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Daily News Analysis 11-08-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Important visit to a long time ally: BJP (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     The announcement of PM Modis proposed visit to UAE beginning on Aug 16 has taken many by surprise but partymen say that a visit to Indias long time ally was important when mixed with the other visits that the PM may undertake later, most notably to Israel.

2.

After spate of attacks, Afghan President lashes out at Pak (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     In a sudden shift from his previous, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has lashed out at the Pakistani govt. He said while Afghanistan had made sincere efforts for peace, groups based in Pakistan continued to send messages of war.

3.

Small parties challenge TNAs hold among Tamils (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The Tamil National Alliance (which won a majority of parliamentary seats in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the last three general elections) is facing a stiff challenge from multiple players this time.

4.

Turkeys complicated war (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Turkey has finally joined the war against Islamic State. It has started bombing the terror groups locations in the Syrian border region. 

5.

GST Bill to come up in RS today (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The Modi government listed the Constitutional (122nd) Amendment Bill for passage in the Rajya Sabha.

6.

Stifling democratic debate (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     The show cause notices issued to three television channels by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for their coverage of the Yakub Memon issue and events in the run-up to his execution, are unwarranted and have little basis in law.

7.

Individuals will join terror ban list soon (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     The govt is all set to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act to bring in a clause that will pave the way to designate individuals along with terror organisations under the banned list of entities.

8.

The dangerous lure of Western Ghats (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     With increasing awareness and better road connectivity, the verdant forests of the Western Ghats in Karnataka have over the years become a popular trekking destination.

9.

Melting Antarctic ice and rising sea levels (Page 11)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Scientists suggest that the time period over which ice melting could double could be just ten years, which means that non-linear processes are at work for sea-level rise.

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Important visit to a long time ally: BJP (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – UAE relations

b)     Trade ties

c)     Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

 

a)     The announcement of PM Modis proposed visit to UAE beginning on Aug 16 has taken many by surprise but partymen say that a visit to Indias long time ally was important when mixed with the other visits that the PM may undertake later, most notably to Israel.

b)     A party source said the UAE is the most progressive and open country in the region, where a large Indian diaspora exists and respected. Before any proposed visit to Israel (a country close to this govts strategic plans), a visit to a Muslim and Arab country was important.

c)     It is surprising that no Indian PM has gone to the UAE in 34 years. The year 1981 is eight years after 1973, the year the OPEC undertook the oil pricing revolution. The last PM who visited did so at the beginning of this revolution.

d)     Partys spokesperson said the diplomacy is not a zero sum game, the hyphenation which is being attempted with this visit is artificial and strategically unsound. Modis trip will include a stop over at Abu Dhabi for a meeting with the political leadership on bilateral issues.

2.

After spate of attacks, Afghan President lashes out at Pak (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Afghanistan – Pakistan relations

b)     Terrorism

c)     Taliban – Afghan peace talks

d)     National Directorate of Security (NDS)

e)     Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)

 

a)     In a sudden shift from his previous, Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani has lashed out at the Pakistani govt. He said while Afghanistan had made sincere efforts for peace, groups based in Pakistan continued to send messages of war.

b)  The remarks are his toughest words against Pakistan since he took office, opened talks with Pakistan and then more recently sent representatives to peace talks with the Taliban in the Pakistani town of Murree.

c)    He called the recent attacks in Kabul a turning point for Afghanistan, adding that the incidents of past two months in general and the recent days in particular show that the suicide training camps and the bomb making facilities used to target and murder our innocent people still operate (as in the past) in Pakistan.

d)   On his first visit to Pakistan last year, Ghani had taken the unprecedented step of visiting Pakistani military headquarters in Rawalpindi. He built a close relationship with the civilian and military leadership there, after which Afghan and Pakistani intelligence agencies (NDS, ISI) negotiated an MoU. His remarks indicate a rethink of that relationship and put a question mark over the reconciliation and talks process with Taliban based in Pakistan.

3.

Small parties challenge TNAs hold among Tamils (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Tamil National Alliance (TNA)

c)     United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA)

d)     Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP)

e)     United National Party (UNP)

f)     All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC)

g)     Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF)

 

a)     The TNA (which won a majority of parliamentary seats in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the last three general elections) is facing a stiff challenge from multiple players this time.

b)     Five years ago, the fight was essentially between the TNA and the UPFA, which had the EPDP as a major constituent in the provinces. At that time, the UPFA was in power and Mahinda Rajapaksa had just begun his second spell as Executive President.

c)   But in the coming elections, the UPFA and the EPDP are contesting separately. Apart from the UNP (which had also contested separately in past), the ACTC or the TNPF, the Crusaders for Democracy and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna are also in the fray.

4.

Turkeys complicated war (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Islamic State (IS)

b)     Syria and Iraq crisis

c)     Kurdish forces

d)     Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

e)     Peoples Protection Units (YPG)

 

a)     Turkey has finally joined the war against IS. It has started bombing terror groups locations in the Syrian border region. It has also allowed access for US aircraft to two of its airbases, departing from its long-held position.

b)     Despite pressure from US and other countries to do more against IS, Turkey hardly did anything when it was steadily on march in Syria, for Ankaras main goal was to see the fall of the Bashar al Assad govt in Syria. But Assad still controls Damascus, while IS has grown in strength in eastern Syria.

c)   IS attacks on Kurdish towns on Syria-Turkey border have brought the PKK and its Syrian affiliate (the YPG) into direct conflict with the terror group. Surprisingly, Kurdish militias pushed IS back from several border towns. Their increasingly effective resistance against IS even forced US Air Force cover being offered to Kurdish militants..

d)     It can be argued that there is a realisation among groups in Ankara that IS poses a threat to Turkeys interests and that caused its participation in the war. It has started bombing PKK centres, claiming that both the Kurdish rebels and IS are two sides of the same coin. This makes the Turkish strategy a dangerously complicated one. Ankara might assume that by launching a two-phase attack it could weaken both enemies.

e)     But this strategy overlooks the fact that the Kurdish rebels were the most effective forces against IS on ground. Even US air strikes were successful only when they were supplemented by ground attacks. By targeting Kurds, Turkey runs the risk of weakening the battle against IS. Any resumption of the war against the PKK could take Turkey back to violence.

f)     It ought to have focussed on its military operation against IS while taking forward the ceasefire with Kurds in order to build a sustainable peace plan. That would have strengthened anti-IS war, while addressing internal problems. The decision instead to give up the peace process and bomb Kurds raises questions about Turkeys real intentions in the war against IS.

5.

GST Bill to come up in RS today (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Goods and Services Tax (GST)

b)     Constitutional (122nd) Amendment Bill

a)     The Modi govt listed the Constitutional (122nd) Amendment Bill for passage in Rajya Sabha. Sources indicated that the talks between Modi and Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa had aided the process of narrowing the gulf on the key taxation reform.

b)     Earlier, through back-channel negotiations, the differences between the govt and the Opposition had been reduced to two points: the Congresss opposition to the 1 percent additional levy over and above GST and to the proposed band for the States GST rate.

c)    Govt proposed to empower the States to collect 1 percent additional levy over and above GST during transition period of two years to provide a cushion to the manufacturing States.

d)     The idea behind the govts proposal to empower the States is to provide a cushion on GST to the manufacturing States since they expressed worries about losing revenue. Their fears stem from the fact that GST will subsume all taxes that the States now charge at the factory gate etc and will instead be levied and collected at the point of consumption.

e)     However, this 1-percent additional levy is provided unnecessary after the Cabinets approval last month of Rajya Sabha Select Committees recommendation requiring the Centre to commit itself to compensating all losses to the States due to the transition to the GST for five years.

f)     The second point of contention the Opposition raised relates to the proposal to allow for a band in which the States can fix their GST rates. While the States had earlier demanded a 4 percentage-points band, Revenue Secretary Shaktikanta Das told that this range was now proposed to be of just 1 percentage point. This is closer to Congresss demand for a uniform State GST rate.

6.

Stifling democratic debate (Page 10)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Death penalty

b)     Mercy petition

c)     Mumbai serial blasts case 1993

d)     Article 19 1(a) of the Constitution

a)     The show cause notices issued to 3 television channels by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for their coverage of the Yakub Memon issue and events in the run-up to his execution, are unwarranted and have little basis in law.

b)     The notices were issued to NDTV 24X7, ABP News and Aaj Tak, for alleged defamation and aspersions cast by them against integrity of President and the judiciary. A perusal of the content under question shows only critical discussion by individuals of the judgment dismissing the mercy petition.

c)     Yakub Memons execution led to widespread debate on the issue of capital punishment and on whether his crimes deserved the highest punishment, apart from questions over what many felt were procedural lapses in handling of his mercy petitions. Criticism of the Presidents actions and of court judgments are normal in public discourse and are an integral part of the freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 1(a) of the Constitution.

d)     The section on the programme code of the Cable Television Networks Rules 1994 that has been invoked to send the notices has clauses that are too broad and that could be misused as in the present cases.

e)     While print publications in India have been allowed a wide degree of freedom of expression in consonance with the constitutional provisions, broadcast channels have not been given the same leeway as in addition to general laws they are also governed by broadcast code that regulates content.

f)     It is dangerous for the power to regulate broadcasting to be vested in I&B Ministry that can block content that is not to the liking of govt, using broadly framed content code. The distinction between print and broadcast media should be removed and broadcast medium allowed in full the freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution.

7.

Individuals will join terror ban list soon (Page 12)

a)     National

a)     Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)

b)     Terrorism

c)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)     The govt is all set to amend the UAPA to bring in a clause that will pave the way to designate individuals along with terror organisations under the banned list of entities.

b)     Presently, there is no provision for an individual (suspected of having terror links) making it to the list of terrorist entities banned, maintained centrally by the Ministry of Home Affairs. Under Section 35 of the UAPA, there are 38 groups in the list of banned terrorist organisations, the latest one to have been added being the IS.

c)     Official said an individual may be involved in terrorist activity, but he may or may not be associated with any specific terrorist organisation. This amendment would make it easier for us to identify such individuals and designate them as terrorists.

d)     He said that designating individuals as terrorists would help in keeping a check on their travel and we can also impose a ban. It will also enable us to freeze their bank accounts, used for terror financing. Most importantly, it will help us make a strong case in court.

e)     He said we are still examining international laws and would base our amendment on that. A few countries like Australia, Canada and New Zealand have such provisions.

f)     UAPA (framed in 1967) has been amended twice since: first in 2008 and then in 2012.

8.

The dangerous lure of Western Ghats (Page 9)

a)     National

b)     Geography

a)     Western ghats

b)     Eco-tourism

a)     With increasing awareness and better road connectivity, the green forests of the Western Ghats in Karnataka have over the years become a popular trekking destination.

b)     Environmentalist believed the unpredictable climate, often dangerous wildlife, and challenging terrain warrants a local guide to accompany trekkers.

9.

Melting Antarctic ice and rising sea levels (Page 11)

a)     Environment

b)     Geography

a)     Climate Change

b)     Sea Level Rise (SLR)

c)     Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the IPCC

d)     Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

e)     Glaciers melting

f)     Ocean warming

g)     Ocean acidification

h)     Thermohaline circulation

i)     Antarctica

j)     Greenland

k)     West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS)

l)     East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS)

m)     Totten glacier

n)     Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

a)     One of the major effects of climate change is expected to be sea level rise. SLR is caused by the melting of glaciers and the expansion of oceans as their temperatures go up. Ocean warming further contributes to more intense storms and coastal flooding. According to recently published Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC, sea levels would rise by less than a metre by the end of the century.

b)     Antarctica and Greenland have the largest ice sheets and hold most of the freshwater ice on earth. West Antarctic Ice Sheet rests mainly on bedrock under the sea and glaciologists have been noticing signs of decreasing mass. If some portion of the WAIS were to collapse, we should expect rapid SLR. The entire WAIS holds enough water to raise sea levels by 4.8 m.

c)     The East Antarctic Ice Sheet is the largest on planet but has received less attention. The Totten glacier of East Antarctica is also melting more rapidly than expected and it holds enough water to raise sea levels by 3.4 m.

d)     Summer melts have also been increasing in Greenland sheet, which (if completely melted) could raise sea levels by 6 m. Recent findings of a cold patch in the ocean just South of Greenland suggests accelerated melting of freshwater. There was a 10 cm rise in sea levels between 2009 and 2010 along the East coast of the US. This surge was temporary, but has been attributed to warming oceans.

e)     Besides SLR, there are many other observed changes in the oceans: ocean acidification effects on snail shells, destruction of plankton, strange behaviour by sea creatures such as whales, salmon, and walruses. All in all, it is quite clear that there is something wrong in the oceans and that these symptoms are all tied to climate change.

f)     Modelling SLR has been difficult since factors responsible for determining the rates at which glaciers melt are interlinked with complex feedbacks which are themselves not well understood. There are various processes that could speed things up and feedbacks can amplify effects.

g)     According to scientists, ice sheet models are quite primitive when compared to the rates of changes seen in paleo-climatic records. Scientists generally use climate models, ice sheet models and paleo-climatic data to make estimates. Paleo-climatic data studies examine the height of oceans in the pre-human past when temperatures were a few degrees warmer.

h)     The scientists suggest that the time period over which ice melting double could be just ten years, which means that non-linear processes are at work for SLR. On the other hand, the IPCC has considered largely linear mechanisms for its predictions in the AR5.

i)     According to scientists, major ice melts will cause fresh water to pour into the oceans and change what is referred to as thermohaline circulation. This is a process in which warm waters flow towards the North and colder waters sink and flow back south. The disruption of thermohaline circulation could lead to more intense storms.

j)    Studying the Eemian period (about 120,000 years back), which was probably only 1 to 2 degrees warmer than our world today, they note that sea levels rose by 5 to 9 metres. If GHG emissions from human lifestyles and consumption are not decreased, there will continue to be disastrous effects with increasing ice loss in Antarctica.

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