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INSIGHTS CURRENT EVENTS: 19 SEPTEMBER 2014

Ebola declared threat to peace and security

The UN security council has declared Ebola Virus Disease “a threat to international peace and security”. The decision was taken after a resolution, sponsored by 131 countries, was approved.

Since there is no vaccine available and cures are rare, the Ebola Virus Disease has been gaining much attention.

A new organization to be known as the “United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER” will be formed to take on the disease on a battle—footing.

There is also a potential threat of terrorists using Ebola.

The 3 worst affected west African countries are-Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leon.

What is the Security Council?

It is one of the six organs of the United Nations, established by the UN Charter and its main objective is to maintain International peace and security.

According to the Charter, the United Nations has four purposes:

  • to maintain international peace and security;
  • to develop friendly relations among nations;
  • to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights;
  • and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations.

The member states are obliged to implement the decision taken by the Security council under the charter.

When a complaint concerning a threat to peace is brought before it, the Council’s first action is usually to recommend that the parties try to reach agreement by peaceful means.

If a dispute leads to hostilities, the council’s primary concern is to bring them to an end as soon as possible by issuing ceasefire directives and by deploying military observers/peace keeping force if necessary. The council may also opt for economic sanctions, blockade or even collective military action.

 

Sources: The Hindu, http://www.un.org/.

Scotland Referendum

More than 50% of Scottish Voters rejected independence in national referendum.

Hence, Scotland continues to be a part of the United Kingdom. A referendum was recently held to decide whether Scotland should be granted independence or not.

Background:

Scotland was an independent sovereign state until it entered into a political union with England along with Ireland in 1707. Many Scottish people opposed the move. But the process of political union was carried on through the “Treaty of Union” agreed by parliaments of both the countries.

Monarch of the United Kingdom is also the head of Scotland.

Scotland has limited Self-government within United Kingdom as well as the representation in the UK parliament.

 

A Referendum is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to vote on a particular proposal.

 

Sources: The Hindu, WIKI.

 

SC: broaden pool for selection of CVC

The Supreme Court asked the union government to examine ways to broaden the zone of consideration beyond civil servants for appointments to the Central Vigilance Commission and to make the process of appointment transparent.

Central Vigilance Commission:

  • It was created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred but was conferred with statutory status in 2003.
  • It is the apex vigilance institution.
  • Presently, the body consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.
  • They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha.
  • Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • It submits its report to the President.
  • The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.
  • CVC is advisory body.

Sources: The Hindu, WIKI.

Gates Foundation to help fight kala azar

Gates foundation is planning to work with the central government to wipe out Kala Azar.

Kala Azar is the second largest parasitic killer in the world after malaria and in mainly concentrated in the districts of West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Bihar in India.

Kala Azar:

  • Kala Azar also known as Black fever/ Dumdum fever/ Visceral leishmaniasis is the most severe form of leishmaniasis (leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus).
  • Symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anemia, and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.
  • There are no vaccines or preventive drugs for this disease.
  • The most effective method to prevent infection is to protect from female sand fly bites.
  • There are different treatment options available for Kala Azar, with varying effectiveness and side effects. Pentavalent antimonials are usually the first line group of drugs, given as a 30 day course of intramuscular injections. –

     

    Sources: The Hindu, www.msfindia.in/.

     

NHRC takes up HIV drug shortage

National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare seeking a report on HIV drug shortage within two weeks.

 

NHRC:

  • It is a statutory body established in 1993.
  • It consists of a Chairman and 4 members. Chairman should be a retired Chief Justice of India. Members should be either sitting or retired judges of the supreme court or a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court and 2 persons having practical knowledge in this field.
  • Ex officio members are the chairmen of National Commission for Scheduled Caste, National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, National Commission for Minorities and National Commission for Women.
  • The chairman and members are appointed on the recommendation of a 6 member committee consisting of Prime Minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, leaders of opposition in both the houses of parliament and Union Home Minister.
  • Term of the chairman and members is 5 years or 70 years whichever is earlier.
  • After retirement they are not eligible for further reappointment.
  • Removal: President has to refer the matter to Supreme Court and if after enquiry Supreme Court holds it right then they can be removed by the President.
  • The commission is not empowered to enquire into matters which were committed one year before.
  • Its recommendations are just advisory and not binding in nature.
  • It submits Annual report to the Central government and to the concerned state governments.

 

Sources: The Hindu, nhrc.nic.in.

 

India Newborn Action Plan (INAP)

• Aims at attaining Single Digit Neonatal Mortality Rate by 2030 – five years ahead of the global plan.

• Aligned with the global Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP).

• Builds further on existing commitments under the National Health Mission and Call to Action for Child Survival and Development. Emphasizes a strengthened surveillance mechanism for tracking stillbirths.

• Focuses on ending preventable newborn deaths and improving quality of care, and care beyond survival.

• Prioritizes babies that are born too soon, too small or sick as they account for the majority of all newborn deaths.

• Aims at ensuring equitable progress for girls with boys, in rural and urban areas, among the rich and the poor, and in both districts and states.

• The major guiding principles, under the overarching principle of integration are: equity, gender, quality of care, convergence, accountability and partnerships.

• Its six pillars of interventions include: preconception and antenatal care; care during labour and child birth; immediate newborn care; care of healthy newborns; care of small and sick new borns; and care beyond new born survival.

• Serves as a framework for states/districts to develop their own action plan with measurable indicators.

Sources: The Hindu, http://nrhm.gov.in/.

 

“Income and Poverty in the United States,” also called as the nation’s “economic report card.”

This report presents data on income and poverty in the United States.

Important observations:

  • Middle-class incomes have dropped to levels of the late 1980s or early 1990s .
  • There have been steady gains in full-time employment .
  • Women’s pay is catching up to men’s.
  • The official poverty rate decreased between 2012 and 2013, while the number in poverty was not statistically different from 2012.
  • Upper-middle-class America is still well-off by any historical standard.
  • Long-standing racial and ethnic differences remain. On the other hand, there’s ample evidence of underlying resilience.

For further reference: http://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p60-249.pdf.

 

Sources: The Hindu, www.census.gov.

 

Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) is Government of India’s flagship programme for achievement of Universalization of Elementary Education (UEE) in a time bound manner, as mandated by 86th amendment to the Constitution of India making free and compulsory Education to the Children of 6-14 years age group, a Fundamental Right.
  • SSA is being implemented in partnership with State Governments to cover the entire country and address the needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations.
  • The programme seeks to open new schools in those habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure through provision of additional class rooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grants.
  • Existing schools with inadequate teacher strength are provided with additional teachers, while the capacity of existing teachers is being strengthened by extensive training, grants for developing teaching-learning materials and strengthening of the academic support structure at a cluster, block and district level.
  • SSA seeks to provide quality elementary education including life skills. SSA has a special focus on girl’s education and children with special needs. SSA also seeks to provide computer education to bridge the digital divide.

Sources: http://ssa.nic.in/.

 

G 20

The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for its members’ international economic cooperation and decision-making.

  • It consists of 19 countries and European Union.
  • The G20 started in 1999 as a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis. In 2008, the first G20 Leaders’ Summit was held, and the group played a key role in responding to the global financial crisis.
  • G20 leaders meet annually. In addition, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meet regularly during the year to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy, reform international financial institutions, improve financial regulation and implement the key economic reforms that are needed in each member economy.
  • The G20 is supported by international organisations, including the Financial Stability Board, the International Labour Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. These and several other organisations are invited to attend key G20 meetings.

The members of the G20 are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

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p style=”text-align: right”>Sources: www.g20.org.

 

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