Sweden Current Affairs - 2019

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India re-elected as an Observer to Arctic Council

At 11th Arctic Council ministerial meeting held at Rovaniemi in Finland, India was re-elected as an observer to intergovernmental forum Arctic Council. India promised its commitment towards contributing more to Arctic Council.

About 11th Arctic Council

Major issues discussed at the Council meeting:

  • With growing tensions worldwide, how to deal with global warming and jurisdiction of Arctic’s wealth of minerals.
  • Concerns over renewed climate policies of US President Donald Trump.
  • China’s (an observing nation in Arctic Council) “Polar Silk Road” plan (as melting ice has opened up new northern shipping routes), which it outlined in 2018.
  • Russia’s Northern Fleet modernization and reopened Cold War military bases.

About Arctic Council

  • It was established in 1996 by Ottawa Declaration.
  • Headquarter: Tromso, in Norway.
  • Members (8): Russia, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark (representing Greenland and Faroe Islands), Canada and United States.
  • Iceland currently holds council’s rotating chair.
  • Representation: by Indigenous groups and council also has 13 observer states (are non-Arctic countries invited to council meetings but have no voting rights).
  • Function: It is a high level intergovernmental forum which addresses issues faced by Arctic states, its indigenous people and its other inhabitants. It seeks to promote coordination, cooperation and interaction among them on common issues but mainly on environmental protection and sustainable development in Arctic.

India and Arctic Region

  • Indian researchers have been studying whether there is a co-relation between Indian monsoon and the Arctic region.
  • National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, an Indian institute under Ministry of Earth Sciences, has set up research station, ‘Himadri’, in Svalbard (Norway). It studies and works on mass balance of glaciers, effect of climate warming on marine system, clouds formation and precipitation, and also effect on biodiversity.

Month: Categories: International

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World Press Freedom Index 2019

International NGO, Reporters without Borders has released the World Press Freedom Index 2019. The index is based on the assessment of the countries’ press freedom records in the previous year.

The report is partly based on a questionnaire which asks questions about pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legislative framework, transparency, and infrastructure.

World Press Freedom Index 2019

  • The World Press Freedom Index 2019′, topped by Norway which is followed by Finland, Sweden, Netherlands and Denmark.
  • The 2019 index finds that hatred against journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear around the world.
  • India has dropped two places on a global press freedom index to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries and the report indicates an increased sense of hostility towards journalists across the world, with violent attacks in India leading to at least six Indian journalists being killed in the line of their work last year.
  • The report notes that at least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018. Violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.
  • The murder of journalists highlighted the many dangers that Indian journalists face, especially those working for non-English-language media outlets in rural areas.
  • South Asia in general features poorly on the index. Pakistan has dropped three places to 142, and Bangladesh has dropped four places to 150.
  • In Africa, Ethiopia (up 40 at 110th) and Gambia (up 30 at 92nd) have significantly improved from last year’s Index.
  • Both Vietnam (176th) and China (177th) have fallen one place and Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last, replacing North Korea (up one at 179th).

The report concludes that the number of countries regarded as safe, where journalists can work in complete security, continues to decline, while authoritarian regimes continue to tighten their grip on the media.

Month: Categories: Reports & IndicesUPSC

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