IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs (Prelims + Mains Focus)- 9th December 2017
India enters into Wassenaar Arrangement
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- The Wassenaar Arrangement agreed to admit India as the 42nd member of the organisation.
- It aims to regulate trade and use of dual use technology.
Benefits for India:
- It will also boost New Delhi’s chances of joining the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
- India’s membership is expected to facilitate high technology tie-ups with Indian industry.
- It will ease access to high-tech items for our defence and space programmes.
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Section 497 of the IPC
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
· Section 497 of the IPC treats only the man as the offender and the married woman as a victim.
· The Supreme Court recently said the provision of adultery, the Section 497 of the IPC, treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate.”
· The court admitted a petition to drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.
· “Time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect,” the Supreme Court recorded.
· Terming the provision “quite archaic,” the court observed in the order that when society progresses, rights are conformed and a new generation of thoughts should spring forth.
· The apex court had earlier on three separate occasions, in 1954, 1985 and 1988, upheld the constitutionality of Section 497.
Section 497 of IPC:
Section 497 of the IPC mandates that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”
- Why does Section 497 treat the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.
- The offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived or consented to the adulterous act. So, is a married woman the “property” of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?
China-Maldives strengthening ties
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- The Maldives on Friday signed a crucial free trade deal with China, while endorsing its Maritime Silk Road project shunned by India for its strategic implications in the Indian Ocean.
- China deems the Maldives as an important partner to building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR).
- The China-backed multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — of which the MSR is a part — is similar to Maldives’ strategy of achieving economic progress by making use of its geographic advantages.
- President Yameen said the Maldives viewed China as “among our closest friends, most trusted and most dependable partners”.
- After acquiring Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on a 99-year lease in a $1.1 billion debt swap deal, China has now roped in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation, located strategically in India’s backyard, to implement the MSR.
- China has also set up a ‘logistics base’ for its navy in Djibouti, also located in the Indian Ocean region in the Horn of Africa.
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New standard by FSSAI
Part of: Mains GS Paper II- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked safety commissioners to take cognisance of the new standards framed for various food products.
- It has advised them to withdraw or not pursue cases of violation of old norms and standards, unless companies are still not compliant with the new or revised standards.
The FSSAI, through its Friday order, said that
- During the last few years a large number of new standards have been framed or amended for several food products based on scientific evidence to ensure appropriate food safety levels.
- Such revision of standards has taken place after talking into account all scientific evidence required to ensure appropriate level of protection of human life and health.
- Standards are continuously evolving based on the views of the scientific panels.
- Field machinery needs to be focussed on genuine cases of unsafe food products. This will help reduce the burden of litigation.
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TOPIC: General Studies 2:
- India and its neighbourhood- relations.
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
U.S.’s recognition of Jerusalem
U.S. President Donald Trump has recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The decision endlessly given international public opinion and the political and moral sensitivity of the issue.
Israel: America’s greatest ally in West Asia
· The U.S. has largely favoured Israel throughout the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and East Jerusalem.
· It has offered protection to Israel in the UN Security Council, come to its aid in times of crises, and provided it with advanced weapons.
· The U.S. has even looked away when Israel was amassing nuclear weapons.
In return, Israel has become America’s greatest ally in West Asia.
- Jerusalem is at the very heart of an Israeli-Palestinian solution. By endorsing Israel’s claims over the city, the American President has made an already sensitive issue more sensitive.
- The move will only strengthen the Israeli Right, which is dead opposed to ceding any inch of Jerusalem to a future Palestinian state.
- Israel has been defying international norms and UNSC resolutions, but America publicly endorsing Israel’s illegal claims is unprecedented.
- A President who promised the “ultimate deal” to resolve the conflict has effectively dealt a body blow to the peace process.
- Jerusalem has never been recognised as Israel’s capital by the international community.
- In the original UN General Assembly plan to partition Palestine and create independent Jewish and Arab states, Jerusalem was deemed an international city.
- The Zionists didn’t wait for the plan to be implemented by the UN.
- In 1948, they declared the state of Israel and in the ensuing Arab-Israeli war, they captured 23% more territories than even what the UN had proposed, including the western half of Jerusalem.
- Israel seized East Jerusalem in 1967 from Jordan, and later annexed it. Since then, Israel has been encouraging illegal settlements in the eastern parts of the city, with Palestinians being forced to live in their historical neighbourhoods.
- In 1980, the Israeli Parliament passed a basic law, declaring Jerusalem “complete and united” as its capital. This move invoked sharp reaction from world powers, including the U.S.
- The UN Security Council (UNSC) declared the draft law “null and void” and urged member countries to withdraw their diplomatic missions from the Holy City.
- The U.S. should have held talks with both sides and extracted compromises, taking the peace process a step forward.
- Trump would also have said which part of Jerusalem he was recognising as Israel’s seat of power and endorsed the Palestinians’ claim over East Jerusalem, including the Old City.
- US should have put pressure on Israel to come forward and engage the Palestinians in talks.
Improved chances of conciliation:
- Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, recently came up with a new political charter that signals a readiness to deal with Israel and accept the 1967 border for a future Palestinian state.
- Hamas and the Fatah (party that rules parts of the West Bank), also reached a reconciliation agreement recently.
This could have been used as an opening to break the logjam in the peace process.
Israel’s history suggests that it will not agree to any compromise unless it is forced to do so. Over the years, it has continued its illegal settlements in the occupied territories despite repeated warnings from the international community. The only country that can put effective pressure on Israel is the U.S. The country should thus play a responsible role in the region.
Connecting the dots:
- S. President Donald Trump has recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital has made Israeli-Palestinian issue more sensitive. Analyze.
General Studies 2:
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
General Studies 3:
- Science and Technology? developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Antibiotic resistance in the environment
The 2017 National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance talks about limiting antibiotics in effluent being dumped by drug makers into the environment.
This is because when these drugs taint soil and water, the scores of microbes that live there grow drug-resistant.
Until now, India’s fight against antibiotic-resistance was focussed on getting people to cut down on unnecessary antibiotic consumption. Having too many antibiotics causes bodily pathogens to resist these miracle drugs.
Typically, a pathogen can take two routes to antibiotic resistance.
- A pathogen’s own genes can mutate spontaneously to help fight the drug. Mutations take time to spread through a bacterial population.
- Horizontal gene transfer- is for the bug to borrow resistance genes from its neighbours.
Scientists believe that many human pathogens today picked up their resistance genes from the environment.
Horizontal gene transfer: Examples
Take ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic launched by the German company Bayer in the mid-1980s. Ciprofloxacin was the most effective among the quinolone class of antibiotics in fighting gram-negative bacteria.
A bacteria would need multiple resistance mutations to fight cipro, and because such multiple mutations are rare, scientists thought resistance was unlikely.
Yet, within a decade, ciprofloxacin resistance had spread globally. Eventually, scientists learnt that bacteria seemed to have borrowed a gene, which conferred resistance to ciprofloxacin, from a sea and freshwater bacterium.
- Another set of genes, which triggered an epidemic of resistance to some cephalosporin antibiotics in the early 21st century, came from a soil-dwelling species.
Resistance genes in environmental microbes:
When humans starting manufacturing antibiotics in the 1950s, a dramatic shift occurred. Large doses of these drugs seeped into the environment through poultry and human excreta, and waste water from drug makers and hospitals. This led to an explosion of resistance genes in soil and water microbes.
Investigators in 2007 had found that water in an Indian pharma effluent treatment plant had both high levels of antibiotics as well as novel resistance genes, never seen in microbes elsewhere.
The resistant genes are likely to make the journey from living harmlessly in environmental bacteria to human pathogens that sicken people.
The flow of genes from the environment to humans is a rare event. Instead, most transmission happens from one human to another.
But the rarity isn’t reason to lower our guard.
We live in unprecedented times where environmental bacteria, pathogens and antibiotics are mixing like never before. This means such rare events are almost inevitable.
If India doesn’t move quickly, wastewater in pharma clusters could give rise to new genes as dangerous as NDM-1. Once such genes enter in humans, they will spread across the planet.
Connecting the dots:
- Antibiotic resistance in the air should worry us. Discuss.
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