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11th September Current Affairs

The young child outcomes index and the young child environment index released

In News:

Both these indices are part of the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report.

It is a report brought out by non-governmental organisation Mobile Creches.

About the young child outcomes index:

It measures health, nutrition and cognitive growth with the help of indicators such as infant mortality rate, stunting and net attendance at the primary school level.

Key findings:

Top 5: Kerala, Goa, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram are among the top five States for well-being of children.

Eight States have scores below the country’s average: they are Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

About the young child environment index:

Its objective is to understand the policy and environment enablers that influence a child’s well-being.

How is it measured?

It uses five policy enablers that influence child well-being outcomes, including poverty alleviation, strengthening primary healthcare, improving education levels, safe water supply and promotion of gender equity.

Key findings:

Top 5: Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh secured the top five positions.

Eight States that have a below average score on the outcomes index also fared poorly on this one.

Suggestions made by the report:

India spent ₹1,723 per child in 2018 on expenses towards child nutrition, healthcare, education and other necessary protection services. This is insufficient and fails to reach the entire eligible population. Therefore, the need of the hour is to Increase in public spending on children.

BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting

In News:

The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held through video conference under the Chairpersonship of Russian Federation.

Basic facts that you must know about BRICS:

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers in 2006.

South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.

Other key points:

The chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.

The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually.

During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014) the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB). They also signed the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

Here, Cooperation among members is achieved through:

Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.

Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.

Track III: Civil society and People-to-People engagement.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

In News:

Greece rejects NATO mediation.

It says ‘de-escalation’ only after Turkey withdraws vessels from Greek waters.

What’s the issue?

Over recent weeks, tensions have been rising in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, prompted by what seems like a simple rivalry over energy resources.

Turkey has pursued an aggressive gas exploration effort, its research vessel heavily protected by warships of the Turkish Navy.

There have been encounters with rival Greek vessels and a third Nato country, France, has become involved, siding with the Greeks.

These tensions also highlight another shift in the region – the decline of US power.

Cause for latest tensions:

Tensions are mounting to breaking point between Turkey and Greece over Turkey’s drilling work near the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which like Greece is an EU member country.

Turkey doesn’t recognize the divided island of Cyprus as a state and claims 44 per cent of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone as its own.

Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

It is an intergovernmental military alliance.

Established by Washington treaty.

Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.

Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.

Significance:

It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

Composition:

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.

NATO membership is open to “any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Objectives:

Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

Military – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

In News:

Iran has granted IAEA inspectors access to one of two sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s.

Details:

Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).

However, as per IAEA reports, Iran continues to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of limitations set in the deal.

Why this oversight is necessary?

The suspected work on a uranium metal disk, which could be used as a nuclear weapon component, and on neutrons—which are used to trigger a nuclear implosion—point to Iranian work on a neutron initiator for a nuclear weapons test or nuclear weapons device.

Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has grown by around 50% since February to 1,572 kilograms. That puts Iran’s stockpile of the nuclear fuel far above the limit of 202.8 kilograms stipulated in the 2015 nuclear accord.

With 1,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, Iran would likely have enough material to fuel a single bomb once the material is further enriched, a process some experts believe could take as little as three months.

About IAEA:

Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Functions:

Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.

Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Board of Governors:

22 member states (must represent a stipulated geographic diversity) — elected by the General Conference (11 members every year) – 2 year term.

At least 10 member states — nominated by the outgoing Board.

Board members each receive one vote.

Functions:

Recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget.

Responsible for publishing IAEA standards.

Responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA.

Appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval.

Programs:

Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

Human Health Program.

Water Availability Enhancement Project.

International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.

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