GS Paper II –International Relations

UN calls for urgent meet over North Korea’s ballistic missile test

What’s Happening-
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres condemned North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test and called for a united international response to the “further troubling violation” of UN resolutions.

Key Points discussed were:

  • The North’s leader Kim Jong-Un “expressed great satisfaction over the possession of another powerful nuclear attack means which adds to the tremendous might of the country”

Russia, China condemn it

  • Mr. Guterres appealed “to the international community to continue to address this situation in a united manner”, in an apparent reference to the United States and China, Pyongyang’s ally.
  • Permanent UN Security Council members China and Russia joined a chorus of international criticism of the launch near the western city of Kusong.
  • China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said it opposes North Korean missile launches that violate UN resolutions.
  • Russia’s Foreign Ministry called the launch “a demonstration of contempt for UN Security Council resolutions”. 

Resolution 2321, year 2016:

  • It Capped North Korea’s coal exports and banned exports of copper, nickel, zinc, and silver.
  • In February 2017, a UN panel said that 116 of 193 member states had yet not submitted a report on their implementation of these sanctions, though China had. Also China announced it would ban all imports of coal for the rest of the year.

Background-
Sanctions against North Korea, officially known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, have been imposed by various countries and international bodies.
The current sanctions are largely concerned with North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and were imposed after its first nuclear test in 2006.

UN ,(year:2016)
It banned the export of gold, vanadium, titanium, and rare earth metals.
The export of coal and iron were also banned, with an exemption for transactions that were purely for “livelihood purposes”.

GS Paper II –International Relations

Turmoil in Trump’s National Security Council

What’s Happening-
Allegations against NSA Michael Flynn, under probe over his Russia links, are a sensitive matter, says White House.
These are chaotic and anxious days inside the U.S. National Security Council, the traditional centre of management for a President’s dealings with an uncertain world

Key Points discussed were:

  • The national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, has hunkered down since investigators began looking into what, exactly, he told the Russian ambassador to the United States about the lifting of sanctions imposed in the last days of the Obama administration, and whether he misled Vice President Mike Pence about those conversations.
  • His survival in the job may hang in the balance.
  • Although Mr. Trump suggested to reporters that he was unaware of the latest questions swirling around Mr. Flynn’s dealings with Russia, aides said in Florida that Mr. Trump was closely monitoring the reaction to Mr. Flynn’s conversations.
  • There are transcripts of a conversation in at least one phone call, recorded by U.S. agencies that wiretap foreign diplomats, which may determine Mr. Flynn’s future.

Sensitive matter

  • Stephen Miller, White House senior policy adviser, was circumspect on Sunday about Mr. Flynn’s future. Mr. Miller said on NBC that possibly misleading the Vice-President on communications with Russia was “a sensitive matter”.

Similar-Earlier:
President Barack Obama replaced his NSA Gen. James Jones, a four-star former supreme allied commander in Europe, after concluding that the general was a bad fit for the administration.
The first years of President George W. Bush’s council were defined by clashes among experienced bureaucratic infighters — Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell among them.
But what is happening under the Trump White House is different, and not just because of Mr. Trump’s Twitter foreign policy.

GS Paper II – Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers.

Mass fraud in Vyapam exam: Supreme Court

What’s Happening-
Terming their conduct an “act of deceit,” the Supreme Court confirmed the cancellation of the admission of 634 students to the MBBS course made through Vyapam test in Madhya Pradesh between 2008 and 2012.

Key Points discussed were:

  • A Bench of Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar and Justices Kurian Joseph and Arun Mishra held in an 87-page judgment that the action of the students was “unacceptable behaviour” and did not warrant any interference under Article 142 of the Constitution.

Rule of law:

The Supreme Court observed-

  • “The actions of the appellants are founded on unacceptable behaviour and in complete breach of the rule of law. Their actions constitute acts of deceit, invading into a righteous social order. National character, in our considered view, cannot be sacrificed for benefits —individual or societal,”.
  • “If we desire to build a nation on the touchstone of ethics and character and if our determined goal is to build a nation where only the rule of law prevails, then we cannot accept the claim of the appellants for the suggested societal gains… We have no difficulty whatsoever in concluding in favour of the rule of law. Such being the position, it is not possible for us to extend to the appellants, any benefit under Article 142,” the court observed.
  • In its 87-page judgment, the Bench said the case highlighted “mass fraud,” and any leniency would encourage others to follow suit.

Chouhan should resign’

  • Reacting to the verdict, the Congress demanded the resignation of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

Background-
The Vyapam scam was an admission & recruitment scam involving politicians, senior officials and businessmen in the Indian state of .
(MPPEB).
Popularly known by its  acronym “Vyapam”(Vyavsayik  Pariksha Mandal).
Vyapam is a self-financed and autonomous body incorporated by the State government responsible for conducting several entrance tests in the state.
These entrance exams are held for recruitment in government jobs and admissions in educational institutes of the state.
The scam involved a collusion of undeserving candidates, who bribed politicians and MPPEB officials through middlemen, to get high ranks in these entrance tests.

Sources- The Indian Express, The Hindu. Page 11