Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 March 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 14 March 2017


 

Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

US regulators reject bitcoin ETF, digital currency plunges

 

The US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday denied a request to list what would have been the first US exchange-traded fund built to track bitcoin, the digital currency.

  • The digital currency’s price plunged, falling as much as 18% in trading immediately after the decision before rebounding slightly. It last traded down 7.8% to $1,098.

 

Background:

Investors have been trying for more than three years to bring the Bitcoin ETF to the market. Bitcoin had scaled to a record of nearly $1,300 this month, higher than the price of an ounce of gold, as investors speculated that an ETF holding the digital currency could woo people into buying the asset.

Why the proposal was rejected?

Bitcoin presents a new set of risks to investors given its limited adoption, a number of massive cybersecurity breaches affecting bitcoin owners and the lack of consistent treatment of the assets by governments. Markets for bitcoins are also unregulated.

The commission notes that bitcoin is still in the relatively early stages of its development and that, over time, regulated bitcoin-related markets of significant size may develop. The regulators have questions about how the funds would work and whether they could be priced and trade effectively.

 

What is a Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to move money around the world quickly and with relative anonymity, without the need for a central authority, such as a bank or government.

Sources: et.


 

Paper 2 Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

China planning five-fold increase in marine force

 

China is set to rapidly expand its marine corps and the Navy in anticipation of the development of its Maritime Silk Road (MSR), which covers the Pakistani port of Gwadar, and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.

  • According to a report, China is planning a five-fold increase in its marine force — from 20,000 to 100,000 personnel.
  • Some of the Chinese marines would be stationed at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, and the Pakistani port of Gwadar, the starting point of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

 

Background:

An expanded marine corps could help maintain security for China’s “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative. In tune with the OBOR and friction in the West pacific, China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang recently highlighted that Beijing would “move ahead to become a strong maritime power and is resolute in protecting its maritime rights”.

 

What is OBOR?

The ‘One Belt’ and ‘One Road’ refer to China’s proposed ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’ and ‘Maritime Silk Road’.

Connectivity covers five major areas of interest: policy coordination, infrastructure construction (including railways and highways), unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people ties. Among these, infrastructure construction is the dominant feature of the New Silk Road.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Scotland seeks split from UK over Brexit

 

Scotland’s leader Nicola Sturgeon has said she will seek authority for a new independence referendum because Britain is dragging Scotland out of the European Union against its will.

 

Background:

Nicola Sturgeon wants Scotland a referendum post-Brexit so voters can make “an informed choice”. Scotland rejected independence in 2014 referendum. In the Brexit vote, Scots strongly backed staying in the EU.

 

What does Brexit mean?

It is a word that has become used as a shorthand way of saying the UK leaving the EU – merging the words Britain and exit to get Brexit.

 

Why is Britain leaving the European Union?

A referendum – a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part – was held on Thursday 23 June, 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain in the European Union. Leave won by 51.9% to 48.1%. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting.

 

Where is Scotland located?

Scotland is a part of the United Kingdom (UK) and occupies the northern third of Great Britain. Scotland’s mainland shares a border with England to the south. It is home to almost 800 small islands.

  • Scotland’s location is to the mid-west of Europe and is surrounded by several different seas. Located to the east of Scotland is the North Sea, which divides the country from other areas of Europe, in particular Norway and the rest of Scandinavia. Across the North Sea to the south-east is Denmark and further south still is Germany.
  • North and west of Scotland’s mainland is the Atlantic Ocean. To the south-west, across the Irish Sea, is Scotland’s closest neighbouring island of Northern Ireland and Eire.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Kerala completes work on first check-dam across the Bhavani

 

Notwithstanding stiff opposition from Tamil Nadu, the Kerala Irrigation Department has completed work on the first of the half-a-dozen check-dams proposed across the inter-State river Bhavani to address drinking and irrigation water shortage in Attappady.

  • The check-dam is the first major initiative on the part of the State to utilise 6 TMC water awarded from the Bhavani basin by the Cauvery Tribunal 10 years ago.
  • The Supreme Court has ratified the verdict and allowed the State to move ahead with its check-dam proposals. However, stiff resistance from Tamil Nadu had delayed the work.

 

Opposition:

The Tamil Nadu government is planning to move the Supreme Court on the issue of construction of check dams by neighbouring Kerala across the Bhavani river.

 

Background:

Bhavani River, is a tributary of the River Cauvery originating from the South West Corner of the Nilgiri hills of the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu states. It enters kerala through Palakkad district between two high forested ridges about 20 kms up to Mukkali, after the abrupt turn in the northeast direction through a totally degraded and denuded catchment about 25 km where the whole population of the Attappady valley lies upto Koodappatti.

  • Attappady Reserve Forest is a protected well known prominent forest area in Palakkad district of Kerala. Attappady has many tribal groups include Irular, Mudugar and Kurumbar has own rich culture and tradition that go beyond the Vedic times.
  • It is a tributary of Kaveri river.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

Supreme Court refuses to stay Manohar Parrikar’s oath-taking ceremony

 

The Supreme Court has refused to stay the swearing in of BJP’s chief minister candidate Manohar Parrikar and ordered a floor test in the Goa Legislative Assembly on March 16.

 

Background:

The Congress had challenged the invitation extended by the Goa governor to BJP leader Manohar Parrikar to form government, despite emerging as the single largest party in the assembly election.

The Congress party said that as per well-established constitutional norms and conventions, the single-largest party ought to have been given an opportunity to form government and prove its majority.

 

Constitutional powers of governor:

The governor appoints the chief minister, who enjoys the support of the majority in the Legislative Assembly. The governor also appoints the other members of the Council of Ministers and distributes portfolios to them on the advice of the chief minister. When no party gets a clear majority, the governor can use his discretion in the selection of chief ministerial candidate to prove the majority as soon as possible.

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims

 

Bangladesh declares March 25 as ‘Genocide Day’:

  • Bangladesh’s unanimously adopted a resolution declaring March 25 as Genocide Day, in remembrance of the atrocities carried out by the Pakistani Army in the night of March 25, 1971.
  • Operation Searchlight’ began in the first hours of March 25 in Dhaka.
  • The Pakistan Army swooped on unarmed civilians on the night of March 25, 1971, to crush the Bengali rebellion following refusal by the military leadership to accept the election results of 1970 in which the Awami League got thumping majority.

 

Pak. to begin first census in 19 years:  

  • Pakistan is all set to conduct its first census in almost two decades.
  • Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, with an estimated 200 million people, but has not held a census since 1998, despite a constitutional requirement for one every decade.

 

NTPC installs India’s largest floating solar PV plant:

  • NTPC has installed India’s largest floating solar photovoltaic (PV) plant at Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) at Kayamkulam in Kerala.
  • It is a 100 kWp (kilowatt peak) floating solar PV plant, the largest of its kind in India as on date, indigenously developed as a part of ‘Make In India’ initiative.
  • This floating platform has been indigenously developed by NETRA (NTPC Energy Technology Research Alliance), the R&D arm of NTPC, in collaboration with Central Institute of Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET), Chennai and patent has been applied.
  • Such systems are fast emerging as an alternative to conventional ground mounted PV systems which are land intensive. It has various benefits like conserving water through reduction of evaporation, increased generation due to cooling effect on the panels, reduced installation time etc and could be installed on saline water environment.