30

The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 30th July ’20 | PDF Download

Trouble in Nepal

  • Storm raging in Nepal’s ruling Nepal Communist Party
  • PM of Nepal: Khadga Prasad Oli
  • Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) is the main rival of KP Oli.
  • Bone of contention: Mr. Oli continues to hold two posts — that of NCP Chairperson and Prime Minister.
  • Party members leading the move against Mr. Oli point to growing discomfort over his autocratic style.
  • Mr. Oli’s head-on collision with India over the past few weeks
  • Mr. Oli is also blaming Indian Embassy in Kathmandu
  • Public role played by the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal in bringing together the warring factions.
  • India-Nepal ties have hit new lows.
  • Neither side is willing to schedule the much promised meeting of Foreign Secretaries
  • While Mr. Oli is outnumbered in the ruling party structure, he has won a mandate, and there is little doubt that he remains popular in Nepal.

Fall from grace

  • For over four decades, Najib Razak was one of the most powerful voices of Malaysian politics.
  • The son of a former Prime Minister, a legislator for decades and an all-powerful Prime Minister for nine years.
  • A trial court found him guilty on seven corruption charges in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) financial fraud.
  • He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined $50 million.
  • Billions of dollars were allegedly stolen from the 1MDB — an investment fund he launched in 2009 when Prime Minister — by employees of the fund or of the government.
  • The money was traced by prosecutors to a mega-yacht, a Picasso painting and the Hollywood film, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’.
  • His bank accounts received about $1 billion.
  • The trial court has stayed the sentences until a higher court gives a final verdict on his planned appeal.
  • The new government of Muhyiddin Yassin has a razor-thin majority in Parliament.
  • With Mr. Najib’s conviction, the Opposition is likely to revive its calls for a vote of confidence, which Prime Minister Muhyiddin has resisted so far.
  • If he interferes in the investigation and trial, it could politically strengthen the Opposition narrative and prove risky for him, especially when Malaysia is going through a volatile phase.
  • Ideally, Mr. Muhyiddin should uphold the law, respect the independence of the prosecution and distance his government from Mr. Najib.

A quest for order amid cyber insecurity

  • In cyberspace, it is the best of times for some and the worst of times for others.
  • Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have added more than a trillion dollars in market value, since the start of 2020.
  • On the other hand, cyberattacks have grown.
  • In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 monitored by a single email provider, in addition to more than 240 million COVID-19-related daily spam messages.
  • Twitter hackers collected $120,000 in full public gaze, while a “ransomware” target in California quietly paid 116.4 bitcoins or $1.14 million.
  • There is also concern about the role of states. Australia mentioned of attacks by a state actor.
  • Australia mentioned of attacks by a state actor.
  • China has been accused of hacking health-care institutions in the United States working on novel coronavirus treatment.
  • The United Kingdom has warned of hackers backed by the Russian state targeting pharmaceutical companies conducting COVID-19 vaccine research.
  • Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not exist.
  • The Internet depends on physical infrastructure that is under national control, and hence is subject to border controls too.
  • States are responsible for cybersecurity, enforcement of laws and protection of public good.
  • Many networks are private, with objectives differing from those of states.
  • Nevertheless, states alone have the rights of oversight.
  • It was in 1998 that Russia inscribed the issue of information and communications technologies (ICTs) in international security on the UN agenda.
  • Since then 6 Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with two-year terms and limited membership have functioned — the most on any issue at the United Nations.
  • In addition, an Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) began last year with a broadly similar mandate, but open to all.
  • The net result of the UN exercise has been an acceptance that international law and the UN Charter are applicable in cyberspace.
  • Generally the growth of technology is way ahead of the development of associated norms and institutions.
  • As India’s cyber footprint expands, so will space for conflicts and crimes.
  • We have a very active nodal agency for cybersecurity in the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Domestically, we need the clarity that adoption of a data protection legislation will bring. Globally, we need to partake in shaping cybernorms.
  • Acceding to the Budapest Convention, or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (CETS No.185), which started as a European initiative but has attracted others, is an option that we should examine.
  • We need to encourage our private sector to get involved more in industry-focused processes such as the Microsoft-initiated Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Siemens-led Charter of Trust.
  • Engagement in multi-stakeholder orientations such as the Paris Call (for trust and security in cyberspace) can help.

Shaping the digital world

  • On June 29, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, ostensibly to protect security, sovereignty and privacy.
  • Like India, the U.S. is considering banning TikTok citing national security concerns.
  • Indian decoupling with Chinese tech comes in the wake of border tensions, while the U.S. continues its trade war with China.
  • Reactive and ad hoc tech squabbles cannot be a replacement for a robust foreign policy that marries India’s constitutional ethos with the twin needs of national security and economic growth.
  • The realisation of this vision requires India to engage more confidently in global technology governance debates and shape incumbent rules and norms.
  • For instance, social media companies are facing a backlash after years of ignoring abuse on their platforms that stoke social and ethnic tensions.
  • Cyberattacks are rising from state and non-state actors.
  • Conflicts over national laws concerning data use and storage are common.
  • Issues like data, 5G, AI, social media and cybersecurity have domestic and global effects — who controls these technologies and how they are developed and used matters greatly as it defines how nations trade, behave and fight with each other.
  • India must function as a rule-shaper to preserve the civil, political and economic rights of its citizens.
  • New Delhi must ensure that export control regimes like the Wassenaar Arrangement and the Missile Technology Control Regime regulate the use and impacts of dual-use surveillance technology that have been used to target Indian journalists, lawyers and activists.
  • The sheer volume of data generated by citizens at home makes India an essential destination for foreign technology firms enabling India to exercise its authority in shaping global trade rules, but this should occur balancing the interests of all Indian stakeholders in mind, not privileging the large and powerful.
  • India’s distinct economic and demographic position allows it to shape, influence and constrain global technology rules that serve its strategic interests.

Fewer species, more disease

  • Across countries, lockdowns have kept people indoors and provided opportunities for wild animals to roam around spaces they otherwise don’t venture into.
  • Scientists believe that the loss of biodiversity, and wildlife trade, have strong linkages with the emergence of epidemics.
  • The pandemic is an opportunity for the global community to explore the consequences of its unscientific actions on nature and prepare for behavioural change.
  • Dangerous infectious diseases (Ebola, Bird flu, MERS, SARS, Nipah, etc.) have been transferred from wild animals to humans.
  • In order to clear land for agriculture and development, forests and habitats have been destroyed.
  • In the process, we have lost several species.
  • Human-induced environmental changes reduce biodiversity resulting in new conditions that host vectors and/or pathogens.
  • Two hypothesis have been discussed: (a) the virus jumped from bats directly to humans; and (b) from bats to pangolins and then to humans.
  • Apart from wildlife markets, illegal trade of wildlife is part of the growing problem.
  • Illegal wildlife smuggling is an emerging threat to India’s unique wildlife heritage.
  • The IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services shows that people extensively encroach natural habitats; hence biodiversity is declining significantly.
  • Nations should work towards realising the 2050 vision for biodiversity, ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.
  • We must follow a ‘one health’ approach which considers the health of people, wild and domesticated animals, and the environment.
  • We need to strictly regulate high-risk wildlife markets, promote green jobs and work towards achieving carbon-neutral economies.
  • India should strictly enforce the Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which prohibits the trade of 1,800 species of wild animals/plants and their derivatives
  • Mass biodiversity literacy should be our mission.
  • Ecosystem integrity will regulate diseases and restrict the transmission of pathogens from one species to another.

NEWS

  • First five Rafale fighter jets land at Ambala Air Force Base; India welcomes the ‘Golden Arrows’.
    • It was a historic moment as they were greeted with water cannon salute at Ambala Air Force base.
    • Rafale jets were escorted by two Sukhoi 30 MKI supersonic fighters as they entered Indian airspace.
    • After entering Indian Airspace, Indian Rafale contingent was welcomed by establishing radio contact with Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata, deployed in the Western Arabian Sea.
    • Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Western Air Command Air Marshal B Suresh welcomed the first five IAF Rafales at Air Force Station Ambala.
    • In a tweet in Sanskrit, Mr Modi said, there is no virtue like protecting nation, there is no vow like defence of the nation and there is no yagna like protecting the nation. He said, touch the sky with glory, Welcome.
    • The Defence Minister congratulated the Indian Air Force on a professionally executed ferry.
    • He expressed confidence that 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, will continue to live upto their motto of “Udayam Ajasram”.
    • Mr Singh expressed happiness that Indian Air Force’s combat capability has got a timely boost.
    • He also thanked the French Government, Dassault Aviation and other French companies for ensuring the timely delivery of the aircraft and its weapons, despite the severe restrictions posed by COVID pandemic.
    • The Defence Minister said, this aircraft has very good flying performance and its weapons, radar and other sensors and Electronic Warfare capabilities are among the best in the world.
  • Unlock 3
    • The Home Ministry issued new guidelines for opening up of more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones.
    • The new guidelines are based on feedback received from States and UTs, and extensive consultations held with related Central Ministries and Departments.
    • Restrictions on movement of individuals during night have been removed.
    • Yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to open from 5th of August.
    • Schools, colleges and coaching institutions will remain closed till 31st August.
    • International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner under the Vande Bharat mission.
  • Total recoveries from COVID-19 in the country today inched closer to touch the one million mark.
    • A total of nine lakh 88 thousand 29 people have recovered in the country so far and 35 thousand 286 recoveries were reported during the last 24 hours.
    • With this, the recovery rate improved to 64.51 per cent in the country.
    • The case fatality rate has declined to 2.23 per cent.
    • The Health Ministry said, 48 thousand 513 new cases of COVID-19 were registered in the country in one day taking the total number of cases to 15 lakh 31 thousand 669.
    • Presently, the total number of active cases in the country is five lakh nine thousand 447.
  • In Madhya Pradesh, the state government is going to start a rapid antigen test. The number of corona infected people in MP has been close to 30 thousand.
  • Tamil Nadu Governor Bunwarilal Purohit has isolated himself for a week as three more staff working in Raj Bhavan in Chennai are confirmed Covid-19 positive.
  • Kerala continues to report spike in Covid cases with 903 new Covid cases being confirmed yesterday.
  • In Bihar, flood situation has deteriorated following heavy rainfall in catchment areas of Nepal.
  • In Gujarat, the state government has allotted one more dedicated ambulance for Asiatic lions.
  • National Education Policy 2020
    • The Cabinet approved National Education Policy 2020.
    • A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entry and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of MPhil programmes, low stakes board exams, common entrance exams for universities are among the highlights of the new National Education Policy.
    • “21वीं सदी के एक नई शिक्षा नीति को मंजूरी दी गई। यह बेहद महत्वपूर्ण है क्योंकि 34 साल से शिक्षा नीति में परिवर्तन नहीं हुआ था और इसलिए आज का जो यह परिवर्तन है और जो नई शिक्षा नीति है। मुझे विश्वास है कि पूरा समाज और सभी देशवासी इसका स्वागत करेंगे और दुनिया के शिक्षाविद् भी इसकी निश्चित रूप से सराहना करेंगे।“
    • Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, New Education Policy 2020 will prove to be a milestone in the making of New India.
    • Mr Nishank said, the Cabinet also approved changing the name of the Human Resource Development Ministry to Education Ministry.

Download Free PDF – Daily Hindu Editorial Analysis