Current Affairs Today - Current Affairs 2014 - Page 7

India inks FTA in Services, Investments With ASEAN

India inked a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in services and investments with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), paving the mode for a more relaxed movement of professionals and additionally opening prospects for investments between India and ASEAN.

India implemented FTA in goods with 10-member ASEAN in 2011. 9 out of 10 ASEAN nations have inked the agreement. Philippines , now the only ASEAN country yet to sign the pact, is finalizing its domestic process and is probable to sign soon.

All ASEAN members — Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — are likely to get the contract approved by their Parliaments after which it will be formally adopted during the next India–ASEAN summit later this year.

The trade in services agreement contains all characteristics of a contemporary and all-inclusive pact and is in line with the other bilateral agreements that India has inked so far.

Few vital Articles encompassed in the agreement are ones on transparency, domestic regulations, recognition, market access, national treatment, increasing participation of developing countries, joint committee on services, review, dispute settlement and denial of benefits, etc.

September 8, 2014: World Literacy Day observed across the world

World Literacy Day observed across the world on September 8, 2014. The theme of International Literacy Day 2014 was “Literacy and Sustainable Development.”

UNESCO announced September 8 as International Literacy Day on November 17, 1965 and this was first celebrated in 1966. Its objective is to emphasize the significance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. On International Literacy Day every year, UNESCO retells the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning worldwide.

Fresh choice of smugglers: ‘R22-Ozone-depleting fridge gas”

The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) has warned its offices at ports about smuggling of ozone-depleting materials as there has been a fresh surge in efforts to unlawfully ship R-22 gas, which is used in refrigerants and air-conditioners (ACs). The department of revenue intelligence has recognized fresh ways of smuggling these items into the country viz. R-22 gas cylinders were found to be hidden in shipments where the importer had stated shipments of furniture, kitchen cabinets, photocopiers,fruits, etc.

R-22 gas (Chloro-di-fluoro-methane) is permitted to be imported in India but is licensed. Given the rising market for fridges and air-conditioners, the demand is greater than licensed supply.

In some nations, use of the R22 will will be banned by 2015, while manufacturers were banded from using it in products launched after 2004. R-22 has been predominantly phased out in new equipment in the US under the Montreal Protocol, and has been substituted by other refrigerants with lower ozone depletion ability such as Propane (R-290), Pentafluoroethane, R-134a (1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane), and blended mixtures of HFCs such as R-409A, R-410A, R-438A, and R-507A.

R22 (HCFC-22 or Chloro-di-fluoro-methane or di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane)

  • Better known as HCFC-22, or R-22R22
  • Other names: Di-fluoro-mono-chloro-methane, Mono-chloro-di-fluoro-methane, HCFC-22, R-22, Genetron 22, Freon 22, Arcton 4, Arcton 22
  • A Hydro-Chloro-Fluoro-Carbon (HCFC)
  • Colorless gas
  • Mostly used as a propellant and refrigerant
  • Has Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) and High Global Warming Potential (GWP) – a powerful greenhouse gas with a GWP of 1810 (i.e. 1810 times as powerful as carbon dioxide).

Despite ODP and GWP, the worldwide use of R-22 continues to rise for its high demand in developing nations.

India, Bahrain convey commitment to improve bilateral trade, investment

India-BahrainIndia and Bahrain trade and commerce ties are on an upsurge. India and Bahrain trade and commerce has amassed momentum over the years and is assured to increase more with stress on partnerships in important sectors. Now the stress is on shifting from a characteristic buyer-seller relation to partners in progress. Significant areas include agriculture, infrastructure, healthcare, medical tourism, real estate and pharmaceuticals.

Key points on India-Bahrain Trade and Commerce relations:-

  •  Bilateral trade crossed $1,3 billion mark in 2013-14 and is expected to cross $1.5 billion.
  • India’s export to Bahrain has gone up by more than 80% over the past 5 years from $252 million to $603 million in 2012-13.
  • India’s key non-oil exports include chemicals, compounds of precious metals, boilers, electrical and electronic machinery and vehicles with spare parts.
  • Other than oil , India imports Aluminium, Iron and Steel, Salt, Sulphur, Plastering Materials, Lime and Cement, Fertilizers, etc. 

Why Bahrain is important for India?

Besides regular Business relations with Bahrain; Bahrain is important for India as being a member of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) and Bahrain’s Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with European nations and NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) can offer easygoing entry of Indian goods to the destinations abroad.

Serena Williams wins 3rd consecutive US Open

Tennis Woman’s World number one Serena Williams lifted her 3rd consecutive US Open trophy as she joined the elite club of Tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova on 18 Grand Slam titles. In the Women’s Singles finals at US Open, the US Tennis Star Serena Williams defeated Caroline Wozniazki of Denmark in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3 to secure a record-equalling sixth US Open title.

Also, the 32-year-old Serena Williams also surpassed Briton Virginia Wade to become the second oldest Grand Slam winner after Navratilova, who had won Wimbledon in 1990 aged 33.

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