Goaltide Daily Current Affairs
Current Affair 1:
Chief Justice of India's office under RTI Act
Ok, here we won’t go in much details about the judgements. We will see all important points related to Prelims.
What is in news?
The landmark judgment which brought the office of CJI under the ambit of RTI was pronounced by five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
In doing so, the top court upheld the 2010 Delhi High Court verdict that had declared the CJI’s office a “public authority” within the meaning of Section 2(h) of the RTI Act, 2005. See below what section 2 (h) constitutes:
What Delhi HC Had Ruled?
In 2010, in an unprecedented judgment, the Delhi HC had ruled that the RTI is applicable to the CJI. The court observed the judicial independence was not a judge’s privilege, but a responsibility cast upon him.
This judgment was construed as a personal attack on the then CJI KG Balakrishnan, who had objected to divulging information in connection with judges under the RTI Act.
RTI activist SC Agrawal, challenged this decision and initiated the proceedings to bring the CJI office under the transparency law. And now it has been declared by Supreme Court that CJI under ambit of RTI.
Now some important related to Prelims:
Bodies not covered under RTI Act. The provision mentioned is:
While the office of the CJI is now under the RTI’s ambit, the CBI is exempt. When the UPA government brought the RTI law on October 12, 2005, the CBI was under it. In 2011, full exemption was granted to it.
Another list which is exempted from the list:
However, the right to information is subject to certain conditions.
Right to information is subject to ‘public interest’
- Information shall be disclosed under RTI subject to ‘public interest’ test. The ‘public interest’ test would include ‘motive and purpose’ of the seeker of information.
- ‘Judicial independence’ shall be one of the key factors to be applied but on case to case basis. However, it does not mean judicial independence is achieved only by denial of access to information. In some cases, judicial independence may be achieved by ensuring transparency.
- Besides, public interest in disclosure of information should outweigh the possible ‘harm’ and injury to 3rd party. This observation is in line with Section 11(1) of the RTI according to which the PIO shall factor in effect on 3rd party in disclosing some confidential information. See below section 11 (1):
Doctrine of proportionality
The information sought to be disclosed shall strike a balance between right to privacy and right to information.
In this context disclosure of judges’ assets does not constitute personal information and cannot be exempted from RTI as judges enjoy a constitutional post and discharge public duty.
Judicial Appointments: Distinction between ‘input’ and ‘output’
- In the context of information relating to judicial appointments a distinction between "input" and "output" is to be made.
- While the "output" is the final outcome of the collegium resolution, "input" relates to collegium deliberation.
Thus, in short while information relating to ‘output’ may be disclosed, for information on ‘input’ especially collegiums deliberations, public interest test is to be applied.
Current Affair 2:
Researchers identify seven types of fake news, aiding better detection
To help people spot fake news, or create technology that can automatically detect misleading content, scholars first need to know exactly what fake news is, according to a team of Penn State researchers.
In a study, researchers narrowed down myriad examples of fake news to seven basic categories, which include false news, polarized content, satire, misreporting, commentary, persuasive information and citizen journalism.
The researchers contrasted those types of content with real news and report their findings in the current issue of American Behavioral Scientist.
The researchers found that real news has message characteristics that differentiate it from the various categories of fake news, such as adherence to journalistic style. False news tends to be less grammatical and less factual, with greater reliance on emotionally charged claims, misleading headlines and so on. They also differ in the kinds of sources they use and how they use them.
In addition, the study noted differences in the structure of the site, such as the use of non-standard web addresses and personal e-mails in the "contact us" section. Furthermore, network differences can be used to help distinguish them, with fabricated news primarily circulated among social media accounts and seldom involving mainstream media outlets.
The researchers used a research technique called a concept explication to undertake the study. The process requires researchers to conduct exhaustive searches of references to concepts, in this case, fake news.
How it will help?
As per the article, improved understanding in this article on the characteristics of seven sub-types on the spectrum of true-to-fake news will enable us to develop a new type of an auto-detection system capable of more fine-grained judgments.
Current Affair 3:
Breaking carbon dioxide faster, cheaper, and more efficiently
Carbon dioxide is a stable, abundant gas. In fact, it's a little too abundant, and the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is changing the planet's climate. Knowing this, many chemists are working on efficient ways to turn carbon dioxide into other useful products. But carbon dioxide's stability makes this tough. It's hard to get the molecule, happy on its own, to react with anything else.
The best existing technique to electrochemically break carbon dioxide into pieces that will chemically react uses a catalyst made of platinum. But platinum is a rare, expensive metal.
Now, a team of researchers has come up with a better way. They created an electrochemical cell filled with a porous, foamy catalyst made of nickel and iron. Both metals are cheap and abundant.
When carbon dioxide gas enters the electrochemical cell, and a voltage is applied, the catalyst helps the carbon dioxide (a carbon atom with two oxygens) break off oxygen to form carbon monoxide (a carbon atom with one oxygen.) The carbon monoxide is very reactive and a useful precursor for making many kinds of chemicals, including plastics and fuels such as gasoline.
Current Affair 4:
How to make better biofuels?
What was the news?
Princeton researchers have discovered a genetic switch that significantly increases yeast’s production.
Here learn the few uses of yeast and what is difference between ethanol and isobutanol.
Yeast already helps make bread and beer and biofuel ethanol, but scientists believe it can be used to create an even more efficient fuel called isobutanol. Normally, yeast only creates a tiny amount of isobutanol. Now researchers at Princeton University have discovered a genetic switch that significantly ramps up production.
The findings, published Nov. 13 in the journal Cell Systems, showed that the researchers were able to increase isobutanol production by roughly five times over that of standard yeast strains by making the yeast much more tolerant to isobutanol's toxic effects.
Isobutanol has about a 25% greater energy density than ethanol and is much better suited for use in vehicles than current ethanol-based fuels. Biofuels can be a renewable and environmentally friendly alternative to petroleum-based fuels.
Scientist used genetic engineering technique. The genetically engineered yeast cells produced five times as much isobutanol as normal yeast—a promising step forward in developing renewable biofuels as part of the multi-prong strategy in mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Current Affair 5:
Suranga Bawadi enters World Monument Watch list
Suranga Bawadi, an underground water supply tunnel of the 16th century Adil Shahi rulers of Bijapur, has been included in the World Monument Watch list. Accordingly, Suranga Bawadi will receive funds for restoration by World Monuments Fund.
What is this World Monuments Fund?
World Monument Fund: Founded in 1965, WMF is headquartered in New York.
World Monuments Fund (WMF) is a private, international, non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world through fieldwork, advocacy, grant making, education, and training.
WMF fosters community support for the protection of endangered sites and attracts technical and financial support for the sites. World monument watch list: WMF publishes the World Monuments Watch list every two years.
Now about Suranga Bawadi
It is an integral part of the ancient Karez system of supplying water through subterranean tunnels built during the Adil Shahi era in Karnataka’s Vijayapura.
- Karez system is primarily an underground water harnessing and distribution technique that originated in Persia.
- The Karez system primarily harnesses the groundwater resources like aquifers and springs and supplies the water to settlements through underground tunnel.
- The Karez system was the contribution of the Bahmani Kingdom, the 15th century Afghan rulers of Delhi Sultanate in South India.
- The Bahmani rulers widely used the Karez technology mainly in drought—prone arid areas of Northern Karnataka. (Bijapur, Bidar and Gulbarga).
Current Affair 6:
Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report Card.
What was the news?
On the occasion of World Pneumonia day, the International Vaccine Access Center of John Hopkins has released the Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report Card.
We will see her few things before going to actual report:
First, we will have a bit understanding about both the disease.
Diarrhoea is defined as the passage of three or more loose or liquid stools per day (or more frequent passage than is normal for the individual).
Diarrhoea is usually a symptom of an infection in the intestinal tract, which can be caused by a variety of bacterial, viral and parasitic organisms. Infection is spread through contaminated food or drinking-water, or from person-to-person as a result of poor hygiene.
There are three clinical types of diarrhoea:
- acute watery diarrhoea – lasts several hours or days, and includes cholera;
- acute bloody diarrhoea – also called dysentery; and
- persistent diarrhoea – lasts 14 days or longer.
Pneumonia: A brief introduction
Next, we will learn about Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD)
In 2009, WHO and UNICEF launched the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD), which proposes a multi sectoral, integrated approach to reduce the incidence of severe pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The goal of the newly released Integrated Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) is to reduce deaths from pneumonia to fewer than 3 children per 1000 live births, and from diarrhea to less than 1 in 1000 by 2025.
Progress continues slowly, and only a few of the 23 countries seem poised to approach the GAPPD targets by 2025 as per the report.
Now we will see the Report:
The 23 countries included in the 2019 report together were home to nearly 950,000 under-5 pneumonia and diarrhea deaths in 2017, more than 75% of the global total.
In this report, the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC) provides pneumonia, diarrhea, and overall GAPPD scores for each of the 15 countries with the highest number of pneumonia and diarrhea deaths among children under 5 years of age.
Recommendations mentioned in report:
Current Affair 7:
Rural Development Report 2019
Unable to contain high malnutrition among children, the Asia-Pacific region has another challenge to tackle: It has the world’s highest underweight rate among youth, according to the International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD) recently released Rural Development report 2019.
We will see first what is International Fund for Agricultural Development's (IFAD)?
It is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. It was established as an international financial institution in 1977 through United Nations General Assembly Resolution as one of the major outcomes of the 1974 World Food Conference.
Few important figures and diagrams from the report: Just see once:
Current Affair 8:
Contempt of Court
Recently, the Supreme Court of India has held former Ranbaxy promoters guilty of contempt for violating its order. Ranbaxy is in trouble now. But if we won’t understand few important concepts, we will also be in trouble in exam.
We learn very important concept of Polity here:
First, we will see Constitutional Provisions mentioned about Contempt of Court:
Article 129, Article 142(2) and Article 215
Now does Contempt of Court has been defined in the Constitution?
The expression ‘contempt of court’ has not been defined by the Constitution. It has been defined under Contempt of Courts Act 1971.
Other important provisions of Contempt of Court: Its important do read.
Nothing more than this is required.
Current Affair 9:
OPEC and OPEC+
What was in news?
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC+) plus might face sharp demand fall due to a recent surge in crude oil production from the countries like USA, Norway, and Guyana.
So, we will understand both the organizations, OPEC and OPEC+.
OPEC is a permanent intergovernmental organization of 14 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unifies the petroleum policies of its Member Countries.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is a permanent, intergovernmental organization, created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960, by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.
It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.
As of 2019, OPEC has a total of 14 Member Countries viz. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola, Ecuador and Venezuela are members of OPEC.
Qatar left OPEC on 1 January 2019, after joining the organization in 1961, to focus on natural gas production, of which it is the world's largest exporter in the form of liquified natural gas (LNG).
Congo Republic is the latest nation to join OPEC.
World Oil Outlook is a publication of OPEC.
Now, a bit understanding about OPEC+
OPEC plus refers to OPEC’s cooperation with non-OPEC oil producers to effect production cuts. Basically, the non-OPEC countries which export crude oil are termed as OPEC plus countries.
OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan.
In an attempt to cut production and raise oil prices, OPEC came together and agreed on a production cut where each member country would cut production by a small amount, a couple percent in most cases. In addition to including OPEC countries in this production cut, OPEC invited non-OPEC nations, mainly Russia and former U.S.S.R states like Azerbaijan that are still heavily influenced by Russia. OPEC was able to reach a consensus for production cuts not just between OPEC members but also for a handful of non-OPEC nations just increasing the total amount of oil production being cut and presumably making their efforts more effective.
Current Affair 10:
‘Geochemical Baseline Atlas’
What is in news?
Recently, CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) has released the first ‘Geochemical Baseline Atlas of India’ for environmental management.
What is NGRI?
The National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) is a geoscientific research organization established in 1961 under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The atlas aims to document the concentration and distribution of the chemical elements in the soils of India.
It consists of 44 maps of metals, oxides, and elements present in top and bottom soils across India.
- Both human activities and natural processes are continuously modifying the chemical composition of our environment. Hence, it will help to assess the chemical compositional changes on the Earth’s surface.
- Soil is a vulnerable geological medium which sustains the human activities. Hence, according to experts, it is important to determine the present abundance and spatial distribution of the chemical elements across the earth’s surface.
- It will help the country to assess the presence of toxic chemicals in soil and how it varies from place to place. It also helps in identifying how soil pollution is contributing to groundwater contamination
- Further, the map will also support in choosing the right soil that’s rich in certain micronutrient elements required for each plant growth.
- The geochemical data presented in these maps will be a part of the global map to be prepared by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGC).
Current Affair 11:
. BRICS Summit 2019
History is important for Prelims exam.
The acronym BRIC was first used in 2001 by Goldman Sachs in their Global Economics Paper, "The World Needs Better Economic BRICs" on the basis of econometric analyses projecting that the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China would individually and collectively occupy far greater economic space and would be amongst the world’s largest economies in the next 50 years or so.
As a formal grouping, BRIC started after the meeting of the Leaders of Russia, India and China in St. Petersburg on the margins of G8 Outreach Summit in 2006. The grouping was formalized during the 1st meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers on the margins of UNGA in New York in 2006. The 1st BRIC Summit was held in Yekaterinburg, Russia, on 16 June 2009.
It was agreed to expand BRIC into BRICS with the inclusion of South Africa at the BRIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in New York in September 2010. Accordingly, South Africa attended the 3rd BRICS Summit in Sanya, China on 14 April 2011.
What is contribution of BRICS?
BRICS brings together five major emerging economies, comprising 41.6% of the world population, having 20% of the world GDP and 17% share in the world trade.
At the Fortaleza Summit (2014), in Brazil, important institutions were created: The New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).
New Development Bank
The 6th BRICS summit resulted in the official inauguration of the New Development Bank, a multilateral development bank intended as an alternative to the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
The bank is headquartered in Shanghai, China.
Each member cannot increase its share of capital without all other four members agreeing. The bank will allow new members to join but the BRICS capital share cannot fall below 55%. All members have equal rights.
Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA): It aims to provide support through additional liquidity and other means to BRICS countries at a time of economic crisis. It marks an important step in economic cooperation between member countries and implies a commitment from each member that it will support the other during crisis.
India has hosted the Summit twice in 2012 and 2016.
The present Summit, 2019 which is being held in Brazil is the 11th summit. The theme of the BRICS summit this year is "Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.”
Brasilia Declaration was adopted:
Please read once. It contains important points related to Prelims exam, especially under heading, Intra-BRICS Cooperation below:
- Strengthening and reforming the multilateral system
- to maintain peace and security, advance sustainable development and ensure the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all and build a brighter shared future for the international community
- to strengthen and reform the multilateral system, including the UN, the WTO, the IMF and other international organizations.
- sustainable development in its three dimensions - economic, social and environmental - in a balanced and integrated manner.
- implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and call for redoubled efforts for its timely implementation
- To world together to achieve Paris Climate goals and Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
- to combating illicit financial flows (IFFs) and to closely cooperating within the Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
- Economic and Financial Co-operation:
- recall the importance of open markets, fair, just and non-discriminatory business and trade environments, structural reforms, effective and fair competition, promoting investment and innovation, as well as financing for infrastructure and development.
- to promote and facilitate investments in productive sectors, e-commerce, MSMEs, infrastructure and connectivity, which will help to promote economic growth, trade and job creation
- enhance role of National Development Bank
- establishing a BRICS Local Currency Bond Fund
- establishment of the BRICS Women Business Alliance (WBA)
- Regional Situations
- collective efforts for peaceful settlement of disputes through political and diplomatic means and recognize the role of the UN Security Council as bearing the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.
- Strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity of the Syria country
- concern about the ongoing conflict and the deteriorating humanitarian crisis in the Republic of Yemen and call on the parties to facilitate the rapid, safe and unhindered access to humanitarian personnel and supplies across the country.
- resolution of the long-standing
- Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
- continuous support to the people of Afghanistan in their effort to build a stable, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous country
- support for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation in the Korean Peninsula
- Intra-BRICS Cooperation
- enhancing BRICS dialogue on counterterrorism, security in the use of ICTs, major international and regional hot spots, peacekeeping and transnational organized crime.
- enhance science, technology and innovation (STI) collaboration
- setting up of the Digital BRICS Task Force (DBTF)
- to commence the full operationalization of PartNIR (New Industrial Revolution)
- Cooperation on BRICS Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation
- importance of securing access to clean, sustainable, affordable energy to our populations
- promoting new scientific, technological and innovative approaches to tackle the TB burden
- creation of the BRICS Network of Human Milk Banks
- implementation of the Strategic Framework of BRICS Customs Cooperation, especially with regard to the BRICS Authorized Economic Operator Program, which should be functional by the end of 2022 and BRICS Customs Mutual Administrative Assistance Agreement
- BRICS Contact Group on Economic and Trade Issues (CGETI) to further cooperation on topics such as investment, ecommerce, micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and intellectual property rights
Meetings on the sidelines of the Summit
India – Brazil
- India invited the President of Brazil as the Chief Guest at the Republic Day 2020.
- Brazil has decided to grant visa-free travel to Indian citizens.
India - China
- The Chinese President invited the Indian Prime Minister for the 3rd informal summit in China in 2020. The first informal summit took place at Wuhan (China-2018) and second at Mamallapuram (India-2019).
- Both the leaders reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2020.
India - Russia
- 1st Bilateral Regional Forum at the level of Russian Provinces and the Indian States will be held in 2020.
- India has been invited for investment in the Arctic region. The US $ 25 billion target of bilateral trade by 2025 has already been achieved.
Not needed anything more than this in your UPSC 2020 Prelims exam.
Current Affair 12:
International Seed Treaty
Why in news?
The eighth session of the Governing Body of International Treaty of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) is being held in Rome, Italy from 11th to 16th November 2019.
The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture was adopted by the Thirty-First Session of the Conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on 3 November 2001.
The Treaty aims at:
- recognizing the enormous contribution of farmers to the diversity of crops that feed the world;
- establishing a global system to provide farmers, plant breeders and scientists with access to plant genetic materials;
- ensuring that recipients share benefits they derive from the use of these genetic materials with the countries where they have been originated.
What is the objective of this Treaty?
The objectives of this Treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.
India is a signatory to the treaty.
Does India have something similar Act?
Yes, Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001.
In order to provide for the establishment of an effective system for the protection of plant varieties, the rights of farmers and plant breeders and to encourage the development of new varieties of plants it has been considered necessary to recognize and to protect the rights of the farmers in respect of their contributions made at any time in conserving, improving and making available plant genetic resources for the development of new plant varieties. The Govt. of India enacted “The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers' Rights (PPV&FR) Act, 2001” adopting sui generis system.
The Act is compliant to Article-9 of the Seed Treaty. What is section 9?
Objectives of this Act:
Not needed any more.
Current Affair 13:
National Mission 'NISHTHA' launched in J&K
National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) was launched in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
It is a Mission aimed at improving learning outcomes at Elementary level through integrated Teacher Trainings.
This Mission aims to build the capacities of 42 lakh participants covering all teachers and Heads of Schools at elementary level in all Government Schools across the country, faculty members of SIEs/SCERTs, DIETs etc.
Current Affair 14:
Amazon launches 'Project Zero' in India to block counterfeit goods.
In a bid to ensure that customers receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon. Amazon announced to bring "Project Zero" to India. "Project Zero" introduces additional proactive mechanisms and powerful tools to identify, block and remove counterfeits.
Project Zero builds on our long-standing work and investments to ensure that customers always receive authentic goods when shopping on Amazon.
Current Affair 15:
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)
The 2019 Nairobi Summit on ICPD25 was recently held in Nairobi in November. It marks the 25th year of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). It was hosted by UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
We will learn few things here. First is UN Population Fund (UNFPA).
UNFPA is formally named the United Nations Population Fund. The organization was created in 1969, the same year the United Nations General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.”
UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. Its mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled.
Now, 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) articulated a bold new vision about the relationships between population, development and individual well-being. At the ICPD in Cairo, 179 countries adopted a forward-looking, 20-year Programme of Action (extended in 2010) that continues to serve as a comprehensive guide to people-centred development progress.
Our world has, in many ways, profoundly changed over the last 25 years, and many new issues are influencing the field of population and development, including climate change, growing inequalities and exclusion within and between countries, migration and increasing demographic diversity. So, we will:
- Intensify our efforts for the full, effective and accelerated implementation and funding of the ICPD Programme of Action
- Achieve universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights as a part of universal health coverage (UHC), by committing to strive for:
- Address sexual and gender-based violence
- Mobilize the required financing to finish the ICPD Programme of Action
- Draw on demographic diversity to drive economic growth and achieve sustainable development
India too participated in Nairobi Summit.
At the Global Population Summit in Nairobi, which concluded November 14, 2019, India also said it would increase its basket of contraceptives and improve the quality of family planning services.<< Previous Next >>