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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | 7th July ’20 | PDF Download

Assam Floods

  • 18/33 districts are affected by floods.
  • Millions affected and 37 lost their lives.
  • In the state of Assam, floods are an annual feature

Reasons

  1. Incessant and heavy rainfall during the monsoon
  2. Brahmaputra brings with it huge quantities of water and silt
  3. River is not stable, due to the region’s earthquake prone nature.

  1. Dams (which destroy the fragile ecology)
  2. Deforestation in catchment areas leading to increase in sediment load
  3. Embankments
  4. Growing habitation along the banks and sandbars
  • Most of the above given reasons restrict the space for the excess river water to spread.
  • Piecemeal Measure: building embankments and dredging to control floods

Beijing’s gift to Hong Kong

  • Twenty-three years ago China regained Hong Kong from Britain.
  • China committed to honour ‘one country, two systems’ model.
  • Gift: new national security law
  1. It was passed without any consultation with Hong Kong’s legislature.
  2. Puts severe restrictions on the free speech of Hong Kong’s residents
  3. Punishes dissident voices with a jail term

  1. The law permits trials in secret.
  2. Selection of judges by Hong Kong’s chief executive while negating the bail provision.
  • The points in the new law is in-line with China’s pursuit of an aggressive, expansive geostrategic vision.
    • Encroachment on Indian territory
    • Periodic muscle-flexing in the South China Sea
    • Trade war with USA
  • Canada has announced the suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong
  • Britain has opened its doors to dissidents in Hong Kong fleeing the long, coercive arm of Beijing.

India’s foreign relations and the course of history

  • “#China has demarcated boundary with 12 of its 14 neighboring countries through peaceful negotiations, turning land borders into bonds of friendly cooperation.
  • The Prime Minister’s talk of Chinese expansionism reminded me of what Mrs. Indira Gandhi told me more than once during the time I served in her Prime Minister’s Office. She said: “I can think of a time down the road in future when we might have normal, peaceful relations with Pakistan, but never with China because China basically is an expansionist power.”
  • In international relations, there is no such thing as trust.
  • U.S. President Ronald Reagan talked of ‘Trust, but verify”; Mrs. Gandhi’s approach seemed to be: “Verify and still not trust”.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru, on the other hand, had convinced himself that China will not attack India. His Defence Minister, V.K. Krishna Menon, likely played a big part in inclining Nehru towards this conviction.
  • In his response to a letter Albert Einstein wrote to him a few weeks before Independence, Nehru described foreign policy as essentially “selfish”.
  • He was also clear in his mind that India’s interest lay with the West.
  • They acted, in the prevailing circumstances, as best as they could, according to their perception of national interest.
  • National interest is that which the government of the day decides it is.
  • One government might conclude that the civil nuclear deal with the United States served India’s national interest; some other government ruled by some other party or even the same party but at another time and in different circumstances may think otherwise.

Gangster of Kanpur

  • Killing of eight policemen by a criminal gang in Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh
  • A history-sheeter who has at least five dozen cases of murder, extortion, kidnapping and other violent crimes against him, waited in ambush at his own home for the arrival of the police party that was seeking to arrest him.
  • Gangster had received information about the impending raid from his sources within the police.
  • The quality of policing therefore has an outsized impact on the overall quality of governance.
  • Poor training, an alienating and dehumanising work environment, corruption and a lack of resources add to the crisis in policing.
  • The State of UP had 5,178 encounters in which 103 suspects were killed and 17,745 surrendered in a little over the last two years.

What about WHO?

  • U.S. President Donald Trump
    • “secrecy, deception and cover-up” by China
    • “China-centric” WHO
  • Evidence suggests that WHO had not been fully transparent during the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan, and China had indeed been more opaque than already known.
  • At least on three occasions, including on January 30 when the health emergency of international concern was declared, WHO had publicly praised China for its commitment to transparency.
  • While it also said China was “setting a new standard for outbreak response” and called the quick sharing of whole genome sequence data of the virus as “very impressive”, independent investigation revealed a different situation — China was not very forthcoming.
  • The world knew of human-to-human transmission in China only on January 20, and the global body was often kept in the dark.
  • Scientific evidence strongly suggests that the outbreak began at least by early November.
  • US President Donald Trump lashed out at China for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
    • In a tweet, Mr. Trump said, Beijing has caused great damage to the United States and the rest of world.
    • His comments come as the Coronavirus caseload in the US surpassed the 2.93 million mark.
    • The US is the worst-hit nation from the coronavirus with over 1.32 lakh fatalities linked to the infection.
    • Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, both the US and China have been at loggerheads and tensions between the two have escalated.

Before the next health crisis

  • More people died in China due to air pollution than Covid-19.
  • New York City + northern provinces of Italy: there is a link between Air Pollution, Covid-19 infections and Death Rates.
  • 14 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India.
  • Airpollution: globally, 9 million premature deaths a year
  • India is ranked as the world’s 5th most vulnerable country to climate change

  • Locust swarms in parts of South Asia is due to climate change.
  • Europe reported its first local transmissions of dengue in 2010.
  • In managing health risks, emission reduction should be coupled with a stronger public health system.
  • India spends just 1.6% of GDP after health.
  • Global Health Security Index 2019: Most countries, including India, fail the test of readiness for health disasters.

NEWS

  • National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi discussed border issues in a telephone conversation last Sunday.
  • The two Special Representatives of India and China on the Boundary Question had a frank and in-depth exchange of views on the recent developments in the Western Sector of the India-China border areas.
  • The External Affairs Ministry said that the two Special Representatives agreed that both the sides should take guidance from the consensus of the leaders that maintenance of peace and tranquility in the India-China border areas was essential for the further development of bilateral relations.
  • They also said that the two sides should not allow differences to become disputes.
  • Therefore, they agreed that it was necessary to ensure at the earliest complete disengagement of the troops along the LAC and de-escalation from India-China border areas for full restoration of peace and tranquility.
  • The two sides should also ensure a phased and stepwise de-escalation in the India-China border areas.
  • Disengagement with the Chinese Army has started in Galwan Valley as per the agreed terms in the Corps Commander’s meeting of the two sides.
  • Army sources said, Chinese forces were seen removing tents and structures at Patrolling Point 14.
  • Rearward movement of vehicles of Chinese Army was seen at General Area Galwan, Hotsprings and Gogra.
  • This development is in line with what the Corps Commanders agreed to on 30th of June at Chushul.
  • Cyber incidents
  • Chief Information Security Officer in the Prime Minister’s Office, Gulshan Rai, said that there has been a 200 per cent rise in cyber incidents in India in the last two months, but those cannot be blamed to Chinese actors.
  • He, instead, blamed a shift in the service sector to work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic for the heightened incidents.
  • He said, people are “mindlessly” downloading unverified applications which may lack security features.
  • Rai said there are dedicated agencies which are monitoring the situation and also preventing the attacks.
  • Rai urged people to be more careful about what they download and stick to verified applications itself.
  • Former US National Security Advisor (NSA) John Bolton has said that China’s behaviour in Eastern Ladakh along the LAC worries the United States of America and every citizen in China’s periphery.
  • Mr. Bolton said that China is known to engage in a range of unacceptable behaviour.
  • Former US NSA Mr. Bolton said, Indo-US relationship will witness new peaks in the 21st century.
  • He also asserted that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is immensely popular among Indian Americans.
  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla has said that diplomacy has gone strongly digital, adapting to the situation arisen due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • He said, India has been at the forefront of it with Prime Minister Narendra Modi turning the challenge into opportunity to start global conversations using virtual platforms.
  • He was speaking at a webinar organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India.
  • Mr Shringla said COVID-19 has disrupted diplomatic calendars causing almost all international meetings and summits to be cancelled.
  • He said, while face-to-face meetings with counterparts have traditionally been considered essential to resolve complicated issues or conduct difficult negotiations, diplomatic engagement cannot be allowed to stop in their absence.
  • He said, Mr Modi has spoken to counterparts from as many as 60 countries.
  • Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for extending COVID-19 related assistance and for hosting SAARC leaders’ meeting for coordinated efforts in the region.
  • The Afghan President said this yesterday during the virtual meeting which was called by him to discuss host of issues including building a regional and global consensus on peace talks with Taliban.
  • The meeting was also attended by representatives from 20 other Countries and international organisations including the United Nations.
  • Corona can spread via air but WHO yet to admit it
  • UGC go-ahead to final-year exams across varsities: Online , Offline or blend of both
  • COVID-19 tests cross One Crore
  • Those testing negative in rapid antigen tests should be sent for RT-PCR checks
  • Rise of the machines : Help away , Pricey appliances take over ” with record surge in sales of vacuum cleaners, dish washers as well as Do-It-Yourself grooming products

 

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