1)Syrian Civil War- All that needs to be understood :-
Prelude :- The Middle east is in ruins, Civil war and games of geopolitics derailed the development, peace and prosperity pursuits of this region.In this context we at UPSCTREE observed that :-
“Spring has long left the Arab,The Arab world is now at cross roads with “destination Anarchy” on every path of its choosing.The world was waiting for a spring, but to its discomfort , it received an uprising “. Leaving us to contemplate what went wrong with Arab Spring
- The Arab Spring was a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings. While the wave of initial revolutions and protests faded by mid-2012, some started to refer to the succeeding and still ongoing large-scale discourse conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa as the Arab Winter. The most radical discourse from Arab Spring into the still ongoing civil wars took place in Syria as early as the second half of 2011.
Syrian Crisis :-
- More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives in four-and-a-half years of armed conflict, which began with anti-government protests before escalating into a full-scale civil war. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes as forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and those opposed to his rule battle each other – as well as jihadist militants from Islamic State.
- Uprising turns violent:-
- Pro-democracy protests erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets.The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad’s resignation. The government’s use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters’ resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country.Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas.
- Descent into civil war :-
- Violence escalated and the country descended into civil war as rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Fighting reached the capital Damascus and second city of Aleppo in 2012.By June 2013, the UN said 90,000 people had been killed in the conflict. However, by August 2014 that figure had more than doubled to 191,000 – and continued to climb to 250,000 by August 2015, according to activists and the UN.The conflict is now more than just a battle between those for or against President Assad. It has acquired sectarian overtones, pitching the country’s Sunni majority against the president’s Shia Alawite sect, and drawn in neighbouring countries and world powers. The rise of the jihadist groups, including Islamic State, has added a further dimension.
- War crimes:-
- A UN commission of inquiry, investigating alleged human rights violations since March 2011, has evidence that those on both sides of the conflict have committed war crimes – including murder, torture, rape and enforced disappearances. Government and rebel forces have also been accused by investigators of using civilian suffering – such as blocking access to food, water and health services – as a method of war.In February 2014, a UN Security Council resolution demanded all parties end the “indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas”. Since then, activists say, more than 6,000 civilians have been killed by barrel bombs dropped by government aircraft on rebel-held areas. The UN says in some instances, civilian gatherings have been deliberately targeted, constituting massacres.Islamic State has also been accused by the UN of waging a campaign of terror in northern and eastern Syria. It has inflicted severe punishments on those who transgress or refuse to accept its rule, including hundreds of public executions and amputations. Its fighters have also carried out mass killings of rival armed groups, members of the security forces and religious minorities, and beheaded hostages, including several Westerners.
- Chemical weapons:-
- Facing the prospect of US military intervention, President Assad agreed to the complete removal or destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal as part of a joint mission led by the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The destruction of chemical agents and munitions was completed a year later.Despite the operation, the OPCW has since documented the use of toxic chemicals, such as chlorine and ammonia, by the government in attacks on rebel-held northern villages between April and July 2014 that resulted in the deaths of at least 13 people.Islamic State has also been accused of using homemade chemical weapons, possibly including the blistering agent sulphur mustard, against Kurdish forces and civilians in northern Syria.
- Humanitarian crisis:-
- More than four million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, most of them women and children. It is one of the largest refugee exodus in recent history. Neighboring countries have borne the brunt of the refugee crisis, with Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey struggling to accommodate the flood of new arrivals. The exodus accelerated dramatically in 2013, as conditions in Syria deteriorate
- A further 7.6 million Syrians have been internally displaced within the country, bringing the total number forced to flee their homes to more than 11 million – half the country’s pre-crisis population. Overall, an estimated 12.2 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 5.6 million children, the UN says.
- A report published by the UN in March 2015 estimated the total economic loss since the start of the conflict was $202bn and that four in every five Syrians were now living in poverty – 30% of them in abject poverty. Syria’s education, health and social welfare systems are also in a state of collapse
- Rebels and the rise of the jihadists :-
- The armed rebellion has evolved significantly since its inception. Secular moderates are now outnumbered by Islamist and jihadists, whose brutal tactics have caused widespread concern and triggered rebel infighting.
- Capitalizing on the chaos in the region, Islamic State – the extremist group that grew out of al-Qaeda in Iraq – has taken control of huge swathes of territory across northern and eastern Syria, as well as neighbouring Iraq. Its many foreign fighters in Syria are now involved in a “war within a war”, battling rebels and jihadists from the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, who object to their tactics, as well as Kurdish and government forces.
- Peace efforts:-
- With neither side able to inflict a decisive defeat on the other, the international community long ago concluded that only a political solution could end the conflict in Syria. However, a number of attempts by the Arab League and the UN to broker ceasefire and start dialogue have failed.
- In January 2014, the US, Russia and UN convened a conference in Switzerland to implement the 2012 Geneva Communique, an internationally backed agreement that called for the establishment of a transitional governing body in Syria formed on the basis of mutual consent.The talks, which became known as Geneva II, broke down in February after only two rounds. The then-UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi blamed the Syrian government’s refusal to discuss opposition demands and its insistence on a focus on fighting “terrorists” – a term Damascus uses to describe rebel groups.
- Proxy war :-What began as another Arab Spring uprising against an autocratic ruler has mushroomed into a brutal proxy war that has drawn in regional and world powers.
Conclusion :- The spill over of failed Arab Spring resulted in mass exodus,internal displacement , extremism in all forms , and this decade has seen the worst brutalities that mankind has ever endured in the past.The sheer no. of human casualties is numbing. People became refugees in their own country , the refugee crisis is enervating the Government across Europe and to protect their demographic profile without any significant alteration , Countries have stepped up vigil along the border with intermittent sealing of border.Desperate attempt by many to flee the conflict zone has led to loss of lives. Children and women are the most vulnerable groups among these and the brutalities that laid upon them is emotionally numbing.There seems no vestige of beginning , no prospect of an end of this crisis.Solution lays in constructive engagement of global powers and institutions , but major players are fighting each other , and Syria became their geopolitical battleground.
2)Arctic Ocean Losing Ice and Antarctic is gaining Ice :-
- The Arctic is warming and the sea ice is melting, with impacts on Arctic people and ecosystems
- Some sites in the Arctic Ocean — once covered by sea ice — may see more than 100 additional days of open water
- By the end of this century, assuming a scenario of continued business-as-usual greenhouse gas emissions, the Arctic will be in a new regime with respect to open water
- An increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.At the end of the last Ice Age, the air became warmer and carried more moisture across the continent, doubling the amount of snow dropped on the ice sheet
- The good news is that Antarctica is not currently contributing to sea level rise, but is taking 0.23 mm per year away
- According to the analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tonnes of ice a year from 1992 to 2001.
3)GSAT-15 set to replace INSAT-3A and 4B
- GSAT-15 set to replace dying INSAT-3A and 4B will replace two older spacecraft-INSAT 3A and 4B- that will likely expire in the coming months.
- According to the ISRO, the transponders of GSAT are solely in the Ku band and will cater to DTH (direct-to-home) television needs, besides supporting the thousands of VSAT operators who provide broadband services and DSNG (digital satellite news gathering) for TV news channels.
- ISRO is also focusing on bridging the Ku-band shortage in the country. Currently, Indian D2H broadcasters are heavily dependent on external transponders.
- Fact Sheet :-
- GSAT-15, weighing 3,164 kg, will be launched in on November 11 from Kourou in French Guiana (in South America) .
- It will be stationed over India at a slot at 93.5 degrees East longitude.
- GSAT will also carry the third GAGAN satellite navigation transponder as a back-up for airlines and other users of augmented GPS-based systems.
- The two Indian rockets PSLV and GSLV cannot pitch the weight of GSAT-15 to its slot 36,000 km high.
- INSAT 3A and 4B: INSAT-3A, launched in April 2003, has completed its 12-year life. INSAT-4B, flown in March 2007, got reduced to half its functions in 2010 after one of its two power-generating solar panels developed a snag.
- Important Point to be Noted:- The Launching sites are usually near the equator :-
- When a spacecraft is launched into orbit, it should end up spinning around the Earth quickly enough not to be pulled back in by the Earth’s gravity. The huge rockets used in launching a spaceship help this to happen by giving a huge amount of thrust, enough to achieve escape velocity. However, the spin of the Earth itself can help give it a push as well.
- Anything on the surface of the Earth at the equator is already moving at 1670 kilometers per hour. If a ship is launched from the equator it goes up into space, and it is also moving around the Earth at the same speed it was moving before launching. This is because of inertia. This speed will help the spacecraft keep up a good enough speed to stay in orbit.
- Why the equator? The surface of the Earth is traveling faster there. If you look at two spots on one line from pole to pole, one spot on the equator and the other halfway to the pole, each will make a complete revolution in 24 hours and return to where it was. But since the Earth’s shape is round, and the widest point is at the equator the spot on the equator would have to go more miles in that twenty-four hours. That means that the land is moving faster at the equator than any other place on the surface of the Earth.
4) NITI Aayog Proposes Agricultural Reforms:-
- Setting up of a unified national agriculture market
- Changing land lease laws and creating a mechanism to facilitate easy exit for farmers who want to move out of agriculture
- Guaranteed prices for at least half the key crops
- National market for farm produce
5) T K Vishwanathan Committee recommendation on Bankruptcy Law:-
These changes are much-needed in the Indian context where, in most cases of large corporate defaults, banks are sitting ducks when it comes to recovery of money like in the case of Rs 7,000 crore default by Vijay-Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines.
When the recovery process gets delayed by several years, the value of the underlying assets deteriorates. Large corporate defaults, including those by willful defaulters (promoters and companies, which have the ability to repay but wouldn’t do) form a significant part of the Rs 300,000 crore gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of Indian banks.
According to a 2014 World Bank report, the average time to resolve insolvency is four years in India, compared with 0.8 in Singapore and one year in London. The Vishwanathan panel too has observed that, the loan recovery rates obtained in India are among the lowest in the world. When default takes place, broadly speaking, lenders seem to recover 20 percent of the value of debt.
The biggest challenge for the bankruptcy code to work, however, is the intervention of judiciary in the insolvency cases
- It proposes creation of an insolvency regulator and setting a time limit of 180 days (which can be 90 days in special cases) to deal with insolvency resolution cases
- If 75 percent of the creditors approve the plan, the insolvency resolution process can kick off. If not, the adjudicating authority can order liquidation of the company
- It also recommended an administrative mechanism for resolving financial distress of viable MSMEs
- Speedy judicial resolution
- Provide a predictable system for
- (a) takeover of management or assets by the company administrator as part of the rescue process, and
- (b) governing the interrelationship between such administrator, the managerial personnel and the shareholders in the event of such takeover.
- Provide an enabling provision for raising ‘rescue finance’ and granting super-priority to such financiers as part of a scheme of revival
Insolvency:-When an individual or organization can no longer meet its financial obligations with its lender or lenders as debts become due. Insolvency can lead to insolvency proceedings, in which legal action will be taken against the insolvent entity, and assets may be liquidated to pay off outstanding debts
Bankruptcy:-Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay the debts it owes to creditors. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor.
Bankruptcy is not the only legal status that an insolvent person or other entity may have, and the term bankruptcy is therefore not a synonym for insolvency. In some countries, including the United Kingdom, bankruptcy is limited to individuals, and other forms of insolvency proceedings (such as liquidation and administration) are applied to companies. In the United States, bankruptcy is applied more broadly to formal insolvency proceedings.
Bankruptcy vs Insolvency :-
A state of insolvency can lead to bankruptcy. However, it is also possible that the state of insolvency could be temporary and fixable. Thus, insolvency does not necessarily lead to bankruptcy, but all bankrupt legal entities or persons are deemed to be insolvent.