UPSC Daily Current Affairs-18th July 2018

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts UPSC Daily current Affairs -18th July 2018. This info is taken from News papers, PIB, AIR News and Summarized for your easy understanding.

Daily Current Affairs -18th July 2018

GS-I(Geography)

Predicting solar flares

How can Solar flares be predicted?

  • Plasma jets inside Sun may help predict occurrences of solar flares and space storms that sometimes render satellites useless
  • Plasma jets within the Sun can help foretell the erratic patterns of sunspots on its two hemispheres, allowing scientists to predict the occurrence of solar flares and space storms that sometimes render satellites useless.
  • The Sun’s activity waxes and wanes periodically and affects our space environment.

What are Sunspots and how are they related to satellites?

  • Sunspots, strongly magnetised blotches on the solar surface, sometimes release fierce storms in space that severely impact our ssatellite-based communication and navigational systems.

Understanding Sunspot activity

  • However, a complete understanding of all aspects of the sunspot activity cycle remains elusive.
  • One of its curious features is the long observed lopsided activity of its two hemispheres.
  • Sometimes, the northern hemisphere becomes more active, sometime the south, with no apparent way to predict when this might happen.
  • Scientists from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai have uncovered a link between plasma jets in the Sun’s interior and the sunspot cycle which may foretell the unequal activity of the Sun’s hemispheres.

What does Plasma material explain?

  • Plasma material at different locations inside the Sun rotates at different rates powering a dynamo mechanism that creates the magnetic sunspots.
  • The rate of rotation has been earlier observed to change with time with faster and slower streams of plasma jets known as torsional oscillations superposed on the average rotation.
  • These jets accompany the progress of the sunspot cycle with their patterns of migration similar to those of sunspots on the Sun’s surface hinting at a causal link.

What does the study reveal?

  • The study, showed that asymmetries in plasma jets just below the Sun’s surface precede asymmetries in sunspot activity by about a year, a discovery with no clear theoretical explanation yet.

Global Oscillation Network Group

  • The researchers used ground-based data from the Global Oscillation Network Group – a multinational consortium of observatories involving the US, India, Spain, Australia and Chile, and space-based data from the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager instrument onboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

GS-I(History)

Prehistoric rock art found in Madanapalle

  • A rare rock art pertaining to the prehistoric period has been found on a boulder in the Noorukuppalakonda reserve forest of Madanapalle revenue division, which opens new vistas for research in the western belt of Chittoor district.
  • The painting is found on the surface of granite boulder at a height of 10 feet from the ground.
  • “It is painted in red color in a big space measuring about 5×5 metres. The painting consists of about 20 animal and human figures. The animal figures include leopard, antelope, dee, peacock, pangolin and cattle without humps.
  • The rock art is certainly as old as 2,000 years, observing that the painting referring to early human settlements could date to the period between 100 CE and 1000 BCE.
  • Strong indications that it belongs to megalithic period

GS-II(Governance)

President clears Bill against witch-hunting

In news

  • State of Assam received the President’s approval for the Assam Witch Hunting (Prohibition, Prevention and Protection) Bill, 2015
  • President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill against witch-hunting that the Assam Assembly passed three years ago.
  • Now, killing or maiming people in the name of witchcraft will be punishable under the law.

Provisions of the Act

  • Under the Act every offence is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.
  • The Act prescribes a prison term of up to seven years and up to Rs. 5 lakh in fine for calling a person witch.
  • It also has provisions to come with Section 302 of the IPC -punishment for murder if someone is killed after being branded a witch.

Birubala Rabha

  • She is a 65-year-old woman campaigning against witch-hunting after a quack almost killed her son in 1996.
  • She stood her ground despite the threat of excommunication by the local shaman and went on to rescue over 50 women from being branded as witches before launching Mission Birubala against the menace.
  • Rabha’s inputs had gone into the legislation.

Kuladhar Saikia

  • Another important person behind the legislation is Director-General of Police Kuladhar Saikia.
  • As Deputy Inspector-General in Kokrajhar district, he launched Project Prahari in 2001, which blended normal policing with social campaigns to check the menace

Significance of the legislation

  • The legislation is crucial in the present context in which communication technology is being used to magnify superstitious beliefs, black magic and social prejudices with fatal consequences, primarily affecting the life of marginal groups.
Fast-track lynching, mob violence cases, hand maximum sentence: SC
  • Calling for a special law to deal with incidents of lynching and vigilantism, the Supreme Court directed that a slew of “preventive, remedial and punitive” measures be adopted to deal with such offences across the country.

Directions given by SC:

  • The court directed state governments to designate a senior police officer, not below the rank of Superintendent of Police and assisted by a DSP, as nodal officer in each district to take steps to prevent mob violence and lynching.
  • The two officers will in turn constitute a special task force to collect intelligence on those likely to commit such crimes or be involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news.
  • In 3 weeks, states should identify places where instances of lynching and mob violence have been reported in the last five years.
  • The Secretary, Home department, of the states concerned shall issue directions to nodal officers to ensure that the officer in-charge of police stations remain vigilant.
  • The nodal officer shall hold monthly meetings with local intelligence units and Station House Officers to identify tendencies of vigilantism, mob violence or lynching and take steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through social media or any other means.
  • The Director General of Police of the state or Secretary, Home department, must hold regular review meetings with nodal officers and state police intelligence heads.
  • Union Home Ministry to take the initiative and work in co-ordination with state governments to sensitize law enforcement agencies in identifying measures for prevention of mob violence and lynching.

Also

  • For remedial measures, SC asked state governments to prepare a lynching/mob violence victim compensation scheme within one month.
  • It should have a provision for interim relief to be paid to the victim(s) or next of kin within a period of thirty days of the incident.
  • Cases of lynching and mob violence shall be specifically tried by designated court/fast track courts.
  • There should be day to day basis hearings and it should be “preferably concluded within six months from the date of taking cognizance.
Activists oppose draft anti-trafficking Bill

Why opposition?

As the bill says it would criminalize sex workers and transgenders.

Why is Anti-Trafficking bill important?

  • It provides stringent punishment for trafficking and proposes decentralised rehabilitation and investigation frame work for victims from national to district level.
  • The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act looks at prostitution that is defined as sexual exploitation or abuse of persons for commercial purposes.
  • Even though it does not anywhere say prostitution is illegal, it surely mentions exploitation and abuse which in turn are crimes, and not sex work. Every act of prostitution – running a brothel, pimping, living on prostitution are criminalized.
  • If passed, it will probably be the most comprehensive of the anti-trafficking laws across the world.
  • Trafficking is done not just for prostitution. It could be for labour, trafficking could be for begging, for slavery, for forced marriage, for domestic work. One of the purposes is prostitution.
Proposal to amend RTI Act: 
  • The Union government has proposed an amendment to the RTI Act, which is listed in the coming Monsoon session of Parliament.
  • The government has proposed changes to three sections of the RTI Act, which are related to ranks, salaries, allowances and tenure of the Chief Information Commissioners and Information Commissioners of the Centre and states.
  • The proposal is to amend Sections 13, 16 and 27.
  • Section 13(1) and Section 13(2): It is related to tenure of Chief Information Commissioner and Central Information Commissioners and say that it will be five years or up to the age of 65, the proposed bill says that their tenure will be “for such term as may be prescribed by the Central Government”.
  • Section 13(5) : “The salaries and allowances payable to and other terms and conditions of service of the Chief Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of the Chief Election Commissioner; an Information Commissioner shall be the same as that of an Election Commissioner”. The proposed legislation says their salary “shall be such as may be prescribed by Central Government.”
  • Section 27: It is related to salaries.
RS Chairman can reject notice for impeachment
  • Rajya Sabha Secretary-General Desh Deepak Verma said that the Chairman of the Upper House was empowered to reject any notice of a motion of impeachment against a member of the higher judiciary.
  • Section 3(1)(b) of Judges Enquiry Act,  “In the case of a notice given in the Council of States by not less than 50 members of that Council, then the Chairman may, after consulting such persons, if any as he thinks fit and after consulting such material, if any as may be available to him, either admit the motion or refuse to admit the same.”
  • Section 3(2) of the Act specifies that only if a motion against a member of the judiciary is admitted by the Chairman, does the question of setting up of a committee for the purpose of making further investigation shall arise.
Maneka Gandhi wants all Missionaries of Charity institutes examined immediately
  • Union Minister Maneka Gandhi has directed state governments to ensure that all child care institutions are registered and linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) within the next one month.
  • This decision is due to the cognizance of the alleged illegal adoptions carried out by Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand.
  • The mandatory registration of the child care homes and linking to Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been provided in Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which came into force more than two years ago.
Committed to implementing treaty on Brus: Centre
  • The Union Home Ministry is committed to implementing the agreement signed to repatriate nearly 33,000 Bru refugees, currently living in camps in Tripura, to Mizoram, despite the community leader’s decision to walk out of the pact.

why the community leader decided to withdraw from the pact?

Some refugees are not happy with the outcomes and benefits of the deal.

Outcomes of the deal:

  • As per the agreement, signed by the Centre and the governments of Tripura and Mizoram besides the MBDPF leadership, each of the 5,407 families will get ₹5,000 per month along with free ration for two years, besides house-building assistance of ₹1.5 lakh.
  • An one-time financial assistance of ₹4 lakh will also be given to each of the families but the amount will be kept as fixed deposit in the name of the family head.
  • There are a total 32,876 people belonging to the Bru community who are in relief camps in Tripura. They fled Mizoram in 1997 following an unrest and multiple efforts have been made since then to repatriate them. Around 8,000 Bru refugees have gone back to Mizoram since 1997 in six batches and they have been living peacefully in the state.

GS-II(International Affairs)

Iran files complaint with ICJ against US over renewed sanctions.
  • Iran has filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against the United States for reimposing sanctions.
  • US President Donald Trump had re-imposed sanctions affecting Iran’s economy, such as petrochemical, energy and financial sectors after withdrawing from a nuclear deal with world powers.
  • The effect of the re-imposition of the US sanctions was visible in the drop of India’s oil import from Iran.
India keen to join Russia in WTO case against US on metal tariffs

Context:

Trump has imposed 25% tariff on steel and 10% on aluminium imports.

What is the news?

  • India has expressed its willingness join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute consultation requested by Russia as a third party against the US decision to impose high duties on certain steel and aluminium imports.
  • In May, India dragged the US to the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism over the imposition of these import duties.
  • To understand the developments on the issue, India is joining the dispute cases on the subject as a third party member. India has also stated that it is a significant exporter of steel and aluminium products to the US. In 2017, India was the 10th largest exporter of steel to America.

What is this dispute settlement mechanism?

  • Seeking consultation under the aegis of the WTO is the first step of the dispute settlement process.
  • If the two nations are not able to reach a mutually agreed solution through consultation, the complainant may request for a WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.

GS-III(Environment)

Odisha police to approach Interpol for help in busting global pangolin smuggling operation.
  • A special unit of Odisha Police said it will soon approach Interpol to bust the international smuggling operations of pangolin, the world’s most illegally traded mammal.
  • The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has earlier released a circular advising against sharing of prices as it attracts many other poachers.

Pangolin: Image result for Pangolin

  • Pangolin, the only scaly mammal on the planet, is also said to be the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia) by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), an international agreement between 183 countries to ensure trade in animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
  • Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India.
  • The Chinese pangolin (manis pentadactyla), mostly found in northeast India, has been listed as “critically endangered” by the UN affiliated International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, while the Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered”.
  • The Indian Pangolin is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

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