Daily Current Affairs: 28th and 29th November 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics covered

  1. Inflight Wi-Fi
  3. TRIPS 
  4. The Omicron variant 
  5. Facts for Prelims
  6. Places in News

1 . Inflight Wi-Fi

Context: Three years after the Department of Telecom permitted WiFi services on commercial flights, it is yet to become a reality for domestic air travellers as airlines grapple with the huge installation costs and the impact of COVID-19 on passenger demand.

How does in-flight Wi-Fi work?

  • There are two ways in which in-flight connectivity can be provided: ground-based and satellite. 
  • Ground based:
    • The first is using an Air to Ground (ATG) network, where the plane connects with the closest ground-based tower.
    •  Air-to-ground WiFi works in a similar way to your cell phone.
    • Airplanes have an antenna located underneath their body, which links up with cell towers. As the aircraft travels, it simply connects to the nearest transmitter on a rolling basis.
    • The airplane becomes a hotspot, so passengers can do everything they would normally do when connected to the Internet, including sending emails, making calls, and even streaming movies.
    • However, this system can’t work when the plane is flying over large expanses of water, like on transatlantic routes. 
    • “The market is also being disrupted by satellite operators who are bringing new constellations of satellites into service.”
  • Satellite based
    • The second is through an antenna on the plane which receives data through satellites in a geostationary orbit.
    • Satellite WiFi uses a network of orbiting satellites to allow a connection.
    • The satellite is linked to ground stations, and the airplane connects using a satellite antenna on the top of the fuselage.
    • Plane uses whichever satellite is nearest as it travels.
    • Satellite WiFi operates on two different bandwidths:
      • narrowband
      • broadband.
    • Both allow passengers full Internet access, although the narrower options are less suitable for streaming movies.

Geo Stationary Orbits

Geostationary orbits of 36,000km from the Earth’s equator are best known for the many satellites used for various forms of telecommunication, including television. Signals from these satellites can be sent all the way round the world. Telecommunication needs to “see” their satellite all time and hence it must remain stationary in the same positions relative to the Earth’s surface.
A stationary satellite provides the advantage for remote sensing that it always views the Earth from the same perspective, which means that it can record the same image at brief intervals. This arrangement is particularly useful for observations of weather conditions. One disadvantage of geostationary orbits is the great distance to the Earth, which reduces the achievable spatial resolution.


Context: In an operation coordinated by the Interpol, enforcement agencies in more than 20 countries have arrested over 1,000 individuals and intercepted about $27 million of illicit funds as part of a crackdown on cyber-enabled financial crime. The operation codenamed ‘HAECHI-II’ was conducted over four months from June to September. 


  • HAECHI-II is the second operation in a three-year project to tackle cyber-enabled financial crime supported by the Republic of Korea and the first that is truly global in scope, with the participation of INTERPOL member countries on every continent.
  • The operation also saw INTERPOL officials pilot test a new global stop-payment mechanism – the Anti-Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP) – which proved critical to successfully intercepting illicit funds in several HAECHI-II cases.
  • Anti Money Laundering Rapid Response Protocol (ARRP) will assist member countries to liaise with authorities in overseas jurisdictions to process stop-money requests urgently. This protocol will enable authorities to stop the circulation of illegal money.
  • In total, the operation resulted in the arrest of 1,003 individuals and allowed investigators to close 1,660 cases. In addition 2,350 bank accounts linked to the illicit proceeds of online financial crime were blocked.
  • More than 50 INTERPOL notices were published based on information relating to Operation HAECHI-II and 10 new criminal modus operandi were identified.
  • The law enforcement operation involve police from twenty countries ( Angola, Brunei, Cambodia, Colombia, China, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Korea (Rep. of), Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam) between June and September 2021.
  • The results of Operation HAECHI-II show that the surge in online financial crime generated by the COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of waning.

About Interpol

  • International Criminal Police Organization is an inter-governmental organization. Currently there are 194 member countries, and interpol help police in all of them to work together to make the world a safer place.
  • To do this, they enable them to share and access data on crimes and criminals, and offer a range of technical and operational support.
  • The General Secretariat coordinates day-to-day activities to fight a range of crimes. Run by the Secretary General, it is staffed by both police and civilians and comprises a headquarters in Lyon, a global complex for innovation in Singapore and several satellite offices in different regions.
  • In each country, an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) provides the central point of contact for the General Secretariat and other NCBs.
  • In India CBI is the central Point of Contact


  • The General Secretariat provides a range of expertise and services to member countries. Interpol manages 17 police databases with information on crimes and criminals (from names and fingerprints to stolen passports), accessible in real-time to countries.
  • Offer investigative support such as forensics, analysis, and assistance in locating fugitives around the world. Training is an important part of the function so that officials know how to work efficiently with our services.
  • Expertise supports national efforts in combating crimes across three global areas; terrorism, cybercrime and organized crime.
  • Officials working in each specialized crime area run a variety of different activities alongside member countries. This can be investigative support, field operations, training and networking.
  • Research and development in international crime and trends.

Interpol Notices

  • INTERPOL Notices are international requests for cooperation or alerts allowing police in member countries to share critical crime-related information.
  • Notices are published by the General Secretariat at the request of a National Central Bureau and are made available to all our member countries. Notices can also be used by the United Nations, International Criminal Tribunals and the International Criminal Court to seek persons wanted for committing crimes within their jurisdiction, notably genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • Most Notices are for police use only and are not made available to the public. However, in some cases, for example to alert the public, or to request help from the public, an extract of the Notice can be published on the website. United Nations Special Notices are public.

Different Notices

  • Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • Yellow Notice: To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
  • Blue Notice: To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.               
  • Black Notice: To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Green Notice: To provide warning about a person’s criminal activities, where the person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
  • Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
  • Purple Notice: To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
  • INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notice: Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees.       

3. TRIPS (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights)

Context: Hours before the World Trade Organization (WTO) called off its upcoming ministerial meeting, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal spoke with his South African counterpart, Ebrahim Patel, over contingency plans to pilot their joint proposal for a waiver in the TRIPS agreement to counter the pandemic.


  • India and South Africa had last year proposed waiver of certain provisions of copyrights, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information in the Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement for prevention, containment or treatment of Covid-19.
  • It is now sponsored by 64 WTO members.
  • Ahead of a key ministerial meeting next month, New Delhi also insisted on a fair and equitable rules-based system to curb harmful fisheries subsidies, especially the ones given by developed countries.
  • Besides TRIPS waiver and special and differential treatment in fish subsidies, India wants a permanent solution for its public stockholding that will cover all products without onerous notification obligations, and special safeguard mechanism to protect poor farmers against import surges as outcomes in the upcoming ministerial.


  • The WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP).
  • It plays a central role in facilitating trade in knowledge and creativity, in resolving trade disputes over IP, and in assuring WTO members the latitude to achieve their domestic policy objectives.
  • It frames the IP system in terms of innovation, technology transfer and public welfare.
  • The Agreement is a legal recognition of the significance of links between IP and trade and the need for a balanced IP system.
  • The WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), negotiated during the 1986-94 Uruguay Round, introduced intellectual property rules into the multilateral trading system for the first time.
  • The TRIPS Agreement covers five broad areas:
    • How general provisions and basic principles of the multilateral trading system apply to international intellectual property
    • What the minimum standards of protection are for intellectual property rights that members should provide
    • Which procedures members should provide for the enforcement of those rights in their own territories
    • How to settle disputes on intellectual property between members of the WTO
    • Special transitional arrangements for the implementation of TRIPS provisions.
  • The areas of intellectual property that it covers are: copyright and related rights (i.e. the rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations);  trademarks including service marks; geographical indications including appellations of origin; industrial designspatents including the protection of new varieties of plants; the layout-designs of integrated circuits; and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data.

What are intellectual property rights?

  • Intellectual property rights are the rights given to persons over the creations of their minds. They usually give the creator an exclusive right over the use of his/her creation for a certain period of time.
  • Intellectual property rights are customarily divided into two main areas:
    1. Copyright and rights related to copyright.
      • The rights of authors of literary and artistic works (such as books and other writings, musical compositions, paintings, sculpture, computer programs and films) are protected by copyright, for a minimum period of 50 years after the death of the author.
      • Also protected through copyright and related (sometimes referred to as “neighbouring”) rights are the rights of performers (e.g. actors, singers and musicians), producers of phonograms (sound recordings) and broadcasting organizations.
      • The main social purpose of protection of copyright and related rights is to encourage and reward creative work.
    2. Industrial property.
      • Industrial property can usefully be divided into two main areas:
        1. One area can be characterized as the protection of distinctive signs, in particular trademarks (which distinguish the goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings) and geographical indications (which identify a good as originating in a place where a given characteristic of the good is essentially attributable to its geographical origin).
        2. Other types of industrial property are protected primarily to stimulate innovation, design and the creation of technology. In this category fall inventions (protected by patents), industrial designs and trade secrets.
  • A functioning intellectual property regime should also facilitate the transfer of technology in the form of foreign direct investment, joint ventures and licensing.
  • The protection is usually given for a finite term (typically 20 years in the case of patents).

4 . The Omicron variant

Context: A new lineage of SARS-CoV-2 has been identified in samples sequenced and deposited in public domain from Botswana, South Africa and Hong Kong and was assigned as B.1.1.529. The variant has been designated as a Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and has been named Omicron.

Why is the Omicron variant interesting?

  • The Omicron variant is interesting due to the fact that it has a large number of mutations compared to other prevalent variants circulating across the world.
  • This includes 32 mutations in the spike protein.
  • Many of these mutations lie in the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein, a key part of the protein required for binding to the human receptor proteins for entry into the cell, and thus may play an important role in recognition by antibodies generated due to a previous infection or by vaccines.
  • The variant was reported in South Africa and epidemiologically linked to a recent rise in cases in the Gauteng province of South Africa and has been identified among travellers from South Africa apart from other countries in the region.

What do spike mutations do ?

  • Many of the mutations in the spike protein have been previously suggested to cause resistance to antibodies as well as increased transmission. Thus, there is a possibility that this variant could be more likely to re-infect people who have developed immunity against previous variants of the virus.
  • While the behaviour of the virus is not accurately predictable based on the evidence on individual mutations, as the effect of the combination of mutations is not the sum total of individual mutations, such analysis can provide useful insights and directions to explore even further.
  • Further in-depth analysis on the effect of these mutations on transmissibility and vaccine escape is underway.
  • From a diagnostic point of view, some of the mutations in the spike protein cause primers used in some of the RT-PCR kits to not function as expected. This is otherwise known as a spike gene dropout or spike gene target failure (SGTF).

How many countries have reported Omicron ?

  • As of date, nine countries have confirmed the presence of Omicron.
  • This includes South Africa, Botswana, England, Hong Kong, Australia, Italy, Israel, Czech Republic, and Belgium.
  • Suspected cases are being followed up in a number of other countries.
  • Countries have identified the variant through genomic surveillance programmes.
  • The initial reports of the variant has been made possible through the tireless efforts of researchers in Botswana and South Africa as well as countries which reported infections in incoming travellers.
  • India has a national programme on genomic surveillance (INSACOG) as well as focussed surveillance programmes in Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi and Karnataka, apart from independent research programmes.
  • In INSACOG’s latest Bulletin, none of the sequenced samples in India have the Omicron variant until date.
  • Heightened surveillance of the variant is ongoing.

How can we be prepared for the variant ?

  • Enhanced surveillance and genome sequencing efforts are essential to detect and track the prevalence of the Omicron variant.
  • Rapid sharing of genome sequences of the virus and the epidemiological data linked with it to publicly available databases will help in developing a better understanding of the variant.
  • Existing public health and social measures need to be strengthened to control and prevent transmission.
  • Enhancing vaccination coverage across different regions along with access to testing, therapeutics and support will be essential for combating the new variant.
  • Equitable access to vaccines would be key to controlling the Omicron variant, and slowing down the emergence of any future variants.

5 . Facts for Prelims

Jaitapur nuclear power project

  • Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project is a proposed nuclear power plant in India. If built, it would be the largest nuclear power generating station in the world by net generation capacity, at 9,900 MW.
  • The power project is proposed by Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) and would be built at Madban village of Ratnagiri district in Maharashtra.
  • It is proposed to construct 6 European Pressurized Reactors designed and developed by Framatome (former Areva) of France, each of 1650 MW, thus totalling 9900 MW.
  • These are the third generation pressurised water reactors (PWR).


  • The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) is a non-constitutional body that promotes employees to save funds for retirement.
  • The organisation is governed by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India and was launched in 1951.
  • The schemes offered by the organisation cover Indian workers and international workers (from countries with whom the EPFO has signed bilateral agreements).
  • EPFO is one of the World’s largest Social Security Organisations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
  • At present it maintains 19.34 crore accounts (Annual Report 2016-17) pertaining to its members.
  • The Employees’ Provident Fund came into existence with the promulgation of the Employees’ Provident Funds Ordinance on the 15th November, 1951.
  • It was replaced by the Employees’ Provident Funds Act, 1952. 
  • The Employees’ Provident Funds Bill was introduced in the Parliament as Bill Number 15 of the year 1952 as a Bill to provide for the institution of provident funds for employees in factories and other establishments.
  • The Act is now referred as the Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 which extends to the whole of India.
  • The Act and Schemes framed there under are administered by a tri-partite Board known as the Central Board of Trustees, Employees’ Provident Fund,consisting of representatives of Government (Both Central and State), Employers, and Employees.


  • An air defense identification zone (ADIZ) is airspace over land or water in which the identification, location, and control of civil aircraft is performed in the interest of national security.
  • They may extend beyond a country’s territory to give the country more time to respond to possibly hostile aircraft.
  • The concept of an ADIZ is not defined in any international treaty and is not regulated by any international body.
  • The first ADIZ was established by the United States on December 27, 1950.
  • About 20 countries and regions now have such zones including India.
  • India established ADIZs in the mid-twentieth century.
  • Among other rules, notifications are required 10 minutes prior to entry.
  • In case of delay, 45 or more minutes and a new Air Defence Clearance (ADC) numbers are required.
  • India has demarcated six ADIZ near its territory.
  • These zones have been declared over the international border with Pakistan, the international border with Nepal, over the Line of Actual Control with China, along the eastern borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar and two in the southern region of India.


  • The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • It is under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India
  • It envisages uniform implementation of the provisions of the Act & Rules made there under for ensuring the safety, rights and well being of the patients by regulating the drugs and cosmetics
  • Under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, CDSCO is responsible for approval of Drugs, Conduct of Clinical Trials, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs in the country and coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organizations by providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • Further CDSCO along with state regulators, is jointly responsible for grant of licenses of certain specialized categories of critical Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.


  • Leprosy also known as Hansen’s disease (also known as leprosy) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae.
  • It can affect the nerves, skin, eyes, and lining of the nose (nasal mucosa).
  • With early diagnosis and treatment, the disease can be cured.
  • People with Hansen’s disease can continue to work and lead an active life during and after treatment.
  • Leprosy was once feared as a highly contagious and devastating disease, but now we know it doesn’t spread easily and treatment is very effective. However, if left untreated, the nerve damage can result in crippling of hands and feet, paralysis, and blindness.

6 . Places in News

Jaffna Peninsula 

  • It is an area in Northern Province, Sri Lanka.
  • It is home to the capital city of the province, Jaffna, and comprises much of the former land mass of the medieval Jaffna kingdom.
  • Parts of Jaffna peninsula was historical divided into the three regions of Vadamarachchi, Thenmarachchi and Valikamam, which are today three sections of the Jaffna District.
  • The Naga people were one of the ancient tribes of Sri Lanka, who were mainly concentrated in the Jaffna Peninsula.
  • The Jaffna peninsula was also known in pre-mediaval era as Naga Nadu.
  • Historically, Jaffna has been a contested city.
  • It was made into a colonial port town during the Portuguese occupation of the Jaffna peninsula in 1619 who lost it to the Dutch, only to lose it to the British in 1796.
  • During the civil war, the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) occupied Jaffna in 1986.
  • The Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) briefly occupied the city in 1987.
  • The LTTE again occupied the city from 1989 until 1995, when the Sri Lankan Army regained control.
  • The majority of the city’s population are Sri Lankan Tamils with a significant number of Sri Lankan Moors, Indian Tamils and other ethnic groups present in the city prior to the civil war.

Yelagiri Hills 

  • Yelagiri is a hill station located in the newly formed Tirupattur district of Tamil Nadu, India.
  • The highest point in Yelagiri is the Swamimalai Hill, standing tall at 4,338 ft; Swamimalai is a destination and viewpoint for trekkers.
  • The hill provides a number of trekking trails through thick reserved forests. Mangalam, a small village, is at the base of this hill.
  • Yelagiri Hills is home to hundreds of snakes.

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action