International relations: Willing to talk to Kim, says Trump (The Hindu) U.S President Donald Trump said talks between North Korea and South Korea scheduled for next week was an outcome of his “firm stance” and he could talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on the phone. “Absolutely I would do that. No problem with that at all,” he said, when asked whether he was “willing to engage in phone talks” with Mr. Kim. Mr. Trump was interacting with reporters at the Camp David Presidential retreat on Saturday. US couldnt forsee North Koreas strides(The Hindu) At the start of Donald Trump’s presidency, U.S. intelligence agencies told the new administration that while North Korea had built the bomb, there was still ample time — upward of four years — to slow or stop its development of a missile capable of hitting a U.S. city with a nuclear warhead. Sushma urges NRIs to come back (The Hindu) Setting the tone for the government’s outreach to the Indian diaspora, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Sunday urged people of Indian origin to take advantage of India’s projects for connectivity to Southeast Asian countries. Indian Constitution and Polity: Re-examine the Bill(The Hindu) The winter session of Parliament saw more political positioning than appraisal of a legislation to make instant triple talaq a criminal offence. With the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill pending in the Rajya Sabha, the best option would be to refer it to a select committee to help bring about a consensus on how to address the problem of talaq-e-biddat, as there is no serious opposition to the principle that it is morally abhorrent and legally impermissible. Standing up for human rights (The Hindu) In his new year message, UN Secretary-General António Guterres referred to the pervasive and large-scale infraction of human rights across the world as a global challenge that defies our vision of a humane and just world order. The message is particularly relevant for us. Dont divest AI, give it 5 years to revive: panel (The Hindu) This is not the appropriate time to divest government stake in Air India (AI), which should be given at least five years to revive and its debt written off, a Parliamentary panel is likely to tell the government.
Security and Defense: INS Arihant left criopled after accident 10 months ago (The Hindu) Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant suffered major damage because of possible human error and has not sailed now for months, according to Navy sources. Arihant is the most important platform within India’s nuclear triad covering land-air-sea modes. Economy: UIDAI under fire for FIR against scribe (The Hindu) The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which has filed an FIR against a journalist who exposed a breach in its Aadhaar database, denied that it was trying to gag the media or whistleblowers. Jaitley bats for electoral bond scheme (The Hindu) Stressing that the electoral bond scheme is a “substantial improvement” in transparency over the present political funding system, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the government is open to suggestions to further cleanse the process. Food poisoning, a common outbreak in 2017 (The Hindu) Recent data put out by the Union Health Ministry’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) has indicated that food poisoning is one of the commonest outbreaks reported in 2017. This is apart from acute diarrhoeal disease (ADD). Mankidia denied habitat in Simlipal (The Hindu) Mankidia, one of the 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTG) in Odisha, were denied habitat rights inside the Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) under the historic Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, as the State Forest Department has objected on grounds that tribals could be attacked by wild animals, especially tigers. Evidence of fragility Underwhelming growth estimates come amid worrying data on agriculture The problem of land hoarding(The Hindu) The government owns more land than it admits, large swathes of which are unused or underutilized On way to insolvency, firms scout for fronts(The Hindu) A number of insolvency-bound companies, reeling under huge unserved loans, are scouting for front entities to buy them out in a distress sale under an ’asset reconstruction’ model with the help of ‘friendly’ IRPs, but have landed themselves under the regulatory scanner. FRDI: depositer trust is the key to banking( The Hindu) The banking system of any country is built on an edifice of trust that depositors have in their banks. The confidence that money is safe, keeps depositors away from withdrawing their funds unless they really need it. Meanwhile, it allows banks to lend out the money to borrowers which generates interest income for the depositor, profit for the bank and larger economic growth. Environment: A sum of contributions (TheHindu) The Emissions Gap Report 2017, released last year ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference, underlined that fulfilment of national pledges related to carbon emission reductions under the Paris Agreement would be inadequate to keep global warming below 2°C. Thus, a renewed focus on climate governance is imperative. Science and Technology: Arihant: top gun for second strike (The Hindu) Indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant suffered major damage because of possible human error and has not sailed now for months, according to Navy sources. Arihant is the most important platform within India’s nuclear triad covering land-air-sea modes. Boost to gravitational wave study (The Hindu) India’s role in studying gravitational waves — touted as one of the most important discoveries of the recent past — will increase once the proposed gravitational wave observatory is set up in the country, said David Reitze, executive director of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).