International Current Affairs - 2020

Pakistan has no plans to grant MFN status to India

Pakistan Government has no immediate plans to grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India. However, it is working out free trade agreements (FTAs) with different countries, especially China and hopes to complete second FTA with China by June 2019. Pakistan has not reciprocated MFN status to India, reportedly citing “non-tariff barriers” erected by India as well as huge trade imbalance.

Pakistan maintains negative list of 1,209 items which are not permitted to be imported from India. But, it allows only 137 products to be exported from India through Wagah border land route. Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stood at US $2.28 billion in 2016-17. India mainly exports cotton, dyes, chemicals, vegetables and iron and steel to Pakistan while it imports fruits, cement, leather, chemicals and spices.

Most Favoured Nation (MFN)

  • As per World Trade Organisation (WTO) rule, each of the WTO member countries should treat all tother members equally as ‘most-favoured’ trading partners.
  • Though MFN sounds like special treatment, in effect it means non-discrimination and tend to promote objective of free trade in general.
  • Under MFN status, WTO member country is obliged to treat other trading nations in non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
  • India has already granted this status to all WTO members, including Pakistan (accorded in 1996), but Pakistan is yet to transition fully to MFN status for India.

World Pneumonia Day: November 12

World Pneumonia Day is observed globally every year on November 12 to generate awareness about ‘pneumonia’ disease. The observance of day aims to highlight the severity of pneumonia and bring together people from all over world to promote the prevention and treatment of the disease.

Significance of Day

  • Raise awareness about pneumonia, the world’s leading killer of children under age of five.
  • ‎Promote interventions to protect against, prevent and treat pneumonia and
  • ‎Generate action to combat pneumonia.

Background

World Pneumonia Day was first observed in 2009 after more than 100 organisations joined together form Global Coalition against Child Pneumonia. At present, global coalition comprises of over 140 NGOs, academic institutions, government agencies and foundations.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is form of acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs. It is caused by inflammation of the airspaces in the lungs. Lungs are made up of small sacs called alveoli, which fill with air when healthy person breathes. ‎When an individual has pneumonia, alveoli are filled with pus and fluid, which makes breathing painful and limits oxygen intake.

Causes: It is caused by number of infectious agents, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. The most common are Streptococcus pneumoniae (most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children), ‎Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) (second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia), ‎Respiratory syncytial virus is most common viral cause of pneumonia.

Treatment: Vaccinations are available against several common organisms that are known to cause pneumonia. Besides, antibiotics can also treat pneumonia by controlling the bacterial or fungal infection.