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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 24th January 2020

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  • January 25, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 24th January 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

In news: From Prelims Point of View:

  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms

Mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath

Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum 2020

In news:

This year is the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos

From Prelims Point of View:

The World Economic Forum (WEF)

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation established in 1971, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Major reports published by WEF are:

  • Global Competitiveness Report
  • Global IT Report
  • Global Gender Gap Report
  • Global Risk Report
  • Global Travel and Tourism Report

Inland Waterways Authority of India

In news:

  • IWAI is the statutory body in charge of the waterways in India.
  • Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP.
  • Its main function is to build the necessary infrastructure in the inland waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also carrying out administration and regulation.
  • It undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.

Goa Opposition disrupts assembly proceedings over Mahadayi river dispute

In news:

From Prelims Point of View:

Kalasa Banduri project

  • The project involves diverting water from Mahadayi river, the lifeline of Goa, into the Malaprabha river.
  • The Kalasa Banduri project is aimed at providing drinking water to three important districts of north Karnataka — Belagavi, Gadag and Dharwad — which go parched in summer due to acute water scarcity.
  • Mahadayi river originates from a cluster of 30 springs at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in the Belgaum district of Karnataka. Then it enters Goa and finally drains in Arabian sea.
  • Goa state capital Panaji lies on the banks of Mandovi
  • Mahadayi Water Tribunal (MWT) Award in 2018:Karnataka has been allocated 13.5tmcft of water, Goa has been 24tmcft while Maharashtra has been allocated 1.3tmcft

Centre refuses to give more funds to Kerala for flood relief

In news:

The Centre will not allot any additional assistance to Kerala from the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) as it has failed to produce utilisation certificates for 50% of over ₹3,000 crore fund allotted to it after the 2018 floods

From Prelims Point of View:

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

  • The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the apex statutory body for disaster management in India.
  • The NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, in accordance with the Disaster Management Act, 2005 with Prime Minister as its Chairperson and nine other members, and one such member to be designated as Vice-Chairperson.
  • In recognition of the importance of Disaster Management as a national priority, the Government of India set up a High-Powered Committee (HPC) in August 1999 and a National Committee after the Gujarat earthquake (2001).

Mercy petition

  • As per the Constitutional framework in India, mercy petition to the President is the last constitutional resort a convict, when he has been punished by the court of law. A convict can present a mercy petition to the President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution of India.
  • Similarly, the power to grant pardon is conferred upon the Governors of States under Article 161 of the Constitution of India.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act

In news:

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] is making an earnest bid to steer clear of the row over the police slamming the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act

From Prelims Point of View:

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment

  • Seeks to amend the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
  • UAPA provides special procedures to deal with terrorist activities, among other things.

Key amendments:

  • To designate individuals as terrorists on certain grounds provided in the Act.
  • The Bill empowers the Director General of NIA to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
  • The Bill empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism 

Need for the Amendment

  • India faces one of the highest threats of terrorism in the world and therefore its counter-terrorism mechanism must be stringent.
  • USA has a very successful example of counter-terrorism mechanism, especially after 9/11, and has been successful in curbing terrorist activities.

(MAINS FOCUS)


Health

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

China’s Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Context:

800+ cases have been reported and at least 25 people have died from a new coronavirus in China following an outbreak in the central city of Wuhan.

About Coronavirus

  • According to WHO, coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory illness (like SARS & MERS)
  • The name “coronavirus” comes from the Latin word “corona”, meaning crown or halo. Under an electron microscope, the image of the virus is reminiscent of a solar corona.
  •  A novel coronavirus, identified by Chinese authorities on January 7,2020 and currently named 2019-nCoV, is a new strain that had not been previously identified in humans. 
  • Little is known about the new virus but it is considered as a relative of SARS

Symptoms: Signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Origin: The infection from the new strain was traced to a Wuhan seafood market, which also sold live animals. The WHO also says an animal source appears most likely to be the primary source of the outbreak.

Spread: Beyond China, Thailand has reported four cases, while South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and the United States have each confirmed one. All these cases involve people who had either come from Wuhan or been there recently.

Transmission: Though these viruses are zoonotic – transmitted from animals to humans- there is evidence of respiratory transmission of the novel coronavirus from human to human as well.

What is being done to stop it spreading?

  • There is no vaccine for the new virus.
  • Chinese authorities effectively sealed off Wuhan on 23rd Jan 2020, suspending flights and trains out of the city and telling residents they could not leave without a special reason
  • Chinese authorities have also stepped up monitoring and disinfection efforts ahead of the Lunar New Year break, which formally starts on 25th Jan during which many of the country’s 1.4 billion people will travel domestically and overseas.
  • Airport authorities across Asia have quickly stepped up screening of passengers from Wuhan
  • Health authorities are trying to diagnose and isolate cases as quickly as possible and trace people patients have come into contact with to try to stay on top of the virus

WHO’s Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Is it a global emergency?

  • WHO said that though, this is an emergency in China. But it has not yet become a global health emergency i.e. not yet public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). It may yet become one in future.
  • The PHEIC is defined by the WHO as an extraordinary event that is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.

Criticism/Challenges

  • Shutdowns of cities like Wuhan (11 million inhabitants) cannot prevent human-to-human transmission within the cities. Shutting down entire cities go beyond the normal practice of quarantining infected people and might backfire.
  • WHO should actively communicate on the progress of virus control measures and if the virus spreads to other countries, declare the outbreak as PHEIC
  • 25 Indian students are trapped in Wuhan city, thus there is a need for Indian authorities to monitor & cooperate with Chinese counterparts to assure the safety of Indians in China.
  • Impact on the Economy especially on Aviation sector: Since it is period of Chinese New year, the restrictions on travel will impact the tourist sector. Also, the fear of disease spread and suspension of air travel imposed by China in certain cities will have a knock-off international aviation sector (especially Korean, Japanese, Singapore airlines)

Do You Know?

  • SARS (Severe Acute respiratory Syndrome), another coronavirus that originated in China, came from bats and the civet cat, which in turn passed it on to humans.
  • The early cases of this new infection were traced to the South China Seafood Wholesale Market. It thus emerged in China in 2002 and spread to 30 countries with 8400+ cases and nearly 800 deaths

Connecting the dots

  • Ebola Virus when WHO declared it as PHEIC
  • Wuhan informal Summit in April 2018 – why? Outcome? Any follow up informal summit?

Human Rights/ Refugee

Topic:General Studies 3:

  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

ICJ’s ruling on Myanmar Rohingya

In an unanimously-ruled order issued by a panel of 17 judges, The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) upheld the provisions of the 1948 Genocide Convention – saying Myanmar had “caused irreparable damage to the rights of the Rohingya”.

What is Rohingya issue?

  • An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya(Muslim minorities in Buddhist majority Myanmar) have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 
  • The crisis was triggered when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya villages in the country’s coastal Rakhine state. 
  • In August 2019, the UN said the army’s action was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

Who took the Myanmar to ICJ?

  • It was the Republic of the Gambia which is predominantly Muslim who took Myanmar to ICJ accusing it of genocide on Rohingya 
  • Gambia was backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC)

What were the orders of ICJ?

  • ICJ has ordered Myanmar to take emergency measures to prevent genocide of the Rohingya. 
  • Myanmar was also ordered to prevent the destruction of evidence and to ensure the preservation of evidence related to the alleged genocide

Is the matter closed?

  • The recent order is a restraining order. It is just a provisional measure.
  • The hearings dealing with the main, and more serious allegations of genocide by the Myanmar military, have not even started. This is expected to linger for years with no quick closures

Quick Fact: So far, only three cases of genocide worldwide have been recognised since World War II: Cambodia (the late 1970s), Rwanda (1994), and Srebrenica, Bosnia (1995)

Proving genocide has been difficult because of the high bar set by its ‘intent requirement’ — that is showing the genocidal acts were carried out with the specific intent to eliminate a people on the basis of their ethnicity

Future Course of action

Myanmar shall submit a report to the ICJ on all measures taken to give effect to the provisional order within four months, and thereafter every six months, until a final decision is passed.

Is the ICJ order binding?

The ruling of the court is binding on Myanmar, and cannot be appealed. However, no means are available to the court to enforce it

What happens if Myanmar doesn’t comply with the provisional measures?

  • When a state fails to comply with ICJ rulings, the UN Security Council has the power to impose sanctions against it and ensure compliance when international security and peace are at stake. 
  • So far, the Security Council has never taken a coercive measure against any country to get an ICJ ruling implemented.
  • Even if it reaches the UNSC, Myanmar has got a friend in China which can veto such proceedings in the council.

Implications of the ruling

  • Seen as the first sign of the victory by Rohingya refugees with an added weight of the unanimity of the ruling
  • Dents the image of Myanmar in international Politics
  • Role of Nobel Laurate Aung San Suu Kyi who personally led Myanmar’s defence at ICJ was not appreciated by international human rights groups. She is an ardent champion of Democracy and is presently leading the government with the support of military
  • However, her defence of military actions at ICJ is highly appreciated domestically which will witness the elections by the end of this year.
  • Strengthening of Myanmar-China ties as China has always supported Military regime of Myanmar.

Connecting the Dots

  • India’s cases at ICJ
  • India’s stand on Rohingya refugees who entered India’s north-east  during this period.

(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”.

Q1.Where is Davos, the venue of the annual meeting of World Economic Forum; located?

  1. France 
  2. Germany
  3. Switzerland 
  4. Luxemburg

Q2.Which of the following gives ‘Global Gender Gap Index’ ranking to the countries of the world?

  1. World Economic Forum
  2. UN Human Rights Council
  3. UN Women
  4. World Health Organization

ANSWERS FOR 23 JAN 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C

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