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Daily News Analysis 14-09-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

UN reforms process reaches crucial stage today (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Indian officials are bracing for last-minute surprises that could stall the UN reforms process on Sept 14 when Sam Kutesa (President of the UNGA) presents a resolution to continue the negotiations for another year.

2.

PM to visit Facebook HQ in California (Pg 12)

a)     I.R

a)     Facebook CEO announced that PM Modi would visit Facebooks headquarters in California for a town hall question-and-answer session on Sept 27.

3.

India offers consular access to twelve Pakistanis in jail (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     Official said that Pakistan has sought Indias help to trace 12 of its nationals who went missing near the International Border in the past one year.

4.

India-Sri Lanka trade pact not on agenda (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     Even as Prime Minister Ranil begins his three-day visit to India on Aug 14, the Sri Lankan govt made it clear that the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement would not be signed during the visit.

5.

Russia building airstrip in Syrian regime stronghold (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Russia is building an airstrip in the Syrian regimes stronghold (Latakia province) and has brought hundreds of technicians and military advisers to the site.

6.

Yemen govt shuns talks, begins major military push (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Yemens exiled government backed out of UN-brokered peace talks as loyalist forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition launched a major offensive against Shia Houthi rebels.

7.

Challenges await Corbyn (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     The biggest test facing the new labour leader is winning over the opposition within his own party.

8.

The roots of Europes refugee crisis (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     It was in pursuance of narrow political objectives that Western powers entered West Asian territories and destabilised them. They cannot now absolve themselves of all responsibility.

9.

Centre schedules global education meet in Gujarat (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     The Union Human Resource Development Ministry has opted to hold first international summit on education in Gandhinagar (capital of Gujarat) in November.

10.

Roads, power investments rise (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     An analysis shows that new projects worth Rs. 1.2 lakh crore were announced in first quarter of financial year 2015-16, up 48 percent from the same period the previous year.

11.

Jayant Sinha pitches for lower rates, making exports more competitive (P15)

a)     Economy

a)     Making a case for lowering of interest rates, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha has said the RBI should take into account various factors (including low inflation), while deciding on monetary policy stance.

12.

Aurangzeb is a severely misunderstood figure (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Scholar Audrey Truschke says we should not make the error of attributing Mughal emperor Aurangzebs lack of interest in Sanskrit to his alleged bigotry.

13.

Harappan settlement razed to expand farmland, build houses (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     A 5000-year-old Indus Valley settlement located in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, stands abandoned and unprotected.

14.

US dig uncovers 10,000-year-old stone tools (P 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)    An archaeological survey to clear the way for construction near a mall has unearthed thousands of stone tools crafted at least 10,000 years ago.

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

UN reforms process reaches crucial stage today (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     UN reforms process

b)     UNGA

c)     UNSC

d)     Uniting for Consensus (UFC)

 

a)     Indian officials are bracing for last-minute surprises that could stall UN reforms process on Sept 14 when Sam Kutesa (President of UNGA) presents a resolution to continue the negotiations for another year.

b)     The negotiations of the Inter-Governmental Committee (which have for the first time included written submissions from all countries) could give process of expansion of UNSC some momentum, as India has demanded. However, if countries such as China or other groups opposed to expansion demand a division, India and others bidding for a Security Council seat may have to muster up the numbers for a vote to pass the text.

c)     If passed, the draft resolution would include on UN agenda for next year question of equitable representation on, and increase in the membership of, the Security Council.

d)     India, Germany, Brazil and Japan make the G-4, nations hopeful of Security Council membership. The US has expressed support for India and Japan, but has not included the support in its written submission; neither has Russia, which supports India and Brazil as BRICS members to be in the Security Council, but has shown no inclination to push the reforms process forward. China has made no official submission, but is unlikely to help any attempt to include Japan and India.

e)     India also has to contend with opposition from a group of 13 countries, made up of rivals to the G-4, including Pakistan, Italy, South Korea, and Colombia, called UFC. The UFC demands a 25-member Security Council, with more non-permanent members instead of a few more permanent members.

2.

PM to visit Facebook HQ in California (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – US relations

b)     Silicon Valley

c)     Digital India

 

a)     Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that PM Modi would visit Facebooks headquarters in California for a town hall question-and-answer session on Sept 27. They will discuss how communities can work together to address social and economic challenges.

b)     Modi is also expected to visit Googleplex, the campus of tech giant Google in Mountain View and the factory floor of Tesla in Fremont (both in Silicon Valley) during his visit.

c)     Modi and Zuckerberg have been on good terms since the Facebook founders maiden visit to India last year during which he had called on the Prime Minister to discuss digital expansion in the country.

3.

India offers consular access to twelve Pakistanis in jail (Page 13)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Pakistan relations

b)     Border disputes

c)     International Border

d)     Border Security Force (BSF)

e)     Pakistan Rangers

a)     Official said that Pakistan has sought Indias help to trace 12 of its nationals who went missing near the IB in the past one year. This list was given to India during the recent Director General-level talks between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers.

b)     The BSF reportedly said that all the 12 had inadvertently crossed over into Indian territory and in all these cases the Pakistan Rangers were contacted but they did not respond. India has also offered to provide consular access to these individuals said to be in various jails, now that Pakistan has raised the issue.

c)     India also raised the issue of a Jammu resident, who went missing near the IB and is said to be in the custody of Pakistan authorities. India shares a 2308 km-long border with Pakistan.

4.

India-Sri Lanka trade pact not on agenda (Page 14)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Sri Lankan relations

b)     Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)

c)     SAARC satellite

a)     Even as PM Ranil Wickremesinghe begins his three-day visit to India on Aug 14, the Sri Lankan govt made it clear that the CEPA would not be signed during the visit, even though issues concerning bilateral cooperation would be deliberated.

b)    The CEPA had been talked about for long and there were expectations in 2012 that the pact would be signed soon. In mid-2013, the then Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa went on record, stating that the agreement was no longer required for his country as India and Sri Lanka moved on.

c)     However, Indias PM Modi (during his visit to Colombo six months ago) renewed the debate on the CEPA.

d)     The Sri Lankan Deputy Minister said the focus of visit would be more on optimising the ties between two countries. Four MoUs relating to SAARC satellite; the launch of Emergency Ambulance Health Protection Service on the lines of the Indian model of 108 Emergency Response Services; provision of medical equipment to 200-bedded hospital in Vavuniya and the execution of development projects concerning local bodies and non-governmental organisations, would be signed.

5.

Russia building airstrip in Syrian regime stronghold (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Russia – Syria relations

b)     Syria crisis

c)     Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

a)  Russia is building an airstrip in Syrian regimes stronghold (Latakia province) and has brought hundreds of technicians and military advisers to the site.

b)     The claim comes as US accuses Moscow of a military build-up in Syria, where Russia has backed President Bashar al-Assads regime against an uprising of more than 4 years.

c)     Russia is a staunch ally of the regime in Damascus and maintains a naval facility in Tartus province. It has made no secret of its support for Assads government, including continuing weapons supplies.

6.

Yemen govt shuns talks, begins major military push (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Yemen crisis

b)     Shia Houthi rebels

a)    Yemens exiled govt backed out of UN-brokered peace talks as loyalist forces supported by a Saudi-led coalition launched a major offensive against Shia Houthi rebels.

b)     A military official said the offensive aimed to push the Iran-backed insurgents out of the oil-rich Marib province east of Sanaa and eventually move on the capital, which the rebels seized a year ago.

c)     President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadis govt (which has fled to Saudi Arabia) had said it would join UN-mediated talks this week in Oman.

7.

Challenges await Corbyn (Page 14)

a)     International

a)     Britains internal issues

b)     Labour Party

c)     Conservative Party

 

a)    The rise of Jeremy Corbyn (the veteran socialist leader of the Labour Party) has given rise to a not-unexpected political vocabulary.

b)     First challenge for Corbyn is winning over or at least accommodating the opposition within his own parliamentary party where only 20 members out of 232 voted for him.

c)    His opposition to the war in Syria and Iraq has been used by the Conservatives to warn that Labour under his leadership is a serious risk to our nations security.

8.

The roots of Europes refugee crisis (Page 11)

a)     International

a)     Europes refugee crisis

b)     International Organization for Migration (IOM)

c)     Syria crisis

d)     Islamic State (IS)

a)     The international community opted to remain discreet about the European refugee crisis, but in reality this is one of the biggest human tragedies in the making in this decade. According to the IOM, more than 3,50,000 migrants and refugees have tried to cross Mediterranean sea into Europe. Almost 2600 refugees have died in the Mediterranean Sea from Jan to Aug 2015 alone. Most of them are from West Asia, particularly from the war-ravaged countries of Syria, Iraq and Libya; many are also from the disturbed areas of Africa.

b)     According to the the IOM statistics, a substantial number of refugees are also from Afghanistan and Pakistan, moving for reasons similar to their West Asian counterparts - Afghanistan is caught in an unending civil conflict and Pakistans socio-economic condition is continuously deteriorating.

c)   Europe is the most preferred destination for the people from these fragile regions as it is economically prosperous, socially secure and has better immigration laws. But this does not mean that this mass migration is only to explore the greener pastures of Europe; it is also due to adverse circumstances in the home country that are not within the control of the common people.

d)     Endless conflict has ruined social, political and economical structures of some countries in West Asia, making it impossible for people to have a secure livelihood. On the other hand, faced with a situation of a heavy influx of refugees, Europe is unwilling to welcome people into its territory. European countries are increasing security patrolling around the Mediterranean Sea and in border areas, in order to check infiltration of refugees.

e)     Due to this increased surveillance, refugees are being pushed back, but sadly most of them cannot return to their unsafe and war-torn countries. This situation of being neither here nor there is leading to a big humanitarian crisis, demanding immediate international attention.

f)     To find a solution, we also have to critically examine the role of Euro-Atlantic powers because they have been main drivers of this present crisis. West Asia in the past was not like this; despite illusive democracy, there was political stability and economic activities flowed quite smoothly. But due to having an abundance of energy resources, West Asia was and is geo-economically extremely relevant for the US and its allies, most of them being the European powers.

g)     It is because of this that Euro-Atlantic powers used coercive tools for prompting their narrow political-economic agendas in this region after the end of Cold War. As a result, Iraq is in ruins, even though it does not possess any weapons of mass destruction. Libya was bombed by NATO in 2011 after getting sanctions through the UNSC Resolution 1973, and is currently a battleground for different ethnic groups fighting to capture political power.

h)     There is enough evidence to prove that on the pretext of supporting pro-democratic forces in Syria, western powers ended up helping the radical groups, providing necessary fodder for the birth of deadly IS. Afghanistan (also one of the known battlefields of the Cold War) was deserted by the West after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

i)     Even if we ignore larger political economic questions of international relations, it will not be inappropriate to blame western powers for the present crisis. Their irresponsible acts for achieving narrow political objectives have destabilised West Asia, and now European countries cannot turn their backs to the problems of the refugees.

j)     EU has unveiled a refugee quota plan to address the crisis, but is already facing opposition from eastern members, with the Czech Republics PM Bohuslav Sobotka stating that his country will not be compelled in any manner to accept a quota and that such a system wont work. Thus, far more coordination between the EU and the international community is essential to resolve the crisis.

k)     In this regard, it is also crucial for the EU to involve the US. Similarly, the stable countries of West Asia should be contacted to provide some respite to these refugees. Any negligence now will prove costly not only for Europe but for many other countries of the world.

9.

Centre schedules global education meet in Gujarat (Page 13)

a)     National

a)     Vibrant India Global Education Summit

b)     Education reforms

c)     Make in India

d)     Skill India

a)     In line with PM Modis decision not to limit big-ticket events to New Delhi, the Union Human Resource Development Ministry has opted to hold the first international summit on education in Gandhinagar (capital of Gujarat) in Nov. The ministers in-charge of education in 180 countries will participate in the summit.

b)     Delegates at the summit will discuss themes such as the role of the private sector in providing quality education and research and development and how the govt can facilitate private sector participation.

c)    There is a growing demand to create a linkage between education and industry. There is a strong voice for initiatives such as Make in India and Skills India and Start-up India, Stand up India, and all of those require education to keep pace with demands of the markets.

d)     On the agenda will be the issue of ranking of Indian institutes globally, the quality of research and teacher training and the need for reforms.

10.

Roads, power investments rise (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Economy

a)     Make in India initiative

b)    Road transport sector

c)    Electricity generation    

a)     An analysis shows that new projects worth Rs. 1.2 lakh crore were announced in first quarter of financial year 2015-16, up 48 percent from the same period the previous year.

b)     Over the last week, the govt has gone to great lengths to convey its success in getting stalled projects moving and also in boosting new investments, notably in the road sector.

c)     The road transport sector has indeed seen a sharp growth in investment since the Modi govt has come to power.

d)     Electricity generation (another sector that is critical for the PMs Make in India programme) has seen a similar boost in investment.

11.

Jayant Sinha pitches for lower rates, making exports more competitive (Page 15)

a)     Economy

a)     Monetary policy

b)     Inflation

c)     WPI inflation

d)     GDP

e)     RBI

a)     Making a case for lowering of interest rates, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha has said the RBI should take into account various factors (including low inflation), while deciding on monetary policy stance.

b)     He also stressed on the need to make the exports more competitive by bringing down the cost of capital as also the cost of manufacturing.

c)     Stating that the countrys economic growth is not at its potential, he said RBI would certainly look into the factors such as negative wholesale inflation and low GDP deflator while establishing its monetary policy.

d)     The RBI is scheduled to announce its next bi-monthly monetary policy review for the 2015-16 on Sept 29, amid rate cut calls from industry to boost growth rate, which fell to 7 percent in the first quarter of 2015-16.

12.

Aurangzeb is a severely misunderstood figure (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Religious foes in Mughal India

b)     Mughal dynasty

a)      In an email interview, Audrey Truschke (Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Religious Studies at Stanford University) shares the experiences of writing her book (Culture of Encounters: Sanskrit at the Mughal Court, to be published in Feb 2016) and argues in favour of acknowledging diversity in India.

b)     She said the BJP only wants a certain version of Sanskrit in the mainstream. India has a great treasure in its Sanskrit tradition, but that treasure is not only classical poetry and the Indian epics, but also the immense diversity of Sanskrit literature.

c)     She said that Sanskrit flourished in the royal Mughal court primarily under three emperors: Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan. However, we should not make the error of attributing Aurangzebs lack of interest in Sanskrit to his alleged bigotry. Aurangzeb is a severely misunderstood historical figure who has suffered perhaps more than any of the other Mughal rulers from present-day biases.

d)    There are two main reasons why Sanskrit ceased to be a major part of Mughal imperial life during Aurangzebs rule. One, during the 17th century, Sanskrit was slowly giving way to Hindi. This was a wider literary shift in subcontinent, and even under Shah Jahan we begin to see imperial attention directed towards Hindi-language intellectuals at the expense of Sanskrit. Aurangzebs reign simply happen to coincide with the waning of Sanskrit and the rise of literary Hindi.

e)     Second, Aurangzeb beat out Dara Shikoh for the Mughal throne. Dara Shikoh had been engaged in a series of cross-cultural exchanges involving Sanskrit during the 1640s and 1650s. Thus, Aurangzeb decided to move away from what little remained of the Mughal interest in Sanskrit as a political decision, rather than as a cultural or religious judgment.

f)     For example, Brahmans assisted with Mughal translations of Sanskrit texts into Persian. The method was that Brahmans would read the Sanskrit text, verbally translate it into Hindi (their shared language with Mughals), and then the Mughals would write down the translation in Persian. Jains and Brahmans alike assisted the Mughals with astrology. Brahmans cast Sanskrit-based horoscopes for the Mughal royal family.

g)     She said there was plenty of violence in Mughal India. Even under Akbar, violence was commonplace. Generally, the Mughals acted violently towards political foes (whether they were Rajput, Muslim, Hindu, or otherwise was irrelevant). It is very difficult for many modern people to accept that violence in pre-modern India was rarely religiously motivated. But we lack historical evidence that the Mughals attacked religious foes.

h)    She said there were limited instances when the Mughals persecuted specific individuals over religious differences. A good example is that Akbar sent a few of the Muslim ulama on hajj to Mecca, which meant that they were effectively exiled from the court. Some of these ulama were murdered on their way out of India.

i)     In the BJP vision, she believes that the new saviour is the BJP itself and affiliated Hindu nationalist groups that will restore India to its proper, true nature as a land for Hindus. Part of the sad irony of the BJPs emphasis on rewriting Indian history is precisely that India has a deep and compelling history, which so many seem intent to ignore.

13.

Harappan settlement razed to expand farmland, build houses (Page 12)

a)     National

b)     History

a)     Indus Valley Civilization

b)     Harappan period

c)     Ganga

d)     Yamuna

a)     A 5000-year-old Indus Valley settlement located in Baghpat district of U.P, stands abandoned and unprotected.

b)     The archaeological site (discovered in 1957 in Alamgirpur village of the district) is regarded as one of the most historically significant finds in country as it showed for the first time evidence of habitation relating to Harappan period in Upper Doab region between Ganga and Yamuna.

c)     However, at present the settlement (which lies just 70 km from the national capital) faces destruction by the villagers who have flattened the centuries-old structures to expand their cultivable land.

d)     Worse, some of villagers have built houses, memorials and temple-like structures on top of the settlement, where excavations till last year had given crucial insights about life and society during the Harappan period, also known as the Indus Valley Civilization.

e)     The civilization (which is known for its superior urban planning) is believed to have flourished in the period between 3300 BC and 1300 BC in what is today Pakistan, northwest India and parts of Afghanistan and Balochistan.

14.

US dig uncovers 10,000-year-old stone tools (Page 20)

a)     S&T

b)     Geography

a)     Sammamish river

b)     Bear Creek

c)     Bison and mammoths period

a)    An archaeological survey to clear way for construction near a mall has unearthed thousands of stone tools crafted at least 10,000 years ago. The rare find is shedding light on a time when prehistoric bison and mammoths still roamed what is now western Washington state.

b)     Chemical analysis of one of the tools revealed traces of the food they were eating, including bison, deer, bear, sheep and salmon.

c)     The site near Redmond Town Center mall in Redmond (Washington) was initially surveyed in 2009, as the city embarked on a project to restore salmon habitat in Bear Creek, a tributary of Sammamish River.

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