Daily Current Affairs : 28th and 29th June 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

  1. New rules to regulate exotic animal trade
  2. National Security Law
  3. Gyandamorphism
  4. Tuberculosis
  5. Malabar Rebellion
  6. New El Nino Phenomenon
  7. Article 371A (1) (b)
  8. Facts for Prelims

1 . New rules to regulate exotic animal trade


Context: The Environment Ministry’s wildlife division has introduced new rules to regulate the import and export of ‘exotic wildlife species’.

About Exotic species

  • Exotic species, often referred to as alien, non-native, nonindigenous, or introduced species, are those that occur in areas outside of their natural geographic range.
  • Animals and plant species introduced from other countries and which are not otherwise found locally are termed exotic.

What are the new rules?

  • According to the advisory, the phrase “exotic live species” includes “animals named under the Appendices I, II and III of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora” and “does not include species from the Schedules of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972”.
  • This will create a process where all imports will be screened. As of now, the imports are being made through the Director General of Foreign Trade and State Forest departments are not kept in the loop.
  • For new “exotic live species”, the importer should obtain a no-objection certificate from the Chief Wildlife Warden ( CWLW) of the State.
  • For existing species, stocks “shall be declared by the owner/ holder (stock, as on 1 January 2020) to the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW) of the concerned State or UT”.
  • Officials of the Wildlife Department will also prepare an inventory of such species and have the right to inspect the facilities of such traders to check if these plants and animals are being housed in salubrious conditions.
  • Stockists will have six months to declare their stock.

Comprehensively covered the topic on June 11th Daily Current Affairs

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau

  • Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • The Bureau has its headquarter in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur; three sub-regional offices at Guwahati, Amritsar and Cochin; and five border units at Ramanathapuram, Gorakhpur, Motihari, Nathula and Moreh.
  • Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, the mandates are:
    • to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities and to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals
    • to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank
    • co-ordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act
    • assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate co-ordination and universal action for wildlife crime control
    • capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes
    • advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws.
    • It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.

2 . Hong Kong National Security Law


Context: Hong Kong police arrested at least 53 people after scuffles erupted during a relatively peaceful protest against planned national security legislation to be implemented by the mainland Chinese government. The protest was against the proposed national security law has raised concerns among Hong Kong democracy activists and some foreign governments that Beijing is further eroding the extensive autonomy promised when Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

Background

  • Chinese parliament National People’s Congress (NPC), passed new legislation- “NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security” for Hong Kong that empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong. The law will be added to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution also called the Basic Law.
  • Beijing has been asking Hong Kong to pass a national security law since 1997, when the former British colony was handed back to China. There’s even an article in the city’s mini-constitution calling on it to do so.
  • Hong Kong politicians have attempted to pass the legislation before, but faced fierce public opposition.
  • On May 22, Beijing decided to take matters into its own hands, and proposed the bill for Hong Kong at the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s parliament.
  • While Hong Kong has an independent legal system, a back door in its mini-constitution allows Beijing to make law in the city — meaning there’s not much the Hong Kong public or leadership can do about it.

Highlights of the law

  • The new law empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong.
  • It is aimed at stamping out protests that have racked the city for the past year and would ban “any acts or activities” that endanger China’s national security, including separatism, subversion and terrorism.
  • It will enforce “the measures to counter, lawfully prevent, stop and punish foreign and overseas forces’ use of Hong Kong to carry out separatist, subversive, infiltrative, or destructive activities”
  • It will cover any activity that “seriously endangers national security”.
  • It will allow “national security agencies” potentially Chinese security forces to operate in the city.

What are the concerns raised?

  • This could be the biggest blow to the territory’s autonomy and personal freedoms since 1997 when it came under Chinese rule.
  • The law is being criticised by pro-democracy parties and legal community in Hong Kong for undermining “one country, two systems”  which is China’s “basic state policy”  regarding Hong Kong.
  • The new law enables organs of the central government “for the protection of national security” to set up “institutions in the HKSAR” but there is no clarity on their operation.
  • The new law may also block foreign judges from sitting on national security cases, following the example of Macau, which has done so since 2018.

What is Hong Kong’s Basic Law?

  • Hong Kong was formerly a British colony. It was handed over to mainland China in 1997, becoming one of its Special Administrative Regions (SAR).
  • It is governed by a mini-constitution called the Basic Law, which affirms the principle of “one country, two systems”.
  • It means that the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions, both former colonies, can have different economic and political systems from that of mainland China, while being part of the People’s Republic of China.
  • Basic Law protects rights such as freedom of assembly and freedom of speech – neither of which exist in mainland China – and also sets out the structure of governance for the territory.
  • Agreement is only valid for 50 years. This constitutional document is a product of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. Under this China promised to honour Hong Kong’s liberal policies, a system of governance, an independent judiciary, and individual freedoms for a period of 50 years from 1997.
  • Since the handover, Hong Kong residents have repeatedly protested to protect their Basic Law freedoms, with the first major pro-democracy protest taking place in 2003.
  • In 2014, over one lakh city residents took part in the ‘Umbrella Revolution’ to protest against China’s denial of democratic reforms.

3 . Gynandromorphism


Context: A peculiar dragonfly, the Scarlet Skimmer (Crocothemis servilia), was spotted in the Puzhakkal area of the Kole wetlands in Thrissur last year. Gynandromorphism, a rare biological phenomenon spotted in dragonflies It was found during odonate survey

Odonate surveys

  • The Society for Odonate Studies has been conducting Odonate surveys at the Kole wetlands since 2018, and 37 species of dragonflies and damselflies have been reported from the wetlands so far.
  • The Kole wetlands, covering an area of 13,632 ha are spread over Thrissur and Malappuram districts extending from the northern bank of Chalakudy river in the south to the southern bank of Bharathapuzha river in the north (Johnkutty and Venugopal 1993).
  • The name Kole refers to the peculiar cultivation practice carried out from December to May. “Kole”, a Malayalam word, indicates a field that gives a bumper crop, so long as floods do not damage it (Nameer 2002). 

About the News

  • This dragonfly was “part red and part yellow” which was a rare phenomenon as by its appearance. Male dragonflies typically have a prominent blood-red colouration in almost all the body parts, including the head, thorax, abdomen and legs, and the female is pale yellow in colour with a dark brown thorax and legs.
  • The spotted individual showed bilateral gynandromorphism of only the thorax, half of which showed blood red colouraton as in males, and the other half had the pale yellow characteristc of females.
  • The base of the wing of the red half was marked with rich amber, in contrast with the other wing base, which was paler. The head, legs and abdomen showed typical female morphology.
  • The individual had a mix of male and female external characters, ranging from almost entirely female to about equally divided. “They were symmetrical in development with normally dimorphic structures mostly having characters intermediate between the typical male and female conditions

Gynandromorphs

  • Gynandromorphs (“gyne” from Greek meaning female, “andro” for male, and “morph” meaning variety) are individual animals that have both genetically male and female tissues and often have observable male and female characteristics.
  • They may be bilateral, appearing to divide down the middle into male and female sides, or they may be mosaic, with patches characteristic of one sex appearing in a body part characteristic of the other sex.
  • Gynandromorphs occur in insects, spiders, crustaceans, and other arthropods as well as in birds, but they are extremely rare
  • It is viewed by the scientific community as a genetic aberration.

Dragonflies

  • A dragonfly is an insect belonging to the order Odonata, infraorder Anisoptera
  • The Odonata are an order of flying insects that includes the dragonflies and damselflies.

4 . Tuberculosis


Context : India has the highest burden of tuberculosis (TB) in the world.

About the issue

  • Even as the government was pushing to end TB by 2025, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption in TB services.
  • TB case notifications across India have dropped by over 50% since March, with an estimated 3,00,000 missed case notifications (until May 30). This is worrisome, since undiagnosed TB can worsen patient outcomes and increase transmission in the community.
  • After the end of the lockdown there will be big surge in people seeking care with TB and COVID-19 symptoms. But there will be a struggle to get care because the public sector is still dealing with the pandemic, while the private sector is not functioning at normal capacity or is reluctant to manage people with fever and cough.
  • To find the missed TB patients the need is to find ways to rapidly resume public TB services, integrate TB and Covid-19 testing and be creative about engaging the private health sector to augment public TB services.

What needs to be done

  • National TB Elimination Programme should resume routine TB services, which include diagnostic services, such as microscopy and rapid molecular testing, as well as drug-susceptibility testing.
  • Dual testing: Since fever and cough are symptoms of both TB and COVID-19, simultaneous screening and testing can be encouraged. India already has access to three existing technologies (digital chest x-ray (CXR), AI-enabled screening tool called qXR and GeneXpert that permit dual testing for both infections.
  • All hands on the deck: To detect the missed thousands of TB patients, the need of the hour is to leverage best technologies and find ways to integrate testing for both respiratory infections. Public and private health sectors should be integrated.
  • The lessons from public–private partnerships in TB to address the growing challenge of providing adequate care for COVID-19.

About Tuberculosis

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
  • TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
  • About one-quarter of the world’s population has latent TB, which means people have been infected by TB bacteria but are not yet ill with the disease and cannot transmit the disease.

Types of Tuberculosis

  • Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) : The bacteria that cause tuberculosis (TB) can develop resistance to the antimicrobial drugs used to cure the disease. Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) is TB that does not respond to at least isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most powerful anti-TB drugs.
  • Extensively Drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) : Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) is a rare type of MDR TB that is resistant to isoniazid and rifampin, plus any fluoroquinolone and at least one of three injectable second-line drugs (i.e., amikacin, kanamycin, or capreomycin).
    • Because XDR TB is resistant to the most potent TB drugs, patients are left with treatment options that are much less effective. XDR TB is of special concern for people with HIV infection or other conditions that can weaken the immune system. These people are more likely to develop TB disease once they are infected, and also have a higher risk of death once they develop TB.
  • TDR-TB(Total drug resistant-TB) : When a patient does not respond to any line of treatment then it is called TDR-TB(Total drug resistant-TB). In this case, the fatality rate is 100 per cent. In India, a few cases of TDR-TB have been reported in the recent past.

Revised National TB Control Programme (RNTCP)

  • The large scale implementation of the Indian government’s Revised National TB Control Program (RNTCP) was started in 1997.
  • The RNTCP was then expanded across India until the entire nation was covered by the RNTCP in March 2006. At this time the RNTCP also became known as RNTCP II.
  • RNTCP II was designed to consolidate the gains achieved in RNTCP I, and to initiate services to address TB/HIV, MDR-TB and to extend RNTCP to the private sector.
  • RNTCP uses the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended Directly Observed Treatment Short Course (DOTS) strategy and reaches over a billion people in 632 districts / reporting units.
  • With the RNTCP both diagnosis and treatment of TB are free. There is also, at least in theory, no waiting period for patients seeking treatment and TB drugs.
  • The RNTCP is responsible for carrying out the Government of India five year TB National Strategic Plans.
  • The initial objectives of the RNTCP in India were:
    • to achieve and maintain a TB treatment success rate of at least 85% among new sputum positive (NSP) patients.
    • to achieve and maintain detection of at least 70% of the estimated new sputum positive people in the community.
  • There have been a number of five year National Strategic Plans (NSP)s since the start of the RNTCP. The NSP 2012 – 2017 had the aim of achieving universal access to quality diagnosis and treatment. Before this there was little treatment available through the RNTCP for the treatment of drug resistant TB. A number of significant improvements were made during the five years of the plan.

National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP)

  • RNTCP has released a ‘National strategic plan for tuberculosis 2017-2025’ (NSP) for the control and elimination of TB in India by 2025. According to the NSP TB elimination have been integrated into the four strategic pillars of “Detect – Treat – Prevent – Build” (DTPB).
  • At the start of 2020 the central government has renamed the RNTCP as the National Tuberculosis Elimination Program (NTEP). The change in name is in line with the larger goal of eliminating the disease by 2025, 5 years ahead of the Sustainable Development Goals target.

5 . Malabar Rebellion


Context : Context: Malayalam film director Aashiq Abu, on June 22, announced a new film project, Variyamkunnan, on Variyamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, the main protagonist of the Malabar Rebellion of 1921 who was executed by the British.

About the Rebellion

  • The Malabar Rebellion (also called the Mappila or Moplah Rebellion by the British) broke out in the southern taluks of Malabar in August 1921.
  • By the time the government troops captured Haji in January 1922, the rebellion had fizzled out. It largely took the shape of guerrilla-type attacks on janmis (feudal landlords, who were mostly upper caste Hindus) and the police and troops.
  • Mappilas had been among the victims of oppressive agrarian relations protected by the British. But the political mobilisation of Muslims in the region in the aftermath of the launch of the Khilafat agitation and Gandhi’s non-cooperation struggle served as an opportunity for an extremist section to invoke a religious idiom to express their suffering, while working for a change in the oppressive system of administration.
  • There were excesses on both sides — rebels and government troops. Incidents of murder, looting and forced conversion led many to discredit the uprising as a manifestation of religious bigotry. Moderate Khilafat leaders lamented that the rebellion had alienated the Hindu sympathy.

How did Kunhamed Haji emerge as the leader?

  • Haji, who was one of the three most important rebel leaders, was the face of the rebellion. British officers viewed him as the “most murderous”.
  • He was born in 1866 in a family with relatives involved in one of the Mappila “outbreaks” or “outrages” in the 19th century, he was familiar with the commemoration of shaheeds (martyrs) who fought against the tyranny of landlords and their helpers, mostly upper caste Hindus in the region.
  • There were several such outbreaks in the region during the 19th and early 20th centuries.
  • The main actors of the outbreaks were individuals on suicide missions.
  • The Khilafat movement launched in 1919 provided a fresh stimulus to the grievances of Mappilas.
  • Now their sense of local injustice was sought to be linked with the pan-Islamic sentiments created in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire that rendered the Ottoman caliphate irrelevant.
  • Haji was among those in the Malabar region inspired by the zeal of the agitation.
  • During the rebellion, he led many attacks on individuals, including Muslims, who had been loyal to the British. Some contemporary accounts, however, deny that he favoured conversion of Hindus.

What was the impact of the protests?

  • The rebellion of Mappilas inspired by religious ideology and a conception of an alternative system of administration — a Khilafat government — dealt a blow to the nationalist movement in Malabar.
  • The fanaticism of rebels, foregrounded by the British, fostered communal rift and enmity towards the Congress.
  • The exaggerated accounts of the rebellion engendered a counter campaign in other parts of the country against ‘fanaticism’ of Muslims. That said, the traumatic experience of the uprising also persuaded educated sections of the Muslim community in Malabar to chalk out ways to save the community from what they saw as a pathetic situation.
  • The community’s stagnation was attributed to religious orthodoxy and ignorance.
  • The thrust of the post-rebellion Muslim reform movement in Malabar was a rigorous campaign against orthodoxy.

6 . New El Nino Phenomenon


Context: Researchers analysed simulations of this past climate and predicted that the ongoing climate change could reawaken an ancient climate pattern of the Indian Ocean.

Last Glacial Maximum

  • About 19,000-21,000 years ago, ice-sheets covered North America and Eurasia, and sea-levels were much lower, with Adam’s Bridge exposed so that the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka were contiguous. This period, the peak of ice age conditions, is called the Last Glacial Maximum.

Details of the Research

  • By studying microscopic zooplankton called foraminifera, the team had published a paper in 2019 which first found evidence from the past of an Indian Ocean El Niño.
  • Foraminifera build a calcium carbonate shell, and studying these can tell us about the properties of the water in which they lived.
  • The team measured multiple individual shells of foraminifera from ocean sediment cores and was able to reconstruct the sea surface temperature conditions of the past.
  • Researchers analysed simulations of this past climate and predicted that the ongoing climate change could reawaken an ancient climate pattern of the Indian Ocean.

Key Observations of the Research

  • Ancient climate pattern could be similar to the El Niño phenomenon of the Pacific Ocean bringing more frequent and devastating floods and drought to several densely-populated countries around the Indian Ocean region.
  • If current warming trends continue, this new Indian Ocean El Niño could emerge as early as 2050. The results were published in Science Advances.
  • There are many lessons to be learnt from this cooler period about our warmer future, “even though the Last Glacial Maximum consisted of vastly different conditions compared to where the world is headed… For example, global sea-level is rising and glacial ice is melting today whereas the opposite was true for the Last Glacial Maximum”
  • Under present-day conditions, changes in the Indian Ocean Dipole and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation strongly affect Indian Monsoon variability from year to year. If the hypothesised ‘equatorial mode’ emerges in the near future, it will pose another source of uncertainty in rainfall prediction and will likely amplify swings in monsoon rainfall.”
  • It could bring more frequent droughts to East Africa and southern India and increased rainfall over Indonesia.

7 . Article 371A (1) (b)


Context : Nagaland Governor said that armed gangs were running Nagaland, questioning the sovereignty and integrity of the nation and challenging the constitutionally-established State government.

About Article 371A (1) (b)

  • Article 371A (1) (b), which applies exclusively to Nagaland, bestows upon the governor “special responsibility with respect to law and order”.
  • According to the provision, the governor, for all practical purposes, has the final say on all matters related to the state’s law and order and on what constitutes law and order.

8 . Facts for Prelims


Shelling Technique

  • Dolphins are known to use a technique called shelling to capture prey.
  • In this process, they trap small fish into empty shells.
  • They learn such tool-use from their peers – members of their own generation – and not just from their mothers as was believed earlier.

Domestication of Chicken

  • A recent study by scientists has revealed new details about the earliest domestication of chicken. The DNA sequencing of 863 genomes has showed the first domestication of chicken occurred in southwestern China, northern Thailand and Myanmar.
  • he question of domestication of chickens has intrigued scientists for centuries, and has been the subject of debate. Charles Darwin postulated that chickens were domesticated around 4,000 B.C. from a single ancestor, Red Jungle Fowl in the Indus Valley.
  • An important study published earlier from Uppsala University claimed the Grey Jungle Fowl had contributed to chicken domestication. With this, a couple of studies from India, China and other South-Asian countries have argued the monophyletic origin of chicken.
  • Red Jungle Fowl
    • The Red Jungle Fowl is found in India and is distributed approximately along with the Sal forests in the country. It was also found in Malaysia, Indonesia and adjoining countries of the eastern region from where it is reported to be extinct. Of late concerns had been raised regarding the genetic integrity and the purity of RJF in the wild and those under captivity. This matter regarding the purity of the wild RJF is important because wild genes often hold the key to disease resistance. The dilution with the genes of domestic fowl results in the endangerment of RJF.
    • The red jungle fowl (RJF) is one of the four jungle fowls found in the Indian Subcontinent belonging to the genus Gallus, the other three being grey, Ceylon and Green.

J&K Domicile Rules

  • Under the domicile rules, all those persons and their children who have resided for 15 years in Jammu and Kashmir, or have studied for seven years and appeared in the Class X or Class XII examination in an educational institution in the UT, are eligible for grant of domicile.
  • J&K’s Article 370 and Article 35A barred non-locals and outsiders from seeking residency here. Domicile certificates are mandatory for buying land, applying for jobs, and in educational institutes in J&K.

Type 1 Diabetes

  • Type-1 diabetes is caused when the body’s immune system plays rogue and begins to attack and destroy the beta cells, which produce the hormone insulin in the pancreas.
  • With the destruction of beta cells, the amount of insulin produced is reduced, and hence, the ability of the body to control blood sugar is compromised leading to type-1 diabetes.
  • Recent research have shown that diabetes poses one of the key risk factors for developing severe COVID-19, and chances of dying are elevated in people with diabetes. Now, there is growing evidence that novel coronavirus might actually be triggering diabetes in some people who have so far remained free of it. These patients typically develop type-1 diabetes.