CURRENT NATIONAL AFFAIRS AGRICULTURE Bt Brinjal controversy Faced with vehement protests by farmer groups and the green

lobby, as also some States, the Union government has decided to freeze the introduction of Bt Brinjal in the country till independent scientific studies established health and environment safety of the product to the satisfaction of both public and experts. Although India‟s biotechnology regulator, the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), has cleared Bt brinjal for regular agriculture purposes, the detractors say that the variety may have passed the yield test and the pest-resistance analysis, but its edibility is yet to be confirmed. Three major brinjal producing States, West Bengal, Bihar and Orissa, which account for nearly 60 per cent of the produce, have also refused to endorse the product. The governments of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh also specified that they would not have Bt Brinjal in their States. The variety has been developed by Maharashtra Hybrid Seeds. It has been created by inserting gene from the soil bacterium bacillus thuringiensis into brinjal, which is said to give the plant resistance against insect pests. BANKING & FINANCE RBI monetary policy review There is a shift in RBI‟s monetary policy stance to managing the revival of the economy from managing the crisis. In its review on January 29, 2010, the central bank has accepted a 7.5% growth with 8.5% inflation. RBI is worried about the high inflation rate but its governor D. Subbarao pointed out that it is mainly on account of supply side constraints. The condition could further deteriorate. "With growth accelerating in the second half of 2009-10 and expected to gain momentum over the next year, capacity constraints could potentially reinforce supply side inflationary pressure," the review document said. Therefore, the Reserve Bank's new shift in the policy stance from managing the risk to managing the recovery made it to take a relatively milder action to increase the cash reserve ratio by 0.75 percentage point to take out Rs 36,000 crore from the system. Besides that, it did not take any harsh measure. On the food inflation front, the central bank pinned its hope on good rabi crop and good monsoon in 2010. Assuming a normal monsoon, it expected inflation to moderate from July 2010 onward. At the same time, RBI expressed its worry over the industrial growth, as it is not broad based, and underlined the need for consolidating it. The RBI's document on macro-economic development showed that while industries like food products, beverages, tobacco and related products showed a negative growth, industries like basic metals & alloys and paper & paper products were still decelerating. On the other hand, the RBI document showed industries like transport equipment, rubber, petroleum, textile products and a host of other industries were growing. PLANNING & ECONOMY Rural poor estimated at 42% Agriculture sector in India continues to suffer, save for sharp growth in some years. The expert group to review the methodology for estimation of poverty, chaired by Suresh Tendulkar, has now suggested that the poverty ratio at the all India level was actually 37.2% in 2004-05.

“The hike in urea prices is not going to impact the bottom-line or EPS of fertiliser companies as extra 10 per cent will go from farmer‟s pocket directly. it tests for adequacy of actual food expenditure near the poverty line to ensure aggregate nutrition. The NBS does away with maximum retail price. The Prime Minister urged the industry to create „Solar Valleys‟ on the lines of Silicon Valleys and asked . 2010. it‟s a big positive for the industry.3% and 25. it has recommended adoption of uniform PLB for the urban and rural population. particularly on items of low frequency consumption such as clothes. than when they are questioned on expenditure on the preceding 30 days. it has suggested a new price adjustment procedure based in the same data set as the one used for poverty estimation. breaking away from the past practice of two separate baskets. Instead. respectively. and although the 1973-74 base takes note of the private expenditure on these items.100 for urban population. The advantage of using MRP is that data integrity is better when respondents are asked about their expenditure in the 365 days prior to the survey. the companies can fix retail fertiliser prices. And four. rather than just calories. Three. The difference is met through subsidy. The main aim of the mission is to help generate 20. Two.” said an analyst. looking at the shift in policy. The Tendulkar panel has made four major departures from the past practices. Solar Mission launched Prime Minister Manmohan Singh launched India‟s Solar Energy Mission (named Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission) on January 11.000 MW of solar power by 2022. The all-India rural and urban poverty line baskets were derived separately. Fertilisers are sold at government-fixed prices. This is likely to have positive sentimental impact on share prices of fertiliser companies. It proposes to replace the current system of giving subsidy to the industry with direct assistance to farmers. The Tendulkar panel has also recommended that 365-day mixed reference period be used to collect data instead of the past practice of using 30-day uniform reference period. it incorporates explicit provision in the price expenditure on health and education. in contrast. assuming per capita daily calorie intake of 2. This has been done to get rid of the problem of outdated PLB. In the past. a major criticism of the existing poverty line. The official poverty estimate.7% by the committee. the poverty line was defined in terms of per capita consumer expenditure at 1973-74 market prices and adjusted over time and across States for changes in prices keeping unchanged the original 1973-74 reference poverty line baskets of goods and services. it does not take into account the increase in the proportion for total expenditure over the years.8% and urban at 25.Rural poverty was projected at 41. 2010. which are lower than their costs of production or import.7% for rural and urban population. However. assumes basic health care and education services would be provided by the State. footwear and durables. as against official estimates of 28. However the urea prices will be increased by Rs 483 per tonne or 10 per cent. It moved away from the calorie intake criteria for determining poverty line. specific to population segments and were outdated. Under the new policy. Nutrient-based subsidy policy cleared The Union government has approved the Nutrient Based Fertiliser Subsidy (NBS) plan with effect from April 1.400 for rural people and 2. which in any case has been rising. rejecting the earlier practice of using price indices that are generated externally.

4 between 1990 and 2005 if it wants to meet the MDG target of 27 per cent. which have. next only to Nepal and Bangladesh.25 (around Rs 60) a day. Rajasthan has clinched the maximum number of projects for 31 districts. it now has 22. 60 million being women. The mission aims to achieve 100 per cent literacy in 365 low literacy districts where adult female literacy rate is 50 per cent less as per the 2001 census.7 per cent (between 2005 and 2015) against 1. . The mission targets 1. with none having any ongoing adult literacy component or programme. however. not just in terms of solar power generation but also in solar manufacturing and generation of this technology. Gujarat 13 and Uttarakhand five. India now stands third in terms of the highest proportion of extremely poor people in South Asia. The selected States are the ones that continued to stress adult literacy even after the old National Literacy Mission (NLM) was disbanded. New adult literacy mission gets under-way The Union government has chosen 19 States to start adult literacy classes under the all-newSakshar Bharat Mission. displayed commitment to adult literacy.100 MW grid solar power. Some States like Punjab and Himachal neglected the sector. and reduce the gender gap from 21 to 10 per cent.3 per cent. 7 million sq meter solar collectors and 200 MW off grid solar applications in first phase by 2013.5. which used to get certificates for compliance. with a whopping budgetary support of $1 billion. The past programme was controlled by districts. and must have an annual poverty reduction rate of 4. respectively. The idea is to retain learners and not lose them to lack of postliteracy avenues. Now the programme will be run and monitored by Panchayats and learners will be the king. Another thing that sets the Sakshar Bharat Mission apart from the NLM is its complete ownership with the Gram Panchayat. which the Prime Minister launched in September 2009. places India below Pakistan. The latest UN Report on the World Social Situation 2010. 20 million sq m solar collectors and 2.000 MW off grid solar applications by the year 2022.000 MW grid solar power. The focus will be on learning beyond reading. The solar mission assumes important because it holds the centre-stage of the country‟s activities to combat climate change.7 and 50. with corresponding percentages at 54. is to take national literacy level from 64 per cent to 80 per cent by 2017. Myanmar and Sri Lanka in terms of extreme poverty. Pakistan is the only nation in the sector to have achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of cutting poverty by half between 1990 and 2015. He added that the success of the mission had the potential of transforming India‟s energy prospects while contributing to national and global efforts to combat climate change. Social Situation Report With over 40 per cent of people in India still living on less than $1. The final goal. and 20. India is lagging on the front. 2010 in 167 districts of 19 States. It had 73 per cent of the people in „extreme poverty‟ 15 years ago. Its first phase began on January 15.6 per cent as against its MDG target of 29. The mission. In the first phase. The mission is an important part of the country‟s National Action Plan on Climate Change and is trying to establish the country as a global leader in solar energy. seeks to educate 70 million illiterates by houses to view the Solar Energy Mission as a business opportunity. in the past. Andhra Pradesh 18. Close behind is Uttar Pradesh with projects for 26 districts. writing and arithmetic to include life skills and employment as part of adult literacy.

This underlines the need for inclusive growth in India. specialised resources and collaborative research. one each. Rural India has 43.25 a day came down from 1. Orissa. Uttar Pradesh four.2 per cent in urban areas. for reduced global poverty in the past two decades when the number of people living on less than $1. National Knowledge Network The Union government has approved the setting up of a National Knowledge Network (NKN) that will connect all major educational institutions like the IITs. These deemed Universities were found deficient on many grounds—ranging from lack of infrastructure to lack of evidence of expertise in disciplines they claim to specialize in. The IT mesh will connect around 1." Similarly. The Ministry's decision amounts to an acknowledgement of irregularities in conferring the "deemed" tag to these institutions under the first UPA government in which Arjun Singh was the HRD minister. While these safeguards have been recommended. Conservation and Musicology. medical and dental colleges not found suitable can affiliate to State University or State medical University. Ministry of Communications and IT for this. The three government-run institutions to be de-recognized are: Nava Nalanda Mahavira in Bihar. Rajasthan and Maharashtra three each. which credits China.8 per cent of the people in extreme poverty as against 36. This would encourage sharing of knowledge. the institution is unable to obtain affiliation.500 institutions and the setting up of core network is expected to be completed in a span of two years. Tamil Nadu. Doctoral students will have to re-register in affiliating Universities and those in distance education should either go to IGNOU or State open Universities. Uttarakhand. The government‟s decision to set up such a network was announced in 2008-09 and an initial amount of Rs.100 crore was allocated to the Department of Information Technology. the students are nonetheless likely to go through a phase of uncertainty as they move from one University to far it has touched only 41.4 billion. and National Museum Institute of the History of Art. The architecture of the NKN will be scalable and the network will consist of an ultra-high speed core (multiples of 10Gbps and upwards) to provide a nationwide ultra high-speed data-network highway. the IIMs and top universities for exchange of information and research. 15 of them private and one government-sponsored. The HRD Ministry emphasized that the affected students would be taken care of. spelling uncertainty for nearly two lakh students who are enrolled with them. Gujarat.9 billion to 1. Haryana. Tamil Nadu has the distinction of having 16 of the 44 de-recognized deemed Universities. The Ministry's task force has recommended that institutions not found fit for deemed University status "revert to status quo ante as an affiliated college of the State University of jurisdiction so that students would be able to complete their ongoing courses and obtain degree from the affiliating University. efforts would be made to facilitate the migration/re-enrolment of the affected students in other institutions. Karnataka has six de-recognized deemed Universities. Bihar. Delhi.6 per cent. and to some extent India. as stated by the UN report. . EDUCATION Forty four deemed universities to be de-recognised The HRD Ministry has decided to de-recognize as many as 44 "Deemed Universities". Andhra Pradesh. New Delhi. In case. One of the important recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission (NKC) is to interconnect all knowledge institutions through high speed data communication network. Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development.

passed by the Parliament in August 2009. this distance would be three km. But before a school comes up. If formal birth record is not available. 2010. so would a hospital/ANM or anganwari record. The Act. the rules ask school management committees or the local authorities to identify children. who would get five years to upgrade their skills.The network will enable scientists. for the first time. an affidavit would suffice. there is flexibility on birth certificate for admission. who have never been to school or not managed to complete elementary education. Any child above 6 years of age will be entitled to free special training either at school or residential facility. researches and students from diverse spheres across the country to work together for advancing human development in critical and emerging areas. the law mandates maintenance of records of all children from birth to 14 years of age through a household survey to be updated every year. The model rules. India submitted its proposed emission intensity cut targets by 20-25 per cent by 2020 to the UN. for schools with classes VI to VIII. it made it clear to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that all its domestic mitigation actions were entirely voluntary in nature and not legally binding. 2010. mandates recognition of such schools within three years of the commencement. the Union government approved model rules for the Right to Education Act 2009. before he/she is ready to enter school at a convenient level. The rules further prescribe strict norms for non-segregation of students and safe transport for disabled children to ensure that they attend school. For the first time. Also. ENVIRONMENT India submits proposed carbon cuts to UN On January 30. Health. which requires State governments to make free and compulsory elementary education a right of every child between 6 and 14 years of age. which would have to conform to the standards under the Act within three years of its commencement. non-conformation could bring de-recognition. . Adequate qualification for teachers has been stressed upon. a day before the world body‟s January 31 deadline for submitting the climate change mitigation steps under the Copenhagen Accord. States need to provide more neighbourhood schools in highly populated areas and ensure safety of students in areas with tough terrains. agriculture and e-governance are the main applications identified for implementation and delivery on NKN. However. This must be done in a year and the data updated every year. Model rules for RTE Act On January 30. for the obvious reasons that they enter the school late. is yet to be officially notified though. a position India had maintained at Copenhagen Summit in Denmark. At least one primary school (class I to V) must be located within a km of walking distance of the neighbourhood. The Act will. and arrange for their special training in appropriate classes so that they can ultimately be integrated into the system. including those from disadvantaged groups. Such children would be allowed to complete elementary education even after they have attained 14 years. the States would have to undertake a mapping to identify all children in remote areas. list priorities for States. To begin with. An important part of the rules pertains to specifications on recognition of elementary level schools. grid computing. education. with the academic authority (to be set up under the Act) to enlist the qualifications for teachers.

LAW POINT CJI comes under RTI ambit.Though agriculture sector contributes around 14 per cent of the total GHG emissions.P. Muralidhar. says Delhi HC bench In an unusual display of checks and balances within the judiciary. in Seoul with ASEAN for duty-free import and export of as many as 4. the Court upheld the State‟s ban on a book but at the same time brought joy to civil rights activists when it held that. the Delhi High Court. India has kept it out of the purview of the mitigations actions in its blueprint submitted to the UN to ensure food security. “in our country. comprising Chief Justice A.‟‟ The HC verdict came in the context of the prolonged controversy over whether the declarations of assets made by judges should be put in the public domain. Shah. However. Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice S. Referring to a resolution adopted by Supreme Court judges in 1997. Freedom of expression covers criticism of religion and no person can be sensitive about it. which came into effect from January 1. the criticism must be bona fide or academic. a three-judge bench of the Bombay High Court has held that in India criticism of any religion—be it Islam. everything is open to criticism and religion is no exception. 2010. on January 12. as it upheld a ban issued in 2007 by the Maharashtra government on a book titled “Islam—A Concept of Political World Invasion by Muslims.000 products ranging from steel to apparel to sugar and tobacco over a period of eight years. 2009. said the Court. The rules specify that products having more than 35 per cent of local content will get preferential tax treatment under the free-trade treaty. A full bench of the High Court. Delivering the landmark verdict. Free to criticize religions but without hate In a significant ruling. the HC said. the notion of judicial independence. . Hinduism. New Delhi had signed the an agreement on August 13.” The Court also found “totally unacceptable” the author‟s argument that banning the book in the age of the internet is passe and pointless. rejected the contention of the Supreme Court that the office of the Chief Justice of India was beyond the ambit of the Right to Information Act. The rules also specify the methodology for calculation of the cost of products to be traded between India and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). 2010. FOREIGN RELATIONS India-ASEAN trade treaty gets operational The Union government has notified the rules to operationalise the India-ASEAN free trade agreement.” The book contained an “aggravated form of criticism made with a malicious and deliberate intention” to outrage the feelings of Muslims. the Court said. unanimously dispelled the fear raised by the apex court that the extension of RTI to the CJI‟s office would undermine judicial independence. a resolution adopted by a conference of Chief Justices in 1999 and the UN-sponsored 2001 Bangalore principles of judicial conduct. Christianity or any other—is permissible under the fundamental right to freedom of speech and that a book cannot be banned on those grounds alone. „„Well defined and publicly known standards and procedures complement. rather than diminish.

IT. During her visit. including bilateral ties as well as international developments. The pacts will help New Delhi press Dhaka for the extradition of suspected insurgents from its north-eastern States who have taken shelter in Bangladeshi territory over the years. 2010. Sheikh Hasina was also conferred the prestigious Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace. India committed one billion dollars line of credit for developmental projects in Bangladesh and transformed its bilateral ties by signing five accords. 2010. With bilateral trade exceeding $10. “This visit has opened a new chapter in India-Bangladesh relations. including three key security pacts to expand counter-terror cooperation. 2010. energy and education have emerged as promising areas of cooperation between the two countries. This will be used for construction of railway bridges and lines. During his meetings with his counterpart Sujata Koirala he gave positive gesture to Nepal to the latter‟s longstanding proposal to review the Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty-1950. reflecting the unity of minds and hearts. . supply of coaches and locomotives and buses. Infrastructure. Visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister On January 11. Krishna visited Kathmandu on January 15. Visit of Prime Minister of Malaysia On January 20. Malaysia is India‟s second largest trading partner (after Singapore) among the 10 ASEAN members. biotechnology. Mr Razak strongly pitched for the early conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between the two countries. A Malaysia-India capital market collaborative agreement was signed between the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and the Security Commission of Malaysia. during the visit of Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina. it also eliminates duties on 80 per cent of goods traded between the two regions by 2016. India also agreed to supply 250 MW of electricity through its central grid. The two sides also took major steps to improve connectivity. including the alleged sheltering of insurgents from India‟s north-eastern States in Bangladeshi territory. and assistance in dredging.7-billion consumer market to each other. The extradition treaty will enable India to seek the transfer from Malaysia of Indians who commit crime on the Indian soil and take refuge in the South East Asian nation. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Malaysian leader discussed a wide range of issues.” Manmohan Singh told Sheikh Hasina. Disarmament and Development. including the start of the Akhara-Agartala rail link.M. The one-billion dollar line of credit is the largest ever one-time bilateral financial assistance India has provided to any country. India‟s ties with ASEAN were also discussed at length. an issue of pressing concern to Dhaka. India and Malaysia y signed an extradition treaty and two other accords during the visit of Malaysian Prime Minister Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak. The three security-related pacts signal a major step forward in expanding counter-terror cooperation and in addressing India‟s concerns over this issue that had earlier strained their ties. The ties between the two nations had suffered under the previous regime in Dhaka over a host of tricky issues.While the pact opens the 1. The third agreement was in the field of higher education. Nepal assures of no anti-India activity from its soil Indian External Affairs Minister S.5 billion in 2008-09.

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS . Five MoUs regarding the construction of Terai roads with Indian assistance at an estimated cost of Rs 805 crore. on January 25. the joint statement said. which continues to be entangled in land acquisition issues. Nepal sought to address India's concerns with regard to fake currency being smuggled from here. including IT and civilian space. which has been facing delays for three years. The two leaders also agreed to work towards a revised double taxation avoidance convention before the end of 2010. figured prominently during talks between the two sides. in his address to party cadres in Khotang district. Mr Krishna expressed disappointment on their ongoing anti-India movement. Visit of Korean President Cooperation in the civilian nuclear energy field was high on the agenda during the meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.3-crore electrification project. India and Nepal also agreed to “cooperate closely” to end the menace of terrorism and extremism. and manufacture of military equipment including through transfer of technology. the two sides also agreed to look at the possibility of joint venture co-operation in research and development. Rs 6.6 crore. were signed during the visit. 2010. Apart from the civilian nuclear sector. Presdent Myung-bak was also the chief guest at the Republic Day. including the intensification of economic ties and cooperation in sphere of civilian nuclear cooperation and space technologies. The Indian side further hoped that South Korean investment would expand in the infrastructure and manufacturing sectors. a project worth Rs 9. smuggling of arms and fake Indian currency. just a day after he met with Krishna when he had said he received positive response from him to address their concerns. Regional and global issues. following the talks between the two leaders.2 crore for the Nepal Stock Exchange Ltd and Central Depository Services (India) Ltd. including human trafficking. Prachanda. pledging that it would not allow its territory to be used against its neighbour. Nepal raised serious concerns over the highly controversial issues on border encroachment from the Indian side whereas the Indian officials urged Nepal to cooperate with India by signing the much-awaited Extradition Treaty that Nepal had been dilly dallying to sign.‟‟ the joint statement said. The Indian side assured South Korea the government is doing its best to expedite the project. The Posco steel project in Orissa was also discussed with both sides agreeing that there was a need to expedite the project. The two leaders also recognised the need to expedite the implementation of the POSCO project in Orissa. alias Prachanda. During the visit the two countries signed accords in diverse areas. Closer cooperation in combating global financial recession was also discussed in the context of the G-20 summit to be held in Seoul later in 2010. President Lee Myung-bak began his four-day visit to India with a visit to the Hyundai factory near Chennai to meet Korean businessmen living in the city before reaching New Delhi. and construction of a Science Learning Centre with India‟s assistance of Rs 16. During the meeting. criticised India and said it has played negative role by backing up other political parties to uphold civilian supremacy in Nepal. However. During his meeting with Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal.In return.

The participants rejected India's argument that there were no degrees of Talibanism. 2010 in London. Abdullah Abdullah. they carry great weight for their constituents. External Affairs Minister of India. There was also no reference to the erstwhile Foreign Minister. The Taliban central leadership rejected the London declaration on Afghanistan while several top . The template for Afghanistan is similar to the one utilised in Iraq. including being generally soft towards the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan supports a differentiation between Taliban segments. once cultivated by India. S. who put up a spirited fight in the first round of the recent controversial Presidential election and exposed fraud before withdrawing from the contest. “there should be no distinction between a good Taliban and a bad Taliban. Seventy Foreign Ministers and officials of international organisations attended the convention at the 185-yearold Lancaster House. Mr Manmohan Singh said: “Though the aspirations of smaller parties may often be anchored in narrow considerations. It was also unclear whether remnants of Afghanistan's Northern Alliance. which was ousted by armed forces led by the United States after the 9/11 attack on New York by the Afghanistan-based Al Qaida. Among the beneficiaries is a former foreign minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil. AFGHANISTAN London Declaration A one-day international conference on Afghanistan was held on January 27. 2010. The forum also saw India voicing the aspirations of developing nations on climate change. A whopping $140 million has been pledged already for 2010. 20th The 20th Commonwealth Speakers‟ Conference was held in New Delhi from January 5. In the end. democracy must respond to everyday concerns of the common man and Parliament should be the forum to address such concerns.” But this clearly fell on deaf ears. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.” The remark was in obvious reference to the growing influence of sub-regional parties in coalition politics and Parliament. which was sponsored by the Pakistani Army's Inter-Services Intelligence. the Speaker‟s role as a mediator and administrator of Parliament and use of technology in disseminating information on Parliamentary proceedings. specifically said. The Conference discussed. the conference was preceded by a lifting of United Nations sanctions on five leaders of the obscurantist Taliban regime. As a goodwill gesture. would be accommodated in any way. During his pre-conference discussion with the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. Presiding officers from 42 Commonwealth nations were present (some in traditional Speaker robes). Corresponding enlargements would also occur in respect of the Afghan police. among other things.CONFERENCE Commonwealth Speakers’ Conference. In keeping with United States President Barack Obama's plan to start withdrawing American troops in a little over 18 months. hosting the conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.M. announced in his opening address the establishment of a $500 million 'trust fund' to buy "peace and integration" with warriors who are engaged in violence for economic rather than ideological reasons. Describing the growth of regional parties as a challenge for governance and conduct of parliamentary democracy. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.000 by October 2010 and to 171. Krishna. Brown also declared that to fill the breach the strength of the Afghan army would be increased to 134.600 by October 2011.

relating to Indian systems of medicine. Pakistan and elsewhere. The statement by the Leadership Council of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan issued in Pashto said: “The US and its allies should have freed all prisoners from jails in Guantanamo Bay. TKDL is a computerised database of documented information available in Indian texts. Japan. the sources said it was "absolutely untrue" and pointed out that even former Prime Minister and opposition UNP chief Ranil Wicremasinghe had given a clean chit on the issue. On 59-year-old Fonseka's charges of poll rigging. securing nearly 60 per cent of the total votes polled.” The statement argued that the „Mujahideen‟ were not fighting for money or to grab power. ENVIRONMENT Biodiversity protocol divides rich and developing world An international protocol on biodiversity has become the new bone of contention between the developed and developing countries. and the national Biodiversity Authority. . India has also put in place a traditional knowledge database — the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). Negotiations are on to finalise the protocol that is expected to be adopted at Nagoya. 2010. it claimed that nobody compelled the „Mujahideen‟ to take up arms and fight the invaders. removed the names of all Taliban members from the UN „blacklist‟ and refrained from sending more troops if they really meant to take the proper steps for ending the Afghan conflict. He won fighting against former army chief Sarath Fonseka. Arguing that the only solution of the conflict was the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan. Afghanistan. The Convention on Biological Diversity. Describing as baseless that most Taliban fighters were not ideologically committed. Bio-piracy is an important issue for India. It has three main goals — the conservation of biological diversity. is the first comprehensive global agreement addressing all aspects of biodiversity. Accusing President Obama and Prime Minister Brown of trying to deceive their people by organising conferences on Afghanistan like the one in London to win public support for a failed war. the statement reminded that such conferences did not work in the past and would not succeed this time as well. sustainable use of its components and fair and equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. India has been taking steps at the national and bilateral level to protect its biodiversity. in October 2010. which is a cause of concern for countries like India. SRI LANKA Rajapaksa re-elected President On January 27. adopted at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The rich countries are opposing an international legal framework for use of biological resources. Mahinda Rajapska emerged victorious in the bitterly-fought first post-LTTE era Presidential elections. Managed by the CSIR. 2002.Pakistani leaders said they support dialogue with the Taliban to end the conflict. The agreement will deal with the issue of bio-piracy. The convention reaffirms sovereign rights of nations over their biological resources. which is keen on the adoption of the Nagoya Protocol. the Taliban statement also tried to reassure the West and rest of the world about their future plans in case they returned to power. While an international legal framework appears to be a distant possibility. India and other developing countries are pushing for a protocol on access and benefit sharing (ABS). Besides the Biological Diversity Act.

Evidence indicated that the attackers were trying to get access to mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. including finance. have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. but cited only the 1970-2005 results." but said almost all of it was due to strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. if at all. INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM Taliban attack on match in tribal Pakistan A northwest Pakistani village that tried to resist Taliban infiltration mourned on January 2. Siddha. according to Drummond. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS Google. head of research at Risk Management Solutions. but were ignored. The paper at the centre of the latest questions was written in 2006 by Robert Muir-Wood. At least 20 other large companies. The link was central to demands at Copenhagen climate summit by African nations for compensation of $100 billion from the rich nations blamed for creating the most emissions. He found from 1950 to 2005 there was no increase in the impact of disasters once growth was accounted for. faces a new controversy for wrongly linking global warming to a rise in natural disasters such as hurricanes and floods. It based the claims on an unpublished report that had not been subjected to routine scientific scrutiny and ignored warnings from scientific advisers. The report's author later withdrew the claim because the evidence was too weak. Despite such caveats. Two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts. the IPCC report used the study in its section on disasters and hazards. The latest criticism came less than a week after IPCC was forced to retract claims that the Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035. The attack on the outskirts of Lakki Marwat city was one of the deadliest in recent Pakistani history and sent a bloody New Year‟s message to Pakistanis who dare take on the armed Islamic extremists. China face-off over Internet On January 13.Over 10 years. . Unani and Yoga have been documented under the TKDL. Internet. In the research. senior V-P of corporate development and chief legal officer. According to The Sunday Times the IPCC knew in 2008 that the link could not be proved but did not alert world leaders. more than 2 lakh formulations of Ayurveda. said in a blog post. 2010 the victims of an apparent revenge suicide bombing that killed 96 residents during a volleyball game. It turned out the claim had been lifted from a news report published in 1999 by New Scientist magazine. floods and hurricanes. a London consultancy. media and technology were similarly attacked. combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web. Google threatened to shut down its operations in China after uncovering “highly sophisticated” hacking attempts into e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.” David Drummond. and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law. Muir-Wood looked at a wide range of hazards. For 1970 to 2005 he found a 2% annual increase that "corresponded with a period of rising global temperatures. who became a contributing author on the IPCC report on climate change impacts. 2010. Natural disasters not linked to global warming The United Nations climate science panel. “These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered. “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.” he said. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).cn. according to Google. including tropical cyclones.

"Achieving progress will require continued sacrifice not only by our military personnel. noting the Pakistani army's offensive ignores deadly terrorist groups such as the Haqqani network. "While our combat mission in Afghanistan is not open-ended. it lays out the intention of USA to lead the international community in helping Pakistan overcome the political. a few are nervously waiting to see whether the agreement will mean boom or bust for their businesses." it says.5 billion in 2008. the US has a true whole-of-government approach. and in some areas they have proven to be a key to reducing militant activity. and militants also often go after individuals. its non-military commitment would be a long-term one. underpaid and under-equipped. noting that the challenge in both countries is immense. One reason militancy has spread in Pakistan‟s semiautonomous tribal belt is because insurgents have slain dozens of tribal elders and filled a power vacuum. "And we seek to build a long-term partnership with Pakistan based on common interests. tribal leaders who face off with the militants do so at high personal risk. China and 10 South-east Asian nations ushered in the world‟s third-largest freetrade area. The new freetrade zone. but democratic rule in Pakistan has created a window of opportunity. and that Afghan and Pakistani governments had endorsed this strategy. WORLD TRADE Asia free-trade zone On January 1. Af-Pak strategy unveiled In a candid assessment of the fragile relationship of USA with Pakistan. Across Pakistan‟s north-west. is expected to increase that commerce still more. has soared to $192. responsible for attacks against US troops in Afghanistan. where the police force is thin. economic and security challenges that threaten its stability. 2010.6 billion in 2003. rubber. pointing out that for the first time since this conflict began. The report makes a point of noting that while the US military presence in the region is not open-ended. US officials have expressed concern over Pakistan's selective war on extremists within its borders. Trade between China and the 10 countries that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. While many industries are eager for tariffs to fall on things as diverse as textiles." Clinton said. we will remain politically. which will remove tariffs on 90% of traded goods. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled the Obama administration's strategy to stabilise Pakistan and Afghanistan. rather than being an exercise in nation-building. The government has encouraged such “lashkars”. vegetable oils and steel. was aimed to achieve realistic progress in critical areas.500 US government civilians serving in Afghanistan and Pakistan. including a recognition that we cannot tolerate. . a tribal region where the army has been battling the Pakistani Taliban since October 2009. Still. She said the Obama administration's policy. diplomatically and economically engaged in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the long-term to protect our enduring interests in the region. Several suicide attacks have targeted meetings of anti-Taliban elders. The State department report outlines US objectives in Pakistan and Afghanistan." it added. from $59. On Pakistan. but also by more than the 1. various tribes have taken security into their own hands over the past two years by setting up citizen militias to fend off the Taliban. and in turn undermine regional stability. a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear.Lakki Marwat district is near South Waziristan. a US State department policy paper has admitted that there is a degree of mistrust between Washington and Islamabad. also known as ASEAN.

some manufacturers in Southeast Asia are concerned that cheap Chinese goods may flood their markets. .9 billion people. The free-trade area is expected to help ASEAN countries increase exports. particularly those with commodities that resource-hungry China desperately wants. However. perhaps because tariffs were already low and because it was unlikely to alter commerce patterns radically. once import taxes are removed. The China-ASEAN free trade area has faced less vocal opposition than the European and North American zones. making it more difficult for them to retain or increase local market shares. It encompasses 1.The zone ranks behind only the European Economic Area and the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) in volume.

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