15th July | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 | 15th July 2020

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2020.

“The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers.” –Ralph Nader

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

Improve earthquake prediction

      HEADLINES:

New study can help improve earthquake prediction

      WHY IN NEWS:

An equation developed by researchers brings back focus on earthquake prediction

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Disaster Management

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS there are new terminologies and a formula discussed here . This is not so important but yes ! We have to grasp it ,

For MAINS take a look at the outline of the disaster . Which were the last two hazardous earthquakes ?

      ISSUE: 

A new way to improve the prediction of earthquakes has been developed by researchers

EARTHQUAKES

  • Earthquakes are difficult to predict, making it challenging to save lives.
  • Two of the worst natural disasters in the past 30 years were earthquakes.

Earthquakes killed over 923,000 people worldwide between 1990 and 2019, according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

STUDY PUBLISHED BY

Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

RESEARCH SUMMARY

A new equation has been developed by researchers bringing back the focus on earthquake prediction.

  • Earthquakes usually occur along faults that are fractures between rocks and can range from a few millimetres to thousands of kilometres.
  • During an earthquake, seismic waves are generated in a short span of time after two blocks of earth slip past one another.
  • The waves travel to the surface causing destruction.
  • The surface where they slip is known as the fault or fault plane.

OBSERVATIONS

  • Scientists have attempted to recreate these faults in their laboratories to try and understand the conditions in them during earthquakes.

They tried to predict the frictional strength — the force required to cause movement along a fault — of phyllosilicates.

  • WEAKEST PARTS : Minerals in the form of thin plates found along the weakest part of the faults where earthquakes occur.
  • PHYLLOSILICATES : They created a model to predict the frictional strength of phyllosilicates under conditions that cannot be attained in a laboratory.
  • SCALING FAULTS : The researchers analysed artificial fault zones on a microscopic scale to identify processes that occurred during the experiment.
  • FORMULA : A set of equations were then formulated to predict how the frictional strength of phyllosilicate changes, along with a change in conditions such as humidity or the rate of fault movement.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

RESULTS

  • This made it easier for modellers to simulate fault movement in natural conditions, including earthquakes.
  • The model predicts that movement along phyllosilicate-rich fault zones becomes more difficult as it becomes faster, something that is consistent with experiments.
  • This also needs further research .
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

Is green energy enough?

      HEADLINES:

Planet of the humans: Is green energy enough to save the day?

      WHY IN NEWS:

The film is a depiction of what can go wrong if we do not address the energy question.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Energy : RENEWABLE SOURCES OF ENERGY

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS note down the formula mentioned in this article and revise it several times before your Prelims Exam .

For MAINS well this article is all about a review of Movie – Planet of Human . We have collected some key points from the movie . Let us dive in !

      ISSUE: 

Planet of the Humans Movie has received interesting feedback from all quarters.

KEY FACTS

  • One of the key issues that it does not take up is the monstrous scale of energy use and what it would translate to if we explore other options.

SCALE OF ENERGY USE

  • SCALING : While considering a transformation of the energy system, we must first address the scale of energy use.
  • TECH VS ENERGY : The technology, no matter how advanced, if embedded in the growth paradigm, will inevitably lead to an increase in energy use.

The current energy mix comprises 82 per cent fossil fuels.

  • FORECAST : Even energy mix in the year 2040 is estimated to be 74 per cent fossil fuels.
  • ADDITIONAL FOSSIL FUELS : Any new production of solar panels or wind turbines in such a case would incur burning additional fossil fuels.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, according to the law of conservation of energy.

  • INFRASTRUCTURE : Even if we decide to use solar or wind energy and accelerate production of the conversion infrastructure, we will have to use fossil energy input to build the infrastructure.

THE ELECTRIC VEHICLE DEBATE

  • ISSUE OF BATTERIES : How these will be treated at the end of life and what will be additional energy required to do it — remain unanswered.

Toxicity at the time of disposal is also not a completely answered question yet.

  • CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE : Aspect of charging infrastructure and how will that be constructed in absence of fossil energy is a question worth pondering upon.

BIOENERGY

Bioenergy, if considered with due protocol of rational exploitation could be an interesting option for the energy system transformation.

  • Bioenergy in multiple forms and shapes, from burning wood to making alcohol from sugarcane to run cars, are much touted options.
  • The challenge with using bioenergy is scale of use.

EXAMPLE
If we intend to convert all vehicles in Brazil to run on ethanol, we are in for a serious trouble. 

  • CLEARING FORESTS : Such an attempt would ask for more and more land to grow more and more sugarcane, which can only be obtained at the expense of clearing more forests.
  • We lose more biodiversity as we use more land.
  • VULNERABLE : That is how we become a more vulnerable species in the trophic web.

UNDERSTANDING THE TRADE-OFF

  • Every act of using non-renewable energy is a trade-off.

Only real renewable energy is sun’s energy radiant on earth in as-is form without any conversion.
 

  • If we can make the best possible trade-off to limit the energy use to a much lower value than what is being used today, its pull on other natural resources and the overall ecological footprint will remain manageable.

CONSUMPTION-TECHNOLOGY NEXUS

Talking about population, which is definitely a multiplier and must be seen in the context of the equation on generated impact stated by Paul Ehrlic:

I = PxAxT  (impact on environment = population x affluence x technology)   

  • This means that affluence and technology play an important role as well.
  • History of technology clearly suggests that any advancement in technology has always led to increase in energy use and typically, use of fossil fuels.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Trying to extract profit from natural resources becomes unviable very quickly from sustainability perspective due to externalisation of costs.
  • All organisations who believe that they can have the cake and eat it too are in trouble.
  • We need to ensure that resources we consume are regenerated within a reasonable span of time for us and our future generations to use.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

China making deep inroads into Iran

      HEADLINES:

China making deep inroads into Iran

      WHY IN NEWS:

Tehran could get an economic lifeline, while China seeks to expand role in region

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

At a time when the U.S. is targeting both through a host of economic measures, China and Iran are taking their partnership to a new level through a $400-billion long-term agreement.

  • The countries are in an advanced stage of finalising the agreement that would allow China to expand its presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and several other sectors in the Islamic Republic in return for heavily discounted oil for 25 years.
  • China could enhance its strategic influence in a region where the U.S. has built a strong presence since the Second World War.

STRATEGIC VALUE

  • Iran has a very crucial place in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • China always wanted to bring Iran on board.
  • As the Americans pursued the policy of ‘maximum pressure’ against Iran and left Iran under extraordinary privation and deprivation, it is now open to the Chinese initiative,”.

China and Iran would launch joint training exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing.

  • China will also offer its GPS to Iran, build infrastructure for 5G rollout and develop free trade zones.
  • It is a long-term strategic partnership agreement with energy, economic, logistical and military aspects.

GAME CHANGER

A new multipolar world order is emerging in which China is playing a crucial role.   

  • China has already cemented ties with Russia in this emerging order.
  • Iran has joined this bloc.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

INDIA’S ROLE

  • When Iran and China are finalising this partnership agreement, Iran has dropped India from a project to build a rail line from the Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan.
  • The project, signed in 2016, was hailed as a major trilateral project that would give India access to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan.

Iranian officials cited delay in the proposed $400 million funding as the reason for dropping India from the project.
 

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

EU, India to meet on resuming FTA negotiations

      HEADLINES:

EU, India to meet on resuming FTA negotiations

      WHY IN NEWS:

COVID-19, bilateral investment, maritime security and concerns over an ‘assertive’ China will be high on the summit agenda

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

India and the European Union (EU) are set to agree on a “high-level dialogue on trade and investment” to restart negotiations.

During this summit, India and the EU are expected to conclude several agreements including :

  • A roadmap for cooperation.
  • An agreement on research sharing for civil nuclear cooperation.
  • Launch a maritime security dialogue as well as
  • Negotiations between Europol and the CBI.

Trade with India formed under 3% of the EU’s global trade, which is “far below” what was expected of the relationship.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Tackling COVID-19 and its impact on the economy and the global order will be high on the agenda.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB | Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020

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