- On September 20, Azerbaijan claimed full control over the contentious Nagorno-Karabakh region after local forces, mostly Armenians, agreed to disarm and disband.
- Hundreds of local Armenians fled the area overnight, fearing ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan.
- While the disputed region is home to a majority population of ethnic Armenians and an Azeri minority.
- It is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan.
- A fresh round of violence broke out in September when Azerbaijan launched an attack against ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.
- The fighting lasted one day, and a ceasefire was announced a day later.
What is the history of the conflict?
- Nagorno-Karabakh is located within the international borders of Azerbaijan.
- It is in the South Caucasus region between Eastern Europe and western Asia, spanning the southern part of the Caucasus Mountains that roughly includes modern-day Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
- The conflict between Azeris and Armenians goes back a century, when the Ottomans attacked the South Caucasus during World War I with the help of Azeris.
- They targeted ethnic Armenians during this attack, and the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia descended into a full-blown war in 1920.
- This war incorporated the region into the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
- Soon after, both countries became part of the Soviet Republic, and Nagorno-Karabakh was made an autonomous Oblast (administrative region) in Azerbaijan’s territory.
- When the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, full-scale fighting again broke out between the countries as Armenian rebels declared Nagorno-Karabakh an independent territory.
- The war lasted till 1994 and killed around 30,000 people.
- In 1994, Azerbaijan and Armenia entered a ceasefire brokered by Russia, but international borders for the countries were not demarcated.
- A four-day war again broke out between the two countries in 2016, with no resolution being arrived at.
What happened in 2020?
- In 2020, Azerbaijan President IlhamAliyev launched an offensive to take Nagorno-Karabakh back, leading the country into a fierce war with Armenia that lasted six weeks and killed more than 2,000 people.
- The Azeri forces attacked Armenian defences and took back 40% of Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Azerbaijan was backed by Turkey, and while Armenia’s ally Russia did little to support Armenia, it helped broker a ceasefire.
- However, despite the ceasefire, Azerbaijan did not give up attempts to capture Nagorno-Karabakh.
- In December 2022, it blockaded the Lachin Corridor, the main road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and the rest of the world, adding to the economic misery of the region. The road was blocked under the pretext of environmental concerns.
How did Azerbaijan capture the area?
- Experts believe that Turkey had a big role to play in the latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
- Turkey, however, denied any direct involvement in Azerbaijan’s offensive, although it is a political and military supporter of Azerbaijan.
- Russia’s absence in the Caucasus is owed to its war in Ukraine.
- As retaliation for Russia’s lack of help over the last few years, Armenia voted to join the International Criminal Court (ICC) despite Russia’s warnings (the ICC has issued a warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin).
- Over 1, 00,000 ethnic Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, have fled to Armenia in the last one week, the WHO estimates.
- The exodus has triggered a massive humanitarian crisis.
EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY (EPR)
Why is in news?
The Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed milk major Aavin to submit an action plan to recycle empty milk sachets in accordance with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations.
About Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR):
The Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) is an environmental policy approach where producers are made significantly responsible, both financially and physically, for the post-consumption treatment or disposal of their products.
Why is in news?
Writer Ambai wins Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award.
About Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award:
- S. Lakshmi (Ambai), born in 1944 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
- Tamil writer Ambai has been selected for the Tata Literature Lifetime Achievement Award.
- It recognises and salutes sustained and outstanding contribution to writing and literature in India.
- Past recipients of the award include Anita Desai, Mark Tully, Amitav Gosh, Ruskin Bond and Girish Karnad.
- Ambai is a feminist writer, who questioned the stereotyping of women.
- She won the SahityaAkademi award for her short story collection SivappuKazhutthudan Oru Patchaiparavai in 2021.
- Her first short story collection SirakukalMuriyum was published in 1976.
- Ambai confined herself to writing short stories.
INDIA HONOURED AT AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OTOLARYNGOLOGY MEET
- India was honoured as a featured country at the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNSF) 2023 Annual Meeting.
- The role of Indian Academy of Otorhinolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (IAOHNS), whose founding president is Mohan Kameswaran was lauded at the event.
CHENNAI’S OWN PATRON SAINT – RAMALINGA ADIGAL
- October 5, 2023 marks the bicentenary of Vallalar, aka Ramalinga Adigal.
- He dismissed the caste system, advocated universal brotherhood, and compassion to all living beings, free feeding, and the worship of the divine as light.
- He was known as Vallalar because of his charity.
- He was born in the South Arcot district but following the demise of his father, he was brought to the Chennai by his mother.
- The young Ramalingam was more interested in spiritual rather than conventional education.
- His teachings is known as Arutpa
Mission to roll out to rare and threatened flora of Tamil Nadu
- Tamil Nadu is a home to rich flora spread across a unique combination of the Western and Eastern Ghats.
- More than 30 taxonomists carried out an assessment of threat to the State’s flora and came out with a list of 25 plants.
- Conservation strategies will be designed for these plants under the Tamil Nadu Biodiversity Conservation and Greening Project for Climate Change Response.
- They conducted a conservation assessment management and prioritisation (CAMP) workshop in collaboration with the Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding (IFGTB), Coimbatore.
- The Forest Department will carry out population assessment surveys.
- It will also collect the germplasm in ex-situ gardens.
- Some of the species are fewer than 500 or 1,000 individuals left in the wild.
- The 25 shortlisted species were assessed for their economical, biological, cultural and ecosystem values.
- Three species over-exploited
- They are assessed to be over-exploited for their medicinal values.
- Human interventions in the name of development, in the name of agriculture; expansion of the plantation of crops; and diversion of forest areas for other activities are the major threats to these rare plants.
- Over-exploitation of the medicinal and wood-yielding plants for commercial purposes also pose threats to these plants and their habitats.
- The grasslands and shola forests in the upper Nilgiris are a vital part of the Western Ghats.
- It is home to 85% of the endemic taxa.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT
Why is in news?
Armenia’s Parliament voted to join the International Criminal Court.
About International Criminal Court:
- The International Criminal Court is an intergovernmental organization.
- It is seated in The Hague, Netherlands.
- It is the first and only permanent international court with jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.
- It is governed by an international treaty called ‘The Rome Statute.
- The ICC is distinct from the International Court of Justice, an organ of the United Nations that hears disputes between states.
TRIO WINS NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS FOR FINDING A WAY TO ‘SEE’ ELECTRONS
- France’s Pierre Agostini, Hungarian-Austrian FerencKrausz and French-Swedish Anne L’Huillier won the Nobel Prize in physics.
- They won the prize for enabling the study of electrons inside atoms and molecules.