Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - October 28, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Chinese foreign ministry not to recognize Hong Kong BNO passports as valid travel documents

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

Chinese foreign ministry said that it will consider not recognizing Hong Kong British national overseas passports as valid travel documents, a day after the British govt's announcement of new visa rules for British National Overseas citizens in HK.

Highlights

  • Britain said that it will start to process BNO visa applications for residents in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from January 31, 2021.
  • Britain had announced plans to extend the immigration rights of BNO passport holders on 1st July, the day after China imposed stringent national security law on Hong Kong.
  • They can apply for citizenship after the sixth year.
  • The British National (Overseas) passport, commonly referred to as the BN(O) passport, is a British passport for persons with British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) status.
  • The passport was first issued in 1987 after the Hong Kong Act 1985, [2] from which this new class of British nationality was created.
  • Holders of BN (O) passports are permanent residents of Hong Kong who were British Dependent Territories citizens until 30 June 1997 and had registered as BN (O) s.

Source: The Hindu.

Historic Libya ceasefire agreement

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

Rival parties in Libya Friday announced a historic ceasefire followed by five days of the 5+5 Libyan Joint Military Commission (JMC) talks in Geneva, giving way to the possibility that the long-drawn conflict might be coming to an end.

Background

  • Libya has been embroiled in a tussle for power between rival militias ever since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted from power by NATO-backed forces and was killed by rebel militia in October 2011.
  • Gaddafi’s death marked the end of an eventful 42-year rule by the former Army officer who took over the reins of power from King Idris in a military coup in 1969.
  • In the wake of Gaddafi’s ouster, dozens of militias led by multiple warlords scrambled to occupy the power vacuum.
  • As a result, Libya turned into a war zone with different militant leaders claiming control of the North African nation.
  • Some of the issues of dispute among the warring factions include control of the oil infrastructure, governance, national finances and the military.

Highlights

  • The UN-backed internationally recognised government called the Government of National Accord (GNA) is led by Fayez al-Sarraj, whose Tripoli-based government is supported by allies Qatar and Turkey.
  • Turkey has sent troops to Libya, which includes Syrian rebel fighters who are aligned with Turkey, according to the BBC.
  • Turkey maintains that it has sent these troops to help the UN-backed government in the west.
  • The GNA, whose authority is challenged by the factions controlling the east, took power in 2015 under the UN-brokered Libyan Political Agreement.
  • The eastern part of Libya is controlled by rebel forces under the Libyan National Army (LNA) that is led by General Khalifa Haftar who are supported by Russian military contractors.
  • Between 2014-2019, the LNA has conducted military operations against the Islamic State in the east.
  • The spread of the Islamic State has further complicated the situation and is also one reason the US is one of the foreign states that has intervened.

Source: Indian Express.

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Oaxaca Khadi

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Context

  • In his Mann ki Baat address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to go vocal for local while shopping during the festival season, and particularly extolled the virtues of khadi – the handwoven cloth popularised by Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Modi made a reference to the region of Oaxaca (pronounced O-aa-ha-ka) in Mexico, where he said khadi was being manufactured, and narrated an anecdote about how khadi reached the Latin American country after a local resident became influenced by a film on Mahatma Gandhi.

About Mexico’s Khadi Oaxaca

  • Khadi Oaxaca is a farm-to-garment collective which comprises around 400 families, which live and work on traditional farms and homesteads in the Oaxaca region of southern Mexico.
  • It has been founded by Mark “Marcos” Brown, an American living in Mexico, and his wife, Kalindi Attar.
  • On its website, the project says it uses cotton produced and cultivated on the Oaxaca coast, and produces chemical-free clothing, relying on locally harvested plant-based dyes.
  • Before starting the project, Brown lived in India for 12 years, and was strongly influenced by Gandhi.
  • For two years (1986-88), he lived in Gujarat’s Sabarmati Ashram, where he learned about khadi.
  • Brown began wearing the clothes that he had spun himself, and in the 1990s, brought a Charkha (spinning wheel) back with him to Oaxaca in Mexico.
  • Here, in the San Sebastián Rio Hondo village, he began teaching spinning to local families, and eventually started Khadi Oaxaca in 2010.

Source: Indian Express.

The economic cost of being 'filthy India'

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

  • Despite improvements over the years, India lags on sanitation, and this reflects in premature deaths, chronic malnutrition in children and all-round reduced productivity.
  • Last week, US President Donald Trump referred to it as "filthy India" during the final presidential debate and India received a lot of unwanted attention.

Background

  • This raises two important questions.
  • One, how "filthy" are we per se and also when compared to other countries? I am presuming here that regardless of how hurtful it sounds, not many would argue that we have a long way to go before we call ourselves a clean country.
  • Two, what does it cost us as an economy to be this filthy? Because, frankly, if being filthy and polluted doesn't cost us then that would be a great "economic" argument in favour of staying filthy.

Highlights

  • While he was talking with reference to the Paris Climate Accord, the attempt here is to look at the filth in terms of poor or inadequate sanitation and rising pollution levels.
  • According to the website “Our World in Data”, part of Oxford University, “an estimated 775,000 people died prematurely as a result of poor sanitation in 2017.
  • “This was 1.4% of global deaths. In low-income countries, it accounts for 5% of deaths.
  • In India, this share has been higher than its neighbours such as Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • In 2015, 68% of the world population had access to improved sanitation facilities. In other words, almost one-third of people did not have access.
  • In India, only 40% of the population had access to improved sanitation.
  • This is much lower than its next-door neighbours such as Sri Lanka (95%) and Pakistan and Bangladesh (both over 60%).

Source: Indian Express.

Israel-Sudan Peace Deal

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.


Context

  • Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalise ties in a deal brokered with the help of US President Donald Trump.
  • This makes Sudan the third Arab nation to recognise Israel in the last two months after Bahrain and the UAE. 

Background

Sudan agreed to recognise Israel and normalise its relations with the nation on October 23, 2020 after the US President brokered a peace deal through a phone call between Sudanese Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, Sudanese PM Abdalla Hamdok and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.

Highlights

  • The historic peace deal has come just a few days ahead of the US Presidential Elections, which is scheduled to take place on November 3, 2020.
  • The incumbent US President Donald Trump is seeking re-election this time and his main opponent is former US Vice President Joe Biden, who is representing the Democratic Party. 
  • As per a joint statement issued by Israel, Sudan and the United States, the leaders of Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalise relations and end hostilities between the two nations. 
  • Both Israel and Sudan plan to begin normalisation of ties by opening up economic and trade relations with an initial focus on agriculture. The issues concerning formal establishment of diplomatic ties would be resolved later.
  • An Israeli delegation is expected to travel to Sudan in the coming days to complete the peace agreement, announced Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on October 24, 2020. 
  • It is, however, unclear as to how long it will take for a peace accord to be completed.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Work from home could increase pollution in London

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Context

As per a new report released by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), some areas in the UK could experience greater levels of air pollution due to large numbers of people working from home due to the pandemic this winter season.

Background

During the course of winter, air pollution, specifically emissions of nitrogen oxides are set to increase in the UK as a result of people spending more time working from their homes and using gas boilers for heating purposes.

Highlights

  • These additional nitrogen oxide emissions will be roughly equivalent to cancelling out two years’ of gains incurred as a result of traffic pollution measures.
  • Gas combustion in buildings from cookers and boilers is a major source of local air pollution and accounts for roughly 21 per cent of nitrogen oxides emissions across the Greater London area for instance.
  • As a result of this increased energy use, ECIU analysis suggests that urban air quality will worsen, with nitrogen oxide emissions increasing by approximately 12 per cent in some UK towns and cities.

Source: Economic Times.

PM Narendra Modi addresses national conference on vigilance and anti-corruption, talks about holistic approach to eliminate corruption

Focus: GS2.                                

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.


Context 

Prime Minister Modi during his address at the conference noted that be it corruption, drugs, economic offenses, terrorism, or terror funding, they all are interconnected and need to be solved through the collaborative approach.

Background

  • The theme of the conference is ‘Vigilant India, Prosperous India’.
  • The National Conference will be hosted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which also coincides with the ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’, being observed from October 27 to November 2 every year.

Highlights

  • The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) organizes this National Conference coinciding with ‘Vigilance Awareness Week’, which is observed in India every year from 27th October to 2nd November.
  • The three day conference would discuss series of issues including the challenges in investigation in foreign jurisdictions, Preventive Vigilance, Effective Auditing, Latest amendments to the Prevention of Corruption Act, Capacity Building and Training etc.

Source: PIB.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the drug tocilizumab:
  • It is an immunosuppressive drug, mainly for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, a severe form of arthritis in children.
  • It is a humanized monoclonal antibody against the interleukin-6 receptor (IL-6R).
  • It was developed by Hoffmann–La Roche and Chugai.

 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

   A. 1 and 2 only
   B. 2 and 3 only
   C. 1 and 3 only
   D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. Memory of the World Programme is under:

   A. UNICEF
   B. UNESCO
   C. PMO
   D. NITI Aayog

Solution: B

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