Current Affairs 12th December

Current Affairs 12th December 2015

India and Japan ink 14 agreements in various fields 

India and Japan have inked fourteen agreements in various fields to enhance bilateral co-operation between both countries. These agreements were signed during ninth annual Indo-Japan summit talks held in New Delhi. The summit was jointly held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe.
Some important agreements signed are
  • Agreement in transfer of Defence Equipment and Technology Cooperation: Provides a framework to enhance defence and security cooperation. 
  • Agreement on security measures for the protection of classified military information: Ensures the reciprocal protection of classified military information transmitted to each other. 
  • Agreement on Amendment Protocol of Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement: Amends the Convention between both countries for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, signed in 1989. 
  • MoC on Technological Cooperation in Rail Sector: Establishes areas for comprehensive technological cooperation including sharing of information and best practices.
  •  MoU on technological cooperation on Rail safety: proposes to cooperate in the areas of safety in train operation and advanced techniques of maintenance along with use of environment friendly technologies, etc.
  • MoC on Medical Products Regulation Dialogue and Cooperation Framework: Seeks to facilitate a constructive dialogue in areas pertinent to raw materials for pharmaceutical use, biological products, medical devices, quasi-drugs, cosmetic products.
  •  MoC in the field of forests: Enhance cooperation in sustainable forest management, forest conservation and forest disaster prevention, conservation of biodiversity and effective utilization of forest resources etc.
Apart from this, both countries also issued a joint statement on ‘India and Japan Vision 2025: Special Strategic and Global Partnership Working Together for Peace and Prosperity of the Indo-Pacific Region and the World’. India also extended visa an arrival (VoA) facility for Japanese nationals, including businessmen from 1st March 2016.

ndia & Japan sign MoC on High Speed Rail on Mumbai-

Ahmedabad sector

India and Japan have signed historic Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) to introduce High Speed Rail (HRS) on Mumbai Ahmedabad sector to revolutionize Indian Railways. The MoC was signed in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New Delhi. This agreement confirms developing of high speed rail corridor using of Japanese high speed rail technologies along with financial and technical assistance from Japan. 
 Under the agreement 
  • The HRS project will be India’s first high speed rail line. It is a 508 km line connecting the cities of Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
  • The total project cost is 97,636 crores rupees and will be implemented in 7 years. It will reduce travelling time between the two cities from eight hours to around three.
  • Japan will extend highly concessional loan of 12 billion dollars and technical assistance on easy terms for this project through its Shinkansen Technology. 
  • The loan will provided with the interest rate at 0.1 per cent for a period of 50 years with a 15 years moratorium.
  •  The cooperation on this project will also be fixed on transfer of technology and Make in India initiative. Japan will also assist India in training of personnel for High Speed Rail.
 Civil Nuclear agreement 
India and Japan also have reached substantive Agreement on Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy. Under it both sides have confirmed cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. The final deal will be signed after certain technical and legal issues are thrashed out

Myanmar’s first UNESCO biosphere reserve Inle Lake 


Read more at:
Myanmar has launched the country’s first United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Biosphere Reserve Inle Lake in Shan state.
 With this launch Myanmar opens a new chapter in its commitment to bio-diversity and eco-system conservation. In June 2015, the lake was officially designated as Myanmar’s first biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Bioshpere (MAB) programme.
 About Inle Lake
  • Inle Lake is located in Taunggyi district in Myanmar’s eastern Shan state.
  •  It is the second largest lake in Myanmar with an estimated surface area of 116 km2. 
  • The wetland ecosystem of this freshwater Inle Lake is home to diverse flora and fauna. 
  • It is home to 267 species of birds, out of which 82 are wetland birds. The Inle Lake is nesting place for globally endangered Sarus crane.
  • It also has 43 species of freshwater fishes of which 9 species of fish are found nowhere else in the world.
  • Apart from its ecological importance, Inle Lake is also has unique for the way the local inhabitants have adapted their life style to their environment
  • Presently, the lake gets funding from the government of Norway for conservation purpose under the framework of the Inle Lake Conservation and Rehabilitation project

Renowned agro-economist Sharad Joshi passes away

Renowned agro-economist and veteran leader of farmers Sharad Anantrao Joshi passed away in Pune, Maharashtra. He was 81. He was founder of Shetakari Sanghtana (farmers’ Organisation) an NGO dedicated to the cause of farmers in Maharashtra
About Sharad Joshi
  • Sharad Joshi was born in 1935 in Satara district of Maharashtra.
  •  Prior to establishing Shetakari Sanghtana in 1979 he had worked with Pune University as lecturer of Economics and Statistics and later worked with United Nations (UN).
  • He had served as a member of Advisory Board of the World Agricultural Forum (WAF). 
  • Joshi had spearheaded numerous agitations, protests, fasts throughout the state to highlight the issue of reasonable prices for agricultural produce.
  •  He was Rajya Sabha member from 2004 to 2010. He was the sole MP in Upper House to vote against the bill providing 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies

Current Affairs 11th december 2015

Mauricio Macri sworn in as President of Argentina

Mauricio Macri of Republican Proposal Party (RPP) has been sworn in as new President of Argentina after taking oath in the Congress. With this he became Argentina’s first non-Peronist President in 14 years and the third leader elected from outside the “Peronist” movement founded by Juan Peron since the end of the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship. Background Earlier in 2015 Presidential election held in November 2015 Mr Macri had won the election by securing more than 53 per cent votes. He had defeated his rival Daniel Scioli of ruling Peronist Party who secured 47 per cent votes. His victory had ended the 12 years of leftist rule in Argentina.

About Mauricio Macri
Born on 8 February 1959 in Tandil, Argentina. He is son of Francisco Macri who is one of Argentina’s richest men. Prior to entering politics, Mr Macri had a long career in business and holds civil engineer degree.

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet awarded 2015 

Nobel Peace Prize          

Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (NDQ) has been awarded prestigious 2015 Nobel Peace Prize at a ceremony held in Oslo, Norway. The award was collected by Trade unionist Hassine Abassi, human rights activist Abdessatar Ben Moussa, Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh and Ouided Bouchamaoui. Earlier in October 2015, Norwegian Nobel Committee has selected NDQ for the prestigious award for its decisive contribution in building pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the 2011 Jasmine Revolution (It is birth place of Arab Spring).  It is also credited with creating a dialogue between the country’s Islamist and secular coalition parties. NDQ consists following 4 organisations in Tunisian civil society. They are Tunisian General Labour Union. Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts.

Current Affairs 10th December

India and Pakistan announces 10-point 

Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue

India and Pakistan have agreed to resume structured dialogue between them through new 10-point Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD). The 10-point CBD replaces earlier 8-point Composite Dialogue Process (CDP) structured dialogue which was also known as Resumed Dialogue. In this regard, both countries have issued a joint statement after a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Pakistan Prime Minister’s Advisor on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in Islamabad on the side-lines of Hearth of Asia Conference. 10-point Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) includes

  • Peace and security, 
  • confidence building measures (CBMs) Jammu and Kashmir
  • Siachen. Sir Creek Boundary Dispute.
  • Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project.
  • Economic and Commercial cooperation. 
  • Counter-terrorism, Narcotics control. People-to-people exchanges. Humanitarian issues. 
  • Religious tourism.

            CBD includes all the eight elements of CDP and adds new two elements viz. Humanitarian issues and Religious Tourism in the agenda to make the peace process between both countries long lasting. Joint statement issued also includes National Security Advisors (NSAs) of both countries to take forward talks on terrorism. Pakistan committed to expedite 26/11 Mumbai attacks trial. Secretary-level talks within stipulated time table. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Pakistan in 2016 to participate in the 19th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit to be held in Islamabad.

Cabinet approves amendments to The National 

Waterways Bill, 2015

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its approval to carry out official amendments in The National Waterways Bill, 2015. 
The amendments seek to add 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways based on the recommendations Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments
 Key facts

  •  The National Waterways Bill, 2015 repeals the five Acts that declare the existing national waterways. These existing five national waterways are now covered under the Bill.
  • The enactment of this Act (Central legislation) will pave way for the inclusion of 106 additional inlands waterways. 
  • Thus the total number of national waterways (NW) numbers will go up to 111 from existing five national waterways
  •  The changes made in former bill include omission of 10 waterways from Kerala. While 17 waterways have been merged with the existing waterways. 
  • 18 new waterways have been added. 5 each from Karnataka and Meghalaya, 3 each from Maharashtra and Kerala, 1 each from Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan). 
  • The declaration of these National Waterways would enable Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation.
 Note: Union Government is empowered to make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by Parliament by law as per Entry 24 of the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
 Inland Waterways
Waterways are the cheapest and environment friendly modes of Transportation. They are most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods. Existing five national waterways are

  1.  (i) NW 1: between Allahabad and Haldia (1620 km) on Ganga River 
  2. (ii) NW 2: between Sadiya and Dubri (891 km)
  3. (iii) NW 3: West Coast Canal (205 km) in Kerala
  4. (iv) NW 4: Kakinada–Pondicherry stretch River Godavari and Wazirabad–Vijayawada stretch of River  Krishna in Andhra Prades (v) NW 5: Talcher–Dhamra (620 km) stretch on Mahanadi River.

10 December: Human Rights Day 

Read more at:
Human Rights Day (HRD) is marked annually on 10th December to commemorate the day in 1948 when the United Nations (UN) adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). 
The theme chosen for the year 2015 HRD is ‘Our Rights. Our Freedoms. Always’. It marks the launch of a 1 year campaign commemorating two international human rights treaties International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Both of the treaties were adopted in 1966.
Human Rights Day was formally established at the 317th Plenary Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 4 December 1950.
 It was established after UNGA declared Resolution 423(V) by inviting all member states and any other interested organizations to celebrate the day to the mark the first global enunciation of human rights and one of the first major achievements of the UN.