Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 21 April 2021

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 2:

1. U.S. currency watchlist an intrusion into policy: official.

2. Travel bubble.

3. South China Sea dispute.

4. Boao Forum.

5. Global Youth Mobilization Local Solutions campaign.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Russia to launch its own space station in 2025.

2. Delhi High Court guidelines on removing offending content from the internet.

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Why human cells grown in monkey embryos sparked ethics debate?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Council of the European Union.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

U.S. currency watchlist an intrusion into policy: official:


Context:

Indian Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan has questioned the rationale behind the U.S. government’s decision to put India on the watchlist for currency manipulators.

  • Besides, the list also constituted an intrusion into the policy space needed by central banks around the world to meet their mandates.

What’s the issue?

The U.S. Treasury Department had recently retained India on a watchlist for currency manipulators submitted to the U.S. Congress, citing higher dollar purchases (close to 5% of the gross domestic product) by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

  • Another trigger for the inclusion on the currency watchlist is a trade surplus of $20 billion or more.

Background:

It is a mandate of the central bank to provide stability in the currency as a result of which central banks buy and sell foreign currency.

What is currency manipulation?

The US Treasury department defines currency manipulation as when countries deliberately influence the exchange rate between their currency and the US dollar to gain “unfair competitive advantage in international trade”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. US Currency Manipulators list.
  2. Countries in watch list.
  3. Criteria.
  4. Implications.
  5. India’s position.

Mains Link:

What are India’s Concerns against the US Currency Watch List? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Travel bubble:


Context:

Sri Lanka has decided to postpone launching the proposed “travel bubble” with India, in the wake of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in India.

What is a travel bubble?

  • Creating a travel bubble involves reconnecting countries or states that have shown a good level of success in containing the novel coronavirus pandemic domestically.
  • Such a bubble would allow the members of the group to rekindle trade ties with each other, and kickstart sectors such as travel and tourism.

Significance and potential:

Potential travel bubbles among better-performing countries around the world would account for around 35 per cent of the global GDP. Such arrangements are especially being favoured by smaller countries, who are likely to benefit after being able to trade again with larger partners.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a travel bubble?
  2. Differences between travel and social bubbles.
  3. Examples of travel bubbles.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of travel bubbles.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

South China Sea dispute:


Context:

Philippine is planning to deploy military ships to the South China Sea to assert the country’s claim over oil deposits in a contested part of the waterway.

Background:

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has been facing growing domestic criticism for his reluctance to confront China over its activities in Philippine-claimed waters.

Where is the South China Sea?

  • South China Sea is an arm of western Pacific Ocean in Southeast Asia.
  • It is south of China, east & south of Vietnam, west of the Philippines and north of the island of Borneo.
  • It is connected by Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and by Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea.
  • Bordering states & territories: the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam.

Strategic Importance:

  • This sea holds tremendous strategic importance for its location as it is the connecting link between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean (Strait of Malacca).
  • According to the United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) one-third of the global shipping passes through it, carrying trillions of trade which makes it a significant geopolitical water body.

Contesting Claims Over Islands:

  • The Paracel Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan and Vietnam.
  • The Spratly Islands are claimed by China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Brunei and Philippines.
  • The Scarborough Shoal is claimed by Philippines, China and Taiwan.
  • Since 2010, China has been converting uninhabited islets into artificial islets to bring it under UNCLOS (For example, Haven Reef, Johnson South Reef and Fiery Cross Reef).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Countries involved in the dispute.
  2. What is nine dash line?
  3. Disputed islands and their locations?
  4. Important straits, passes and seas in the region.
  5. What is UNCLOS?
  6. Locate Taiwan strait and Luzon Strait.

Mains Link:

Write a note on South China Sea dispute.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Boao Forum:


Context:

The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 was held in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province.

  • This year’s conference was attended by more than 2,600 guests from over 60 countries and regions.
  • Theme: “A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation.”

At the event, BFA released an annual report on the Asian economy. Key findings:

  • In terms of purchasing power parity, Asia’s share in the global economic aggregate in 2020 reached 47.3 percent, up 0.9 percentage points from 2019, indicating the increasing role of Asia in the global economy.
  • The economic integration of all Asian economies is accelerating. By February 2021, there had been 186 regional trade agreements in force inside and outside Asia, accounting for 54.9 percent of the total regional agreements around the world.
  • In particular, the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) in November 2020 has been injecting strong momentum into regional and global economic growth, which is expected to give renewed impetus to further accelerate the negotiation of free trade agreements in Asia.

About the Bao Forum:

  • The Boao Forum for Asia was initiated in 2001 by 25 Asian countries and Australia (increased to 28 in 2006).
  • It is a non-profit organisation.
  • It has provided a high-end platform for political, business and academic leaders in Asia and the world.
  • It is modelled on the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, Switzerland.
  • The Forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.
  • It has made positive contributions to the promotion of regional economic integration, common development and the building of a more prosperous and harmonious Asia.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Forum.
  2. Participants.
  3. Objectives.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Boao Forum for Asia.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Global Youth Mobilization Local Solutions campaign:


Context:

United Nations agencies and youth organisations have come together to launch a campaign unique to involve the youth of the world in building their lives impacted by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

About the Global Youth Mobilization Local Solutions campaign:

  • Launched on April 19, 2021.
  • It is mandated to fund youth in communities impacted by the pandemic to take up innovative programmes to rebuild lives.
  • An initial $2 million (nearly Rs 15 crore) be available in four tiers, from $500 through to $5,000 and an “accelerator” programme will scale and replicate the most promising solutions, with further funding lined up over the coming months.

It is being supported by six of the world’s largest youth organisations:

  1. World Alliance of Young Men’s Christian Associations.
  2. World Young Women’s Christian Association.
  3. World Organization of the Scout Movement.
  4. World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
  5. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
  6. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the campaign.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Launched by?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of the campaign.

Sources: Down to Earth.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in Space.

Russia to launch its own space station in 2025:


Context:

Russia’s space agency is planning to launch its own orbital station in 2025.

Background:

Russia is considering withdrawing from the International Space Station programme to go it alone.

  • Russia lost its monopoly for manned flights to the ISS last year after the first successful mission of U.S. company Space X.

About the International Space Station:

Launched in 1998 and involving Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Space Agency, the ISS is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.

  • ISS is a modular space station (habitable artificial satellite) in low Earth orbit.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which scientific experiments are conducted in astrobiology, astronomy, meteorology, physics, and other fields.
  • The ISS circles the Earth in roughly 93 minutes, completing 15.5 orbits per day.
  • ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About ISS.
  2. Countries involved.
  3. Objectives.
  4. Previous space stations.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the International Space Station.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Delhi High Court guidelines on removing offending content from the internet:


Context:

Observing that “The Internet never sleeps and the Internet never forgets,” the Delhi High Court has issued a slew of directions to deal with the complications in removing offending content such as photographs and videos from pornographic websites.

What’s the case?

The case stems from a petition by a woman who claimed that her photographs and images, though not in themselves obscene or offensive, were taken from her Facebook and Instagram accounts without her consent, and were uploaded on a pornographic website with derogatory captions added to them.

Directions issued:

  • A court, when approached with such a grievance, should issue a direction to the website or online platform on which the offending content is hosted to remove such content forthwith, and in any event, within 24 hours of the receipt of the court order.
  • “A direction should also be issued to the website or online platform on which the offending content is hosted to preserve all information and associated records relating to the offending content at least for a period of 180 days for use in an investigation.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  4


 

Topics Covered: Ethical issues involved.

Why human cells grown in monkey embryos sparked ethics debate?


Context:

Researchers from US have for the first time grown human cells in monkey embryos. 

  • By integrating human cells into the embryos of macaque monkeys, researchers have created what is called a chimeric tool.
  • Chimeras are organisms that are made up of the cells of two distinct species, in this case humans and monkeys.

What’s the purpose of chimeric research?

  • Researchers believe that this ability to grow cells of two different species together offers scientists a powerful tool for research and medicine, advancing current understanding about early human development, disease onset and progression and ageing.
  • Further, research of this kind could also help in drug evaluation and address the critical need for organ transplantation.

What are the ethical concerns about this?

Generally, different species don’t cross-breed and if they do, their offspring don’t survive for long and are prone to infertility. But, Some rare hybrid animals exist naturally and were probably the result of unintentional cross breeding between animals of different species.

  • While further research into chimeras might lead to progress, which could mean that they could be used as a source of organs for humans, these chimeras would still be a mix of human and non-human cells, a thought that makes many uncomfortable.
  • The research raises “the philosophical and ethical issue of moral status: how should we treat other life forms?”.
  • Opponents argue that chimera research has the potential to worsen injustice against animals and also point out the fairness in using part-human animals to meet human needs.

Similar cases in the past:

  • In 2018, Dr He Jiankui made headlines when he claimed to have produced genetically modified babies using the gene editing technique Jiankui claimed that he had altered the genes of a human embryo that eventually resulted in the birth of twin girls with specific desired attributes — supposedly the first instance of human offspring so produced.
  • In developing countries like India, genetically modified crops are also a contentious topic.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Council of the European Union:

  • The Council of the European Union is the third of the seven Institutions of the European Union (EU) as listed in the Treaty on European Union.
  • It is one of three legislative bodies and together with the European Parliament serves to amend and approve the proposals of the European Commission, which holds legislative initiative.
  • It was founded on 1 July 1967.
  • The primary purpose of the Council is to act as one of two vetoing bodies of the EU’s legislative branch, the other being the European Parliament. Together they serve to amend, approve or disapprove the proposals of the European Commission, which has the sole power to propose laws.
  • Jointly with the Parliament, the Council holds the budgetary power of the Union.


Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos