Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Jul 24, 2020

Current Affair 1:
Spotted in New Gravitational Wave Discovery

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In the early hours of August 15, 2019, as most of India slept in anticipation of a national holiday and the usual Independence Day celebrations the following morning, three gravitational wave detectors in the US and Italy observed one of the strangest signals to date.

About the twin detectors

The twin Advanced LIGO detectors in the US and the Virgo detector in Italy are the most precise measuring devices ever built. They can sense extremely tiny disturbances in the fabric of spacetime called gravitational waves, created when massive bodies like two black holes or neutron stars rapidly spiral in and merge.

Since the first detection of a binary black hole merger in September 2015, which signalled the start of a new era of astronomy, the LIGO-Virgo collaboration has reported the observation of multiple binary black hole and binary neutron star mergers.

About new Signal.

But the Independence Day signal, whose details the collaboration announced recently, was exceptional.

Officially designated GW190814, this signal originated about 800 million years ago – or 800 million lightyears away – from the inspiral and merger of two compact objects. The heavier of these objects was a black hole of 23 solar masses (i.e. 23-times as massive as the Sun), while its companion had a mass of 2.6 solar masses. The gravitational waves from this event travelled at the speed of light and passed through Earth on August 15, 2019, at around 2:40 am IST. And it immediately stood out from all previous LIGO-Virgo detections because of two outstanding features.

  1. First, with the heavier object weighing nine times more than its companion, this is the most asymmetric system ever observed using gravitational waves.
  2. Second, the lighter object of 2.6 solar masses is either the lightest black hole or the heaviest neutron star ever observed in a system of two compact objects. And we’re not sure which one it is.

See video of merger. Click here

The significantly different masses of the two companions also challenge the existing understanding of how such systems are formed. With GW190814, we seem to have uncovered a new sub-population of compact binary mergers. Such systems are expected to form much less frequently than a system with two black holes or two neutron stars. But when they do form, they are most likely to originate in young, dense star clusters and in active galactic nuclei (galaxies with unusually energetic activity at their centres). It’s also possible that the lighter object itself is the product of a merger of two even smaller compact objects.

Neutron Star or Black Hole? Scientists are already puzzled in this. We won’t waste time. Just we will understand one term here: “Mass Gap”.

This discovery is connected to Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity,

Finally, GW190814 has allowed us to test several predictions of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, including the multipolar structure of gravitational radiation.

When you pluck a guitar string, the sound produced is dominated by the frequency of the plucked note. But the overall sound is enriched by the presence of its overtones, leading to a colourful acoustic experience. Similarly, a gravitational wave signal contains signatures of overtones, or higher harmonics, of its fundamental frequency, especially if the two inspiralling (Describing the paths of a pair of binary stars that are losing energy, and spiralling in towards each other) objects have different masses.

Since GW190814 is mass-wise the most asymmetric detection till date, we found much stronger evidence for the presence of higher harmonics, or higher multipoles of gravitational radiation, in the underlying signal. This is a wonderful validation of the theory of general relativity.

Current Affair 2:
BeiDou: China launches final satellite in challenge to GPS

China has successfully put into orbit the final satellite in its BeiDou-3 navigation system, further advancing the country as a major power in space.

Recent launch will allow China to no longer rely on the US government-owned Global Positioning System (GPS). You don’t need to know anything more about this news.

Few things we will see.

  1. Name of Navigation Satelite of other countries
  2. India’s Navigation System

Galileo is a Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) owned and operated by the European Union.

GLONASS is a global GNSS owned and operated by the Russian Federation. The fully operational system consists of 24+ satellites.

Quasi-Zenith Satellite System (QZSS) is a regional Global navigation satellite system (GNSS) owned by the Government of Japan and operated by QZS System Service Inc. (QSS). QZSS complements GPS to improve coverage in East Asia and Oceania. Japan plans to have an operational constellation of 4 satellites by 2018 and expand it to 7 satellites for autonomous capability by 2023.

IRNSS is a regional GNSS owned and operated by the Government of India. IRNSS is an autonomous system designed to cover the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. India renamed IRNSS as the Navigation Indian Constellation (NavIC, meaning "sailor" or "navigator").

We will see IRNSS in bit detail.


Indian Regional Navigation Spacecraft System (IRNSS) is the Indian navigation system which envisages establishment of regional navigation system using a combination of GEO and GSO spacecraft. IRNSS system is expected to provide position accuracy of better than 20 m over Indian region and an area extending about 1500 sq. km around India.

IRNSS constellation consists of three Geostationary Earth Orbit (GEO) spacecraft and four spacecraft in Geosynchronous orbit inclined at 29 deg. It would provide two types of services, namely, Standard Positioning Services (SPS) - provided to all users - and Restricted Services (RS), provided to authorize users.  So, we have total 7 Satelites (A to G). But we have launched H and I also. Why?? See note once below.

Note: The 8th navigation satellite IRNSS-1I will be a replacement in the NavIC constellation for the 1,425 kg IRNSS-1H that failed to eject out of the PSLV rocket on 31 August, 2017 to its intended orbit as its heat shield failed to separate even about 20 minutes after it was launched.

IRNSS-1H was India's first satellite to be assembled, integrated and tested by private firms under ISRO supervision and was intended to replace the failed IRNSS-1A and complete the NAVIC constellation. So, don’t get confuse now.

Have we launched all seven satellites?? YES.





Current Affair 3:
How Patanjali's Unilateral Declaration of Discovering COVID-19 Cure Violates Law?

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Patanjali's founder Ramdev announced that they have developed 100% cure for the COVID-19 through "Coronil and Swasari" medicines. Patanjali's publicity of the COVID-19 cure is fraught with several legal issues, which will be discussed below:

Violation of AYUSH Ministry's directive of April 21

  1. On April 21, the Ministry of AYUSH, while giving nod for research for COVID-19 treatment using traditional medicine systems, had imposed several conditions. As per these conditions, it is mandatory for the institution to "apprise the Ministry of Ayush, Govt of India about the research developments".
  2. Going by the response of the AYUSH Ministry, it is clear that the Ministry was kept in the dark about the whole process adopted by Patanjali. Facts of the claim and details of the stated scientific study are not known to the Ministry.
  3.  Therefore, the unilateral declaration without prior consultation with the Ministry violates the April 21 directive.

Violation of directives against advertisements of false claims of COVID-19 cure

  1. On March 24, the Union Home Ministry, invoking powers under the National Disaster Management Act, had declared that making of false claims with respect to COVID will be a punishable offence.
  2. Following this, the AYUSH Ministry issued a directive on April 1, invoking powers under the under Section 33 P of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, to stop and prevent publicity and advertisement of AYUSH-related claims for COVID-19 treatment in print, TV and electronic media and directed the State/UT authorities to take necessary action against the persons/agencies involved in contravening the relevant legal provisions and the aforesaid guidelines of NDMA.
  3. Publication of unilateral claims about discovery of COVID-19 cure, before due verification and approval by statutory authorities, would fall within the ambit of 'false claims'.

Violation of Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules

As per the government Authority:

"Divya Pharmacy did not apply for license of any kind of medicine related to Corona nor were they given any license in this regard. The license was issued only for immunity booster kits and fever medicine. But now that it has come to the attention of the AYUSH department, a notice will be issued to Divya Pharmacy. It their reply is not satisfactory then their current licenses will be canceled"

If this is the case, it will attract the offence of 'misbranding of drugs' under Section 33E read with 33I of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Prohibition on advertisement of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani drugs

  1. In 2018, the Central Government amended the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules to specifically prohibit the advertisement of any AYUSH drugs for the use of "diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder, syndrome or condition". This means that AYUSH drugs cannot be advertised for therapeutic purposes.
  2. This was done by inserting Rule 170 to the Drugs and Cosmetic Rules, 1945 by way of Drugs and Cosmetics (Eleventh Amendment) Rules 2018. The rule said :4

"The manufacturer or his agent, of Ayurvedic, Siddha or Unani drugs, shall not participate in the publication of any advertisement relating to any drug for the use of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of any disease, disorder, syndrome or condition". The Rules permitted advertisement of AYUSH drugs for non-therapeutic purposes, after obtaining prior permission.

  1. Evidently, Patanjali's announcements violate this strict embargo on the advertisement of Ayurveda drugs for therapeutic purposes.

Violation of Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements Act), 1954

  1. The undisputed fact here is that the claims of Patanjali are yet to be verified by the AYUSH Ministry, which is the central regulatory authority with respect to Ayurvedic drugs.
  2. Therefore, the widespread publicity of unverified claims attracts the penal provisions of the Drugs and Magic Remedies (Objectionable Advertisements Act), 1954, which was enacted to protect gullible people from falling prey to dubious claims of cure.

So, Patanjali has already committed several legal violations by publicizing the drug without due verification.


Current Affair 4:
Japan to rename islands disputed with China

A local council- assembly of Ishigaki city- in southern Japan has voted to rename an area, including islands disputed with China and Taiwan, a move Beijing denounced as illegal and a “serious provocation”.

The disputed islands are known as the Senkaku in Japan and the Diaoyu in China. The Senkaku island chain dispute with Japan is not the only territorial and maritime dispute that China has long had with many of its neighbours.

The disputes include islands, reefs, banks and other features in the South China Sea including Spratly Islands (with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan), Paracel Islands (Vietnam), Scarborough Shoal (Philippines), and Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam).

Don’t read Treaty, History regarding this. No use. UPSC will never ask. If you write such things, in the end, notebook will get very thick and you won’t study anything even map. So, learn only what is required. Instead, we will learn here few important maps here.

  1. All Four Islands of Japan
  2. Sa of Japan
  3. Disputed South China Sea
  4. Kuril Island, another disputed Island between Japan and Russia



Current Affair 5:
Odisha starts project to conserve Bhitarkanika fishing cats

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The Odisha forest department has started a two-year conservation project for fishing cats in Bhitarkanika National Park in Kendrapara district. The species is listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List. This means it faces a high threat of extinction in the wild.

The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) lists the fishing cat on Appendix II in Article IV of CITES: This governs international trade in this species. The species is also classified under the first schedule of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. Offences under the first schedule attract the maximum penalties under the law.

Fishing cats hunt fish and crustaceans for food from the park’s water bodies: They dive in to catch prey with their hooked claws. They can also hunt livestock and poultry in villages near forests and have also known to encroach human habitations.

Current Affair 6:
United Nations Arms Trade Treaty

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News is, recently, China has decided to join the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty (UN-ATT) to regulate its arms sales. China’s move comes after the USA announced to pull out of the ATT in 2019. In August 2019, the USA along with Russia withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, 1987. In May 2020, USA announced to exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST).

Now, we will learn about Arms Trade Treaty

The landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), regulating the international trade in conventional arms – from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships – entered into force on 24 December 2014. Before the adoption of the landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) by the General Assembly, there was no global set of rules governing the trade in conventional weapons.

Through the ATT, States have agreed on robust international standards to help guide governments in deciding whether to authorize arms transfers. It provides for cooperation and assistance to help countries develop adequate regulatory systems, and safe weapons stockpiles.

Countries part of the UN Arms Trade Treaty:

105 states have ratified to the ATT, as of September 2019. These countries include 5 of the world’s top 10 arms producers. The 5 states part of the treaty are:

  1. France
  2. United Kingdom
  3. Italy
  4. Germany
  5. Spain

India has not signed this treaty.

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