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‘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.

Turkish president Abdullah Gul approved the bill on restricting the judicial powers

The Turkish President Mr. Abdullah approved the bill on restricting the judicial powers. The bill will give more control to the Justice ministry in comparison to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. It is an independent body that deals with the appointment of the judiciary.

  • Objective: To curb the independence of the judicial powers. 

The Turkish parliament also cleared the bill putting restrictions on internet. The law would permit the telecommunication authority to close the websites for violation of privacy. Though, the authority would still need court’s approval within 24 hours. The authority would also have to obtain a court order to access records of user activity.

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