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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 November 2016

 

 


Insights Daily Current Affairs, 15 November 2016


 

Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

U.K., France back UNSC permanent seat for India

 

India’s bid for a permanent seat in a reformed U.N. Security Council has received a strong support from many U.N. member-states, including the U.K. and France.

 

Background:

More than 50 speakers shared their suggestions and concerns over reform of the 15-nation UNSC during a General Assembly session held recently. Among the large number of nations supporting a permanent seat for India and other emerging powers like Brazil and Germany were two veto-wielding permanent members of the Council, the United Kingdom and France.

 

India and the UNSC:

India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it.

  • The U.S. is supporting India’s claim for a permanent UNSC seat, but it has been calling for consensus before reforms can move ahead.
  • Pakistan is opposed to India, while China has been ambiguous in its approach though not openly opposed to reforms.
  • Russia has also clarified that it is open to supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

 

Why India should be given a permanent seat in the council?

  • India was among the founding members of United Nations.
  • It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
  • India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
  • It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Chinese ship opens new trade route via Gwadar port in Pakistan

 

A new international trade route in Southwest Pakistan has been opened up by a Chinese ship exporting goods to the Middle East and Africa. With this, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become a reality. This route that is being developed by the Chinese in Pakistan is expected to make huge amount of economic gains for the country.

 

What is CPEC?

The CPEC is one of the most important projects of the ‘one belt, one road’ project initiated by China that aims to connect the Asian economic giant with Europe and Africa, thereby making the country a bigger player in world economic affairs.

  • Consisting of a number of road, rail and pipeline ventures, the CPEC connects Xinjiang in Northwestern region of China with Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian sea, going over the Pakistan occupied Kashmir territory of Gilgit-Baltistan and the disputed region of Balochistan.
  • Reportedly, the port at Gwadar will have the capacity to manage 19 million tons of crude oil which will be directly transferred to China.
  • As a multi-million dollar project, the CPEC is reported to have brought Pakistan twice the amount of foreign investments the country received since 2008.

gwadar

How does it benefit Pakistan?

For Pakistan, the Chinese investment in the south-western region of the country is a game-changer for the economy, especially considering the fact that despite the high concentration of mineral resources in the region it has remained the poorest district.

The $46 billion promised by China will be used in generating close to 17,000 megawatts of electricity at a cost of $34 billion through coal, nuclear and other renewable energy projects. The rest of the money would be utilised in building up transport infrastructure.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 

World likely to cross 1.2°C global warming level this year

 

According to a preliminary assessment provided by the World Meteorological Organisation in its Status of the Global Climate in 2016 report, the world is likely to cross 1.2° C of global warming above pre-industrial levels in 2016. This comes dangerously close to breaching the 1.5° C warming levels advised as an ambitious target to stay safe from the worst impacts of climate change.

 

Background:

The Paris Agreement last year had adopted 2°C as the absolute threshold for staying within safe global warming levels. However, 1.5°C was advised as an ambitious target, especially bearing in mind the fate of small island countries such as Haiti or Maldives that are threatened with submergence due to sea-level rise and extreme weather events.

Global temperatures for January to September 2016 have been about 0.88°C (1.58°F) above the average (14°C) for the 1961-1990 reference period, which WMO uses as a baseline.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • The report warned 2016 will be the hottest year on record, with global temperatures even higher than what 2015 experienced.
  • While the extra heat from the powerful El Niño event has disappeared, the heat from global warming will continue.
  • In parts of Arctic Russia, temperatures were 6°C to 7°C above the long-term average. Many other Arctic and sub-Arctic regions in Russia, Alaska and northwest Canada were at least 3°C above average.
  • Because of climate change, the occurrence and impact of extreme events has also risen. ‘Once in a generation’ heatwaves and flooding are becoming more regular. Sea level rise has increased exposure to storm surges associated with tropical cyclones.

 

The WMO report also outlined the major weather events associated with increasing global warming levels in 2016:

  • In total, there have been 78 tropical cyclones globally in 2016 as of October 31, close to the long-term average.
  • The most significant, in terms of casualties, was Hurricane Matthew affecting Haiti and parts of the U.S. Typhoon Lionrock caused destructive flooding and heavy casualties in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and Cyclone Winston was the most severe tropical storm on record to affect Fiji.
  • The Yangtze basin in China had its most significant summer floods since 1999. Sri Lanka experienced flooding and landslides in mid-May.
  • Above-normal seasonal rainfall in the Sahel led to significant flooding in the Niger River basin, with the river reaching its highest levels in about 50 years in Mali.
  • There were a number of major heat waves and droughts experienced during 2015-2016. The year started with an extreme heat wave in southern Africa, exacerbated by the ongoing drought.
  • The report also mentions Phalodi in Rajasthan, India which set a new record for heat in India recording 51.0°C on May 19.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 1 Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

 

‘Kohinoor represents sentiments of people’

 

The Centre recently told the Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond, though a “symbol of victory” for the British Empire, represented the “sentiments of the people of India.”

Key facts:kohinoor DIAMOND

  • The affidavit filed by the Centre said India’s credentials regarding the ownership of the Kohinoor diamond was based on historical evidence and could not be doubted. The affidavit was filed by the Ministry of Culture.
  • The affidavit has an open-ended conclusion, saying the government was “continuing to explore ways for a satisfactory resolution” over the diamond with the U.K.
  • The affidavit was perused by a Bench led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur recently on a petition filed by the All India Human Rights and Social Front against the High Commissioner of the U.K.

 

Background:

The centre, in April 2016, had told Supreme Court that the Kohinoor diamond was neither “forcibly taken nor stolen” by British rulers, but given as a “gift” to East India Company by rulers of Punjab. Therefore, India should not stake claim to Kohinoor because other countries may start pressing India for return of their items. The government had clarified that the diamond was given by the successors of Maharaja Ranjit Singh to East India Company in 1849 as compensation for helping them in the Sikh wars.

 

About the issue:

The return of Kohinoor diamond to India has been a long-standing demand, with many claiming that the diamond was taken forcibly. The fight to get back the diamond has been ongoing since India’s independence.

  • The Indian government, believing the gem was rightfully theirs, made the first demand for the return of the Kohinoor diamond soon after independence. A second request followed in 1953, the year of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Each time, the British government refuted the claims, saying that ownership was non-negotiable.
  • In 2000, several members of the Indian Parliament signed a letter calling for the diamond to be given back to India, claiming it was taken illegally. British officials said that a variety of claims meant it was impossible to establish the gem’s original owner.

 

Who owns the diamond, anyway?

It is not just India that is claiming ownership of the diamond; the list includes Pakistan and Aghanistan, too.

 

Key facts:

  • The diamond belonged to the Sikh Ruler, Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
  • It has been in British possession for more than 150 years.
  • It is now priced at 100 million euros.

 

Way ahead:

Though both India and the U.K. were signatories to the UNESCO Convention on Means of Prohibiting and Preventing Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, a restitution of Kohinoor would require a “special agreement” between both countries.

Sources: the hindu.