Topic Covered :
Trump ends HK’s special trade status, backs sanctions
8 world leaders seek equal access to Covid-19 vaccine
Fiscal powers for forces to meet urgent needs
TRUMP ENDS HK’S SPECIAL TRADE STATUS, BACKS SANCTIONS
Why in news? U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday stripped Hong Kong of preferential trade treatment and authorised sanctions on banks over China’s clampdown in the financial hub, infuriating Beijing that vowed to retaliate.
Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China — no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.
Mr. Trump also said he had signed into law the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which authorises sanctions against Chinese officials and Hong Kong police seen as infringing on the city’s autonomy — and, crucially, any banks that make significant transactions with them.
Lawmakers hope the new law will force all but provincial Chinese banks to choose between abetting Beijing’s efforts in Hong Kong or being able to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars and operate in the world’s largest economy.
China on Wednesday vowed to retaliate, saying the Hong Kong Autonomy Act “maliciously slanders” its legislation in Hong Kong.
The White House acknowledged concerns that the Hong Kong Autonomy Act, a tougher follow-up to a law last year, limits the President’s leeway to waive sanctions.
But the Act enjoyed overwhelming bipartisan support, meaning Congress could likely override any presidential veto.
Source : Hindu ( Page 14, 16 Jul. 20)
8 WORLD LEADERS SEEK EQUAL ACCESS TO COVID-19 VACCINE
Why in news?
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the world leaders in demanding equitable access to coronavirus disease vaccine when it is developed.
He co-authored an article on the issue along with leaders of Spain, New Zealand, South Korea, Ethiopia and three other countries which seeks cooperation from various countries in manufacturing and distributing a Covid-19 vaccine.
Vaccines save lives. That’s why we’re working here at home and with partners around the world to find one. And when we do, we must keep working together to make sure that people everywhere have access to it - because where you live should not determine whether you live.
Calling vaccine as the “most powerful public health tool”, the leaders said in the article that they cannot allow its access to increase inequalities between or within countries.
They also said that vaccine distribution, if managed successfully, will be a “cornerstone of strengthening multilateralism for the future”.
FISCAL POWERS FOR FORCES TO MEET URGENT NEEDS
Why in news?
In view of the prevailing situation along the northern borders, a special meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday, delegated financial powers for urgent ‘capital acquisition’ projects up to Rs 300 crore to the armed forces to meet urgent operational needs.
These include acquisition of weapons and equipment under the ‘capital head’ of the defence Budget.
Till now, financial powers up to Rs 500 crore under the ‘revenue head’ were vested with the Vice-Chief of the Army.
The move will shrink procurement timelines, ensure placement of orders within six months and deliveries within a year.