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Daily Current Affairs – IAS Prelims | May 1-3 , 2018

CHROME IAS ACADEMY

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS

1st – 3rd  May’18

NEWS

 

Prelims

AFSPA WILL CONTINUE IN NAGALAND: RIJIJU

  • Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958, will continue in Nagaland as it is a “special case” and the “peace agreement” hasn’t been finalised there yet.
  • Nagaland is the only State in the northeast India, apart from eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, where the AFSPA continues to be imposed by the Union Home Ministry.
  • Nagaland, Manipur and Assam are the only three States in northeast India that continue to be under the AFSPA.
  • The AFSPA gives powers to the Army and the Central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Centre’s sanction.
  • AFSPA is imposed both by the State and the Centre. It was withdrawn by Tripura in 2015. It is a joint effort by the State government and the Centre. In Assam the situation has improved, that is why the Home Ministry withdrew it but it is imposed by the State government.

Relevance : Prelims, GS 3

SC TELLS HCS TO SET UP PANELS TO MONITOR POCSO ACT TRIALS

  • Shocked by the high rate of pendency of child sexual assault cases, the Supreme Court directed High Courts to set up panels of its judges to regulate and monitor trials under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act
  • . The Supreme Court, which had ordered a review of the backlog under POCSO, found that States such as Uttar Pradesh have over 30,000 cases pending despite the child protection law coming into existence as early as 2012.
  • Many States have not yet even set up Special Courts to try POCSO cases as mandated by the law.
  • Though the government was initially against the death penalty in child rape cases, saying “death penalty is not an answer for everything,” the rape of an eight-year-old in Kathua proved to be the last straw and the government recently promulgated an ordinance allowing courts to pronounce death penalty to those found guilty of raping children up to 12 years of age.
  • The Bench issued a series of directions which supplement the ordinance. These include: the State police chiefs should constitute special task forces to investigate cases, High Courts should ensure that they are tried and disposed of by the designated Special Courts under the Act; POCSO judges will give no adjournments and make every effort to fast-track trial, witnesses should be produced in court on the day of the hearing and high courts should make every effort to provide a child-friendly atmosphere in tune with the spirit of the Act.

Relevance : Prelims, GS 3

INDIA, NEPAL REVIVE BID TO BRING 22-YR-OLD MEGA DAM PROJECT BACK TO LIFE

  • India and Nepal have decided to get a project conceived 22 years ago moving by preparing a detailed project report (DPR) on the ambitious Pancheshwar multi-purpose dam that can mark a significant milestone in bilateral cooperation that has often been hostage to politics and tricky negotiations.
  • The two sides have agreed to resume fresh negotiations to resolve critical issues of water sharing and power purchase agreement under the project to try and achieve a breakthrough that has often proved elusive despite potential benefits by way of drought control and flood mitigation besides water ways and hydel power.
  • Besides generating hydro power to the tune of 4,800 MW, augmenting irrigation potential and controlling floods, the project — a centerpiece of the February, 1996 Mahakali Treaty between the two countries — has potential to address Delhi’s growing water demand through a proposed Sarada-Yamuna interlinking of rivers.

Relevance : Prelims, GS 2

ROPE IN INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS TO SAVE TAJ: SC

  • Concerned over the Taj Mahal turning brownish and greenish in colour due to rising pollution levels, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and UP government to rope in international experts to preserve the marble monument, lamenting that the authorities had failed to protect it.
  • The SC expressed shock after perusing the latest pictures of Taj Mahal, showing its pristine white marble changing colour due to pollution, and directed the authorities to consult renowned experts from the country and abroad to preserve the historical monument.
  • The court has been monitoring the case for the last 31 years after it was contended that growing pollution level in Agra posed serious danger to the Taj and it had restrained authorities from cutting down any tree in the Taj Trapezium Zone (TZZ) — a 10,400 sq km trapeziumshaped area covering five districts. The TTZ comprises over 40 protected monuments, including three World Heritage Sites — Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

Relevance : Prelims, GS 3

GLOW-IN-THE-DARK ALGAE MAY BE A SIGN OF GLOBAL WARMING

  • The phenomenon of Mumbai’s beaches glowing in the dark maybe a consequence of global warming and not industrial pollution.
  • The Noctiluca algae, commonly known as sea tinkle, is a parasite and occurs in patches or ‘blooms’ in the northern Arabian Sea. Their bioluminescence has earned them the name ‘sea sparkle’. However, these patches ring an alarm bell for ecologists because the algae compete with fish for food and choke their supply.
  • Noctiluca devours one of the most important planktonic organisms at the base of the fish-food chain, namely diatoms, and also excretes large amounts of ammonia, which is linked with massive fish mortality.
  • Earlier, the increase in algal patches was linked to coastal pollution from major Indian cities along the west coast.
  • A warming ocean means greater temperature differences among layers of the sea water. This slows the upward transport of nutrients like silicate from the ocean bottom, lowering its concentration at the surface. Diatoms growing in surface water need both sunlight and silicate to build their glass skeletons and thus, will fail to thrive when silicate is in short supply. On the other hand, Noctiluca remains unaffected by these changes and prey on the remaining diatoms.

Relevance : Prelims, GS 3

NASA SPACECRAFT COULD BE FIRST TO WITNESS MARSQUAKES

On May 5, Nasa’s InSight spacecraft, short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will rocket off to Mars. This latest mission will analyse Mars’ interior to better understand the planet’s geophysics, unlike Nasa’s previous Mars missions which focused on finding water and confirming the planet’s habitability.

IMPORTANT FACTS IN NEWS

WHO

The WHO global air pollution database reveals that India has 14 out of the 15 most polluted cities in the world in terms of PM 2.5 concentrations, with the worst being Kanpur.

Mopa

Biggest Airport, after Mumbai, to be developed in Mopa, Goa.

Krishonnati

The govt has given its approval for the Umbrella Scheme, “Green Revolution – Krishonnati Yojana” in agriculture sector beyond 12th Five Year Plan.    The Umbrella scheme comprises of 11 Schemes/Missions. These schemes look to develop the agriculture and allied sector in a holistic and scientific manner to increase the income of farmers by enhancing production, productivity andbetter returns on produce.

Relevance : Prelims

 

IMPORTANT TERMS IN NEWS EXPLAINED

DNA profiling

  • DNA profiling is the process of determining an individual’s DNA characteristics, called a DNA profile, that is very likely to be different in unrelated individuals, thereby being as unique to individuals as are fingerprints.
  • DNA profiling with the aim of identifying not an individual but a species is called DNA barcoding.
  • DNA profiling is most commonly used as a forensic technique in criminal investigations to identify an unidentified person or whose identity needs to be confirmed, or to place a person at a crime scene or to eliminate a person from consideration.
  • DNA profiling has also been used to help clarify paternity, in immigration disputes,[in parentage testing and in genealogical research or medical research.
  • DNA fingerprinting has also been used in the study of animal and floral populations and in the fields of zoology, botany, and agriculture.

Rainbow Mountain

  • One of the most magnificent geologic features in the world is the Ausangate Mountain of the Peruvian Andes.
  • The mountain is striped with colors ranging from turquoise to lavender to maroon and gold.
  • The subduction of the Nazca plate underneath the South American plate initiated mountain building and uplift of the mountain range. This produced significant volcanism and the introduction of rare and varied mineralogy to the Andes Mountains.
  • The reason we see the rainbow coloration in the stratigraphic layers of the Ausangate mountain is largely due to weathering and mineralogy.
  • Red coloration of sedimentary layers often indicates iron oxide rust as a trace mineral. Similar to how a nail will rust and turn red when oxidized, sediments that are iron rich will change when exposed to oxygen and water.
  • The different coloration is due to different environmental conditions and mineralogy when the sediment was originally deposited and subsequently diagenetically altered. Introduction of goethite or oxidized limonite will introduce a brownish coloration to sandstones. The bright yellow coloration could be due to iron sulphide as trace minerals within the pore cement. In addition, chlorite will often color sediments varying shades of green dependent on diagenetic history and concentration.

Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)

  • The Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.
  • PMSSY has two components:
    • Setting up new AIIMS
    • Upgradation of government medical colleges.
  • The first phase in the PMSSY has two components – setting up of six institutions in the line of AIIMS; and upgradation of 13 existing Government medical college institutions.
  • In the second phase of PMSSY, the Government has approved the setting up of two more AIIMS-like institutions, one each in the States of West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh and upgradation of six medical colleges.

Relevance : Prelims

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