21st April Current Affairs
April 21, 2021
23rd April Current Affairs
April 23, 2021
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22nd April Current Affairs

WHO urges halt on sale of live wild mammals in markets

In News:

The World Health Organization, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have called for a halt to the sale of live wild mammals in food markets to prevent the emergence of new diseases such as COVID-19.

Need for:

Because traditional markets play a central role in providing food and livelihoods for large populations, banning the sale of live wild mammals could protect the health of market workers and customers alike.

Animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70% of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses. Wild mammals, in particular, pose a risk for the emergence of new diseases.

About the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE):

  • The need to fight animal diseases at global level led to the creation of the Office International des Epizooties through the international Agreement signed on January 25th 1924.
  • In May 2003 the Office became the World Organisation for Animal Health but kept its historical acronym OIE.
  • The OIE is the intergovernmental organisation responsible for improving animal health worldwide.
  • It is recognised as a reference organisation by the World Trade Organization (WTO).
  • The organisation is placed under the authority and control of a World Assembly of Delegates consisting of Delegates designated by the Governments of all Member Countries.
  • The main objective of the OIE is to control epizootic diseases and thus to prevent their spread.

Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020)

In News:

Two adult one-horned rhinos were recently translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary to Manas National Park, under the aegis of the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020).

Details:

With this last leg of wild-to-wild translocation under IRV2020, a total of 22 rhinos have been translocated from Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary (12) and Kaziranga National Park (10) to Manas National Park.

About the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 (IRV 2020):

Launched in 2005.

IRV 2020 is an initiative led by the Forest Department, Government of Assam, in partnership with WWF India, International Rhino Foundation, and several other organizations.

The goal of IRV2020 was to increase the rhino population in Assam to 3,000 by establishing populations in new areas.

Rhinos are now found in four Protected Areas in Assam: Pabitora Wildlife Reserve, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park, Kaziranga National Park, and Manas National Park.

About One- horned rhinos:

Only the Great One-Horned Rhino is found in India.

Also known as Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species.

It is identified by a single black horn and a grey-brown hide with skin folds.

They primarily graze, with a diet consisting almost entirely of grasses as well as leaves, branches of shrubs and trees, fruit, and aquatic plants.

Protection Status:

IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES): Appendix I (Threatened with extinction and CITES prohibits international trade in specimens of these species except when the purpose of the import is not commercial, for instance for scientific research).

Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.

Other Conservation Efforts by India:

  • The five rhino range nations (India, Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia and Malaysia) have signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species.
  • The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has begun a project to create DNA profiles of all rhinos in the country.
  • National Rhino Conservation Strategy: It was launched in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact

In News:

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently said that he hoped India would “reassess” its stand on regional trading agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact that India withdrew from in 2019.

Need for India’s presence in RCEP:

India had “a crucial role” to play in helping the region build an inclusive architecture at a time of increasing global instability.

Such trade pacts will also give Indian companies a platform to showcase their strengths across even larger markets.

Besides, Rising U.S.-China tensions were “deeply worrying” for the region with the pandemic resulting in “heightened tension”.

What is RCEP?

The RCEP came into force in November 2020 without India. The signatories of the agreement include 10 ASEAN countries – Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines and 5 key partners (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

Aims and Objectives of RCEP:

  • To lower tariffs, open up trade in services and promote investment to help emerging economies catch up with the rest of the world.
  • To help reduce costs and time for companies by allowing them to export a product anywhere within the bloc without meeting separate requirements for each country.
  • It also touches on intellectual property, but will not cover environmental protections and labour rights.

Why India did not join?

India withdrew from the RCEP largely because of concerns it would open it up to Chinese goods amid an already wide trade imbalance with China, and the failure of the agreement to adequately open up to services.

India, Russia committed to S-400 deal

In News:

Russian Ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev recently confirmed that both India and Russia are “committed” to completing their contract for the S-400 missile system, due to be delivered to India at the end of the year. He said both countries opposed U.S. sanctions on the issue.

What’s the issue?

The S-400 deal could attract sanctions under US’ CAATSA law. The US has already sanctioned China and Turkey over similar purchases.

What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.

It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.

Enacted in 2017.

Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.

What sanctions will be imposed?

  • prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  • prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  • prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  • denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.