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Insights Daily Current Events , November 02, 2013

ARCHIVES

November 02, 2013

NATIONAL

Social media/Net Governance, an instrument of Good Governance

  • Communications and IT Minister Kapil Sibal has recently launched his website. He has now joined a small but growing list of high profile politicians who have decided to engage with their constituencies in cyberspace.

  • The website would be used to engage with stakeholders. On one hand regarding questions w.r.t working of the IT Ministry and on the other on political constituencies and his (Minister’s) voters

  • There is need for an increased engagement with multi-stakeholder groups including the private sector, civil society, the academia and technical communities in the decision-making process on various issues related to Internet governance, both within India and at an international level.

  • The National Telecom Policy released in 2012, and the Cyber Security Policy released earlier in 2013 were products of online consultation launched by the Communications Ministry.

  • Inter-governmental solutions for Internet governance or regulating the Net can’t work given the lack of agreement and difference in ideologies between governments themselves.

  • Since Stakeholders like the private sector play a far more important role than the government in cyberspace, and a vast majority of the infrastructure and services, including government services, are provided, or will be provided, via the private sector. The multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance in the 21st century is exceptionally important.

  • If the government’s objective is to empower people, then in Decision making process the government must not just recognise the significance of the private sector, but also take into account its input as a part of a multi-stakeholder process.

INTERNATIONAL

India, Australia inching towards civil nuclear agreement

  • India moved a step closer to sourcing uranium from Australia, the world’s biggest exporter of the radioactive mineral, with the Foreign Ministers of both countries agreeing to hold the third round of talks on a bilateral civil nuclear agreement towards the end of November, 2013.

  • Both the Ministers have reaffirmed the commitment of their respective countries to finalise a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to enable the sale of Australian uranium to India.

  • The two Ministers also discussed energy security and the possibility of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) to strengthen ties. Both sides have laid stress on the security of sea lanes as India and Australia have supplemented their coal-based energy ties with a multibillion dollar contract for sourcing Australian gas.

  • The two sides also reiterated their commitment to work together to address threats such as terrorism and transnational crime.

  • Australia would also be holding a major conference of persons of Indian origin, the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, in the country in November, 2013.

  • India is now Australia’s largest source of skilled migrants and the second largest source of international students.

Difference between CECA and CEPA

  • CECA and CEPA are pacts between two countries for economic cooperation. While CEPA stands for Comprehensive Economic partnership Agreement, CECA is the short form of Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement.

  • India has signed a CEPA with Japan, South Korea and CECA with Malaysia, Singapore etc.

  • The terms are important for bilateral economic cooperation. The two types of agreements are almost similar in nature. However, the major difference lies in the use of words Cooperation and partnership in the two types of economic pacts.

  • While in the case of CECA, the emphasis is on reduction of tariffs or elimination of tariffs in a gradual manner of all items listed as tariff rate quota items, in the case of CEPA, it is also about trade in the fields of services and investments.

  • Thus it is clear that CEPA has a wider scope than CECA.

  • Another difference between CEPA and CECA is that it is CECA that get signed between two countries first, and then the two countries move ahead in the direction of CEPA.

  • For example: India and Sri Lanka signed off a treaty of economic cooperation called as Free Trade Agreement in 1998, which was in essence CECA. India embarked on gradual removal of tariffs which was finally achieved in 2003. Sri Lanka on its part started removing tariffs and achieved it in 2008. The two countries then started talks on CEPA which also covers trade in services and investments.

Courtesy – www.differencebetween.com

India, Vietnam sign prisoner exchange treaty

  • As part of social rehabilitation of prisoners, an agreement has been signed between India and Vietnam. This would allow Indian prisoners imprisoned in Vietnam or vice-versa to be near their families for serving remaining part of their sentence.

  • India has so far signed similar agreements with United Kingdom, Mauritius, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Egypt, France, Bangladesh, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sri Lanka, UAE, Maldives, Thailand, Turkey, Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel and Russia, while negotiations have been concluded in this regard with Canada, Hong Kong, Brazil and Spain.

  • The 7th United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders adopted the Model Agreement on the Transfer of Foreign Prisoners in 1985 and since then many countries have arrived at bilateral and multilateral treaties.

Israel strike on Syria complicates ‘peace efforts’

  • Israel has bombed a Syrian base to halt an arms shipment to Hizbollah, complicating efforts to find a peaceful solution to the festering crisis in the embattled Levantine state (Syria).

  • Latakia would be the first Israeli strike on Syria since a U.S.-Russian accord on chemical weapons averted punitive U.S. military action in October, 2013

  • Israel had warned Syria in the past that it would continue to take action to prevent sophisticated weapons from falling into the hands of Hizbollah — a key Damascus ally and other militant groups.

  • Syria’s compliance with its September pledge to destroy its chemical weapon stocks and infrastructure to manufacture them has added positive momentum to talks to resolve the crisis. And the U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has begun to mop-up support for the so-called Geneva II talks to find a diplomatic solution to the Syrian conflict.

  • But Syria’s opposition has refused to attend unless President Bashar al-Assad’s resigns. If the opposition does not participate chances of Geneva conference are bleak.

  • The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has just recently declared that –‘Syria has completed the “functional destruction” of all critical equipment that were used for its chemical arms production. Syria could well be on its way to complete chemical disarmament by the middle of 2014.’

  • The latest strike is apparently the sixth that Israel has carried out in Syria in 2013.

Courtesy Hindu Newspaper

China: Tiananmen terror attack

  • The Chinese officials have concluded that the terrorist outfit East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) was behind the recent attack in Tiananmen Square that killed five.

  • This has posed ‘a new challenge’ that would significantly alter China’s internal and external approaches to combating terror.

  • ETIM has in the past claimed responsibility for several attacks in Xinjiang, a Muslim-majority region in China’s far west. It has also campaigned for independence for the Uighurs, the Turkic group native to Xinjiang that is one of China’s 55 minorities.

  • Over the years, ETIM had incited, organised and committed terrorist attacks of various forms and spread the ideas of violence and terrorism.

  • The issue has become an irritant in China’s “all-weather” relationship with Pakistan. The Chinese officials have been complaining about Pakistan’s inability to crack down on terror groups even as China goes ahead with deepening strategic ties in other areas.

More about the Xinjiang province & the cause for unrest

  • China’s Xinjiang province is the country’s most westerly region, bordering on the former Soviet states of Central Asia, as well as several other states including Afghanistan, Russia, and Mongolia.

  • The largest ethnic group, the Muslim, Turkic-speaking Uighurs, has lived in China’s shadow for centuries. The region has had an intermittent history of autonomy and occasional independence, but was finally brought under Chinese control in the 18th century.

  • Economic development of the region under Communist rule has been accompanied by large-scale immigration of Han Chinese, and Uighur allegations of discrimination and marginalisation have been behind more visible anti-Han and separatist sentiment since the 1990s. This has flared into violence on occasion.

  • Communist China established the Autonomous Region in 1955, and began to encourage Han Chinese to settle there in new industrial towns and farming villages run by the quasi-military Xinjiang Production and Development Corps.

  • In the 2000 census Han Chinese made up 40 per cent of the population of Xinjiang, excluding large numbers of troops stationed in the region and unknown numbers of unregistered migrants, and Uighurs accounted for about 45 per cent.

  • There has been frequent unrest in this region and China has sought to deal this unrest with a mix of repression and efforts to stimulate the region’s economy, including through increased investment by state-owned firms.

Courtesy – www.bbc.co.uk/news

U.S. envoy calls for ‘semi-permanent solution’ on DRC

  • Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) troops were in a mopping up operation to rout the remaining pockets of the M23 rebel movement, after seizing their last stronghold in a push to finally break the back of the insurgency.

  • A U.S. envoy has called for “semi-permanent” peace talks, saying that the world needed to do more for eastern DR Congo after the end of the M23 rebellion.

  • Thousands have fled the fighting between government troops and the M23 movement, which was founded by ethnic Tutsi former rebels who were incorporated into the Congolese army under a 2009 peace deal but then mutinied in April 2012, claiming that the pact had never been fully implemented.

  • Kinshasa and the United Nations charge that M23 is backed by neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, an allegation the two countries strongly refute.

Courtesy –Hindu Newspaper

TIT-BITS

  • Kaziranga National Park (KNP) is famous for ‘one- horned rhinos’. It hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinos, has the highest density of tigers among protected areas in the world.

  • National Park and World Heritage Site in Assam — Manas National Park

(From the prelims point of view – Be aware of the National Parks, their location, rivers near-by & for which animal or endangered species it’s famous for. One such example is given above.

Also you can refer Orient BlackSwan Atlas (pg no. 35)