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12th November Current Affairs

Atlantic Charter

(GS-I: World history)

In News:

U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Robert Spalding has announced the Digital Atlantic Charter initiative, a public-private effort focused on safeguarding democracies worldwide.

About the initiative:

It is created in the spirit of the Atlantic Charter and following the recent AUKUS trilateral security partnership between Australia, U.K. and the U.S.

The initiative supports countries in every region of the world as they work to protect and ensure the resilience of their critical infrastructure.

The initiative provides policy advice, an investment vehicle and a technology development platform to help government agencies and commercial entities counter digital authoritarianism.

Background:

President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has recently inspected documents related to the Atlantic Charter, a declaration signed by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt in August 1941.

The two leaders plan to sign what they’re calling a new Atlantic Charter, pledging to “defend the principles, values, and institutions of democracy and open societies.”

About the Atlantic Charter:

The Atlantic Charter was a joint declaration issued during World War II (1939-45) by the United States and Great Britain that set out a vision for the postwar world.

First announced on August 14, 1941, a group of 26 Allied nations eventually pledged their support by January 1942.

Among its major points were a nation’s right to choose its own government, the easing of trade restrictions and a plea for postwar disarmament.

The document is considered one of the first key steps toward the establishment of the United Nations in 1945.

What Was Included In The Atlantic Charter?

The Atlantic Charter included eight common principles. This includes:

  • The United States and Britain agreed not to seek territorial gains from the war, and they opposed any territorial changes made against the wishes of the people concerned.
  • To support the restoration of self-government to those nations who had lost it during the war.
  • People should have the right to choose their own form of government.

Privilege motion against Minister

(GS-II: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these)

In News:

Congress chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Jairam Ramesh has moved a privilege motion against Culture Minister G. Kishan Reddy over the appointment of former MP Tarun Vijay as the Chairperson of the National Monuments Authority, a post for which, Mr. Ramesh said, Mr. Vijay was not qualified.

What’s the issue?

The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 says that the Chairperson of the NMA should have “proven experience and expertise in the field of archaeology, country and town planning, architecture, heritage, conservation architecture or law.”

However, the Government had appointed a chairperson whose educational and professional background does not meet the requirements o fa law passed by Parliament in March 2010.

What are Parliamentary Privileges?

Parliamentary Privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.

Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.

Apart from the privileges as specified in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion.

Motion against breaches:

When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson:

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

Applicability:

The Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the Attorney General of India.

The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament. Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President.

Daylight Saving Time

(GS-I: Important Geophysical phenomenon)

In News:

Daylight saving time was in the news this week as standard time hit the United States this past weekend, forcing people to turn their clocks back and gain an hour of sleep.

What is Daylight Saving Time?

Also called summer time, it is the system for uniformly advancing clocks, so as to extend daylight hours during conventional waking time in the summer months.

The practice was first suggested in a whimsical essay by Benjamin Franklinin 1784.

In countries in the Northern Hemisphere, clocks are usually set ahead one hour in late March or in April and are set back one hour in late September or in October.

Objectives for using DST:

Achieve energy efficiency: Increasing focus on energy efficiency due to climate change because of over consumption of energy makes DST relevant. DST is thus an environmentally sustainable concept.

To ensure that the clocks show a later sunrise and later sunset — in effect ensure a longer evening daytime.

Completion of routine work an hour earlier.

DST is meant to save energy.

Issues and concerns associated:

On Agriculture: One reason why farmers oppose DST is that grain is best harvested after dew evaporates, so when field hands arrive and leave earlier in summer, their labor is less valuable. Dairy farmers are concerned because their cows are sensitive to the timing of milking, so delivering milk earlier disrupts their systems.

A spike in workplace injuries: A study of mining injuries across the U.S., found that there was a spike in workplace injuries of nearly 6 percent on the Monday following the shift to daylight saving time.

On labour and work productivity: Workplace productivity the week after DST drastically decreases. People are tired and lethargic due to a reduction in sleep.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

(GS-II: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate)

In News:

New Zealand is hosting this year’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Details:

Continued outbreaks of the coronavirus and related travel restrictions have confined the meeting to the virtual realm for a second straight year.

As usual, the 21 APEC members will be seeking areas where members can cooperate on easing barriers to trade and economic growth instead of trying to settle longstanding feuds.

APEC:

It is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.

Aim: to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

Functions:

APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.

Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.

The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

Members:

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

Significance:

In all, APEC members account for nearly 3 billion people and about 60% of the world’s GDP. They span the Pacific rim, from Chile to Russia to Thailand to Australia.