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Daily News Analysis 27-07-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Winds of change in West Asia (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)    The Iran nuclear deal can only be judged against the options available. Therefore, the Joint Comprehensive Plan is the best deal possible for ushering in non-proliferation, regional balance, stability and ensuring stronger India-Iran relations.

2.

Kenya is at a crossroads; needs to ditch bad traditions (Pg 14)

a)     International

a)     Urging the east African nation and birthplace of his father to renounce corruption, tribalism and inequality, US President Obama ended a landmark visit to Kenya.

3.

Iran reaches out to Arab nations (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Irans Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Kuwait to begin a three-nation regional tour aimed at deepening ties with Arab neighbours following the conclusion of the Islamic Republics historic nuclear deal with world powers.

4.

Kurds retaliate, kill 2 soldiers (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The military said that Kurdish militants killed two Tukish soldiers in a roadside bombing, apparently retaliating for Ankaras crackdown on the Kurdistan Workers Party launched in tandem with strikes on Islamic State insurgents in Syria.

5.

Raman article could be crucial to Yakub plea (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Supreme Court will hear a limited appeal by Yakub Memon (the lone death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts) that his death warrant was issued in undue haste before all legal remedies were exhausted.

6.

Different yardstick applied in Yakub Memons case, says mercy petition (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The new mercy petition submitted to President Pranab said that Yakub Memon has served more than 20 years in prison since his arrest. His trial took 14 years to complete. While Honble Supreme Court used this long period of imprisonment as a mitigating circumstance to commute the death sentences of the other 10 co-accused persons, it applied a different measure to Yakub.

7.

Modi government now keen on tougher SC/ST Atrocities Act (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     After sitting on a key Bill to strengthen the law against atrocities on people belonging to the SCs and STs, the Modi govt now appears keen on pushing it through during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, possibly with an eye on the forthcoming Bihar elections.

8.

Signals from gold prices (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     The yellow metal dominated the world market scene all of last week. Gold slumped to a five-year low, slipping to an intra-day low-point of $1,072.30.

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Winds of change in West Asia (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

b)     Irans nuclear programme

c)     Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

d)     Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)

e)     International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

a)     There has been no dearth of hyperbole on the nuclear agreement signed last week in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1. US President Obama was the most restrained when he said that the deal offers an opportunity to move in a new direction; Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called it a good agreement when he announced to our people that our prayers have come true.

b)     Clearly, it is not the dense 100+ pages of JCPOA and its Annexures that have provoked such diverse reactions but the political ramifications for the region that generate uncertainty all around.

c)     The nuclear dimension of the agreement is relatively straightforward. Two years ago, Iran was perceived to be just a few months away from acquiring enough highly enriched uranium to produce a bomb. A covert cyber operation (widely believed to be a joint US-Israeli effort) using the worm Stuxnet, damaged a number of centrifuges in 2009-10 but the programme has rebounded since then.

d)     There was no certainty that a US-backed military strike would succeed in taking out Irans entire nuclear capability. Collective economic sanctions had worked up to a point because these were intended to give diplomacy a chance. The US was convinced that under the circumstances, negotiations were the only way forward. Iran had to step back from the nuclear threshold, from a lead time of months to a year plus.

e)     While Iran could still sustain the sanctions and survive, sanctions relief was necessary for higher growth. Equally important for Iran was the narrative that it was within its rights as a member of the Nuclear NPT to build an enrichment capability for peaceful purposes. Iran could accept more intrusive verification provided this right was conceded. A deal would also strengthen Irans standing regionally.

f)     While the duration of the agreement is 10 years, the IAEA verification provisions will remain in effect for an additional 5 years. Restrictions on designing and the production of new centrifuges will remain in force for 20 years while monitoring of uranium mining and milling will continue for 25 years and verification covers the supply chain of nuclear related components.

g)     In return, all nuclear related sanctions will be lifted. This will gradually permit nearly $100 billion of blocked funds to be released and permit Iranian banks and financial institutions to resume their international engagement. A number of institutions and individuals will be taken off the sanctions list.

h)     It is not the unambiguous terms of JCPOA that generate strong emotions but the winds of change blowing across West Asia that the deal augurs. After the 1979 Islamic revolution, containing Iran became a shared policy objective for the US and its two regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. With US withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the growth of the Islamic State in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, the US needed new leverages in the region.

i)     For the US, the unwritten part of the nuclear transaction is its transformative potential for Irans domestic politics in bringing about greater democracy, moderating its regional assertiveness and progressive economic integration with West. For Iran, the unwritten part of deal is that sanctions relief will give new legitimacy to Iranian regime, even as it engages with West.

j)     For India, it is a positive development. Before sanctions regime, Iran accounted for 16.4 percent of Indias oil imports which came down to 6 percent. Oil prices are currently down and Irans entry into the market enables India to diversify its sources and start building up its strategic reserve.

k)     The second major issue is connectivity to Afghanistan and the Central Asian states. The Chabahar port has long been seen as gateway but progress on developing the port and the rail-road links to Zahedan on Iran-Afghanistan border has been slow. In Afghanistan, the 215 km long road from the border town of Zaranj to Delaram was built with Indian help keeping this connectivity in mind.

l)     In the final analysis, the agreement can only be judged against the options available, not vis-a-vis an impractical ideal. On this measure, the JCPOA is best deal possible, for non-proliferation, regional balance and stability, stronger India-Iran relations and for enabling a larger regional presence for India.

2.

Kenya is at a crossroads; needs to ditch bad traditions (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     US – Kenya relations

b)     US – Ethiopia relations

c)     African Union

 

a)     Urging the east African nation and birthplace of his father to renounce corruption, tribalism and inequality, US President Obama ended a landmark visit to Kenya.

b)     He said Kenya needed to discard bad traditions including endemic bribe-taking, domestic violence, female genital mutilation and communal violence. He said oppression of women, violent extremism, ethnic tensions and the cancer of corruption were key issues to be addressed.

c)     Later in the day, Obama landed in Ethiopia, beginning a two-day stay. The visit will include talks with the Ethiopian government, a key strategic ally but criticised for its record on democracy and human rights. He will also become the first US President to address the African Union.

3.

Iran reaches out to Arab nations (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Iran – Arab nations relations

b)     Iran – P5+1 nuclear deal

c)     Terrorism

d)     Islamic State

a)     Irans Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif arrived in Kuwait to begin a three-nation regional tour aimed at deepening ties with Arab neighbours following the conclusion of the Islamic Republics historic nuclear deal with world powers.

b)     After Kuwait, he is scheduled to visit Qatar and Iraq. Iranian state-linked media say he will brief officials in all 3 countries on nuclear accord and discuss ways to improve cooperation and fight terrorism.

c)     Iran shares control of a vast underwater natural gas field with Qatar. In Iraq, Iran has close ties with senior govt leaders and Shia militia groups, and it is playing an active role in fighting Islamic State militants who have seized a third of the country.

4.

Kurds retaliate, kill 2 soldiers (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     Kurdish forces

d)     Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

e)     NATO

a)     The military said that Kurdish militants killed two Tukish soldiers in a roadside bombing, apparently retaliating for Ankaras crackdown on PKK launched in tandem with strikes on IS insurgents in Syria.

b)     Long a reluctant member of the US-led coalition against IS, Turkey made a dramatic turnaround this week by granting the alliance access to its airbases and launching air raids against both the jihadist movement and the PKK.

c)     But the relapse into serious conflict between Turkey and the PKK has raised doubts about future of NATO member Turkeys peace process with Kurdish rivals that started in 2012, but has recently stalled.

d)     The outlawed PKK has waged an insurgency against Ankara for Kurdish autonomy since 1984. Opposition politicians and critics accuse President Erdogan of taking up campaign against IS as political cover to clamp down on Kurds.

5.

Raman article could be crucial to Yakub plea (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Curative petition

c)     Mumbai serial blasts 1993

d)     Article 32

e)     Supreme Court

a)     The Supreme Court will hear a limited appeal by Yakub Memon (the lone death row convict in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts) that his death warrant was issued in undue haste before all legal remedies were exhausted.

b)     In reconsidering Memons death penalty, Supreme Court has to also follow the principle set out in its April 2013 judgment in Shanker Kisan Rao Khade vs Maharashtra case that capital punishment can be awarded only if there are zero mitigating circumstances favouring the convict.

c)     The judgment held that the death penalty should not be given only because the judge concerned thinks it fit. The award of death penalty should be society-centric and litmus test is whether society will approve the awarding of death sentence or not. To accomplish this, the court has to look into a variety of factors like societys aversion, extreme anger and hostility to the crime.

d)     Supreme Court held that Courts award death sentence since situation demands so (due to constitutional compulsion) reflected by the will of people and not the will of the judges.

e)     The apex court could take a re-look at the sentencing in the light of new circumstances - namely the article by former RAW officer B. Raman favouring clemency to Memon, and consider commuting his death sentence to life.

f)     The article is in public domain, and so the court under Article 32 can suo motu take notice of a document of that nature. Without discounting the tragedy of blasts, Memon did provide valuable information about Pakistan involvement in the blasts, in the training and handling of explosives.

g)     But strangely, Memon himself has been singularly quiet about these circumstances and not sought clemency on their strength even as successive courts dismissed his appeals, review and curative petitions.

6.

Different yardstick applied in Yakub Memons case, says mercy petition (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Mercy petition

c)     TADA court

d)     Mumbai serial blasts 1993

e)     Supreme Court

a)     The new mercy petition submitted to President Pranab said that Yakub Memon has served more than 20 years in prison since his arrest. His trial took 14 years to complete. While Honble Supreme Court used this long period of imprisonment as a mitigating circumstance to commute the death sentences of the other 10 co-accused persons, it applied a different measure to Yakub.

b)     It further said that as per the case of the prosecution, the 1993 bomb blasts were planed by Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim to seek revenge for the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. Both Tiger Memon and Dawood Ibrahim have been escaping and Yakub (brother of Tiger Memon) who was not the main actor in the conspiracy is being executed.

c)    Unlike the main accused, Yakub Memon surrendered before the authorities. He is the person who has provided information about Pakistan involvement. His execution will weaken the case against the involvement of the Pakistan agencies as there are no other witnesses available.

d)     It is also worthwhile to note that death sentences imposed on aides of Veerappan (convicted and sentenced to death under TADA), Rajiv Gandhis killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar have been commuted recently by Supreme Court.

e)     While mercy petitions of Verappans aides, Rajiv Gandhis three killers and Devender Pal Singh Bhullar were decided belatedly by President, thereby giving them the claim of delay in jurisprudence, the Home Ministry has moved quickly to reject Yakub Memons mercy petition. It seems that subjective factors are the basis of decisions which lead to arbitrary actions.

f)     Yakub is scheduled to be executed on July 30 as per the warrant issued by TADA court.

7.

Modi government now keen on tougher SC/ST Atrocities Act (Page 13)

a)     National

b)     Social issue

a)     Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill 2014

b)     Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989

c)     Standing Committee

d)     Parliament

a)     After sitting on a key Bill to strengthen the law against atrocities on people belonging to SCs and STs, the Modi govt now appears keen on pushing it through during the Monsoon Session of Parliament, possibly with an eye on the forthcoming Bihar elections.

b)     UPA govt had enacted the SCs and the STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Ordinance on March 4 2014, just before Lok Sabha elections. But the new govt (after bringing the Bill in Parliament in July that year) ensured that it was sent to a Standing Committee. The ordinance has since lapsed.

c)   The Bill seeks to strengthen the SCs and STs (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989, by adding new categories of actions to be treated as offences. For instance, forcing an individual from a Scheduled community to vote or not to vote for a candidate unlawfully and occupying land belonging to such individuals wrongfully will now be treated as offences.

d)     It specifies punishment for public servants from other communities who neglect their duties relating to SC and ST people, such as not registering a complaint or a FIR. The Bill mandates setting up of special courts at the district level (with exclusive public prosecutors) to speed up the trial process.

e)     The Standing Committee tabled its report on the Bill last December, affirming most of its provisions and adding some important clauses on special courts for atrocities against women, which would be presided over by a woman judge. However, the govt did not table the Bill during the Budget Session,

8.

Signals from gold prices (Page 10)

a)     Economy

a)     Gold prices

b)     Global Market situation

c)     Greek crisis

d)     US Federal Reserve

e)     Indias Gold imports

f)     Trade deficit

a)     The yellow metal dominated the world market scene all of last week. Gold slumped to a five-year low, slipping to an intra-day low-point of $1,072.30.

b)     The reasons behind the slipping interest in gold is not difficult to understand. An appearing rise in US interest rate (for the first time in nearly a decade) is playing the villain. At the moment, a stronger dollar remains the topic that dominates discussions in the marketplace.

c)     Nevertheless, the dipping global oil prices hold hope for investors in gold. A prolonged oversupply situation, weak demand, the Greek crisis and the Chinese market fall have all come together to pull oil prices down. The fall of oil could yet prove a rescuer for gold.

d)     If there is a serious consequential fallout on US domestic inflation, the oil price fall could slow Feds tightening policy. A sustained recovery in gold prices is inversely related to the growth prospects of the US economy.

e)     India consumes 800 to 900 tonnes of metal annually, and depends on imports to meet its entire demand. Gold and oil comprise a large part of Indias imports in terms of value, and consequently they are major contributors to the countrys trade deficit.

f)     To an extent, the fall in gold prices could moderate the import bill in the near-term. Though, there is a flip-side to this. A strengthening dollar could nullify the impact of the fall in gold prices. The situation is tailor-made for Central govt to exploit this to its advantage.

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