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Hassan Rouhani Wins Iran’s Presidential Election

Hassan Rouhani has been re-elected as the President of Iran. He was elected as president for his first term in 2013. He won 2013 elections by pledging to end Iran’s isolation and improve civil rights at home.

Rouhani was born in Semnan province on November 12, 1948. He is a graduate of University of Tehran and did his PhD from Scotland’s Glasgow Caledonian University. The 68 year old Rouhani is a lawyer, academic and a former diplomat.

Rouhani has won his second term by presenting himself as the candidate of change and social freedoms that ended many sanctions and a 13 year standoff over Iran’s nuclear programme. He has held various key positions like the key defence portfolios during the 1980 -88 Iran-Iraq war. He had spent 16 years as secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, which is Iran’s top security post. Rouhani consistently worked to rebuild Irans’ relations with the West. He also became the first Iranian leader to speak with the President of United States when Barack Obama phoned in September 2013.

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Study on Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for Solar Power Generation Projects in Solar Rich Countries Commissioned

India along with countries like Argentina, Burkina-Faso, Chad, France, Ivory Coast, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Yemen has jointly commissioned a study to define and structure a Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM) for solar power generation projects in solar rich countries. The commissioning of the study is aimed at dramatic reduction in the cost of finance for renewable energy and the overall price of electricity. The exercise is part of the international efforts aimed at implementing the the Paris Declaration of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) adopted on 30 November 2015.
The study has been entrusted to a task force chaired by Terrawatt Initiative (TWI), the World Bank Group, the Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) and also the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). Each of the participating countries will also appoint a qualified representative who will cooperate with the task force and provide information regarding the country specific expectations, experience and needs of the task force. All the countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics are also invited to join the task force and support this initiative in order to attract investments into solar sector.

Need

The Council on Energy, Environment and Water calculates the cost of capital to form a substantial amount in the total costs of renewable energy. In India it accounts for 70% of the total cost of solar Power. In this regard, the CRMM is expected to offer a simple and affordable tool that will develop a secure environment for private institutional investment in solar assets.

ISA

On the first day of the COP-21 summit, the International Solar Alliance was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande as a union of countries with abundant sunlight. Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics {i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn} have been invited to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America.There are three objectives behind the International Solar Alliance. First is to force down prices by driving demand; second is to bring standardization in solar technologies and third is to foster research and development.

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China, ASEAN Countries Agree on Framework for South China Sea Code of Conduct

China and the 10 member of the ASEAN grouping have agreed to a framework of a legally binding code of conduct aimed at preventing disputes in the strategic South China Sea. Though the draft of the framework has been finalised, no details about the text of the framework agreement has been released. Also, no date has been given on which the full code of conduct is set to be adopted by the parties. However, all the parties have agreed to continue to constructively advance the negotiations and work towards the early conclusion of the code of conduct.

Background

China and the ASEAN members had committed to sign a code of conduct around 15 years ago. But the pace of the negotiations was slow as China claimed the South China in its entirety. ASEAN members like Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei also maintain claims in the South China Sea. In the absence of the code of conduct, each country followed a separate document called the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), which has a provision committing parties to explore ways to build trust and confidence based on the principles of equality and mutual respect. Last year, China was enraged by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Hague, the Netherlands, which in its ruling has rejected China’s claims to economic rights across large swathes of South China Sea in a case brought by the Philippines.

10 ASEAN Members: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

South China Sea

South China Sea is part of Pacific Ocean spreading an area of some 35 lakh square km with eight littoral countries / territories viz. China, Taiwan, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Singapore and Vietnam. It is strategically located in the international shipping route that sees the passage of world’s half of the merchant ships. The sea is rich in energy reserves including petroleum, mineral and fishing resources. It is made of some 200 tiny islands, coral reefs, shoals, sandbanks etc. grouped into three archipelagos of Spratlys, Paracels and Pratas. The Macclesfield Bank and Scarborough Shoal are also part of South China Sea. Several countries have made competing territorial claims over the South China Sea. Such disputes have been regarded as Asia’s most potentially dangerous point of conflict.

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