Pranab stresses India’s balancing act - (International Relation)
- President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday reiterated India’s approach towards Israel and Palestine — continue to support the Palestine cause while pursuing improved relationship with Israel.
- Speaking to the media team accompanying him, while returning from Israel, Mr. Mukherjee said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas briefed him about the evolving situation in Israel-Palestine relations.
SC Bench strikes down NJAC Act as ‘unconstitutional and void - (Indian Polity)
- Declaring that the judiciary cannot risk being caught in a “web of indebtedness” towards the government, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment which sought to give politicians and civil society a final say in the appointment of judges to the highest courts.
- The Bench in a majority of 4:1 rejected the NJAC Act and the Constitutional Amendment as “unconstitutional and void.” It held that the collegium system, as it existed before the NJAC, would again become “operative.”
India’s subsonic Nirbhay missile fails again - (Defence)
- Nirbhay, the subsonic cruise missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), failed again on Friday when it lost control after about 12 minutes of flight and fell into the Bay of Bengal.
- The flight was to have lasted an hour, covering a range of about 800 km. However, after 700 seconds of flight when Nirbhay had crossed the first way-point and negotiating the second way-point, it developed a snag. It lost control and fell into the sea.
Bench feared a culture of “reciprocity” of favours - (Indian Polity)
- While Justices Lokur, Kurian and Goel, agreed with Justice Khehar’s nearly 500-page ‘Order on Merits’ that the NJAC and the Constitutional Amendment defeated the primacy of judiciary over the government in the appointment of judges, Justice Chelameswar differed, saying that “judiciary cannot be the only constitutional organ capable of protecting the liberties of the people.”
- Justice Chelameswar disagreed with his fellow judges and upheld the validity of the Constitutional Amendment. In his exhaustive judgment approved by the majority on the Bench, Justice Khehar attacked the NJAC laws on merits, and said they would breed a culture of “reciprocity” of favours between the government and the judiciary, and thus, destroy the latter.
Centre orders probe into ‘illegal mining’ in Odisha - (Indian Polity)
- Union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar has set the ball rolling for an inspection by the Indian Bureau of Mines into allegations of illegal iron ore mining in Odisha.
- “I have instructed that an inspection be conducted to ascertain if illegal mining is taking place there,” Mr. Tomar told The Hindu here on Friday. “This will be taken care of by the IBM.”
‘Digital India complements RTI’ - (Governance)
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday emphasised that transparency was vital to good governance.
- He was speaking at the 10th Annual Convention of the Right to Information (RTI) law. The theme of the two-day convention celebrating a decade of the transparency law is ‘RTI: Outlook for the future – Trust through Transparency.’ The Right to Information Act was passed by the Rajya Sabha on May 12, 2005.
Sex ratio falls to 898 girls per 1,000 boys - (Social Issues)
- Despite the 2011 census setting alarm bells ringing about India’s worsening sex ratio, the gap between male and female registered births in India fell further in 2012 and 2013, new official data suggest.
- India’s Civil Registration System (CRS), administered by the office of the Registrar General of India, which also conducts the decadal census, comprises all officially registered birth and death data. It is mandatory to register all births and deaths within 21 days of their occurrence.
A Nobel for the idea of well-being - (Economics)
- Deaton has constantly questioned the divorce between policymaking and public discussion. His contribution has not only been as an economist, but also as a public intellectual. He is a firm supporter of government action for social policy.
- Angus Deaton, the winner of this year’s Nobel in economics, has contributed immensely to the understanding of poverty, prices, nutrition and well-being in India. His work has been guided by the belief that economic progress must lead to better lives for everyone.
An assertion of primacy - (Indian Polity)
- It is extraordinary that there should be near-unanimity in the country that the present system of judicial appointments that was put in place in 1993 is deeply unsatisfactory, and yet the most significant legislative effort to reform it should fail before the Supreme Court.
- It is no surprise that a five-judge Bench has struck down the Constitution (99th Amendment) Act, 2014, by which the government established a National Judicial Appointments Commission to select members of the higher judiciary.
CBI caught on the wrong foot - (Indian Polity)
- The Central Bureau of Investigation and political insularity are poles apart and there are no signs of this unfortunate situation changing for a long time to come.
- The CBI’s problems are not only the result of political interference; the lack of professionalism and integrity flows from poor leadership as well.
It’s time to be a good neighbour - (International Relation)
- As long as the Nepalis perceive the outcomes of the special relationship between India and Nepal to be unfair, it will be difficult to secure their cooperation. It is upto Mr. Modi to change that.
- The people of Nepal feel India coldly acknowledged their Constitution and then reacted indifferently to the humanitarian crisis. So they ask, does India care about the Nepali people or is it concerned about its own interests?
EU refugee deal unacceptable: Turkey - (International Relation)
- Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioglu on Friday slammed an EU offer of financial help to Turkey to ease the refugee crisis as unacceptable, saying an action plan agreed in Brussels was a draft and not final.
- “There is a financial package proposed by the EU and we told them it is unacceptable,” Sinirlioglu told reporters.
- He said the action plan agreed late Thursday is “not final” and merely “a draft on which we are working.”
Pakistan, Russia sign gas pipeline pact - (International Relation)
- Pakistan and Russia signed an agreement on Friday to build a gas pipeline stretching hundreds of kilometres from Karachi on the Arabian Sea to the eastern city of Lahore.
- Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Pakistan Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi signed the agreement at a ceremony witnessed by Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and broadcast live.
Jewish holy site set afire in West Bank - (International Relation)
- Asite revered by Jews in the West Bank was torched by Palestinians overnight in an incident that threatened to further inflame over two weeks of deadly unrest, as fresh protests were planned for Friday.
- Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, under pressure over recent comments that some have labelled incitement, quickly condemned the fire at the site in the northern city of Nablus known as Joseph’s Tomb. Video showed what looked like an extensive blaze and the Israeli army called it “a despicable act” of desecration.