1. UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE LAW OF THE SEA
News: The Government of India said it was studying an international tribunal’s ruling that the Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen in the waters off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, held “immunity” and would face a trial in Italy, not India.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty, is the international agreement that resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982.
The Law of the Sea Convention defines the rights and responsibilities of nations with respect to their use of the world’s oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of marine natural resources.
The Convention, concluded in 1982, replaced the quad-treaty 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union have joined in the Convention.
It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
While the Secretary-General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the UN has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention
The convention set the limit of various areas, measured from a carefully defined baseline. (Normally, a sea baseline follows the low-water line, but when the coastline is deeply indented, has fringing islands or is highly unstable, straight baselines may be used.) The areas are as follows:
Covers all water and waterways on the landward side of the baseline.
The coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
Foreign vessels have no right of passage within internal waters.
A vessel in the high seas assumes jurisdiction under the internal laws of its flag State.
Out to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometres; 14 miles) from the baseline, the coastal state is free to set laws, regulate use, and use any resource.
Vessels were given the right of innocent passage through any territorial waters, with strategic straits allowing the passage of military craft as transit passage, in that naval vessels are allowed to maintain postures that would be illegal in territorial waters.
“Innocent passage” is defined by the convention as passing through waters in an expeditious and continuous manner, which is not “prejudicial to the peace, good order or the security” of the coastal state.
Fishing, polluting, weapons practice, and spying are not “innocent”, and submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag.
Nations can also temporarily suspend innocent passage in specific areas of their territorial seas, if doing so is essential for the protection of their security.
Beyond the 12-nautical-mile (22 km) limit, there is a further 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the territorial sea baseline limit, the contiguous zone, in which a state can continue to enforce laws in four specific areas: customs, taxation, immigration, and pollution; if the infringement started within the state’s territory or territorial waters, or if this infringement is about to occur within the state’s territory or territorial waters.
This makes the contiguous zone a hot pursuit area.
Exclusive economic zones (EEZs):
These extend 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres; 230 miles) from the baseline. Within this area, the coastal nation has sole exploitation rights over all natural resources.
In casual use, the term may include the territorial sea and even the continental shelf.
The EEZs were introduced to halt the increasingly heated clashes over fishing rights, although oil was also becoming important.
The success of an offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico in 1947 was soon repeated elsewhere in the world, and by 1970 it was technically feasible to operate in waters 4,000 metres deep.
Foreign nations have the freedom of navigation and overflight, subject to the regulation of the coastal states. Foreign states may also lay submarine pipes and cables.
About Permanent Court of Arbitration:
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) is an intergovernmental organization located at The Hague in the Netherlands.
The PCA is not a court in the traditional sense but provides services of arbitral tribunal to resolve disputes that arise out of international agreements between member states, international organizations or private parties.
The cases span a range of legal issues involving territorial and maritime boundaries, sovereignty, human rights, international investment, and international and regional trade.
The PCA is constituted through two separate multilateral conventions with a combined membership of 122 states.
The organization is not a United Nations agency, but the PCA is an official United Nations Observer.
The Peace Palace building also houses the Hague Academy of International Law, Peace Palace Library and the International Court of Justice.
The Administrative Council (formally the Permanent Administrative Council) is a body composed of all diplomatic representatives of Member States accredited to the Netherlands.
It is presided by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, who is also a member.
The judges or arbitrators that hear cases are called Members of the Court.
Each member state may appoint up to four “of known competency in questions of international law, of the highest moral reputation and disposed to accept the duties of arbitrators” for a renewable 6-year term.
Members of each member state together form a “national group”.
2. INDIA’S TRADE DEFICIT WITH CHINA
News: India’s trade deficit with China fell to $48.66 billion in 2019-20 on account of the decline in imports from the neighboring country, according to government data.
Top Products which India Imports from China are:
Parts of computers
Cars and motorcycles parts
Optical and medical instruments
Iron and steel
About Trade Deficit:
A trade deficit occurs when a country’s imports exceed its exports during a given time period. It is also referred to as a negative balance of trade (BOT).
The balance can be calculated on different categories of transactions: goods (a.k.a., “merchandise”), services, goods and services.
Balances are also calculated for international transactions—current account, capital account, and financial account.
The current account includes goods and services, plus primary and secondary income payments.
Primary income includes payments (financial investment returns) from direct investment (greater than 10% ownership of a business), portfolio investment (financial markets), and other.
Secondary income payments include government grants (foreign aid) and pension payments, and private remittances to households in other countries (e.g., sending money to friends and relatives).
3. BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES
News: The flood situation in Assam worsened after two successive days of improvement, affecting 16.03 lakh on Thursday. The number of affected people stood at 14.95 lakh on Wednesday.
About Brahmaputra River:
The Brahmaputra called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Siang/Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh and Luit,Dilao in Assam, is a trans-boundary river which flows through China, India and Bangladesh.
It is the ninth largest river in the world by discharge, and the 15th longest.
Left: Dibang, Lohit, Dhansiri, Kolong
Right: Kameng, Manas, Beki, Teesta, Subansiri
About Kaziranga National Park:
Kaziranga National Park is a national park in the state of Assam, India.
The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site.
The park is home to large breeding populations of elephants, wild water buffalo, and swamp deer.
Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
Kaziranga is a vast expanse of tall elephant grass, marshland, and dense tropical moist broadleaf forests, criss-crossed by four major rivers, including the Brahmaputra, and the park includes numerous small bodies of water.
4. RAJAJI NATIONAL PARK
News: The Saharanpur Divisional Commissioner has sent a proposal to the Uttar Pradesh government to declare the Shivalik forest in the Saharanpur circle a tiger reserve.
About Rajaji National Park:
Rajaji National Park is an Indian national park and tiger reserve that encompasses the Shivaliks, near the foothills of the Himalayas. The park is spread over 820 km2., and three districts of Uttarakhand: Haridwar, Dehradun and Pauri Garhwal. In 1983, three wildlife sanctuaries in the area namely, Chilla, Motichur and Rajaji sanctuaries were merged into one. The Ganga and Song rivers flow through the park.
Rajaji National Park has been named after C. Rajagopalachari (Rajaji), a prominent leader of the Freedom Struggle, the second and last Governor-General of independent India and one of the first recipients of India’s highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (in 1954).
Rajaji National Park of India is nestled between the Shivalik ranges and the Indo-Gangetic plains.
Broadleaved deciduous forests, riverine vegetation, scrubland, grasslands and pine forests form the range of flora in this park.
5. ELEPHANTS FOUND DEAD IN BOTSWANA
News: Hundreds of elephants have died mysteriously in Botswana’s famed Okavango Delta, the head of the wildlife department said on Thursday, ruling out poaching as the tusks were found intact.