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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Brief – 9th September 2016

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Click here to Download 9 PM Daily Brief PDF (9th Sept. 2016)


NATIONAL

 

[1]. GSLV puts satellite into precise orbit 

The Hindu

Context:- ISRO has successfully put the INSAT-3DR, into a precise Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

INSAT-3DR is a follow up to the INSAT 3D

What is INSAT-3D?

INSAT-3D is a meteorological, data relay and satellite aided search and rescue satellite developed by theIndian Space Research Organization and was launched successfully on 26 July 2013, from French Guiana.

What is INSAT-3DR?

It is an advanced weather satellite with four payloads

  • Payload 1 aka Multi spectral Imager: It will generate images of the Earth from a geostationary altitude of 36,000 km every 26 minutes and provide information on parameters such as sea surface temperature, snow cover, cloud motion winds, among others.
  • Payload 2 aka 19-channel sounder: It will provide information on the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone
  • Payload 3 aka Data Relay Transponder: It will provide service continuity to ISRO’s previous meteorological missions.
  • Payload 4 aka The Search and Rescue payload: It can pick up and relay alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land-based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC).

Major users of INSAT-3DR

  • Indian Coast Guards
  • Airports Authority of India (AAI)
  • Directorate General of Shipping
  • Defence Services
  • Fishermen

Coverage of INSAT-3DR

The Indian service region will cover a large part of the Indian Ocean and will also include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for providing distress alert services.

A critical difference between the launch of INSAT-3D & INSAT-3DR

The difference between the two launches is that while INSAT-3D was launched from a foreign designed rocket, INSAT-3DR has been launched using GSLV Mk II which has an indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) 

Successful launch of INSAT-3DR marks the 3rd successful launch using GSLV Mk II

1st Launch– 5th Jan 2014 – [GSAT -14]

2nd Launch– 27th Aug 2015 – [GSAT -6]

3rd Launch– 8th Sep 2016 – [INSAT -3DR]

History of GSLV

The Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) project was initiated in 1990 with the objective of acquiring an Indian government launch capability for geosynchronous satellites.India has depended on the United States and Europe for the launch of INSAT class of satellites 

Cryogenic engine

cryogenic rocket engine is a rocket engine that uses a cryogenic fuel or oxidizer, that is, its fuel or oxidizer (or both) are gases liquefied and stored at very low temperatures. 

Currently only 6 countries have developed & deployed an indigenous Cryogenic rocket engine

USA, France, India, Japan, China, Russia 

Benefits of Cryogenic engines to India

Cryogenic technology is extremely important because without cryogenic/semi-cryogenic technology India was not in a position to further develop its rocket programme for launching heavy satellites.

  • For all these years India has been depending on outside agencies to launch its communication/weather satellites (normally of 4Tonne variety) at a high cost. With the Indian system being available the cost of such exercises will not only be significantly less but could attract business by offering launch facilities using GSLV vehicle.

 

[2]. One nation exporting terror, says PM 

The Hindu

Context:- Indian PM while addressing the 11th East Asia Summit held at in Vientiane, Laos from 6-8 September 2016, said that one country is exporting & producing terror and it is time that it is put to a stop.

At the G20 meet in Hangzhou, Beijing also PM had said that one single nation” in South Asia was spreading the “agents of terror”

What is East Asia Summit?

  • East Asia Summit is a unique Leaders-led forum of 18 countries of the Asia-Pacific region formed to further the objectives of regional peace, security and prosperity.
  • Established in 2005, EAS allows the principal players in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss issues of common interest and concern in an open and transparent manner at the highest level.
  • It is an initiative of ASEAN and is based on the premise of the centrality of ASEAN.

Six priority areas of regional cooperation in EAS framework

  • Environment and Energy.
  • Education.
  • Finance.
  • Global Health Issues and Pandemic Diseases.
  • Natural Disaster Management.
  • ASEAN Connectivity.

Note: India is a founding member of EAS

 

INTERNATIONAL 

[1]. ASEAN vital to India’s Act East Policy

The Hindu

Context:- Speaking at the 14th ASEAN-India summit on the sidelines of East Asia Summit India expressed its view that the regional grouping was central to India’s Act East policy.

Also, that India was committed to supporting the realisation of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

What is ASEAN-India Summit?

ASEAN is a strategic partner of India since 2012. ASEAN-India summit is a platform to boost close co-operation between India & ASEAN nations on multiple fronts. IN totality,

  • India and ASEAN have 30 dialogue mechanisms which meet regularly, including an ASEAN-India Summit and 7 Ministerial meetings in Foreign Affairs, Commerce, Tourism, Agriculture, Environment, Renewable Energy and Telecommunications

What is RCEP?

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia,Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the 6 states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).

  • RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  • RCEP is viewed as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, which includes the United States but excludes India and China

9Members of RCEP (Source: Wikipedia)

 

ECONOMY

[1]. Centre to popularize municipal bonds

The Hindu

Context:- With the cumulative amount raised through the municipal bonds hovering at the lower end, government is trying to scale up its efforts in creating awareness among people about them so that local bodies can raise finances.

What is a bond?

You all know about a world famous Bond already, one who is seen chasing bad guys and saving his country in the movies but in economic terms Bond means an entirely different thing.

A bond is a debt investment (entity owes you money so it is a debt investment) in which an investor loans money to an entity (typically corporate or governmental) which borrows the funds for a defined period of time at a variable or fixed interest rate.

In really simple terms, it is just a piece of paper declaring that you have given us this much money and it will be returned along with interest in a set period of time.

When a company or a body needs money or finance, it can do so through three ways,

  • Equity – Equity represents an ownership stake in the company. It gives the shareholder a claim on future earnings, but it does not need to be paid back. If the company goes bankrupt, equity holders are the last in line to receive money.
  • Debt – a firm raises money by selling bonds, bills or notes. In return for lending the money, the individuals or institutions who have lend money, becomecreditors and receive a promise the principal and interest on the debt will be repaid.
  • Mixture of both

So, municipal bonds is a type of debt financing tool. Only difference being here the bonds will be issued by the municipal body not by a company.

What is a capital market?

Financial market is divided into two parts

  1. Money Market: For short-term lending or borrowing of loans or funds, maturity period is usually a year
  2. Capital Market: Market for long term lending & borrowing of funds, maturity period is above 1 year. Bonds, equity/shares are traded in capital markets

What are the hindrances in the way of raising finances through municipal bonds?

  • Easy availability of government funds
  • Lack of a secondary market for the trading of such bonds

 

Estimates

Large municipalities in India could raise Rs.1000 to Rs.1500 crore every year through municipal bond issues

Remedial measures

  • Regulatory bodies for pension funds and insurance should also allow their regulated entities to invest in municipal bonds
  • Investors look for transparency and clarity while investing in any securities and municipal bodies will have to review the manner in which books of accounts are maintained.

 Conclusion

India’s richest municipal corporation BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) raised 33% of its revenue through octroi in 2015-16 which would melt away once GST is in place. So, it is imperative that local bodies augment their finances through capital market instruments now. Seeming the vast amount of finances raised by municipal bodies in other countries like $1.8 billion in South Africa &$304 billion in the USA, local bodies in India should also try to follow their lead.

 

EDITORIAL/OPINION

[1]. Taking the Paris process forward

The Hindu

Context:- Author states that ratification of the Paris agreement by both US and China recently will push the agenda of climate change on a global scale but in absence of any aid from Green energy fund till now, India should try and take some steps on its own to achieve its nationally intended targets.

Author states that,

The ratification of the Paris agreement is a departure from the earlier stand of USA of not accepting a binding treaty like Kyoto protocol unless the developing economies make firm commitments to reduce their emissions. 

So, why US acceded now?

US changed its stand because as per Paris Agreement, all the parties to the agreement shall have voluntary & verifiable emission reduction targets though under the principle of CBDR (Common But Differentiated responsibility)

Author says that,

India has also committed to reduce its emissions through methods like 40 power generation making renewable energy & non-fossil fuel sources 40% of installed power production capacity is through non-fossil and renewable energy resources by 2030.

India has not received any aid in terms of technology transfer & funds from Green Climate Fund resources. So, India would have to take steps at a domestic level like taxing fossil fuels, managing emissions from waste better and making low-carbon buildings mandatory

When was Paris agreement adopted?

Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted the Paris Agreement by decision at the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21) held in Paris, France, in December 2015.

When was Paris agreement opened for signature?

22 April 2016: The Paris Agreement was opened for signature at the United Nations Headquarters in New York

21 April 2017: It will remain open until this date

When or How the Paris agreement shall come into force?

In accordance with Article 21, paragraph 1, of the Paris Agreement,

The Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 % of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Depositary

Note: Terms like ratification, acceptance, approval and accession have been explained in the later parts of the article 

Two conditions for Paris treaty to come into force

At least 55 parties should ratify the agreement, & (it is AND, not OR, meaning both conditions should be satisfied)

  1. the global greenhouse gas emission contribution from those 55 parties should be at least 55%

So,

Paris agreement will not enter into force,

  • If 55 countries do ratify but their global GHG emission contribution is less than 55%,
  • If 54 countries ratify & their global GHG emission contribution is at least 55%

Paris agreement enters into force

  • If 55 countries ratify the agreement whose global GHG emission contribution is at least 55%

Both parameters, that is, of total number of countries&total GHG emission contributionshould be fulfilled.

Accepting, signing, ratifying… It is so confusing!!! … Well, actually it isJ

Let us try to demystify as to how an international agreement comes into force

10Stages before an international agreement comes into force

What do all the stages mean?

Adoption stage: According to the Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties, adoption is the formal act that establishes the form and content of an agreement.  By adopting the Paris Agreement, each of the Parties agreed to the text of the Paris Agreement. This does not mean that Parties to the UNFCCC automatically become Parties to the Paris Agreement.

  • How many countries adopted the Paris agreement?

195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal in December 2015

Signing stage: Signing is important because it indicates a commitment by that country to refrain from acts that would defeat the object and purpose of the Agreement.

  • How many countries have signed the Paris agreement?

Till 7th September, 2016:- 180 countries have signed the Paris Agreement

Joining stage: Parties at this stage formally join the agreement. This can be done by depositing one of several types of instruments with the Secretary-General to the UN – instruments of “ratification, acceptance or approval.”

  • There is no time limit for when countries submit these instruments.
  • A country might deposit its instrument of ratification, acceptance or approval on the same day it signs, or submit it separately much later.
  • If a country hasn’t signed in the one year timeframe, it can join the Paris Agreement later by submitting an instrument of “accession.” Paris agreement was adopted on 12th Dec 2015

How many countries have ratified Paris agreement till now?

  1. These countries account for 39.08% of the total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

Why are only Parties to the UNFCCC able to join the Paris Agreement?

Because Paris agreement has been negotiated under UNFCCC. SO, if a country is not a member of UNFCCC, it cannot join the Paris agreement without joining the UNFCCC first.

Kyoto protocol, the international agreement that preceded the Paris agreement, was also under UNFCCC

What is accession?

“Accession” is where a country becomes a party to an international agreement that has already been negotiated and signed by other countries. It has the same legal effect as ratification, acceptance and approval.

  • Accession usually occurs after the agreement has entered into force, but can occur beforehand also depending on the terms of the agreement.

Under the Paris Agreement, Parties who are unable to sign during the one-year signing period from 22nd April 2016 to 21st April 2017 will be able to join by depositing an instrument of accession.

For example, this is how the State of Palestine joined the UNFCCC on 18th Dec 2015. 

How do countries “deposit” an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession?

Countries “deposit” their instruments with the Secretary General, who has been appointed by the Paris Agreement as the “Depository.”

  • The instruments themselves are documents signed by the Head of State that declare that the Government has considered the relevant agreement, either ratifies, accepts, approves or accedes to it and undertakes to faithfully perform and carry out its terms.
  • As the Depository, the Secretary-General is responsible for accepting the instruments and monitoring the number of Parties and their respective emissions for the purposes of determining entry into force.

 

[2]. Retaining the MGNREGA’s core

The Hindu

Context:- Author is criticizing the government for utilizing non-transparent methods to weaken the MGNREGA’s structure.

What is MGNREGA?

The  MGNREGA was notified in September 7, 2005 is a law whereby any adult who applies for employment in rural areas has to be given work on local public works within 15 days.

  • If employment is not given, an unemployment allowance has to be paid. The central government has increased the number of workdays under the rural job guarantee scheme from 100 to 150 in drought-affected areas.
  • More than 64 per cent of the works taken up under the programme are linked to agriculture and allied activities
  • What makes the MGNREGA distinct from any other public employment programme is that it is universaland enforceable legal right concurrent with some of the provisions of Article 39 and Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy in the Indian Constitution that enshrine the ideals of the Right to Work.

How is government weakening the programme?

Author alleges that government is not fulfilling its promise made in the budget and despite the allocation of highest amount of funds to the implementation of law,

  • States have been starved for funds: States are being starved of funds. At the end of the financial year 2015-2016, an unprecedented Rs.12,000 crore was owed to the States, of which Rs.7,983 crore was owed to workers. Most shockingly Rs.2,723 crore was owed to workers in drought-hit States, the most vulnerable and desperate for livelihood.
  • ENCORE(Enabling Communication on Rural Empowerment): A platform on WhatsApp, run by a joint secretary, with 300 officers from states has been charged with the responsibility of MGNREGA. This system bypasses the transparency mechanisms in place and is devoid of any accountability. Moreover, communications made on this platform are inaccessible to the general public for whom they are being issued.
  • 85% of the Budgetary allocation for the financial year 2016-17 for MGNREGA has already been done to states meaning only 15% funds are left for the remainder of the year. The peak demand of work is during the lean agricultural season during Jan to April. It is highly unlikely that central government will fulfill any additional demands for funds by the states as the budgetary allocations have come down from 0.36% of GDP in 2012-2013 to 0.26 in 2016-2017

Conclusion

India is facing a crisis due to drought in many states, farmers and people engaged in agriculture have other sources of income, MGNREGA is the only hope they have in such adverse times. Instead of trying to dilute the provisions of MGNREGA and making it a targeted program, government should ensure that funds under the program are released timely.

 

[3]. Coming closer together for trade

The Hindu

Context:- SAARC finance ministers’ conference concluded recently in Islamabad. Indian FM didn’t attend it. Author feels he should have and goes on to critically analyze the efforts made by the countries for achieving economic integration.

When is upcoming SAARC summit?

The upcoming SAARC summit i.e. the 19th SAARC summit is going to be held in Pakistan from 9th – 10th November 2016

Key matters discussed at the SAARC finance ministers’ meeting

The entire meeting revolved around achieving the aim of greater economic integration. In this light several points were discussed, like

  • Creation of South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) by 2020. The idea of SAEU was proposed in 1998 (almost 2 decades back) in the report of SAARC Group of Eminent Persons (SGEP)
  • All countries renewed their commitment to finalize the investment treaty, which is pending since 2007. 

Why a greater economic integration should be the major aim at next SAARC summit?

South Asia is the fastest growing region in the world, according to the World Bank, with economic growth projected to increase from 7.1 per cent in 2016 to 7.3 per cent in 2017.

  • Deeper economic integration will help sustain this growth rate by creating an integrated South Asian market ensuring a free flow of goods, services and capital

Let us assess various efforts made by SAARC in the direction of greater economic integration.

Performance of SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Agreement)

Author says that SAFTA has only modestly contributed towards improving the intra-SAARC trade. Why?

Sensitive list: When SAFTA was adopted, member countries placed many products under ‘sensitive list’ to exclude them from tariff liberalization. Consequently, as a study shows, 53 per cent of intra-regional import trade was excluded from tariff liberalisation under SAFTA in 2006.

  • In 2012, the largest economies of SAARC i.e. India & Pakistan both reduced the number of products listed under the sensitive list but the reduction was only a major one for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in the South Asian region i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal & Afghanistan

Other problems to intra-SAARC trade: Trade further suffers from complex non-tariff barriers, poor infrastructure, lack of connectivity and bureaucratic red tape at borders. All this increases the cost of doing business in India.

  • Example:  it takes 35 days for a container to go from Delhi to Dhaka because it has to go via Colombo or even Singapore whereas it can reach in five days if there is direct connectivity

Low trade in services:  trade in services in South Asia is very low notwithstanding the signing of the SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services in 2010, aimed at liberalisation of trade in services.

Why South Asia has failed to emerge as prime destination for foreign investment?

One of the prime component of the economic integration is the investment liberalisation.

What is meant by investment liberalisation?

Removal of government regulations and restrictions in an economy related to current investment regime so as to attract foreign capital

FDI inflows in South Asia

Following are the stats for South Asia in term of FDI inflows into the region,

  FDI inflows ($)
2013 2015
South Asia 36 Billion 50 Billion
East & South East Asia 350 Billion 448 Billion

Above stats are per World Investment Report of UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

Intra-regional FDI inflows

Within ASEAN intra-regional FDI inflows account for around 18 of the total FDI inflows into the region while intra-regional FDI inflows in SAARC are very low, meaning there is much wider economic integration within ASEAN nations than SAARC.

Remedial measures

In order to rectify the above situation,

Investment treaty: SAARC nations need to create a SAARC investment treaty on the lines of ASEAN Investment agreement that helped increase the intra-ASEAN investment.

BIT is a problem

India’s bilateral investment Treaty (BIT): India has adopted a new model BIT. If India asks all other SAARC countries to bas SAARC investment treaty based on this model BIT, then the investment treaty won’t have a significant impact on improving intra-SAARC FDI inflows as India’s BIT offers limited protection to the foreign investment and also limited means to enforce their rights

Conclusion

India being the largest economy within SAARC, should take a lead in the upcoming summit to push for a duty free SAARC region & host of other measures for a deeper economic integration within the area. A SAARC, where capital, goods and services can flow freely in absence of trade barriers will lead to creation of jobs and boosting up of intra-company trade.

 

[4]. Partners in innovationm 

The Hindu

Context:- Author who is the Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs at the U.S. Department of State enunciates various areas in which India & US are closely collaborating, especially with respect to the development of entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem.

The occasion was Second U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue (S&CD) in New Delhi, the senior-most dialogue between the two countries.

Aim of the S&CD:  generate sustainable economic growth, creating jobs, improving the business and investment climate, enhancing livelihoods,

Various other events held parallel to S&CD

  • S.-India Innovation Forum (USIIF): USIIF was launched in parallel to second S&CD

Aim:platform for American and Indian entrepreneurs to exchange best practices and to highlight the leading role of innovation partnerships in the U.S.-India economic relationship

  • Entrepreneurship round table co-hosted by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant

Discussion: Indian business leaders discussed their business models and how best to foster engagement between U.S. and Indian small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  • S.-India CEO Forum: It was convened a day before to S&CD.

Main points discussed:

  1. Deepening bilateral economic ties
  2. A focus on digital infrastructure
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  1. Facilitating private sector- and university-led research in healthcare
  2. Pooling efforts to advance the Skill India initiative
  • Combating piracy: Author met with executives from the Motion Picture Association of America and the Film and Television Producers Guild of India and toured Yash Raj Film Studios to discuss a shared interest in combating piracy. He expressed that both the governments share a common view regarding passing of the Anti-Camcording Amendment to the Cinematography Bill

Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES)

The 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) will be hosted by India.

  • The summit will promote economic growth, inclusion and opportunities among entrepreneurs from across the world, with a special focus on emerging nations from Africa and Asia. The GES is a personal initiative of US President Barack Obama to bring entrepreneurs from across the globe on one platform

 

[5]. NCRB data: Handle with care

The Hindu

Context:- Author tries to analyse the NCRB’s “Crime in India 2015” report released on 30th Aug, specifically the section on “Juveniles in conflict with law”, Chapter 10 

What is National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)?Accepting the recommendations of the National Police Commission – 1977, the Ministry of Home Affairs constituted a Task Force in 1985 to work out the modalities for setting up of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)

  • The Government accepted the recommendations of the Task Force and constituted the NCRB with headquarters at New Delhi in January, 1986
  • It is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
  • It works under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) 

Fallacious data

Data given in Table 10.4 in the report

Charged with Boys Girls
Murder 13
Attempt to murder 9
Rape 14
Kidnapping & abduction of women to compel her for marriage 4
Causing dowry death 4
Assault on woman with intent to outrage their modesty 13 1
Unnatural offences 11
Foreigners act 2

 

Cases of criminal breach of trust against children: 48

Why Fallacious?: Technically, anyone below 18 years cannot be charged thus, as Section 405 of the Indian Penal Code states that it can be applied only on those who can lawfully deal with property — children below 18 years cannot, since they are ineligible to sign contracts.

Children have also been charged under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955

Why Fallacious?:This Act applies only on licensed vendors, and no licensed vendor can be below 18 years of age.

Children charged under Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act

  • 23 children below 12 years
  • 78 children between 13 and 16 years

Conditions to be charged under JJ Act

  • Employing another juvenile or child for begging,
  • Supplied another juvenile with liquor or narcotic drugs, employing them and exploiting them

Author surmises that,

  • If the stats are true then it is a matter of grave concern for us as a society
  • If not then were these children in conflict with the law or were they victims who got wrongly documented as offenders? Is this what “increase in juvenile crime rate” is all about?

 What such fallacious data signifies?

Such inconsistent data only shows that either,

  • The police stations from where the data are being collected are not clear about definitions or not serious about the way they maintain documents, or
  • The NCRB is not making adequate efforts to train police stations or State-level agencies in data collection, as evident from the disclaimer in the report that it has made every effort to be “statistically consistent”.

Glaring inconsistencies

NCRB report also has data wrt different orders passed by Juvenile Justice Boards established under JJ Act on Juveniles apprehended under the criminal activities. JJ Boards, in majority of the states, do not maintain the records of the different kinds of orders it passes. So, data based on only police records cannot be taken at face value considering the poor state of affairs our police system is in currently.

Example: Data collected in Maharashtra by Bombay High court from special homes for Juveniles is completely different from the data in the NCRB report.

  • Data collected by Bombay HC says that a total of 46 boys were sent to the only two Special Homes in Maharashtra. However, NCRB figures put the figure at 1,978!

 Whose responsibility?

The report states that “NCRB shall not be responsible for statistical error, if any, in the published data”.

  • If the NCRB, attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the only government body tasked with the publication of national-level crime data, refuses to take responsibility for the data they publish, who is?

Conclusion

In the recent times, NCRB data has garnered a lot of media attention and with great attention comes great responsibility. NCRB should take care that the data released by it in the public domain is immune from any factual or statistical inconsistency especially when the data is used as a reference by national and international agencies for policy-making & research.

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