Turkmenistan Current Affairs - 2019
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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.
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Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India have ceremonially broke ground on Afghanistan section of ambitious, multi-billion dollar TAPI gas pipeline. The ceremony was attended by Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani and his Turkmenistan counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and India’s Minister of state for external affairs Shri M. J. Akbar.
TAPI gas pipeline
TAPI gas pipeline project is proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline from Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan and Pakistan. The abbreviation TAPI itself indicate its member countries- Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. The pipe line connects central Asia with south Asia covering 1,840 km.
The pipeline begins from Turkmenistan’s Galkynysh field (formally known as South Yoiotan Osman) that has gas reserves are 16 trillion cubic feet. The estimated construction cost of the project is 10 billion US dollars and is being funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB).
The pipeline has capacity to carry 90 million standard cubic metres a day (mmscmd). Both India and Pakistan will get supply of about 38 mmscmd whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply of natural gas. The pipeline will begin pumping natural gas from Turkmenistan’s giant Galkynysh gas field by the beginning of 2020 and supply life is expected to last for period of 30 years.
The pipeline runs through Galkynysh field (Turkmenistan), Afghanistan’s Herat and Kandahar province, Pakistan’s Multan via Quetta and ends at Fazilka in Punjab (India). For its security, an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) has been recommended to serve as nucleus of safety provided by security consultants.
The TAPI Project is considered as an important initiative of these four countries to connect energy rich Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. It marks a new dawn of economic engagement through regional connectivity by economically integrating region stretching from Bay of Bengal to Caspian Sea.
From India’s perspective, TAPI Project will provide an alternative supply source of gas with dependable reserves leading to enhanced energy security. It will further diversify the fuel basket to the benefit of Indian economy as it would be used mainly in power, fertilizer and city gas sectors.