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June 2020 - International News

  • International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression is observed on 4 June
    International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression is observed on 4 June every year. The day aims to make people aware of the protection of children's rights and highlighting their suffering.

    The day aims to acknowledge the pain suffered by children from around the world who are the victims of physical, mental, and emotional abuse. It also aims to provide each and every family justice, peace, and freedom in the world.

    In 1997, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the 51/77 Resolution on the Rights of the Child. The day was established on 19 August 1982. The observation of the day originally focused on victims of the 1982 Lebanon War. Many innocent Lebanese and Palestinian children became the victims of the aggression acts by Israel. The day affirms the UN's commitment to protecting the rights of children. It is one of the important efforts to improve the protection of children in conflict situations.

  • Global Vaccine Summit
    The Prime Minister of India addressed the virtual Global Vaccine Summit.

    The Summit was hosted by the United Kingdom (UK). Almost 50 countries including the business leaders, UN agencies, civil society, government ministers, Heads of State and country leaders participated in the Summit.

    Key Points
    The Summit was intended to urge nations around the world to pledge funding for vaccinations to protect the world from future outbreaks of infectious diseases.

    The Summit was aimed at raising USD 7.4 million to immunise a further 300 million children in the world's poorest countries by 2025.

    India’s Contribution:
    India has pledged USD 15-million as India's contribution to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI).

    GAVI is an international organisation which brings together public and private sectors to create equal access to vaccines for children.

    India had also mentioned that it has shared its stocks of medicines with over 120 countries in the wake of the pandemic.

  • World Environment Day
    The World Environment Day is observed on the 5th of June every year for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment.

    The day has been celebrated since 1974 by engaging governments, businesses, celebrities and citizens to focus their efforts on a pressing environmental issue.

    India will be focusing on the Nagar Van (Urban Forests) in addition to the official theme of the World Environment Day.

    Further, the Indian Navy has also marked the day through various initiatives which are intended to reduce its environmental footprint.

    Key Points
    The theme of World Environment Day 2020 is 'Celebrating Biodiversity'—a concern that is both urgent and existential.

    Almost one million species are facing extinction worldwide and thus there has never been a more important time to focus on biodiversity.

    The day will be hosted in Colombia in partnership with Germany.

    Initiatives by Indian Navy:
    Released ‘Indian Navy Environment Conservation Roadmap’ (INECR) which is a guiding document and key enabler for progressively achieving a green footprint.

    It has voluntarily implemented all six schedules of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) regulations.

    It covers pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes.

    It lists various forms of marine pollution caused by oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage from ships, etc.

    Currently, it has been focussing on the reduction of overall power consumption through a progressive induction of energy efficient equipment.

    In 1972, the United Nations convened the first major conference on environmental issues from June 5-16 in Stockholm, Sweden. It is known as the Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Conference) its goal was to forge a basic common outlook on how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment.

    On 15 December 1972, the General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/2994 (XXVII) and designated 5 June as World Environment Day. Later, on 15 December 1972, UNGA adopted another resolution A/RES/3000 (XXVII), that led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the specialized agency on environmental issues. In the year 1974, the first World Environment Day was celebrated with the theme "Only One Earth".

  • Tariff Exemption on Bangladesh Exports: China
    Recently, China has announced tariff exemption for 97% of exports from Bangladesh.

    Key Points
    Background: Bangladesh had written to China to exempt its export items from tariffs in the background of the economic hardship triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Latest Move:
    China considered Bangladesh's request and has granted the tariff exemption to Bangladesh on account of its Least Developed Countries (LDCs) status.

    The Chinese move has been described as a major success in the China-Bangladesh relationship.

    Benefits to Bangladesh:
    The move will help Bangladesh to remove the economic impact of the pandemic and also emerge as a possible beneficiary alongside Vietnam and Chile of the U.S.-China trade war.

    The supply chain disruption caused by the U.S.-China trade war is likely to be filled by a boost in export of tariff-exempted goods from Bangladesh.

    It will also help Bangladesh to reduce its trade deficit with China.

    As a result of the latest announcement, a total of 8256 goods from Bangladesh will be exempted of Chinese tariffs.

    Earlier, Bangladesh used to receive tariff-exemption for 3095 items under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA).

    Concerns for India:
    China’s heavy investment in India’s neighbourhood has increased its dominance in the Indian Ocean.

    Despite having cultural and historical relations with India, its neighbours are siding with China on diplomatic issues.

    Nepal is redrawing its map to include some Indian territories, presumably under a nudge from China.

    Earlier, Maldives and Sri Lanka have also expressed anti-India sentiment under the influence of China.

  • Financial Action Task Force
    Recently, India has attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting, under the aegis of the Financial Action Task Force.

    Officials of National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement agencies submitted details on terror-funding.

    The FATF's virtual plenary meet is scheduled to be held on 24th June 2020.

    Key Points
    FATF’S View on Crime amid Covid-19:
    The FATF which is actively monitoring the impact of the pandemic on measures to combat illicit financing, released a paper on “Covid-19-related Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Risks and Policy Responses”.

    It observed an increase in the Covid-19 related crimes, including fraud, cyber-crime, misdirection or exploitation of government funds or international finance assistance.

    India and FATF:
    Ahead of the crucial meet on 24th June, India plans to share more evidence with the key FATF members on the narco-terror cases linked to Pakistan-based syndicates, through which funds are allegedly being supplied to the terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir.

    The Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigation Agency have been probing several such cases.

    Status of Pakistan:
    Pakistan, which continues to remain on the “grey list” of FATF, had earlier been given the deadline till the June 2020 to ensure compliance with the 27-point action plan against terror funding networks and money laundering syndicates, or face “black listing”.

    However, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the deadline has been shifted to October 2020.

  • International Horseshoe Crab Day
    Recently, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s has decided to observe the first-ever International Horseshoe Crab Day on 20th June 2020.

    The celebration of the day aims to generate greater awareness for these ancient creatures and help in their conservation.

    Key Points
    Horseshoe Crab:
    It is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom and spawns (release or deposit eggs) mostly on intertidal beaches at summer spring high tides.

    Subphylum Chelicerata is a division within the Phylum Arthropoda containing animals such as spiders, scorpions, harvestmen, mites and ticks. Like all arthropods, they have a segmented body and segmented limbs and a thick chitinous cuticle called an exoskeleton.

    Other than the marine horseshoe crabs, the Chelicerata are found primarily in terrestrial environments worldwide.

    It is regarded as a marine ‘living fossil’.

    There are four extant horseshoe crab species:

    The American horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) along the eastern coast of the USA and in the Gulf of Mexico.

    The tri-spine horseshoe crab (Tachypleustridentatus)

    The coastal horseshoe crab (Tachypleusgigas)

    The mangrove horseshoe crab (Carcinoscorpiusrotundicauda)

    The last three are Indo-pacific species found in the coastal waters of India, southeast Asia, China and Japan.

    Odisha is their largest habitat in India.

  • International Day of Yoga 2020 is celebrated on 21 June
    International Day of Yoga 2020 is celebrated on 21 June every year to create awareness globally about the benefits of practicing yoga.

    The aim is to improve health and create awareness about the importance of maintaining health to the people.

    WHO aims to fulfill the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030: More active people for a healthier world.

    The theme of the 6th International Day of Yoga 2020 is “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family”. Due to COVID-19, this year International Day of Yoga will be celebrated virtually at 7 am on June 21 so people will join through digital platforms.

    The idea of International Day of Yoga was proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 2014. PM Narendra Modi also suggested 21st June as International Yoga Day because 21st June is the longest day in the Northern Hemisphere and has much significance in different parts of the world. On 11 December 2014, UNGA proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by passing resolution 69/131.

  • World Sickle Cell Day 2020
    Recently, World Sickle Cell Day 2020 was observed in India to increase awareness about the Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) at the national level.

    The day is recognised by the United Nations and celebrated every year on 19th June.

    The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution recognising sickle cell disease as a public health problem on 22th December, 2008.

    Key Points
    Sickle Cell Disease
    It is an inherited blood disease which is most common among people of African, Arabian and Indian origin.

    It is a group of disorders that affects hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to cells throughout the body.

    People with this disease have atypical hemoglobin molecules called hemoglobin S, which can distort red blood cells into a sickle, or crescent shape. This blocks blood flow and oxygen from reaching all parts of the body.

    Symptoms: It can cause severe pain, referred to as sickle cell crises. Infections and fatigue are other symptoms.

    People with sickle cell disorders are also at a risk of complications such as stroke, acute chest syndrome, blindness, bone damage, etc.

    Over time, people with sickle cell disorders can experience damage to organs including the liver, kidney, lungs, heart and spleen. Death can also result from complications of the disorder.

    Treatment: Medication, blood transfusions and rarely a bone-marrow transplant.

  • UNICEF Kid Power
    ‘UNICEF Kid Power’ has listed 13 Yoga stretches and poses for children.

    About UNICEF Kid Power:
    UNICEF Kid Power is a program of UNICEF USA that gives kids the power to save lives by connecting their everyday activity to real-world impact.

    Launched in 2015, the initiative, in collaboration with technology firms, develops activity tracker bands for kids.

    These bands act as a kids’ fitness tracker bracelet that connects to a smartphone app. The app lets users complete missions, which counts total steps and awards points.

    The points then unlock funding from partners, which is then used by UNICEF to deliver packets of therapeutic food (Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)) to severely malnourished children around the globe.

  • Donald Trump suspends new H-1B, H-4 visas till December 31
    US President Donald Trump has suspended the issuance of new H-1B and H-4 visas, used by technology workers and their families, till December 31 to free up jobs for Americans amid the pandemic. Over 70% of H-1B visas granted each year go to Indians. Trump also blocked seasonal workers on H-2B visas, with an exception for those in food-processing industry.

  • China to Join UN Arms Trade Treaty
    Recently, China has decided to join the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UN-ATT) to regulate its arms sales.

    Key Points
    China held that it has always strictly controlled the export of military products and joining the treaty is an important step towards its efforts to enhance peace and stability in the world and support multilateralism.

    China said that it only exports military products to sovereign countries and not to non-state actors.

    China’s move comes after the USA announced to pull out of the ATT in 2019.

    The reason given was that the treaty amounts to international gun control, and is a threat to USA's second amendment right to bear arms.

    The USA also held that the treaty fails to truly address the problem of irresponsible arms transfers because other top arms exporters like Russia and China were not signatories to it that time (till now, Russia has neither signed it nor made any announcement to sign it).

    In May 2020, USA announced to exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST).

    In August 2019, the USA along with Russia withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, 1987.

    The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in its annual report ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019’ highlighted that China is the second-largest arms producer in the world after the USA.

    India’s Stand on ATT
    From the beginning of the ATT process, India has maintained that such a treaty would make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other unauthorised and unlawful non-state actors.

    India has been an active participant in the ATT negotiations and stressed consistently that the ATT should ensure a balance of obligations between exporting and importing states.

    For India, the underlying principle is that member states have a legitimate right to self-defence and its own belief that there is no conflict between the pursuit of national security objectives and the aspiration of the ATT.

    However, India has not signed the Treaty on the grounds that it is weak on terrorism and non-state actors and these concerns find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty.

    Further, India cannot accept that the Treaty is used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take unilateral force majeure measures against importing states parties without consequences.

  • Senkaku Islands
    Recently, a local council in southern Japan has approved a bill to change the name of an area containing Senkaku Islands from Tonoshiro to Tonoshiro Senkaku.

    Senkaku Islands are known as the Diaoyus by China and Tiaoyutai by Taiwan.

    The islands are disputed with China and Taiwan.

    Key Points
    Japan's Stand:
    Resolving Administrative Confusion: The name change is aimed at resolving administrative confusion between a locale in downtown Ishigaki, which shares the name "Tonoshiro" similar to the island.

    Increased Chinese Presence: It is also done in response to the increased Chinese presence in the waters close to the Senkakus. In a move to protect territorial integrity, Japan has decided to change the name.

    Support of the USA: The United States has a mutual defense treaty with Japan. If Japanese territory is attacked by a foreign power, the United States is obligated to defend it.

    China's Stand:
    China’s Territorial Sovereignty: Bill by Japan is a serious provocation to China’s territorial sovereignty. The move is illegal.

    Four-Principle Consensus: Urged Japan to abide by the spirit of the four-principle consensus, avoid creating new incidents on the Diaoyu Islands issue, and take practical actions to maintain the stability of the East China Sea situation.

    A four-point principle on improving China-Japan ties was approved in 2014 to develop a mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests.

    Risk of a Crisis: Changing the administrative designation would only make the dispute more complicated and bring more risks of a crisis

    Taiwan's Stand:
    It also protested the move and claimed that the islands are part of its territory, and the sovereignty of Tiaoyutai islands belongs to the country and any move attempting to alter this fact is invalid.

    Overall Impact:
    Asia's next military flashpoint:
    Japan is not the only territorial and maritime dispute that China has long had with many of its neighbours.

    It has island and maritime border disputes with Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea and its extension.

    Hence, Japan's move can strengthen the other countries territorial and maritime claims.

    Significance for India:
    The development from Japan came just after the violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops over the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.

    Given the trade volume and economic dependency that is the most dominant feature of the bilateral relationship, it would be crucial for India to act wisely.

    By supporting the Japanese move, India can diplomatically strengthen its position over Galwan Valley.

    However, Taiwan's engagement in the dispute is significant as it has supported India over the galwan valley but opposes the move of Japan.

    China has also augmented its naval power to strengthen its overall presence in the Indian Ocean. The move of Japan would give an opportunity to India to have a strategic edge over its presence in the Indian Ocean.

  • International Widows Day is observed on 23 June
    International Widows' Day is observed on 23 June. A million of widows across the globe live in poverty, and without any substantial support. Widows, and people dependent on them, face extreme poverty, a lot of injustice, among other societal. The day aims to address the issue that widows and their children face in several countries.

    The United Nations passed the resolution A/RES/65/189 and observe International Widows' Day since 2011. The aim is to draw attention to the voices and experiences of widows and to galvanize the unique support that they need. Th day provides an opportunity to take action towards achieving full rights and recognition for widows.

    It aims to provide them with information on access to:

    a fair share of the inheritance, productive resources and land

    social protection & pension that is not based on marital status alone

    equal pay & decent work

    education & training opportunities

    The day was initiated to empower widows to support themselves and their families also mean addressing social stigmas that create exclusion, and discriminatory or harmful practices. The day urges all the governments to take necessary action to uphold their commitments to ensure the rights of widows as enshrined in international law, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  • International Olympic Day is observed on 23 June
    International Olympic Day is observed on 23 June. The day is celebrated by people across the world. On 23 June 2020, the Olympic Movement is to celebrate Olympic Day by creating the world’s largest 24 hours digital-first Olympic.

    The 2020 edition is the first to be celebrated virtually. The day is celebrated to ensure that people can all still #StayActive in the safest way possible despite restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Olympic Day History:
    The beginning of Olympic dates back to 1947. Doctor Josef Gruss, a Czech IOC member, presented the idea of the observation of the World Olympic Day at the 41st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Stockholm in 1947. He proposed a day be set aside to celebrate everything that the Olympics stands for.

    It got approved at the 42nd IOC Session in St Moritz in January 1948. The National Olympic Committees were given the charge to organize International Olympic Day.

    The date, 23 June, was chosen to celebrate the special moment in the history of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which was established at the Sorbonne, Paris, on 23 June 1894, where Pierre de Coubertin rallied the revival of the Olympic Games.

  • United Nations Public Service Day is observed on 23 June
    United Nations Public Service Day is observed on 23 June. The day marks the important role and the dedication of public servants during the crisis. The day is to highlight the importance of public service and the valiant people who dedicate their lives to the nation.

    The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) & the Ministry of the Interior and Safety of the Republic of Korea are organizing an outreach and resource platform from 15-30 June.

    The aim of the event is to honour and thank the work of public servants globally and focus on the critical role frontline public servants have been playing in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

    On 20 December 2002, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the resolution 57/277 and designated 23 June as Public Service Day. The day was designated to celebrate the virtue & value of public service to the community.

    The day also highlights the contribution of public service in the development process. The day focuses to recognize the work of public servants and encourage young people to pursue careers in the public sector.

    The United Nations established the UN Public Service Awards (UNPSA) programme in 2003. It was reviewed in 2016 to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UNPSA was initiated with an aim to reward & promote innovation and excellence in public services by recognizing the creative achievements and contributions of public institutions.

  • U.S. seeks to widen nuclear deal with Russia
    According to a U.S. envoy in talks with Russia on a new accord, the U.S. wants to broaden its nuclear arms control pact with Russia to include all their atomic weapons.

    U.S. special presidential envoy has urged China to join the talks on replacing the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), which expires in February 2021.

    According to a senior U.S. official, the concerns about China’s testing activities supported President Donald Trump’s case for getting China to join the United States and Russia in talks on an arms control accord to replace the 2010 New START treaty.

    New START:
    New START is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms.

    It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, and, after ratification entered into force on 5 February 2011.

    New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow (SORT), which was due to expire in December 2012. Its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, and the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded.

  • Global Education Monitoring Report 2020: UNESCO
    Recently, the Global Education Monitoring Report, 2020 was released by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

    It highlighted that Covid-19 had worsened the inequalities in education systems worldwide.

    Key Points
    Global Findings:
    During the height of school closures in April 2020, almost 91% of students around the world were out of school.

    About 40% of low and lower middle income countries have not supported learners at risk of exclusion during this crisis, such as the poor, linguistic minorities and learners with disabilities.

    Education systems responded with distance learning solutions, all of which offered less or more imperfect substitutes for classroom instruction.

    Poorer countries opted for radio and television (TV) lessons, 55% of low-income, 73% of lower-middle-income and 93% of upper-middle-income countries adopted for online learning platforms for primary and secondary education.

    17% of low and middle-income countries are planning to recruit more teachers, 22% to increase class time and 68% to introduce remedial classes when schools reopen to combat the situation.

    India Specific Findings:
    India has used a mix of all three systems (radio, TV and online platforms) for educational continuity.

    Governments increasingly rely on technology but the digital divide limits the approach because not all students and teachers have access to an adequate internet connection, equipment, skills and working conditions to take advantage of available platforms.

    School closures interrupt support mechanisms for various disadvantaged students.

    Resources for blind and deaf students may not be available outside schools.

    Children with learning disabilities or those who are on the autism spectrum may struggle with independent work in front of a computer or the disruption of daily school routines.

    Poor students who depend on school for free meals or even free sanitary napkins have suffered.

    Cancellation of examinations in many countries, including India, may result in scoring dependent on teachers’ judgements of students instead, which could be affected by stereotypes of certain types of students.

    Higher drop-out rates are also a concern because, during an earlier Ebola epidemic in Africa, many older girls never returned to school once the crisis was over.

  • 70 Years of Korean War
    Recently North and South Korea separately marked the 70th anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

    Key Points
    The root of the conflict lies in the Japanese occupation of Korea between 1910- 1945.

    When Japan was defeated in the Second World War, the Allied forces agreed to establish a “four-power trusteeship over Korea” at the Yalta Conference (1945).

    However, the USSR invaded Korea and took control of the north while the south remained under the rest of the allies, mainly the USA. The division of the two regions was along the 38th parallel north, which still continues to be the official border dividing the two Koreas.

    In 1948 the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) was established.

    Efforts were made to resolve the conflict and unite the Korean peninsula, but with the advent of the Cold War chances of reunification were lost.

    As both tried to enhance their reach, territorially and ideologically, the Korean Conflict emerged between the two nations.

    Current Dynamics
    In recent years North Korea has accelerated its nuclear programme by increasing its nuclear stockpile, withdrawn from the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and has tested nuclear explosives multiple times.

    USA has deployed THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defence) in South Korea to counter increasing missile adventurism of North Korea.

    North Korea recently demolished the Inter-Korean Liaison Office in Kaesong, which was established in 2018. In the absence of formal diplomatic relations, the building functioned as a de facto embassy and provided a direct communication channel for the two nations.

  • Nepal passes amendment on new map
    The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament has unanimously voted for the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which guarantees legal status for the new political map of the country that includes part of Indian territory in Uttarakhand.

    The territorial dispute stems from the fact that Nepal claims the land to the east of river Kali, which forms the country’s western border.

    As per Kathmandu’s understanding, the river originates from Limpiyadhura in the higher Himalayas, giving it access to a triangular-shaped land defined by Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh and Kalapani. India opposes the notion and says the origin of the river is much further down, which reduces Nepal’s territorial demand.

    Nepal unveiled the new map after India inaugurated Darchula-Lipulekh link road Nepal had also earlier strongly protested when the updated Indian map published in November 2019, showing the region as part of Uttarakhand.

    Nepal claims right to the region and says India was allowed to station troops there in the 1950s and that India has refused to remove forces from the region ever since.

  • International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June
    International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) is observed on 13 June. The day is observed to celebrate the human rights of persons with albinism across the world.

    The theme for 2020 International Albinism Awareness Day is "Made To Shine." The theme has been selected to celebrate the achievements and successes of persons with albinism worldwide. Bullying, Killings, attacks, dehumanizing stigma, and discrimination continue against people with albinism.

    In the mid-2000s, there occurred a rising number of violent attacks on and murders of persons with albinism in Tanzania. Persons with albinism were accused to attribute magical powers. Such persons were used for lucky charms and occult rituals. By the year 2015, perpetrators killed over 70 victims and many were more. In response to this, the Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS) and other NGOs began campaigning for the human rights of persons with albinism.

    On 4 May 2006, TAS celebrated the first Albino Day. From the year 2009, the day became National Albino Day and was eventually called National Albinism Day. In December 2014, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution 69/170 and designated the observation of IAAD with effect from 13 June 2015.

    Albinism is a congenital condition that is characterized by complete or partial lack of pigmentation in hair, skin, and eyes. The condition might last for several years or even a lifetime.

    Symptoms: The symptoms for Albinism are: the absence of color in the hair, skin, or eyes, lighter than normal coloring of the hair, skin, or eyes and patches of skin that have an absence of color. It is accompanied by a number of vision defects including nystagmus, amblyopia, and photophobia.

    Treatment: Albinism can not be cured. But, treating many symptoms can be relieved and sun damage can be prevented. Treatment includes sunglasses to protect the eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, protective clothing, and sunscreen to protect the skin from UV rays, prescription eyeglasses to correct vision problems & surgery on the muscles of the eyes to correct abnormal eye movements.

  • Indian Naval LOs at Madagascar and Abu Dhabi
    India is planning to post Naval Liaison Officers (LOs) at the Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC) in Madagascar and the European Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASOH) in Abu Dhabi for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA).

    This move comes after India joined the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as Observer in March 2020 along with Japan and the United Nations.

    Key Points
    The move aims to improve linkages of the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) in Gurugram with other IFCs and become the repository for all maritime data in the IOR.

    India is working closely with France, who is a pre-eminent member of IOC, to post a Naval LO at the RMIFC in Madagascar.

    The RMFIC functions under the aegis of the IOC and is designed to deepen maritime domain awareness by monitoring maritime activities and promoting information sharing and exchange.

    The Navy LO is expected to be posted at EMASOH by July and at the RMIFC by September or October 2020.

    India has a LO at the IFC in Singapore for over four years now.

    India’s Other Initiatives:
    To strengthen the naval forces and surveillance, India has signed a series of white shipping agreements, Logistics Support Agreements (LSA) and maritime cooperation agreements with several countries, recently.

    For example, India Australia Virtual Summit announced a joint declaration on a shared vision for maritime cooperation in the Indo-Pacific in which they agreed to deepen navy-to-navy cooperation and strengthen MDA in the Indo-Pacific region through enhanced exchange of information.

    In 2015, India unveiled it's strategic vision for the Indian Ocean i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It is an increasing recognition of the increasing importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation.

    Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.

  • Jet Zero Plan
    Recently, the United Kingdom (U.K.) announced a ‘Jet Zero’ plan to bring down its aviation emissions.

    Key Points
    Aim: The Jet Zero aims to bring down greenhouse gas emissions from aviation to make carbon-free transatlantic flights possible within a generation.

    A transatlantic flight is the flight of an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean from Europe, Africa, or the Middle East to North America, Central America, or South America, or vice versa.

    Jet Zero Council: A group called ‘Jet Zero Council’ has been formed by the U.K. government by bringing together leaders from the aviation sector, environmental groups and government.

    This group has been given charge for making net zero emissions possible for future flights.

    Challenges: To achieve its target of a net-zero emissions economy by 2050, it is important to cut transport emissions.

    Aviation emissions currently account for more than 2% of global greenhouse gases and have risen by 70% since 2005.

    The International Civil Aviation Organization forecasts that the emissions will rise another 300% by 2050 in the absence of measures to bring them down.

    The U.K. government is also funding Velocys (aviation biofuels making company) in support of its plans to build a major jet biofuel plant in Lincolnshire.

  • Increasing Nuclear Stockpiles
    According to a recent report published in the SIPRI Yearbook 2020, India, Pakistan and China have increased their nuclear stockpile in the past year and all nations already having them, are modernising their nuclear arsenals.

    The SIPRI Yearbook is released by the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) which researches international armament and conflict.

    SIPRI also releases the annual report ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure’ and in 2019, India was among the top three largest military spenders.

    Key Points
    Data Analysis:
    The nine nations that have nuclear weapons include the USA, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea.

    The report has not counted North Korean numbers because of the ‘highly uncertain’ number of nuclear heads.

    The total number of nuclear warheads in these nuclear-armed countries has gone down from 13,865 in 2019 to 13,400 in 2020.

    The decline in the overall numbers was largely due to the dismantlement of old nuclear weapons by Russia and the USA (New START) which together account for more than 90% of the nuclear warheads in the world.

    Russia and the USA have already announced extensive plans to replace and modernise their nuclear warheads and delivery systems.

    India, Pakistan and China have increased their nuclear stockpile and are significantly modernising their arsenals.

    Both China and Pakistan have a larger stockpile of nuclear weapons compared to India.

    India and Pakistan are slowly increasing the size and diversity of their nuclear forces.

    China is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.

    Less Transparency:
    The report noted that the availability of reliable information on the status of the nuclear arsenals and capabilities of the nuclear-armed states varies considerably because governments are hesitant to fully disclose the information on their arsenals.

    The governments of India and Pakistan told about some of their missile tests but provided little information about the status or size of their arsenals.

    In 2019, the USA ended the practice of publicly disclosing the size of its stockpile.

    New START:
    The USA and Russia have reduced their nuclear arsenals under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) 2010 but it will lapse in February 2021 unless both parties agree to prolong it.

    However, discussions on its extension have made no progress so far because of the USA’s insistence that China must join any future nuclear arms reduction talks, which China has categorically ruled out.

    The deadlock over the New START and the collapse of the Soviet-USA Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty 1987) in 2019 suggest that bilateral nuclear arms control agreements might be coming to an end.

    Both countries have given new or expanded roles to nuclear weapons in their military plans and doctrines, which marks a significant reversal of the post-Cold War trend towards the gradual marginalisation of nuclear weapons.

  • USA Sanctions Against the International Criminal Court
    Recently, the USA has authorised sanctions against International Criminal Court (ICC) officials involved in investigations into possible war crimes by USA troops and its allies.

    Key Points
    The Sanction:
    Under it, any individuals who have directly engaged in any effort by the ICC to investigate, arrest, detain, or prosecute any United States personnel without the consent of the United States or have attempted the same against the USA ally may be subject to sanctions.

    It has broadened the visa restrictions on ICC officials or anyone who has sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support to them.

    The restrictions also extend to the officials’ family members.

    The economic sanctions would be decided on a case-by-case basis.

    Israel supported the decision as it accused the ICC of fabricating charges against the country.

    The USA’s Stand:
    The USA has considered the ICC a threat to USA sovereignty, and announced the strict punitive measures that are generally reserved for use against terror groups and those accused of abusing human rights.

    It has called the 123 nations-strong tribunal a “kangaroo court”.

    It blamed the ICC office for financial corruption and maladministration.

    It has also blamed Russia for manipulating the ICC in its favour.

    The ICC’s Stand:
    The ICC supported its officials, and called the sanction as an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law.

    It said the sanction represents an attack against the interests of victims of atrocity crimes.

    Reactions Against the Sanction:

    The United Nations had taken serious note about the USA order.

    The European Union called the USA decision a matter of serious concern.

    The international NGO Human Rights Watch has observed that by penalising war crimes investigators, the USA is openly siding with those who commit and cover up human rights abuses.

    The Bill Clinton administration (1993-2001) was involved in Rome Statute negotiations, and signed the document in 2000.

    The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (International Criminal Court Statute) is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    However, the next president, George W. Bush in 2002 had unsigned the Statute and signed into law the American Service-Members’ Protection Act to protect the USA nationals from the ICC’s reach.

    The USA adopted a positive approach towards the forum during several instances– in 2005 it did not veto a UN Security Council request to the ICC to investigate crimes during the Darfur crisis (Sudan) and in 2011 voted for Libya’s referral to the court.

    It also provided critical support in transferring suspects from Africa to the ICC for trial.

    However, in the UN General Assembly in 2018, the USA decided that it would not support or recognize the International Criminal Court.

    According to it, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority.

    In 2020, the ICC asked for a formal probe into alleged atrocities committed during the Afghanistan War between 2003 and 2014– leading to possible charge against the USA military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA-USA’s agency) officials.

  • Iran Blocking Sites Access: IAEA
    In two unreleased reports, the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has expressed serious concerns after Iran has been blocking inspections of two suspect locations for more than four months.

    Key Points
    Although IAEA did not publicly name these sites, it held that Iran's enriched uranium stockpile has exceeded the agreed limit.

    According to the IAEA, Iran may have used the sites for processing and converting uranium ore in 2003.

    Iran denied the reports and hinted that queries were based on fabricated information from intelligence services.

    Iran has always denied that it has ever sought to develop a nuclear weapon, insisting that its programmes have been peaceful.

    It comes amid rising tensions between Iran and the USA, which pulled out of the 2015 international agreement.

  • Iran Nuclear Program and JCPOA
    In 2015, Iran with the P5+1 group of world powers - the USA, UK, France, China, Russia, and Germany agreed on a long-term deal on its nuclear programme.

    The deal was named as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and in common parlance as Iran Nuclear Deal.

    Under the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear activity in return for the lifting of sanctions and access to global trade.

    The agreement allowed Iran to accumulate small amounts of uranium for research, but it banned the enrichment of uranium, which is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons.

    Iran was also required to redesign a heavy-water reactor being built, whose spent fuel would contain plutonium suitable for a bomb and to allow international inspections.

    In May 2018, the USA abandoned the deal criticising it as flawed and reinstated and tightened its sanctions.

    The USA held that it would attempt to force all countries to stop buying Iranian oil and put pressure on Iran to negotiate a new nuclear accord.

    The top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani (the commander of the Al-Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, IRGC) was assassinated by the USA during his visit to Iraq. This escalated tensions in the international arena.

    Amid rising tensions, Britain, France and Germany declared that Iran was violating the 2015 pact and launched a dispute mechanism that could eventually see the matter referred back to the Security Council and the reimposition of UN sanctions.

    Since sanctions were tightened, Iran has been steadily breaking some of its commitments to pressure the remaining signatories to find a way to provide sanctions relief.

  • World Blood Donor Day is observed on 14 June
    World Blood Donor Day 2020 is observed on 14 June every year. The aim is to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors for their life-saving gifts of blood.

    It also aims to raise wider awareness of the urgent need to increase the availability of safe blood for use wherever and whenever it is needed to save a life.

    The theme of 2020 Blood Donor Day is "Safe Blood Saves Lives". The theme aims to achieve universal health coverage. The slogan for the campaign this year is "Give Blood And Make The World A Healthier Place" It also aims to raise awareness about the universal need for safe blood in the delivery of health care

    World Blood Donor Day is observed every year to commemorate the birth anniversary of Karl Landsteiner on 14 June 1868. This event was first initiated by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on 14 June 2004. The aim is to raise public awareness about the need for safe blood donation voluntarily and unpaid by the healthy person.

  • World wind day is observed on 15 June
    World wind day is observed on 15 June every year. The day aims to spread awareness and encourage the use of wind as a form of green and renewable sources of energy. The day focuses on how wind energy can be utilized more aggressively.

    The day is organized every year by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). EWEA & GWEC coordinate with various networks of partners to celebrate this day. The observation of the Global Wind Day began in Europe in the year 2007 and globally in the year 2009. Global Wind Day is observed in more than 75 countries.

    Wind energy in India:
    Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing in the energy sectors of India. The government of India has set an ambitious target of producing 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.

    India is currently working to meet the target of producing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. The states that produce and utilize most of the wind energy in India include Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.

  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed on 15th June
    World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is observed globally on 15th June every year. The day aims to provide an opportunity for communities around the globe to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons.

    It also aims to create awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.

    Elder Abuse:
    Abuse of the elderly consists of physical, emotional, or sexual harm that is inflicted upon an older adult. It also includes exploiting their finances, or neglecting their welfare, especially by people who are responsible for their care.

    The World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was initiated by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) in 2006. In 2011, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed its resolution A/RES/66/127 and designated the observation of the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

  • International Day of Family Remittances is observed on 16 June
    International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) is observed on 16 June every year. The international day aims to recognize the contribution of over 200 million migrant workers, who work hard to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home. It also aims to create a future of hope for their children.

    The day will be observed under unprecedented conditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of migrant workers have lost their jobs, and many remittance families are suddenly pushed below the poverty line due to the pandemic. This has brought to a halt effort to reach their own individual SDGs.

    The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed the resolution A/RES/72/281 and designated the day on 16 June.

    The day aims to bring greater awareness of the impact that these contributions have on millions of households, communities, countries, and the entire region and the civil society, to maximize the impact of remittances through individual, and collective actions.

  • India’s Assistance for Pashupatinath Temple in Nepal
    Recently, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between India and Nepal for the construction of a sanitation facility at the Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu.

    This comes amid a raging border row between the two countries.

    Key Points
    The facility will be constructed under the Nepal-Bharat Maitri: Development Partnership as a high impact community development scheme by India.

    Financial Assistance: India has pledged to extend financial assistance amounting to Rs. 2.33 crore.

    Implemented by: Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

    Norms and Completion: Norms to be laid out by the Government of Nepal and completion within 15 months.

    Earlier in 2018, Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharmashala was also inaugurated in Kathmandu, Nepal.

    Significance: This initiative is another milestone in strengthening cultural ties and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

  • Elections for Non-permanent Members of the UNSC
    Election for five non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is being held on 17th June, 2020.

    Key Points
    India’s Election:
    India is standing unopposed as the nominee for the Asia-Pacific seat, for the 2021-22 term and needs the vote of two-thirds of UNGA members (129 votes) to be confirmed.

    In 2019, the candidature of India was unanimously endorsed by the 55-member Asia-Pacific grouping, which also included China and Pakistan.

    This would be India's eighth term in the UNSC which will begin from January 2021.

    Contenders for Other Seats:

    Mexico is expected to be elected unopposed for the Latin American group.

    Canada, Ireland and Norway will contend for two seats of the West European and Others Group (WEOG).

    Kenya and Djibouti will contend for an African seat.

    India’s Commitment at UNSC: In its campaign brochure, India had highlighted:

    Its commitment to multilateralism.

    India’s objective will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.

    A reformed multilateralism and multilateral system is essential to ensure that the international system is inclusive and caters to the requirements of all countries.

    Demand for transparency in mandates for UN peacekeeping missions.

    Push for the Indian-led Comprehensive Convention for International Terrorism (CCIT). CCIT includes the following major objectives:

    To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law.

    To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps.

    To prosecute all terrorists under special laws.

    To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offense worldwide.

    Joint efforts for UN reform and the expansion of the UNSC.

    India has been at the forefront to reform the UNSC, saying it rightly deserves a place as a permanent member of the UNSC, which in its current form does not represent the geo-political realities of the 21st century.

    Benefits of India’s Membership at UNSC:
    India’s presence in the UNSC will ensure that the voice of the largest democracy in the world (with strong multilateral credentials) will be heard in an important organ of the United Nations.

    India has always had a global voice and this will give India a greater opportunity to participate actively and shape the Covid-19 and post-Covid scenario.

    Its presence in the UNSC will help bring to the world its ethos of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’-the world is one family.

    The Global South has its development and security aspirations and India will help articulate these aspirations in the Council across different issues.

  • World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17 June
    World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17 June. The day is aimed to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.

    The theme for 2020 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is "Food. Feed.Fibre. - the links between consumption and land". The theme is focuses to change public attitudes which are the leading driver of desertification and land degradation.

    During the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, challenges like desertification, along with climate change and the loss of biodiversity, were identified to achieve sustainable development.

    In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) established the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). UNGA declared 17 June as World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought by passing the resolution A/RES/49/115.

    In the year 2007, the UNGA declared 2010-2020 as the UN Decade for Deserts and the fight against Desertification to mobilize global action to fight land degradation.

  • India ranked 43rd on the IMDs World Competitiveness Index
    India ranked 43rd on the Institute for Management Development's (IMD) 2020 World Competitiveness Index ranks. It stated that the continued low ranking of India is due to the traditional weaknesses such as insufficient education investment and poor infrastructure.

    The Index was topped the 63rd edition of IMD rankings.

    Denmark ranked 2nd. It secured 8th rank in 2019.

    Among the BRICS Nations, China topped and India has ranked second followed by Russia at 50th rank, Brazil 56th, and South Africa 59th rank.

    Top 5 countries in the list are:
    1. Singapore
    2. Denmark
    3. Switzerland
    4. Netherland
    5. Hong Kong

  • World Crocodile Day
    World Crocodile Day is celebrated on 17th June. The day is a global awareness campaign to highlight the plight of endangered crocodiles and alligators around the world.

    Crocodilian Species in India
    Mugger or Marsh Crocodile:
    The mugger is an egg-laying and hole-nesting species.

    The mugger is also known to be dangerous.

    It is mainly restricted to the Indian subcontinent where it may be found in a number of freshwater habitat types including rivers, lakes and marshes. However, it can even be found in coastal saltwater lagoons and estuaries.

    It is already extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar.

    Protection Status:
    IUCN List of Threatened Species: Vulnerable
    CITES : Appendix I
    Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : Schedule I

    Estuarine or Saltwater Crocodile:
    It is considered as the Earth’s largest living crocodile species.

    The estuarine crocodile is infamous globally as a known maneater.

    It is found in Odisha’s Bhitarkanika National Park, the Sundarbans in West Bengal and the Andamans and Nicobar Islands.

    It is also found across Southeast Asia and northern Australia.

    Protection Status:
    IUCN List of Threatened Species: Least Concern

    CITES : Appendix I (except the populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, which are included in Appendix II).

    Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : Schedule I

    Gharials, sometimes called gavials, are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts which resembles a pot (ghara in Hindi).

    Gharials are a type of Crocodilians that also includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, etc.

    The population of Gharials are a good indicator of clean river water.

    The gharial is known to be a relatively harmless, fish-eating species.

    The gharials are mostly found in fresh waters of the himalayan rivers.

    The chambal river in the northern slopes of the Vindhya mountains ( Madhya Pradesh) is known as the primary habitat of gharials.

    Other himalayan rivers like ghagra, gandak river, Girwa river, Ramganga river and the Sone river are secondary habitats for gharials.

    Protection Status:
    IUCN List of Threatened Species: Critically Endangered

    CITES : Appendix I

    Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 : Schedule I

    Human-Crocodile Conflict
    An encroachment of humans on the riverbanks and marshy areas with an increased urbanisation is one of the foremost reasons for increasing human-crocodile conflict in these areas.

    Vadodara in Gujarat, Kota in Rajasthan, Bhitarkanika in Odisha and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are considered as the human-crocodile conflict hotspots in India.

    Indian Crocodile Conservation Project
    The Crocodile Conservation Project was launched in 1975 in different States.

    The Gharial and Saltwater crocodile conservation programme was first implemented in Odisha in early 1975 and subsequently the Mugger conservation programme was initiated.

    As a result of the programme, the estimated number of the saltwater crocodiles increased from 96 in 1976 to 1,640 in 2012 in India.

  • Global Trends Report: UNHCR
    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has released its annual Global Trends report before the World Refugee Day (20th June).

    Global Trends is published every year to count and track the numbers of refugees, internally displaced people, people who have returned to their countries or areas of origin, asylum-seekers, stateless people and other populations of concern to UNHCR.

    Key Points
    Displacement in 2019:
    Nearly 80 million people were forcibly displaced by the end of 2019 — which is nearly 1% of the global population.

    Half of those displaced were children.

    Of the 80 million people, 26 million were cross-border refugees, 45.7 million were internally displaced people, 4.2 million were asylum seekers and 3.6 million were Venezuelans displaced abroad.

    More than eight of every 10 refugees (85%) are in developing countries, generally a country neighbouring the one they fled.

    Five countries account for two-thirds of people displaced across borders: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar.

    Syria has been the top country of origin for refugees since 2014.

    Reason of Displacement:
    Persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations or events seriously disturbing public order were the main reasons behind the forced displacement.

    80% of the world’s displaced people are in countries or territories affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition – many of them facing climate and other disaster risk.

    Comparison of Displacement in Past Decade (2010-19):
    The number of refugees doubled from about 10 million in 2010 to 20.4 million at the end of 2019. Close to 53% were newly displaced.

    1 in every 97 people were affected by forced displacement in 2019, compared to 1 in every 159 people in 2010 and 1 in every 174 in 2005.

    Nearly to 40% of those displaced (or 30-34 million) forcibly between 2010-2019 include children below 18 years of age.

    Very few people who have been displaced were able to return to their homes.

    In the 1990s, on average 1.5 million refugees were able to return home each year. That number has fallen to around 3,85,000 in the past decade (2010-2019).

  • International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is observed on 19 June
    International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict is observed on 19 June. The day aims to create awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence.

    Conflict-related sexual violence
    Conflict-related sexual violence refers to sexual slavery, forced prostitution, rape, forced pregnancy or abortion, enforced sterilization, and forced marriage. It also includes any other form of sexual violence committed against women, men, girls, or boys that is directly or indirectly linked to a conflict. It includes trafficking in persons when committed in situations of conflict for the purpose of sexual violence or exploitation.

    On 19 June 2015, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution A/RES/69/293 and proclaimed 19 June as the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

    The day aims to raise awareness about conflict-related sexual violence and honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world. The day also aims to pay tribute to all those who have courageously devoted their lives to and lost their lives in standing up for the eradication of these crimes.

  • India’s Campaign Brochure for UNSC Seat
    Recently, India has released a campaign brochure ahead of the vote for the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in 2021-22

    This will be the eighth time India will occupy a non-permanent UNSC seat, with its last term in 2011-2012. India also seeks for a permanent membership in the UNSC. India along with other countries of G4 grouping (Japan, Brazil and Germany) is asking for a spot for permanent membership in UNSC, Five permanent members: China, France, the Russian Federation, the UK and the USA.

    Key Points
    India is guaranteed a place as it is the sole candidate for Asia-Pacific but needs two-thirds of the 193-member General Assembly to vote in its favor in a secret ballot scheduled for 17th June, 2020 in New York (USA).

    International governance has been under increasing strain due to traditional and non-traditional security challenges. Terrorism is one of the most cited examples.

    Unreformed and under-representative global institutions and the Covid-19 pandemic with its economic impact has increased challenges for the UNSC.

    Its objective will be the achievement of N.O.R.M.S: a New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.

    India will highlight international terrorism, United Nations reforms and Security Council expansion, streamlining the peacekeeping operations and technology initiatives during its upcoming tenure.

    Since 2013, India has been planning for a seat in 2021 as the year will mark its 75th year of Independence.

    Identifying an uncontested spot is not an easy task.

    However, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan agreed to set aside for the 2021-22 seat, in a friendly gesture.

    India also persuaded the Asia-Pacific grouping nomination by diplomacy and negotiations to avoid any last-minute contenders against India.

    India was able to win a unanimous endorsement from the 55-nation grouping that included both China and Pakistan, in June 2019.

    However, winning the maximum votes at the General Assembly this time will be a little hard for India due to:

    Rising tensions in relations with both Pakistan and China.

    Criticism from Turkey, Malaysia and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over the government’s decision on scrapping Article 370 as well as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019.

    Selection of Non-permanent Members of Security Council
    Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis:
    Five for African and Asian countries.
    One for Eastern European countries.
    Two for Latin American and Caribbean countries.
    Two for Western European and other countries.
    Article 23 of the UN Charter concerns the composition of the Security Council.

    Other Contenders for Other Seats:
    Mexico is expected to be elected unopposed for the Latin American group.

    Canada, Ireland and Norway will contend for two seats of the West European and Others Group (WEOG).

    Kenya and Djibouti will contend for an African seat.

  • Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie Road
    The Darbuk-Shyok-Daulat Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road has been in the making for around two decades and is expected to be completed by 2020.

    Key Points
    The 255-km road from Darbuk traverses at an altitude of 14,000 feet and reaches Shyok, the last Indian village in the region.

    This road joins Leh to the Karakoram Pass, which divides Ladakh from China’s Xinjiang province.

    Between Shyok and Karakoram Pass lies Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO), a plateau at an altitude of over 16,000 feet and the location of an Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) used by the air force to drop supplies.

    DBO is India’s northernmost corner, which in army parlance is called Sub-Sector North.

    The road’s construction was started in 2000 and was to be completed by 2012 at a cost of Rs. 320 crore under the monitoring of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

    However, the construction could not be finished as the road was aligned with the Shyok riverbed that led to it being damaged every summer during flooding.

    Later, major portions of the road were realigned, keeping them away from the river.

    In October 2019, the 430 m Colonel Chewang Rinchen Setu over Shyokriver was inaugurated that joins Durbuk to DBO in Eastern Ladakh.

    Along with it, the Siachen Glacier area of Ladakh was declared open for tourists by the Government of India.

    India has decided to not stop road construction on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) despite the border confrontations and objections by China as it does not want India to utilise the DSDBO road to its full potential.

    Significance of the Road:
    DBO is located only 9 km away from the LAC with China and the road will help manage the border and the areas adjoining Aksai Chin, Chip Chap River and JiwanNalla.

    It will also ensure faster deployment of troops in the area.

    Before the laying of the road, the only way to reach the area was via the ALG, where heavy-lift aircraft can land.

    From the DSDBO road, a road branches off towards Galwan Valley which had prompted the stand-off in Galwan Valley.

    Indian troops have been patrolling up to this area but they will have road access and can be present there.

  • Persian Gulf Region
    The Persian Gulf region has the presence of the major producers of crude oil and natural gas, and thereby contributing critically to the global economy.

    Thus, maintaining peace in the geopolitically significant region through cooperative security by the regional members and major world economies is one of the best solutions to stabilize the region politically and economically.

    British Era:
    For eight decades prior to 1970, the Persian Gulf was guarded as a ‘British lake’.

    After the end of the British era, regional players entered with the intra-regional rivalries and forced cooperation.

    Aggravated Political Tensions in the Region:
    Events like the Muscat conference (1975), Iranian Revolution (1979) and the Iraq-Iran War (1980) aggravated the political tensions in the region. Subsequently, it enhanced USA’s interests and roles in the region.

    The Muscat Conference (1975) was intended to develop the unified army cooperation to enhance the security among gulf states to guarantee free navigation in the persian gulf.

    Later, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 598 (1987) was adopted to ensure a ceasefire between Iran and Iraq specifically and to explore measures to enhance the security and stability in the region generally.

    Current Scenario
    Rising Conflicts in the Region:

    Recently, the geopolitical factors and conflicts in the West Asian region — Yemen, Syria, Libya — aggravated global and regional relationships.

    Declining Role of USA:
    The above mentioned conflicts have hampered USA-Iran relations that were to be premised on the multilateral agreement on Iran’s nuclear programme agreed to by western powers.

    The declining USA’s commitment to sub-regional security has raised more issues among the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) due to political and ideological disagreement with Iran.

    Emerging Split within GCC:
    The recent emergence of conflicting tactical and strategic interests and subjective considerations has created a division among the members of the GCC.

    These divisions in the GCC are being aggravated due to following reasons:

    Global economic crisis
    Immediate and longer-term impact of Covid-19 on regional economies

    Problems in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)

    Decline in oil prices

  • World Oceans Day is observed on 8 June
    World Ocean Day is celebrated on 8 June. The day is observed to create awareness about the role played by oceans on earth. Oceans are the world’s largest source of protein. More than 3 billion people depend on the oceans as their primary source of protein and livelihood.

    The theme for the 2020 World Ocean Day is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” The UN World Oceans Day celebration in 2020 was held as a virtual event, amid COVID-19 pandemic, produced in partnership with Oceanic Global. The theme is in line with the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

    World Oceans Day was initially proposed by Canada's International Centre for Ocean Development and the Ocean Institute of Canada at the Earth Summit Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in the year 1992.

    In 2008, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed resolution 63/111 and designated the observation of World Ocean Day on 8 June. After 2009, the day was renamed as World Oceans Day.

  • Sri Lanka to hold parliamentary elections on 5 August
    The Sri Lankan parliamentary election has been finally decided for 5 August 2020. The new date to conduct election comes after elections were postponed twice because of the COVID-19 crisis.

    Sri Lanka’s parliament was dissolved on 2 March and parliamentary polls were initially to be held on 25 April. But it was postponed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

    The election commission then shifted the date to 20 June but it was cancelled considering the coronavirus pandemic.

    The commission held a mock poll in the 1st week of June at a polling station to test the COVID-19 health guidelines and its preparedness.

    The guideline also stipulates conditions for campaigning including to avoid public gathering for more than 500 while using propaganda materials and media as the main medium for the campaign.

    Srilankan parliament was dissolved on 2 March, 6 months before the end of its term as the current government under PM Mahinda Rajapaksa sought a majority in the house to implement its policies.

    The petition bu the other parties to revive parliament due to the COVID-19 crisis was rejected by the Supreme Court. As per official data, Sri Lanka did not report any community case of COVID-19 for over a month.

  • World Accreditation Day was observed on 9th June
    World Accreditation Day (WAD) was observed on 9th June. The day is celebrated every year to highlight and promote the role of accreditation in trade and economy.

    The theme for the 2020 World Accreditation Day is "Accreditation: Improving Food Safety". The theme was set by IAF and ILAC. The theme aims to highlight the role of credible, competent accreditation for improving food safety.

    World Accreditation Day was jointly initiated by the International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) with an aim to raise awareness of the importance of accreditation-related activities. WAAD was first celebrated in the year 2008.

    In order to celebrate the day Quality Council of India (QCI) organised a Webinar to commemorate the event, in which all concerned stakeholders participated. The webinar emphasized that accreditation is an important tool to help improve qualityof product and services in food sector and other areas.

    WAD Webinar hosted two technical sessions.

    The first session focussed on Regulator’s perspective on food safety. It was Chaired by Dr. D. K. Aswal, Director NPL and Chairman NABL.

    The second technical session focussed on Industry’s Perspective on food safety. It was chaired by Mr. Shyam Bang, Chairman NABCB.

    Government, Regulators and Industry officials discussed the key areas related to the food sector.

  • International Religious Freedom Report 2019
    Recently, the US State Department has released its annual International Religious Freedom (IRF) Report 2019, which is a survey of the state of religious freedom across the world.

    It published a report i.e. the country report for India to highlight the issue of religious freedom in the country.

    Earlier, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF report) downgraded India’s religious freedom to the lowest grade — in the ‘Country of Particular Concern (CPC)’ category.

    Key Points
    The IRF report listed countries for positive developments in religious freedom and negative examples.

    Nicaragua, Nigeria and China were cited as negative examples.

    It stated that in China, state-sponsored repression against all religions continues to intensify because of the Chinese Communist Party.

    India is not cited in either list.

    The Country Report for India:
    It highlighted the developments that took place in 2019 i.e. the status of Jammu and Kashmir, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

    It discussed in detail about mob lynchings, anti-conversion laws, cow vigilantism and related issues.

    Taking note of the alleged attacks and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities in India, the report emphasised the need to ensure full protection to minorities in the country as guaranteed under the Constitution.

    It also outlines the U.S. engagement with India on these issues.

    India's Stand:
    The Indian government has rejected the report by asserting that there is no locus standi for a foreign government to comment on the state of its citizens' constitutionally protected rights.

    It also emphasised that the report did not talk about the religious freedom given to various communities in India.

    Religious Freedom in the US:
    The US government has signed an executive order which included a move to formally prioritise religious freedom in the U.S. foreign policy.

    The order also directed the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to allocate $50 million in its yearly budget towards programmes that sought to promote religious freedom.

    Recently, the US faced domestic protests in response to the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man at the hands of a white police officer.

  • World Day Against Child Labour is observed on 12 June
    World Day Against Child Labour (or Anti-Child Labor Day) is observed on 12 June every year. The day focuses on the impact of the crisis on Child labour. The economic crisis and labour market shock that is caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic is having a huge impact on people's lives and livelihoods.

    In such a crisis, the children are the first to suffer. The crisis due to the pandemic can push many vulnerable children into child labour.

    On the World Day Against Child Labour or Anti-Child Labor Day. a virtual campaign was conducted. It will be organized jointly with the Global March Against Child Labour and the International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA).

    A joint ILO-UNICEF paper on the impact of COVID-19 on child labour will be released on 12 June. The report highlights some of the main channels through which the pandemic is likely to affect progress towards the eradication of child labour.

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) initiated the World Day Against Child Labour in the year 2002. The aim was to focus attention on child labour and take efforts needed to eliminate it.

    On this day, the world governments, employers and workers organizations, civil society, and millions of people from around the world get together to highlight the plight of child labourers and what can be done to help them.

    The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted by world leaders in 2015 includes a commitment to end child labour. SDG targets to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour. It also aims to end modern slavery, human trafficking, secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour.

  • “WHO Foundation” to be set up by WHO
    World Health Organization Director General announced the creation of the ‘WHO Foundation’ an entity that will enable it to tap new sources of funding, including the general public.

    The WHO Foundation which is recently been planned by WHO, is an independent grant-making foundation that will support WHO efforts to address the most pressing global health challenges by raising new funding from “non-traditional sources”.

    The Foundation will be headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

    The WHO Foundation will play a major role in supporting the global health support ecosystem by funding high-impact initiatives and advancing strategies of innovation, effectiveness, and rapid response

    Further, the foundation is legally independent from the World Health Organization and is established under the laws of Switzerland.

    The WHO Foundation will accept funding from non-traditional sources, including individual major donors, corporate partners and the general public. Until now the WHO has been one of the few international organizations which has not traditionally received donations from the general public.

  • Anti-tobacco Day is observed on 31 May every year
    World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed on 31 May across the world. The World No Tobacco Day is observed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners every year.

    The day provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure. It encourages a 24-hour period of abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption around the globe. It draws attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use and to negative health effects.

    2020 Theme:
    The theme for 2020 Anti-tobacco Day "Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use". Tobacco industries across the world have deliberately employed many tactics to attract youth to tobacco and nicotine products. The theme aims to stop the tobacco industry from exploiting children and young people.

    Tobacco is prepared from tobacco plant leaves. More than 70 species of tobacco are known, so far. The dried tobacco leaves can be used for smoking in cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and flavored shisha tobacco. Tobacco is consumed as snuff, chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, and snus.

    Risk factor:
    Tobacco affects the heart, liver, and induce many cancers. In 2008, WHO named tobacco as the world's single greatest preventable cause of death.

    World Health Organization (WHO) and Costa Rica launched the landmark COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).

    The COVID-19 (Technology) Access Pool will be voluntary and based on social solidarity. It will provide a one-stop shop for scientific knowledge, data and intellectual property to be shared equitably by the global community.

    Thirty countries and multiple international partners and institutions have signed up to support the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) an initiative aimed at making vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19 accessible to all.

    The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica, who joined WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the official launch of the initiative.

    AIM: The aim is to accelerate the discovery of vaccines, medicines and other technologies through open-science research, and to fast-track product development by mobilizing additional manufacturing capacity.

    This will help ensure faster and more equitable access to existing and new COVID-19 health products.

    There are five key elements to the initiative:
    Public disclosure of gene sequences and data;

    Transparency around the publication of all clinical trial results;

    Governments and other funders are encouraged to include clauses in funding agreements with pharmaceutical companies and other innovators about equitable distribution, affordability and the publication of trial data;

    Licensing any potential treatment, diagnostic, vaccine or other health technology to the Medicines Patent Pool – a United Nations-backed public health body that works to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.

    Promotion of open innovation models and technology transfer that increase local manufacturing and supply capacity, including through joining the Open Covid Pledge and the Technology Access Partnership (TAP).

    With supportive countries across the globe, C-TAP will serve as a sister initiative to the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator and other initiatives to support efforts to fight COVID-19 worldwide.

    WHO, Costa Rica and all the co-sponsor countries have also issued a “Solidarity Call to Action” asking relevant stakeholders to join and support the initiative, with recommended actions for key groups, such as governments, research and development funders, researchers, industry and civil society.

  • Proposed Expansion of G7
    Recently, the USA has suggested the postponement of the 46th G7 (Group of 7) Summit which was scheduled to be held in June (2020) at Camp David (USA).

    Additionally, the USA President has also proposed the expansion of the G7 to be called ‘G10 or G11’.

    Key Points
    Expansion of G7:
    The proposed expansion has suggested inclusion of India, Australia, South Korea and Russia in the grouping of the largest advanced economies.

    The existing G7 group has been called an outdated group of countries as it does not include emerging economies of the world and thus it is believed that the group does not follow the current world order.

    It is unclear that the proposed expansion will be permanent or temporary.

    Re-inclusion of Russia:

    The proposal to re-admit Russia is expected to receive strong reactions from other G7 member countries.

    Russia is seen as an ally of China.

    The G7 was known as the ‘G8’ for several years after the original seven were joined by Russia in 1997.

    The Group returned to being called G7 after Russia was expelled as a member in 2014 following the latter’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.

    India at the G7 Summit:
    India had attended the G7 summit of 2019 at Biarritz in France as a special guest of French President.

    India has attended the G8 five times as special guests by various hosts of the G8 Summit in the past.

    Attempt to Unite Allies Against China:
    China is not a member of G7 despite being the world's biggest population and second-biggest economy. But, China has relatively low levels of wealth per head of population. Thus it is not considered as an advanced economy like other G7 members.

    The expansion of G7 has been believed to be a plan to unite all traditional allies to deal with assertive diplomacy of China.

    The proposal comes amid ongoing issues between the US and China which includes Hong Kong’s autonomy to Taiwan, the origins of Covid-19, South China Sea tensions and trade issues.

  • China’s Opposition to THAAD
    Recently, China has issued a statement reiterating its long-standing objections to the presence of the USA’s THAAD missile defence system in South Korea. This comes after the reports of an overnight operation to bring in new, replacement interceptor missiles to the USA base in South Korea.

    Key Points
    It is an acronym for Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, a transportable, ground-based anti-ballistic missile defence system.

    First proposed in 1987 and then finally deployed in 2008, the THAAD cannot be used as a form of attack against an enemy.

    It is designed to intercept and destroy short and medium-range ballistic missiles in their final flight phase.

    THAAD is coupled with space-based and ground-based surveillance stations, which transfer data about the incoming missile and inform the THAAD interceptor missile of the threat type classification.

    This system has been designed and manufactured by the USA company Lockheed Martin.

    It has been previously deployed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Guam, Israel, Romania as well.

    THAAD was deployed in South Korea as a countermeasure against potential attacks by North Korea, particularly after the country had engaged in testing ballistic missiles.

    In 2017, when North Korea test-fired a few missiles in the direction of USA bases in Japan, the USA moved the missile systems to its army base in Osan, South Korea.

    Ever since China has objected these moves causing deterioration of their relationship.

    For South Korea, North Korea poses a nuclear threat and the THAAD missile defence system is a necessity to counter that.

    The USA and South Korea have consistently maintained that these missiles are only to counter potential threats by North Korea.

  • World Milk Day is observed on 1 June
    World Milk Day is observed on 1 June every year. The day aims to provide an opportunity to bring attention to activities that are connected with the dairy sector. 2020 Milk day marks the 20th year since the initiative and the entire world celebrates the day to mark the significance of milk intake in the diet.

    World Milk Day aims to provide information about the need and importance of milk in a human being's life. The day will raise awareness about milk and its products. The day also aims to educate people about the nutrients that are present in milk like calcium, protein, vitamin B2, potassium, iodine, etc.

    Milk has valuable nutrients. It offers a wide range of health benefits. Milk is a white liquid food produced by the mammary glands of mammals. Milk is not only consumed by growing children but also by the people of all age groups. Milk is a rich source of calcium, protein, fat, and vitamin C. Mainly we get milk from cows, buffaloes, and other animals like sheep, goat, and camel.

    World Milk Day was established by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The day was initiated to recognize the importance of milk as a global food. The day has been observed each year since 2001.

  • Antifa in USA
    The USA is experiencing a ‘law and order’ situation due to the violent nationwide protests triggered by anger over racial inequities and excessive use of police force.

    The unrest began with peaceful protests over the death of a African-American man in police custody in Minneapolis city of USA.

    Subsequently, many cities across the USA remain under curfews at a level not seen since riots following the 1968 assassination of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr.

    Key Points:
    Blame for Ongoing Violent Protest:
    The USA President has blamed an organisation namely, Antifa for the violent protest that erupted in the country.

    The antifa movement gained more visibility in 2017 after a series of events that put a spotlight on anti-fascist protesters.

    Declaration as Terrorist Organisation:

    It has been also argued that the USA will be designating Antifa as a terrorist organization in the future.

    Although, the USA has no statute that permits designating violent domestic groups terrorists, as it has for international groups like Islamic State or Al-Qaeda.

    The word “antifa” was first used in 1946; Antifa stands for “Anti-fascism”.

    The name comes from early 1930s Germany, where socialist "anti-fa" groups attempted to stand up to the rise of Adolf Hitler's Nazis.

    Antifa was started in the Rose City Antifa of Portland, Oregon (USA) in 2007 to shut down a neo-Nazi skinhead music festival called Hammerfest.

    The organisation covers a range of social justice issues. It believes in a world free of fascism, racism, sexism, homo/transphobia, and islamophobia.

    It also focusses on countering the resurgence of neo-nazi and white supremacist groups.

    It is also only one activist movement that has come together in the past few years to oppose the far right.

    Antifa is more of a movement of activists whose followers share a philosophy and tactics.

    The movement is secretive and has no official leaders.

    It is organised into autonomous local cells.

    Unique Ways to Protest:
    Antifa members typically dress in black and often wear a mask at their demonstrations, and follow far-left ideologies such as anti-capitalism.

    What makes them stand out is the violence, although the group also participates in non-violent protests.

    It criticises mainstream liberal politicians for not doing enough, and Antifa members have often physically confronted their conservative opponents.

    Apart from public counter-protests, Antifa members run websites that track white extremist and ultra-right groups.

  • Violation of Korean Armistice Agreement 1953
    United Nations Command (UNC) has recently found both North and South Korea guilty of violating the Korean Armistice Agreement 1953.

    The decision taken by the UN Command was due to gunfire along the Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) between the two countries.

    What is the recent issue?
    The United Nations Command (UNC) recently led a multinational special investigation looking into the recent shootings at Korean Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) whose findings have not been accepted by South Korea owing to non-cooperation by North Korea in the investigations.

    The investigation failed to determine whether North Korea had intentionally opened the shootings.

    The UNC also noted that the shooting also violates the Pyongyang Joint Declaration of September 2018, which is an inter-Korean military agreement calling for reduced military tensions between the two countries.

    Korean Armistice Agreement 1953
    The Korean Armistice Agreement of 1953 is the armistice that brought about a complete halt to the Korean War of 1950-53. The agreement established the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) which acts as the current border between the two nations.

    The agreement was signed on 27 July 1953, and was designed to “ensure a complete cessation of hostilities and of all acts of armed force in Korea until a final peaceful settlement is achieved.”

    The DMZ runs close to the 38th parallel and has separated North and South Korea since the Korean Armistice Agreement.

    India has played a major role in the cease-fire agreement, strengthening India-South Korea relations.

    South Korea never signed the Armistice Agreement, due to President Syngman Rhee’s refusal to accept having failed to unify Korea by force.

    The Armistice Agreement of 1953 was only a ceasefire and there was no official declaration of the end of the war so in the absence of an official peace treaty, as is the norm, the two countries officially remain at war.

    However, in December 1991, North and South Korea signed a pact agreeing to refrain from aggression.

  • International Sex Workers Day is observed on 2 June
    International Sex Workers Day is observed on 2nd June. The day aims to spread awareness about the rights of sex workers so that they too can live a life of respect.

    On 2nd June 1975, approximately 100 sex workers gathered at Sant-Nizier Church in Lyon, France, to express anger about their exploitative living conditions and work culture.

    The Church was brutally raided by the police forces on 10 June. This action became a national movement. The day is now celebrated in Europe and worldwide. The day aims to ensure they have the same rights as all other human beings do.

    It is expected that it will help them to tackle problems of them being exploited, abused, or trafficked.

    National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) report stated that there are around 6,37,500 sex workers in India and over 5 lakh customers visit red-light areas on a daily basis. Women and men are forced into sex work, most of the time, because it is their only way of earning a living.

    Measures have been taken to give them equal rights as everyone else and decriminalizing the work they do would not only help destigmatize them but also protect them.

  • Ebola Epidemic declared by Congo
    Ebola epidemic has been declared by the Democratic Republic of Congo in the western city of Mbandaka.

    Key Takeaways
    This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976.

    The disease was first identified in 1976, in two simultaneous outbreaks: One in Nzara (a town in South Sudan) and the other in Yambuku (Democratic Republic of the Congo), a village near the Ebola River from which the disease takes its name.

    Why Ebola Epidemic declared by Congo is dangerous this time?
    This is the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 11th outbreak of Ebola since the virus was first discovered in the country in 1976. The city of Mbandaka and its surrounding area were the site of Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 9th Ebola outbreak, which took place from May to July 2018.

    The present announcement comes as a long, difficult and complex Ebola outbreak in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo is in its final phase, while the country also battles COVID-19 and the world’s largest measles outbreak.

    Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

    The disease was first identified in 1976, in two simultaneous outbreaks:

    One in Nzara (a town in South Sudan) and the other in Yambuku (Democratic Republic of the Congo), a village near the Ebola River from which the disease takes its name.

    The largest outbreak to date was the epidemic in West Africa, which occurred from December 2013 to January 2016, with 28,646 cases and 11,323 deaths.

    In July 2019, the World Health Organization declared the Congo Ebola outbreak a world health emergency.

  • China gets set to build power project in PoK
    China, under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, will set up a power project in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir despite India’s objection to it.

    An agreement has been finalised to implement the Kohala hydroelectric power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

    It is a 1,124-megawatt power project.

    The project will be built on the Jhelum River and aims at annually providing more than five billion units of clean and low-cost electricity for consumers in Pakistan.

    It is reported that this marks one of the largest investments of USD 2.4 billion in an independent power producer (IPP) in the region.

    China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC):
    The 3,000-km-long CPEC is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber networks.

    It connects China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port, providing access to China to the Arabian Sea.

    The CPEC passes through PoK, over which India has conveyed its protests to China.

    India’s Stand:
    India had protested Pakistan’s plans to build a dam in Gilgit-Baltistan, saying such projects in territories under Pakistan’s illegal occupation was not proper.

    India protested to Pakistan awarding a mega contract to build a dam in Gilgit-Baltistan. More about it in 15th May 2020 CNA.

    It has been asserted time and again that India’s position is clear and the entire territory of Jammu and Kashmir is part of India.

    In the past too, India has opposed projects jointly taken up by Pakistan and China in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

  • World Bicycle Day is observed on 3 June
    World Bicycle Day is observed on 3 June. The day aims to motivate and inspire people towards having more tolerance, understanding, and respect for one another. Bicycle signifies a sustainable means of transport which is good for the environment and economy.

    World Bicycle Day aims to devote special attention to the bicycle in cross-cutting development strategies. It also aims to include the bicycle in international, regional, national, and subnational development policies and programmes. The day aims to adopt best practices and means to promote the bicycle across the world.

    The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 3 June as International World Bicycle Day in April 2018. The observation of the day began as the after-effect of LeszekSibilski's crusade and the help of Turkmenistan and 56 different nations to commemorate World Bicycle Day.

    The day was designated to recognize the uniqueness, longevity, and versatility of the bicycle. It is also a simple, affordable, reliable, clean, and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation.

    UNGA encouraged its stakeholders to emphasize and advance the use of the bicycle as a means to foster sustainable development, strengthen education, respect, promoting health, preventing disease, promoting tolerance, mutual understanding, and to facilitate social inclusion and a culture of peace.



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