UAE confers prestigious Zayed Medal on Narendra Modi
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on April 4, 2019 honoured PM Narendra Modi with its highest decoration, Zayed Medal in recognition of his "pivotal role" in strengthening ties between the two nations.
- The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan tweeted "We have historical and comprehensive strategic ties with India, reinforced by the pivotal role of my dear friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who gave these relations a big boost. In appreciation of his efforts, the UAE President grants him the Zayed Medal.”
- The Zayed Medal is the highest decoration of the UAE awarded to kings, presidents and heads of states.
- The honour has previously been conferred on the leaders of several countries including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Queen of the United Kingdom Elizabeth II.
List of major International Awards conferred upon Prime Minister Modi:
King Abdulaziz Sash of Saudi Arab:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on April 3, 2016 conferred with the Saudi Arabia's highest civilian honour ‘King Abdulaziz Sash’ by King Salman bin Abdulaziz at the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia.
Amir Abdullah Khan of Afghanistan:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his brief visit to Afghanistan, was on June 4, 2016 conferred with the Amir Amanullah Khan Award, the highest civilian honour of Afghanistan.
Grand Collar of the state of Palestine:
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on February 10, 2018 conferred with the 'Grand Collar of the State of Palestine' by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, recognising his contributions in promoting relations between India and Palestine.
UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on September 26, 2018 awarded with the prestigious UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, the highest environmental honour of the United Nations. Modi received the award on October 3, 2018 by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
- Prime Minister Modi was selected in the leadership category for his pioneering work in championing the International Solar Alliance, a global partnership to scale up solar energy. PM Modi was also acknowledged for his unprecedented pledge to eliminate all single use plastic in India by 2022.
Seoul Peace Prize 2018
- The Seoul Peace Prize Committee on October 24, 2018 conferred the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- The Committee recognised Modi's contributions to the growth of the Indian and global economies, crediting 'Modinomics' for reducing social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor.
Philip Kotler Presidential Award
- The Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on January 14, 2019 conferred with the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award.
- As per the award citation, the Prime Minister has been selected for his outstanding leadership for the nation. It is under his leadership that India is now identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (through Make in India initiative).
Abdelaziz Bouteflika steps down after 20 years in charge of Algeria:
- After weeks of resisting popular demands, Algerian strongman President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who had a tight grip on the country with support from the military and the intelligence establishment for 20 years submitted his resignation.
- He was the second leader after Nursultan of Kazakhstan, who has resigned after decades of ruling the country, in recent time.
- Protesters hail president’s downfall but oligarchic, elitist governmental system remains
- Algeria’s Constitution says that once the President officially resigns, the Speaker of the upper house of Parliament, currently Abdelkader Bensalah, acts as interim leader for up to 90 days during which a presidential election must be organised.
Why did he resign?
- He faced mass street protests from the youth and opposition for weak economic condition and unemployment.
- Despite the country’s position as a leading oil and gas exporter, more than one in four of Algerians under 30 are unemployed, a large number given about 70% of Algeria’s population is under that age. Many of them will have scant memory of the civil war that cost about 100,000 lives in the 1990s after the army overturned a 1991 election victory by an Islamist party.
5G Technology launched in South Korea:
- South Korea will launch world’s first 5G mobile networks on April 5, 2019. South Korea will be the first country to launch 5G networks.
- Hyper-wired South Korea has long had a reputation for technical prowess, and Seoul had made the 5G rollout a priority as it seeks to stimulate stuttering economic growth.
- Seoul, which boasts one of the world’s highest mobile penetration rates, is in a race with China, the US and Japan to market 5G services, pinning high hopes on the new technology to drive growth in the IT sector.
- Experts say 5G will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity—20 times faster than 4G, will allow users to download entire films in less than a second, play games streamed with minimal delay on their devices.
- The technology is crucial for the future development of devices such as self-driving vehicles and is expected to bring about $565 billion in global economic benefits by 2034, according to the London-based Global System for Mobile Communications, an industry alliance.
AFSPA partially removed from Arunachal Pradesh:
- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.
- The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since the day of its formation. AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur.
- After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well.
What are the special powers given to army officials?
- Under Section 4 of the AFSPA, an authorised officer in a disturbed area enjoys certain powers. The authorised officer has the power to open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. However, the officer has to give a warning before opening fire.
- The authorised officer has also been given the power to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunitions.
- Individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible.
- Prosecution of an authorised officer requires prior permission of the Central government.
Observations made by Various Committees
- Justice Santosh Hegde Committee found four out of six deaths it was inquiring in Manipur have similar patterns of cause of death and could be cases of fake encounters.
- Justice Santosh Hegde Committee report also concluded that AFSPA has not been able to achieve peace in the Northeast, and on the contrary, it has widened the distance between the people of these areas and the mainland.
- J.S. Verma Committee (2012) and the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005) have found the law arbitrary and have recommended the repeal of AFSPA.
India likely to grow at 7.2% in current fiscal year: ADB
- India’s growth forecast was lowered for 2019-20 to 7.2% from 7.6% estimated earlier due to moderation in global demand and likely shortfall in revenue on the domestic front.
- According to the Asian Development Outlook 2019, India's growth slowed from 7.2 per cent in fiscal 2017 to 7 per cent in 2018, with weaker agricultural output and consumption growth curtailed by higher global oil prices and lower government expenditure.
- It is expected to rebound to 7.2 per cent in 2019 and 7.3 per cent in 2020 as policy rates are cut and farmers receive income support, bolstering domestic demand.
- The report added that sub-region wise, southeast Asia will sustain growth at close to 5 per cent this year and the next one.
The Great Barrier Reef:
- The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, the biggest coral reef on earth, is finding it tough to recover from the habitat destruction brought about by rising ocean temperatures.
- The Great Barrier Reef, home to 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 varieties of molluscs, annually contributes about $4.56 billion to the economies of Australia and the state of Queensland, where it is located.
- The habitat of the corals has been suffering ever since the occurrence of mass bleaching that hit the reefs in two consecutive years, 2016 and 2017.
- Several adult corals died following ocean heat waves that resulted in mass bleaching and the new corals are not able to settle in the ecosystem.
- The Great Barrier Reef, located on Australia’s east coast, covers 133,000 square miles and can be seen from outer space.
Source: TH,AIR,ANI, BusinessInsider