IASCLUB Daily Current Affairs : 20 June 2019

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U.P. site expected to get ‘national importance’ tag

Topic: GS-I:  Indian Heritage and Culture

An ancient site with chariots, swords and other objects pointing to the presence of a warrior class around 4,000 years ago in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district could be declared a site of national importance soon.

More in news:

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has started the process of declaring the site at Sadikpur Sinauli, which is spread over 28 hectares, of national importance, issuing a notification on June 6 seeking objections, if any, from the public for a period of two months.
  • Among the treasures unearthed are three chariots, legged coffins, shields, swords and helmets – all which point towards a warrior class that must have existed around 2,000 BCE.

Cancer cell detection ‘dots’ developed from coal

Topic: GS–II: Health

A team of scientists in Assam has developed a chemical process that turns ‘dirty’ coal into a biomedical ‘dot’ to help detect cancer cells.

More in news:

  • The team has applied for a patent for their chemical method of producing carbon quantum dots (CQDs) from cheap, abundant, low-quality and high-sulphur coals.

 Carbon quantum dots (CQDs):

  • CQDs are carbon-based nanomaterials whose size is less than 10 nm, or nanometre.
  • Carbon-based nanomaterials are used as diagnostic tools for bio-imaging, especially in detecting cancer cells, for chemical sensing and in opto-electronics.
  • CQDs emit a bluish colour with “high-stability, good-conductivity, low-toxicity, environmental friendliness, and good optical properties.
  • Scientists said CQDs are futuristic materials whose demand in India has been increasing leading to a considerable volume of import.

Low trust in vaccines

Topic: GS–II: Health

People in Europe have the lowest levels of trust in vaccines, according to a global survey of public attitudes toward health and science.

Other findings:

  • People living in high-income countries have the lowest confidence in vaccines, a result that ties in to the rise of the anti-vaccination movement, in which people refuse to believe in the benefits of vaccinations or claim that the treatment is dangerous.
  • France has the lowest levels of confidence, according to the survey devised by British medical charity Wellcome Trust and conducted by Gallup World Poll between April and December 2018.
  • A third (33%) of French people do not agree that immunization is safe, according to the poll of more than 1, 40,000 people 15 and older across 144 countries. Globally, 79% of people agreed that vaccines are safe and 84% said they were effective.
  • Bangladesh and Rwanda had the highest levels of confidence in vaccines, with almost 100% in both countries agreeing they were safe, effective and important for children to have.
  • The lowest confidence levels in relation to vaccines were in Western Europe where more than a fifth (22%) of people disagree that vaccines are safe, and in Eastern Europe where 17% disagreed that vaccines are effective.
  • An estimated 169 million children missed out on the vital first dose of the measles vaccine between 2010 and 2017, according to a UN report issued in April.

CyPAD struggles with limited staff

Topic: GS -III: Security

The Cyber Prevention Awareness and Detection (CyPAD) unit of the Delhi Police is facing challenges due to tech giants not sharing information on time and manpower crunch.

More in news:

  • The CyPAD was inaugurated in February this year. Cybercrime unit was earlier under the Economic Offences Wing and the cases taken up by the unit mostly pertained to financial irregularities.
  • Sources claimed that tech giants like Twitter and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service providers don’t share information easily through Google and Facebook. But Yahoo has been cooperative with law enforcement agencies.
  • “WhatsApp has recently submitted an affidavit in a city court that its encryption software is such that it cannot share information.
  • VoIP is a software which enables people to use Internet as transmission medium wherein the caller can use an Indian number but it will show as an international number.

Time consuming

  • Sources said that the formal procedure to get the information is through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) and various provisions under Information Technology Act, but they are time consuming. So far, the police have been able to extract information from tech giants who “don’t cooperate” by mutual understanding and by getting in touch with their representatives.

Why the social media platforms fail to share information on time

  • The department sometimes sends notice that is vague or not even available with the platform.
  • The platforms have based their compliance teams not in India but abroad so it takes time to process.
  • It takes time for the compliance team to turn the information to a law enforcement agency given the impact it may have on the privacy of its user.
  • Another problem that the unit is facing is manpower crunch. Sources said that the unit has about 150 officers in total, out of which only 10%-20% are technically sound.

India has highest data usage: report

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

India has the highest average data usage per smartphone, reaching 9.8 GB per month at the end of 2018, according to a new study by Swedish telecom equipment maker Ericsson.

More in report:

  • The report also forecasts that this figure is likely to double to 18 GB per month per smartphone by 2024.
  • Increased numbers of LTE subscriptions, attractive data plans being offered by service providers, and young people’s changing video viewing habits have driven monthly usage growth.
  • In 2018, mobile data traffic per smartphone per month stood at 7 GB for North America, 3.1 GB for Latin America, 6.7 GB for Western Europe, 4.5 GB for Central and Eastern Europe, 3 GB for Middle East and Africa, 7.1 GB for northeast Asia and 3.6 GB for southeast Asia and Oceania region.
  • Interestingly, according to Ericsson, Indian smartphone users are willing to pay more than 66% premium for 5G services.
  • In fact, more than half of smartphone users in India expect their own provider to switch to 5G or will wait for a maximum of six months before moving to another provider that does.

Won’t allow FDI in multi-brand retail, predatory pricing: Goyal

Topic: GS -III: Economic Development

Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal reiterated that the central government will not allow foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail, and also assured small traders that he would not allow predatory pricing by multinationals.

More in news:

  • Commerce and Industry Minister again reiterated that India will not allow multi-brand retail by foreign companies and on the pretext of B2B, no entry will be allowed for multi-brand retail.
  • He also asserted that predatory pricing will not be allowed and necessary action will be taken against defaulters.
  • Representatives of the associations of kirana stores had raised the issues of the need for a level playing-field and the adverse impact of anti-competitive practices such as predatory prices by foreign companies.
  • The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) submitted a memorandum to the Minister demanding that the same restrictions and conditions imposed on global e-commerce players be made applicable to domestic e-commerce companies also.


India, Russia discuss ways to strengthen ties

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Trutnev and discussed ways to strengthen ties between the two nations and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vladivostok for the Eastern Economic Forum later this year.
  • The meeting comes days after Prime Minister Modi met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.

Bangladesh, South Korea to telecast DD India

  • The Indian government has signed agreements with Bangladesh and South Korea, under which Doordarshan India will be available in those countries.
  • The government has also approved the proposal of Prasar Bharati for making KBS World, an English 24×7 channel of the government of Republic of South Korea, available on the DD Free Dish.

Editorial section:

What a $5 trillion economy would look like –The Hindu

Beyond Mayday–The Hindu

Deadlock in Libya–The Hindu

The forgotten funds–The Hindu

Game of Chicken in the Gulf–The Hindu

State of the artefacts–The Hindu





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