Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Virtual SIM Technology
- Rising sea levels to affect water table along Chennai’s shoreline
- Sunstroke & Heat Wave
- Golan Heights
- Facts for Prelims – Parrotfish & Superstats
1 . Virtual SIM Technology
Context : A request will be sent to the U.S. for details from a service provider of “virtual SIMs,” which were used by the suicide bomber of the Jaish-e-Mohammad behind the Pulwama attack and his Pakistan and Kashmir handlers, officials said.
What is a virtual SIM?
- To use mobile services, customers need to insert a conventional SIM card into their phones. Each new mobile number requires a new SIM card.
- A virtual SIM, meanwhile, lives on a server. To use this, customers sign up for a service by installing an app on their phone. This app generates a phone number without linking it to a physical SIM and, instead, syncs it with an email account or a social network like Facebook.
- With this mechanism, a caller can make calls from within the app, over the internet, with most providers offering the service for free. The voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) calls made from such a phone will connect directly to the receiver’s handset, without the need of an app at that end.
- Some providers even switch the call to phone or voice mail when there is no internet connection for an incoming call. This service is also called a virtual number
Virtual SIM vs e-SIM
- The phrase ‘virtual SIM’ is also often used to describe a different product called the e-SIM. This involves a dummy SIM card that doesn’t have a fixed number. An e-SIM can be purchased online and a new number tied to it.
- This then functions like a regular phone number operating out of a conventional SIM card, without the need for an internet connection to place calls. When a number needs to be changed, it can be replaced by attaching a new number to the same physical SIM.
- The use of such a service would entail using the mobile network of the e-SIM provider, and using a phone without additional security or encryption. It is, therefore, unlikely to have been used by the terrorists in Kashmir.
2 . Rising sea levels to affect water table along Chennai’s shoreline
Context : The fragile water table in the city’s coastal areas, particularly along East Coast Road, is under threat of severe seawater intrusion due to anticipated rise in sea levels in the next few decades, according to a study by the Department of Geology, Anna University.
Details of the Study
- There is a rise in sea level by 2mm every year
- The increasing sea level would also force the water table along the coastline to move upwards. But it would slowly replace the freshwater at the bottom of the aquifer.
- The volume of fresh water would gradually reduce in the coastal areas due to climate change-induced sea level rise.
What should be done
- Change the land-use pattern along the shoreline to tackle the impact of climate change.
- Areas closer to the coast must also adopt water conservation measures to sustain groundwater
- Only minimal groundwater extraction through open wells must be allowed and water pumped in localities along the shoreline must be replenished through rainwater harvesting.
- Large residential complexes must adopt other measures like permeable pavements.
3 . Sun Stroke & Heatwave
Context : As Kerala braces for a sweltering week ahead, two more suspected cases of death due to sunstroke were reported from Thiruvananthapuram and Kannur districts on Sunday. The number of sunstroke deaths in the State over just the weekend has now risen to three.
What is Sunstroke?
- Sunstroke, also known as heatstroke, is a life-threatening condition in which the body’s heat-regulating system fails due to exposure to high temperatures. It happens when the body is unable to rid itself of excess heat due to vigorous activity or a very hot environment. High temperatures can cause the body’s major organs to fail.
- Heatstroke is the most severe of the heat-related problems, often resulting from exercise or heavy work in hot environments combined with inadequate fluid intake.
Who gets sunstroke?
- Though anyone can get sunstroke, there are people who are more susceptible. They include the children, athletes, diabetics, alcoholics and those not used to extreme heat and sun. Certain medications can also make a person more prone to heatstroke.
What are the signs and symptoms of sunstroke?
- The main sign of heatstroke is a markedly elevated body temperature (greater than 104 degree F) with changes in mental status ranging from personality changes to confusion and coma. Skin may be hot and dry — although if heatstroke is caused by exertion, the skin may be moist.
What is Heat Wave
- A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western parts of India.
- Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July. The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.
The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves :
- Heat Wave need not be considered till maximum temperature of a station reaches atleast 40*C for Plains and atleast 30*C for Hilly regions
- When normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40*C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5*C to 6*C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7*C or more
- When normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40*C Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4*C to 5*C Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6*C or more
- When actual maximum temperature remains 45*C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change. India too is feeling the impact of climate change in terms of increased instances of heat waves which are more intense in nature with each passing year, and have a devastating impact on human health thereby increasing the number of heat wave casualties.
4 . Golan Heights
Context : President Donald Trump has said “it is time for the US to fully recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights”. What is this area, who lives here, and why is it contentious?
- The Golan Heights are a fertile plateau of around 1,300 sq km area lying to the north and east of the Sea of Galilee, which Israel seized from Syria during the Six-Day War of 1967, and has occupied ever since.
- The Golan overlooks both Israel and Syria, and offers a commanding military vantage. Syrian forces made an abortive bid to take it back during the Yom Kippur War of 1973; the 1974 ceasefire agreement, however, left most of the area in Israeli hands.
- In 1981, Israel passed the Golan Heights Law, which extended Israel’s “laws, jurisdiction and administration” to the area, in effect annexing it.
- A UNSC resolution declaring the imposition of Israel’s law “in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights… null and void and without international legal effect” has not changed the situation on the ground, although the frontier has not seen major hostilities for more than 40 years. In 2000, Israel and Syria made a failed attempt at negotiating a settlement.
- Around 50,000 people are estimated to live on the Golan, divided almost equally between Israeli Jewish settlers and Arabic-speaking Druze people of Syrian origin, who follow a monotheistic Abrahamic religion related to Ismaili Shia Islam.
Who controls the Syrian side of Golan
- Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, there was an uneasy stand-off between Israeli and Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. But in 2014 anti-government Islamist rebels overran Quneitra province on the Syrian side.
- The rebels forced Assad’s forces to withdraw and also turned on U.N. forces in the area, forcing them to pull back from some of their positions.
- The area remained under rebel control until the summer of 2018, when Assad’s forces returned to the largely ruined city of Quneitra and the surrounding area following a Russian-backed offensive and a deal that allowed rebels to withdraw.
What Separates two sides of Golan
- A United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) is stationed in camps and observation posts along the Golan, supported by military observers of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO).
- Recommended By Colombia Between the Israeli and Syrian armies is a 400-square-km (155-square-mile) “Area of Separation” – often called a demilitarized zone – in which the two countries’ military forces are not permitted under the ceasefire arrangement.
- The Separation of Forces Agreement of May 31, 1974 created an Alpha Line to the west of the area of separation, behind which Israeli military forces must remain, and a Bravo Line to the east behind which Syrian military forces must remain
- Extending 25 km beyond the “Area of Separation” on both sides is an “Area of Limitation” in which there are restrictions on the number of troops and number and kinds of weapons that both sides can have there.
5 . Facts for Prelims
- Bumphead parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, is an important component of coral reef ecosystem, but is highly endangered globally.
- It is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- This fish is highly prized resource, but is threatened due to limited knowledge about its distribution and abundance in Indian waters.
- Superstats is a new language for numbers-based story-telling in cricket. The bouquet consists of three elements: Smart Stats, Luck index and Forecaster
- Smart Stats, which puts each batting and bowling performance into context by looking at match situations and player quality
- Luck Index :Luck Index is a metric that quantifies luck. This is done by identifying every lucky event that happens in a match, and then calculating, through a complex algorithm, the run value of that event.
- Forecaster, which looks the future and predicts win probabilities in each game.