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Daily News Analysis 26-10-2015

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

ESSENCE OF THE ARTICLE

1.         

 

Prior to Africa forum meet, India polishes its UNSC pitch (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     External Affairs Minister SushmaSwarajsays that India and Africa must work together to ensure UN Security Council reforms, calling this a major issue for them as the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary.

2.

Factoring in Pakistan (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharifs visit to US has not led to any diplomatic blockbuster as was being speculated in a section of American media. But it has left enough for Indian strategic thinkers and policymakers to mull over.

3.

Arrested VP a threat to national security: Yameen (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     President Abdullah Yameen of the Maldives said that the arrested Vice-President (Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor) is a national security threat.

4.

Needed, a more credible mechanism (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     The recent findings of two inquiry commissions in Sri Lanka underscore the need for a formal process to investigate and prosecute those responsible for grave crimes during the armed conflict that spanned 3 decades.

5.

The other oppressed minority (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     25 years since the eviction of 75,000 Muslims by the Tamil Tigers from Sri Lankas North, the livelihood concerns of this marginalised section remain neglected. It is time for the political elite (both Sinhala and Tamil) to probe their own consciences and evolve a more inclusive resettlement framework.

6.

Tony Blair offers guarded apology for Iraq (Pgs 1,13)

a)     International

a)     The former Prime Minister Tony Blairs qualified apology for his role in Britains military intervention in Iraq in 2003 might well be a case of too little, too late.

7.

To put an end to abuse of children, HC suggests castration of rapists (Pgs 1,12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     In yet another strongly worded judgment from the Madras High Court, a judge has suggested that the Central government consider castration as an additional form of punishment for child sex abusers.

8.

Growing forests in the air (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     In its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (announced last month ahead of the 12th Climate Conference of Parties in Paris), the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change made a commitment to create an additional forest cover to hold 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

 

 

 

S.NO.

NEWS ITEM

SYLLUBUS

BACKGROUND

IMPORTANT POINTS

1.         

 

Prior to Africa forum meet, India polishes its UNSC pitch (Page 12)

a)     I.R

a)     India – Africa relations

b)     India Africa Forum Summit

c)     UNSC

d)     G-77

e)     G-4

f)     Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 

a)     External Affairs Minister SushmaSwarajsays that India and Africa must work together to ensure UN Security Council reforms, calling this a major issue for them as the UN celebrates its 70th anniversary.

b)     Indias pitch for a UNSC seat is a clear focus as the leaders of about 41 nations fly into Delhi for the 3rd India-Africa Forum summit, that is held once every three years.

c)     The summit will also be a chance for India to build bridges with the African Union members, who along with several developing nations form the G-77, or the group of 133 countries representing the Global south. Calling 2015 a historic year for South-South cooperation, Sushma referred to their cooperation during the finalisation process of SDGs for 2030.

d)     Indias main plank for the UNSC campaign at present is with the G-4 nations, but they support the inclusion of two African nations whenever the UN top body is expanded. The African Union is yet to decide on its criterion for nomination.

2.

Factoring in Pakistan (Page 10)

a)     I.R

a)     US – Pakistan relations

b)     India – Pakistan relations

c)     India-US civil nuclear deal

d)     123 agreement

e)     Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)

f)     Terrorism

g)     Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT)

 

a)     The joint statement by Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif and US President Obama indicates a broad continuity in US policy in South Asia, especially compared with the 2013 joint statement by them. At the same time, it demonstrates a higher degree of US sensitivity to Pakistani concerns, which has direct implications for India.

b)     The continuing volatility in the security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistans battles with the demons within, and its relations with India were broadly the three topics that dominated Sharifs discussions with his US interlocutors, with terrorism as a theme that spanned all 3 topics. Particular emphasis was laid on measures to prevent Paks nuclear arsenal from falling into terrorist hands.

c)     For the first time, Pakistan gave a commitment in specific terms to take action against the terror outfit LeT, a lingering worry for India. A matter of serious concern for India was clarified by US administration separately that Pakistan and the US were not negotiating a 123 agreement for civil nuclear cooperation, and the US would not seek exemption for Pakistan from NSG guidelines to facilitate nuclear commerce.

d)     The visit and its stated outcomes undermine an increasingly fashionable strategic theory that an emerging polarisation is giving shape to two axes in South Asia - Pakistan and China on the one side and the US and India on the other.

e)     Pakistan continues to leverage its strategic location at the frontier of Afghanistan and China, and to a lesser extent, India. The US appears clear that its South Asia policy involves a composite approach involving India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in its search for stability and peace, as well as of the fact that Pakistan is an important partner in fight against global terrorism.

f)     The joint statement and the anticipated decisions (which will possibly include the sale of new F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan and the continuation of the Coalition Support Fund beyond 2016) make it clear that the US cannot afford to, and will not, overlook Pakistans significance as a regional strategic player. It will be unwise and ill-advised for India to assume it would be so.

3.

Arrested VP a threat to national security: Yameen (Page 13)

a)     International

a)     Maldives internal issues

a)   President Abdullah Yameen of the Maldives said that the arrested Vice-President (Ahmed Adheeb Abdul Ghafoor) is a national security threat.

b)     The arrest was necessary to ensure that Adheeb would not influence the police investigation into his alleged role behind the boat-blast of Sept 28 that targeted the President and his family.

c)   The President (who belongs to important political dynasty of the Gayooms) accused Adheeb of plotting to dislodge him and said that he had not followed the desired equidistance from the police and the military.

4.

Needed, a more credible mechanism (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Human rights issue

c)     UNHRC

d)     Maxwell Paranagama Commission

e)     Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)

f)     N.K. Udalagama Commission

g)     Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)

h)     Eelam war

a)     The recent findings of two inquiry commissions in Sri Lanka underscore the need for a formal process to investigate and prosecute those responsible for grave crimes during the armed conflict that spanned three decades.

b)     The submission of the reports in Parliament should be welcomed, although it could also be interpreted as a signal to the international community that the domestic mechanisms are strong enough.

c)     The Maxwell Paranagama Commission (mandated to probe cases of missing persons and allegations of war crimes) has established that there were significant civilian casualties caused by Sri Lankan Army shelling in 2009 and that there may have been many individual acts of war crimes.

d)   However, the three-member Commission has mainly blamed LTTE for the civilian deaths, noting that it used civilians as human shields, placed weaponry in their midst and prevented them from leaving war zones. At the same time, the panel has pointed to the need to probe the exact circumstances of each instance of shelling of civilian clusters to fix individual responsibility.

e)     Instituting presidential commissionsof inquiry is quite common a practice in Sri Lanka. But the mechanism is inherently limited in scope as the proceedings do not amount to criminal prosecution. An earlier exercise by LLRC was notable for its acknowledgment of violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and its recommendations for justice and reconciliation.

f)     The Paranagama Commission has contributed immensely to the cause of truth-seeking and justice by flagging key instances and setting out the circumstances in which they took place. It has identified the legal framework in which actions on the battlefield ought to be assessed. On the other hand, the N.K. Udalagama Commission (which probed certain grave crimes that took place in 2005-06) has some controversial findings.

g)With Sri Lanka under pressure from the international community to probe the crimes, it has to come up with a mechanism that is more credible. A model rooted in international principles and drawing on translational legal and forensic expertise will have to be evolved so that an empowered domestic judicial process can address the issue. Transitional justice requires sustained action, not just sporadic inquiries.

5.

The other oppressed minority (Page 10)

a)     International

a)     Sri Lankas internal issues

b)     Human rights issue

c)     Eelam war

d)     LTTE

e)     Reconciliation process

 

 

a)    About 25 years ago (on Oct 30 1990), the Tamil Tigers evicted the Muslims from the Sri Lankas Northern Province. A politically marginal population of about 75,000 people (constituting 5 percent of the Northern Province) was subjected to ethnic cleansing with military precision.

b)     Having lost all that they owned, most of them languished in refugee camps in districts outside North, mostly in Puttalam in Sri Lankas North Western Province. The end of the war in May 2009 brought some hopes for a return, but the absence of a resettlement policy, an unwelcoming Tamil bureaucracy and severed relations with the Tamil community have effectively crippled the process.

c)     The return of the evicted Muslims was bound to be complicated. Historically, the largely Tamil-speaking Muslim community is characterised by not just a separate religious identity but also a separate ethno-cultural identity in Sri Lanka. The gulf between the Tamils and Muslims has further widened throughout the country over the last few decades following both the armed conflict and the formation of Muslim political parties.

d)   With the end of the war in late 2009, the displaced Muslim community made a concerted effort to return to their original homes in the North. However, families had grown, resulting in the fragmentation of their lands. In some parts of North, Muslim politicians in the govt exploited the situation of the returning population. The politics of patronage led to handouts for some, but the marginalised continued to suffer as they confronted what was a mockery in the name of resettlement.

e)   In the Jaffna peninsula, over 2000 families returned and registered for resettlement soon after end of the war. However, only about 600 of them remain amidst immense social and economic difficulties. Mainly an urban community, the Jaffna Muslims lack even the most basic infrastructure, including water supply and drainage systems.

f)     Without a credible resettlement policy, there is little support from the state for these families to return. Hardly any Muslims in Jaffna were beneficiaries of the housing project sponsored by the Indian government, under which 50,000 houses were to be built for the war affected in the North. Indeed, there are strong allegations of an unsympathetic local Tamil bureaucracy blocking these grants.

g)In this context, the harrowing eviction of Muslims and its consequences on them are seldom discussed in Jaffna. While some Tamil opinion-makers in private provide circuitous justifications for the eviction, most say they were helpless in the face of the Tigers decision.

h)     But the North was considered different with good relations between the communities. Sadly, however, even in the absence of the Tigers today, most Jaffna Tamils remain indifferent toward the returning Muslim community. This social situation reflects weakened Tamil-Muslim relations and a Tamil public sphere where little has been done to rebuild them.

i)     Remembering the eviction of the Northern Muslims is crucial today for forging a pluralistic future and rebuilding relations between communities. Following the recent overthrow of MahindaRajapaksa regime (which thrived on polarising communities for its own consolidation of power), there is now a new push in Sri Lanka for reconciliation and for a political solution. Indeed, just a year ago, the Jaffna Muslim community lived under a cloud of fear as the Rajapaksa regime backed anti-Muslim attacks and pogroms persisted in southern Sri Lanka.

j)     In this context, mainstream discourse reduces the countrys national question to one of solving Sinhala-Tamil problem. International perceptions too limit the understanding of the political issue in Sri Lanka to simply an ethnic conflict between the two communities. The challenge is to engage the social dynamics of class, caste, gender and, ethnic differences, while not allowing the powerful singular framing of a Sinhala-Tamil conflict to over-determine the process of reconciliation.

k)     Therefore, the concerns of the Jaffna Muslims, the fisher communities and the oppressed caste communities of the North; the issues faced by the Upcountry Tamils from the tea plantations and urban shanty dwellers in Colombo; and the difficulties encountered by the landless labourers in the North and South should be the starting point for a political solution and reconciliation.

l)    Such grounded engagement would also be a check on any unreasonable demands for autonomy by the Jaffna Tamil elite; on the theatrics of the separatist Tamil diaspora and on the obsession of the Sinhala Buddhist nationalists with state sovereignty and national security. Here, Sri Lanka is fortunate to have a considerable body of work, one that includes proposals for devolution integrating the concerns of the marginalised minorities, such as the Upcountry Tamils in the estates. Such solutions go beyond mere legalistic concerns and territorial demarcations.

m)     As Sri Lanka launches a major push for a constitutional political solution this month, the humility of listening to the suffering of peoples like the Northern Muslims will be important.

n)     The history of lost opportunities in Sri Lanka should be a warning against the hubris of experts and powerful political actors. Even at this late stage, there is a need for reconstruction and resettlement policies to be forged through the participation of local communities.

o)     The new govt is likely to announce major plans for urban development, including those for towns like Jaffna. However, will the new urban development policies include the housing needs of the once-evicted Northern Muslims or will it drive them out of Jaffna?

6.

Tony Blair offers guarded apology for Iraq (Pages 1 and 13)

a)     International

a)Britains military intervention in Iraq war 2003

b)     Chilcot Inquiry

c)     Arab Spring

d)     Syria crisis

e)     Islamic State (IS)

 

a)   The former PM Tony Blairs qualified apology for his role in Britains military intervention in Iraq in 2003 might well be a case of too little, too late.He also conceded elements of truth in the proposition that the principal cause for the rise of the IS was the Iraq war.

b)     He said we cannot say that those of us who removed Saddam from Iraq in 2003 bear the responsibility for Iraq in 2015, but it is also important to realise that one, the Arab Spring that began in 2011 would also have its impact on Iraq today, and two the IS actually came into prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq.

c)    Media commentators in the UK have been quick to point out that the apology by Blair is a way to head off the outcome of the Chilcot Inquiry (into the British governments decision to enter the war), which is to be tabled next year.

7.

To put an end to abuse of children, HC suggests castration of rapists (Pages 1 and 12)

a)     National

b)     Polity

a)     Castration

b)     Child rights

c)     International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC)

 

a)     In yet another strongly worded judgment from the Madras High Court, a judge has suggested that the Central govt consider castration as an additional form of punishment for child sex abusers.

b)     The judge said this while dismissing a petition by the accused, a British national, who sought the quashing of the proceedings against him in a lower court.

c)     The judge further said that though the suggestion of castration looks barbaric, barbaric crimes should definitely attract barbaric models of punishment and the very thought of the punishment should deter the culprit from committing the offence.

d)     Anticipating a reaction to his judgment, he said those activists should first exhibit sympathy with, and support to, the victims of such crimes by visiting and consoling them at the hour of crisis instead of having misplaced sympathy with the perpetrators under the usual banner of human rights violation. They must remember that human rights is not a term restricted to, and reserved only, for offenders.

e)     The judge also directed the Union government to decide on introducing compulsory sex education for high school students.

f)     Taking note of the number of cases of foreigners abusing children, the judge referred to the ICPC developed by the UKto protect children and said the visa form issued by the Indian Embassy had to be amended with the provision of a column requiring the applicants to give the details of convictions, actions warranting reprimands and impending cases.

g)     Peoples Union for Civil Liberties strongly feels that it would be dangerous to equate rape with just testosterone levels.Castration can never provide any magical solution to rape. Data shows that there is no reduction in the commission of rape in countries which practise surgical or chemical castration as an option to imprisonment.

8.

Growing forests in the air (Page 11)

a)     National

b)     Environment

a)     Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

b)    Paris Climate Conference 2015

c)     National Afforestation Programme(NAP)

d)     Joint Forest Management (JFM)

e)     Green India Mission (GIM)

f)     Compensatory Afforestation (CA)

g)     Forest (Conservation) Act

a)     In its INDC(announced last month ahead of the 12th Climate Conference of Parties in Paris), the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change made a commitment to create an additional forest cover to hold 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

b)     This is to be achieved through existing programmes and schemes such as National Afforestation Programme, Joint Forest Management, the Green India Mission and compensatory afforestation.

c)     Within a week of releasing the INDCs and voluntarily committing to create additional forest sinks, Union Environment Minister PrakashJavadekar is reported to have lamented that the survival rate of trees planted under various afforestation programmes in the country is only 10-20 percent, calling into question the very schemes expected to deliver these contributions.

d)     According to the authors, the INDCs related to increasing forest cover are to be achieved through sustainable forest management, afforestation and regulating forest diversion for non-forest activities such as mining and dams. There are two key reality-checks, which trump these claims.

e)     The first is the history of afforestation programmes and their indifferent outcomes. India has had numerous centrally sponsored plantation programmes as the NAP or international grants for social forestry and joint forest management - large-scale projects, implemented by the State Forest Departments. The INDCs propose to rely on this plantation drive mechanism without a review of its earlier outcomes.

f)     The second relates to the selective projection of a future for Indias forests in the INDC document, isolated from the other sectoral growth targets such as those under clean energy through nuclear, clean coal and hydro power projects. While growth in these sectors may be considered crucial for an aspirational economy, the commitments to expand these sectors do not acknowledge their footprint on forest areas.

g)     Almost all such energy projects would require the diversion of forest land under the Forest (Conservation) Act. Though this has been a legal requirement since 1980, forest diversion is not accounted for in the growth projections made by other sectors.

h)     The govts thinking on afforestation reaches illogical levels when it suggests that the participation of private sector will green degraded forests.The suggestion comes even though private sector has only shown a propensity for deforestation and a scientifically trained bureaucracy has not been able to achieve national forestry targets.

i)     Many forests are also home to adivasi and other marginalised communities. They depend on these resources and have been criminalised for this. Viewing these regions only as carbon stocks or sinks ignores their complex history. Turning zealous about afforestation in the past has not only led to social conflicts but a forest bias has exterminated other ecosystems equally critical for human beings and biodiversity, such as deserts and grasslands.

j)    Indias intended contribution on forests to mitigate climate change ignores the rich history of landscape management practices and is uninformed of the impact of growing energy sector on forests. Without both these, Indias INDCs will not create any forests with roots on the ground.

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