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Daily current affairs for IAS upsc

Reignite the spirit of 1942: PM

News:

  • The Lok Sabha marked the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement with a special sitting.

What next?

  • Narendra Modi called for special initiatives to end poverty, illiteracy and graft and Congress president Sonia Gandhi sounded a warning over “secular, democratic, liberal values being endangered.”
  • Terming poverty, lack of education and malnutrition the greatest challenges, Mr. Modi called for their eradication in the next five years with the pledge of Karenge aur kar ke rahenge (We will do and surely do).
  • Citizens were breaking even basic laws, like crossing red-lights or littering, with impunity and without a sense of duty to the rule of law and the freedoms that make a democratic polity possible.

India, China war unlikely: Dalai Lama

News:

  • The standoff between India and China at the Doklam plateau, near the trijunction with Bhutan, is unlikely to lead to a ‘big war’, said Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

What next?

  • Speaking at a public event, the Tibetan spiritual leader described India and China as close neighbours but cautioned against “harsh words.”“This issue (Doklam standoff) is not serious.
  • The Dalai Lama also praised India’s role in ensuring safety for the Tibetan refugees who have been living in exile since the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1950.

History:

  • India and China have historically been neighbours and even in 1962, China withdrew from Indian territories after the war.
  • This shows that there is unlikely to be a big war between the two.

ISRO to develop full-fledged earth observation satellite

News:

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) says it plans to launch a full-fledged niche earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyper spectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS — using a critical chip it has developed.

What next?

  • A new set of future satellites called hyper spectral imaging satellites is set to add teeth to the way India will be seen from about 600 km in space.
  • The new chip, technically called an “optical imaging detector array”
  • ISRO is endeavoring to enter the domain of operational hyper spectral imaging from earth orbit with a satellite that can see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above ground.
  • It said it decided to develop the chip that suited Indian requirements.
  • Hyperspectral or hyspex imaging is said to be an earth observation trend that is being experimented globally.
  • Adding a new dimension to plain-vanilla optical imagers, it can be used for a range of activities from monitoring the environment, crops, looking for oil and minerals all the way up to military surveillance — all of which need images that show a high level of differentiation of the object or scene.

SC seeks details of convictions under Child Marriage Act

  • As the Centre said Parliament must have thought it ‘pragmatic’ to reduce the age of consent for sexual relations for married girls from 18 to 15 as the child marriage system still exists in the country,
  • the Supreme Court asked the government to provide details of the number of child marriage prohibition officers and prosecutions initiated under the Child Marriage Act in the past three years.

Whats next?

  • A Bench of Justices Madan B. Lokur and Deepak Gupta is hearing a petition filed by NGO Independent Thought challenging the Exception 2 to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code, which permits “intrusive sexual intercourse with a girl aged between 15 and 18 only on the ground that she is married.”
  • The NGO, represented by advocate Gaurav Agarwal, submitted that this statutory exception to rape was violative of right to life, liberty, equality and was discriminatory.
  • The Exception is part of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 and is contrary to the anti-child sex abuse law, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 (POCSO).

Discriminatory law

  1. Statutory exception to rape was violative of right to life, liberty, equality and was discriminatory.
  2. The Exception is part of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 and is contrary to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 (POCSO).
  3. Law “violates the health of not only the girl child concerned, but also generations to come
  4. A girl under 18 as a child in POCSO, but once she is married, she is no more a child under the Exception 2 to Section 375 of the IPC. This is totally inconsistent.

New therapy for brain degeneration

News:

  • A single injection of a fragment of a life-extending protein hormone could improve cognition in those with neurodegenerative illnesses.
  • The klotho protein was found to enhance cognitive and physical performance in ageing or impaired mice.

What next?

  • But researchers said clinical studies would be necessary to determine the safety and effectiveness of injecting klotho in humans.
  • The body naturally produces the complex hormone that is involved in multiple cellular processes, and is linked to prolonging life in worms, mice and humans.
  • In model organisms as well as in humans, klotho levels decrease with age, chronic stress, cerebral aging and neurodegenerative illnesses.
  • Prior studies had found that life-long exposure to elevated levels of klotho boost mental functions, but it remained unclear whether short-term treatment using the hormone could quickly improve cognition.

Castles in the air?

News:

  • Two months after the India-Afghanistan air corridor was inaugurated with great expectations, news that it has been hit by a shortage of cargo planes is a cause for concern.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ashraf Ghani had agreed on the project during the Heart of Asia summit in Amritsar in December 2016, as a gamechanger to get around Pakistan’s obstructionist behaviour in delaying truck shipments from Afghanistan to the Wagah border.

What next?

  • Ghani himself developed the plan, which allowed traders to pay what they would have to transport their goods by road with the Afghan government underwriting the rest, showed Kabul’s commitment to securing its trade links with India.
  • Delhi too affirmed the importance it placed on the trade route: for instance, when the first cargo flight under the arrangement landed in Delhi .
  • It is therefore surprising that the initiative has been hit by logistical problems within weeks, leaving traders in Afghanistan with tonnes of perishable produce only because a chartered aircraft line wasn’t secured in advance.
  • Officials argue that these are just teething troubles that will be resolved at the earliest.

Gujarat election

News:

  • BJP decided to make an open secret of coveting the third seat by luring away Opposition MLAs and banking on cross-voting.
  • Ultimately,Ahmed Patel, won the seat in the first round itself, getting the required 44 votes.
  • With two votes declared invalid by the Election Commission, the required votes came down from 45 to 44.

ECI:

  • The EC demonstrated independence and institutional strength amidst tremendous pressure mounted on it by both parties.
  • It passed a clear order on sound legal grounds to invalidate the votes of two Congress MLAs, who had voted for the BJP, for showing their ballots to persons not authorised to see them.
  • There is a precedent recorded last year in Haryana for violation of the secrecy clause, but the vote was then rejected by the Returning Officer on the spot, whereas in this case the paper was placed in the ballot box.
  • The EC invoked statutory rules on voting procedure as well as its plenary powers under the Constitution to direct the Returning Officer to segregate the two votes and count the rest.

The Maduro muddle

  • Venezuela, a country with more oil than Saudi Arabia, currently faces rapidly declining foreign exchange reserves, poverty and hyperinflation — projected at 720% this year and 2069% next, according to the International Monetary Fund.
  • Under President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela has been experiencing an acute shortage of food, medicine and other vital supplies.
  • Venezuela is in the throes of a political crisis that is inextricably linked to its untenable economic situation.

 


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