UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS| PRELIMS & MAINS | 26th April 2020

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IASbhai DAILY UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS  (THE HINDU+LIVEMINT+PIB)

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Daily Current Affairs for UPSC 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 PRELIMS2020.

We may encounter many defeats but we must not be defeated.– Maya Angelou

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.

PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

      HEADLINES:

Biggest operation for distribution of pulses underway

      WHY IN NEWS:

NAFED to distribute about 5.88 LMT pulses to about 20 crore NFSA households through ration shops for three months under PMGKAY

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Scheme

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS a mega initiative has been launched like never before with the help of NAFED.Lets dive in.

For MAINS do you think DBT of essential goods should be opted for rather than such massive operation ?

      ISSUE: 

In order to meet the protein needs of people during this crisis, the Central government had decided to provide one kg of milled and cleaned pulses to each NFSA household for three months under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

PM GARIB KALYAN ANNA YOJANA

  • Operation to involve about two lakh truck trips and loading/unloading over 4 weeks
  • In order to distribute one kg of pulses to about 20 crore households for three months in the country, a massive operation for transport and milling of pulses is underway.
  • Executed by NAFED under guidance of the Department of consumer affairs of the Central government, this operation entails lifting of un-milled pulses from the godowns of Central / State warehousing corporations, getting the pulses milled or cleaned as per quality standards prescribed by FSSAI and then reaching the milled pulses to the States.
  • Thereafter, the milled pulses are carried to state government godowns and then to PDS shops for distribution.

AN INSURANCE COVER OF RS. 50 LAKH

  • Under this PM Garib Kalyan Scheme, any health worker in government hospitals and healthcare centres who are treating the Covid-19 patients would be provided with an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh if met with some accident.
  • These health workers include Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists.
  • All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centres as well as States would be covered under this scheme.
  • Approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.

FREE PULSES

  • The Government of India declared to provide free resources of 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for 80 crore poor peoplefor the next three months under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana.
  • Each one of them would be provided double of their current entitlement over the next three months to ensure adequate availability of protein to all Covid-19 affected BPL families.

BENEFIT TO FARMERS

The Government to front-load Rs. 2,000 paid to farmers in the first week of April under existing PM Kisan Yojana which will benefit 8.7 crore farmers.

FREE LPG CYLINDERS TO THE BPL FAMILIES

Free cylinders to the BPL (Below Poverty Line)  families for the next three months under the Ujjwala scheme.

TO HELP THE LOW WAGE EARNERS IN ORGANISED SECTORS

  • The PM Garib Kalyan Package will also help the Wage-earners who are earning below Rs. 15,000 per month in businesses that are having less than 100 workers.
  • The wage workers who  are at risk of losing their employment will be provided with 24 percent of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for next three months which would prevent disruption in their employment.
  • Apart from the above-mentioned benefits, MNREGA wages would also be increased by Rs. 20with effect from 1 April, 2020 under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.
  • Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional Rs. 2,000 benefit annually to a worker which will benefit approximately 13.62 crore families. To know more about MNREGA, refer to the linked page.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The millers are selected on the basis of Out Turn Ratio (OTR) bids by NAFED through online auctions.
  • In OTR bidding, empanelled millers are required to quote percentage of milled pulses for every quintal of raw pulse considering the expenses involved in cleaning, milling, packing, transportation both inward and outward.
  • Packing is in 50 kg bags.
  • No milling charges paid to the millers.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 Low-cost metal-free nanomaterial

      HEADLINES:

INST scientists find low-cost metal-free nanomaterial towards disinfection of garments under visible light exposure

      WHY IN NEWS:

This technology will also be explored for antiviral efficiency considering its relevance to the current scenario.

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Science and technology

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS understand the features of this low cost metal free nanomaterial and how will it serve as alternative to  silver ?

      ISSUE: 

Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India have found a low-cost metal-free nanomaterial for visible light microbial disinfection which can be an alternative to silver and other metal-based materials.

  • These nanomaterials possess enhanced biocidal activity.

KEY OBSERVATIONS:

The team has tested carbon nitride quantum dots (g-CNQDs) for visible-light-driven antibacterial activity and found it to be efficient, apart from being biocompatible with mammalian cells.
  • The team has suggested it to be a viable anti bacterial alternative to metal/non-metal semiconductors and expensive silver, thus making it cost-effective.
  • According to the INST team, these nanomaterials possess enhanced biocidal activity attributed to larger surface area of g-CNQDs having more reactive sites and optical absorption both in the ultraviolet and visible region.
  • The g-CNQDs have the ability to generate reactive oxygen species (ROS).
  • The ROS rapidly interact and damage the immediately available biological macromolecules such as lipids present on the cell membrane or envelope and proteins present on the cellular surface, towards inactivation of the microorganism.
  • The mechanism of inactivation is non-specific to a particular pathogen, as lipid and protein are major components of the inhabitants of the microbial world.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The scientists are exploring ways of incorporating doped and undoped carbon nitride-based materials into cloth fabrics that can continuously produce reactive oxygen species (ROS) under optimal humidity and temperature for the antimicrobial activity.

The dependence on visible light is also advantageous over regular ultraviolet mediated disinfection, which requires cautious handling of the UV light-emitting devices.

     SOURCES: THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

UV disinfection trolley

      HEADLINES:

UV disinfection trolley can effectively clean up hospital spaces in combating COVID-19

      WHY IN NEWS:

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India and University of Hyderabad (UoH) together with the help of Mekins Industries Ltd. (MIL),   have developed a UVC based disinfection trolley to fight against COVID-19 by rapid cleaning of hospital environment.

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Science and technology

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS look out for the featires and tecchnology used in this trolley .

For MAINS is this a cost effective tool to reach PHC of each district ?

      ISSUE: 

Coronavirus is sensitive to UVC light, as in the case of other viruses and bacteria

UV DISINFECTION TROLLEY FEATURES:

  • UV light in the range of wavelengths between 200 and 300 nm is capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, thus disinfecting both air and solid surfaces.
  • Often, chemical disinfectants are not enough to remove the bacteria and viruses found in hospitals and other contamination prone environment.
  • Rapid decontamination of the used patient-care beds and hospital rooms before admission of subsequent occupants is a major requirement in hospitals in view of the limited availability of beds.
  •  Coronavirus is sensitive to UVC light, as in the case of other viruses and bacteria.
  • The germicidal effects of UVC irradiation with a peak intensity at 254 nm results in cellular damage of the virus, thereby inhibiting cellular replication.
  •  Unlike chemical approaches to disinfection, UV light provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms through a physical process.

  • The UVC disinfection trolley (Height 1.6mx Width 0.6m x Length 0.9m) co-developed by ARCI, UoH, and MIL consists of 6 UVCgermicidal tubes, which are arranged in such a way that 3 sides are illuminated with 2 tubes facing each direction.
  • While these lamps take care of disinfection on the walls, bed, and room air, the floor disinfection is done by 2 smaller UV lights located at the bottom facing the floor.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

On average, the operator moving the UVC trolley system with an average speed of 5ft/min can cover a room of 400 sq.ft. within 30 minutes for complete (>99%) disinfection.

The present system is the first prototype and is readily usable in hospitals and railway coaches that are also being planned for treatment of COVID-19 patients.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Herbal decongestant spray

      HEADLINES:

Herbal decongestant spray on mask can protect from suffocation

      WHY IN NEWS:

This formulation helps in clearing the wind pipe and congestion by removing the mucus or cough leading to ease of breathing

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS just go through the developers and the initiative . That should suffice your prelims part !

      ISSUE: 

Health authorities have been strongly advocating the use of face masks to prevent corona infection.

THE IDEA OF HERBAL DECONGESTANT SPRAY :

  • At the same time, wearing a mask for a long time is reportedly causing difficulties in breathing and congestion in the respiratory system.
  • To address this issue, scientists at CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, have developed a herbal decongestant spray.

nbri spray

  • “The main reasons behind this problem include the accumulation of carbon dioxide and humidity in the inner cavity of the mask.
  • When a person breathes in, this goes back to the lungs again.
  • Repetition of this process over a period of time causes discomfort in breathing and congestion”.
“Herbal decongestant spray is a fine blend of four plant-based oils, but the names of these plants cannot be disclosed right now because of issues related to intellectual property.
  • This product is developed based on the principles of Ayurveda and contains ingredients reported in traditional scriptures”.
This formulation helps in clearing the wind pipe and congestion by removing the mucus or cough leading to ease of breathing.
  • It also reduces stress due to excessive use of mask and decongestion.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The Institute plans to transfer the technology of this inhaler for commercial production so that it can be produced on a large scale and sent to the frontline worriers fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

World Veterinary Day 2020

      HEADLINES:

World Veterinary Day 2020: How animal welfare by vets can help prevent future outbreaks

      WHY IN NEWS:

Veterinarians play a key role in protecting the health and welfare of animals and protecting the health of humans.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS we have included this article because you need to know :

  • What are zoonoses?
  • Role of vets in protecting health and welfare of animals.

For MAINS note down the sustainable ways of ensuring controlling and surveillance of animal diseases.

      ISSUE: 

Poor animal welfare standards in the food chain is instrumental to the origin of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Focus must be on controlling dog rabies so that human rabies can be eliminated Photo: Austin Community College/Flickr

ZOONOTIC INFECTIONS:

  • A lot has already been said about the likely origin of the deadly virus (SARS-CoV-2), but two things are indubitable: Transmission from animals to humans and poor animal welfare standards in the food chain were instrumental in the origin of this pandemic.
Zoonotic infections invariably progress into epidemics or pandemics whenever animal welfare is compromised.
  • Animal welfare is a state when the animal is physically fit, feeling happy and able to express its natural behaviour.
  • As its very evident, animal welfare regulations are rarely enforced in the food chain, especially in developing countries.
Sixty per cent of the pathogens that cause diseases in humans are of animal origin, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

These diseases — known as zoonoses can be transmitted by domestic or wild animals.

  • Animal diseases that are transmissible to humans present a public health risk worldwide and it is imperative that they must be prevented or combated at every level.
  • The most effective and economic solution to protect humans is to combat all zoonotic pathogens through their control at the animal source itself.
  • Early detection of diseases and infections at animal source can prevent their transmission to humans or introduction of pathogens into the food chain.

FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS

  • Veterinarians are responsible for the compliance of regulations on animal health, animal welfare, food safety and safe trade of animal products throughout the food chain.
  • If healthy animals are raised in humane conditions in a farm, the chances of spread of infection can be minimised.

THE HUMANE METHOD  MEANS:

  • Animal welfare is ensured by good management practices like proper feeding, watering, housing and taking preventive measures like vaccination and deworming
  • Surveillance, prevention and control of animal diseases
  • Feed quality control
  • Safe use of veterinary drugs
  • Transportation of only healthy animals: The health of animals to be screened during the transportation from farm to slaughter house, as overcrowding, poor handling and live transportation of livestock has been found to compromise immunity, making them prone to infection
  • Animals are examined clinically before slaughter and inspection of carcass is done after slaughter
  • Maintenance of hygiene and cold chain during processing, storage and distribution of food products

STRAY DOG POPULATION CONTROL

  • Ninety-nine per cent of human rabies cases are transmitted by dog bites, according to the World Health Organization.
  • The focus must be on controlling dog rabies so that human rabies can be eliminated, as the disease and infection at the animal source must be curbed to save human lives.

THIS CAN BE ACHIEVED BY:

  • Anti-rabies vaccination (ARV) of dogs
  • Awareness on responsible ownership
  • Dog identification
  • Control of stray dog populations through Animal Birth Control programmes

JUDICIOUS USE OF DRUGS

  • Ensuring the judicious use of drugs in animals is essential to preserve their effectiveness.
  • The indiscriminate use of antimicrobials in humans and animals leads to the emergence of anti-microbial resistance that hampers the control of animal and human diseases.

CONTROL OF ZOONOTIC DISEASES

  • Tracking and controlling animal diseases, including those transmissible to humans is necessary to prevent the rapid spread of outbreaks — including the Avian influenza, the Ebola virus disease and swine flu — to prevent potential mutations of the virus and the risk of transmission to humans.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and appropriate veterinary care, shelter, management and nutrition, a stimulating and safe environment, human handling and humane slaughter, according to guidelines by the OIE.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Animal and human sectors work together to protect health and ensure food safety and security.

We can preserve our future by protecting animals.

Veterinarians have a key role in preventing future pandemics by ensuring animal welfare at every level.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Unified Geologic Map of the Moon

      HEADLINES:

First-ever digital geological map of moon released by US Geological Survey

      WHY IN NEWS:

The first ever digital, unified, global, geological map of the moon was released virtually by the  United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) and the Lunar Planetary Institute on April 22, 2020.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:Geography : Lunar Missions

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS try to decode this map and the topography deduced by NASA.

For MAINS make sure that you have an answer written on such missions.

      ISSUE: 

It will serve as a blue print for future human lunar missions

The moon as seen in the digital geological map made by the US Geological Survey. Photo: @cbquist / Twitter

The moon as seen in the digital geological map made by the US Geological Survey. Photo: @cbquist / Twitter The moon as seen in the digital geological map made by the US Geological Survey.

KEY FACTS:

  • The map is a ‘seamless, globally consistent, 1:5,000,000-scale geologic map’.
  • Called the ‘Unified Geologic Map of the Moon’, it will serve as a blueprint for future human missions and a source of research and analysis for the educators and the general public interested in lunar geology.
The moon the closest cosmic body to Earth through which space discovery can be attempted and documented has always piqued the interest of humanity.
  • S Harrel, a NASA Space Grant student, mapped the surface features of the moon which included crater rim crests, buried crater rim crests, fissures, grabens, scarps, mare wrinkle ridges, faults, troughs, rilles, and lineaments.
  • The final map consists of 43 geologic units across the entire lunar surface, broken down into groups based on characteristics like materials of craters, basins, terra, plains and volcanic units.
“It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chandrayaan 2, is an active mission that targets the Lunar South Pole for exploration.
  • Further, the South Pole region also contains the fossil record of the early Solar System.
  • Like Chandrayan, other moon missions like the Artemis (human spaceflight programme), that is a crewed exploration programme of Nasa, plan to send humans to the Lunar South Pole by 2024 and in due course of time, establish a permanent presence on the moon.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

COVID-19: Who do you blame a pandemic on?

      HEADLINES:

COVID-19: Who do you blame a pandemic on?

      WHY IN NEWS:

The role of global economic structures that fomented this pandemic is obscured behind our small indignation

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For MAINS this is a perfect article in which we show the actual culprit of COVID-19 !

      ISSUE: 

Acquiring diseases from animals is not a new phenomenon. It has been commonplace for much of human history Photo: Pixabay

EVERY CRISIS NEEDS A SCAPEGOAT:

  • We linked this pandemic to various causes — from bats and Chinese culinary adventurism, to natural habitat destruction and industrial food production — each championed by its own chorus of archangels ranging from environmental scientists to first-world Gaia-worshipping vegans.
  • While we must never deny anyone the glory of their ‘I told you so’ moments, this seems to be as far as many of us are willing to go.
  • The role played by global economic structures that fomented this pandemic is obscured behind our small indignations.
  • When we hear concerns expressed about the effects of the pandemic on the economy, we don’t realise we have it all backwards.

ARE DISEASES THREAT TO ECONOMY ?

  • Diseases are not a threat to the economy.
  • The economic juggernaut(a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force) that led us here is the real threat we should be worrying about.
  • We can find a cure.
  • We can make a vaccine.
  • We can hug a few trees, recycle our beer cans and righteously munch on non-GMO kale.
  • But what do we do about the systemic failings of the neoliberal economic system that are at the root of the crisis we are in the midst of?

A ZOONOTIC PUNCH :

  • Acquiring diseases from animals is not a new phenomenon.
  • It has been commonplace for much of human history.
  • Zoonotic pathogens are plentiful on the planet.
  • In most cases, humans are dead-end hosts, that is, there is no further human-to-human transmission, thus reducing the chances of an outbreak.
  • During incidences of cross-species transmission, referred to as ‘viral chatter’ increases, however, there are greater chances that a pathogen with the capacity for human-to-human transmission slips through, potentially turning into an epidemic.
  • We are now at a point where conditions needed for an infectious disease outbreak are lined up perfectly.
  • It only needed that final spark, which in the case of COVID-19, were wild meat or ‘wet’ markets.
  • The structural conditions that enabled these, however, have remained the same.
  • Framing the pandemic simplistically as a public health crisis — one that was caused by strange eating habits of people in faraway places — suits the neoliberal economic narrative.

SAD DEFLECTIONS :

  • Corporations and governments that have wrought havoc with the environment in myriad ways have been masters of deflection.
  • The clear-felling of entire forests is a legitimate economic endeavour in this worldview, while collecting firewood for subsistence is portrayed as a threat to the environment.
  • Large-scale aqua-culture that lay waste to entire landscapes with their introduced salinity are alright but artisanal fisheries are deemed over-exploitative.
  • Oil palm and soy plantations in rainforests are couched in the language of development and progress, but shifting cultivation by a few communities is singled out as a major threat to the planet.
  • Industrialised cattle farming is not demonised, even when it led to bovine spongiform encephalopathy or mad-cow disease in the United Kingdom, but subsistence hunting and eating wild meat is a conservation — and now, a health — crisis.

NATURAL DEVASTATION:

  • The links between the destruction of the natural environment and the emergence of disease is widely, if grudgingly, accepted.
We know that economic activities like mining, logging, road-building, and plantations in areas of high biodiversity — and therefore higher diversity of host-pathogen interactions — are creating more avenues for these pathogens to jump from animals to humans.
  • We are aware that economic growth imperatives that demand cuts to social funding have weakened public health systems globally, making it easier for emerging infectious diseases to spiral out of control.
  • A wide-ranging consensus, however, is emerging around the ban of wildlife markets.
  • While wild meat might be a luxury consumable in some parts of the world, in others it is vital for the nutritional security for poor communities.
  • Furthermore, wild meat represents only a fraction of global meat consumption.
  • Rather, it is large livestock production chains that are known hubs of zoonoses, as seen in the 1997 outbreak of the Asian highly-pathogenic avian influenza (H5N1) virus.
  • No one is rushing to ban commercial poultry production just yet.
  • A study from Cameroon showed commercial timber felling deep within forests brought roads, more people, crowded habitations, poor sanitation and an increased demand for wild meat.
  • Essentially the ideal cocktail for zoonotic disease emergence, as seen in the case of Ebola.
  • Areas like these — usually in tropical countries — are referred to as ‘hotspots’ for infectious disease.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Instead of introspection, what we encounter in discussions of the pandemic is platitudes about finding better ways to modify environments.
  • Despite living through one of the biggest backlashes of the economic system, we are still in pursuit of its ‘sustainable’ version.
  • What we need to discuss instead is how to fundamentally alter our economic and development systems to put the environment at the centre of the equation: A system that reverses centuries of inequity and prioritises the wellbeing of humanity and not the comfort of a few.
  • Optimism is naturally in short supply when — even in the midst of a pandemic we know was caused by environmental destruction governments continue to clear projects that cut through prime forest lands.
  • This pandemic has brought the failures of the neoliberal economic model, almost literally, to our doors; so much so that most of humanity are trapped in their homes and cannot leave.
  • If the incontrovertible evidence in the tragic form of the rising human death toll of this disease does not force us to confront the structures that brought it about, there may be no one left to blame pretty soon.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging

      HEADLINES:

Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging as punishment

      WHY IN NEWS:

‘Convicts who have been sentenced to the lash will from now on receive fines or prison terms instead’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:IR

      LEARNING: 

For MAINS note down the sequence of these events ! Human rights vs Saudi Arabia .

      ISSUE: 

Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, the state human rights commission said on Saturday, hailing a “major step forward” in the reform programme launched by the King and his powerful son.

No more lashes: Ensaf, the wife of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, holding a picture of her husband in Strasbourg, France, in 2015, after accepting an award on his behalf.

 

  • Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia — sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes — have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.
  • But they say the headline legal reforms overseen by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have brought no let-up in the conservative Islamic kingdom’s crushing of dissent, including through the use of the death penalty.
  • “This decision guarantees that convicts who would previously have been sentenced to the lash will from now on receive fines or prison terms instead,” .
  • Previously, the courts had powers to order the flogging of convicts found guilty of offences ranging from extramarital sex and breach of the peace to murder.
  • In future, judges will have to choose between fines and/or jail sentences, or non-custodial alternatives like community service.

BLOGGER FLOGGING

  • The most high-profile instance of flogging in recent years was the case of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes in 2014 on charges of “insulting” Islam.
  • He was awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov human rights prize the following year.
  • Hamid was a founding member of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and was sentenced to 11 years in jail in March 2013, campaigners said He was convicted on multiple charges, including “breaking allegiance” to the Saudi ruler, “inciting disorder” and seeking to disrupt state security, Amnesty International said.
  • Criticism of Saudi Arabia’s human rights record has grown since King Salman named his son Prince Mohammed the Crown Prince and heir to the throne in June 2017.
  • The King has launched ambitious economic and social reforms, allowing women to drive and for sports and entertainment events to be staged in the kingdom.

MURDER OF KHASHOGGI

  • Brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 and the increased repression of dissidents at home have overshadowed the Prince’s pledge to modernise the economy and society.
  • The Saudi authorities put a record 184 people to death last year, according to figures released by Amnesty International on Tuesday.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

“Saudi Arabia’s growing use of the death penalty, including as a weapon against political dissidents, is an alarming development,” the human rights group said.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

GW190412

      HEADLINES:

First merger of two black holes with unequal masses detected

      WHY IN NEWS:

The merging entities were about 30 and 8 times the Sun’s mass

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS  understand what is blackhole . Add on your experience then with this article mentioned below !

      ISSUE: 

For the first time since it started functioning, the gravitational wave observatories at LIGO scientific collaboration have detected a merger of two unequal-mass black holes.
The event, dubbed GW190412, was detected nearly a year ago, and this is almost five years after the first ever detection of gravitational wave signals by these powerful detectors.
  • Subsequent analysis of the signal coming from the violent merger showed that it involved two black holes of unequal masses coalescing, one of which was some 30 times the mass of the Sun and the other which had a mass nearly 8 times the solar mass.
  • The actual merger took place at a distance of 2.5 billion light years away.

STUDIED BY:

  • This study has been published in preprint server ArXiv, and is pending peer review.

KEY OBSERVATIONS:

  • The detected signal’s waveform has special extra features in it when it corresponds to the merger of two unequal-sized black holes as compared with a merger of equal-sized black holes.
  • While the mass of the black hole bends the space-time close to it, the spin or angular momentum of this inscrutable object drags the nearby space-time, causing it to swirl around, along with it.

CRUCIAL DIFFERENCE

  • In this case, we find, for the first time, emission at a frequency that is three times the orbital frequency.
  • This emission is negligible when binaries contain equal masses and when the orbit is face-on.
  • GR has a unique prediction for the details of this emission which is verified by this observation.”
  • The existence of higher harmonics was itself a prediction of General Relativity.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

These features make it possible to infer many more things about the characters in this celestial drama, namely, a more accurate determination of the distance from the event, the spin or angular momentum of the more massive black hole and the orientation of the whole event with respect to viewers on Earth.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Future through the lockdown

      HEADLINES:

Witnessing the future through the lockdown

      WHY IN NEWS:

Imagine a future with clean air

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Pollution

      ISSUE: 

Blue skies: The nationwide lockdown has brought about a significant improvement in air quality, albeit for the short term.
  • The nationwide lockdown, and halting of most economic activities as a way to combat the novel coronavirus has brought about significant improvements in air quality across the country, albeit in the short term.
  • However, this phase of good air quality is lending itself as a real-life experiment to determine the lowest achievable pollution levels possible in a very long time.

FALL IN POLLUTANT LEVELS

  • Central Pollution Control Board data analysed from the last two weeks indicates a sudden reduction in pollutant levels across the country, including in some of the most polluted cities.
  • Delhi NCR registers a drastic decline of 65%-70% in PM10 values compared with 2019 mainly due to construction activity coming to a grinding halt.
  • Also, Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata, and even smaller cities such as Jaipur and Guwahati, have recorded significant drop in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) concentration, ranging from 53-68%, which is largely related to a dramatic decline in vehicle movement.

MAJOR SOURCES

  • The National Clean Air Programme aims for an improvement of 20%-30% in the air quality by 2024, taking 2017 as the base year.
  • It is necessary to address all major sources including transport, industry, residential, waste burning, road dust, agriculture residue burning, and construction, if air quality across large swathes of India has to be restored to moderate levels.
  • Our initial findings based on real-time source apportionment of online PM2.5 composition measurements in Delhi, over the period of lockdown show that contribution from incinerators has dropped, indicating much less processing of hotel and food waste.
  • This points to the urgent need for guidelines on reuse of tyres.
  • Urgent retrofitting of flue gas desulphurisation units in thermal power plants is necessary as thermal plants are likely to continue in the near future.

WASTE DISPOSAL AND CROP RESIDUE

  • Solutions lie in efficient waste segregation at source followed by recycling — especially for industrial units.
  • It is evident that a large amount of crop residue after each harvest cycle cannot be managed through traditional means or mechanised harvesters alone.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Focus on innovation in crop residue management to minimise stubble burning in a sustainable and effective way across different locations alone can control this issue.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 

 Let us ‘Discuss’

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 

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