China consolidates in Africa following $60 billion pledge  –    (Economics)

  • China is set to expand investments in Africa that would help absorb its excess manufacturing capacity as part of an effort to re-engage with the continent and integrate it within its Belt and Road connectivity framework.
  • In tune with the meeting in Johannesburg, of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which President Xi Jinping and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma are co-chairing, China, has elaborated on its collective approach towards Africa. The two-day summit starts on December 4.


Javadekar blames developed nations for Chennai deluge  –   (Environment)

  • Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday linked the Chennai deluge that has claimed several lives, flooded streets and cut power and ration supplies to the global warming caused by developed nations in their bid to industrialise in the last century and a half.
  • “What is happening in Chennai is the result of what has happened for 150 years in the developed world. That is what has caused 0.8 degrees Celsius temperature rise. And therefore they must now take action more vigorously,” he toldThe Hindu in a conversation here a day before he leaves for the ongoing climate change conference in Paris. He will stay there till December 12.



Gates sceptical of solar, wind power  –   (Environment)

  • Lauding India for doubling its funding for research and development of climate change technology, the former Microsoft CEO and co-founder of the world’s biggest charitable foundation, Bill Gates, said technological innovation was the only way to fight climate change.
  • “If we are going to make the cost of clean energy as inexpensive as hydrocarbons, or coal energy today, we will need innovations.


Panel backs demands  –   (Economics)

  • The decks were cleared for political consensus on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Friday with recommendations from a committee headed by Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian backing three of the main demands of the Congress on the pending reform.
  • In a report submitted to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the panel recommended that the government drop the proposed additional one per cent tax on inter-state sales over and above the GST rate — a key Congress demand.


Amaravati awaits major makeover  –    (Indian Culture)

  • The ancient town of Amaravati, which gives its name to the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, is all set to dust itself and rise again as a cultural and tourist destination in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The town, located 40 km to the north of Guntur on the right bank of the Krishna, is renowned for its historic sites, including the great Asokan-era Mahastupa. The ancient fortified town of Dhanyakataka, or Dharanikota, the seat of power of the later Satavahanas lies to the west of Amaravati.


Community radio stations in a fix over regulations  –    (Governance)

  • Just months before the Information and Broadcasting Ministry reached out to civil society-operated community radio stations to gain greater control over content, by directing them to mail their content daily through an order dated April 30, the former Secretary Bimal Julka had already prepared the ground for it.
  • On January 29, Mr. Julka wrote: “At present, about 180 community radio stations are operational in different parts of the country. At this moment, this Ministry has no mechanism to monitor the contents of these community radio stations. Therefore there is a need to be vigilant about the possibility of misuse of CRS by anti-social elements.”


National Pride and Prejudice  –    (Indian Polity)

  • The Central government’s stand on the issue was made clear by the General Provision of Order of January 5, 2015 when it said, “Whenever the National Anthem is sung or played, the audience shall stand to attention.
  • However, when in the course of a newsreel or documentary, the Anthem is played as a part of the film, it is not expected of the audience to stand as standing is bound to interrupt the exhibition of the film and would create disorder and confusion rather than add to the dignity of the Anthem.”


What the law says and what the courts ruled  –    (Indian Polity)

  • It is the constitutional duty of every citizen, under Article51A(a) of the Constitution, to respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem. Standing during the national anthem does not necessarily mean respect for the national anthem. Nor does sitting during the anthem mean disrespect or qualify as a crime. What qualifies as crime is a “willful act” committed to insult the National Anthem.
  • Section 3 of the Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971 (as amended in 2005) does not dictate whether a person should sit or stand when the anthem is playing or sung.



Funding holds the key at Paris  –   (Environment)

  • As the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases among individual countries, India is under pressure at the Paris Climate Change conference to commit itself to a future trajectory of low emissions.
  • All countries with a significant role in the accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming, have made voluntary pledges that are aimed at the stabilisation of global temperature rise below 2° Celsius. India’s own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) promise to reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels.


Fighting IS with air strikes alone  –    (International Relation)

  • With British jets having started bombing Islamic State locations in Syria, four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have formally joined the war against the jihadist group.
  • The United States, France and Russia are already in the fray. But despite persistent bombing by these countries over the past few months, IS still holds on to the territories it controls. Will Britain joining the war change the script? Prime Minister David Cameron himself warned against quick expectations. He said it’s a “complex” war and that the country has to be “patient and persistent”.


Now, Germany joins anti-IS war   –    (International Relation)

  • Lawmakers on Friday approved plans for Germany to take on a direct role in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, answering France’s appeal for help after the deadly Paris attacks. Parliament agreed to the mandate for the deployment of Tornado reconnaissance jets, a frigate and up to 1,200 troops by an overwhelming majority of 445 votes in favour and 146 against.
  • The green light for the mission that could become Germany’s biggest deployment abroad comes three weeks after jihadists killed 130 people in a series of attacks in Paris.


‘Pak. is giving Taliban leadership to Haqqanis’  –    (International Relation)

  • The ongoing peacemaking attempts between Pakistan and the Taliban factions might end up with the Haqqanis emerging as the leaders of the Taliban, according to Amar Sinha, India’s Ambassador in Kabul.
  • Pakistan in recent weeks has been negotiating with the Taliban to restart the talks with Kabul that were stalled in July following a meeting in the resort city of Murree near the Pakistani capital.


U.S. military to open all roles, including combat, to women  –    (International Relation)

  • The U.S. military will open up all positions, including frontline combat roles, to women, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced on Thursday in a sweeping move officially ending centuries of men-only tradition.
  • The historic step served as a rebuke to a Marine Corps call this year for a partial exemption, after it argued mixed-gender combat units were not as effective as male groups.


Reserve Bank of India’s tricky strategy to ease market’s pre-Fed jitters  –   (Economics)

  • Haunted by memories of India’s 2013 markets crash, the country’s central bank is engaging in a tricky balancing act with domestic yields to keep volatility out of its bond markets ahead of the Federal Reserve’s historic policy decision this month.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is seeking to prevent wild swings in bond markets by agreeing to pay higher interest rates to investors at bond auctions, people with knowledge of the central bank’s operations say, while also buying bonds in the open market to stop yields rising too much.
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