India has been unanimously chosen as co-chair of the Consultative
Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)
for the fiscal year 2020.
The decision was taken during the meeting of GFDRR held in Geneva,
Switzerland yesterday on the margins of the 6th Session of the Global
Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction.
GFDRR is a global partnership that helps developing countries
better understand and reduce their vulnerability to natural hazards and
climate change. It is is a grant-funding mechanism, managed by the World
Bank, that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide.
According to an official release, India became a member of CG of
GFDRR in 2015 and expressed its interest to co-chair during the last meeting
of the group held in October 2018. India’s candidature was backed by its
consistent progress in disaster risk reduction in the country and its
initiative to form a coalition on disaster resilient infrastructure.
This will give the country an opportunity to work with the member
countries and organizations with a focused contribution towards advancing
the disaster risk reduction agenda during the course of the year.
NGT directs states to submit report on utilisation of treated wastewater
The National Green Tribunal today directed 18 states and two Union
Territories to submit an action plan to ensure utilization of treated waste
to reduce pressure on the groundwater resources throughout the country.
Hearing a plea, a bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh
Kumar Goel directed the states and UTs to submit the action plan within
three months to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).
The green panel said the states which have still not furnished
their action plans are defaulters for violating the directions of the
tribunal for which no valid reason can be seen.
It noted that only nine states and five UTs have submitted the
action plan. Accordingly to the CPCB status report, the states which have
not submitted action plans include Gujarat, Assam, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar
Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
India finds flaws in OECD STR index ranking method
India has found problems with the current method under which the
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) ranks countries
based on their services trade policies, indicating the outcomes are biased
Launched in 2014, the Services Trade Restrictiveness Index (STRI),
computed by the OECD, is now available for 2018 for a total of 45 economies
(36 OECD and the rest non-OECD) and 22 sectors.
The OECD index has a large number of problems associated with it,
including some significant design issues that render it impractical for use,
a study commissioned by the Commerce Ministry found.
India has approached several developing countries during the
recently-concluded World Trade Organization talks in New Delhi to try to
build consensus around the new method of measuring trade restrictiveness in
the services sector.
“The manufacturing trade has a well-documented system of
classification of commodities through which you can tell exactly what the
commodity is and also what the applied tariffs and effective tariffs are,
and, hence, see how restrictive any country’s policies are,” Mr. Pant
The problem in services, he explained, is that for a long time
there wasn’t any way to know whether a country’s policies were restrictive.
“Even if you could ascertain that, one didn’t know what to do about it since
services trade is usually regulated by domestic regulations and not border
Developing countries agree on strengthening of WTO
Seventeen developing countries have stressed on working
collectively to strengthen the World Trade Organisation-WTO to promote
development and inclusivity for the benefits of all members.
A 13 point declaration was signed by these nations at the end of
the two-day Ministerial meeting of developing countries in New Delhi
The countries include Egypt, Barbados, Jamaica, Malaysia, India,
Indonesia and South Africa. A total of 22 countries attended the meeting.
According to the document, the process of WTO reform must keep
development at its core, promote inclusive growth and fully take into
account the interests and concerns of developing members.
The member nations who signed the document also pitched for
filling vacancies in WTO's appellate body saying that the current impasse
could completely paralyse the dispute settlement mechanism.
They urged all the members to engage constructively to address the
challenge without delay. The developing nations also agreed to consult with
developing members on various issues of common interest.
UN mission calls for financial isolation of Myanmar army
A United Nations fact-finding mission today called for financial
isolation of Myanmar's military as part of efforts to hold the army
accountable for human rights abuses.
The independent investigators, working under a mandate from the UN
Human Rights Council, said in a statement that there has been no progress
toward resolving the crisis over Myanmar's mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.
Chairman of the Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar MarzukiDarusman
said the situation is at a total standstill.Myanmar authorities have razed
deserted Rohingya villages and members of the minority remaining in the
country live in displacement camps and in fear of further military
The mission found that the military has committed atrocities
against many ethnic groups living within Myanmar. It also faulted armed
ethnic groups for committing human rights abuses.
Myanmar denies allegations of human rights violations in Rakhine,
saying its security forces have not targeted civilians and have taken action
only in response to attacks by Rohingya militants.
The Fact-Finding Mission is to hand over its findings to a new
group of the Human Right Council, the Independent Investigative Mechanism on
Myanmar, in September. That organisation was set up to handle criminal
prosecution of violations of international law.
Putin expresses willingness to fully restore U.S-Russia ties
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he would like to fully
restore relations with the United States and believes that his counterpart
Donald Trump also wants the same.
At a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Putin said that his country had not
interfered in US elections.
He further said that a report by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller
had found no evidence of collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Earlier, Pompeo met Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hoping
to find common grounds in strategic issues over Iran, Syria, Ukraine,
Venezuela and North Korea.
The US Secretary of State also said the US does not seek a war
with Iran. He said the US would respond if its interests were attacked.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also said there will be no
war with the US.
::SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY::
Young scientists programme Yuvika 2019 begins
The Young Scientist Programme ‘Yuvika2019’ was inaugurated by
Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan, through video
mode in Bengaluru today.
The two-week residential summer vacation programme spread over
four ISRO centres in Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Ahmedabad and Shillong
are attended by 110 students.
Saying that Science and Technology is an essential component for
the development of any country, he added that they play a major role in
improving the quality of life including safety and security of human beings.
He also touched upon how the applications of Space technology is
helping in the day to day activities of common man besides ensuring the
safety of life and property during disaster situations.
Dr Sivan also said that programmes like this will lead to national
integration and nation building. The participants will be visiting the
spaceport of India, SatishDhawan Space Centre in Shriharikota during this
GS Lakshmi becomes first women to be in ICC international panel of referees
India's G.S. Lakshmi has become the first woman to be appointed to
ICC's international panel of match referees and will be eligible to
officiate in international games with immediate effect.
Claire Polosak had become the first ever woman umpire to stand in
a men's ODI, earlier this month.
Lakshmi, 51, who first officiated as a match referee in domestic
women's cricket in 2008-09, has overseen three women's ODI matches and three
women's T20 International matches.