Gist of The Hindu: December 2019

Gist of The Hindu: December 2019

Centre reiterates commitment to protection of fundamental rights of citizens

  • The Centre has said that it is committed to protect the fundamental rights of citizens including right to privacy. It said, stern action will be taken against any intermediary responsible for breach of privacy.
  • In a tweet, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, the government is concerned at the breach of privacy on the messaging platform WhatsApp.
  • He said the government has asked WhatsApp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indians. The IT Ministry yesterday wrote to WhatsApp seeking a detailed response by November 4.
  • The move comes after WhatsApp said that Indian journalists and Human Rights Activists were among those globally spied upon by named entities using an Israeli spyware Pegasus.
  • WhatsApp has said that it is suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities' spies hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users including diplomats, politicians, journalists and government officials.

Naga peace talks reach deadline,more consultations on board

  • Talks between Centre’s interlocutor RN Ravi and National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) concluded on Thursday amid indications that the two sides have broadly resolved all issues, including demand for a separate flag and constitution.
  • A formal announcement is awaited as the Centre is keen on taking governments of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh on board. The three states have expressed apprehension over the talks and sought to protect their territorial integrity.
  • Working Committee of Naga National Political Groups said “GoI endorsed the usage of Naga emblem and flag, specifically for cultural identity within Naga homeland”
  • The Centre had earlier ruled out separate flag and constitution for Nagas. Talks between the Centre and NSCN-IM were caught in a stalemate over the two issues.
  • The Centre had set October 31 as the deadline to wrap up talks which started in 1997 after a formal ceasefire agreement between the Centre and NSCN-IM was signed.
  • Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, however, tweeted: “It is a historic moment and an occasion of great joy for all Nagas and the nation as a whole.” In another tweet he said: “Congratulations to Shri RN Ravi, NSCN-IM and NNPGs for the efforts and sacrifices.”

RBI asks banks to probe data card leakage and ensure security

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks to secure their customer card data after a website reported that nearly 1.3 million debit and credit card data of Indian banks are on sale on the dark web potentially causing losses of millions of dollars.
  • On Tuesday, technology news website ZDNet reported that more than 1.3 million payment card details have been put up for sale on Joker's Stash, in what it described was the internet's largest carding shop. The data included uploads contains data primarily from Indian cardholders, the website said citing security researchers at Group-IB.
  • RBI said that banks must take proactive measures to identify and guard against such misuse of customer credentials. The central bank also has to be informed of the steps that banks have taken.
  • The leaked data includes Track 2 data, usually found on a payment card's magnetic stripe that could have been obtained via skimming devices, installed either on ATMs or PoS systems. The cards are from multiple banks though it could not be ascertained which banks have been hit.
  • “99% of the cards are now based on chip and pin based systems which are difficult to clone. There may still be some magnetic strip based cards in use but that number is very small. I don’t think this should be such a big issue,” said another banker involved in cyber security.

India assures signing of fair and transparent RCEP

  • As Prime Minister NarendraModi is set to visit Bangkok for the ASEAN summit from November 2-4, Indian negotiators are discussing critical aspects of the RCEP mega trade deal to ensure it is "fair and transparent", before committing to sign it.
  • Vijay Thakur Singh, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said: "India will wait for the outcome of the negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. Some critical issues are outstanding."
  • "We will only participate in a fair and transparent trading environment," she said at a media briefing here.
  • Indian officials have concluded negotiations on most of the 25 chapters, and the rest would be concluded before November 4, when Prime Minister Modi will join leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations bloc and five other countries for the summit.
  • Indian officials are "narrowing the gaps" during their negotiations, including putting in adequate protection against cheap Chinese imports which are feared could flood the Indian market, once RCEP is concluded.
  • Differences over some areas, like rules of origin, e-commerce, auto trigger mechanism and trade remedies, are being discussed by Indian officials ahead of the summit meeting.

Two more countries join ISA framework agreement

  • Two new countries Eritrea and Saint Kittis and Nevis have signed the International Solar Alliance's (ISA) Framework Agreement at its second Assembly held in New Delhi. With this 83 countries have so far signed the ISA framework agreement.
  • Speaking at the Assembly of ISA, Minister of Power, New and Renewable Energy R K Singh who is also the President of ISA, emphasized the increasing importance of solar energy.
  • He said, this is very important in view of the climate change issues faced globally. He also elaborated the number of steps that India has taken to support the International Solar Alliance which India along France launched.
  • At the United Nations Climate Action Summit 2019, Prime Minister NarendraModi pledged to increase renewable energy capacity to 175 GigaWatt by 2022 and committed for further increasing it to 450 GigaWatt.

ICJ says Pak violated Vienna convention in Jadhav case

  • International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Judge Abduylqawi Yusuf told the United Nations General Assembly that Pakistan violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention in the case of Indian national KulbhushanJadhav.
  • Presenting the report of the International Court of Justice to the 193-member General Assembly yesterday, he said, in its judgement of July 17, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations found that Pakistan had violated its obligations under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention and that appropriate remedies were due in this case.
  • In a major victory for India, the ICJ had ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav, a retired Indian Navy officer who was sentenced to death by the Pakistani military court on charges of espionage and terrorism after a closed trial in April 2017.
  • India had argued that consular access was being denied to its national in violation of the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.
  • The Court was also called upon to interpret the meaning of the expression without delay in the notification requirements of Article 36 of the Vienna Convention. The Court considered the reparation and remedies to be granted, after it had found that the rights to consular access had been violated.
  • Judge Yusuf said that following its ruling, the Court received a communication dated 1st of August this year from Pakistan confirming its commitment to implementing the July 17 judgment in full.

Researchers develop new method to remove CO2 from air

  • Researchers from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States (US) have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of air, virtually at any concentration level.
  • This is a new advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas (GHG) levels. The study by researchers was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
  • While in most of the prevalent methods, removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from a stream of gas required higher concentrations like those found in flue emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants, but the new method could take out gas even when it was present in very low concentrations.
  • Researchers described the device as a large, specialized battery with a stack of electrodes that absorbs CO2 from air passing over its surface as it was being charged up, and then released gas as it was being discharged. A chemical reaction then takes place at the surface of each of a stack of electrodes as battery charges.
  • The biggest advantage of this technology over most other carbon absorbing/carbon capture technologies is- ‘binary nature of the adsorbent’s affinity to carbon dioxide’. Moreover, the new system is energy efficient compared to existing methods- consistently using about one gigajoule (GJ) of energy per ton of CO2 captured.

Shiva Thapa wins gold in Olympic test boxing event

  • Indian pugilists Shiva Thapa and Pooja Rani today clinched gold medals, while Ashish settled for a silver, as India ended with a decent haul of seven medals at the Olympic Test Event for Boxing in Tokyo, Japan.
  • The other four medals, all bronze were bagged by NikhatZareen, SimranjeetKaur, SumitSangwan and Vahlimpuia in their respective weight categories.
  • Four-time Asian medalist Thapa outpunched Kazakhstan's national champion and Asian bronze-winner SanataliToltayev 5-0 to claim the top honours in the 63 kilogram category.

India – Germany agrees to expand defence cooperation

  • India and Germany have acknowledged the need to further deepen bilateral defence cooperation as strategic partners to jointly address global and regional security challenges.
  • The Joint statement issued after the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and German Chancellor Angela Markel in New Delhi said that both sides agreed to develop stronger cooperation in Defence Industry testing and certification, especially for design certification of various systems.
  • They also reaffirmed the importance of building Digital Partnership to intensify regular interaction and coordination towards collaboration on the next-generation technologies.
  • Both sides said that strong and effective multilateral cooperation is key to secure peace, stability and prosperity. They said, major challenges of our time, by their nature and global scope, cannot be addressed by countries separately but must be tackled jointly.
  • The two leaders underlined the need for all countries to ensure that their territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries in any manner.
  • The two leaders stressed the importance of the combined effort of all countries to fight global terrorism and to send out a consistent message that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations is not acceptable.

Indo-U.S financial and economic partnership meeting held

  • The 7th India - US Economic and Financial partnership meeting was held in New Delhi on Friday. It was co-chaired by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and US Secretary of Treasury Steven T Mnuchin.
  • Briefing reporters Ms Sitharaman said, during meeting both sides took stock of the efforts undertaken to further improve mutual cooperation on a wide range of multilateral subjects including anti-money laundering and combating financing of terrorism.
  • She said both sides not only discussed policies to stimulate growth but also deliberated on the significant steps taken by both the countries to strengthen the financial sector.
  • She said, they also discussed capital flows investment in infrastructure and deepening of financial relations.

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Courtesy: The Hindu