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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th December 2019

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  • December 4, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th December 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Chandrayaan 2

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space Science & Technology

In News

  • Nasa released some images showing the site of the Vikram lander’s impact and the associated debris field.Nasa credited a Chennai-based techie with the discovery
  • Nasa said the debrisis about 750 metres northwest of the main crash site where Vikram made a hard landing on September 7th 2019
  • Isro’sChandrayaan 2 mission was expected to make a soft landing on the Moon’s surface when it lost contact with the Vikram lander ahead of the scheduled touchdown.
  • Chandrayaan 2’s Vikram lander hard-landed on Moon’s surface as reduction in velocity during its descent did not match with the designed parameters.
  • The indigenously developed Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft comprising of orbiter, lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) was successfully launched on-board the indigenous GSLV MK III-M1 Mission on July 22, 2019
  • The Isro is planning to launch Chandrayaan 3 probably in November next year.

What are the scientific objectives of Chandrayaan2 ?

  • Moon provides the best linkage to Earth’s early history. Extensive mapping of lunar surface to study variations in lunar surface were essential to trace back the origin and evolution of the Moon. 
  • Evidence for water molecules discovered by Chandrayaan-1, required further studies on the extent of water molecule distribution on the surface, below the surface and in the tenous lunar exosphere to address the origin of water on Moon.
  • India would have been the first country to land a mission on the south pole of the Moon, if the landing was a success.

EXERCISE HAND-IN-HAND-2019

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International Affairs

In News

  • The 8th India-China joint training exercise ‘HAND-IN-HAND 2019’ with the theme counter terrorism under United Nations mandate is scheduled to be conducted at Umroi, Meghalaya from 07 to 20 December 2019.
  • The Chinese contingent from the Tibet Military command comprising of 130 personal and the Indian Contingent of similar strength will participate in the 14 day long training exercise. 
  • The aim of the exercise is to practice joint planning and conduct of counter terrorist operations in semi urban terrain.
  • Two tactical exercises are scheduled during the training; one on counter terrorism scenario and the other on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th December 2019

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DRDO to develop naval fighter jet

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III- Security

In News

  • DRDO has offered to develop a new twin-engine deck-based fighter aircraft for the Navy based on the experience of the naval light combat aircraft (LCA)
  • The new aircraft should be ready by 2026, after meeting the qualitative requirements.
  • The naval LCA recently successfully completed the take-off and landing trials on the shore-based test facility in Goa

Do You Know

  • The Navy expected to have the first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-I) Vikrant operational by 2022.
  • The Navy is scheduled to host its largest multilateral exercise, MILAN off the coast of Visakhapatnam in March 2020, for which 41 countries have been invited. So far, over 15 countries have confirmed their participation. 
  • However, China has not been invited as Indian Navy invited “like-minded” countries.

U.S. threatens 100% tariffs on French goods

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II- International Affairs

In News

  • On the sidelines of the NATO alliance talks, the U.S. announced that it could possibly levy duties up to 100% on $2.4 billion in French imports into the country. 
  • The proposed tariffs could include French champagne, porcelain and some cheese varieties.
  • The announcement comes after the office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s (USTR) probe(301 probe) into France’s Digital Services Tax (DST) concluded that a French tax measure is discriminatory towards specific U.S. technology companies.
  • The ‘301’ probe is a trade tool authorised by Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974, which the U.S. uses to assert its rights under trade agreements if it decides American industries are facing “unfair” foreign trade practices.
  • France’s DST is a 3% tax on the turnover of digital companies with global turnover of at least €750 million, of which €25 million is generated in France. 
  • U.S. tech giants, including Google, Amazon and Facebook, had called for the tax to be scrapped.
  • USTR said that the tax was inconsistent with prevailing tax principles due to its retroactivities, application to revenue rather than income and extraterritorial application.
  • While this particular round of tariffs does not impact India directly, the USTR’s use of 301 probes is of relevance to the country.
  • US in July had stated that a ‘301 probe’ was among the options the U.S. was considering at the time with regard to India.Currently, New Delhi and Washington are in the middle of a negotiation on a limited trade deal.

PISA test

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II –Education

In News

  • The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a study done to produce comparable data on education policy and outcomes across countries
  • It is initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries.
  • The study, which began in the year 2000, conducts a test evaluating 15-year-olds in member and non-member countries to assess the quality and inclusivity of school systems in these countries. 
  • The PISA test is held every three years and the next test will be held in 2021, in which students from government schools in Chandigarh will represent India.
  • PISA test does not assess students on their memory, but attempts to evaluate whether students can apply the knowledge they have gained through primary and secondary education. 
  • India has participated in the PISA test only once before, in 2009. In this round of PISA, where students from Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu sat for the test, India ranked 72nd out of 73 countries, outranking only Kyrgyzstan. Since then, India has strayed away from the test until now.

Didymos

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Space Science

In News

  • NASA and ESA want to hit an asteroid called Didymos
  • The twin-asteroid system Didymos is a binary near-Earth asteroid. 
  • According to NASA, while the primary body of Didymos is approximately 780 meters across, its secondary body or “moonlet” is about 160-meters in size, which is more typical of the size of asteroids that could pose the most likely significant threat to Earth.
  • Amidst the growing concern of need of a planetary defence mechanism, scientists are trying to find ways to deflect asteroids from a collision course with Earth
  • One such project is the Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA), which includes NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Hera.
  • DART is scheduled to launch in 2021 with an aim to slam into the smaller asteroid of the Didymos system at around 6 km per second in 2022.
  • Hera will arrive at the Didymos system in 2027 to measure the impact crater produced by the DART collision and study the change in the asteroid’s orbital trajectory.

Do You Know?

  • There are around 25,000 near-Earth objects (NEOs) that orbit the Sun on a trajectory that brings them close to our planet’s orbit. 
  • However, certain near-Earth objects have been classified as “potentially hazardous” which are 140 metres or more in size and come within 0.05 AU (astronomical unit) to Earth
  • The distance in space is usually measured in astronomical units where 1 AU is the distance between Earth and the Sun, which is around 93 million miles or 150 million kilometres

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • 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, Indian Diaspora.

Ukraine – Trump issue

  • The House Intelligence Committee released a 300-page impeachment report accusing President Donald Trump of trying to enlist Ukraine to help him in the 2020 presidential election and obstructing the congressional inquiry by trying to cover it up.

Background:

  • It revolves around efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump to coerce Ukraine and other foreign countries into providing damaging narratives about 2020 Democratic Party presidential primary candidate Joe Biden as well as information relating to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections. 
  • Trump enlisted surrogates within and outside his official administration, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General William Barr, to pressure Ukraine and other foreign governments to cooperate in supporting conspiracy theories concerning American politicsTrump blocked but later released payment of a congressionally mandated $400 million military aid package to allegedly obtain quid pro quo cooperation from Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine. 
  • Number of contacts were established between the White House and the government of Ukraine, culminating in a July 25, 2019, phone call between Trump and Zelensky
  • The scandal reached public attention in mid-September 2019 due to a whistleblower complaint made in August 2019The complaint raised concerns about Trump using presidential powers to solicit foreign electoral intervention in the 2020 U.S. presidential election

Takeaways from the report:

  • The president leveraged Ukraine’s military aid and a White House meeting for political investigations.

subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential reelection campaign.”

  • Trump ‘ordered and implemented’ a campaign to conceal his conduct from the public and Congress.

“The damage to our system of checks and balances, and to the balance of power within our three branches of government, will be long-lasting and potentially irrevocable if the president’s ability to stonewall Congress goes unchecked,”

  • The report is a road map to the president’s possible impeachment and removal from office.

“Today, we may be witnessing a collision between the power of a remedy meant to curb presidential misconduct and the power of faction determined to defend against the use of that remedy on a president of the same party,”

  • Report prompts new phase in impeachment inquiry as Judiciary Committee considers articles of impeachment.

“The release of the report largely concludes the investigation by the Intelligence Committee and moves the impeachment inquiry into a new phase led by the House Judiciary Committee, which plans to hold its first hearing”

US impeachment process

  • The US House of representative (435 members) needs to pass the impeachment motion by a simple majority, after investigation by judiciary committee
  •  The motion of Impeachment then goes to the Senate (Upper House consisting of 100 members), where a trial presided by Chief Justice takes place with representative from House acting as prosecutors and the President & his attorneys presenting his defence
  • A two-third majority in Senate is necessary to convict and remove the President.
  • If the President is convicted, the Vice-President takes over the White House for remaining period of tenure.

Indian Impeachment process

  • In India, President can be impeached for violation of the Constitution (Article 61)
  • The motion for impeaching President can be introduced in any House of Parliament.
  •  After the investigation, the motion of impeachment must be passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by both Houses of the Parliament.

Connecting the dots:

  • Subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security in favor of two politically motivated investigations that would help his presidential re-election campaign. Comment

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • 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, Indian Diaspora.

Israel Palestine issue (Part-1)

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th December 2019

  • Britain took control of the area known as Palestine after the ruler of that part of the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire, was defeated in WW1.
  • The land was inhabited by a Jewish minority and Arab majority.
  • Tensions between the two peoples grew when the international community gave Britain the task of establishing a “national home” in Palestine for Jewish people.
  • For Jews, it was their ancestral home, but Palestinian Arabs also claimed the land and opposed the move.
  • Between the 1920s and 40s, the number of Jews arriving there grew, with many fleeing from persecution in Europe and seeking a homeland after the Holocaust of WWII.
  • Violence between Jews and Arabs, and against British rule, also grew.

UN

  • In 1947, the UN voted for Palestine to be split into separate Jewish and Arab states, with Jerusalem becoming an international city.
  • That plan was accepted by Jewish leaders but rejected by the Arab side and never implemented.

The creation of Israel and the ‘Catastrophe’

  • In 1948, unable to solve the problem, British rulers left and Jewish leaders declared the creation of the state of Israel.
  • Many Palestinians objected and a war followed. Troops from neighbouring Arab countries invaded.
  • Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in what they call Al Nakba, or the “Catastrophe“.
  • By the time the fighting ended in a ceasefire the following year, Israel controlled most of the territory.
  • Jordan occupied land which became known as the West Bank, and Egypt occupied Gaza.
  • Jerusalem was divided between Israeli forces in the West, and Jordanian forces in the East.
  • Because there was never a peace agreement – each side blamed the other – there were more wars and fighting in the decades which followed.

1967:

  • In another war in 1967, Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as most of the Syrian Golan Heights, and Gaza and the Egyptian Sinai peninsula.
  • Most Palestinian refugees and their descendants live in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in neighbouring Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
  • Neither they nor their descendants have been allowed by Israel to return to their homes – Israel says this would overwhelm the country and threaten its existence as a Jewish state

Present day

  • Israel still occupies the West Bank, and although it pulled out of Gaza the UN still regards that piece of land as part of occupied territory.
  • Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
  •  Only the US recognises Israel’s claim to the whole of the city.
  • In the past 50 years Israel has built settlements in these areas, where more than 600,000 Jews now live.
  • Palestinians say these are illegal under international law and are obstacles to peace, but Israel denies this.
  • Tensions are often high between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Gaza is ruled by a Palestinian militant group called Hamas, which has fought Israel many times. Israel and Egypt tightly control Gaza’s borders to stop weapons getting to Hamas.
  • Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank say they’re suffering because of Israeli actions and restrictions. 
  • Israel say it is only acting to protect itself from Palestinian violence.

Conclusion:

  • The situation isn’t going to be sorted out any time soon. A new peace plan is being prepared by the United States, which has described it as the “deal of the century”.

Connecting the dots: 

  • Any future solution must be one that rectifies past evils and offers democracy to all Palestinians. comment

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) 1 Astronomical Unit (1 AU) is roughly equivalent to _______  

  1. 100 million Kms
  2. Distance from Earth to the Sun
  3. Distance from Earth to the Moon
  4. None of the above

Q.2) The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial international survey which aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. It is conducted by

  1. United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture
  2. World Economic Forum
  3. Etudes Sans Frontières International
  4. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) initiative

  1. The aim of the initiative isto deflect asteroid- Didymos from a collision course with Earth
  2. It includes NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission and the Japan Space Agency’s (JAXA) Hera mission.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) ‘301 probe’ often seen in news is related to which of the following ?

  1. Investigation into Human rights violation by UNHRC
  2. War crimes probe by International Criminal Court
  3. Trade tool by USA to assert its rights under trade agreements
  4. None of the above

Q.5) Exercise HAND-IN-HAND is joint training exercise conducted between India and which other country?

  1. Nepal
  2. China
  3. Bhutan
  4. Afghanistan

ANSWERS FOR 03 DEC 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 C
4 A
5 B

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