Current Affairs 29th March, 2019

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1. U.S. circulates draft resolution on Azhar in Security Council

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The U.S.A took the lead in bringing sanctions against Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar at the United Nations by circulating a draft resolution among Security Council members.

Background

  • The move comes weeks after the 1267 Sanctions Committee failed to designate Azhar as a terrorist, after China placed a hold on a listing request that the U.S., the U.K., and France had brought before the Committee.

  • That listing request — the fourth such unsuccessful one in a decade — followed the February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir.

UNSC Committees dealing with Counter Terrorism

  • There are three committees that deal with Counter Terrorism:

  • Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee

  • Counter-Terrorism Committee

  • Security Council Committee

  • All Security Council committees, are composed of Member State representatives from the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council.

  • These are the five permanent members, China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States, and ten other rotating members.

  • Chair positions do not carry extraordinary decision-making power as the Committee takes all its decisions by consensus.

  • Since the committees officially takes decisions by consensus, the five permanent members can exercise their veto by placing a proposal on technical hold – which delays the case for three months before it can come back before the committee.

United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

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  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

Powers and Functions

  • Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions

  • It is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Member nations

  • The Security Council consists of fifteen members.

  • Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members.

  • These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

  • The Security Council also has 10 non-permanent members, elected on a regional basis to serve two-year terms. The body’s presidency rotates monthly among its members.


2. Country-by-country (CbC) reports

Image result for India and the United States have signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports.

India and the United States have signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement for Exchange of Country-by-Country (CbC) Reports.

Country-by-Country (CbC) Report

  • The Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action 13 report (Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting) provides a template for multinational enterprises (MNEs) to report annually and for each tax jurisdiction in which they do business the information set out therein. This report is called the Country-by-Country (CbC) Report.

  • A Country-by-Country (CbC) Report contains aggregated country-by-country information relating to the global allocation of income, the taxes paid, and certain other indicators of a multi-national company.

  • It also contains a list of all the constituent entities of the multi-national company operating in a particular jurisdiction and the nature of the main business activity of each constituent entity.

  • This information enables an enhanced level of assessment of tax risk by both tax administrations.

Importance of the agreement

  • This Agreement for Exchange of CbC Reports, along with the Bilateral Competent Authority Arrangement, will enable the countries to automatically exchange CbC Reports filed by the parent entities of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) in the respective jurisdictions with effect from January 1, 2016.

  • It would also obviate the need for Indian subsidiary companies of US MNEs to do local filing of the CbC Reports, thereby reducing the compliance burden.

  • India has already signed the Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement (MCAA) for Exchange of CbC Reports, which has enabled exchange of CbC Reports with 62 jurisdictions.


3. Beneath an Antarctica glacier

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Researchers have found vast bodies of water underneath one of the biggest Antarctica glaciers, giving crucial insight into the possible outcomes of global climate change, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) has revealed.

About Antartic continent

  • Antarctica is the world’s largest ice sheet, covering ~14,000,000 sq.km. Much of the Antarctic ice sheet surface lies above 3000 m above sea level.

  • This massive thickness of ice drowns whole mountain ranges, and numerous volcanoes exist underneath the icey exterior.

  • Antarctica is the world’s fifth largest continent, and it is, on average, the highest and coldest continent.

Different sections of Antartica

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  • The Antarctic continent comprises three ice sheets: the Antarctic Peninsula Ice Sheet, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, and the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

  • Most of Antarctica is covered by ice (~98%), with ice-free areas on, for example, nunataks (high mountains poking through the ice sheet), James Ross Island and Alexander Island on the Antarctic Peninsula, and the McMurdo Dry Valleys in East Antarctica.

  • The Antarctic Ice Sheet is drained by fast-flowing ice streams, which respond quickly to climate change; they can thin, accelerate, recede, or even stop flowing entirely.

  • Beneath the thick skin of ice, there is flowing water and subglacial lakes. Despite the aridity and cold temperatures, there is life on the ice, in the ice and underneath the ice.


4. President Kovind honoured with Croatia’s highest civilian order

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President Ram Nath Kovind was recently honoured with Croatia’s highest civilian order – The Grand Order of the King of Tomislav.

Details

  • Croatian state order is awarded to heads of state for their important contribution towards the development of state relations between Croatia and their respective countries.

  • The Grand Order of King Tomislav is the highest civilian order of Croatia.

  • It is named after King Tomislav of Croatia.







5. Coffee Board Activates Blockchain Based Marketplace in India

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Commerce Ministry launched blockchain based coffee e-marketplace in New Delhi.

Coffee Board

  • The Coffee Board of India is an organisation managed by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. It was established by an act of Parliament in 1942.

  • Until 1995 the Coffee Board marketed the coffee of many growers from a pooled supply, but after that time coffee marketing became a private-sector activity due to the economic liberalisation in India.

  • The Coffee Boards tradition duties included the promotion of the sale and consumption of coffee in India and abroad, conducting coffee research, financial assistance to establish small coffee growers, safeguarding working conditions for labourers, and managing the surplus pool of unsold coffee.