The HINDU Notes – 10th July 2017(Daily News Paper Analysis)
G -20 leaders propose Hamburg Action Plan at summit conclusion
The two-day G-20 summit that took place in Germany’s Hamburg city ended with the leaders proposing the Hamburg Action Plan to address major global challenges, including climate change, harnessing digitalisation, and to contribute to prosperity and well-being.
What are the Significance of this move?
- The leaders pledged to progress towards their joint objective in the G20, which is strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
- They resolved to tackle common challenges to the global community, including terrorism, displacement, poverty, hunger and health threats, job creation, climate change, energy security, and inequality including gender inequality, as a basis for sustainable development and stability.
- In order to improving sustainable livelihoods, the G-20 leaders collectively committed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions through, among others, increased innovation on sustainable and clean energies and energy efficiency, and work towards low greenhouse-gas emission energy systems.
- The Leaders of the other G-20 members also agreed that the Paris Agreement is irreversible reiterated the importance of fulfilling the UNFCCC commitment by developed countries in providing means of implementation including financial resources to assist developing countries with respect to both mitigation and adaptation actions in line with Paris outcomes.
- The leaders stressed on the importance of harnessing the benefits of globalisation, reaffirm the importance of transparency for predictable and mutually beneficial trade relations, harness digitalisation to achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- The leaders underlined to boost employment by improving sustainable global supply chains, which have been recognised as an important source of job creation and balanced economic growth.
- The leaders resolved to make a resilient global financial system in agreed international standards, to support sustainable growth.
- The G-20 leaders also called for safeguarding against health crises and strengthening health systems. The leaders called on the United Nations to keep global health high on the political agenda and strive for cooperative action to strengthen health systems worldwide, including through developing the health workforce.
- The leaders also stressed on combatting Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is a growing threat to public health and economic growth.
Ahmedabad gets World Heritage City tag
- The 606-year-old walled city of Ahmedabad, which was founded by Sultan Ahmed Shah, has become India’s first World Heritage City.
- The World Heritage Committee (WHC) of UNESCO announced this. Ahmedaba is recognized the city as the cradle of India’s non-violent freedom struggle led by Mahatma Gandhi.
- The decision was taken during the ongoing 41st session of the World Heritage Committee in the Polish city of Krakow, which acknowledged the preservation efforts made by the city in keeping its historical fabric intact.
- The city’s historic characteristics include densely-packed traditional houses (‘pols’) in gated traditional streets (‘puras’) with features such as bird feeders, public wells and religious institutions.
- The Walled City of Ahmedabad will now join the likes of Paris, Cairo, and Edinburgh. Of the 287 World Heritage Cities across the globe, only two were hitherto on the Indian subcontinent: Bhaktpur in Nepal and Galle in Sri Lanka. The Unesco tag will add immense brand value to the city and boost tourism.
Another feather in Cambodia’s cap
- UNESCO added an ancient temple site in Cambodia to its world heritage list, the government said, bringing the number of heritage sites in the southeast Asian country to three.
- Sambor Prei Kuk, or “temple in the richness of the forest” in the Khmer language, located 206 km north of the capital Phnom Penh, ishome to numerous temples, ten of which are octagonal.
- “Some of these elements, including lintels, pediments and colonnades, are true masterpieces,” UNESCO said on its website.
- UNESCO said the area had been identified as Ishanapura, the capital of the ancient Chenla Empire, a Khmer civilisation that flourished in the late 6th and 7th centuries and preceded the Khmer Empire.
- Its remains cover an area of 25 sq. km. The site has become increasingly popular with foreign tourists.
- Two other sites in Cambodia already have heritage status, include the popular Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear, an 11th century temple on the border between Thailand and Cambodia, listed as World Heritage Sites in 2004 and 2008, respectively.
Preah Vihear Temple
Easy access to H1N1 drugs raises fears of resistance building up
- Concerns regarding a build-up of resistance to antiviral drugs used to treat swine flu are surfacing, after two such drugs – Oseltamivir and Zanamivir – were taken off the restrictive Schedule X of the Drugs and Comestics Rules. Now under Schedule H1, the drugs can be stocked by all chemists.
- Oseltamivir and Zanamivir are antiviral drugs that block the actions of influenza virus types A and B in the body. While Oseltamivir is available as tablets, Zanamivir comes in powder form.
- Central health authorities have also advised doctors to prescribe the drugs based on strong symptoms, without opting for the swab test.
- Medical experts say these decisions could lead to misuse and eventually, severe drug resistance.
- We are already witnessing antibiotic resistance and related hazards. Resistance built up only because antibiotics were easily available and even sold over the counter. Now, we seem to be going the same way with antiviral drugs.
- However, another doctor opines, “Bacteria mutate much faster than viruses, so I don’t think resistance should be a cause of concern when there is a spurt in H1N1 cases.”
- Drugs under Schedule X require three copies of prescription for the doctor, patient and chemist, and can be sold by a chemist who holds a special Schedule X licence.
- Also, the chemist has to preserve the prescription copy for up to three years.
- In Schedule H1, only one copy of the prescription is required, and drugs in this category can be sold by all chemists.
- It all depends on doctors now. If they prescribe the drug with caution, there won’t be misuse.
- Till date this year, India has recorded over 11,700 H1N1 cases and 561 deaths.
S. Sudan marks grim 6th independence day
- For the second year in a row, the world’s youngest nation will not have any official celebrations to mark the anniversary of its birth because of the widespread suffering caused by its ongoing civil war.
- South Sudan President Salva Kiir in an address to the nation said, “It’s difficult for many people to afford even one meal per day.”
- Six years after South Sudan gained independence, the country is ravaged by fighting, severe hunger, mass displacement and accusations of war crimes by government and opposition forces.
Two large groups bid to supply equipment for Chabahar port
- Two major Indian conglomerates have bid for supplying key mounted quay cranes for the strategic Chabahar Port in Iran, while the process is on to expand financial eligibility criteria to attract more bidders, an official said.
- This comes against the backdrop of India being keen on expediting work on this port, located in the Sistan-Baluchistan province on the energy-rich Persian Gulf nation’s southern coast that can be easily accessed from India’s West coast, bypassing Pakistan.
- Bids were invited on behalf of India Ports Global Limited (IPGL).
- Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had earlier said the government was hopeful of completing the work on the first phase of the project in 2018.
- The Cabinet has already approved funds for development of the project including through a $150 million credit from Exim Bank.
- As per the MoU signed between the two nations in May 2016, India is to equip and operate two berths in Chabahar Port Phase-I with capital investment of $85.21 million and annual revenue expenditure of $22.95 million on a 10-year lease.
- Ownership of equipment will be transferred to the Iranian side on completion of 10 years or for an extended period, based on mutual agreement.
- The Iranian side had requested for provision of credit of $150 million in accordance with the MoU.
- As per the pact, operation of two berths is to commence within a period of maximum 18 months after the signing of the contract.
Demystifying debt funds as an investment option
- While equity funds invest mostly in shares of listed companies, debt funds invest in instruments like government bonds, commercial papers (CPs), certificate of deposits (CDs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs).
- Debt funds invest in such securities and earn interest income that is shared among the investors after deducting the fund-management charges.
- By investing in such debt schemes, investors can indirectly invest in instruments like government bonds as well where direct retail investment is not possible.
- Debt funds can be classified on the basis of the tenure of the bonds or instruments in which they invest. Liquid funds invest in instruments that have a tenure of less than 90 days. Then come the short-term funds that invest in instruments that typically have a tenure of three to six months. There are corporate debt funds too that could have a tenure of up to three years. The long-term funds would invest in bonds that have a tenure of three to five years or even more like in the case of government bonds (G-Secs).
Process eased for exporters who have not paid IGST
- The Centre has, through a notification and a circular, eased the paperwork required to export goods without the exporter having paid the Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST).
- According to the GST Rules, traders who wanted to export without paying IGST had to provide a bond or letter of undertaking (LUT) promising to pay the tax. This requirement did not clarify who exactly needed to provide a bond and who was eligible to provide a LUT. It also involved complexity to do with the recipient of these documents.
- The notification and circular by the Government, both dated July 7, said that the IGST needs to be paid only for exports after July 1, 2017, and detail the eligibility of exporters to provide the necessary documents.
- The Centre allowed the bond or LUT to be submitted manually and not electronically on the GST portal.
Concrete may help curb air pollution
- Concrete surfaces can help tackle air pollution as it absorbs sulphur dioxide – a major pollutant, scientists, including one of Indian origin, have found.
- The strategy of using pollution-causing material and turning it into an environmental solution could lead to new thinking in urban design and waste management, researchers said.
- This could be a significant step toward the practice of using waste concrete to minimise air pollution, they said.
- “Even though producing concrete causes air pollution, concrete buildings in urban areas can serve as a kind of sponge adsorbing sulphur dioxide to a high level,” said Alex Orlov, associate professor at Stony Brook University in the U.S.
- According to the World Health Organisation, as many as seven million premature deaths of people worldwide may be linked to poor air quality and pollution.
- Sulphur dioxide emissions are among the most common pollutants into the air globally, with power plants emitting the most sulphur dioxide.
- Cement kilns also produce about 20% of all sulphur dioxide industrial emissions.
- Concrete remains the most widely used material in the world and is inexpensive.