virus to the Indian subcontinent.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

N-pact a done deal, says Indian envoy (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Civil nuclear agreement

c)     Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010

d)     IPR issues

e)     Climate change

a)     Indian Ambassador to the US conveyed that Policymakers have done all they can to facilitate the implementation of the India-US civil nuclear deal and it may now be left to the US nuclear corporations to take a decision on whether to invest in nuclear reactors in India.

b)     In two summits between Indian PM Manmohan Singh and US President Obama in four months, the govt addressed remaining differences with the US on nuclear liability, injected new energy into defence and economic cooperation, and explored pragmatic ways forward on IPR issues and climate change.

c)     While the two nations leaders in February announced a development understanding to resolve a long-standing deadlock stemming from Indias nuclear liability law, forward movement has however ground to a standstill since then.

2.

Colombo notifies 20th Amendment (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     20th Amendment

c)     First Past The Post (FPTP) system

a)     Even as certain sections of political parties in Sri Lanka continue to have reservations over latest version of proposed 20th Amendment, the govt has gone ahead with the notification of draft legislation in gazette.

b)     As per the decision taken by the Cabinet last week, the overall size of Parliament will be 237, a rise of 12 compared to the existing legislature. Of this, 145 members will be elected directly, through the system of FPTP.

c)     The notification provides the scope for the Delimitation Commission for creating multi-member polling divisions and, in any event, the number of members to be elected through such a division should not exceed three.

3.

Iran talks likely to be extended (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

a)    Iran and six powers are still apart on all main elements of a nuclear deal with less than two weeks to go to their June 30 target date and will likely have to extend their negotiations.

b)     The talks focus on ways to implement commitments by both sides reached in a preliminary deal in April. Iran agreed then to cutting the size of its uranium enrichment program for at least 10 years, as well as re-engineering a nearly built reactor to minimise its output or plutonium like enriched uranium a potential pathway to nuclear weapons.

c)     It also has agreed to give experts of the UNs IAEA unprecedented monitoring authority to ensure that Tehran is shaping to its commitments, as well as more use in following up on the allegations of past nuclear weapons work.

4.

Russia, Germany see new cold war (Page 12)

a)     International

a)     Russia – Germany relations

b)     Cold War

c)     Ukraine crisis

d)     Annexation of Crimea

e)     EUs sanctions on Russia

a)     Russia accused NATO of reviving the ghost of Cold War by encroaching close to its borders and seeking to change the strategic balance of power, as Germany criticised Moscows nuclear weapons build-up as a Soviet-style reflex.

b)     Ties between Russia and West have hit new lows over Ukraine and latest accusations come after Moscow said it would enhance its nuclear arms in response to Washingtons plans to station heavy military equipment in Eastern Europe.

c)     Russia and West accuse one another of endangering global security and latest spat adds to tensions over Ukraine where Russia-backed separatist rebels seized land in the east after Moscow annexed Crimea from Kiev in early 2014.

d)     Foreign Ministers from Russia, France, Germany and Ukraine will meet in Paris on June 23 to discuss the conflict in east Ukraine where a four-month-old ceasefire stemmed large-scale fighting but deadly clashes occur almost daily.

e)     European sources said that EU member states agreed to extend economic sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis by another six months to the end of January 2016.

f)     The EU imposed sanctions targeting Russias banks, oil and defence sectors after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over rebel-held eastern Ukraine in July 2014.

5.

A looming refugee crisis (Page 8)

a)     International

a)     Global refugee crisis

b)     Refugee Convention

c)     Syria crisis

d)     United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

e)     North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO)

f)     Amnesty International

g)     Second World War

a)     A new report by Amnesty International on global refugee crisis should prove a wake-up call for the international community. It says the world is facing worst situation on this front since the Second World War, with the number of people forcibly displaced from their homes exceeding 50 million.

b)     Its not really a surprise given the serial collapse of states in West Asia and Africa, and reports of persecution of vulnerable communities in several countries.

c)     The report rightly says that the international communitys response to the refugee crisis has been a shameful failure. Syria is a case in point. More than half of its population has been displaced by a civil war, and some four million people have escaped the country. The burden is almost entirely on Syrias neighbours such as Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

d)     The EUs decision to limit rescue operations in the Mediterranean has led to a dramatic rise this year in the number of people who have drowned during boat journeys. The schemes of the UNHCR that is meant to address the problem remain under-funded.

e)     People run away from their homes to escape desperate situations. If Syrians and Libyans are escaping deadly wars, those from Myanmar and Eritrea are trying to escape long-standing persecution.

f)     Powerful nations (which often send bombers to poorer countries to solve their domestic problems, as NATO did in Libya in 2011) are not as forthcoming when they face refugee crises and poverty.

g)     At present, almost 86 percent of all refugees are in the developing countries, which lack the infrastructure and resources to tackle challenge. A more coordinated approach is needed to address the problem.

h)     Richer countries in the West and the Asia Pacific should find more room for refugees from stricken lands, in order to share the burden more equitably. Agencies such as the UNHCR that deal with millions of refugees should be sufficiently funded to fulfil their missions. There have to be more meaningful efforts, driven not only by geopolitical calculations but by moral, humanitarian conviction, to solve the worlds crises.

6.

Government plans 20 million houses for urban poor (Pages 1 and 10)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Housing for All by 2022 scheme

b)     Economic Weaker Sections (EWS)

a)     The Union Cabinet approved the launch of Housing for All by 2022 programme for rehabilitation of slum-dwellers and promotion of affordable housing for urban poor with target of nearly 20 million houses over 7 years.

b)    An official statement said a Central grant of an average Rs. 1 lakh would be available for a house under slum rehabilitation programme. But the State govts could exercise flexibility in using the grant for any slum rehabilitation project using land as a resource for providing houses to slum-dwellers.

c)     The Central assistance of Rs. 1.5 lakh a house for EWS category would be provided in partnership and for beneficiary-led individual house construction or enhancement.

d)     The official statement said the scheme would cover all urban areas consisting of 4041 statutory towns with initial focus on 500 Class I cities.

7.

SC lawyers body slams Collegium system (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Collegium system

b)     National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC)

c)     99th Constitutional Amendment

d)     Judicial review

e)     Supreme Court

f)     Parliament

 

 

a)     The Supreme Court Bar Association (represented by senior advocate Dushyant Dave) ripped into the Collegium system of judicial appointments, blaming its give-and-take culture for a perceived fall in judicial standards.

b)     At one point during his arguments, he suggested that the five-judge Constitution Bench (headed by Justice J.S. Khehar) walk the corridors of courts to get a first-hand account of the deterioration in the judicial system.

c)     The Bench responded by observing that there was a tendency to focus on a few bad judges when there were thousands of judicial officers and judges who worked day and night for the justice delivery system.  Justice Khehar pointed out that judges too came from the Bar to the Bench.

d)     The Centre further argued that courts do not have the power to judicially review the procedure of Parliament.

e)     Attorney-General Rohatgi was responding to arguments that Parliament did not have the legislative competence to pass the NJAC Act in Aug 2014, as 99th Constitutional Amendment Act (incorporating the NJAC into the Constitution) received the presidential assent after ratification only on December 31 2014.

8.

Mixed fortunes (Page 8)

a)     Economy

a)     Rupee depreciation

b)    Trade deficit

c)     Indias imports and exports

d)     Foreign exchange management

e)     RBI

f)     US Federal Reserve

a)     Continuing its decline for the fourth consecutive day, the rupee hit a 21-month low of 64.26 against the dollar. This was ahead of crucial meeting of the US Federal Reserve. The impact of the falling rupee has played out in predictable ways on Indias trade front.

b)     On the one hand the trade deficit has narrowed to $10.4 billion in May from $11 billion in April and $11.2 billion in May 2014. On the other hand, exports contracted to $22.3 billion in May 2015 from $27.99 billion in May 2014. No doubt imports also have contracted to $32.75 billion in May, down by 16.5 percent compared to May 2014 figure.

c)     Given the geopolitical sensitivity of the commodity, it is impossible to expect global crude oil prices to remain at the very low levels seen not long ago.

d)     Given the complications involved, the RBI has to be proactive so that the rupee does not encounter undue confusion in event of any unanticipated global disturbance.

e)    However, the depreciating rupee has come as a help to inward remitters. So much so that today India is a global leader in terms of inward remittances. The rupee has shed just 1.25 percent against the dollar so far this year.

f)     Two factors should have driven the RBI to intervene in the market. Dollar purchase gives a cushion to face any possible rise in crude prices in the near-to-medium term. Also, the dollar buffer insulates from any adverse fallout of a possible pullout of foreign funds from the Indian market should the Fed hike the interest rate.

9.

India: ocean warming weakens monsoon (Page 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Monsoons

b)     Ocean warming

c)     Rain-bearing winds

d)     Thermal contrast

e)     Climate change

f)     Global warming

g)     Aerosols

h)     Indian Ocean

i)     El Nino

a)     The summer monsoon has been showing a weakening trend over the past century with decreasing rainfall over large regions of Indian subcontinent.

b)     Monsoon occurs because the land heats up much more than the ocean and the warm air over the land rises and results in low pressure. This causes rain-bearing winds from relatively cooler ocean to blow on to the land and cause rainfall. That is, it is the strong thermal contrast between land and ocean that results in a strong monsoon.

c)     However, a recent study of the Centre for Climate Change Research contends that this thermal contrast has been decreasing in the past decades, i.e., land has been cooling and ocean warming and monsoon has shown a decreasing trend during the past century.

d)     Ideally, under a global warming scenario the land temperature should increase greatly in the hot summers and serve as a strong monsoon driver. But, in the case of the Indian subcontinent (over the past century), that has not been the case. Using the data from 1901-2012, it was found that the rainfall has been decreasing over central South Asia - from south of Pakistan through central India to Bangladesh.

e)     The reduction in land-sea temperature contrast is attributed mostly to a strong warming in the Indian Ocean on a multi-decadal scale with the latest reason being climate change under a global warming scenario.

f)     The surface warming in the Indian Ocean, especially in the western regions has reached values of up to 1.2 degrees C during the past century, much larger than the warming trends in other tropical oceans. The decrease in the land-sea thermal contrast surface temperature trends (1901-2012) is also visible in the upper atmosphere, as the warming trends in the ocean surface are transferred to the atmosphere above through convective processes.

g)   Apart from ocean warming, a part of the decrease in land-sea temperature difference is also due to suppressed warming over Indian land mass, possibly due to increased aerosol levels. Aerosols in atmosphere reflect the suns heat back into space and cause a cooling effect.

h)    The warming Indian Ocean also plays a role in weakening monsoon circulation. Increased warming in the ocean enhances the large-scale upward motion of warm moist air over the equatorial ocean. This enhanced upward motion over the ocean is compensated by subsidence of dry air over the subcontinent, slowing convection and rainfall over the Indian landmass.

i)     This means that a warming Indian Ocean has resulted in surplus rains over the ocean at the cost of the monsoon rains over land, simultaneously drying the Indian subcontinent.

10.

Cleaner air could save 1.4 million lives in India, China (Page 14)

a)     S&T

b)     Health

a)     Air pollution

b)     Particulate Matter (PM)

c)     Population

d)     Cardiovascular disease

e)     Emphysema

f)     WHO

a)     A new study has found that improving air quality could prevent up to 1.4 million premature deaths per year in polluted countries such as China and India.

b)     It also warned that with no changes in air pollution, deaths per capita from air pollution would increase 20 to 30 percent during next 15 years in India and China. If also accounting for population growth, increase in deaths would be even greater if those countries experience no change in air pollution.

c)     The researchers found that meeting the WHO particulate air quality guidelines could prevent 2.1 million deaths per year related to outdoor air pollution worldwide.

d)     They looked at outdoor air pollution from PM smaller than 2.5 microns. Those particles can enter deep into the lungs. Breathing PM is associated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular disease; respiratory illnesses such as emphysema; and cancer.

e)     One of studys unexpected findings was that cleaning air in less polluted parts of the world, including in North America and Western Europe, can have as much health benefit as similar measures taken in the most polluted areas.

f)     Another important finding is that because of ageing populations, health risks in many countries will increase even if pollution levels are constant.

11.

Hampis saalu mantapas collapse (Page 7)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Saalu mantapas

b)     Hampi

c)     World Heritage Site

d)     United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

a)     In a grim reminder of the threat looming over historical ruins at Hampi, the saalu mantapas (rows of stone pillars) at Krishna Bazaar collapsed following heavy rain that lashed the World Heritage Site.

b)     Several saalu mantapas line either side of the road from the Virupaksha temple to the Edhuru Basava which earlier served as space for business.

c)     It was only recently that the UNESCO had raised concerns over irrigation and water-intensive agricultural practices in the area posing a threat to the heritage structures located in agricultural fields.

12.

High alert sought against MERS outbreak (Page 6)

a)     National

b)     Health

a)     Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Corona Virus (MERS-CoV)

a)     As South Korea struggles with first global outbreak of MERS-CoV outside of the Middle East where it was first reported in 2012, the situation has yet again given rise to fears that it may be only a matter of time before international travel imports the virus to the Indian subcontinent.

NOTE: Read all snapshots in S&T Page 14.

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