Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 June 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 28 June 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Kaushik Basu leads International Economic Association

 

The Finance Ministry’s former Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu has taken over as President of the International Economic Association (IEA). He will hold the office for a term of three years.

anurag basu

What you need to know about IEA?

The IEA was founded in 1950 as a Non-Governmental Organization, at the instigation of the Social Sciences Department of UNESCO. It has since its creation maintained information and consultative relations with UNESCO and is since 1973 a federated member of the International Social Science Council.

  • Its aim from the beginning has been to promote personal contacts and mutual understanding among economists in different parts of the world through the organization of scientific meetings, through common research programs and by means of publications of an international character on problems of current importance.
  • The IEA is governed by a Council, composed of representatives of all Member Associations as well as a limited number of co-opted members. The Council meets triennially when it reviews the general policy of the Association and elects the President and other Officers and members of the Executive Committee for a three-year term of office.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

US to Declare China as Among World’s Worst Human Trafficking Offenders

 

The United States is set to declare China as among the world’s worst offenders in human trafficking and forced labor, placing it alongside countries the U.S. has long disparaged — Iran, North Korea and Syria. China has been listed as a Tier 3 human trafficking and forced labor offender, the lowest ranking. In 2016, China was placed in Tier 2 “watch list” deserving special scrutiny in the last year.

 

Why the downgrade?

According to the US, Beijing was not doing enough to curb “state sponsored forced labor,” and did not meet “minimum standards” for fighting human trafficking, even though it was making progress.

  • Concerns have also been raised about forced begging in China that particularly affects children. Girls and women from rural areas are at higher risk of being recruited for sex trafficking in cities.

 

Implications of this move:

Countries placed in Tier 3 can be penalized with sanctions, including the withholding of non-humanitarian aid and assistance that could affect agreements with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Officials from countries designated in that tier can be barred from participating in US government educational and cultural exchange programs.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Uranus’ Unusual Rotation Creates Light Switch Effect

 

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft has discovered that Uranus’ magnetosphere – the region defined by the icy planet’s magnetic field and the material trapped inside it – gets flipped on and off like a light switch every day as it rotates along with the planet.

Uranus

What causes light switch effect?

The finding showed that magnetosphere is ‘open’ in one orientation, allowing solar wind to flow into it. It is later “closed”, forming a shield against the solar wind and deflecting it away from the planet. When the magnetised solar wind meets this tumbling field in the right way, it can reconnect and Uranus’ magnetosphere goes from open to closed to open on a daily basis.

Therefore, scientists say Uranus’ rapid rotational change in field strength and orientation lead to a periodic open-close-open-close scenario as it tumbles through the solar wind.

 

Is it a unique phenomenon?

Reconnection of magnetic fields is a phenomenon throughout the solar system. It is one reason for the Earth’s auroras. Since the same alignment of the Earth’s magnetosphere is always facing toward the sun, the magnetic field threaded in the solar wind must change direction in order to reconfigure the Earth’s field from closed to open.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

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

 

Water exists as two different liquids

 

Scientists at Stockholm University have discovered two phases of water with large differences in structure and density. The results are based on experimental studies using X-rays.

 

waterexistsastwo

What you need to know?

In this study, the researchers investigated whether liquid water can have low- and high-density forms. The new results give very strong support to a picture where water at room temperature can’t decide in which of the two forms it should be, high or low density, which results in local fluctuations between the two.

 

Significance of this discovery:

These new results not only create an overall understanding of water at different temperatures and pressures, but also how water is affected by salts and biomolecules important for life. The researchers believe that the increased understanding of water can lead to new insights on how to purify and desalinate water in the future.

 

Sources: et.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Jaitley holds meeting on bitcoins

 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley recently held an inter-ministerial meeting to examine risks related to virtual currencies (VCs) like bitcoins. Although several issues concerning bitcoins were discussed, no decision was taken.

 

bitcoin

Background:

Bitcoins were in news recently after a massive global ransomware attack WannaCry hit systems in over 100 countries. The cyber criminals demanded a fee of about USD 300 in crypto-currencies like bitcoin for unlocking affected devices.

  • The government has been debating over issues concerning bitcoins and had last month sought public opinion on allowing virtual currencies. The circulation of VCs has been a cause of concern among central bankers the world over for quite a while now. Reserve Bank of India had also cautioned the users, holders and traders of VCs, including bitcoins.
  • An Inter- Disciplinary Committee has also been constituted to take stock of the present status of VCs both in India and globally and suggest measures for dealing with such currencies.

 

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: the hindu.


 

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

 

Netherlands backs UNSC, NSG bids

 

The Netherlands has backed India’s early entry into the NSG and other multilateral export control regimes, and supported the country’s bid for a permanent UN Security Council seat. The Netherlands’ support came after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with his Dutch counterpart, Mark Rutte.

  • The Netherlands also expressed its support for India’s membership to Wassenaar Arrangement and the Australia Group.

 

india-netherlands

What is NSG?

Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is a multinational body concerned with reducing nuclear proliferation by controlling the export and re-transfer of materials that may be applicable to nuclear weapon development and by improving safeguards and protection on existing materials. Interestingly, the NSG was set up in 1974 as a reaction to India’s nuclear tests to stop what it called the misuse of nuclear material meant for peaceful purposes. Currently, it has 48 members.

 

Background:

India sought membership of the NSG in 2008, but its application hasn’t been decided on, primarily because signing the NPT or other nuclear moratoriums on testing is a pre-requisite. However, India has received a special waiver to conduct nuclear trade with all nuclear exporters.

  • India, Pakistan, Israel and South Sudan are among the four UN member states which have not signed the NPT, the international pact aimed at preventing the spread of nuclear weapons.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

Places in News- Nathu La:

  • China has accused Indian troops of “crossing the boundary” in the Sikkim sector and put their immediate withdrawal as condition to reopen the Nathu La Pass for Indian pilgrims travelling to Kailash Mansarovar.
  • Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • It is also one of the four officially agreed BPM (Border Personnel Meeting) points between the Indian Army and People’s Liberation Army of China for regular consultations and interactions between the two armies, which helps in defusing stand-offs.
  • The four BPM are: Chushul in Ladakh, Nathu La in Sikkim, Bum La Pass in Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and Lipulekh Pass in Uttarakhand.

 

GeneXpert:

  • It is a device released recently by the WHO which can be used to diagnose TB and HIV infections, and quantitatively measure HIV and hepatitis C viral loads.
  • The WHO is recommending use of these state-of-the-art portable machines the size of a microwave oven, which can run molecular tests.