GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

U.S., Israel Quit U.N. Heritage Agency UNESCO Citing Bias.

Background-

  • The United States and Israel announced on 12th October, 2017 they were quitting the U.N.’s cultural agency UNESCO, after Washington accused it of anti-Israeli bias.
  • The withdrawal of the United States, which is meant to provide a fifth of UNESCO’s funding, is a major blow for the Paris-based organisation, founded after World War Two to help protect cultural and natural heritage around the world.
  • UNESCO is best known for designating World Heritage Sites such as the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria and the Grand Canyon National Park.

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her disappointment saying that at the time when conflicts continue to tear apart societies across the world, it is deeply regrettable for the United States to withdraw from the United Nations agency promoting education for peace and protecting culture under attack.
  • Washington has already withheld its funding for UNESCO since 2011, when the body admitted Palestine as a full member. The United States and Israel were among just 14 of 194 members that voted against admitting the Palestinians. Washington’s arrears on its $80 million annual dues since then are now over $500 million.
  • Although Washington supports a future independent Palestinian state, it says this should emerge out of peace talks and it considers it unhelpful for international organisations to admit Palestine until negotiations are complete.
  • In recent years, Israel has repeatedly complained about what it says is the body taking sides in disputes over cultural heritage sites in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
  • Netanyahu told world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly last month that UNESCO was promoting “fake history” after it designated Hebron and the two adjoined shrines at its heart – the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs and the Muslim Ibrahimi Mosque – as a “Palestinian World Heritage Site in Danger.”
  • An Arab-backed UNESCO resolution last year (2016) condemned Israeli’s policies at religious sites in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
  • Under UNESCO rules, the U.S. withdrawal will become effective as of the end of December 2018.
  • The organisation, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, most of them based in Paris, has struggled for relevance as it becomes increasingly hobbled by regional rivalries and a lack of money.
  • UNESCO, whose full name is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is in the process of selecting a new chief, whose priority will be to revive its fortunes.

Sources- REUTERS.

GS Paper II- Governance.

Union Minister Smriti Irani Inaugurates 44th Indian Handicrafts And Gifts-Delhi Fair.

 

Background

  • Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani  inaugurated the 44th edition of Indian Handicrafts and Gift Fair (IHGF) 2017 at India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida on 12th October, 2017.
  • The five-day extravaganza hosting a gathering of over 2,980 exhibitors will have buyers coming from around 100 countries including China, Australia, the US and the UK.
  • Irani said that the mega event is a platform for artisans and handicraft exporters. The Export Promotion Council for Handicraft (EPCH) has been offering suggestion and giving feedback to the Ministry of Textiles that can help exporters.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • With around 2,000 products under 14 categories for sale, the event will see reputed Indian retail and online brands buying in bulk.
  • Fab India, Westside, Trends, The Wishing Chair, Furniture Walla, Good Earth and many more will be there for volume buying from the show, Rakesh Kumar, executive director EPCH said.
  • The Limca Book of World Records has also recognised the IHGF-Delhi Fair as the world’s largest congregation of handicrafts exhibitors under one roof, Kumar claimed.
  • Live demonstrations, regional craft, seminars and much more are lined up for the latest edition of the fair.
  • During this edition, a pavilion of cane and bamboo products from the North Eastern region and the Jodhpur cluster will also be set up.
  • The exhibition ends on October 15, 2017.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Technology.

Bengaluru Airport To Be Country’s First Aadhaar-Enabled Airport By December 2018; Aims To Speed Up Verification Process.

Background

  • Bengaluru airport is all set to become the country’s first Aadhaar-enabled airport. Following the two-month trial period in February, 2017 Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) has decided to make the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) fully compliant with Aadhaar-enabled entry and biometric boarding system.
  • The airport is set to be completely Aadhaar-enabled by December 2018 which is an initiative in line with KIA set to become a Smart Airport, one which is fully digitised, seamlessly connected and intuitive airport. BIAL wants to use Aadhaar identification for entry and e-boarding purposes. The process is aimed at speeding up the passenger verification process. This process will help a passenger be verified within 5 seconds at every checkpoint from the entry to the boarding gate.

 

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The idea is to bring down this time frame down to 10 minutes instead of the average 25-minute duration it takes with the current processes.
  • BIAL has set a 325-day deadline to implement the new Aadhaar system. The project is expected to go live by March 2018. In 90 days after that, all the domestic airlines will be brought on board this new system. By October 2018, passengers boarding even international flights will be able to use this new system. 31 December 2018 is expected to be the project completion date.
  • The real-time authentication of passengers will improve security, speed up clearance and reduce delays at the airport.
  • The Aadhaar-enabled verification is also expected to be shot in the arm for the security purposes. The security will improve, with time-stamped logs for each passenger for any business insight, intelligence or forensic analysis. It also gives the autorities the ability to create passenger profiles if needed in the future for improving efficiencies.
  • For passengers, they will not have to show a paper ticked or boarding pass and ID at multiple checkpoints. There will be seamless access across all the checkpoints at the airport which should bring down waiting time.

Sources- Firstpost.