Oil import from Iran may be reduced as U.S. mulls waiver
GS PAPER - 02 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS - Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.
Indian officials has been working closely with the United States to ensure that India gets a better deal on the extension of the Iran oil sanctions waiver and decision on withdrawing India’s preferential Generalised System of Preferences(GSP) status.
More about the news:
During discussion with US officials,it was indicated that decision on the GSP withdrawal could be deferred until elections.However,discussions on the Iran oil sanctions waiver could be extended,with India allowed a lower quantity of oil imports from Iran.
However,the US had not ended the sanctions waiver provided to eight countries.It had allowed them to continue purchasing Iranian crude oil as these countries had showed significant reduction in oil purchase from Iran after the United States had re-imposed sanctions.
Further,US had earlier announced its decision to terminate India’s designation as a beneficiary of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
Source :- The Hindu
‘Sex on false promise of marriage is rape’
GS PAPER - 02 GOVERNANCE - mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
The Supreme Court has again reiterated in its judgement that a man having sex with a woman with the intention to cheat the victim by promising to marry her - the accused will be guilty of rape under Section 375 of Indian Penal Code.
More about the news:
The judgement comes in the backdrop of a case where a man had engaged in sexual relations with a women on the promise of marrying her but later broke his promise to the victim.
The court said that the consent cannot be regarded as an acceptable argument as the woman had agreed to have sex under the misconception that the man would marry her.Therefore,such a consent obtained by a man is clearly obtained by fraud,with the man having no real intention of marrying the woman.
The apex court also observed that rape is the most morally and physically shameful crime in a society.It is also an assault on the body,mind and privacy of the victim.Further,it said that while a murderer destroys the physical frame of the victim,a rapist degrades and violates the soul of a helpless female.
However,the apex court reduced the accused punishment to seven years.Earlier,he was awarded imprisonment of 10 years by the trial court and the Chhattisgarh high court.
Source ;- The Hindu
Stringent norms likely for medical devices
GS PAPER - 02 GOVERNANCE - Issues related to Health and Eductioan.
In a move that would give end users more protection while using a medical device, the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), India’s top drug advisory body, has recommended that the Health Ministry should notify all medical devices under the drug laws.
Currently of the 5,000-6,000 medical devices in the Indian market, there are only 23 notified medical devices under government control.
When enforced, such devices will be recognised as drugs under Section 3 (b) (iv) of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
When these rules are implemented,this will lead to medical devices being treated as drugs with more stringent tracking systems, mandatory reporting of all adverse reactions and registration of device before it is allowed into the market.
Source :- The Hindu
China enlarges its circle in Europe
GS PAPER - 02 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS - Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests
China’s Premier surveyed construction of a long-sought bridge over Croatia’s Mali Ston Bay, home to China’s largest infrastructure project in Europe — built by a Chinese company with Chinese workers, and financed in large part by EU money.
Li Keqiang was there on 11th of April, 2019. He declared. “This bridge will be a rainbow on earth.”
The reassuring language was part of a broader effort to convince increasingly sceptical European nations that China comes in peace.
Fresh from a summit meeting with EU leaders this week, Mr. Li arrived in Croatia for the annual meeting of an economic bloc that China has forged with 16 Central and Eastern European nations.
The thickening ranks of China’s economic allies have left European officials increasingly wary. In the month of March, 2019, Italy formally signed on to China’s vast Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). On 12th April, 2019, the summit was capped by Greece’s announcement that it had joined, too.
China has already moved ahead with plans to make the Greek port of Piraeus the “dragon head” of its infrastructure push, and it has stepped up investment in Greece, which is still smarting from the austerity measures imposed by its European partners.
China’s presence is no longer a novelty in this part of Europe, where its track record is decidedly more complicated than it was when the economic bloc was formed.
For instance, after years of investments failing to materialise, Poland, the largest nation in the group and once one of its biggest champions, has cooled on China. The arrest in Poland of a Chinese regional director of the tech giant Huawei underscored the changing nature of the relationship.
In fact, the pace of Chinese investment in Europe has slowed for the past two years, according to the Mercator Institute for Chinese Studies.
In 2018, there was more than $19 billion in direct Chinese investment in Europe, a decline of 40% from 2017, and more than 50 percent from the 2016 peak of around $42 billion.
Source :- The Hindu
India to launch coffee consumption drive
GS PAPER - 03 AGRICULTURE -Food processing and related industries in In;
India will plan and roll out a coffee consumption campaign on behalf of global coffee growers who have suffered huge financial losses on account of falling prices and soaring labour cost.
Coffee consumption drive :
India, which has a domestic consumption of more than 5 million bags (of 60 kg each)
As a precursor India will kick off a five-year coffee consumption campaign in collaboration with top global roasters including Nestle and Starbucks, cafe chains, other stakeholders and the GoI.
A special entity would be formed to execute this country-wide coffee campaign.
The plan is to get most of the funding from international roasters while ICO will play a catalyst’s role.
The campaign will address a population of 450 million, mostly school and college students, in India.
Why this Move ?
coffee growers around the globe are staring at poverty. As per the International Coffee Organization (ICO), 2.5 crore farmers, including more than 3 lakh in India, produce coffee in 60 counties.
Over 90% of these growers are smallholders and are forced to sell their coffees at a price much lower than the cost of production. This scenario has led to socio-economic issues.
To bring world coffee producers, including Indian growers, out of this appalling situation, The World Coffee Producers Forum has decided to reach out to coffee-consuming countries around the world.
Addressing the Demand and Supply Issue :
There is a huge demand-supply imbalance that currently exists in the global coffee markets.
That’s the root cause for price fall. Increasing the consumption is the only way to counter this and therefore demand for the commodity in the global markets will increase.
The plan is to import excess coffees from Brazil, Colombia and Vietnam, provided the government of India waives off the import duty on coffee which is 105%.
Source :- The Hindu
Life on Earth may have begun in ponds: study
GS PAPER - 01 GEOGRAPHY - Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
According to a study from a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology(MIT),first life form on Earth may have bred in ponds than in oceans.
Key Findings :
The study has shown that primitive ponds with 10 centimeters deep had higher concentration of nitrogen,a key ingredient for life on Earth.
Further,it said that the nitrogenous oxides in the ponds had a good chance to react with other compounds and give rise to the first living organisms. However, in deep oceans it was harder for nitrogen to establish a significant,life-catalyzing presence.
According to the hypothesis of life origin,free-floating ribonucleic acid(RNA) molecules had been chemically induced to form the first molecular chains of life after they contacted with the nitrogenous oxides.
Those nitrogenous oxides in the water bodies were generated by lightning in the atmosphere and then drained down into the water.
But the study has found a large portion of nitrogenous oxides could be destroyed,particularly in the oceans,by the sun’s ultraviolet light and the iron dissolved from primitive oceanic rocks.The two chemical reactions could suppress the concentrations of nitrogenous oxides in the ocean by a factor of 1,000.
However,in shallow ponds,nitrogenous oxides would have built up to much higher concentrations because ponds had much less volume over which compounds could be diluted.
These ponds could have been from 10 to 100 centimeters deep,with a surface area of tens of square meters or larger.
The shallower the pond,the greater the chance nitrogenous oxides would have had to interact with other molecules.