Daily Current Affairs-21st July 2018

www.iasinsights.in; www.iasgyaan.com posts UPSC Daily current Affairs -21st July 2018. This info is taken from News papers, PIB, AIR News and Summarized for your easy understanding.

Daily Current Affairs -21st July 2018

GS-I(History)

WC Benerjee passed away on 21st July 

The first President of the Indian National Congress (INC) Womesh Chandra Bonnerjee passed away on 21st July 1906.

Biography

  • W C Bonnerjee was born on 29th December 1844 at Calcutta. He finished his schooling from Oriental Seminary and Hindu School.
  • In 1862, he joined a law firm in Calcutta as a clerk from where he got acquainted with law. In 1864, Boneerjee went to England to study law and three years later, he was called to the Bar.
  • In 1868, he returned to Calcutta and started his legal practice. He was able to gain a good reputation as a barrister.
  • In 1882, he became the first Indian to be appointed as a Standing Counsel. He officiated in this capacity three more times in 1884, 1886 and 1887.
  • He famously defended Surendranath Banerjee in a contempt of court case in the High Court of Calcutta.
  • In the first session of the INC in December 1885 at Bombay, Bonnerjee was the President. This session was attended by 72 members.
  • In the second INC session the following year, which was presided over by Dadabhai Naoroji, Bonnerjee suggested that the party forms Standing Committees for every province to have a good coordination of its functioning.
  • Bonnerjee was President of the party one more time in 1892 at Allahabad.
  • He also lived in England for a while and practiced law there. While he was a resident there, the Liberal Party gave him a seat to contest in the elections to the House of Commons from Barrow-in-Furness.
  • Although he was defeated, he became the first Indian to stand for election for the British Parliament.
  • He passed away at Calcutta in 1906 aged 61.

GS-II(Governance)

Rajya Sabha adjourned over lack of quorum

Proceedings in the Rajya Sabha were adjourned on Friday due to a lack of quorum. The adjournment came immediately after a private member’s Bill seeking an amendment to the Constitution was withdrawn.

Quorum:

  • Art 100(3): A quorum is the minimum number of members of a deliberative assembly (a body that uses parliamentary procedure, such as a legislature) necessary to conduct the business of that group.
  • It is one-tenth of the total number of members of the House.
  • For quorum, the presence of 25 MPs is needed in the 245-member House i.e. Rajya Sabha. In case of Lok Sabha, the presence of 50 MPs is required for quorum.

Private member bill:

  • Members of parliament other than ministers are called private members and bills presented by them are known as private member’s bills.
  • The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, passed by the Rajya Sabha on Friday is the first private member’s bill to get the upper house’s approval in the past 45 years.

No-confidence motion against Modi govt turned negative

  • The no-confidence motion in Parliament on Friday the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government won the trust vote by 325-126 margin.
  • The Opposition attacked the government on a range of issues, including farmers’ distress, slow economic growth, and incidents of mob lynching.

Govt mulls single clearance for environment, forest for 288 mining leases

  • The government has given in-principle approval to provide single clearance for environment and forest to the new leaseholders of the 288 mining leases expiring in two years
  • Environment Ministry has agreed that there will be no need to have a separate environment clearance (EC) and forest clearance (FC) to the new lease holders (of the 288 mines) as it is already allowed in the Coal Ministry.
  • Of the 288 mining leases, 59 are working leases, which give substantial production of key minerals viz iron ore, manganese, chromite ore etc. The government had in March fixed the deadline at April 1, 2019 for general exploration of these 288 mining leases.
  • The development followed the amendment to the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 2017.
  • The government had said the auction process needs to be initiated well in advance to ensure a seamless transition from the existing to the new lessees so that mineral production is not affected due to expiry of these leases.

New cell to resolve child custody disputes

  • A mediation cell would be set up under the apex child rights body, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), to resolve child custody disputes arising from cases of transnational marital discord.
  • Centre had not yet taken a decision on either acceding to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or framing a domestic law on the issue.
  • The U.S. has been exerting pressure on India to sign the multilateral treaty. According to its Child Abduction Report 2018, with 104 cases of inter-country parental abduction, India was second only to Mexico which had 241 cases.

SC Collegium reiterates Justice K M Joseph’s name, recommends two others

  • The Supreme Court Collegium has “reiterated” its decision to recommend Uttarakhand Chief Justice K M Joseph as an apex court judge.
  • The Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Kurian Joseph and A K Sikri also recommended the names of Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Orissa High Court Chief Justice Vineet Saran as Supreme Court judges
  • No additional names were considered by the Collegium for elevation to the Supreme Court and the decision to recommend the two names, and the reiteration of Justice Joseph was taken unanimously.
  • The July 16 Collegium resolution also noted that more names were being recommended as the court was functioning with only 22 judges against a sanctioned strength of 31 “leaving 09 clear vacancies”

GS-II(International Affairs)

India to host U.S. for 2+2 talks

  • India will host the inaugural round of the two-plus-two dialogue with the United States on September 6.
  • This new dialogue format is in pursuit of agreement reached between India and the U.S. during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington D.C. on June 25-26 2017.
  • The 2+2 meeting will cover a broad range of bilateral, regional and global issues of shared interest, with a view to strengthening strategic and security ties between the two countries.
  • The meeting which was postponed twice before comes in the midst of growing concern that anti-Iran sanctions from the U.S. might impact the energy scenario of India.
  • This will also be the first round of high-level interaction between the two sides following the elections in Pakistan that will conclude in the last week of July.

PM to visit three African nations

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will begin an official visit to three African countries — Rwanda, Uganda and South Africa — from July 23 to 27. Apart from bilateral visits to Rwanda and Uganda, PM Modi will visit South Africa for the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit.
  • India is expected to ink a defense agreement with strategic partner Rwanda and also gift 200 cows for a social protection scheme of the Rwandan government meant for the poorest families there.
  • India — which has already extended a $400 million line of credit (LoC) to Rwanda earlier — is expected to conclude two LoCs worth $100 million each for economic development of the African country where New Delhi is also expected to open its diplomatic mission soon. A “broad defence framework agreement” will also be inked with Rwanda.
  • New Delhi will also extend, for the first time, two LoCs to Uganda for its economic development that are collectively worth more than $200 million.

Turkey, US officials meet to discuss Iran sanctions

  • Turkey monitoring American sanctions on Iran, following a meeting with visiting US officials.
  • Objective is to check how Iran sanctions impact turkey as it is “important neighbor” for “economic and commercial relations as well as our energy imports.”
  • Turkey imported 3 million tons of crude oil from Iran in the first four months of 2018, making up 55 percent of crude supplies and 27 percent of its total energy imports.

Chinese military conducts ground combat drills in Tibet

  • Special forces of the Chinese military conducted drills in the region of Tibet.
  • The drills included ground training for helicopter pilots in order to test their skills in the high altitude region.
  • The training simulated a behind-enemy-lines infiltration mission at an elevation of 4,000 metres in Tibet.
  • This is the second military drill highlighted by the Chinese official media in Tibet over a fortnight.
  • Earlier, on June 29, official media had reported that Chinese military units stationed in Tibet carried out a drill testing armament support capabilities as well as military civil integration in the Himalayan region bordering India.
  • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China covers 3,488 kms which include Arunachal Pradesh, claimed by China as part of southern Tibet.
  • It is also reported about China setting up an unmanned automatic weather observation station in Tibet close to Arunachal Pradesh border to provide meteorological assistance for its fighter jets and missile launches.
  • The observation station with its data can assist aircraft with take-off and landings, along with the launch of missiles.

North Korea economy declines at sharpest rate in 20 yrs in 2017

  • North Korea’s economy contracted at the sharpest rate in two decades in 2017.
  • It is a clear sign international sanctions imposed to stop Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs have hit growth hard.
  • Gross domestic product (GDP) in North Korea last year contracted 3.5 per cent from the previous year, marking the biggest contraction since a 6.5 per cent drop in 1997 when the isolated nation was going through a devastating famine.
  • Industrial production, which accounts for about a third of the nation’s total output, dropped by 8.5 per cent and also marked the steepest decline since 1997 as factory production collapsed on restrictions of flows of oil and other energy resources into the country. Output from agriculture, construction industries also fell by 1.3 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively.
  • North Korea’s coal-intensive industries and manufacturing sectors have suffered as the UN Security Council ratcheted up the sanctions in response to years of nuclear tests by Pyongyang.
  • China, its biggest trading partner, enforced sanctions strictly in the second half of 2017, hurting North Korea’s manufacturing sector.

GS-III(Economy)

Cryptocurrencies will boost illegal transactions: RBI to SC

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said dealing in cryptocurrency will encourage illegal transactions. The RBI has already issued a circular prohibiting use of these virtual currencies.
  • Cryptocurrencies are “a stateless digital currency” in which encryption techniques are used for trading and these ‘currencies’ operate independently of a Central bank like the RBI.
  • A Bench, led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was informed by senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for the RBI, that a committee has been set up by the Centre to deal with issues relating to cryptocurrencies.
  • The petitioners has sought a direction to the Centre to take steps to restrain sale and purchase of illegal cryptocurrencies like Bitcoins, which were being traded openly for “illegal activities” like funding terrorism and insurgency.

GS-III(Science and Technology)

New MeerKAT Telescope
  • Astronomy in Africa will take a giant leap forward with the unveiling of the 64-dish MeerKAT array in South Africa on July 13.
  • The International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development uses astronomy to drive positive developmental change. It has ten regional and language centres. Three are in Africa: one each in Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia. The global coordinating office is situated in South Africa.
  • Though Africa has many challenges more pressing than exploring the universe, it occupies a special place among the many efforts to address development challenges. It has a unique ability to stimulate thoughts of “what is possible” in the minds of marginalized communities, women and children.

MeerKAT telescopeImage result for MeerKAt telescope

  • MeerKAT, originally the Karoo Array Telescope, is a radio telescope consisting of 64 mirrors now being tested and verified in the Northern Cape of South Africa.
  • When fully functional it will be the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the southern hemisphere until the Square Kilometre Array is completed in approximately 2024.
  • The telescope will be used for research into cosmic magnetism, galactic evolution, the large-scale structure of the cosmos, dark matter and the nature of transient radio sources.It will also serve as a technology demonstrator for South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometer Array.

GS-III(Environment)

Deep Reefs Won’t Be ‘Twilight Zone’ Refuge for Fish, Corals: Study
  • The potential for deep reefs to act in a refuge capacity is far less than previously hoped
  • Worldwide, coral reefs in shallow waters are among ecosystems most threatened by climate change.
  • Like shallow reefs, the deep reefs also faced threats including climate change, storms and pollution.
  • The Great Barrier Reef off Australia suffered severe bleaching, a whitening driven by warm waters that can kill corals, in 2016 and 2017.
  • A US-led team of divers who studied little-known reefs in the West Atlantic and Pacific Oceans between 30 and 150 metres deep where sunlight fades, found most species of corals and fish were unlike those closer to the surface.
  • Less than 5% of fish and corals were found in both shallow and deep waters against the scientists’ previous estimate of 60-75%, based on historical records.
  • In 2016 study by the UN Environment Programme found evidence that some deep reefs could act as what it called ‘lifeboats’ for nearby, connected shallower reefs.But it said that in other cases, deep reefs “may be just as vulnerable as shallower reefs” to human pressures.
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