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India becomes permanent member of Washington Accord

A long wait for India ended when the country became a permanent member of the Washington Accord, an esteemed international treaty on engineering studies and mobility of engineers across signatory countries including the US, the UK and Australia. Permanent membership reflects on the country’s stature in the technical education space. Until now, India has been just a provisional member since 2007.

The meeting of the International Engineering Alliance of WA member nations met in Wellington, New Zealand and gave India the signatory status to join the select group of nations who are permanent signatories to the Washington Accord (WA). This will ensure highest quality assurance standards to be implemented in our technical and engineering programmes and provide global mobility to our engineering graduates​. It will significantly enhance their employment opportunities around the world.

The Washington Accord:

It is an international accreditation treaty for professional engineering academic degrees, between the bodies responsible for accreditation in its signatory nations. Initially when the Washington Accord came into force in 1989, only 6 developed countries were its members.

As of 2014, the signatories are: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong China, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The accord acknowledges that there is significant uniformity of programs accredited by those signatories. Every signatory countries recognizes the graduates of accredited programs by every other signatory countries as having met the academic requirements for entry to the practice of engineering. Recognition of accredited programs is not retroactive but takes effect only from the date of admission of the country to signatory status.

The treaty covers undergraduate engineering degrees under Outcome-based education approach. The accord doesn’t take into account engineering technology and postgraduate programs, although some engineering technology programs are covered under the Sydney Accord and the Dublin Accord. Only qualifications granted after the signatory country or region became part of the Washington Accord are recognized. The pact is not directly responsible for the licensing or registration of Professional Engineers and Chartered Engineers, but it does cover the academic prerequisites that are part of the licensing processes in countries party to the accord.

‘World Market Power’ Index: India 2nd most powerful nation

Multinational Spanish banking outfit Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, as part of its research project on Emerging and Growth-Leading Economies issued the ‘World Market Power’ Index. As per this Index, India is the second most powerful nation, when it comes to competing on the world market. The Index tracks nations’ abilities on the economic front.

China topped the ‘World Market Power’ Index list followed by India, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and Mexico.

Ukraine crisis: NATO suspends civilian and military co-operation with Russia

Following Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region, NATO suspended all practical civilian and military co-operation with Russia.  Russia’s annexation is being considered as a threat to European security.

The 28-member NATO bloc gathered in Brussels (Belgium) for their first meeting since Russia’s annexation of Crimea and stalwartly condemned Russia’s ‘illegal’ annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region. NATO is also considering options like situating permanent military bases in the Baltic States, to restore confidence amongst the members in Eastern Europe.

Why NATO is suspending civilian and military co-operation with Russia?

Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region was being considered the solemnest hazard to European security for quite sometime. Russia’s of Ukraine’s Crimea region has now fazed nerves in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which were a part of the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The Baltic States which were a part of Soviet Union like Ukraine, whose Crimean territory was recently annexed by Russia, also fear an annexation in future.

The map below shows the position of Ukraine, Crimea region, Russia and Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) in RED.

Russia-Ukraine-Crimea-Baltic States

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty (signed on 4 April 1949). The organization comprises a system of collective defence through which its member states accord to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external threat.

Baltic States

Baltic States or countries are 3 northern European countries east of the Baltic Sea – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which attained independence from the Russian Empire in the backwash of World War I. In the period between the World Wars, the Baltic States also included Finland.

  • Membership: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Japanese architect Mr. Shigeru Ban won the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2014

The Japanese architecture, Mr. Shigeru Ban (56) won the Pritzker Architecture Prize 2014 for his unique approach in using materials viz. paper tubes, bamboo and shipping containers.

About Mr. Shigeru Ban

  • Known for his creative and inexpensive designs for disaster relief shelters.
  • Purpose: To build an inexpensive and easy-to-construct-and- dismantle structures.
  • Designed a range of buildings to help victims of natural disasters and refugees in places viz. Rwanda, Turkey, India, China, Haiti,Japan, etc.
  • Uses cardboard tubes to make temporary housing in disaster zones.
  • Notable work: the seven-storied wooden office-building in Zurich, and the church made of cardboard tubes and colour glasses in Christchurch, New Zealand.

 Pritzker Architecture Prize

  • Establish: 1979.
  • Awarded for: A career of achievement in the art of architecture.
  • Sponsor: Hyatt Foundation.
  • Prize: $100,000, a citation and a bronze medallion.

 Note: Mr. Ban would be the seventh Japanese architect to receive the prize when it is given away on June 13, 2014 in Amsterdam.

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