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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 May 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 1:

1. Cyclone Yaas.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. India to push for WHO, EU approval for Covaxin.

2. U.K. to unveil plans for ‘digital border’.

3. Lithuania quits China’s 17+1 cooperation forum.

4. International Atomic Energy Agency.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo.

2. Kerala farmer bags India Biodiversity Award 2021.

3. Galwan Valley.

4. BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG).


GS Paper  :  1


 

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

Cyclone Yaas:


Context:

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has informed that a low pressure area is formed over north Andaman Sea and adjoining east central Bay of Bengal around May 22.

  • It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm by May 24. It has been named as Cyclone Yaas.

Naming of Cyclones – The name was given by?

  • The name ‘Yaas’ was suggested by Oman and refers to a tree with good fragrance and in English, the word is similar to Jasmine.
  • The next cyclone—after Yaas—is likely to be named Gulab, suggested by Pakistan.

How are cyclones formed?

Cyclones are formed over the oceanic water in the tropical region.

In this region, the sunlight is highest which results in warming of land and water surface. Due to warming of the surface, the warm moist air over the ocean rises upwards following which cool air rushes in to fill the void, they too get warm and rise — the cycle continues.

But what creates the spin?

Wind always blows from high pressure to low pressure areas. High pressure areas are created in the cold region while low is created in the warm regions. Polar regions are high pressure areas as the amount of sunlight here is less than the tropical region. So, wind blows from polar regions to tropical regions.

  • Then comes the Earth’s movement, which is west to east. The Earth’s rotation on its axis causes deflection of the wind (in the tropical region as the speed of spinning of Earth is higher compared to polar sides due to its spherical shape — blowing from both the polar regions. Wind coming from the Arctic is deflected to the right while Antarctic wind deflects to the left side.
  • So, wind is already blowing in a direction. But when it reaches the warmer place, cool air starts getting attracted to the centre to fill the gap. So while moving to the centre, cool air keeps getting deflected resulting in circulation of wind movement — this process continues until the cyclone hits the land.

What happens when a cyclone hits the land?

Cyclone dissipates when it hits the land as the warm water that rises and creates space for cool water is no longer available on land. Also, the moist air that rises up forms clouds leading to rains that accompany gusting winds during cyclones.

 

InstaCurious: Do you know Mesocyclones and Polar lows?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Factors responsible for the genesis of cyclones.
  2. Naming of cyclones in various regions of the world.
  3. Why are there more cyclones in Eastern coast of India?
  4. What is coriolis force?
  5. What is the latent heat of condensation?

Mains Link:

Discuss the factors responsible for the formation of tropical cyclones.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

India to push for WHO, EU approval for Covaxin:


Context:

Faced with concern that Indians receiving the Covaxin vaccine may not get relaxation in travel restrictions, the government has decided to help ensure that Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech receives clearances from both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and subsequently, the EU’s European Medicines Agency (EMA).

  • The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has been tasked with studying the matter and help get Covaxin a place in WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL).

Need for:

EU member countries recently approved a proposal to allow “fully vaccinated” tourists from countries outside Europe under certain criteria. While the travellers getting AstraZeneca’s Covishield would be included on the WHO and EU’s listings, if travel from India is accepted, those who have taken Covaxin would not.

Benefits of being included in the list:

Covaxin on the WHO’s EUL would be a big boost, and a first for an Indian-developed and produced vaccine.

About WHO’s Emergency Use List (EUL):

The WHO Emergency Use Listing Procedure (EUL) is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.

  • This will assist interested UN procurement agencies and Member States in determining the acceptability of using specific products, based on an essential set of available quality, safety, and efficacy and performance data.

Eligibility of candidate products:

The EUL concerns three product streams (vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics), each of which has specific requirements for products to be eligible for evaluation under the EUL procedure.

The following criteria must be met:

  1. The disease for which the product is intended is serious or immediately life threatening, has the potential of causing an outbreak, epidemic or pandemic and it is reasonable to consider the product for an EUL assessment, e.g., there are no licensed products for the indication or for a critical subpopulation (e.g., children).
  2. Existing products have not been successful in eradicating the disease or preventing outbreaks (in the case of vaccines and medicines).
  3. The product is manufactured in compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in the case of medicines and vaccines and under a functional Quality Management System (QMS) in the case of IVDs.
  4. The applicant undertakes to complete the development of the product (validation and verification of the product in the case of IVDs) and apply for WHO prequalification once the product is licensed.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. European Union- Composition and objectives.
  2. About WHO EUL.
  3. Benefits.
  4. Eligibility.

Mains Link:

Write a note on WHO’s EUL.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.K. to unveil plans for ‘digital border’:


Context:

Britain is planning to announce a “fully digital border”.

  • This is part of a wider overhaul of the country’s immigration system, which will also include the introduction of a points-based migration system.

What will the digital border look like?

  • The move means those coming to Britain without a visa or immigration status will need an Electronic Travel Authorisation – similar to that used in the United States – as part of plans to be implemented by the end of 2025.
  • Digital identity checks will also be used to reduce the need to visit visa application centres.
  • Digitising the border will mean officials “can now count who is coming in and out of the country and whether they have permission to be there”.

What are the benefits?

This approach will make it easier to identify potential threats before they reach the border.

Need for:

Last year, roughly 8,500 people arrived in Britain having made the perilous crossing across the Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, in small boats.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Lithuania quits China’s 17+1 cooperation forum:


Context:

Lithuania has quit China’s 17+1 cooperation forum with central and eastern European states that includes other EU members.

Why?

Lithuania has called it “divisive”. It has also urged fellow EU members to pursue “a much more effective 27+1 approach and communication with China.”

What is the “17+1” initiative?

The 17+1 initiative is a China-led format founded in 2012 in Budapest with an aim to expand cooperation between Beijing and the Central and Eastern European (CEE) member countries, with investments and trade for the development of the CEE region.

  • The framework also focuses on infrastructure projects such as bridges, motorways, railway lines and modernisation of ports in the member states.
  • The platform is largely seen as an extension of China’s flagship Belt and Road initiative (BRI).
  • China’s narrative towards the 17+1 initiative is about improving its relations with the European countries that are less developed as compared to the Western European states.

Composition:

The initiative includes twelve EU member states and five Balkan states — Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Baltic nations?
  2. About the “17+1” initiative.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

International Atomic Energy Agency:


Context:

The speaker of Iran’s parliament said a three-month monitoring deal between Tehran and the UN nuclear watchdog- IAEA has expired and that its access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites would cease.

  • The announcement has raised further questions about the future of indirect talks underway between the United States and Iran on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

What was the deal?

The International Atomic Energy Agency and Tehran struck the three-month monitoring agreement in February to cushion the blow of Iran reducing its cooperation with the agency, and it allowed monitoring of some activities that would otherwise have been axed to continue.

Background:

  • Iran and global powers have held several rounds of negotiations since April in Vienna, Austria, working on steps that Tehran and Washington must take, on sanctions and nuclear activities, to return to full compliance with the nuclear pact.
  • Iran began gradually breaching terms of the 2015 pact with world powers after former President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018 and re-imposed sanctions.

About IAEA:

  • Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.
  • Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.
  • Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Functions:

  • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Programs:

  1. Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT)
  2. Human Health Program.
  3. Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  4. International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  2. Members of IAEA.
  3. Programs of IAEA.
  4. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  5. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for bringing back Iran nuclear deal.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo:

Congo’s Mount Nyiragongo volcano erupted at night and sent thousands fleeing in panic.

  • Mount Nyiragongo is an active stratovolcano with an elevation of 3,470 m in the Virunga Mountains associated with the Albertine Rift.
  • It is located inside Virunga National Park, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Nyiragongo and nearby Nyamuragira are together responsible for 40 percent of Africa’s historical volcanic eruptions.

Kerala farmer bags India Biodiversity Award 2021:

Shaji .N.M., fondly called as ‘Tuber Man’ of Kerala has been awarded the India Biodiversity Award 2021 in the individual category of ‘Conservation of domesticated species’.

  • Shaji conserves a wide array of around 200 tuber crops including greater yam, lesser yam, elephant foot yam, arrowroot, colocasia, sweet potato, cassava and Chinese potato.
  • He has also received many state awards including the Plant Genome Savior Reward 2015, instituted by PPV&FR Authority, New Delhi.

About the India Biodiversity Award:

  • In 2012, the Government of India, in partnership with UNDP India, initiated the India Biodiversity Awards to recognize and honour outstanding models of biodiversity conservation, sustainable use and governance at the grassroots level.
  • The award carries ₹2 lakh cash prize and citation.

Galwan Valley:

There was a minor face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in the no-patrolling zone at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in the first week of May.

Background:

A no-patrolling zone extending to around 3 km, around 1.5 km each on either side of the clash site near the Y-junction of the Galwan Valley, was created after June 15, 2020, when 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in clashes with Chinese troops. A 30-day moratorium was also applied on foot-patrolling then. It was not known if it had been extended.

Where is Galwan Valley?

  • The valley refers to the land that sits between steep mountains that buffet the Galwan River.
  • The river has its source in Aksai Chin, on China’s side of the LAC, and it flows from the east to Ladakh, where it meets the Shyok river on India’s side of the LAC.
  • The valley is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east (currently controlled by China).
  • At its western end are the Shyok river and the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road.

galwan_valley

BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG):

Context:

Recently, India virtually hosted the 7th meeting of the BRICS Astronomy Working Group (BAWG) under the Science, Technology, and Innovation track of the BRICS 2021.

About BAWG:

  • It provides a platform for BRICS member countries to collaborate in the field of astronomy, recommending that the focal points in each country should present the scientific results of the work being carried out in each country.
  • This will help seek funding support to realize the flagship project whenever funding opportunities are announced by BRICS funding agencies.

Outcomes of the recent meet:

It recommended networking of telescopes in member countries and creating a regional data network.


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