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Mind-mapping:

  • Is Kosovo an independent country? Issue with Kosovo.

  • Why has there been an opposition for Kosovo’s independent status? Stakeholders involved- what are their reasons for supporting as well as opposing Kosovo’s independent status? Stand taken by the United Nations (U.N) in this regard?

Courtesy – http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/e/e5/Kosovo_1913-1992_CIA.jpg (image)

IRELAND

Ireland gets final IMF payout as it exits rescue

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the 12th and last review of Ireland’s progress under its three-year rescue program allowing a final $890 million in support of its financial rebuilding.

Ireland has pulled back from an exceptionally deep banking crisis, significantly improved its fiscal position, and regained its access to the international financial markets.

The IMF along with the European Commission, Denmark, Sweden and Britain took part in the €85-billion ($117 billion) rescue of the country, which aimed to stop a deep balance of payments crisis as the country along with many others across Europe struggled in the economic downturn.



Challenges ahead:

Ireland still faces significant economic challenges. Unemployment is too high, public debt sustainability remains fragile and heavy private sector debts and banks’ slow progress in resolving nonperforming loans weigh on domestic demand.

Continued concerted policy implementation is therefore necessary for Ireland to recover fully from the crisis.

Mind-mapping:


  • Role and function of IMF and its relevance in the contemporary world (relevance to India)?

  • What was Euro-crisis all about? Reasons behind it? Its impact on India and other developing countries?

SOUTH AMERICA

URUGUAY

Uruguay legalizes marijuana

Though consumption of marijuana is allowed in some countries, Uruguay has become the first country in the world to allow its citizens to grow and sell it. It involves a big cultural change that focuses on public health and the fight against drug trafficking.

This experiment is being watched by several countries, which are getting tired of the U.S.-led “war on drugs” and working on drug liberalisation policies.

NORTH AMERICA

CANADA

India-Canada Bilateral relationship: Civil Nuclear ties, Energy Security, Investment

India and Canada are aiming for closer partnerships in civil nuclear energy and hydrocarbons with the dissipation of distrust that kept them estranged for 40 years after India had conducted a nuclear test in 1974.

In hydrocarbons tie-up, India will take first cargo of oil sourced from Canada’s east coast from the beginning of next year (January 2014). Indian refiners are interested in importing Alberta blended bitumen from its Saint John terminal. Canada’s ice-free marine terminal at Saint John would cater for Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCC), thus making transportation economical. (This would help Indian refiners as this product would be significant.)

This relationship would be supplemented with a “collaborative approach” in the civil nuclear sector, decks for which have been cleared with the signing of a civil nuclear accord and finalising of administrative arrangements. (Canada’s ties in the nuclear sphere had begun in the mid-1950s and lasted till India’s first nuclear test in 1974.)

India and Canada have just completed an energy dialogue which has been elevated from the bureaucratic to ministerial level.

The idea of developing shale oil and gas, mainly by the U.S. and Canada, has galvanized the geopolitics of the energy market. Three scenarios might emerge. First, the lowered gas prices will force key producers to readjust production and they may consider forming a cartel; second, gas may begin to be independently priced; and third, this independent pricing would ultimately have an effect on oil prices.

Also Canada is rich in Uranium, which would help India in its Energy security.

Both Prime Ministers had set the bilateral trade target at $15 billion by the end of 2015 fiscal. It would be assisted by a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) (currently the negotiations for CEPA is going on). And with regard to Investments – Canadian pension funds are looking at India’s infrastructure requirements. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) had already announced investment of $200 million.



To know more about CEPA, CECA refer our Insights Current Events Analysis, October 2013.

Mind-mapping:

  • Reasons behind the distrust between the two countries (India & Canada) that kept them estranged for 40 years.

  • India’s approach towards meeting its energy needs? Steps taken by GOI in this regard.

  • Significance of CEPA, CECA. Difference between the two? The countries with which India has signed the pacts?

  • What do you understand by ‘geo-politics’? Significance of Geopolitics? Strategic relationship between the two countries?

  • India’s Nuclear Energy program.

KOREA

South Korea expands air defence zone

South Korea has expanded its Air Defence Identification Zone (ADIZ) for the first time in six decades, in an apparent response to China’s decision to set up its first such zone over disputed parts of the East China Sea.

Underlining how China’s decision has heightened regional tensions and has increased the likelihood of an incident in the contested skies over northeastern Asia, South Korea’s newly expanded ADIZ will overlap with northern areas of China’s zone.

An ADIZ is not a territorial claim, but a defined area in international space within which countries monitor and track aircraft that are heading towards territorial airspace.



S.Korea’s announcement was seen as an attempt to bolster its control over parts of the East China Sea surrounding the Leodo reef, which, earlier, lay beyond the southern edge of its zone. The eastern and western limits of its ADIZ have not been expanded.

Tensions rise as U.S. moves missile interceptor batteries to Guam

The probability of a nuclear exchange between North Korea and other nations including the U.S. has increased further after Pentagon (U.S military institution). has announced that it would be mobilising ground-based THAAD missile-interceptor batteries (The THAAD system includes a truck-mounted launcher and interceptor missiles) to protect its military bases on Guam, a U.S. territory located 3,380 km southeast of North Korea and home to 6,000 American military personnel, submarines and bombers.



The move has been condemned by North Korea has U.S. aggression and has warned that a war could break out ‘today or tomorrow’.

However, Pentagon has argued that its deployment would only strengthen U.S. regional defence posture against the North Korean regional ballistic missile threat.

The North Korean military cautioned that it had received final approval for military action against the U.S., particularly responding to what it called the ‘provocative U.S. use of nuclear-capable B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers in ongoing war games with South Korea.’

Even U.S. Defence Secretary has declared that North Korea posed “a real and clear danger” to South Korea, Japan and America, and it is allegedly that the untested North Korean Musudan missile had a theoretical range of 3,000 km and this could put all of South Korea and Japan within its reach.

North Korea, meanwhile has held firm to its blockade of the South from the Kaesong factory park run, which both nations operate jointly.

Courtesy – http://i.i.cbsi.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2013/04/03/map_asia_korea_guam_620x_1.jpg (image 1)




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