A guide to nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers

Iran and six world powers – the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China – are in what may be the final phase of negotiations aimed at securing a deal on sanctions relief in exchange for limits on Iranian nuclear activities.

The six powers have a June 30 deadline but diplomats close to the talks expect that to slip.

BACKGROUND

The nuclear standoff between Iran and the West goes back to at least 2002, when a group of exiles revealed undeclared nuclear facilities in Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) later confirmed that they were a uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and a heavy-water production plant at Arak. Iran says its nuclear programme is peaceful but Western intelligence agencies are convinced Iran had a nuclear arms programme that went dormant, possibly as far back as 2003.

In 2003, Britain, France and Germany began an inconclusive effort to persuade Iran to suspend uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fissile material, the key component for an atomic bomb.

In 2006, the United States dropped its opposition to engagement with Iran and joined the three European powers, along with Russia and China, a group known both as the “P5+1″ and the “E3+3″.

That year, the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend enrichment and other sensitive nuclear work. This was followed by more draconian restrictions imposed by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union.

Negotiations stalled until Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s 2013 election. In November 2013, Iran and the six powers reached an interim deal that gave Tehran limited sanctions relief in exchange for some curbs on its most sensitive nuclear work. It was meant to buy time to negotiate a final, long-term pact. The interim deal has been extended twice, in July and November last year.

On April 2, Iran and the six agreed on the parameters for a final, long-term deal in Lausanne, Switzerland. The deadline for an agreement is June 30, though negotiations are expected to run into July.

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via Reuters

Assam inclusion paves the way for boundary pact with Bangladesh

Clearing the decks for ratification and operationalisation of a historic land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh, the Union Cabinet, on 5 May 2015, cleared  a constitutional amendment Bill for consideration and adoption by the two houses of Parliament.

The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013 now includes territories in Assam, West Bengal, Meghalaya and Tripura for exchange with Bangladesh. Many of these are enclaves (territory belonging to one country entirely surrounded by the other country), even enclaves within enclaves.

CLICK HERE to know the background, details of India-Bangladesh land swap deal.

Via – The Indian Express

 

Current Affairs sections updated with March 2015 events

The Current Affairs sections:

Notes on Current Affairs
Current GK
Appointments Etc
Sports News

have been updated with March 2015 news.

These sections are useful for those preparing for Civil Services Exam, UPSC Exams, SSC Exams, Assistant Grade Exam, LIC and other Insurance Recruitment exams, Defence Services exams like NDA & CDS, Bank PO, RBI, Clerks’ Recruitment Exams, MBA, Hotel Management, CLAT, CSAT etc

Current Affairs sections updated with February 2015 events

The Current Affairs sections:

Notes on Current Affairs
Current GK
Appointments Etc
Sports News

have been updated with February 2015 news.

These sections are useful for those preparing for Civil Services Exam, UPSC Exams, SSC Exams, Assistant Grade Exam, LIC and other Insurance Recruitment exams, Defence Services exams like NDA & CDS, Bank PO, RBI, Clerks’ Recruitment Exams, MBA, Hotel Management, CLAT, CSAT etc

Disasters cost India $10bn per year: UN report

A new United Nations global assessment report on disaster risk, released last week, says India’s average annual economic loss due to disasters is estimated to be $9.8 billion. This includes more than $7 billion loss on account of floods.

The global assessment report (GAR) 2015, produced by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), has urged countries, particularly in Asia, to treat this as a wake-up call and make adequate investment in disaster risk reduction (DRR) or it will hinder their development.

“The report is a wake-up call for countries to increase their commitment to invest in smart solutions to strengthen resilience to disasters,” head of UNISDR Margareta Wahlstrom said.

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Via – The Times of India

Solar-Powered Plane Takes Off in First Round-the-World Attempt

The first attempt to fly around the world in a plane using only solar power launched on 9 March in Abu Dhabi, in a landmark journey aimed at promoting green energy.

The Solar Impulse 2, piloted by Andre Borschberg of Switzerland, took off at 7:12 am, local time, from Al-Bateen airport and headed to Muscat, the capital of Oman.

The wingspan of the one-seater plane, known as the Si2, is slightly bigger than that of a jumbo jet, but its weight is around that of a family car. The plane is powered by more than 17,000 solar cells built into wings that, at 72 metres, are longer than a jumbo and approaching that of an Airbus A380 super-jumbo. The propellor craft has four 17.5 horsepower electric motors with rechargeable lithium batteries.

It will travel at 50-100 kilometers per hour, with the slower speeds at night to prevent the batteries from draining too quickly.

The Si2 is the successor to Solar Impulse, a smaller aircraft that notched up a 26-hour flight in 2010, proving its ability to store enough power in the batteries during the day to keep flying at night.

It will make 13 stops on an epic journey spread over five months, with a total flight time of around 25 days. Its progress can be monitored via live video streaming at www.solarimpulse.com.

Budget Impact – States’ burden to run 32 of 63 schemes shoots up

State governments will now have to bear either the entire or an increased financial burden to run half the schemes being rolled with the assistance of the Centre.

At least eight centrally sponsored schemes will henceforth not get any Union finances at all while 24 schemes will see significant cuts in central share with the states having to put in money.

The eight schemes which stand de-linked from central funding are — the National e-governance plan, Backward Region Grant Funds, scheme to modernise police, another to develop export infrastructure, the scheme for setting up 6,000 model schools, the National Mission on Food Processing, the Rajiv Gandhi Panchayat Empowerment Scheme and lastly, the scheme on tourist infrastructure.

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Via – tribuneindia.com