. Letting marines remain will boost the ties
Context:- The news is related to the Enrica Lexie case wherein two Indian fishermen were shot off the coast of Kerala. Indian government accused Italian marines on board the commercial oil tanker MV Enrica Lexie for the killing. They were arrested and produced before court in India. After keep in the marines in detention for few years India let them go.
Now, in the latest development, Italy has urged India to allow the two marines, to remain at home.
Timeline of the Enrica Lexie case
Feb 15, 2012: Two India fishermen, were shot dead in the seas. The incident is reported to have taken place in international waters. The ship from which the fishermen were fired upon was identified as the Enrica Lexie. The Lexie claims it thought the fishermen were pirates.
Feb 16, 2012: The Indian Navy lashes out at the Italian oil tanker, Enrica Lexie, for flouting the laid-down counter-piracy measures, which resulted in the ship’s armed guards, who are Italian military personnel, gunning down two Indian fishermen.
Feb 17, 2012: Italian oil tanker Enrica Lexie isbrought to Kochi and police and Coast Guard personnel question the crew.
Feb 18, 2012: India wants the captain of Enrica Lexie and the two marksmen who shot the fishermen to surrender to Kerala Police. Italy wants the three to be permitted to leave in return for a joint investigation into the incident. Talks fail.
Feb 19, 2012: Kerala police arrest the two Marines (Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone) suspected to have fired the shots. Captain is also questioned.
Feb 20, 2012: Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone are remanded in judicial custody for 14 days (till March 5, 2012). Italy says the Marines have immunity from the Indian law as the tanker was flying an Italian flag in international waters, sailing from Singapore to Egypt, when the shooting occurred.
Feb 21, 2012: Rome decides to send junior Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura to India.
Feb 22, 2012: Italy moves the Kerala High Court, seeking to quash the first information report (FIR) registered against two of its naval personnel. The petition argues that under the principles of international law and conventions, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (which India has ratified) Indian courts have no jurisdiction to register a crime in connection with the incident.
March 1, 2012: Italy informs India that it has initiated criminal proceedings against the marines under its law that could lead to a prison term of not less than 21 years.
March 29, 2012: Court allows Italian vessel to sail out, with riders. Judge directs the police to permit the ship to sail, on its agent furnishing a bond for Rs. 3 crore before the Deputy Conservator, Cochin Port Trust, and an undertaking that the vessel, master, and the crew would be produced as and when required by the Centre, Deputy Conservator, and Mercantile Marine Department (MMD).
April 3, 2012: Kerala High Court sets aside Kollam Magistrate court’s order.
April 20, 2012: The legal heirs of the two deceased fishermen tell the Kerala High Court that a settlement for paying a compensation of Rs. 1 crore to each bereaved family has been reached between the Italian government representatives and them.
Apr 30, 2012: Describing Italy’s compromise with the kin of the two Indian fishermen as “illegal” and “astonishing,” the Supreme Court says that they were “playing” with the Indian process of law.
The judicial remand of the two marines of Italian ship Enrica Lexie is extended by 11 days.
May 2, 2012: Supreme Court allows the vessel, Enrica Lexie, to leave India, along with the crew and the remaining marines.
Dec 21, 2012: The passports of marines are released after Kerala High Court grants conditional permission for the marines to go to Italy for Christmas, subject to the decision of the union government.
Jan 4, 2013: Marines return to Kerala from Italy post-Christmas.
Jan 18, 2013: The Supreme Court holds that the State of Kerala had no jurisdiction to investigate into the `Italian marines shooting incident’ and says only the Union of India had jurisdiction to proceed with the investigation and trial of the two marines.
Feb 22, 2013: The Supreme Court permits Marines MassimilanoLatorre and Salvatore Girone to visit their country to vote in the February 24 and 25 elections.
March 11, 2013: Italy refuses to return two of its marines
March 12, 2013: India tries to hold Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini as the Supreme Court that allowed the two marines to leave for their country upon the envoy’s undertaking.
March 14, 2013: Amidst a diplomatic row with India, Italy says it is on solid legal ground in seeking international arbitration in the case.
The Supreme Court takes a serious view of Italy’s breach of undertaking and restrains Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country without its permission.
March 18, 2013: Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini claims complete immunity under the Vienna Convention. Supreme Court makes it clear to the envoy that a person who came to the court as a petitioner cannot claim any immunity
March 21, 2013: The Italian government says it will return to India two marines facing murder charges in the shooting deaths of two fishermen off the Kerala coast.
August 20, 2013: Italian marines refuse to appear as witness in murder case.
September 18, 2013: Citing delay in trial, Italy refuses to send witnesses
November 15, 2013: Italy questions ballistic evidence
February 6, 2014: India drops death penalty clause as Europe bats for Italian marines
February 18, 2014: Italy recalls its envoy to India as marines case lags
March 28, 2014: Italy rejects marines’ trial in India
September 12, 2014: SC allows Italian marine Latorre to return home for 4 months
January 7, 2015: Marine seeks extension to stay in Italy on health grounds
March 20, 2015: Italy has again raised the issue of its two marines facing trial in India with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, whose office said that the UN’s position of resolving the issue bilaterally “remains unchanged”
June 27, 2015: Italy seeks the immediate transfer of the two marines to the country.
July 15, 2015: In an application before the SC, Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone said Italy was “constrained” to take the international arbitration route
July 26,2015: Italy moves ITLOS in Marines case
August 11, 2015: India has told the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) that Italy’s plea in the Italian marines case was “misleading”
August 24, 2015: UN court, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, for status quo in Italian marines case.
August 26, 2015: Supreme Court suspends proceedings against marines.
January 13, 2016: The Supreme Court extends till April 30, 2016 the liberty extended to Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre to stay back in Italy
January 12, 2016: The Italian Senate declares that the marine Massimiliano Latorre who went back home in 2014 because of ill-health will not return to face the judicial process
May 2, 2016: A U.N. arbitration court rules that India should release Italian marine Salvatore Girone
Current situation: Permanent court of arbitration in Hague ruled in favor of Italy and the lone Italian marine Girone returned to Italy in May
Now, Italy has requested India to let the marines stay at home and that this was the best possible way restart the bilateral engagement at high levels.
. Centre mulls mega fund flow to push irrigation
Context:- Centre has planned a corpus of Rs 77000 crore to push the completion of 99 unfinished irrigation projects across the country by 2019. The drought and suicide prone districts will be covered first.
The 99-project scheme
- Funding: States would now be able to get loans from NABARD. Government will provide 15-year loans at 6% interest
- Monitoring: Water ministry shall maintain a strict over-watch through the usage of modern technology like an app
- Incentives: Under the scheme incentives will be given to states who complete the projects before time.
- Local level participation: Government will only sanction those projects where panchayats and other local-water associations are closely involved.
- Part of PMKSY: It is a part of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayaiyojana (PMKSY) which was launched to help farmers have efficient access to water and introduce sustainable water-conservation projects.
- Independent monitoring: NITI Ayog will be the independent monitor of the scheme
What is NABARD?
National Bank for Rural Development (NABARD) is an apex development bank in India, headquartered atMumbai with branches all over India.
NABARD was established on the recommendations of Shivaraman Committee, on 12 July 1982 to implement the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Act 1981
What is PMKSY?
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) accorded approval to PMKSY on 1st July 2015. PMKSY has been formed after integration of following programs,
- (AIBP) of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD&GR)
- Integrated Watershed Management Programme (IWMP) of Department of Land Resources (DoLR)
- the On Farm Water Management (OFWM) of Department of Agriculture and Cooperation (DAC)
The Yojana was approved with an outlay of 50000 crore rupees over a period of five years, that is, from 2015-16 to 2019-20
Objectives of PMKSY
- To provide convergence to existing schemes of water management, thus bringing efficiency to the use of water
- Expand cultivable area under assured irrigation (HarKhetkopani)
- Improve on-farm water use efficiency to reduce wastage of water
- Enhance the adoption of precision-irrigation and other water saving technologies (More crop per drop)
- Enhance recharge of aquifers and introduce sustainable water conservation practices by exploring the feasibility of reusing treated municipal based water for peri-urban (an area of transition from urban to rural or rural to urban) agriculture
- Attract greater private investment in precision irrigation system
.’Criticism is not sedition’: SC quotes 1962 ruling
Context:- Supreme Court Bench Justice Deepak Misraquoted a judgment delivered 54 years ago to say, “Someone’s statement criticizing the government does not invoke an offence of sedition or defamation“
What was the case whose judgement was cited?
KedarNath v State of Bihar, 1962
On May 26, 1953, KedarNath Singh told villagers at Barauni in Bihar that if they can drive out the Britishers, they should “strike and turn out the Congress goondas. These Congress goondas are banking upon the American dollars and imposing various kinds of taxes on the people today. The blood of our brothers — mazdoors and kishans is being sucked”
He was tried for sedition charges but the SC dismissed the case against KedarNath and said in the historic judgement that,
- Only a “violent revolution” against the government attracts the charge of sedition.”
- A free expression of disapprobation (strong disapproval) against the ruling government’s action with an intention to better the condition of the people is not treason
What is the present case?
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Common cause, an NGO and environmental activist DrUdaykumarseeking the court’s intervention to address the misuse of the sedition laws by successive governments.
It is under this PIL that SC has issued a direction to all the concerned authorities to follow the Constitutional bench judgment in KedarNath v State of Bihar (1962) while dealing with the cases of sedition.
How is sedition defined in India?
‘Sedition’ is an offence that was incorporated into the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in 1870. Section 124A of the IPC defines sedition and says:
- Whoever by words either spoken or written or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, the government established by law; or
- Whoever by the above means excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the government established by law, has committed the offence of sedition
Disaffection under this law includes, disloyalty and all feelings of enmity
Background history of the Sedition law
Sedition was not a part of the original Indian Penal Code (IPC) enacted in 1860. It was introduced in 1870.
- The origin of sedition law in India is linked to the Wahabi Movement of 19th century. This movement was led by Syed Ahmed Barelvi. It turned into an armed resistance in the wake of 1857 revolt. This movement was fully suppressed by 1870.
- British introduced the term “sedition” in the Indian Penal Code 1870 to outlaw speech that attempted to “excite disaffection towards the government established by law in India
- Sedition law was used by the British to suppress Indian freedom struggle as it resorted to arresting Indian leaders under it time and again
Sedition is being used to suppress the voice of dissent in country. In a democracy, rights of the citizens to disagree should be accorded due importance by the governing institutions for it is this vey feature which grants the democratic character to the entire Indian polity.
. Return of Cauvery crisis
Context:- Supreme Court has ordered Karnataka to release 1500cusecs of water daily for 10 days to water starved Tamilnadu.
Why Karnataka is reluctant to give water to Tamilnadu?
Dispute over water sharing of Cauvery has been continuing since long. Karnataka is citing a water deficit due to lack of rainfall during SW monsoon resulting in its reluctance to discharge water to Tamilnadu.
Why Tamilnadu is demanding water be released?
Tamilnadu has mainly two paddy crops,
- Kuruvai: It is a short-duration crop &is best cultivated during south-west monsoon between June and September or early October,
- Samba: It uses the north-east monsoon between late October and December
Tamilnadu is asking water to save its Samba crop after SW monsoon proved to be deficient this year.
Author cites possible solutions to the dispute,
- Establishment of Cauvery Management Board and an independent regulatory authority to implement the verdict of the Cauvery water tribunal which had asked both the states that deficiency of water has to be shared on a proportional (pro rata) basis. Presently a supervisory committee consisting of officials from the Union government and the Central Water Commission and representatives of both States exists to oversee the implementation
- A technical body having the requisite expertise should come out with a water sharing formula
- Sowing of less water intensive crops and better water management practices
- Non-political initiatives like ‘Cauvery Family’ also can help in diffusing the atmosphere of hostility that currently exists on both sides of the states over sharing of Cauvery waters
What is “Cauvery Family”?
Cauvery family is an interstate group of farmers, academics and politicians of two states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu, who came together in 2003 to find an amicable solution to the Cauvery dispute
- The group is facilitated by Madras institute of Development Studies (MIDS)
- Only such civil society initiative wrt Cauvery dispute that is trying to resolve it in a non-political manner
Note: For an overview of the Cauvery crisis, please refer to the 9pm brief of 3rd September 2016
. Grumbling G20
Context:- In the wake of recently concluded G20 meeting at Hangzhou, China author ascertains as to whether times has come to dismantle G20 or whether the organization has run its course?
Formation of G20
G20 was formed in the backdrop of the global recession of 2008. All the major economies of the world realized the importance of global cooperation and came together on a unified platform to form G20 so further such tragedies could be prevented
Now, the author says, the agendas seems to be changing with G20 having just become a stage for publicizing divergent national outlooks.
This observation has a point since many of the key matters discussed at G20 had national bearings instead of global one.
Key matters discussed
Matters of Steel: US categorically wanted to pressurize China to move back on its policy of dumping cheap steel in the world market. While China on the other hand tried its best that the final document released after the G20 meet did not reflect US stand. Both succeeded as, the final document didn’t indict China for its policy but did call for increased information sharing and cooperation through the formation of a Global Forum on steel excess capacity
- Climate change: Ahead of G20 a report of Climate Transparency was released which stated that the absolute carbon dioxide emissions by G20 countries from 1990 to 2013 have gone up by 56%. Despite of that, nothing concrete on climate change front came out of the G20 meet
- Tax avoidance: Strengthening enforcement against international tax avoidance and advancing cooperation on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), were also discussed at the meet
What is BEPS?
BEPS or Base Erosion and Profit Shifting is a tax avoidance strategy employed by multinational companies wherein they shift their profits from high tax locations to low-tax destinations referred to as tax havens.
World’s top ten Tax havens are,
- Cayman Islands
- Island of Man (Island between Ireland and UK)
- Jersey (located between England and France)
- Monaco (no income tax since 1869. How about that!!)
Instead of completely dissolving G20, as author is suggesting, strengthening of G20 would be a much better alternative. Global leaders should work together to chalk out policies that address national and global interests simultaneously. No country can develop in segregation today. Despite the rise of isolationist tendencies & BREXIT, we should not give up hope on the benefits of global cooperation and collaboration.
. Birth Pill cutting ovary cancer risks: Study
Deaths from ovarian cancer fell significantly in Western countries from 2002 to 2012 and should continue declining largely thanks to widespread contraceptive pill use, a new research has found out
- Deaths fell 16 per cent in the United States, 10 per cent in the 28 European Union nations excluding Cyprus, for which there was no data, and eight percent in Canada.
- In Japan, which has a lower ovarian cancer rate than many other countries, the death rate fell two per cent, said a study published in the Annals of Oncology.
- In Australia and New Zealand, deaths declined 12 per cent from 2002 to 2011 — the most recent year for which data was available
- The falls were greater in young and middle-aged women than in the elderly, and earlier and larger in the U.S., the U.K. and northern Europe as in these countries the Oral Contraceptives were introduced earlier
- Decline in Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) which increases the risk of ovarian cancer by 40 percent has also played a role
Ovarian cancer is a cancer that forms in an ovary. It results in abnormal cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body.When this process begins, there may be no or only vague symptoms. Symptoms become more noticeable as the cancer progresses. This is why, ovarian cancer is also termed as a “Silent Killer”
GEOGRAPHY & ENVIRONMENT
. Global warming making oceans ‘sicker’
Context:- A major scientific report has found out that Global warming is making the oceans sicker than ever before, spreading disease among animals and humans and threatening food security across the planet.
The report is titled “Explaining Ocean Warming” was launched at the IUCN World Conservation Congress, in Hawaii
Findings of the report
- Changed oceanic life: The world’s waters have absorbed more than 93 per cent of the enhanced heating from climate change since the 1970s, curbing the heat felt on land but drastically altering the life in the ocean
- Change in sex-ratios of turtles: The higher temperatures will probably change the sex ratio of turtles in the future because females are more likely to be born in warmer temperatures
- A rise of 36oC: If the same amount of heat that has gone into the top 2 km of the ocean between 1955 and 2010 had instead gone into the lower 10 km of the atmosphere, the Earth would have seen a warming of36oC.
- Poleward movement of species: entire groups of species such as plankton, jellyfish, fish, turtles and seabirds being driven by up to 10 degrees of latitude towards the Earth’s poles to keep within reasonable environmental conditions
- The report also describes the inadequacy of current knowledge, capabilities and capacity to adequately study ocean warming and to advise and cope with the associated challenges
What is IUCN?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.
In 1948, International Union for the Preservation of Nature (IUPN) established& in 19 its name was changed to IUCN
IUCN has a membership of both governmental and Non-governmental organizations
Its headquarters are in Switzerland
What is IUCN world congress?
Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges
- Current world congress is being held at Hawaiian capital Honolulu, from 1st Sept – 10th Sept
. First gravitational waves form after 10 million years
Context:- A new study has found that Gravitational waves are formed around 10 million years after two galaxies collide and their central black holes merge which is about 100 times faster than previously thought
What are Gravitational waves?
Gravitational waves are disturbances in the fabric of space-time. If you drag your hand through a still pool of water, you’ll notice that waves follow in its path, and spread outward through the pool. According to Albert Einstein, the same thing happens when heavy objects move through space-time.
According to Einstein’s general theory of relativity, space-time isn’t empty, but rather a four-dimensional “fabric,” which can be pushed or pulled as objects move through it. These distortions are the real cause of gravitational attraction.
Please watch this interesting video to understand the gravitational waves better.
It demonstrates the gravitational waves in following manner,
One famous way of visualizing this is to take a taut rubber sheet and place a heavy object on it. That object will cause the sheet to sag around it.
If you place a smaller object near the first one, it will fall toward the larger object. A star exerts a pull on planets and other celestial bodies in the same manner.
Detection of Gravitational waves
- On February 11, 2016, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and Virgo Collaboration teams announced that they had made thefirst observation of gravitational waves, originating from a pair of merging black holes using the Advanced LIGO detectors.
- On June 15, 2016, a second detection of gravitational waves from coalescing black holes was announced
LIGOor Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory
The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory is a large-scale physics experiment and world’s largest observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.
INDIGO, or IndIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) is a group of Indian gravitational-wavephysicists.
This is an initiative to set up advanced experimental facilities for a multi-institutional observatory project in gravitational-wave astronomy.
The major purpose of IndIGO is to set up the LIGO-India detector, which would help enhance the network of gravitational wave detectors worldwide.
The network includes
- The two LIGO detectors in the US (in Hanford and Livingston)
- The Virgo and GEO600 detectors in Europe
- The proposed KAGRA detector in Japan.
By simultaneous detection of the same event on these multiple detectors, a precise location in the sky can be pinpointed for the source of the detected waves
.Western Indian coastline is tsunami prone: Scientist
Context:-The outgoing director of National Institute of Oceanography, said that India’s western coastline is prone to tsunamis and the city planners need to incorporate this criteria while planning urban-habitats in the region
He further said that,
Tsunamis were not new to the western Indian coastline, the latest being in 1945, which hit the coast of Gujarat and whose effects were felt in Mumbai as well as Goa.
The observation is important because normally, the tsunami phenomenon is normally associated with the country’s eastern coastline and the extreme southern reaches of Kerala.
- While one such wave measuring as high as 10 m rocked the Gujarat coast in November 1945
- The other was recorded around five centuries ago, even affecting a Portuguese fleet, sailing near the coastline
Reason for Tsunamis on west coast
Due to seismic activity in the Makran region off Gujarat, which is a boundary between two plates and is a tectonically active area