India-US 2+2 Dialogue held at Washington
On December 18, 2019 India and United States held security dialogue in Washington. This was their second 2+2 dialogue.
The countries signed industrial security agreement allowing defense technology transfer. The US secretary Mike Pompeo and defence secretary Mark Esper hosted the meeting for Indian external affairs minister Shri Jai Shankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The countries signed agreements on space exploration and defence cooperation.
Three agreements under Defence Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) were signed that will help in co-developing critical technologies.
They also discussed on the efforts put in by the countries together for a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific with ASEAN at the centre. The leaders also reached MoU on water resources.
The agreement will be signed between India’s Ministry of Jal Shakti and US Geological Survey on quality assessment and management of water.
The countries signed Industrial Security Annex that will enhance technology transfer and information exchange.
Industrial Security Annex:
The Industrial Security Annex is a part of General Security of Military Information Agreement.
The ISA will provide a framework to pursue and co-develop linkages in defence manufacturing.
It will also add value to Make in India initiative.
It will also help in developing manufacturing corridors that have been launched in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
The first 2+2 dialogue was held in New Delhi in September 2018.
WHO launches first biosimilar medicine to treat Breast Cancer
On December 18, 2019, the World Health Organization launched its first biosimilar medicine to treat breast cancer.
The WHO intends to make the expensive, life-saving treatment affordable for women all over the world.
WHO launched a biosimilar medicine “Trastuzumab” in order to treat breast cancers. It is an antibody that shows high efficacy in curing early stages of breast cancers. It was included in the WHO Essential Medicines List in 2015.
In women, breast cancers are the most common form of cancers.
Around 2.1 million women are affected by breast cancers (2018 UN data). Treatment of breast cancer using “Trastuzumab” is an essential treatment for about 20% of breast cancers.
WHO also estimates that by 2040 the number of diagnosed breast cancers will reach 3.1 million.
Essential Medicines of WHO:
The Essential Medicines according to the WHO, are the medicines that satisfy priority health care needs. It was launched in 1977 and updated once in two years.
The list includes medicines for both adult and children.
The current list was published in April 2019.
Biosimilar medicines are produced from biological sources like cells and not from synthesized chemicals. They are important to treat cancers and other non-communicable diseases.
They are less expensive and give same effectiveness as that of generic medicines.
The trastizumab is already in use in several markets. But this is the first time, WHO is approving the medicine.
International Migrants Day
The International Migrants Day is observed by the United Nations since 1990 in order to protect the rights of the migrants.
The day was adopted after the organization passed a resolution at the International Convention on the Protection of the rights of all migrant workers.
According to the UN, one-seventh of the world population which is 1 billion are migrants.
The day gained wider importance after international organizations like International Organization for Migration joined to mark the day in 1997. This year’s International Migrants Day theme is
Theme: Social Cohesion, Celebrating the integration of migrants into communities around the world.
International Conference of Migration:
The International Conference of Migration was held in Bangkok by the International Labour Organization. Along with ILO the conference was also hosted by Chula Global Network, Institute of Asian Studies, etc. The conference was the continuation of the last year conference with the same theme.
Theme: Migration and SDGs: ASEAN and Beyond-A path way to 2030 agenda :
It aims to integrate institutes and organizations working on migration issues.
It also aims at setting up a clear message that migration is a major issue among ASEAN countries and also globally and cannot be ignore.
UN Global Compact on Migration:
The United Nations Global compact on Migration is an inter-governmental pact and not a treaty.
It is non-abiding under international law.
It aims for safe, orderly and regular migration. It was signed in 19 December 2018.
The compact makes it important for the states to frame their national migration policy.
It also gives clauses that the countries should abide in order to protect the rights of the migrants.
US President Donald Trump impeached
On December 18, 2019, Donald Trump became the third President to be impeached by the US House.
He was accused of enlisting foreign government to investigate political rival before 2020 election.
The House called for voting process alleging that the President pressurized Ukraine to announce investigations against his political rival Joe Biden ahead of 2020 elections.
The Democrats had majority in the house to impeach the President. It is necessary to prove the charges at the senate as well, where a voting process with two-third majority is essential for conviction.
Impeachment in American History:
So far only two American presidents have been impeached. In 1998, President Bill Clinton was impeached on charges of sexual relationship with his intern.
However, the senate acquitted him. Before him, in 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached. He was acquitted by one vote in the Senate.
In 1974, President Nixon resigned over water gate corruption charges. The judiciary committee approved the articles of impeachment before the house could even pass them.
Impeachment in the US:
Article 2 of the US constitution lists the procedure of impeachment of US president. Impeachment does not remove the president from power.
It is an accusation, when proved the Senate should decide whether to convict the president of the charges contained.
The impeachment process in the US begins with an investigation by House Committee. When the committee finds out enough evidences to prove the accusation of the president, it enters the house.
The house votes and if the majority agrees, the proceedings is taken to the senate.
The trial at the senate is overseen by the Chief Justice of Supreme Court.
If two-thirds of the senators find the president guilty, he is removed and the vice president takes over.
National Broadband Mission
Ministry of communications have recently launched a new “National Broadband Mission”.
It aims to increase tower density from 0.42 to 1 tower per thousand of population by 2024.
The mission aimed at providing broadband access in all villages in the country by 2022.
Under the mission, the government plans to lay incremental 30 lakh route km of Optical Fiber Cable.
The Centre will work with States and UTs for having consistent policies pertaining to expansion of digital infrastructure including for Right of Way (RoW) approvals required for laying of optical fibre cable.
It entails investments of around ₹7 lakh crore from various stakeholders.
Additionally, a Broadband Readiness Index will be developed to measure the availability of digital communications infrastructure within a State/UT.
Other Objectives – Creation of a digital fiber map of the Digital Communications network and infrastructure, including Optical Fiber Cables and Towers, across the country.
Investment from stakeholders of USD 100 billion (Rs 7 Lakh Crore) including Rs 70,000 crore from Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is the national public procurement portal launched by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 2016.
It offers end to end solutions for all procurement needs of Central and State Government Departments, PSUs, autonomous institutions and local bodies.
It has more than 3 lakh registered sellers and service providers and more than 40,000 Government buyer organizations.
Sellers from the State are benefitting through the access to national Public Procurement market using the portal.
It makes procurement contactless, paperless and cashless.
The government has recently launched GeM Samvaad, which is a national outreach programme.
It will take place with stakeholders across the country and with local sellers in order to facilitate on-boarding of local sellers on the marketplace while catering to specific requirements and procurement needs of buyers.
The outreach programme will cover all the States and UTs of the country.
Through GeM Samvaad the marketplace is looking forward to receiving feedback from users which shall be used for making improvements and advancements in the system.
Global Refugee Meet
The first Global Refugee Forum (GRF) was held in Geneva, Switzerland.
It aims to debate and discuss the response of the world’s countries to the global refugee situation.
It is a two-day gathering of United Nations member states.
It is jointly hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, and the Government of Switzerland.
It is guided by the Global Compact on Refugees.
It has been organised around 6 areas of focus –
Pakistan PM sought to use the platform to attack India over Kashmir.
The GRF will be held every four years at the Ministerial level.
Presently, the number of refugees has risen to over 25 million people worldwide.