Weekly Current Affairs Update for IAS Exam
VOL - 40 (1st September 2014 TO 7th September 2014)
Issue : VOL - 40 (1st September 2014 TO 7th September 2014)
File Type: PDF ONLY "NO HARD COPY"
:: NATIONAL PORTAL OF INDIA ::
MoU Signed for Development of WAQF Properties
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed here today,
between the National Waqf Development Corporation (NAWADCO) and the National
Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), for developing the Waqf properties.
Dr. Najma Heptulla, the Minister for Minority Affairs and Shri M. Venkaiah
Naidu,the Minister for Urban Development were also present.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Najma Heptulla said NAWADCO has
identified several waqf properties including one in Delhi, two in Rajasthan, six
in Madhya Pradesh and seven in Karnataka which shall be undertaken for
development as institutional and commercial projects. To begin with properties
lying vacant will be taken up for easy and early development. She said that two
projects in Rajasthan are already under process. One is for a hospital in
Jodhpur and another for a school in Ajmer. The Minister clarified that this is a
general MoU and project specific agreement will be signed after the completion
of basic formalities and processing.
Emphasizing the need for proper utilization of waqf
properties to earn proper revenue Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu said that it can
contribute immensely for socio economic development of minorities. He said that
government views minorities as equal partners in development and nation
India has the largest number of Waqf properties in the world.
There are more than 4.9 lakh registered Auqaf (waqf properties) and the current
annual income from these properties is about Rs.163 crores. Sachar Committee has
estimated that such properties, if properly developed, with a minimum return of
10%, would be capable of generating an income of Rs.12000 crore per annum. The
total area under waqf properties all over India is estimated at about 6 lakh
acres, the market value of which is about Rs.1.20 lakh crores. Many of these
properties are on prime land and they have the potential of generating
considerable returns, which in turn may be used for socio-economic development
of deprived sections of Muslim community.
The Corporation was established as a follow up of Sachchar
Committee recommendation in January 2014, with Authorized Share Capital of
Rs.500 Crore with a paid up capital of Rs.100 crore. The National Minority
Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) have 49% shares in this Corporation.
NAWADCO facilitates and mobilizes financial resources for the
development of Waqf properties for community development purposes in a joint
venture with the State / Union Territory Waqf Boards and the Mutawallis. The
Waqf Boards and the Muthawallis were not having the financial resources to
develop the properties leading to encroachments.
NBCC is a Navratna Central Government public sector
enterprise under Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India having wide
and varied business experience and expertise, inter alia, in the field of
construction and real estate development.
:: Ministry of External affairs ::
Joint Statement on the State Visit of Prime Minister of
Australia to India
1. The Prime Minister of Australia Mr Tony Abbott paid a State
Visit to India from 4-5 September, 2014 at the invitation of Prime Minister Shri
2. Prime Minister Abbott was accorded a ceremonial welcome at
the Rashtrapati Bhavan on 5 September, 2014. He laid a wreath at the memorial to
Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat and also laid a wreath at India Gate.
3. Prime Minister Modi held talks with Prime Minister Abbott
on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues. Prime Minister Abbott called on
President Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Vice President Shri Hamid Ansari and
received External Affairs Minister Smt Sushma Swaraj. Prime Minister Abbott also
visited Mumbai where he called on Governor Shri C. Vidyasagar Rao. He met with
Indian business leaders in Mumbai and Delhi. Four Agreements/Memoranda of
Understanding were concluded and significant initiatives launched during the
4. The Prime Ministers welcomed the rapid growth in bilateral
relations in recent years, anchored in shared values, expanding economic
engagement, converging strategic interests and a growing shared agenda in
regional and multilateral institutions.
5. The Prime Ministers affirmed their commitment to
strengthening the bilateral Strategic Partnership and taking it to a new level
of mutual trust.
6. The Prime Ministers welcomed the signing of the bilateral
Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement as a concrete symbol of the bilateral
partnership. They noted the Agreement would enable the sale of Australian
uranium to support India’s growing energy needs and directed the negotiators to
conclude the Administrative Arrangements at an early date.
7. The Prime Ministers underlined the priority they attached
to building the economic partnership, which was a pillar of the relationship.
They recommitted both countries to expand trade further for mutual benefit and
as a long term and sustainable boost to economic growth in both countries. They
agreed there was significant scope to boost investment and collaboration in both
directions in infrastructure, resources, agriculture, manufacturing, health,
education and other sectors to increase efficiencies, introduce new technologies
and develop innovation and skills.
8. Prime Minister Abbott welcomed growing Indian investment
in Australia and underlined Australia’s commitment to providing a stable
investment environment and streamlined approvals process. Prime Minister Modi
too welcomed Australian investments in a range of infrastructure, resources,
technology and other projects in India.
9. The Prime Ministers welcomed the progress towards a
Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) would support a significant
expansion of two-way trade and investment. They renewed the commitment of both
countries for an early conclusion of an equitable, balanced, comprehensive and
high quality agreement.
10. The Prime Ministers noted the expanding bilateral dialogue
on economic policy, including in areas such as taxation, competition, financial
sector regulation and infrastructure.
11. The Prime Ministers welcomed the delegation of senior
Australian business leaders who had accompanied Prime Minister Abbott on his
visit. They agreed that economic engagement and business partnerships should be
strengthened through a revitalised CEO Forum and encouraged regular exchange of
business and trade missions and the convening of an India-Australia Business
Summit in Delhi in early 2015.
:: Planning Commission of India ::
Rural Development Division
The function of the Rural Development Division is primarily to provide
overall policy guidance in formulation of plans and programmes for Rural
Development. This is the nodal Division for matters relating to poverty
eradication, employment generation in rural areas, development of watershed and
degraded land. The following specific activities are undertaken by Division;
To assist in formulation of rural development programmes
to be included in Five Year Plans and Annual Plans and to make periodic
assessment of progress achieved.
To analyse and prepare comments on the EFC Memoranda and
Cabinet Notes paper for Group of Ministers pertaining to rural development
To maintain liaison with Ministry of Rural Development,
National Institute of Rural Development (NIRD) and other allied
organisations mainly and participating in the meetings.
To collect information from various Divisions of the
Planning Commission, State Governments and also from the Central Ministries
which are implementing various schemes related to rural development.
To organize Working Group meetings to finalise the Draft
Five Year Plan proposals of the State Governments. This involves the
preparation of background papers, discussions on inter-se plan priorities,
critical examination of plan proposals in relation to plan objectives and
approaches, preparation of Working Group Reports giving, inter-alia, outlays
and physical targets.
Finalisation of the Five Year Plan outlays of the
Ministry of Rural Development. Finalisation of Annual Plans of the Central
Ministry of Rural Development and State Governments. This includes
assessment of progress both in physical and financial terms, in relation to
the approved targets and outlays, scheme-wise examination of proposals and
reviewing targets and finalizing allocation for next Annual Plan.
To provide comments, materials etc. for Public
representations, VIP references, Parliament Questions and Agenda items for
the meetings of Consultative Committee/ Standing Committee for the Planning
Commission pertaining to rural development sector are also attended to.
The Rural Development Division looks after the following programmes being
implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD):
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA)
The NREG was launched on February 2, 2006 and the first full year of
operation was 2006-07 covering 200 districts. The programme was expanded to 330
districts in 2007-08 and covers the whole country from 1.4.08. The primary
objective of the scheme is to provide guaranteed work for 100 days for any
household wishing to have such employment. Although all households are eligible,
the expectation is that only the poorer sections,
i.e., landless labour and marginal farmers would actually seek work. The
secondary objective is to ensure that employment generated is from works that
raise land productivity.
:: NATIONAL EVENTS ::
‘Zero tolerance on rhino poaching’
Union Minister for Environment, Forests and Climate
Change Prakash Javadekar announced that a Special Rhino Protection Force of
local youth would be raised to check poaching in the Kaziranga National Park
(KNP) and other rhino-populated areas in Assam.
“There will be zero tolerance towards rhino poaching and
our efforts would be to bring down the number of rhino poaching incidents to
zero,” he said.
Addressing a press conference after two-day visit to the
national park, the Minister announced that his Ministry would request the
CBI to expand the scope of its ongoing probe into rhino poaching in the KNP
by including more cases and fast-track it.
A comprehensive plan would be undertaken to ensure free
movement of park animals through the six animal corridors across the
National Highway 37 passing through the world heritage site.
Modi offers assistance for PoK flood relief
- In a humanitarian gesture, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on offered all
possible assistance to Pakistan for carrying out relief operations in the
flood-ravaged Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- Making the offer after undertaking a visit to flood-hit Jammu and
Kashmir for a first-hand assessment of the situation, Mr. Modi expressed his
anguish at the loss that has been caused in PoK.
Home Ministry asks States to fasttrack cases against MPs, MLAs
The Home Ministry has asked all State governments to
speed up cases against MPs and MLAs facing charges which attract
disqualification, directing them to seek day-to-day trial in courts, appoint
special public prosecutors and ensure regular monitoring.
The direction came in the wake of Supreme Court setting a
deadline to complete trial in cases involving lawmakers.
The step is also in line with Prime Minister Narendra
Modi’s direction on July 24 asking the Home Minister and Law Minister to
work out a mechanism to settle cases against politicians within a year to
cleanse politics from tainted lawmakers.
Any sentence which attracts punishment of two years and
above can lead to disqualification from Parliament or state legislature.
According to a March 10, 2014 direction of the Supreme
Court, cases against MPs and MLAs which attract disqualification under
Section 8(1), 8(2) and 8(3) of the Representation of the People Act needed
to be completed within one year of framing charges.
Govt to go ahead with key appointments without LoP
The Government has decided to go ahead with the
appointments to various statutory bodies like CVC, NHRC and Lokpal without
the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha as a member of the selection
committee choosing them.
The move comes following a recent reference from the Lok
Sabha secretariat in this regard, official sources said.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) had
written to the Lok Sabha seeking information on the LoP. The secretariat has
informed the DoPT that there is no recognised LoP in the Lok Sabha, they
The Government will go ahead with the appointments to
various statutory bodies without the LoP, the sources said.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan had rejected the
Congress’ demand for LoP status for its nominee.
Congress with 44 seats in the 543-member Lok Sabha has
emerged as the second largest party after BJP’s 282 but fell short by 11 to
stake claim for the LoP for which it requires a strength of 55.
There is no mandatory requirement of the LoP in the
selection committee that recommends persons for Central Vigilance
Commissioner, Vigilance Commissioner, chairpersons and members for the
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Lokpal, they said.
The appointment of a Central Vigilance Commissioner and
Vigilance Commissioner is done by the President on the basis of
recommendation from a three member selection committee headed by Prime
Minister and comprising Minister for Home Affairs and the Leader of
Opposition in the House of the People, as per the Central Vigilance Act
The Act further has a provision that when no such leader
(LoP) has been recognised then the selection committee can include the
leader of the single largest group in opposition in the Lok Sabha.
“No appointment of a Central Vigilance Commissioner or a
Vigilance Commissioner shall be invalid merely by reason of any vacancy in
the Committee,” the Act says.
:: INTERNATIONAL ::
Another American journalist ‘beheaded’
- An Internet video posted purported to show the beheading of another U.S.
journalist, Steven Sotloff, by Islamic State, which called it “retribution”
for U.S. airstrikes.
U.N. troops’ captors set demands
- Al-Qaeda-linked Syria rebels who are holding more than 40 United Nations
peacekeepers hostage in the Golan Heights are demanding they be expunged
from a U.N. terror blacklist, Fiji revealed.
- The Pacific nation’s Army chief Mosese Tikoitoga said the rebels also
wanted humanitarian aid sent to a small town which is an Al-Nusra Front
stronghold just outside Damascus. They are also seeking compensation for
three of their fighters who were wounded in recent days.
UNICEF helps Sierra Leone combat Ebola
- With funds from the World Bank, UNICEF has facilitated the delivery of
medicines and other supplies worth over $825,000 for the treatment of people
who have contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone.
- A chartered UN cargo aircraft landed at the Lungi International Airport
with the drugs and medical supplies, Ximhua reported.
- The supplies include latex gloves, intravenous fluids, assorted
antibiotics and personal protective equipment, all of which are urgently
needed to fight the Ebola epidemic.
- “The World Bank is committed to improving the health of the people in
Sierra Leone and eliminating Ebola,” said Ato Brown, World Bank’s country
manager in Sierra Leone.
- The funding from the World Bank comes from its $200 million pledge last
month to help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to contain the spread of
Ebola, help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis,
and improve public health systems in West Africa.
- The supplies have been transferred to the Central Medical Store in
Freetown for immediate dispatch to different Ebola treatment centres.
- The Ebola outbreak has claimed over 2,000 lives in West African
countries this year.
North Korea test-fires more tactical missiles
- North Korea test-fired three missiles into the sea , South Korea’s Joint
Chiefs of Staff said.
- The launch occurred at a site in the North’s border town of Wonsan, it
- The missiles were presumed to have landed about 210 kilometres out in
the East Sea.
- “The military is staying vigilant and paying attention to movements of
the North Korean military in case of an additional launch,” an officer was
quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency.
- The officer said it was presumed to be a new type of tactical missile.
Lego is world’s biggest toymaker
- Danish toy maker Lego has taken the top spot as the world’s biggest
maker of toys by sales, overtaking Barbie doll-maker Mattel, its first-half
results showed on Thursday. Performance was boosted by the Lego Movie
South Africa ‘refuses’ Dalai Lama visa for Nobel summit
- South Africa has refused to grant a visa for the Dalai Lama to attend
the World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Cape Town next month, his
- The government “conveyed by phone to me they will not be able to grant
the visa for the reason that it would disturb relations between China and
South Africa,” Nangsa Choedon told AFP.
- The refusal could provoke a boycott of the 14th annual peace summit,
according to a spokesman for South African laureate and former Archbishop
:: INDIA AND THE WORLD ::
India, Japan should jointly work on heritage cities: Modi
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India and Japan faced a common
challenge in preserving and building smart heritage cities.
- After meeting Kyoto’s Mayor Daisaku Kadokawa, the Prime Minister said
that he had learnt how the city was dealing with civic issues.
:: ECONOMY ::
Panel set up to conduct forensic audit of NSEL
- On a plea made by investors, the Bombay High Court, formed a committee
headed by a retired high court judge to conduct a forensic audit of the
troubled NSEL and liquidate the assets of its defaulting borrowers in the
over Rs.5,500 crore payments scam.
- The three-member committee, headed by Justice (Retd) V. C. Daga, will
also have a solicitor and a chartered accountant, according to Advocate
Ameet Naik, who represents NSEL in the case.
- The committee will ascertain the liability that is outstanding against
the defaulting borrowers of NSEL, conduct a forensic audit, and monetise the
assets, the court said in its order.
- The committee will determine where the amount has gone, and is empowered
to ascertain the assets of company.
- It has also been empowered to distribute the assets to the duped
investors but distribution of funds will require the court’s permission.
Promotional air fares from IndiGo
- Budget carrier IndiGo started promotional air fares by offering
discounted one-way fares starting at a low of Rs.999 (all inclusive one-way
fare), a day after SpiceJet started its offer of Rs.499 one-way charge.
- According to IndiGo, its Delhi-Jaipur flight is priced at Rs.999
one-way, followed by Rs.1,399 Srinagar-Chandigarh.
- The fares go all the way up to Rs.4,829 for Bangalore-Delhi. The fares
are applicable for booking in 90 days in advance.
China to lay 1,300 km of rail tracks in Tibet by 202
- The extended railway lines built by China in Tibet — 251 km from Lhasa
to Shigatse on the west and 433 km to Nyingchi (still under construction) in
the east — will effectively link Tibet to India, Nepal and Bhutan
- These are part of the Chinese government’s mission 2020 for
infrastructure in Tibet.
- The lines are also seen as a “triangular defence” for China, allowing it
to rush troops and military hardware to its sensitive southern borders with
India at short notice.
:: SCIENCE AND TECH ::
INS Sumitra to be commissioned tomorrow
- INS Sumitra , a new-generation naval offshore patrol vessel (NOPV) built
by Goa Shipyard Ltd., will be commissioned by the Chief of the Naval Staff,
Admiral Robin K. Dhowan, in Chennai.
- The state-of-the-art warship will join the Eastern Naval Command in
Chennai for maritime surveillance and coastal security.
- This largest offshore patrol vessel of the Navy will be the fourth in
its class, built on an in-house design of the shipyard.
- The ship carries most sophisticated weapons such as guns, heavy-calibre
super rapid gun mount, rapid-fire Russian AK630 guns, Kavach chaff launchers
and the Sanket electronic warfare system and electronic sensors.
:: SPORTS ::
India end England tour with narrow T20 defeat
- India’s long tour of England ended on a heartbreaking note as England
held their nerves to pull off a thrilling three-run victory in the only T20
International in Birmingham.
- Chasing a competitive 181 for seven, India needed 17 runs in the final
over of the match but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni could not steer the team
home in a contest that went down to the wire at Edbaston.
- India ended at 177 for five after England posted 180 for seven, thank to
captain Eoin Morgan’s 71 runs off 31 balls.
National TSD Rally
- The Rally of Coimbatore, the fourth round of the third FMSCI Indian
National TSD Rally Championship for four wheelers will be held.
- Organised by the Coimbatore Auto Sports Club, the rally has attracted
over 40 competitors.
- An open TSD event will also be held concurrently with the championship
- It includes a novice and all-ladies class.
Pals Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki to meet in U.S. Open final
- Serena Williams overwhelmed 17th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia
6-1, 6-3 in the semifinals to extend her U.S. Open winning streak to 20
- If Williams can make that 21 in a row by beating Caroline Wozniacki in
Sunday’s final, the 32-year-old American will become the first woman since
Chris Evert in the 1970s to win three consecutive titles at the tournament.
:: IN THE NEWS (PERSONS) ::
Former Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium has withdrawn
his letter to the Supreme Court opting out as amicus curiae in the
Padmanabha Swamy temple case.
Mr. Subramanium has already swung into action and left
for Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala to inspect the temple premises and prepare
an additional report on the administration of the temple.
Supreme Court sources said the case files had been sent
back to him and he was expected to appear in the case in November. They said
he decided to withdraw his letter after the court asked him to reconsider
Early this month, he had written to Chief Justice of
India R.M. Lodha, expressing his decision to bow out as amicus curiae. He
had also returned the files concerning the case to the Supreme Court
Mr. Subramanium’s report on the condition of the temple
and its assets in Thiruvananthapuram had created a storm.
The report had complained of corruption and disregard of
ethics in the temple’s administration.
- Legendary actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao will be the first Indian actor to
be honoured with a postage stamp by the U.S. Post Service (USPS).
- The Akkineni Foundation of America (AFA) has said that the stamp will be
issued on the birth anniversary of Nageshwara Rao, who died of cancer early
- A special release ceremony is being planned by AFA on September 20 in
- The AFA is also planning to release the stamp in India on December 17 at
the first International Akkineni Awards Ceremony being planned at ANR
College, Gudivada in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.
:: Selected Editorials of Importance ::
The pendulum of the Islamic State
Only if the social conditions that produced the IS — the
inequality and the despair — are altered could it be truly vanquished U.S. air
strikes halted the columns of Islamic State (IS). Toyota trucks, armoured
personnel carriers and howitzers lay flattened on their march toward the Iraqi
Kurdish capital of Irbil. Bombardment just north of Baghdad sent the IS fighters
back toward the river Tigris. It allowed the Iraqi Army and Shiite militias (Badr
and Salaam Brigades) to reclaim Amerli, a largely Shia town. What they did not
do was to destroy or even degrade the legions of the IS.
The IS retaliation for these air strikes came in two brutal
taped executions of U.S. journalists — first James Foley and then Steven Sotloff.
The London-accented IS militant announced to U.S. President Barack Obama, “As
your missiles continue to strike our people, our knife will continue to strike
the necks of your people. We take this opportunity to warn those governments
that enter this evil alliance of America against the Islamic State to back off
and leave our people alone.” Beyond these murders, and more that may follow, it
is unlikely that the IS can do any more damage to the U.S. directly.
Swinging into Syria
Like a pendulum, the fighters of the IS swung into Syria.
They had no intention to face the U.S. bombers. Instead, their columns rushed
through the Great Syrian Desert past their “capital” of Raqqa, across the River
Euphrates, to take the Tabqa airbase. A fierce gunfight ended with the retreat
of the Syrian government troops. Close to 400 IS fighters died in this battle
(they are estimated to have at least 20,000 men in arms). In a grotesque scene,
the IS forced marched 150 government troops — young men stripped to their
underwear — into the desert and shot them. Based on this massacre and another
near Tikrit (Iraq) in June, the United Nations has now accused the IS of crimes
Capture of the Tabqa base at the crossroads of northern Syria
is significant for many reasons. It had been the eyes and ears of the Syrian
regime for the northern belt that includes most of the Turkish border. It is
across this border that many of the jihadis have been trafficked from around the
planet to join the IS — many crossed over between Kilis and A’zaz (where Sotloff
had been abducted). Taking Tabqa allowed the IS control of the roads that lead
directly to Aleppo and to Hama. Intense fighting along the belt that links
Mhardeh and Houla suggests that IS and its allies (including its fractious
cousin, Jabhat al-Nusra) have the ability to threaten the western coastal towns
of Tartous and Latakia. The Syrian Army was able to block an al-Nusra and IS
advance toward the largely Christian town of Mhardeh. Tension remains high as
morale in the IS soars. On the Mediterranean coast, both Lebanon and Israel are
threatened as the pendulum of the IS moves toward them. IS beheaded one of the
Lebanese soldiers it had captured last month in the Beka’a Valley, and
threatened to execute the nine other soldiers that it holds captive. It did not
help him that the Lebanese soldier, Ali al-Sayyed, is a Sunni Muslim. Nor did it
help Syrian journalist Bassam Raies, also executed by the IS (a death ignored by
the world media). Meanwhile, Jabhat al-Nusra took the Quneitra crossing that
straddles the disputed Golan Heights claimed by Syria and Israel. Al-Nusra
captured 44 Fijian U.N. peacekeepers, while 40 Filipino U.N. peacekeepers
escaped with the help of both Syrian and Israeli air cover. Al-Nusra has
ambitions to secure this region as a launch pad to Damascus, as the IS makes its
move from the northern roadways. Syria’s 90th Brigade and 7th Division sit along
the road near Khan Arnabeh, blocking access to Damascus. Things are quiet for
now, but perhaps not for long.
Discomfort is palpable in the regional capitals. U.S. air
strikes cannot destroy IS. The canny IS prefers to swing across the vast
territory that it threatens. A proper ground assault against IS cannot come
because of the contradictions of U.S. policy in the region. In Iraq, U.S. air
power did not only deliver the advantage to the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi Kurdish
peshmerga, but also to the Turkish and Syrian Kurdish fighters (the YPG and the
PKK). Turkey and the U.S. see the PKK as a terrorist organisation, although it
and its Syrian ally the YPG have been fierce in their defence of what they
called Western Kurdistan (Rojava or north-eastern Syria). The Shiite militias of
Iraq (Badr and Salaam Brigades as well as the Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq) and the Shiite
militia of Lebanon (Hezbollah) have also been unyielding against the IS — again
the U.S. and the Europeans claim Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation and they
hold the Badr Brigades, trained by Iran, at arm’s length.
Syrian armed power, degraded by its long civil war and by
defections to the Free Syrian Army, is still strong enough to seriously damage
the long-term prospects of the IS. But Syria’s regime has restricted its Army to
defend its main corridor between Damascus and the coastline. It will not direct
its armies to the north. To do so would leave it vulnerable to the rebels’
Southern Front, which continues to be egged on by the West to seize Damascus.
The U.S. trains Syrian rebels in the deserts of eastern Jordan. Full Syrian
participation against the IS will not happen if the threat to Damascus remains
intact. Major U.S. allies in the region, such as Turkey and Jordan also seem in
two minds. Jordan has indicated to the U.S. that it will defend its borders, but
it does not want to enter the conflict. The King’s advisers fear that al-Nusra
and the IS have cells amongst the close to a million Syrian refugees in the
country, and amongst Jordan’s home-grown radicals. Turkey’s economy has taken a
hit from the emergence of IS – markets in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria are no
longer easily accessible. Legitimate trade has been eclipsed by smugglers,
including those who traffic jihadis and journalists as well as IS- delivered oil
from Syria’s Omar oilfields. Despite threats to Turkey, its new Prime Minister
Ahmet Davutog˘lu can only bring himself to describe the IS as “a radical
organisation with a terrorist-like structure.” Options for Jordan and Turkey
remain limited, mainly by their commitments to the overthrow of Assad.
Responsibility for the emergence of the IS vests with a number of key actors.
The United States’ reckless war on Iraq created the reservoir for jihadis, as
money from the Gulf Arabs came to sustain them in an emerging sectarian clash
against an ascendant Iran. The narrow and suffocating Assad and al-Maliki
regimes – which alienated large sections of Sunnis – propelled the
disenfranchised to reckless rebellion. In 2007, the cartoonist Ali Ferzat said
of the process called the Damascus Spring (2005), “either reform or le deluge
[the flood].” It was the flood. Alienated people who measure their alienation in
sectarian terms (Sunni) cannot be only defeated in the battlefield. Political
reforms need to be on the cards. So too must an alternative to the economic
agenda pursued in both Iraq and Syria since the mid-2000s. Under U.S. pressure,
the Assad and al-Maliki governments pursued neo-liberal policies that increased
inequality and despair. Absent a politics of class, the platforms against
neo-liberal corruption took on a harsh sectarian cast. The IS fed on that
alienation for its own diabolical agenda. It can be halted by air strikes and
degraded by ground warfare. But only if the social conditions that produced the
IS — the inequality and the despair — are altered could it be truly vanquished.
(Courtesy: The Hindu)
:: MCQs ::
(i) The worst floods in 60 years devastated Jammu and Kashmir, claiming 100
lives and displacing thousands just ahead of the Assembly polls.
(ii) The Congress, which has shared power with the National Conference in the
northern State for the past six years, has demanded that it be declared a
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii
(i) Former Solicitor-General Gopal Subramanium has withdrawn his letter to
the Supreme Court opting out as amicus curiae in the Padmanabha Swamy temple
(ii) Mr. Subramanium’s report on the condition of the temple and its assets in
Thiruvananthapuram had created a storm.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are not true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii
(i) India recorded the highest number of suicides in Southeast Asia in 2012,
says a report released by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva
(ii) Suicide by pesticide ingestion is among the most common methods employed
globally and is of particular concern in rural areas in Southeast Asia.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii
(i) President Pranab Mukherjee has cleared the appointment of Justice H.L.
Dattu, the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court, as the 42nd Chief Justice of
(ii) Justice Dattu will become the Chief Justice of India after the retirement
of CJI R.M. Lodha on September 27, 2014.
Which of the above statement/statements is/are true ?
(a) Only i
(b) Only ii
(c) Neither i nor ii
(d) Both i and ii