North Korea Exhibits New Missile As Message To Biden And US

North Korea Exhibits New Missile As Message To Biden And US

North Korea has unveiled another missile (nothing new in that). Interesting is the fact that the unveiling occurred just a week before Biden’s inauguration as the US President. In that light, let us take a look at how the US-North Korea relationship was under Trump regime and how it alternated rapidly.

Crux of the Matter

New Missile Unveiled
North Korea recently unveiled a new type of “submarine-launched ballistic missile” at a parade. It has been described by the NK media as “the world’s most powerful weapon.”

Message To Biden?
The recent development has come days before Joe Biden takes charge as the US President from 20th January. Besides unveiling the new missile, North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un also called to be wary of the US “no matter who is in power” there.

“Our foreign political activities should be focused and redirected on subduing the U.S., our biggest enemy and main obstacle to our innovated development.”

Kim Jong Un on the US


  • North Korea had unveiled an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in October 2020.
  • The ICBM is reportedly able to hit even the US with a nuclear warhead.

Trump-Kim Era
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shared an alternating relationship in Trump’s tenure. The relations were tense as Kim accelerated NK’s nuclear programme while Trump continued with his ‘unusual’ diplomacy.

  • August 2017: Trump tweeted that “[North Korea] will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen” if they make any threats.
  • September: Trump, at the UN General Assembly, claimed that the “Rocket Man [Kim] is on a suicide mission for himself and for his regime“.
    Kim called him “mentally deranged” in response.
  • November: The US officially designated North Korea as ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ – NK was removed from the list in 2008.

Button Battle

In January 2018, Kim claimed that the entire US was within its nuclear weapon range and that he has a “nuclear launch button” on his table. Trump had retaliated by claiming that he had “much bigger” and “more powerful” button on his desk.

Love Over Letters
However, their relation improved drastically with an exchange of ‘letters’.

  • September 2018: Trump claimed that he and Kim “fell in love” as “he wrote me [Trump] beautiful letters”.
  • June 2019: Trump visited North Korea – became the 1st US President to do so.

The Result?
No actual progress came though. with denuclearization talks proving unfruitful. It was witnessed in June 2020, when North Korea formally announced to cease attempts to establish diplomatic relations with the US over continued economic sanctions.

The 2016-20 period for the 2 nations witnessed several missile tests and threats by North Korea. Talks with the US also ultimately failed in the period, with several points of tension reminding people of the Korean war.

In 2020, Kim Jong Un declared that North Korea will develop strategic weapons to ensure the security of its state until a lasting peace-keeping mechanism is ready. Read about it in detail here.

  • Ballistics is the field of mechanics concerned with the launching, flight behaviour and impact effects of projectiles especially ranged weapon munitions such as bullets, unguided bombs, rockets or the like. A ballistic missile is a missile that is guided only during the relatively brief initial phase of powered flight and the trajectory is subsequently governed by the laws of classical mechanics.
  • Huolongchushui (Fire dragon) were the earliest form of multistage rockets and ballistic cruise missiles used in post-classical China. The name of the weapon was used to strike fear into enemy troops.
  • North Korea’s human rights record is often considered to be the worst in the world and has been globally condemned, with the United Nations, the European Union and groups such as Human Rights Watch all critical of the country’s record.

Covid-19 Vaccine Updates

Covid Vaccine Updates

With India launching “world’s largest vaccine programme“, let’s look at some updates over the vaccine in the country as well as the world.

Crux of the Matter

“Largest Vaccine Programme”
India started its Covid-19 vaccine programme on 16 January. It was widely called as “world’s largest vaccination programme”.

Vaccination Stats For Day 1

As per the Union Health Ministry:

  • 447 cases of AEFI (Adverse event following immunization) reported on 16th and 17th January.
  • 3 required hospitalisation.
  • 1 death reported in Moradabad – later dismissed as death due to heart attack.

Demand For Covishield In Delhi

  • Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital resident Doctors have refused to “participate in huge numbers” in Covaxin vaccination. Covaxin is a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech.
  • Refusal due to lack of Phase 3 trial completion.
  • Doctors have demanded Covishield instead “which has completed all stages of the trial before its rollout”. Covishield is developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca – manufactured by Serum Institute of India.

Consent Form For Covaxin

  • Receivers of Covaxin of Bharat Biotech were asked to sign a ‘consent form’.
  • Care in Government designated hospitals in case of adverse events.
  • Compensation for “serious adverse event” (if causally related to the vaccine) to be paid by the sponsor Bharat Biotech.

The clinical efficacy of COVAXIN is yet to be established and it is still being studied in phase 3 clinical trial. Hence, it is important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that other precautions related to Covid-19 need not be followed.

Covaxin Consent Form

Pfizer Trouble In Norway

  • 29 people have died in Norway after receiving the Covid vaccine of Pfizer Inc.
  • Reported deaths in “elderly people with serious basic disorders”.
  • 13 deaths assessed” as of 17 January – 16 remaining.
  • Covid vaccines now reportedly considered “riskyfor old people.

For those with the most severe frailty, even relatively mild vaccine side effects can have serious consequences. For those who have a very short remaining life span anyway, the benefit of the vaccine may be marginal or irrelevant.

Norwegian Institute Of Public Health

  • Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe is a 2016 American pseudoscience propaganda documentary film alleging a cover-up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of a purported link between the MMR vaccine and autism. In early November 2019, Vaxxed II: The People’s Truth, a sequel to Vaxxed, was scheduled for release.
  • A vaccine adverse event (VAE) is an adverse event caused by vaccination. The World Health Organization (WHO) knows VAEs as Adverse Events Following Immunization.
  • The Big Pharma conspiracy theory is a group of conspiracy theories that claim that the medical community in general and pharmaceutical companies in particular, especially large corporations, operate for sinister purposes and against the public good and that they allegedly conceal effective treatments, or even cause and worsen a wide range of diseases.

“Opposition Free” Elections in Kazakhstan & Reminiscent Of ‘Borat’

Kazakhstan "Opposition Free" Elections Reminiscent Of 'Borat'

With the ruling party of Kazakhstan comfortably securing victory in an election widely calledopposition free“, the event has recalled the depiction of the country in the renowned ‘mockumentary’ Borat. Let’s see what evokes this reminiscence.

Crux of the Matter

Recent Election
Nur Otan is the ruling party of Kazakhstan. In the recent parliamentary election, the party won with a 71% vote.

The Catch?

  • The election was mainly “opposition free”.
  • National Social Democratic Party (NSDP) is the only registered party against Nur Otan in Kazakhstan.
  • NSDP did not field candidates in this election as a “protest” method, thus providing it with the title being widely used.

Intra-Party Election

  • 4 other parties competed with Nur Otan. However, all are its allies and support it.
  • No elections in the history of Kazakhstan have been recognized ‘fair’ since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

As all political parties contesting the elections supported the policies of the ruling party, the campaign was not competitive, and voters had no genuine political alternatives to choose from.

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) on Kazakhstan elections

Reminds Of Borat?

  • Satirical movie Borat is widely credited for making people across the world aware of Kazakhstan’s existence.
  • The movie was released in 2006, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as ‘Borat Sagdiyev’.
  • Borat acted as a reporter sent from Kazakhstan to cover “the greatest country”: the US.
  • It was banned in Kazakhstan due to its ‘offensive’ portrayal of the nation – portrayed it as sexist, racist, devoid of human rights, and civility.

Drastic Change With Sequel

  • Interestingly, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm or Borat 2 received an opposite reaction in Kazakhstan.
  • The nation has embraced the movie positively. Its recent tourism campaign of the nation had “very nice!” (famous dialogue of Borat) as its slogan.

Following have been cited as reasons for Kazakhstan’s change in attitude:

  • Even though the first part was mainly a satire on the US, the sequel focused completely on the US and actions of Donald Trump and his colleagues.
  • Tourism in the country increased drastically after the first part was released.

I chose Kazakhstan [for Borat] because it was a place that almost nobody in the U.S. knew anything about, which allowed us to create a wild, comedic, fake world. The real Kazakhstan is a beautiful country with a modern, proud society — the opposite of Borat’s version.

Sacha Baron Cohen

“Very Nice” Election
However, the recent “opposition free” election in the country has reminded people of Borat and how Kazakhstan was shown in the movie. Several people have been wondering if the portrayal (at least of its authoritarianism) was not much removed from reality!

Read about elections in other countries:

  • Da Ali G Show is a British satirical television series created by and starring English comedian Sacha Baron Cohen. In the series, Baron Cohen plays three unorthodox journalists: faux-streetwise poseur Ali G, Kazakh reporter Borat Sagdiyev, and gay Austrian fashion enthusiast Brüno Gehard. These characters conduct real interviews with unsuspecting people, many of whom are celebrities, high-ranking government officials, and other well-known figures, during which they are asked absurd and ridiculous questions.
  • The Dictator is a 2012 political satire comedy film co-written by and starring Sacha Baron Cohen as his fourth feature film in a leading role. Baron Cohen, in the role of Admiral General Aladeen, the dictator of the fictional Republic of Wadiya visiting the United States.
  • The name “Kazakh” comes from the ancient Turkic word qaz, “to wander“, reflecting the Kazakhs’ nomadic culture. The term “Cossack” is of the same origin. The Persian suffix -stan means “land” or “place of”, so Kazakhstan can be literally translated as “land of the wanderers”.

Trump Becomes 1st US President To Be Impeached Twice

Trump Becomes 1st US President To Be Impeached Twice

With Donald Trump achieving the milestone of becoming the first President to be impeached twice, let us look at what impeachment is, what led to the one of Trump, as well as its former cases.

Crux of the Matter

“Milestone” Achieved
On 13 January 2021, Donald Trump became the 1st US president to be impeached twice and only the 3rd US President to be impeached.

The House of Representatives formally charged him with “incitement of insurrection” after his supporters sieged the Capitol and committed violence.

What Is Impeachment?

  • Impeachment is the formal charging of President with certain crimes.
  • Impeachment is a part of the process of officially removing the President for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors”.
  • Impeachment is done by the House (lower house).

Impeachment is succeeded by the Senate (upper House) trial, where 2/3rd majority is required to convict and remove the President. However, no President in history has been removed by the Senate.

Impeachment After Trump Leaves?
As per experts, late impeachment (after Trump leaves the office) is also possible.

  • Notably, impeachment may also be used to “disqualify” from office in future.
  • Meaning: Trump’s impeachment may prohibit him from contesting in the 2024 Presidential election as well as deny ex-President benefits.

Previous Instances Of Impeachment

Donald Trump (2019)

  • Impeached on charges of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress”.
  • Trump reportedly pressurized the Ukrainian President to “investigate” Joe Biden and his son Hunter to aid him in 2020 elections.

Bill Clinton (1998)

  • Impeached on charges of “lying under oath to a federal grand jury” and “obstruction of justice”.
  • Clinton lied about having “sexual relationship” with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
  • Impeachment not for the extramarital affair, but for perjury (lying about the issue under oath) and using power to hide the matter.

Andrew Johnson (1868)

  • Impeached on charges of “violating the Tenure of Office Act”.
  • Done so by removing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton from office.

  • Dilma Vana Rousseff is a Brazilian economist and politician who served as the 36th president of Brazil. She was the first woman to hold the Brazilian presidency. On 31 August 2016, the Senate voted 61–20 to impeach, finding Rousseff guilty of breaking budgetary laws and removed her from office.
  • The charge of high crimes and misdemeanours covers allegations of misconduct by officials. The impeachment of the King’s Chancellor, Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk in 1386 was the first case to use this charge.
  • Other than impeachment, no other penalty can be given to a president in position for the violation of the Constitution under Article 361 of the Indian constitution. No Indian President has faced impeachment proceedings. Hence, the provisions for impeachment have never been tested.

Pakistan 2nd Biggest Digital Audience Of DD And All India Radio

Pakistan 2nd Biggest Digital Audience Of DD And All India Radio

With India’s neighbour Pakistan featuring in the top digital audience of DD and All India Radio of Prasar Bharati, let us look at some stats revealed by the latter as well as one notable incident regarding India, Balochistan, Pakistan and All India Radio.

Crux of the Matter

Before We Start
Prasar Bharati is the statutory autonomous body functioning as India’s Public Service Broadcaster. It consists of All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan (DD).

100% Digital Growth

  • Digital channels of Prasar Bharati registered more than 100% growth in 2020.
  • Prasar Bharati app (NewsOnAir) added more than 2.5 million users in 2020 as well as received more than 300 million views.
  • Channels across Doordarshan and Akashvani received more than 1 billion digital views.
  • Most popular digital videos included Prime Minister’s interactions with school students, Republic Day parade 2020 and a rare video of mathematician Shakuntala Devi from DD National archives.

Audience From The Neighbourhood

  • Pakistan was the 2nd largest “digital audience” for DD and AIR content after people inside India.
  • The US was the 3rd largest digital audience.
  • One notable incident of AIR also associated with Pakistan and its annexation of Balochistan.

Balochistan In 1947

  • As per the Foreign Policy Centre of the UK, most of Balochistan was known as Kalat before 1947.
  • Remained independent for 7 months after Indian independence and partition in 1947.

Infamous Menon Declaration

  • 27 March 1948: V P Menon, Secretary in Ministry of States, made a statement on All India Radio.
  • Menon claimed that Kalat “was pressing” to join India but the latter rejected it.

2 versions exist:

  • King of Kalat had never discussed joining India and was in touch with both India and Pakistan to prevent invasion from the latter.
  • Kalat wanted independence but asked to join India amidst Pakistani threat, which India rejected.

Damage Done

  • Either way, the damage was done.
  • Sardar Patel immediately denied that any such request was put, and so did PM Nehru.
  • However, it proved a bit too late, as the AIR broadcast was heard by King of Kalat and also reported by Pakistani Government.
  • In less than a week, Pakistani Army annexed Kalat and captured the King.

Balochistan has since been a part of Pakistan. However, both share a strained relationship due to reported violent suppression by the latter continuing even today.

  • The Prasar Bharati Act provides for the establishment of a Broadcasting Corporation, to be known as Prasar Bharati, and define its composition, functions, and powers. The Act received the assent of the President of India on 12 September 1990 after being unanimously passed by Parliament. It was finally implemented in November 1997.
  • Akashvani is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘celestial announcement‘ or ‘voice from the sky/heaven‘. ‘Akashvani’ was first used in the context of radio by M. V. Gopalaswami in 1936 after setting up India’s first private radio station in his residence; Akashvani was later adopted as All India Radio’s on-air name in 1957; given its literal meaning in Sanskrit, it was believed to be a more than a suitable name for a broadcaster.
  • Krishi Darshan debuted on Doordarshan on 26 January 1967 and is Indian television’s longest-running program. In 2015, it was shifted from DD National and airs on DD Kisan, but also airs on the former channel.