What yuan devaluation means for China, other countries

The devaluation of Chinese currency, yuan, has rattled the global financial markets, boosting the dollar and stirring concerns about a delay in the Federal Reserve’s plan to raise interest rates.

The yuan’s value had declined 1.9% on 11 August 2015, its biggest one-day drop in a decade, and dropped a further 1.6 percent on 12 August. The move could help Chinese companies by making their products less expensive in global markets. US stocks sank, partly on fears about a worsening economic slowdown in China.

CLICK HERE to know the how and why of yuan devaluation.

via The Hindustan Times

Explained: Everything you need to know about Nagaland insurgency

How old is the Naga political issue?

The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”. In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which, under the leadership of Angami Zapu Phizo, declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947. The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

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via The Indian Express

A history of accords but peace has eluded Nagaland

The landmark peace accord signed by the government and the NSCN-IM on 3 August 2015, came nearly 40 years after another similar treaty inked in Shillong that failed to establish peace and led to a fracturing of the Naga rebel movement.

On November 11, 1975, then Nagaland Governor L P Singh signed what came to be known as the “Shillong Accord” with six representatives of the Naga rebels in the capital of Meghalaya.

The ambiguous nature of the agreement–including a clause that said representatives of underground groups would have “reasonable time to formulate other issues for discussion for final settlement”–and the lack of support from hardline leaders like Thuingaleng Muivah and Isak Chisi Swu meant that the Shillong Accord did not lead to lasting peace.

At the time, the Naga rebel movement had been weakened because China had stopped extending support to it and the creation of Bangladesh meant they could no longer seek shelter in the erstwhile East Pakistan.

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via The Hindustan Times

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.


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


What is a ‘smart city’ and how it will work

PM Modi had announced his vision to set up 100 smart cities across the country soon after his government was sworn into power mid 2014. Since then a race has been on among cities to land on the list that the ministry of urban development is compiling. The 100 smart cities mission intends to promote adoption of smart solutions for efficient use of available assets, resources and infrastructure.

Basically, a ‘smart city’ is a city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions.

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Via – Times of India


Cracking the mobile code – Is it good idea to jettison the website?

With the Big App Shopping sale in March this year, Flipkart bid adieu to its mobile website. Fashion major Myntra, which has already shut down its mobile website, is contemplating ditching the browser-based shopping altogether. Having an app is not just de rigueur now, e-commerce firms are actively pushing consumers to their apps and encouraging them to buy through them with attractive discounts and deals. From Amazon’s Appiness Day in November 2014 to Myntra’s Binge Weekend Sale and Snapdeal’s App Fest in February, it’s raining offers on mobile apps.

A large chunk of the e-retailers  say the shift to mobile app is aimed at creating focused marketing, thus reducing unnecessary expenses and providing best-in-class consumer experience. However, there are a number of considerations to take into account before committing investment to either a mobile website or an app.

Though apps are fast becoming the desired way for e-commerce players to interact with consumers, merchants do understand that it is neither easy nor advisable to force their customers to go down that route. According to a study conducted by ICM Research in the UK, a majority of the customers prefer to interact with retailers through their mobile websites and only download an app if they are incentivised to do so or if they are regular shoppers. However, the same consumers are far more likely to complete transactions through the retailers’ mobile app than through the mobile website. While this study was conducted in only one market, it clearly highlights a key trend: it is the consumer who wants the prerogative to decide how and when she wants to use her smartphone to shop.

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Via – Business Standard News