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9 PM Daily NEWS Brief

9 PM Daily Current Affairs Brief – May 24, 2017


NATIONAL


[1]. NGO evolves blueprint to end female genital mutilation

[2]. FTA will be high on Modi-Merkel agenda

[3]. Africa is our priority


  Editorial/OPINION


[1]. The GST train chugs along

[2]. Forgotten cogs in the wheels of justice 

[3]. Continental ties


Economy


[1]. RCEP: India upset over slow progress on services talks

[2]. Centre keen on upgrading ship-repairing facilities


 Indian Express


[1]. Holding To Ransom


Live Mint


[1]. Building a robust and resilient cyber system

[2]. Adding heft to inflation targeting


 NATIONAL


[1]. NGO evolves blueprint to end female genital mutilation

The Hindu

Context

A report on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) released looks at the psychological trauma and physical scars faced by the victims, and the legal aspects that could be weaved in to stop the practice completely

Dawoodi Bohras

A Shiite branch of Islam based in Gujarat, India, with an estimated 1.2 million followers around the world

What has happened?

Speak Out on FGM, a group of DawoodiBohra women, who are victims of khatna themselves, have come out with a report on the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

  • The report looks at the psychological trauma and physical scars faced by the victims, and the legal aspects that could be weaved in to stop the practice completely

What is Khatna?

Khatna involves cutting part of the clitoral hood or the prepuce of girls as young as seven years

Report on FGM

  • The 57-page report drafted over a span of six months takes a detailed look at the existing laws in India pertaining to gender and minors and international laws against FGM in the U.S., U.K., Australia, France and Africa
  • Report explores aspects like protection for the informer, who to give the information to, and punitive action that can be initiated
  • Report also looks in detail at the whole argument about freedom of religion and whether it holds for FGM

Defining FGM

  • Some anti-khatna activists are of the view that the practice should be termed as Female Genital Cutting as it involves cutting of the part of genital tissue and not mutilation as practised in some African communities
  • However, Ms. Ranalvi said FGM is a universal term under which the World Health Organisation has explained various degrees of cutting

Belittling Dawoodi Bohras?

Some members of the Bohra community have alleged that Speak Out is deliberately trying to belittle the community by excessively and disproportionately highlighting the issue of female circumcision which is far less invasive than male circumcision

Read More: Please refer to this WHO article on FGM

[2]. FTA will be high on Modi-Merkel agenda

The Hindu

Context

India, Germany share concerns on China project

Visit to Berlin

Indian PM will travel to Germany for the fourth round of the annual Inter-Governmental Commission on May 29-30, and is expected to announce a number of agreements after his meeting with Ms. Merkel

Relevant information will start to surface only after the said visit happens. It will be listed here accordingly

[3]. Africa is our priority

The Hindu

Context

India’s commodity trade with Africa in 2015-16 was higher than our commodity trade with the United States of America

Nothing relevant here.


Editorial/OPINION


[1]. The GST train chugs along

The Hindu

Context

The ideal of a low, single rate and comprehensive coverage is still far away, but the journey has begun

GST has already been covered in ample detail.

Give the article a go through

[2]. Forgotten cogs in the wheels of justice 

The Hindu

Context

The exploitation of judicial support staff continues to be widespread

 Article talks about

Deplorable working conditions of the judicial support staff and the resultant discontent has been highlighted in this article

 Representation by CJAR

The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) made a representation to the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, detailing cases where employees had alleged harassment by the misuse of rules that regulate their service and the various issues that needed to be addressed

Repressive conditions

  • Burdened by heavy volume: The support staff works in repressive conditions with long hours, have no leave, face penalties and fines and often unfair arrest warrants, and are overburdened by the sheer volume of file handling and working out of crowded courtrooms
  • Overburdened by mounting pendency: Mounting pendency of court cases results in an increased volume of court files without an increase in judicial staff strength, leading to them being overburdened. Proper care has not been taken to ensure the appointment of qualified staff. Those who are recruited have little or no on-the-job training.

What needs to be done?

An effective grievance redress mechanism needs to be put in place

Good news

Acting on the CJAR representation,

  • The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has made the first move in directing that all judicial officers in the State appoint home peons by June 30. Further, the order directs that an employee’s post be changed every three years and file handling by ahlmads (a type of judicial support staff) be limited to 800 files. This will go a long way in ensuring a more fulfilling and just working environment

[3]. Continental ties

The Hindu

Context

India begins the heavy-lifting neededto transform economic partnerships in Africa

What has happened?

The 52nd Annual Meetings of the Board of Governors (the Bank’s highest decision-making body) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 43rd Meetings of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (ADF) officially opened in Ahmedabad, India, on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 with calls for greater cooperation between the Bank and India to help drive Africa’s transformation.

What is AfDB?

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is a regional multilateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries that are the institution’s Regional Member Countries (RMCs).

Established on: The AfDB was founded following an agreement signed by member states on August 14, 1963, in Khartoum, Sudan, which became effective on September 10, 1964

  • HQ: The AfDB headquarters is officially in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Three entities: The AfDB comprises three entities:

  • The African Development Bank (ADB)
  • The African Development Fund (ADF)
  • The Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF)

Mission of AfDB

AfDB’s mission is to

  • Help reduce poverty, improve living conditions for Africans and mobilize resources for the continent’s economic and social development

Members

The Bank Group has 80 member countries, comprising 54 regional member countries (RMC) and 26 non-regional member countries (NRMC).

Future cooperation

  • Maritime cooperation: India is working on a maritime outreach to extend its Sagarmala programme to the southern coastal African countries with ‘blue economies’
  • Solar connection: India is also building its International Solar Alliance, which Djibouti, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana signed on to on the sidelines of the AfDB project
  • Involving other powers:In its efforts, India has tapped other development partners of Africa, including Japan, which sent a major delegation to the AfDBmeeting
    • It has also turned to the United States, with which it has developed dialogues in fields such as peacekeeping training and agricultural support, to work with African countries
    • It is significant that during the recent inter-governmental consultations between India and Germany, both countries brought in their Africa experts to discuss possible cooperation in developmental programs in that continent

Conclusion

At a time when China is showcasing its Belt and Road Initiative as the “project of the century” and also bolstering its position as Africa’s largest donor, a coalition of like-minded countries such as the one India is putting together could provide an effective way to ensure more equitable and transparent development aid to Africa.


Economy


[1]. RCEP: India upset over slow progress on services talks

The Hindu

Context

India, which is in talks for the proposed mega-regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) along with 16 other Asia Pacific nations, has expressed disappointment over the inadequate progress in talks on services trade liberalization especially for facilitating easier movement of professionals for short-term work in these countries

Fairly simple article. Go through it once

[2].Centre keen on upgrading ship-repairing facilities

The Hindu

Context

Centre is planning to embark on a programme to refurbish the ship-repairing facilities in various ports across the country

What has happened?

Centre is planning to embark on a programme to refurbish the ship-repairing facilities in various ports across the country

Nodal Agency: Cochin Shipyard (PSU)

7 ports

The seven ports that have agreed to this project are,

  • Mumbai
  • Goa
  • Pandu (Assam)
  • Kandla (Gujarat)
  • Farakka (West Bengal)
  • Kolkata
  • Dorigunj (Bihar)

Indian Express


[1]. Holding To Ransom

Indian Express

Context

WannaCry malware attack raises questions for state, software producers, users

 The Malware

WannaCry malware exploited vulnerabilities in Windows 7 that the US National Security Agency (NSA) apparently knew about for a few years.

  • At some point, these vulnerabilities were either leaked or electronically stolen, and in March, an entity known asShadowBrokers made them public

Zero day vulnerability

A zero day vulnerability refers to a hole in software that is unknown to the vendor. This security hole is then exploited by hackers before the vendor becomes aware and hurries to fix it—this exploit is called a zero day attack

  • Uses of zero day attacks can include infiltrating malware, spyware or allowing unwanted access to user information. The term “zero day” refers to the unknown nature of the hole to those outside of the hackers, specifically, the developers
  • Once the vulnerability becomes known, a race begins for the developer, who must protect users

You can give rest of the article a go through


Live Mint


[1]. Building a robust and resilient cyber system

Live Mint

Context

Article is in connection with the WannaCry malware attack

Not a new thing

There have already been such attacks and security breaches, going back to the

  • 2007 intrusions in Estonia that shut down the national government
  • The 2009 attack on US government websites
  • The 2010 Stuxnet attack that crippled Iran’s nuclear programme
  • The 2013 attack on banks and a TV station in South Korea amid tensions with North Korea
  • The 2014 attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment
  • The cyber heist last year at Bangladesh’s central bank

Increasing danger

  • More things are connected to the Internet than people now, according to Cisco
  • A 2014 study by Hewlett Packard found that 70% of Internet of Things devices contain “serious vulnerabilities”
  • FBI has issued a cautionary note on over-the-Internet attacks on self-driven vehicles

Internet of Things

The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (also referred to as “connected devices” and “smart devices”), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data

Way forward

A good starting point is the three-layered Israeli strategy that goes beyond security to build a cyber-system that is robust, resilient and has strong defence capabilities. Think of the country’s IT infrastructure as a human body

1st Level: At the first level, the body needs a robust immune system to protect it from everyday attacks without disrupting the flow of work. Here, individuals are responsible for their personal hygiene and vaccinations—which in cyber terms means updating security systems and changing passwords

2nd Level: Still, no matter how robust the immune system, individuals will fall sick at some point and will have to be taken to hospitals. This is the second level—that of building resilience. Think of the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team as the cyber equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US

3rd Level: The third level is that of national defence, wherein there is a direct threat to the state and its citizens. The government takes the lead role here but, importantly, its success depends on the robustness and resilience of the system as a whole

[2]. Adding heft to inflation targeting

Live Mint

Context

The shift to flexible inflation targeting by RBI’s monetary policy committee is based on a deep theoretical shift in economic policy thinking, and whether one agrees or not, India has now embraced the new paradigm

Give the article a go through

 

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