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IASbhai Current Affairs News Analysis | Prelims & Mains 2020-21 is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS 2021.

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” – Henry S. Haskins

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

Today's Must Read Articles : Today's Must Read Articles :

La Niña influence : Winter to be colder than normal

      HEADLINES:

La Niña influence: Indian winter to be colder than normal

      WHY IN NEWS:

The phenomenon could create erratic winter conditions impacting agricultural practises during the Rabi season

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Earth Science
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Geography : La-Nina

      ISSUE: 

The ongoing winter season from December 2020 to February 2021 will be colder than usual in several parts of India-IMD

KEY POINTS

  • IMD, however, has not made any prediction about the prevalence of cold wave or cold day conditions in any part of the country so far.

Delhi witnessed its coldest November month in the last 71 years in 2020, recording four cold waves in the period.

  • While the minimum temperatures in north, northwest, central and some areas in eastern India may be lower than the average.
  • The maximum temperatures in some of the same regions such as north, northwest, eastern and some parts of central India may be higher than the average.
  • This means that the gap between day and night temperatures will be wider.

This will impact agricultural practises in the Rabi season, especially the growth of wheat that is the principle cereal crop in north, northwest and central India.

  • It might also affect the productivity of cash crops such as coffee, which grows mainly in south India.
  • Coffee growth is extremely sensitive to variations in temperatures.

INFLUENCE OF LA NIÑA

  • One reason for this could be the prevailing La Niña conditions in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • La Niña is the cooling phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation cycle in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, as opposed to the warming El Niño phase.

It is characterised by the unusual cooling of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean.

  • It usually brings in colder than normal winters in India.
  • La Niña influences the Indian subcontinent by piping in cold air from Siberia and South China,
  • This interacts with the tropical heating to produce a north-south low-pressure system.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The cold air associated with this north-south trough tends to extend much farther south into India.
  • This is remarkably different than the more northwest-southeast blast of cold air associated with an El Niño.

In general, the La Niña cold air occupies a larger part of India than the El Niño cold air.

  • The pressure pattern going north-south means lesser impact of western disturbances.
  • The cold temperature can go down as far as Tamil Nadu, but may not affect the North East that much.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

Apex Committee for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (AIPA)

      HEADLINES:

Centre constitutes committee for implementation of 2015 Paris Agreement

      WHY IN NEWS:

The committee will also act as a national authority for the regulation of carbon markets in India

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) 
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Climate Change

      ISSUE: 

The Government of India has constituted the Apex Committee for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (AIPA) through a gazette notification.

APEX COMMITTEE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PARIS AGREEMENT (AIPA)

AIM

AIPA has been constituted with the purpose of ensuring a coordinated response on climate change matters that protects the country’s interests.

FOCUS

  • This will ensures that India is on track towards meeting its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement.

AIPA will also include submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

  • NDCs are the accounts of the voluntary efforts to be made by countries that are a part of the Paris Agreement.
  • NDC’s are formulated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change.

QUANTITATIVE GOALS OF NDC

The three quantitative goals in the Indian NDCs are:

  1. A 33-35 per cent reduction in the gross domestic product emissions intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels
  2. A 40 per cent share of non-fossil fuel based electricity by 2030
  3. Creating a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through afforestation programmes

Apart from these, there are five other non-quantitive goals in the Indian NDCs.

MEMBERS

  • The committee will have the secretary, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) as the chairperson.

The additional secretary, MoEFCC as the vice chairperson.

  • Now, the AIPA, with its 17 members, has the responsibility of formulating policies and programmes for implementing them.

SIGNIFICANCE

  • AIPA will define the responsibilities of the government ministries in country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation goals.

AIPA will submit a report every six months.

  • The AIPA will also act as a national authority for the regulation of carbon markets in India .

CONCERNS

  • One of these issues was of carbon credits from Kyoto Protocol not being carried forward to the Paris Agreement.

Not valuing the credits post-2020 under the UN-mandated sustainable development mechanism will send a wrong signal to private players who invested in them.

  • This will create mistrust in the multilateral UNFCCC process and the carbon market mechanisms that will be part of the Paris Agreement.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The NDCs are to be implemented in the post-2020 period.
  • India had submitted its NDCs in 2015.
  • The AIPA also has the responsibility of regularly communicating and reporting the NDCs to the UNFCCC.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth   | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

UK government gives nod to Pfizer

      HEADLINES:

Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine becomes first to get emergency authorisation

      WHY IN NEWS:

UK government gives nod on basis of interim results, vaccine to be made available by next week

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Health:Diseases

      ISSUE: 

The United Kingdom (UK) became the first country to give an emergency use authorisation (EUA) to the Pfizer-BioNtech (COVID-19) vaccine.

  • The UK government statement said the vaccine would be available for use in the next seven days.
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) — the country’s drug regulator — followed months of rigorous trials.

PFIZER VACCINE

  • Pfizer is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, which, once released into the body, would instruct the immune system to produce antibodies against spike proteins.
  • A vaccine of this type has never been used before.

The spike proteins released by the vaccine mimic the spike protein of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

  • So when the virus attacks in real, the antibodies would produce an immune response against them.
  • The vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degree Celsius.
  • Two shots would have to be administered for the complete dose.

In its interim results, the pharmaceutical firm had claimed an efficacy of up to 95 per cent.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • Pfizer-BioNTech’s combined manufacturing network has the potential to supply globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020.

The full and final results of phase-III are awaited, on the basis of which the full approval would be granted.

  • Now that the vaccine is authorised in the UK, the companies will take immediate action to begin the delivery of vaccine doses.
  • The first doses are expected to arrive in the UK in the coming days, with complete delivery fulfilment expected in 2021.
  • The country had entered into agreement with the pharmaceutical firms to get 40 million doses in 2020 and 2021.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

Brazil : Lost rainforest

      HEADLINES:

Brazil lost rainforest the size of Jamaica in 2019-2020: Institute

      WHY IN NEWS:

Brazil lost Amazonian rainforest equal to the size of Jamaica between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Deforestation

      ISSUE: 

There was a 9.5 per cent jump in deforestation of the Brazillian Amazon since 2019, in line with President Jair Bolsonaro’s anti-environment policies

KEY POINTS

  • Nearly 11,088 square kilometres (sq km) of rainforest were deforested in this period, an increase of 9.5 per cent.
  • Some 10,129 sq km were recorded as being deforested in the same 12 months last year (2018-2019).

Amazon deforestation had steadily increased since Bolsonaro took over as Brazil’s president two years ago.

  • Prior to his taking over, deforestation was below 10,000 sq km for a decade.

BRAZIL’S POLICY

  • The explosive rate of forest loss greatly exceeded Brazil’s own target established in its 2010 National Policy on Climate Change.
  • The policy allowed a maximum of 3,900 sq km of deforestation was projected for 2020.

Brazil was 180 per cent above its target, greatly undermining its ability to fulfil commitments in the Paris Climate Accord expected to go into effect in 2021.

  • The spike in deforestation meant that Brazil was the only country in the world reporting a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions in a year.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • In today’s vast levels of deforestation, we see the fruition of Bolsonaro’s disastrous agenda.

Environmental crime runs rampant as state environmental agencies are laid to waste.

  • Every square mile of forest loss pushes the Amazon and the global climate closer to an irreversible tipping point
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

New wastewater recycling system

      HEADLINES:

ISc researchers devise new wastewater recycling system

      WHY IN NEWS:

The new wastewater treatment and recycling system has saved 180,000 litres in a Karnataka village in a year

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Water management

      ISSUE: 

The system has over the past year enabled the reuse of wastewater, reducing dependence on fresh water.

NEW WASTEWATER TREATMENT AND RECYCLING SYSTEM

DEVELOPED BY

  • A decentralised wastewater treatment and recycling system developed by the Centre for Sustainable Technologies (CST), Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
  • It has already helped with 180,000 litres water in a year in Berambadi, a village in Karnataka.
  • The Indian researchers collaborated with counterparts in the UK.

The performance of every treatment stage was quantified in terms of :

  • Removal efficiencies (RE) of turbidity
  • Total Suspended Solids (TSS)
  • Nitrate
  • Total phosphorus
  • Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)
  • Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
  • Faecal coliforms (FC).

Overall, the system showed high REs — more than 90 per cent for most of the parameters.

WORKING

  • The treatment system first passes the greywater from the hand wash sinks through strainers that screen out large food particles from water.
  • Then, the water goes through three anaerobic sand bio-filters — tanks filled with locally available coarse gravel, medium gravel and sand.

Bacterial biofilms help in the breakdown of nutrients in greywater to reduce nutrient levels of water.

  • The greywater from the kitchen sinks is first passed through a grease trap to strip off the top layer of oil and grease from water.
  • After this, water flows through an anaerobic sludge bioreactor followed by a stratified biofiltration chamber.
  • Finally, the filtered water from both hand wash sinks and kitchen sinks is passed through aeration and ozonation tanks.
  • The treated water stored in an overhead tank is then readily available for reuse by the students and staff of the school .
  • This can be used for domestic non-potable purposes such as toilet flushing and gardening.

OZONATION
Ozonation removes odours and colours from water, and eliminates FC, thereby disinfecting the water while leaving no harmful by-products.

  • It also enhances the Dissolved Oxygen concentration of the water.

BACKGROUND

  • The research team operated the greywater treatment system for a year .
  • They monitored different physicochemical and biological characteristics at the entry and exit.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • India will need 1.5 trillion cubic metres water by 2030.

The decentralised wastewater treatment systems may be holding one of the keys to the answer.

  • The system treated 667 litres of greywater daily, saving around 180,000 litres of water annually.
  • For the first time that decentralised wastewater treatment systems has been economically put into practice in a rural setting.
     SOURCES:  DownToEarth  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

Installation cameras at NIA, CBI offices: SC

      HEADLINES:

Install cameras at NIA, CBI offices: SC

      WHY IN NEWS:

‘Needed to protect right to dignity, life

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : Fundamental Rights

      ISSUE: 

The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to compulsorily install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of central agencies

RIGHT TO DIGNITY

  • Offices like National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which have the power to carry out “interrogations”.

The CCTVs and recording equipment would be used as a measure to protect the fundamental right to dignity and life.

‘POWER OF ARREST’

SC ordered the Centre to have CCTVs and recording equipment installed in the offices of the CBI, NIA etc. which carries out interrogations and has the power of arrest”.

  • Large posters informing people about the CCTV coverage should be prominently placed at the offices of these central agencies and police stations.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The court ordered that the Principal Secretary/Cabinet Secretary/Home Secretary of each State/ Union Territory should give it a firm action plan.
  • It should also include exact timelines for compliance within the next six weeks.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

Global alert on vaccine frauds

      HEADLINES:

Global alert on vaccine frauds

      WHY IN NEWS:

Interpol calls for safety of supply chain and identifying sale of fake products

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : 3 : Interpol : Smuggling

      ISSUE: 

Interpol has warned of advertisers promoting fake drugs and services. 

HEALTH THREAT

  • Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies of its 194 member countries.
  • Interpol asked countries to prepare for the targeting of COVID-19 vaccines, both physically and online, by organised crime networks.

The Interpol Orange Notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID-19 and flu vaccines.

  • With the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour.

Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

SOURCES : INTERPOL

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The notice includes examples of crimes in which individuals were found to be advertising, selling and administering fake vaccines.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU  | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

‘Biden sets new demands for return to Iran nuclear deal’

      HEADLINES:

‘Biden sets new demands for return to Iran nuclear deal’

      WHY IN NEWS:

He wants to extend the duration of ‘restrictions on country’

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2 : IR

      ISSUE: 

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will insist Iran agrees to new demands if it wants the U.S. to return to a nuclear deal and lift sanctions

  • Biden administration would seek to extend the duration of “restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a (nuclear) bomb”.
  • This will be through in a new round of negotiations.

Iran would also have to address its “malign regional activities through proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

  • The talks would have to include its Arab neighbours like Saudi Arabia.

ARMS RACE

Mr. Biden warned that if Iran acquired a bomb, it would spark a nuclear arms race in the West Asia.

  • “In consultation with our allies and partners, we’re going to engage in negotiations and follow-on agreements to tighten and lengthen Iran’s nuclear constraints” -Biden

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The 2015 nuclear deal — known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA — gave Iran relief from sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
     SOURCES:  THE HINDU | Current Affairs News Analysis for UPSC | 3rd Dec 2020

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