Wednesday, 08 June 2016 03:23


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08 - JUNE - 2016



The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) launched its inaugural World Wildlife Crime Report. The report highlights how the poaching and illegal trade of thousands of different species across the globe present real environmental dangers.

The report also urges shared responsibility in tackling this crime given how products made from illicit flora and fauna such as fashion items, furniture, food, and pets, may be hidden in plain sight.

The report is a part of UNODC's ongoing Global Programme on Wildlife and Forest Crime.

The report was developed by UNODC with data provided by partner organizations under the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC), including the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

Key highlights of the report

Wildlife and forest crime is not limited to certain countries or regions, but is a truly global phenomenon.

Nearly 7000 species have been seized, including not only mammals but reptiles, corals, birds, and fish. No single species is responsible for more than 6% of the seizure incidents.

Illegal wildlife markets do not correspond neatly to biological categories. Some markets make use of multiple species, while some species feed multiple distinct markets.

In some cases, it appears that a large share of the illegally acquired wildlife is ultimately sold in a legal market. By introducing illegal products into licit markets, traffickers have access to a much broader pool of potential buyers.

Certain markets are vulnerable to the infiltration of illegally sourced or trafficked wildlife: (a) Where there is no international regulation; (b) At wild source; (c) Farm laundering; (d) Trafficking between two legal markets; (e) Under cover of fraudulent paperwork.

The World Wildlife Crime Report sheds light on seven specific areas which best illustrate the scale of wildlife and forest crime. They are seafood; pets, zoos and breeding; food, medicine and tonics; art, décor and jewellery; cosmetics and perfume; fashion; and furniture.

The report additionally highlights how gaps in legislation, law enforcement and criminal justice systems present serious issues.

It does not provide a dollar amount estimate for the annual value of illicit wildlife trade.


The United Nations World Humanitarian Summit concluded in Istanbul, Turkey. The summit was organised by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

More than 50 heads of state and government attended the summit, which commenced on 23 May 2016. However, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voiced his disappointment at the absence of world leaders from G7 countries.

The World Humanitarian Summit’s main achievement was the Grand Bargain, which is the name for a set of 51 commitments to reform humanitarian financing to make emergency aid finance more efficient and effective.

In the summit, a New charter for Persons With Disabilities was also endorsed. The charter aims at improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies.

About World Humanitarian Summit

Ban Ki-moon, in his Five-Year Action Agenda, released in January 2012, set out his vision to develop a humanitarian system that was more global, accountable and robust.

A key aspect of his agenda was convening a World Humanitarian Summit to help share knowledge and establish common best practices among the wide spectrum of organizations involved in humanitarian action.

The summit’s goal was to fundamentally reform the humanitarian aid industry to react more effectively to today’s many crises.

In November 2015, Antoine Gerard was announced as the head of the World Humanitarian Summit. The position was previously held by Jemilah Mahmood from April 2014 to November 2015.


The Union Cabinet approved the National Capital Goods Policy 2016. This is first ever policy for Capital Goods sector with a clear objective of increasing production of capital goods from 2.3 lakh crore rupees in 2014-15 to 7.5 lakh crore rupees in 2025.

It also seeks to raise direct and indirect employment from the current 8.4 million to 30 million by 2025.

Features of National Capital Goods Policy 2016

• Vision: To increase the share of capital goods contribution from present 12 to 20 percent of total manufacturing activity by 2025

• Mission: To become one of the top capital goods producing nations of the world by raising the total production to over twice the current level

• To raise exports to a significant level of at least 40 percent of total production and thus gain 2.5 percent share in global exports of capital goods

• To improve technology depth in Indian capital goods from the current basic and intermediate levels to advanced levels

• Objectives: Increase total production to achieve total production in excess of 5 lakh crore rupees by 2025 from the current 2.2 lakh crore rupees

• To increase the share of domestic production in India's capital goods demand from 56 percent to 80 percent by 2025 and in the process improve domestic capacity utilization to 80-90 percent

• To improve skill availability by training 50 lakhs people by 2025

• To improve 'technology depth' in capital goods sub-sectors by increasing research intensity in India from 0.9 percent to at least 2.8 percent of GDP

• Programmes: To achieve the above objectives the policy proposed a new scheme Heavy Industry Export & Market Development Assistance Scheme (HIEMDA) on pilot basis, Technology Development Fund under PPP model, start-up centre for capital goods sector.

• In addition, the policy recommended for strengthening the existing Scheme on Enhancement of Competitiveness of Capital Goods and modernize the CG manufacturing units, especially SMEs.

Nine-point action plan: The policy has proposed a comprehensive set of policy actions which would enable the achievement of the objectives for the sector and had recommended a set of nine new initiatives and policy actions and they are:

1) Devising a long term, stable and rationalized tax and duty structure to ensure cost competitiveness of the sector

2) Drafting a comprehensive public procurement policy with amended qualifying criteria and introducing special provisions in contracts for domestic value addition

3) Promoting development of new technology through indigenous sources

4) Providing Technology Upgrade Fund Support across all capital goods sub-sectors

5) Creating a level playing field vis-à-vis imports by restricting imports of second hand machinery and mitigating duty disadvantages

6) Supporting availability of short and long term of financing at competitive rates to capital goods manufacturers

7) Enabling skill development by setting up sub-sector specific Skill Councils.

8) Enabling higher participation of India in standard creation and developing support system to improve compliance.

9) Developing manufacturing clusters with shared facilities especially for SMEs

Governance Mechanism: The policy proposes a governance mechanism for smooth implementation and effectiveness of the policy. The mechanism will be in the form of inter-ministerial and inter-departmental committees at the highest level to ensure due consideration of the interests of all stakeholders.

Periodic Review of Policy: The capital goods sector operates in a dynamic local and global environment and it is imperative for the policy to undergo a periodic review and revision to maintain its relevance.

The National Capital Goods Policy 2016 will be reviewed every five years and revised appropriately to take account of progress in implementation and emerging trends in the national and international environment.


A New charter for Persons With Disabilities was on 24 May 2016 endorsed at the United Nations World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

This new charter is aimed at improving the living conditions of persons with disabilities during emergencies.

Five Principles of humanitarian actions

The Charter urges government representatives as well as leaders of non-governmental organizations to ensure that their future humanitarian actions will be inclusive of people with disabilities, based on five principles:

• Non-discrimination and recognition of the diversity of people with disabilities;

• Involvement of people with disabilities in developing humanitarian programs;

• Ensuring services and humanitarian assistance are equally available for and accessible to all people with disabilities;

• Implementation of inclusive global policies; and

• Cooperation and coordination among humanitarian actors to improve inclusion of people with disabilities.

What does the Charter call for?

Non-discrimination: Condemn and eliminate all forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities in humanitarian programming and policy by guaranteeing protection.

Participation: Promote meaningful involvement of persons with disabilities in the needs assessment, design, implementation, coordination, monitoring and evaluation of humanitarian preparedness.

Inclusive policy: Engage with all relevant States, other stakeholders and partners to ensure protection for persons with disabilities as required by international law.

Inclusive response and services: Ensure that emergency and preparedness planning are designed to take into account the diverse needs of persons with disabilities.

Cooperation and coordination: Foster technical cooperation and coordination among authorities and all humanitarian actors and representative organisations of persons with disabilities.


  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi was conferred with Amir Amanullah Khan Award, Afghanistan’s highest civilian honour.
  • He was bestowed the honour by President Ashraf Ghani after the inauguration of the landmark Afghan-India Friendship Dam.
  • During his speech, Mr. Modi invoked Chisht-born Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti who settled down in Ajmer and is venerated by thousands of people visiting his shrine.
  • PM Modi inaugurated the Rs. 1,700-crore dam in the strategically vital Herat province.
  • He said it had “not been built by bricks and mortar, but by the faith of our friendship and the valour of Afghans and Indians.”
  • Resolving to stand by Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said India’s cooperation will extend to “every part” of the war-torn country and that the partnership will benefit every section of Afghan society.
  • Unfazed by terror attacks on its missions, India will continue to extend cooperation in war-torn Afghanistan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said


  • Telangana and coastal Andhra received above normal rainfall during the pre-monsoon season from March to May, raising expectations that the states will receive bountiful monsoon rains.
  • According to India Meteorological Department, Telangana received 7.6 cm rain averaged over the entire State during the three months, about 24 per cent more than the seasonal normal of 5.6 cm.
  • Much of this rain was recorded during May with March and April recording lower than normal rainfall.
  • Similarly, coastal Andhra recorded 13.3 cm against 9.7 cm normal. Rayalseema, like northern Karnataka, received normal rainfall.
  • Telangana witnessed formation of a low pressure trough lasting nearly three weeks starting end of April.
  • This upper air trough, according to weather observations made during end of April and May, extended from Vidarbha to coastal Tamil Nadu. Vidarbha, like Telangana, also received excess rainfall.


  • Gaumukh, the snout of the Gangotri glacier, named after its shape like the mouth of a cow, has retreated by over 3 kilometres since 1817
  • It was nearly two centuries ago that the retreat of the glacier was first documented by John Hodgson, a Survey of India geologist.
  • With 10 Indian States reeling under drought and the country facing a severe water crisis after two weak monsoons, the story of retreating freshwater sources such as the Himalayan glaciers is worrying.
  • And though a three-kilometre retreat over a period of two centuries might seem insignificant at first glance, data shows that the rate of retreat has increased sharply since 1971. The rate of retreat is 22 metres per year.
  • The retreat points to lesser ice formation each year than its current rate of melting, a process that is continuing.
  • Winter precipitation is when the glacier receives adequate snow and ice for maintaining itself. About 10-15 spells of winter snow as part of western disturbances feed the glacier.
  • In summer, the melting of the glacier feeds the Bhagirathi River, the source stream of the Ganga. Dwindling snowfall levels have also affected the volume of water discharged during summer into the river, compared to peak levels.
  • Earlier the Gangotri glacier appeared as a convex shape structure from atop Tapovan, the meadow at the base of Shivling peak beyond Gaumukh, but now the glacier appears to be caving in and is concave in shape.


  • Passengers who report on time before the scheduled departure of the flight and are denied boarding by airlines may get double the amount of the original ticket price or the cost of the ticket on that particular date, whichever is less.
  • The compensation for flight delays and cancellations would also be enhanced.
  • This is part of a slew of ‘passenger-centric’ measures likely to be announced soon by the Ministry.
  • Aggrieved air passengers would also be able to register complaints with and redress grievances from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) via an online platform.


  • China has been a constant factor in the India-U.S. ties, but the delicate balancing act that both countries play in dealing with the Asian giant will be unmistakable when Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets U.S. President Barack Obama.
  • When Mr. Modi takes off for the U.S., Secretary of State John Kerry will be headed to Beijing for interactions with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice-Premier Wang Yang.
  • The eighth edition of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue on June 5-7 will have representatives from 20 U.S. departments and agencies.
  • The Obama administration is eager to ensure that the lingering tensions between the two countries do not crystallise into a new Cold War.
  • While tensions repeatedly crop up — last month in Vietnam, Mr. Obama spoke of “big countries trying to bully small neighbours"
  • The U.S. has roped in China in several international initiatives, the Paris climate conference and the Iranian nuclear deal being the most successful examples.
  • This week in Beijing, on top of the agenda of the dialogue will be reining in North Korea’s nuclear adventurism.
  • China and the U.S. cooperated in the UN for stricter sanctions against North Korea, but the U.S. believes China can do more on this front.
  • Prime Minister Modi also said: “There was an age when the world was divided into two camps. That is not true anymore. Today, the whole world is interdependent."
  • "Even if you look at the relationship between China and the U.S., there are areas where they have substantial differences but there are also areas where they have worked closely. That’s the new way.”


  • Sections of young Maldivians are at risk of becoming radicalised and some have already joined violent extremist groups, the U.S. Department of State said in its 2015 report on terrorism.
  • The youth within the penal system and “otherwise marginalised” members of society have been identified in the report as those falling within this category of Maldivians.
  • The new Prevention of Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism Act (PMLFT) has set forth penalties of 7-25 years imprisonment for those convicted of terrorist acts or of inciting others to do so.
  • At the end of 2015, President Abdulla Yameen had not yet published the mandatory list of terrorist entities, as required by the law.
    The State Department said the Maldives continued to recognise that “counter-radicalisation efforts are a critical component to long-term success against violent extremism”.
  • A government-sponsored Islamic university in Male opened in 2015 and its key objective would be “to promote the academic study of religion and “moderate Islam” as a counterweight to extremist discourses and messaging”.


  • The government’s objective of achieving 100 per cent financial inclusion got a shot in the arm with the India Post getting the nod for starting payments bank.
  • The main challenge banks today face in financial inclusion is the lack of last mile connectivity.
  • With the government’s focus on financial inclusion, it is quite logical to convert India Post to a bank given its strong network pan-India and the huge franchise built over the years.
  • The move can further aid the financial inclusion objective of the government and the RBI as more people can now potentially have access to a bank.
  • With more people getting access to a bank, it could improve the efficiency of passing on the government-sponsored benefits to the beneficiary directly through their bank accounts.
  • It can potentially improve financial literacy levels and also the country’s financial savings.
  • However, lack of technological upgradation and training of its personnel are likely to slow down the ambitious plans of the government to create the largest bank in the world in terms of accessibility.
  • The new entity would be known as India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), a public limited company under the Department of Posts, with 100 per cent Government of India equity.
  • As per the guidelines issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), payments banks can accept deposits of up to Rs.1 lakh and sell insurance and mutual fund products.
  • Many multinational financial institutions had already evinced interest to join hands with India Post, which shows its acceptance worldwide.
  • The business correspondents model has not worked well and banks simply do not have the kind of presence required to target the vast unbanked population in the rural areas and even urban poor.
  • However, India Post with its vast network of more than 1.5 lakh offices, 90 per cent of which are in rural areas, can aid in financial inclusion.
  • This should be compared with about 1.05 lakh branches of all the banks in the country.
  • Further India Post is a significant player in the domestic remittance business with experience in managing small savings deposits.
  • However, the staff need extensive training in handling these products - especially insurance and pension products - as they are different from the current financial products in India Post’s portfolio.
  • The government may spend Rs. 400 crore on the proposal with Rs. 400 crore more coming from equity.


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Executive Board has approved a bailout package of about $1.5 billion (SDR 1.1 billion) for Sri Lanka.
  • The package will be in the form of a 36-month extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to support Sri Lanka’s economic reform agenda. The island nation’s balance of payments widened last year.
  • The Executive Board’s decision will enable an immediate disbursement of SDR 119.894 million (about $168.1 million), and the rest will be available in six instalments subject to quarterly reviews.
  • The IMF arrangement aims to meet balance of payments needs arising from a deteriorating external environment and pressures that may persist until macroeconomic policies can be adjusted.
  • A return to fiscal consolidation, targeting a reduction in the overall fiscal deficit to 3.5 percent of GDP by 2020, would be the “linchpin” of the reform programme.


  • Muhammad Ali — who died on Friday in Arizona at age 74 — was one of the iconic sporting heroes of the 20th century, the three-time heavyweight champion of the world who said he could “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
  • Ali, who came of age amid the turmoil of the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, dazzled the boxing world as a youngster with his speed, never before seen in his weight class.
  • He also rattled the established order with an equally quick wit and colourful personality that lifted him into the realm of super-stardom and ushered in the age of globally televised multi-million-dollar fights.
  • The legendary fighter spent his last years ravaged by Parkinson’s disease but never retreated from public view. Instead he added a crusade against the illness to the list of battles of his extraordinary life.


  • Leander Paes achieved his ‘career Slam’ in mixed doubles, winning the Roland Garros title with Martina Hingis , with a hard-fought win over Sania Mirza and Ivan Dodig.
  • The unseeded Indo-Swiss pair eked out a 4-6, 6-4, [10-8] win over the second seeds in the summit clash that lasted one hour and 28 minutes.
  • Having won the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open titles in 2015 with Hingis, this win completes their ‘career Slam’ as a pair too.
  • It was Paes’s 18th Grand Slam title overall, and 10th in the mixed doubles while Hingis took her tally of Major titles to 22, with her fifth mixed doubles trophy.
  • After dropping the first set, Hingis and Paes roared back into the match by winning the second.
  • In the match tie-break, they squandered an 8-6 lead but Hingis hit a backhand cross court winner to set up match-point, and the title was sealed when Dodig drove one into the net at 8-9.


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