1)Pakistan and the FATF:
Why in news: Recent data shows Pakistan is unlikely to exit the Financial Action Task Force (FATF’s) grey list next week
- There is still no consensus amongst the 39¬member FATF, which would mean the group, would maintain the status quo and continue Pakistan on the greylist until February 2021.
- Pakistan’s chances of being removed from the FATF greylist suffered another blow as the watchdog’s Asia¬ Pacific Group (APG) cleared it on only about 11 of 40 parameters.
- The APG review that takes actions until February 2020, decided to recommend Pakistan be kept in “expedited (enhanced) Follow Up (EEFU), which means more regular scrutiny of its government’s progress.
The failure in the FATF’s 27¬point action list include
- Pakistan’s lack of action against charitable organisations
- NPOs (Non¬profit organisations) connected to terror groups banned by the UN Security Council
- Delays in prosecution of banned individuals and entities like Lashkar¬e¬Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and LeT operations chief Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi, as well as Jaish¬e- Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.
2) Financial Action Task Force:
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
- It consists of thirty-seven member jurisdictions.
- India is one of the members.
Lists in FATF
- Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
- Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
- The FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets three times per year.
Asia Pacific Group
- The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering is an inter-governmental organisation, consisting of 41 member jurisdictions, focused on ensuring that its members effectively implement the international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.
- Jurisdictions that join the APG, either as members or as observers, commit to the Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
3) Children – the biggest unseen victims of COVID-19 pandemic:
Why in news: the trafficking of children is very high from vulnerable families in villages, mainly for cheap labour and child marriages, amid deep economic distress
Factors responsible for Surge in child trafficking
- The lock down created the ideal hunting ground for child trafficker spreying on vulnerable families.
- Unlock down has sparked demand for cheap labour with industries desperate to reopen.
- The process of extending working hours at factories from a maximum of 8 hours to 12 hours a day with a limited workforce by state governments will further increase child trafficking as children are the cheapest labour force.
Measures to be taken to curb the Child Trafficking
- An immediate and coordinated response built on several recommendations made at multiple levels — from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to organisations working on the ground.
- available governmental welfare schemes beneficial for the family should be implemented at hotspots having children at risk
- Depute a special officer to monitor school dropout rates in identified areas.
- Map source and destination states, identify vulnerable families, and provide rehabilitation packages.
- Involve representatives at the village, block and district levels, strengthen police networks.
- Utilise databases of migrant workers created in various states after their return during the lockdown.
- Anti Human Trafficking Units, state police, railways, civil society, all need to be active.
- Databases of migrant labourers, who had returned, were created in state portals have to be taken
- Traffickers and children, who were being taken from one spot to another, may also be registered.
- It is very crucial and important to develop mechanisms with the Education Department.
- In July, the NCPCR issued a set of guidelines, titled “Preventing Child Trafficking PostLockdownDuetoCovid-19 pandemic”, which advocated the mapping of source and destination states for distribution of government benefits.
- To enable this process, discussions at district, block and village levels are required to be undertaken ,and identification and matching of the vulnerable families at source, transit and destination is important
- With more dropouts, a higher number of children, especially girls, become vulnerable. All the district magistrates must be ordered to look at this on priority, and depute a special officer for monitoring
For many children, the COVID-19 crisis will mean limited or no education, or falling further behind their peers. This will induce a large number of children to discontinue their study even after “normalcy” is restored. There is a high probability of many of these out of school children getting involved in child labour.
4) World Mental Health Day:
- World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
- The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.
- 2020 Theme: Mental Health for All, Greater Investment – Greater Access
Mental health & COVID-19
- ttFear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown. So it is normal and understandable that people are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health.
- WHO, together with partners, have provided guidance and advice during the COVID-19 pandemic for health workers, managers of health facilities, people who are looking after children, older adults, people in isolation and members of the public more generally, to help us look after our mental health.
5) Mars Opposition
Why in new: Mars oppositions happen about every 26 months. Every 15 or 17 years, opposition occurs within a few weeks of Mars’ perihelion (the point in its orbit when it is closest to the sun). This year, Mars opposition occurs on Oct. 13, 2020.
- Like all the planets in our solar system, Earth and Mars orbit the sun.
- But Earth is closer to the sun, and therefore races along its orbit more quickly. Earth makes two trips around the sun in about the same amount of time that Mars takes to make one trip.
- So sometimes the two planets are on opposite sides of the sun, very far apart, and other times, Earth catches up with its neighbour and passes relatively close to it.
What is Opposition?
- It is the circumstance in which two celestial bodies appear in opposite directions in the sky.
- A superior planet (one with an orbit farther from the Sun than Earth’s) is in opposition when Earth passes between it and the Sun.
- During opposition, Mars and the sun are on directly opposite sides of Earth.
- From our perspective on our spinning world, Mars rises in the east just as the sun sets in the west.
- Then, after staying up in the sky the entire night, Mars sets in the west just as the sun rises in the east.
- Since Mars and the sun appear on opposite sides of the sky, we say that Mars is in “opposition.”
- If Earth and Mars followed perfectly circular orbits, opposition would be as close as the two planets could get.
-An opposition can occur anywhere along Mars’ orbit.
-When it happens while the red planet is closest to the sun (called “perihelic opposition”), Mars is particularly close to Earth.