Daily Current Affairs (English) - 14.05.2018
Submitted by root on Mon, 05/14/2018 - 11:50
India to help settle Rohingya back in Rakhine
India on Friday urged Myanmar to ensure the safe return of Rohingya citizens now staying in refugee camps in Bangladesh. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj took up the issue and promised India’s help during her two-day trip to Myanmar, where she sealed a landmark land border-crossing agreement with the country.
- The Minister underlined the need for safe, speedy and sustainable return of displaced persons to the Rakhine state.
- The Minister informed Myanmar that India was on track to complete a project to set up prefabricated housing for the Rohingya population returning from their present camps in Bangladesh.
- Bangladesh, in recent months, has repeatedly urged India to intervene and pressure Myanmar to take back its citizens who are living in difficult circumstances on Bangladeshi territory.
- Both Myanmar and Bangladesh are members of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) regional grouping, which is expected to hold a summit later this year.
- The Agreement on Land Border Crossing, which will allow people from both sides to cross the border with passport and visa for health and educational needs and tourism, was signed.
- An agreement on training of Myanmar Foreign Service officers and another on assistance to the Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Committee were signed.
- The committee monitors the ceasefire implemenation between the government of Myanmar and ethnic militant organisations that was announced in 2015.
- Reflecting cultural ties between the two sides, Ms. Swaraj sealed a memorandum of understanding on restoration of earthquake-damaged pagodas in the famed Buddhist tourism centre of Bagan.
Pradhan, UAE minister flag off the first consignment of Adnoc crude for India
- Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and UAE Minister of State & Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO Dr. Sultan Al Jaber flagged off the first consignment of 2 million barrels of ADNOC crude for Mangalore Cavern on 12th May.
- During the day, Pradhan also held the bilateral meeting with H.E. Dr. Jaber. Minister Pradhan was accompanied by Ambassador Navdeep Suri, senior officials, and CEOs for Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum, and Hindustan Petroleum.
World Migratory Bird Day 2018
THEME: “Unifying Our Voices for Bird Conservation”.
World Migratory Bird Day is celebrated each year to highlight the need for the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats. More than 300 events in more than 60 countries to mark World Migratory Bird Day 2018 will include bird festivals, education programmes, media events, bird watching trips, presentations, film screenings and a benefit concert to raise funds for international nature conservation.
- Efforts to conserve migratory birds both globally and regionally are internationally coordinated by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS, also known as the Bonn Convention) and the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).
- The two UN Environment-administered treaties have been spearheading World Migratory Bird Day since 2006. The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range.
- CMS and its related Agreements on migratory birds bring together governments and other stakeholders to coordinate and further develop conservation policies, to ensure that all flyways in the world benefit from coordination mechanisms that promote cooperation at ground level among the countries involved. It is under aegis of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Maharashtra signs MoU with Centre’s GRIHA council for green buildings
- The Maharashtra government today signed a MoU with the Centres Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) Council to train state PWD officials to rate government buildings.
- A state government release issued today said that Maharashtra was the first state to sign such a MoU.
- As per the agreement signed today, the GRIHA Council, a green rating body under the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, would train PWD’s civil and electrical engineers and architects to rate government buildings as per its parameters, an official statement said.
Nodal officers for welfare of Rohingya children
The Supreme Court designated the sub-divisional magistrates of Mewat district in Haryana and areas in Delhi where Rohingya camps are located to act as nodal officers for the welfare of refugee children.
- A Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, said Rohingya parents or relatives could approach the nodal officers with grievances about the lack of access to health and education of their children.
- The court agreed that it would examine contentions raised by Rohingya, that basic amenities were denied to Rohingya living in the camps as they did not have any identification.
- The court said it would examine if amenities such as drinking water were proportional to the population in these camps and whether they were adequate.
- Additional Solicitors-General Tushar Mehta and Maninder Singh, for the government, countered that Rohingya in the camps were getting the same treatment and facilities as Indian citizens living nearby. The government produced a field report.
NASA Mars Helicopter
NASA is planning to send a small helicopter to Mars as part of the space agency’s 2020 mission to place a next-generation rover on the Martian surface, marking the first time such an aircraft will be used on another world.
- The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.
- The helicopter also contains built-in capabilities needed for operation at Mars, including solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries, and a heating mechanism to keep it warm through the cold Martian nights. But before the helicopter can fly at Mars it has to get there. It will do so attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover.
- As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward project. If it does not work, the Mars 2020 mission will not be impacted. If it does work, helicopters may have a real future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel.
- Mars 2020 will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.
ICGS Vikram under ‘Make in India’ docks at New Mangalore Port
- ICGS Vikram, the first in the class of seven new generation offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) contracted by the ministry of defence (MoD) in March 2015 under the government’s initiative of ‘Make in India‘, arrived at its base port – the New Mangalore Port, on 13th May.
- The 98.2 meter long and 15-meter wide vessel has been designed and built indigenously by Larsen and Toubro. Subash Bhamre, the junior defence minister, had commissioned the ship in Chennai on April 11.
Uproar over Citizenship Bill
The Assam government said protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 “at this juncture” were unfounded and it would announce its official stand after the update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is competed by June 30. The BJP-led government has been under pressure from its regional ally Asom Gana Parishad and NGOs to “learn from its Meghalaya counterpart” and make its position on the “contentious Bill” clear.
- The JPC is hearing the views of stakeholders and will submit its report.
- “Meghalaya has taken a decision because it is not updating NRC. We have to honour the court and as such will make our stand clear once the NRC exercise, which is 80% through, is completed,” Mr. Patowary said.
- The Supreme Court wants the final list to be announced by June 30. A pa rtial list was published on December 3, 2018.
- The 16-member JPC headed by Rajendra Agarwal, MP, meanwhile, ended its two-day hearing in Meghalaya.
- A delegation of All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) that met the JPC in Shillong highlighted, “This controversial bill will serve as a legal basis for furthering and legitimising the claims of Chakma and Hajong refugees as indigenous people and defeat the very purpose of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation 1873 and various other regulations currently in force in the State.”
Lata Mangeshkar honored with Swara Mauli Award
- Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar was recently honored with “Swara Mauli” title by spiritual guru Vidya Narsimha Bharati Swami at her residence in ‘Prabhu Kunj‘.
- Her sister singer Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar and brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar were present at the occasion.
- Dressed in her signature white sari while receiving the honor, the “Paani Paani Re” famed singer told media that it was an honor for her for being considered for the title.
India to counter U.S. plaint on farm subsidies in WTO
A complaint lodged by the U.S. at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against India’s farm subsidies is baseless, according to Indian diplomatic sources. The U.S. had filed a counter-notification at the WTO Committee on Agriculture on May 4, alleging that “based on U.S. calculations, it appears that India has substantially under-reported its market price support (MPS) for wheat and rice”, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
- Indian diplomatic sources said that the U.S. calculations were based on wrong assumptions. They added that India would officially respond at the WTO’s Committee on Agriculture meeting in June.
- In its 12-page document submitted to the WTO, the U.S. laid out its calculations of the value of India’s MPS programme for the four years between 2010-11 and 2013-14 using publicly available data.
- “India’s apparent MPS for wheat appears to have been over 60% of the value of production in each of the last four years for which India has notified data,” said the document. “Its apparent MPS for rice appears to have been over 70% of the value of production in each of the years.”
- For example, India notified the WTO that its MPS for rice in 2013-14 was just over ?12,001 crore.
- That amounts to 5.45% of the total value of production, and well within the WTO’s permitted cut-off of 10%.
- However, according to the U.S. calculations, the value of India’s MPS for rice that year was more than ? 1.7 lakh crore, which would be 76.9% of the total value of production.
- One of the issues raised by the U.S. is that India’s notification “only reflect the national minimum support prices and do not include all state bonuses or other incentives that further increase the MSP provided to farmers.”
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