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  • 23 Apr 2019
  • 18 min read
International Relations

Elections in Ukraine

Recently, Volodymyr Zelenskiy has been elected as the new president of Ukraine.

  • Volodymyr Zelenskiy belongs to the servant of the people party. He is also a political satirist with no political background.

Issues Ukraine is Facing

  • Confrontation with Russia
    • Ukraine is at loggerheads with Russia over the occupation of Crimean peninsula by Russia.
    • The annexation of Crimea from Ukraine followed a Russian military intervention in Crimea that took place in the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and was part of wider unrest across southern and eastern Ukraine.
    • Last year Russia also arrested 24 Ukrainian naval officers from Kerch Strait for alleged border violations.
    • Ukraine is also seeking North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European Union membership, a move that would be offensive to Russia and that could obstruct attempts to resolve other tensions with Russia.

Euromaidan Movement

Euromaidan (European Square) was a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine, which began in November 2013 with public protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti ("Independence Square") in Kyiv, Ukraine.

  • The separatist movement in East Ukraine
    • The Donbass region (the Donetsk and Luhansk regions) of eastern Ukraine is facing a pro-Russian separatist movement since 2014.
    • According to the Ukrainian government, the movement is actively supported by the Russian government and Russian paramilitaries make up to between 15% to 80% of the separatists fighting against Ukraine government.

Normandy Format

Normandy format is also known as the Normandy contact group, or the Normandy Four is a diplomatic group of senior representatives of the four countries (Germany, Russia, Ukraine, and France) to resolve the war in Eastern Ukraine.

  • Corruption
    • Corruption was one the key reason behind the ouster of a sitting president, Petro Poroshenko.
    • Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index shows Ukraine at 120 among 188 countries.
    • The newly elected president has vowed various severe measures against corruption.
  • Economic Crisis
    • Ukraine’s economy is recovering from the severe decline in the economy it experienced after the 2014 unrest, yet the gross domestic product is still substantially below its level in 2013.
    • In December 2018 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given US$3.9 billion packages to Ukraine.
    • But further assistance is conditional on Ukraine making key reforms and tackling corruption.

India-Ukraine Relations

  • Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Government of India recognized the Republic of Ukraine as a sovereign independent country in December 1991.
  • The Embassy of India in Kyiv was established in May 1992 and Ukraine opened its Mission in New Delhi in February 1993.
  • India and Ukraine enjoy warm and friendly relations and cooperate in areas like Culture, Arts, Education, Mutual Legal Assistance, Outer Space cooperation.
  • Defense Relations
    • India and Ukraine also have significant defense cooperation. Ukraine has been a source of military technology and equipment for India since its independence.
    • Indian companies are collaborating with Ukrainian companies in this area.
    • India is dependent on Ukraine’s military-industrial complex which plays an instrumental role in the modernization and upkeep of its air force.
  • Diaspora
    • Ukraine also has a significant size of the Indian community excluding students, it is estimated to be about two thousand.
    • There are above 8,000 Indian students enrolled in various Ukrainian medical/technical universities.

Biodiversity & Environment

Aegean Sea Litter

A team of Greek University students has successfully detected the location of litter in Aegean sea using the European union’s satellite system.

  • The purpose of the experiment was to see whether the satellites will be able to detect the floating rafts of plastic in the sea.
  • Such detection of marine waste will be helpful in cleaning.

Marine Pollution

  • Pollution of the marine environment means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of unwanted substances or energy into the marine environment, including estuaries.
  • Such introduction results in harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, a hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea.

Sources of Marine Pollution

  • Land-based sources (such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients and pesticides and untreated sewage including plastics) account for approximately 80% of marine pollution, globally.
  • Excessive nutrients from sewage outfalls and agricultural runoff have contributed to the increasing incidence of low oxygen (hypoxic) areas known as dead zones, where most marine life cannot survive, resulting in the collapse of some ecosystems.
    • There are now close to 500 dead zones with a total global surface area of over 245,000 km², roughly equivalent to that of the United Kingdom.
  • The excess nitrogen may lead to the proliferation of seaweeds and microorganisms and cause algal blooms. Such blooms can be harmful, causing massive fish kills, contaminating seafood with toxins and altering ecosystems.
  • Litter can accumulate in huge floating garbage patches or wash up on the coasts. Plastics float in the Ocean, releasing contaminants as they break down into toxic micro-particles that animals mistake for food.
    • Fish and birds can choke on these particles, get sick as they accumulate in their stomachs, or become entangled in the larger debris.
  • In 2010, the Gulf of Mexico deep-water oil spill had a devastating effect on the entire marine ecosystem, as well as the populations that depend on the marine areas for their livelihoods.
    • Smaller oil spills happen every day, due to drilling incidents or leaking motors, and cause the death of birds, marine mammals, algae, fish and shellfish.

Significance of Clean Ocean

  • The ocean is a vital source of nourishment, especially to people in the world’s poorest nations.
  • Many depend on fish for their primary source of protein; fisheries and aquaculture support the livelihoods of about 540 million people (8% of the world’s population) directly or indirectly.
  • Overfishing, loss of biodiversity and the possible extinction of species put stress on these limited resources. This could lead to famine, increased poverty and conflicts, including war.
  • Learning to manage ocean sustainably is the only path to global prosperity and peace.

Indian Polity

Who Will Watch the Watchman

Recent turmoil in Supreme Court over a case of sexual harassment against Chief Justice of India reignited century old debate : a debate about Quis custodiet ipsos custodes i.e. who will watch the watchmen?

  • In response to sexual misconduct allegations against him, CJI Ranjan Gogoi called for a special bench chaired by himself, which was in gross violation with the established legal principle: the principles of due process and natural justice.
  • Due process for addressing complains of sexual harassment at workplace.
    • In this case ideal due process could have been: the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court after the chief could have taken cognizance of the complaint, set up an independent internal complaints committee in accordance with existing law, and ensured that that committee was allowed to work free of fear or favour, and in a swift manner.
    • Clearly, due process was not followed in this case.
  • The natural justice premise.
    • In the above case, Supreme Court constituted a bench headed by Chief Justice himself. Moreover, victim was not present and so was not heard. The concept of ‘Principles of Natural Justice’ contains the following two core points —
      • Nemo in propria causa judex, esse debet i.e., no one should be made a judge in his/her own case, or the rule against bias.
      • Audi alteram partem i.e., hear the other party, or the rule of fair hearing, or the rule that no one should be condemned unheard.
  • Principles of Natural Justice in Indian Constitution
  • In The Constitution of India, nowhere the expression Natural Justice is used. However, the principle of natural justice can be found in Preamble, Art 14 and Art 21.
    • Preamble: Preamble of the constitution includes the words, ‘Justice Social, Economic and political’ liberty of thought, belief, worship. And equality of status and of opportunity, which not only ensures fairness in social and economical activities of the people but also acts as shield to individuals liberty against the arbitrary action which is the base for principles of Natural Justice.
    • Art 14: This Article guarantees equality before law and equal protection of law. It bars discrimination and prohibits both discriminatory laws and administrative action. Art 14 is now proving to be bulwark against any arbitrary or discriminatory state action. The horizons of equality as embodied in Art 14 have been expanding as a result of the judicial pronouncements and Art 14 has now come to have a highly activist magnitude. It laid down general proposition that all persons in similar circumstance shall be treated alike both in privileges and liabilities imposed.
    • Art 21 and the principle of natural justice: With the Supreme Court pronouncement of “due process of Law “in Maneka Gandhi case(1978) , court asserted the principle of reasonableness while deciding a case. It now means that the procedure must satisfy certain requisites in the sense of being fair and reasonable. The procedure “cannot be arbitrary, unfair or unreasonable.
  • Difference between Due process of law and Procedure established by the law:
Procedure established by the law Due process of law
  • It originated in England. It means as per as per the practice and usage as laid down in the statute.
  • It confers limited power in the hand of judiciary. Under this doctrine, if any action of the executive is challenged before a court,
    • the court will see for the existence of any law that authorizes the executive to perform that act and the law has been passed by a competent legislature.
    • the court will also see whether the prescribed procedure has been followed by the executive while performing the action.
  • If these two conditions are satisfied, the judiciary will hold the action of executive as legally valid. the court will not go behind the intention of legislature and test whether the law is just reasonable and fair . The court will not provide any protection for the individual action the action of the legislature however inappropriate, fanciful, whimsical or unreasonable the law may be.
  • Thus it gives protection for an individual against the arbitrary action of the executive and not against the legislature.
  • The due process of law originated in the USA
  • It confers wider power on the judiciary. Under this doctrine, if an action of the executive is challenged before the court, then the court will see whether there exists any law passed by a competent legislature that authorizes the executive to such an action.
  • It will also see whether the executive has followed the prescribed procedure given by the law.
  • In addition, the court will also apply the principle of natural justice and see whether the law so passed by the legislature is just fare and reasonable.
  • If it does not satisfy above condition, then court will declare the law as unconstitutional and void.
  • Thus this doctrine extends protection to both executive and legislature

Biodiversity & Environment

Madagascar’s Indigenous Species

Around 20 indigenous animal species of Madagascar are under threat.

  • Among the species under threat, the majority belongs to the primate group. The group contains all the species commonly related to lemurs, monkey, apes, and humans. Lemurs are among the unique to Madagascar.
  • According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, of the 111 lemur species, 24 are currently listed as Critically Endangered, 49 are Endangered and 20 are Vulnerable.
  • All species are listed by CITES on Appendix I, which prohibits the trade of specimens or parts, except for scientific purposes.
    • Indri, the largest of all lemurs and a species with such symbolic value for Madagascar that it is often compared to the giant panda in China, is among the species of lemurs that would be uplisted from endangered to critically endangered.
    • Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, the world’s smallest primate, would also be up-listed endangered.
    • Silky sifaka (Propithecus candidus) also known as “angel of the forest"—refers to its white fur. It is one of the rarest mammals on Earth and is listed by IUCN the as one of the world's 25 most critically endangered primates.
  • There are a number of threats to lemurs’ survival in Madagascar, chief among them are
    • Widespread destruction of their tropical forest habitat.
    • Illegal logging
    • Deforestation driven by slash-and-burn agriculture.
    • Charcoal production.
    • Mining
    • Hunting of lemurs for food and for the pet trade as an emerging but serious threat.


  • The island nation of Madagascar has developed its own distinct ecosystems and extraordinary wildlife since it split from the African continent an estimated 160 million years ago.
  • It’s more than 3,000 miles of coastline and over 250 islands are home to some of the world’s largest coral reef systems and most extensive mangrove areas in the Western Indian Ocean.

World Lemur Day is observed every year on 30 October by IUCN.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts For Prelims (23rd April 2019)

Novel Fire Extinguisher

  • Scientists have developed a novel fire extinguisher for use in space environments that sucks in the flame as well as combustion product.
  • The Vacuum Extinguish Method (VEM), is designed by researchers at the Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan.
  • VEM is based on the completely "reverse" operation of widely-used fire extinguisher, namely, spraying extinguisher agent(s) into the firing point.
  • VEM is based on the suction of the combustible products and the flame with vacuum, and then collecting them into a vacuum container to be isolated.
  • It is useful for the special environments that are highly enclosed -- such as space vehicles and submarines -- to prevent spreading the harmful combustion products such as fume, particulate matters, toxic gas component across the entire enclosed cabin.

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