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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 June 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. What is a Solar Eclipse?

2. Why do earthquakes happen in Mizoram?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. India-China border dispute: Importance of Pangong Tso.

2. Japan to rename islands disputed with China.

3. China to join UN arms trade treaty.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Detection of fluorine in hot Extreme Helium Stars.

2. The lone wolf threat.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Macaws.

2. Pokhran potteries.

3. Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Program.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

Context:

Country witnessed an annular solar eclipse on 21th June, 2020.

This eclipse is a rare annular eclipse that occurs once in every one or two years, and coincides with the northern hemisphere’s longest day of the year, called the summer solstice.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

It is a natural event that takes place on Earth when the Moon moves in its orbit between Earth and the Sun (this is also known as an occultation).

It happens at New Moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction with each other.

During an eclipse, the Moon’s shadow (which is divided into two parts: the dark umbra and the lighter penumbra) moves across Earth’s surface.

Then, why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month?

If the Moon was only slightly closer to Earth, and orbited in the same plane and its orbit was circular, we would see eclipses each month. The lunar orbit is elliptical and tilted with respect to Earth’s orbit, so we can only see up to 5 eclipses per year. Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon and Earth, the Sun can be totally blocked, or it can be partially blocked.

solar_eclipse

Solar Eclipse Types:

solar_eclipse_types

  1. Total Solar Eclipse:

It occurs when the Moon completely blocks the solar disk. In a total solar eclipse, the narrowest part of the path (where the Sun is completely blocked and the Moon casts its darkest shadow (called the umbra)) is called the “zone of totality”.

A phenomenon called “Bailey’s Beads” often appears as sunlight shines out through valleys on the lunar surface.

  1. Annular Solar Eclipse:

When the Moon is farther away in its orbit than usual, it appears too small to completely cover the Sun’s disk. During such an event, a bright ring of sunlight shines around the Moon. This type of eclipse is a called an “annular” eclipse.

  1. Partial Solar Eclipse:

It occurs when Earth moves through the lunar penumbra (the lighter part of the Moon’s shadow) as the Moon moves between Earth and the Sun. The Moon does not block the entire solar disk, as seen from Earth. Depending on your location during a partial eclipse, you might see anything from a small sliver of the Sun being blotted out to a nearly total eclipse.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Solar vs Lunar eclipse- differences.
  2. Types of Solar Eclipses.
  3. Umbra vs Penumbra.
  4. Moon’s orbit around the earth.
  5. Why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month.
  6. Solstices

Mains Link:

Write a note on annular solar eclipse.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

Why do earthquakes happen in Mizoram?

Context:

A medium intensity earthquake of 5.1 magnitude rocked Mizoram, Meghalaya, Manipur and the other northeastern States on 21st June.

Why Mizoram and Tripura are more vulnerable?

As per the seismic hazard map of India, both the states of Mizoram and Tripura lie entirely in Zone V. 

  • Also, in Mizoram, lie the southern most end of the Purvanchal Himalayan range. Their folded structure is a synclinorium consisting of broad synclines and tight-faulted anticlines.
  • Therefore, earthquakes in this region are generally shallow, though a few quakes of intermediate depth have occurred. Most deeper earthquakes occur along and across the international border, in Myanmar’s Chin Division. Earthquake activity in Tripura is mainly shallow. The Dauki Fault which follows the international border of India and Bangladesh in Meghalaya passes though northern sections of Tripura.
  • The other major threat is from the Madhupur Fault in Bangladesh.

vulnerable

anticlines_synclines

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who releases seismic hazard map of India?
  2. Earth quake waves- types, propagation and impact.
  3. What are anticlines and synclines?
  4. Fold mountains- reasons for formation and examples.
  5. Fault mountains in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss why north east region of India is more vulnerable to earthquakes.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

India-China border dispute: Importance of Pangong Tso

Why in News?

Amid military talks, reports of Chinese build-up at Pangong.

Why there is a dispute here?

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the line that separates Indian and Chinese troops since 1962 – generally runs along the land except for the width of Pangong Tso.

Here it runs through water. Both sides have marked their areas announcing which side belongs to which country.

India controls about 45 km stretch of the Pangong Tso and China the rest.

The current site of confrontation is spurs jutting out of Chang Chenmo, an eastern extension of the Karakoram Range. These spurs are called fingers.

karakoram_range

Who controls what?

There are eight of them in contention here. India and China have different understanding of where the LAC passes through.

  • India has maintained that the LAC passes through Finger 8, which has been the site of the final military post of China.
  • India has been patrolling the area – mostly on foot because of the nature of the terrain – up to Finger 8. But Indian forces have not had active control beyond Finger 4.
  • China, on the other hand, says the LAC passes through Finger 2. It has been patrolling up to Finger 4- mostly in light vehicles, and at times up to Finger 2.

 What is happening now?

  • The current impulses of China seem to be guided by 255 km Daulat Beg Oldie-Darbuk-Shayok road. It extends up to the base of the Karakoram pass, which is the last military post. Daulat Beg Oldie is the highest airfield in the world. This road, when complete, will reduce the travel time from Leh to Daulat Beg Oldie from two days to six hours.
  • The latest Chinese move is also part of its long-term strategy to gain greater control of the area. It was under this design, China had built road up to 5 km on the Indian side of the LAC in 1999, during the Kargil war with Pakistan.

Why China wants to encroach areas alongside Pangong Tso?

  • Pangong Tso is strategically crucial as it is very close to Chusul Valley, which was one of the battlefronts between India and China during the 1962 war.
  • China appears to keep India constricted in the region by taking strategic advantage of looking over the Chusul Valley, which it can do if it advances along Pangong Tso.
  • China also does not want India to boost its infrastructure anywhere near the LAC. China fears it threatens its occupation of Aksai Chin and Lhasa-Kashgar highway.
  • Any threat to this highway also puts Chinese rather imperialist plans in Pakistan-occupied territories in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond in Pakistan.

About Pangong Tso:

Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”. Pangong means conclave in Ladakhi and Tso means a lake in Tibetan language.

Situated at over 14,000 feet, Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake is about 135 km long.

It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.

It is a salt water lake.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  2. What is LAC?
  3. Where is Nathu la?
  4. Where is Pangong Tso?
  5. Who administers Akashi Chin?
  6. Where is Naku La?
  7. Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

Japan to rename islands disputed with China

Context:

A local council- assembly of Ishigaki city- in southern Japan has voted to rename an area, including islands disputed with China and Taiwan, a move Beijing denounced as illegal and a “serious provocation”.

What’s approved?

It has approved a plan to change the name of the area covering the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku Islands — known by Taiwan and China as the Diaoyus — from “Tonoshiro” to “Tonoshiro Senkaku”.

What’s the issue now?

The uninhabited islands are at the centre of a festering row between Tokyo and Beijing.

Besides, Taiwan says the islands are part of its territory, and also protested the move.

senkaku_island

About Senkaku Islands:

The Senkaku Islands are located in the East China Sea between Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The archipelago contains five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks, ranging in size from 800 m2 to 4.32 km2.

What are the grounds for Japan’s territorial sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands?

The Senkaku Islands were not included in the territory which Japan renounced under Article 2 of the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951 that legally defined the territory of Japan after World War II.

Under Article 3 of the treaty, the islands were placed under the administration of the United States as part of the Nansei Shoto Islands. The Senkaku Islands are included in the areas whose administrative rights were reverted to Japan in accordance with the Agreement between Japan and the United States of America Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands that entered into force in 1972.

What is China’s claim?

China says that the islands have been part of its territory since ancient times, serving as important fishing grounds administered by the province of Taiwan.

Taiwan was ceded to Japan in the Treaty of Shimonoseki in 1895, after the Sino-Japanese war.

When Taiwan was returned in the Treaty of San Francisco, China says the islands should have been returned too.

What next?

The Senkaku/Diaoyu issue highlights the more robust attitude China has been taking to its territorial claims in both the East China Sea, the South China Sea and also on the Indian side.

Other border disputes of China:

It has island and maritime border disputes with Taiwan, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam in the South China Sea and its extension.

The disputes include islands, reefs, banks and other features in the South China Sea including Spratly Islands (with Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan), Paracel Islands (Vietnam), Scarborough Shoal (Philippines), and Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. South China Sea dispute- regions involved, countries’ claims.
  2. Where are Senkaku Islands?
  3. What is the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951?
  4. China- Taiwan relations.

Mains Link:

How China’s aggressive expansionist policy is being viewed by countries worldwide? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

China to join UN arms trade treaty

Context:

National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, has voted to join the global treaty to regulate conventional arms sales at a time when the country has been cornered over its handling of pandemic and curbing of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

This comes after US President Donald Trump announced plans last year to pull the United States out of the agreement — which entered into force in 2014.

What does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to do?
It has the ambitious aim of responding to international concern that the $70 billion a year trade in conventional weapons leaves a trail of atrocities in its wake.

The treaty calls for the international sale of weapons to be linked to the human rights records of buyers.

It requires countries to establish regulations for selling conventional weapons.

  • It calls for potential arms deals to be evaluated in order to determine whether they might enable buyers to carry out genocide, crimes against humanity, or war crimes.
  • The treaty also seeks to prevent conventional military weapons from falling into the hands of terrorists or organized criminal groups, and to stop deals that would violate UN arms embargos.

What types of conventional weapons deals does the Arms Trade Treaty seek to regulate?
Conventional weapons covered by the UN Arms Trade Treaty include
tanks and other armored combat vehicles, artillery, attack helicopters, naval warships, missiles and missile launchers, and small arms.
It also establishes common international standards for the regulation of the international trade in ammunition, weapons parts, and arms components.
The treaty does not regulate the domestic sale or use of weapons in any country. It also recognizes the legitimacy of the arms trade to enable states to provide for their own security.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What’s covered under the treaty?
  2. When it came into force?
  3. How many signatories?
  4. Has India joined the treaty?
  5. Who countries have pulled away from the treaty?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered:  Awareness in space.

Detection of fluorine in hot Extreme Helium Stars

Context:

A study by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) an autonomous institute of Department of Science and Technology has detected the presence of singly ionised fluorine for the first time in the atmospheres of hot Extreme Helium Stars.

This discovery makes a strong case that the main formation of these objects involves a merger of a carbon-oxygen (CO) and a Helium (He) white dwarf.

Significance of the latest findings:

The origin and evolution of these Hydrogen deficient objects have been shrouded in mystery.

Their severe chemical peculiarities challenge the theory of well-accepted stellar evolution as the observed chemical composition of these stars do not match with that predicted for low mass evolved stars.

What is an Extreme Helium Star?

An extreme helium star or EHe is a low-mass supergiant that is almost devoid of hydrogen, the most common chemical element of the universe.

There are 21 of them detected so far in our galaxy.

What is a White Dwarf?

  1. A white dwarf is what stars like the Sun become after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel.
  2. Near the end of its nuclear burning stage, this type of star expels most of its outer material, creating a planetary nebula. Only the hot core of the star remains
  3. This core becomes a very hot white dwarf, with a temperature exceeding 100,000 Kelvin.
  4. Unless it is accreting matter from a nearby star (see Cataclysmic Variables), the white dwarf cools down over the next billion years or so.
  5. A typical white dwarf is half as massive as the Sun, yet only slightly bigger than Earth.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Internal security.

The lone wolf threat

Meaning:

The term “lone wolf” is used by US law enforcement agencies and the media to refer to individuals undertaking violent acts of terrorism outside a command structure.

lone actor, lone-actor terrorist, or lone wolf is someone who prepares and commits violent acts alone, outside of any command structure and without material assistance from any group. They may be influenced or motivated by the ideology and beliefs of an external group and may act in support of such a group.

Why in News now?

Because of the recent knife attack at a park in Reading, a town west of London, which killed three people and injured three others.

This incident is yet another reminder of the threat of lone wolf attacks the U.K. is facing.

Since November 2019, the country has seen three such major incidents.

Why its hard to prevent such attacks?

Terrorist organisations embrace this tactic to spread violence in countries where coordinated big attacks are impossible.

In coordinated terror attacks, the chances of competent intelligence agencies detecting the perpetrators are much higher. But, in Lone wolf attacks, extremist individuals translate their beliefs into violent actions, and therefore are hard to detect and prevent.

Need of the hour:

The government and the security agencies need to adopt a multi-pronged approach towards radicalisation, which is anchored in human intelligence, strong ties with communities and community leaders and deradicalisation programmes.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Macaws:

Context: Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted a wildlife smuggling syndicate with seizure of a consignment of exotic macaws which had been smuggled from Bangladesh to Kolkata.

  • The birds were identified as Hyacinth Macaw, Pesquet’s Parrot, Severe Macaw and Hahn’s Macaw.
  • All the birds were seized under provisions of the Customs Act and Wild Life Protection Act, 1972. Offences under these laws are punishable with a sentence of up to seven years of imprisonment.

Protection status:

They are all protected species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), with Hyacinth Macaw being accorded the highest protection and listed under Appendix I.

Protection under CITES implies ban in global and domestic trade of the species.

Pokhran potteries:

Context:

The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has launched its flagship “Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana” in Rajasthan’s Pokhran, to restore the lost glory of the pottery site.

Under this, KVIC distributed 80 electric potter wheels to 80 potter families in Pokhran which has a rich heritage in terracotta products.

Key facts:

  • Pokhran is one of the aspirational districts identified by the Niti Ayog.
  • Pokhran served as the test site for India’s first underground nuclear weapon, ballistic missiles.

Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Program:

It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for empowerment of potters’ community in the remotest of locations in the country.

The program reaches out to the potters in many states including U.P., M.P., Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.

This program provides the following support to potters.

  1. Training for advanced pottery products
  2. Latest, new technology pottery equipments like the electric Chaak
  3. Market linkages and visibility through KVIC exhibitions

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Film on Variyamkunnath Kunhahamed Haji.
  2. Blazars.

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