Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 November 2018

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 08 November 2018


 

Paper 1:

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 

Earth has three moons

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Features, composition and significance of new moons, their effects on Earth.

Context: After more than half a century of speculation, it has now been confirmed that Earth has two dust ‘moons’ orbiting it which are nine times wider than our planet.

  • The new moons exist at a distance of approximately 250,000 miles — more or less the same distance as our moon.

 

Background:

The presence of the dust ‘moons’ or Kordylewski clouds had been inferred by researchers since long before. But the first glimpse of the clouds was seen only in 1961 by Polish astronomer Kazimierz Kordylewski, after whom the dust clouds were named.

 

Facts about the newly discovered dust moons:

  • The new findings note that each Kordylewsky cloud is about 15 by 10 degrees wide, or equal to 30 by 20 lunar disks in the night sky.
  • They are spread over a space area that is almost nine times the width of Earth — about 65,000 by 45,000 miles in actual size.
  • The dust ‘moons’ are huge but they are made of tiny dust particles that barely measure one micrometre across.
  • When sunlight hits the dust particles, they glow very faintly, much like the zodiacal light we receive from the dust scattered in between planetary orbits.
  • Since these satellite dust clouds emit an extremely faint light, they are very difficult to find amidst the star light, sky glow, galactic light and zodiacal light in the sky though they are as close to us as the moon.

 

About Kordylewski clouds:

The Kordylewski clouds are always changing. They might be stable in orbit and may have existed for millions of years, but the ingredients that make the clouds — the dust particles — are always getting swapped for others. Some escape to gravitational pulls from Earth or the moon, while others come from interplanetary spaces and meteor showers.

 

 

How Lagrange points in space helped find the extra ‘moons’?

Speculations about Earth having multiple moons have taken turns in astronomer circles for years. It was realised that if extra moons did exist, they could only do so in stable points in Earth’s orbit.

Lagrange points are sweet spots in a planetary orbit where the pull of gravity working from two opposing celestial bodies is balanced due to the centripetal force of their orbits. Thus, an object at a Lagrange point will remain fixed at a constant distance from both the moon and Earth.

  • In the 1950s, Kordylewski searched two Lagrange points — L4 and L5 — where he found the first glimpse of the two dust clouds orbiting Earth.

 

Can these dust ‘moons’ be dangerous or will they help us?

These huge clouds of dust could add much to space exploration efforts when it comes to fuel consumption and safety issues. Sometimes, satellites need to be parked at the Lagrange points so that the spacecraft consumes minimal fuel and can still stay in orbit.

The James Webb Space Telescope will be set up at the L2 Lagrange point in 2020 for this purpose. Moreover, space agencies are also planning to use Lagrange points as transfer stations for Mars missions.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2:

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Ganga Gram Project

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of the project, About Namami Gange Programme.
  • For Mains: Significance of the project and issues associated with the cleaning of river Ganga.

 

Context: Ganga Gram Swachchhata Sammelan was recently organized at Chyavan Rishi Ashram in Chousa Village of Buxar district in Bihar.

 

About Ganga Gram project:

Ganga Gram vision is an integrated approach for holistic development of villages situated on the banks of River Ganga with active participation of the villagers.

The objectives of Ganga Gram Project include solid and liquid waste management, renovation of ponds and water resources, water conservation projects, organic farming, horticulture, and promotion of medicinal plants.

 

About Namami Gange Programme:

Namami Gange programme was launched as a mission to achieve the target of cleaning river Ganga in an effective manner with the unceasing involvement of all stakeholders, especially five major Ganga basin States – Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal. The programme envisages: River Surface Cleaning, Sewerage Treatment Infrastructure, River Front Development, Bio-Diversity, Afforestation and Public Awareness.

 

Implementation:

The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs). In order to improve implementation, a three-tier mechanism has been proposed for project monitoring comprising of a) High level task force chaired by Cabinet Secretary assisted by NMCG at national level, b) State level committee chaired by Chief Secretary assisted by SPMG at state level and c) District level committee chaired by the District Magistrate.

The program emphasizes on improved coordination mechanisms between various Ministries/Agencies of Central and State governments.

 

Sources: pib.


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

 

International Telecommunications Union (ITU)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: ITU and related information.

 

Context: India has been elected as a Member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Council for another 4-year term (2019-2022). The elections to the Council were held during the ongoing ITU Plenipotentiary Conference 2018 at Dubai, UAE.

  • By securing 165 votes, India ranked third among the 13 countries elected to the Council from the Asia-Australasia region, and eighth among the 48 countries elected to the Council globally. The ITU has 193memberstates who elect representatives to the Council.

 

About International Telecommunication Union (ITU):

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is an agency of the United Nations (UN) whose purpose is to coordinate telecommunication operations and services throughout the world. Originally founded in 1865, as the International Telegraph Union, the ITU is the oldest existing international organization. ITU headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

 

The ITU consists of three sectors:

  1. Radiocommunication (ITU-R) — ensures optimal, fair and rational use of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum.
  2. Telecommunication Standardization (ITU-T) — formulates recommendations for standardizing telecommunication operations worldwide.
  3. Telecommunication Development (ITU-D) — assists countries in developing and maintaining internal communication operations.

 

Membership:

  • There are 193 Member States of the ITU, including all UN member states except the Republic of Palau, plus the Vatican City.
  • Membership of ITU is open to only UN members, which may join the Union as Member States, as well as to private organizations like carriers, equipment manufacturers, funding bodies, research and development organizations and international and regional telecommunication organizations, which may join ITU as non-voting Sector Members.

 

Functions:

  • The ITU sets and publishes regulations and standards relevant to electronic communication and broadcasting technologies of all kinds including radio, television, satellite, telephone and the Internet.
  • The organization conducts working parties, study groups and meetings to address current and future issues and to resolve disputes. The ITU organizes and holds an exhibition and forum known as the Global TELECOM every four years.
  • Another important aspect of the ITU’s mandate is helping emerging countries to establish and develop telecommunication systems of their own.
  • Although the recommendations of the ITU are non-binding, most countries adhere to them in the interest of maintaining an effective international electronic communication environment.

 

Sources: pib.


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

 

United Nations Postal System

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: About UNPS, composition, objectives and significance.

 

Context: United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) has issued special stamps with Diyas lamps to commemorate India Hindu festival of Diwali.

 

Key Facts:

  • The special event sheet (stamps) issued by UNPA are in denomination of US $1.15.
  • It contains ten stamps and tabs featuring festive lights and symbolic lamps known as diyas.
  • The background of sheet features United Nations Headquarters building illuminated with message of “Happy Diwali” to celebrate the spirit of the festival.
  • The description accompanying information about stamps mentioned that Diwali, also known as Deepawali is joyous and popular festival of lights, which is celebrated in India and by followers of many faiths across the world.
  • It also said that during celebration clay lamps known as diyas are lit to signify the victory of good over evil. The festival also symbolises start of new year for many communities.

 

About United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA):

It is postal agency of United Nations. It issues postage stamps and postal stationery, denominated in United States dollars for United Nations offices in New York, in Swiss francs for offices in Geneva and in euros for the offices in Vienna. Postage rates charged are identical to those of the host nation.

 

Sources: toi.


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

 

World Food Programme (WFP)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key facts on WFP and its programmes.

 

Context: United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group have formed strategic partnership to support efforts eliminate hunger globally by 2030.

  • As per the agreement, Alibaba will lend its cutting-edge technology and resources to support digital transformation of WFP’s operations.

 

“World Hunger Map”:

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba will work with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”. The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals. It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.

 

About WFP:

  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.
  • The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.
  • Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life. The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.
  • The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors. WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 3:

Topic: Conservation and pollution related issues.

 

National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Conservation and Management) Bill, 2018

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features and highlights of the bill.
  • For Mains: Significance of the Bill and the need for stringent provisions.

 

Context: The government is planning to introduce the National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Conservation and Management) Bill, 2018 in the upcoming parliament winter session.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The bill propose to ban the construction of jetties, ports or “permanent hydraulic structures” in the Ganga, unless permitted by the National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority.
  • It proposes to create a management structure that will supervise the health of the 2,500-kilometre long Ganga which, the draft Bill defines, as ‘India’s national river.’
  • The Bill lays down a host of restrictions to ensure the “uninterrupted, ecological flow” of the river. Currently, a host of dams in the upper stretches of the river lead to the river’s flow being obstructed.
  • The proposed legislation specifies that “unauthorized” activities that cause obstruction or discontinuity of water in the River Gang due to engineered diversion of water or stoppage of water. Carrying out such activities are liable to a prison term of 3 years or fines upto ₹50 crore, or both.
  • The Armed Ganga Protection Corps (GPC) personnel will be provided by the ministry of home affairs and will be deployed by the National Ganga Rejuvenation Authority. The GPC personnel will have power to arrest those who pollute the river covering offences like obstructing the flow of the river to commercial fishing.

 

The Bill has listed out a list of offences marked as cognizable which includes:

  • Construction activities causing obstruction in the river.
  • Withdrawal of ground water for industrial or commercial consumption from the land fronting the river and its tributaries.
  • Commercial fishing or aqua culture in the river and its tributaries.
  • Discharging untreated or treated sewage into the river.

 

Background:

In July 2016, a committee was constituted under retired judge of the Allahabad High Court Justice Girdhar Malviya who had submitted a draft Bill last year named The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill, 2017. Subsequently, a four-member committee was set up by the Ministry to examine that and the Ministry has circulated a Cabinet note which includes a revised version of that draft Bill.

 

Sources: the hindu.