Insights Daily Current Events, 12 March 2016

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Insights Daily Current Events, 12 March 2016



Paper 3 Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

World’s thinnest lens developed

Australian scientists have developed world’s thinnest lens which is 2000 times thinner than human hair.

  • The newly developed lens is 6.3 nanometres thick. Previous versions of lenses were 50 nanometres thick.
  • Scientists have used a crystal of molybdenum disulphide as a special ingredient in this lens.
  • This lens could have revolutionary applications in medicine, science and technology and can also be used to create bendable tv and computer screens.

How this was made possible?

Scientists discovered that single layers of molybdenum disulphide, 0.7 nanometres thick, had remarkable optical properties, appearing to a light beam to be 50 times thicker, at 38 nanometres. This property, known as optical path length, determines the phase of the light and governs interference and diffraction of light as it propagates.

Key facts:

  • Molybdenum disulphide is in a class of materials known as chalcogenide glasses that have flexible electronic characteristics that have made them popular for high-technology components.
  • Molybdenum disulphide crystal’s refractive index, the property that quantifies the strength of a material’s effect on light, has a high value of 5.5. For comparison, diamond, whose high refractive index causes its sparkle, is only 2.4, and water’s refractive index is 1.3.
  • Also, it survives at high temperatures, is a lubricant, a good semiconductor and can emit photons too.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Syrian war enters sixth year

Syrian war has entered its sixth year. Over the past five years the war has spiraled into a complex conflict, with regime forces, rebels, Kurdish fighters and jihadists carving out zones of influence.

All about Syrian war:

What happened?

It all began with pro-democracy protests which erupted in March 2011 in the southern city of Deraa after the arrest and torture of some teenagers who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. After security forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing several, more took to the streets.

  • The unrest triggered nationwide protests demanding President Assad’s resignation. The government’s use of force to crush the dissent merely hardened the protesters’ resolve. By July 2011, hundreds of thousands were taking to the streets across the country.
  • Opposition supporters eventually began to take up arms, first to defend themselves and later to expel security forces from their local areas.
  • Soon, violence escalated and the country descended into civil war as rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces for control of cities, towns and the countryside. Fighting reached the capital Damascus and second city of Aleppo in 2012.
  • The conflict is now more than just a battle between those for or against Mr Assad. It has acquired sectarian overtones, pitching the country’s Sunni majority against the president’s Shia Alawite sect, and drawn in regional and world powers. The rise of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) has added a further dimension.

How it has affected Syrians?

More than 4.5 million people have fled Syria since the start of the conflict, most of them women and children. Neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have struggled to cope with one of the largest refugee exoduses in recent history. About 10% of Syrian refugees have sought safety in Europe, sowing political divisions as countries argue over sharing the burden.

  • A further 6.5 million people are internally displaced inside Syria, 1.2 million were driven from their homes in 2015 alone.

Latest developments:

Last month, Syria’s regime agreed to a ceasefire deal announced by the United States and Russia after it was conditionally accepted by the opposition. The deal calls for a “cessation of hostilities” between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opposition groups that would take effect at midnight Friday Damascus time.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

SC dismisses plea to name country ‘Bharata’

The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea demanding changing the name of ‘India’ to ‘Bharat’.

What has the court said?

The court observed, “Every Indian has the right to choose between calling his country “Bharat” or “India”, and the Supreme Court has no business to either dictate or decide for a citizen what he should call his country.”

  • The court also took strong exception to the petitioner asking him whether he thinks it has nothing else to do and reminded him that Public Interest Litigations (PILs) are meant for “poor”.


Earlier, the bench, then headed by Chief Justice of India HL Dattu, had sought responses from the Centre, the states and Union Territories on the plea which called for restraining the Centre from using the name of India for any government purposes and in official papers.

  • The plea had sought a direction to NGOs and corporates that they should use term ‘Bharat’ for all official and unofficial purposes.
  • The PIL said in the Constituent Assembly, the prominent suggestions for naming the country were “Bharat, Hindustan, Hind and Bharatbhumi or Bharatvarsh and names of that kind”.

Sources: the hindu.


Paper 2 Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Mexico opposes India’s UNSC bid

India’s quest for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) now faces a new challenge with Mexico coming out in opposition to India’s campaign.

Why Mexico is opposing?

Mexico thinks adding more permanent members in the Security Council is not the solution to the existing problem. More veto power-wielding permanent members will mean more paralysis of the U.N. Instead, it has argued for a compromise with India and India can opt for long-term membership with possibilities of election.

What does the UNSC currently look like?

As of now, there are 15 members on the UNSC. Five of those, including the US, UK, France, China and Russia are permanent members. These members have the all-important veto power (essentially a negative vote) which would mean that a “resolution or decision would not be approved”.

  • The remaining 10 non-permanent members are elected by the General Assembly for two-year terms, starting 1 January. Five members are replaced each year. India has been elected as a non-permanent member to the UNSC for seven such terms.

India and the UNSC:

India, since long time, has been demanding expansion of UNSC and its inclusion as permanent member in it.

  • The U.S. is supporting India’s claim for a permanent UNSC seat, but it has been calling for consensus before reforms can move ahead. Pakistan is opposed to India, while China has been ambiguous in its approach though not openly opposed to reforms.
  • Russia, France and UK have clarified that they are open to supporting India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

Why India should be given a permanent seat in the council?

  • India was among the founding members of United Nations.
  • It is the second largest and a one of the largest constant contributor of troops to United Nations Peacekeeping missions.
  • India has over 8,500 peacekeepers in the field, more than twice as many as the UN’s five big powers combined.
  • It has been a member of UNSC for 7 terms and a member of G-77 and G-4, so permanent membership is a logical extension.

Sources: the hindu.


Facts for Prelims from “The Hindu”:

Global recognition for ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’

Compassionate Kozhikode’ has been chosen by ITB (Internationale Tourismus-Börse) Berlin, as one of the 50 inspirational global projects to highlight as part of its golden jubilee celebrations.

  • Not only is the project the only such initiative from India to receive the coveted recognition, it is one of just three in the whole of Asia.

About the Project:

‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ aims at bringing government agencies and citizens to volunteer to make Kozhikode an inspirational destination for them to live in, and invite others to visit.

  • The project starts from the idea that a destination is first and foremost a place where people live.
  • It focuses its efforts on making Kozhikode a better place for its citizens.



To reduce man-animal conflict in Wayanad wildlife sanctuary in Kerala, the Kerala State Forest and Wildlife Department has intensified night patrolling by ‘Kumki’ (trained elephants) in human settlements on the fringes of the sanctuary.

  • The Kumkis are trained to scare away wild pachyderms into the forest, either by using their trunk or tusks.


Use of words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ does not violate law, says Centre

The Bombay High Court has sought responses from actor Aamir Khan and Star TV to a public interest litigation plea by an activist that objects to the use of the phrase Satyameva Jayate , the name of their popular TV programme, as it is a part of the emblem of India.

What has the centre said?

Responding to the petition, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in its affidavit said the use of the phrase ‘Satyameva Jayate’ was not in violation of the State Emblem of India (Prohibition and Improper Use) Act and State Emblem of India (Regulation of Use) Rules.

  • The Act and Rules prohibit improper use of the State Emblem of India as a whole. However, there is no provision which prohibits the use of its part like Satyameva Jayate , the lion, the bull, the horse and so on. Hence the use of the words ‘Satyameva Jayate’ in a TV programme does not violate any provision of the Act and Rules.

Sources: the hindu.