- New colony of near-extinct Finn’s weaver
- ASEAN states warn of S. China Sea tensions
- Govt. may review Customs policy on Chinese goods
- 2 of 3 ‘doctors’ in rural India have no formal medical degrees
- US Bill Seeks to Train Indian Fighter Pilots
NEW COLONY OF NEAR-EXTINCT FINN’S WEAVER
Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims
Why in news?
- A chance discovery of a fresh breeding colony of the Finn’s weaver in UP’s Bijnor has kindled hope among those worried about the future of the species.
- Of the just 1,000 or so left in the world right now, 500 are in India.
- Finn’s weaver also known as yellow weaver is a species of weaver bird found in the Ganges and Brahmaputra valleys in India and Nepal.
- The nest is built on top of trees or in reeds, woven from thin strips of leaves and reeds.
- The Finn’s weaver is currently listed as Vulnerable in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
- It’s on the verge of extinction, according to Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) that is looking to upgrade the species’ status to “critical” in the list.
-Source: Times of India
ASEAN STATES WARN OF S. CHINA SEA TENSIONS
Focus: GS-II International Relations, Prelims
Why in news?
Vietnam and the Philippines warned of growing insecurity in Southeast Asia at a regional summit amid concerns that China was stepping up its activity in the disputed South China Sea during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Both Hanoi and Manila lodged protests with China in April after Beijing unilaterally declared the creation of new administrative districts on islands in the troubled waterways to which Vietnam and the Philippines also have competing claims.
- In an online meeting of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders it was noted that international institutions and international law had been seriously challenged, China has been pushing its presence in the Exclusive Economic Zones of other countries while claimants are preoccupied tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising Ten Countries in Southeast Asia.
Members of ASEAN
- To promote intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
- To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organisations.
- To promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law and adherence to the principles of the United Nations Charter.
- To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development for a prosperous and peaceful community of Southeast Asian Nations.
A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific.
- The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
- ASEAN is headquartered in Jakarta, Indonesia.
- 8th August is observed as ASEAN Day.
- In 1967 ASEAN was established with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by its founding fathers: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
- Chairmanship of ASEAN rotates annually, based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.
- ASEAN is the 3rd largest market in the world – larger than EU and North American markets.
ASEAN Plus Three
- ASEAN Plus Three is a forum that functions as a coordinator of co-operation between the ASEAN and the three East Asian nations of China, South Korea, and Japan.
ASEAN Plus Six
- further integration to improve existing ties of Southeast Asia was done by the larger East Asia Summit (EAS), which included ASEAN Plus Three as well as India, Australia, and New Zealand.
- The group became ASEAN Plus Six with Australia, New Zealand, and India, and stands as the linchpin of Asia Pacific’s economic, political, security, socio-cultural architecture, as well as the global economy.
- This group acted as a prerequisite for the planned East Asia Community which was supposedly patterned after the European Community (now transformed into the European Union).
-Source: The Hindu
GOVT. MAY REVIEW CUSTOMS POLICY ON CHINESE GOODS
Focus: GS-III Indian Economy
Why in news?
Inspection of all shipments from China has hit American, Taiwanese as well as Indian companies, resulting in a need for the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs to review the policy to make it more focused.
- After the unlocking, companies had shipped goods for their Indian arms, which have been delayed.
- Similarly, mobile phone players which depend on inputs and components from China, have also been hit hard.
- Electronics and pharma sectors depend heavily on Chinese raw material and inputs.
- A serious logjam continues at Delhi airport, which will hamper the supply chain of life-saving drugs at such a critical time.
-Source: The Hindu, Times of India
2 OF 3 ‘DOCTORS’ IN RURAL INDIA HAVE NO FORMAL MEDICAL DEGREES
Focus: GS-II Social Justice
Why in news?
According to India’s first comprehensive assessment by Centre for Policy Research (CPR) – at least two of every three “doctors” in rural India are informal providers of care, with no qualifications in modern system of medicine.
- 75% of villages have at least one health care provider and a village on average has three primary health providers.
- 86% of them are private “doctors” and 68% have no formal medical training.
- The study found that formal qualifications were not a predictor of quality– the medical knowledge of informal providers in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka was higher than that of trained doctors in Bihar and UP.
- Public health clinics and/or MBBS doctors are so few and far between that they are just not an option for most villagers.
- The study found no correlation between the availability of care providers and health indicators such as child mortality, which shows that though villagers can choose from multiple providers, they still do not get quality care.
-Source: Hindustan Times
US BILL SEEKS TO TRAIN INDIAN FIGHTER PILOTS
Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
The United States will offer fighter jet training to India, Japan and Australia even as it plans multiple initiatives to counter China’s aggression across Asia Pacific including its standoff with India along the Line of Actual Control.
- The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) seeks fighter jet training detachment for India, Japan and Australia in the US Pacific territory of Guam.
- The NDAA 2021 calls for the US secretary of defence to submit to the Congressional defence committees a report assessing the merit and feasibility of entering into agreements with other US allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, to include Japan, Australia, and India.
- Among other things, the bill calls for a Pacific Deterrence Initiative, which will focus resources on the Indo-Pacific, addressing key military capability gaps, reassuring US allies and partners, and bolstering the credibility of the US.
What the U.S. is deploying?
- The bill proposes procurement of 48 long-range anti-ship missiles (LRASMs), which it said will be especially useful in the Indo-Pacific, which the defence department has named its “priority theatre”.
- NDAA also seeks acceleration in the American effort to establish F-35A operating locations forward in the Indo-Pacific region.
- Japan, one of India’s emerging strategic partners and member of the quadrilateral, has also highlighted the need to keep an eye on China’s military capabilities and intentions across Asia.
- Japanese defence minister acknowledged the persistent threat from China and North Korea, not only in the hard power arena but also in cyberspace.
Recently in news:
The US is moving troops from Europe and deploying them to other places in response to the Chinese threat to India and Southeast Asian nations.
-Source: Economic Times