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

Nicaragua Signs Paris Climate Agreement, Leaving Only U.S. And Syria As Nations Not Part Of Accord.

Background-

  • Nicaragua has signed the Paris climate agreement, meaning that the US and Syria are the only two countries not to be giving the accord their support.
  • The deal unites the world’s nations in tackling climate change.
  • Nicaragua refused to sign it last year (2016), arguing that it did not go far enough to tackle the problem.
  • In June, 2017 President Donald Trump said the US would withdraw from the deal, but the rules of the agreement state that this cannot be done until 2020.

 

 

Highlights Of The Development–

  • The US president said it was part of his solemn duty to protect America and he would seek a new deal that would not disadvantage US businesses.
  • Scientists point out that work to implement the Paris accord must be stepped up if it is to have any chance of success.
  • The agreement commits the US and 187 other countries to keeping rising global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and “endeavour to limit” them even more, to 1.5C.
  • Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega indicated last week(October 2017) that he would sign the accord.
  • Mr Ortega’s government had previously argued that the accord did not put sufficient onus on wealthy countries to tackle climate change and was not ambitious enough in its objectives.
  • Nicaragua has no oil and vigorously pursues green energy policies – more than 50% of its electricity is produced by geothermic, wind, solar, biomass and wave power. It is a country that is believed to be especially at risk from climate change.
  • The World Bank described the central American country as “a renewable energy paradise” in 2013.
  • President Trump has argued that the Paris agreement would hobble, disadvantage and impoverish the US, to the benefit of other nations.
  • He claimed in June, 2017 that the accord would cost the US 6.5 million jobs and $3tn (£2.2tn) in lost GDP – while rival economies like China and India were treated more favourably.
  • However, the US more recently has hinted that it may shift its position on withdrawing from the deal.
  • Historically, the US, Europe, and China account for almost half of the world’s carbon emissions.
  • Syria is thought not to have signed the deal because it has been preoccupied by its civil war.

Sources- BBC.

 

GS Paper II- International Relations.

Ashraf Ghani Arrives In India For Talks To Boost Stability In Afghanistan.

Background

  • India hosted Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on 24th October, 2017 for consultations on stabilizing his war-torn country as well as coordinating strategy amid separate moves by countries in the region to broker peace between Kabul and the Taliban rebels.
  • Ghani is the third among a list of key visitors from Afghanistan in the past several weeks—chief executive Abdullah Abdullah and foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani were in India last month (September, 2017). India’s national security adviser Ajit Doval was in Kabul on 16 October, 2017 to meet his counterpart Hanif Atmar.
  • US secretary of state Rex Tillerson also arrived in India on 24th October, almost two months after the US unveiled a revamped strategy to defeat the Taliban in which India is seen as key to bringing economic stability to Afghanistan.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • On 23rd October, Tillerson made a surprise stopover in Afghanistan to discuss Washington’s new strategy with Ghani, the US embassy in Kabul said. Tillerson reiterated the US’ commitment to working with the Kabul government and regional partners to achieve peace in Afghanistan and deny safe havens to terrorists who threaten that goal.
  • Ghani held talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Ram Nath Kovind and foreign minister Sushma Swaraj.
  • Ghani’s visit comes amid moves by the US, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan to revive peace talks with the Taliban. The four countries—known as the Quadrilateral Coordination Group—met in Oman’s capital Muscat last week after a previous round of talks in Islamabad early last year (2016). The group has been trying to ease the path to direct talks between Kabul and the Taliban, with little success.
  • Another group of countries led by Russia and including Pakistan and China, has also been trying to broker peace between Kabul and the Taliban.
  • The frequency of attacks by the Taliban showed a sharp spurt last week with 56 people being killed in one incident alone on 20th October.
  • Once left out of consultations on Afghanistan thanks to its rivalry with Pakistan, India was in August, 2017 named by US President Donald Trump as a country that the US looked to for stabilizing Afghanistan economically. Trump in his speech also berated Pakistan for providing safe havens to the Taliban and affiliated groups on its soil.
  • India has considered Afghanistan as part of its extended neighbourhood and extended $3.1 billion in aid to the country. Last month, India announced 116 new high-impact projects in Afghanistan with the aim of shoring up goodwill. New Delhi hopes to have a neutral government in Afghanistan that will not tilt towards Pakistan.

Sources- Livemint.

 

GS Paper III- Economic Development.

India Post Payments Bank Appoints Vodafone M-Pesa’s Suresh Sethi As MD, CEO.

Background

  • Suresh Sethi, former managing director of Vodafone M-Pesa Ltd, has been named as the managing director and chief executive officer of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), replacing A.P. Singh, who had held the post in the interim since January 2017.
  • Sethi was selected by the Banks Board Bureau from among top contenders for the post, from both public and private sector banking and fin-tech professionals said a statement from the communications ministry on 23rd October, 2017.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Sethi has broad international experience of over 27 years in the banking and financial services industry with Citigroup Inc., Yes Bank Ltd and Vodafone M-Pesa across India, Kenya, the UK, Argentina and the US.
  • He has worked extensively in the financial inclusion space leveraging fin-tech and digital led innovation, added the statement.
  • His experience in the Digital & Mobile Payments space will be of great relevance to IPPB which aims to deliver financial inclusion with special focus in rural and semi-urban India and among the under-banked segments.
  • IPPB, launched by the postal department, received the Reserve Bank of India’s final approval to commence commercial operations in January, 2017. The Centre had appointed A.P. Singh, who was earlier joint secretary in the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management, as the interim managing director and CEO of IPPB.
  • IPPB has been incorporated as a Public Limited Company under the Department of Posts with 100% GOI equity. IPPB plans to leverage the unparalleled reach of the India Post network to achieve a Pan India roll out of 650 branches by early 2018.

Sources- Livemint.