Insights Daily Current Events, November 30, 2013
India offers to train Sri Lankan Navy officers
- In the backdrop of discussions regarding maritime issues in the Indian Ocean region, The Indian Navy has offered to train Sri Lankan Navy officers.
- In this regard, the Sri Lankan Navy officers would be put under a four-year Bachelor of Technology course, now being offered to Indian Navy officers.
- And if India does not offer Sri Lankan officers training, other countries will step in. This happened when India pulled out Sri Lankan military officers from the Defence Staff Service College, Wellington, in June, 2013 after protests by Tamil parties.
- Sri Lanka did not accept India’s offer to transfer the officers to an institute outside Tamil Nadu and opted instead for training in Quetta, Pakistan.
- The meeting also discussed ways of combating piracy in the Indian Ocean.
India starts issuing visas from Ramallah
- India has started issuing visas from Ramallah in Palestine instead of Tel Aviv. This would cut down on the waiting period as well as costs. With this, Palestinian nationals will get visas within two-three working days
- India is perhaps the first country from South Asia to begin issuing visas in Ramallah from September, 2013.
- This move is seen as India’s continuing support to the Palestinian cause, especially its right to statehood. India had been in the forefront of the Palestinian cause and was among the first lot of countries outside the Arab world to recognise the Palestine Liberation Organisation as the legitimate representative of the Arab people in 1974 followed by full diplomatic relations.
China shows a measured approach towards Arunachal Pradesh
- China’s response, to the recent visit by President Pranab Mukherjee to Arunachal Pradesh (parts of which China has territorial claims on) was seen as more measured when compared to its response to PM Manmohan Singh’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh in 2009.
- In 2009, the Chinese govt. had criticized India for creating problems in the disputed areas and had demanded that India ‘address China’s serious concerns and not trigger a disturbance’ in their relations. In the same year, China also attempted to block a $60 million Asian Development Bank (ADB) flood management programme for Arunachal.
- China hoped that India will refrain from taking any action that would complicate the boundary question instead it called for friendly consultations to maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas and create conditions for boundary negotiations
India hopes for positive outcome at Bali meet
- India is hoping for positive and balanced outcome from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference at Bali in December 1st week, that will be acceptable to the developing and least developed countries.
- India is spearheading the G33’s proposal on agricultural subsidies which seeks from Bali outcome that will correct the WTO agriculture subsidy norms that are at present unfairly loaded in favour of some countries as they contains inherent imbalances
- India has asserted that, it will not agree to a deal at Bali without a reassurance that, the proposed Peace Clause, an interim safeguard for India’s minimum support price (MSP) in breach of the WTO caps, will expire only when permanent safeguards are found and agreed to.
- This will ensure that the MSPs will not be in breach. The G33 is arguing that a major factor for the sharp rise in MSP is the recent spurt in global food price inflation while the existing caps and formulas are calibrated to food prices in the 1980s.
- So there is a call for using a more recent base year for arriving at the caps or using an appropriate deflator for removing the impact of inflation on our administered support prices. MSPs in India had risen manifold over the last few years and could rise further with the implementation of the recently enacted Food Security Law.
- The developing countries are persisting for a correction of the historical injustices and unfair outcomes of the Uruguay Round in 1994 where the developed countries ensured coverage and protection of very high subsidies for their agriculture producers.
Argentina warns British oil firms against drilling off Falklands
- The Argentinian government has increased the pressure on British companies drilling for oil off the disputed Falkland Islands by passing laws that could impose 15-year jail sentences on their executives and companies involved in ‘illegal exploration and exploitation’ off the Falklands( or Malvinas)could be fined £100 million.
- The embassy has already sent more than 200 letters to companies directly or indirectly involved in drilling activities, warning them they are liable to administrative, civil and criminal actions. The letters have gone to leaders of the London Stock Exchange as well as investment banks whose analysts assess equity values of the oil explorers.
- The Argentinian government has objected to Britain’s attempts to promote hydrocarbon exploration off the islands. The Falklands have been at the centre of a sovereignty dispute between Britain and Argentina for almost 200 years, with the two countries going to war in 1982.
- The British PM has publicly rejected Argentina’s claims to the territory saying that, he is 100% behind its inhabitants as long as they choose to remain British.
Background regarding the Falkland islands dispute
- The Falkland Islands (also known as Islas Malvinas in Argentina) are an archipelago located in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf.
- Controversy exists over the Falklands’ original discovery and subsequent colonisation by Europeans. At various times, the islands have had French, British, Spanish, and Argentine settlements. Britain re-established its rule in 1833, though Argentina maintained its claim to the islands.
- In 1965, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 2065, which “called upon both Britain and Argentina to peacefully settle the dispute through bilateral negotiations”.
- In 1982, following Argentina’s invasion of the islands, the two-month undeclared Falklands War between both countries resulted in the surrender of Argentine forces and the return of the islands to British administration.
- The population primarily consists of native Falkland Islanders, the majority of British descent.
- Under the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, Falkland Islanders are legally British citizens.
- UK bases its position on continuous administration of the islands since 1833 (apart from 1982) and the islanders having a “right to self determination, including their right to remain British if that is their wish”.
- Argentina asserts that it acquired the Falklands from Spain, upon achieving independence in 1816, and that the UK illegally occupied them in 1833.
Courtesy – wikipedia
Indonesia, a new hub for global cyber crime
- Diplomatic tensions between Indonesia and Australia reached the lowest over revelations that Australia had eavesdropped on President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s phone conversations in 2009.
- Hacking by nationalistically-driven youth is a phenomenon more usually associated with China, but as demonstrated by the Australia attacks, Indonesia is also emerging as a major source country for malicious cyber traffic.
- In fact, according to a recent report by cloud computing firm Akmai – Indonesia, not China, as the country that accounts for the largest number of worldwide hacking incidents. Given that just last year Indonesia was the originator of less than 1% of malicious cyber activity, this massive surge has left experts confused.
- Cyber criminals operating outside the geographical boundaries of Indonesia can hack into computers via malware or remote-controlled “botnets” to utilise their IP addresses, in a bid to hide their tracks when attacking other targets.
- However, even if the majority of malicious cyber traffic ostensibly emanating from Indonesia actually originates elsewhere, hacking is nonetheless a growing problem in Indonesia. Australia is not the only country to suffer at the hands of Indonesian hackers. They have also frequently attacked Malaysia’s websites.
- Similar actions by Indonesian hackers were launched against websites in Myanmar and in Egypt. But it is not only the diplomatic fallout of these incidents that is worrying Indonesia, Indonesia itself was the victim of 1.2 cyber attacks every day. And that these appeared to originate from within the country.
- Much of this malicious traffic is directed against commodity-oriented industries, such as oil and gas, which remain susceptible to data phishing attempts. The Indonesian defence forces have also expressed alarm at the trend, and have announced their intention to set up a cyber army to wage a virtual war against future cyber attacks.
Do you know what ‘Bots & Botnet’ are?
- A “bot” is a type of malware that allows an attacker to take control over an affected computer. Also known as “Web robots”, bots are usually part of a network of infected machines, known as a “botnet”, which is typically made up of victim machines that stretch across the globe
- A botnet is a collection of infected computers under the control of one or more attackers. These botnets are used for a variety of criminal purposes, all of which pose serious risk to the infected user as well as to the entire Internet community.
- Once your computer is under the control of a botnet, it may be used to spam others, host phishing sites and other illicit files, infect or attack others, or have adware and spyware foisted on it so the attackers can collect from various affiliate advertising programs.
- Even worse, many of today’s threats include key logging capabilities. Of special interest to the attackers are your personal financial details – once stolen they are used for everything from credit card fraud to outright identity theft.
- §In short, it’s not just your computer at risk – it’s your wallet J
What is Phishing?
- Phishing is a type of Internet fraud that seeks to acquire a user’s credentials by deception. It includes theft of passwords, credit card numbers, bank account details and other confidential information.
- Phishing messages usually take the form of fake notifications from banks, providers, e-pay systems and other organizations. The notification will try to encourage a recipient, for one reason or another, to urgently enter/update their personal data. Such excuses usually relate to loss of data, system breakdown, etc.
EU hits out at Russia’s ‘third country’ veto
- European Union (EU) leaders have strongly criticized Russia at a summit (held in the Lithuanian capital), after Ukraine refused to sign a landmark accord, dealing a blow to EU plans to draw ex-Soviet states into the Western fold.
- The refusal by Ukraine highlighted a worsening EU-Russia tug-of-war over former Soviet satellites in eastern Europe.
- The summit was held to cement ties between the European bloc and Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
- Meanwhile Georgia and Moldova have initiated political and trade agreements that would come into effect once it is officially signed.
Courtesy- Hindu Newspaper
SEBI issues draft norms to regulate research analysts
- To ward off market manipulation through ‘independent’ reports on stocks and listed companies, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), has proposed new norms to regulate research analysts while clamping down on research services offered by foreign entities without getting registered in India.
- Those to be regulated through new norms include independent research analysts, intermediaries that employ research analysts and issues research reports, as also research analysts giving recommendations in the public media such as TV channels, newspapers and websites.
- As per the proposed norms, an entity incorporated outside India willing to provide research services in respect of Indian companies will have to set up a subsidiary in India and make an application for registration through that subsidiary.
- The guidelines have come against the backdrop of various cases of foreign entities coming out with research reports on India, resulting in huge fall in share prices in India.
- For instance, Canada-based research firm Veritas Investment Research had issued reports on DLF, Reliance and Indiabulls, which had influenced the share price of these companies.
- SEBI had come across instances where bear cartels have used negative issues raised in these reports to push down the shares, while positive reports have been used to push the prices higher.
- The latest proposals are based on recommendations by The International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), which has also suggested to the SEBI that research analysts need to be subjected to appropriate oversight and regulation.
- As per the detailed draft guidelines issued by SEBI for research analysts, “no person shall act as a research analyst or hold itself out as a research analyst unless he has obtained a certificate of registration”.
Terms set for banks’ entry into insurance business
- The RBI has released draft guidelines for entry of banks into insurance broking business.
- Since insurance broking is a knowledge-intensive activity requiring professional expertise, this will be permitted subject to the certain conditions. And banks would require specific prior approval of RBI.
The draft guidelines are as follows:
- Banks should formulate a comprehensive board-approved policy on insurance broking. And, the services offered to customers should be in accordance with this policy.
- Eligibility criteria for banks- The aspiring banks should have a net worth of not less than Rs.500 crore, and CRAR (capital to risk assets ratio) of not less than 10%. Further, the draft has stipulated that the level of net non-performing assets (NPAs) should not be more than 3 %. Also, the bank should have made profits for the last three consecutive years.
- To avoid any conflict of interest, banks undertaking insurance broking business should not enter into agreements either for corporate agency or for referral arrangements for insurance, either departmentally or through subsidiaries/group companies.
What do you mean by Capital to risk assets ratio (CRAR)?
- Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR), also known as Capital to Risk (Weighted) Assets Ratio (CRAR), is a ratio of a bank’s capital to its risk.
- National regulators track a bank’s CAR to ensure that it can absorb a reasonable amount of loss and complies with statutory Capital requirements.
- CRAR determines the bank’s capacity to meet the time liabilities and other risks such as credit risk, operational risk etc.
- In the most simple formulation, a bank’s capital is the “cushion” for potential losses, and protects the bank’s depositors and other lenders. Banking regulators in most countries define and monitor CAR to protect depositors, thereby maintaining confidence in the banking system.